Grazhdanskaya Oborona


Гражданская Оборона (English: “civil defense”, or abbreviated GrOb “coffin”) is the most famous and probably the most influential of the 1980s Soviet punk bands. The only constant member was Egor Letov, who was active right up to his death in 2008 (many of his friends, bandmates, etc. ended up committing suicide in the ’80s and ’90s). I don’t speak Russian, but the songs seem to be about anarchism, running from the KGB (they had Letov committed to a mental institution in the mid-’80s), totalitarianism, depression, feelings of powerlessness, and all that kind of stuff you’d expect to hear from a punk band from a country with an overtly repressive government.  Musically, it’s lo-fi punk (most GrOb recordings were recorded to tape on boomboxes in various apartments and kitchens) with chord changes and melodies characteristic of Russian folk music. Letov has an extremely expressive singing voice, and, like a good deal of other Russian punk musics, he communicates a desperate pathos commensurate with the fucked-up conditions in which he lived. Complete and total outsider music.

Egor was seriously prolific in his lifetime, with most of his earlier work coming in the form of homemade tapes traded among the Russian punks. My own collection of his stuff doesn’t even scratch the surface, but here is Optimizm (1985), Poganaya Molodej (1985), and a double album of two live performances (which, you must understand, were risky and infrequent events) from 1988 and 1989 in Novosibirsk and Moscow, respectively. It’s as good an introduction to GrOb as any, and the songs are all great. If none of this intrigues you, I have no idea what would. I’ll finish by saying this band is one of the inspirations behind Pink Reason (you can hear Pink Reason covering a Grazhdanskaya Oborona song on Freakout zine).

And here is a WFMU show on which Kevin Failure of Pink Reason plays GrOb and a bunch of other great Soviet underground bands, and shares some knowledge. The Russian sites linked below are pretty readable using Google Translate, so have at it.

GrOb official site (Russian)
GrOb fansite (Russian)
Polish blog with more GrOb albums

Most of their albums are long out of print; You can download some here :

Grazhdanskaya Oborona – Optimizm

Grazhdanskaya Oborona – Poganaya Molodej

Grazhdanskaya Oborona – Svet & Stulja

(thanks to Jerry from Creep Scanner for the links)

Others albums can be found on Soulseek.

Revenge of The Carrots


Revenge Of The Carrots used to be a punk band from Zaan, an industrialized district of North-Holland where squats throve around the end of the 20th century, and where The Ex formed.

The only thing they ever recorded was an eponymous 7″, released in 1991 by Konkurrel. Three gripping songs which make the atrophy of their discography all the more deplorable.

Pim (guitar) also played with another great band, Donkey, and later started with Marco (vocals) The Bent Moustache and De Kift.

Revenge ot the Carrots – Human

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the whole 7″ by clicking here.

Great Lost Indie Artists of Today, and Great Lost Private Press Artists of The Past – some special selections from Jeffrey Lewis

As far as I understand it, the modern “indie” or “independent” music movement grew out of the late-70s punk bands who chose to manufacture and distribute their own albums, freeing themselves from the decision-making process of the existing record labels.  When bands like the Buzzcocks and Crass began to take pride in the fact that their music was being created independently it made the idea of independent production into something to be proud of, not ashamed of, and that is the artistic ideal of many “indie” artists who have followed in their footsteps.  But in the 1960s and 1970s it was only the most desperate and driven artists who took the step to self-manufacture their own recordings, artists who were often too strange or too unprofessional to be signed to a record label.  These artists and the records they made are often called “Private Press,” meaning they had their albums pressed privately, paid for out of their own pockets, and often in very small print runs, perhaps making as few as a couple hundred or even a couple dozen copies of their recordings.  Usually they made up a record label name, but these record labels were not what you might think of as an official label, and usually only existed for the purpose of putting out one or two records made by the same people who paid to press the albums.  Millions of these albums exist, and more are being made every day, although there were fewer in the decades before “punk” and “indie” were things to be proud of.  The vast majority of these privately made albums are indeed bad or unmemorable, but among the millions of mediocre records there are inevitably a few rare and special gems that rise up above the others, albums which can bring listeners incredible enjoyment but have almost no chance of being heard by very many people.  As music lovers it is our job, when we find a gem, to help other people to hear it!  So here are some of my personal favorite gems among the lost recordings, some privately pressed albums which were never manufactured in high quantity and were never heard by many people, but are some of my favorite albums of all time.  I’m picking three examples from the original “private press” era (before punk) and three examples from the modern era.  




Dandelions – Dandelions

Apparently the real name of this 1970 band was “The Children of Sunshine” but on the album sleeve it looks like the band name was “Dandelions.”  In any case, the album itself is titled Dandelions, and this song is called Dandelions, and the band was two young girls on guitars, with some drums and bass provided by grownups.  The album is totally delightful, and until it is officially reissued you will have to find out more about it from or Google searching, and you can contact the original artist to make donations at

Download MP3 file


Virgin Insanity – Seeking Truth

The first Virgin Insanity record is the best, and it is called “Illusions of the Maintenance Man,” pressed in an edition of 200 copies around 1971 in Texas.  They had two other albums which were never released until recently, and this track comes from one of those later albums.  However, if you like this song I think you should try to buy their first album, which has more of this sort of feeling.  Their best work is very moving, but almost disturbing in its intensity and its lo-fi atmosphere.  For more info you can try contacting the original guy at or (it is spelled wrong on their website, and I don’t know if that was on purpose).  You can order copies of all of the existing Virgin Insanity recordings, on CD, from their Japanese reissue label P-Vine here.

Download MP3 file


D.R. Hooker – The Sea  

 This is the best track on D.R. Hooker’s first album “The Truth” (pressed in 1972 in Massachussetts) but there are some other really good tracks on that record as well, and the second D.R. Hooker album “Armageddon” is also excellent if you like this sort of thing.  The photo of D.R. on the album cover makes him look like Jesus carrying a guitar, with beard and robes, walking alone on a hill.  Although there are many songs about religion on the albums, the peaceful solo portrait on the first album cover gives you no warning as to the full-band sound you’re about to hear, which is sometimes jazzy and cheesy and sometimes rocking, and when it rocks it rocks pretty hard, like on this track.  You might like the lounge-jazz songs too.  You can get re-issues of the albums here.  D.R. Hooker is dead now, but maybe some of his band members are still alive.

Download MP3 file




Grey Revell – Glass Hammer 

 Grey Revell recorded three albums from 1998 – 2000 that I consider lost classics.  This song is from his third album, “The Green Train,” from 2000.  He was a songwriter who moved to New York City from Los Angeles and began to make a name for himself with his small concerts and self-released albums but he got married and left the city and mostly vanished from the music scene, never having done a single tour, and leaving behind only a handful of CDRs to be remembered by.   His music blends folk and rock and psychedelia, with a beautiful sense of lyric and melody, and often a much higher quality of arranging and production than most privately made albums.  When you hear these tracks you will not believe that they have only been heard by perhaps less than 100 people – this is not “strange, lost music,” this is popular indie music which has simply never been heard because of circumstance.  I just did some searching on the internet and found that all of Grey Revell’s albums, including some recent recordings which I have never heard, are available to download very cheap from Bandcamp here. I recommend you support this lost artist, where ever he is.

Download MP3 file


Prewar Yardsale – Turn On (live Peel session)

 A rough and raw and strange antifolk duo, this band has had a very big influence on me.  I once wrote a ten-page essay about their lyrics.  The music seems simple and crude, just an acoustic guitar and a bucket for a drum, with the occasional use of a distortion pedal, and strange simple lyrics, but it all adds up to very smart and evocative songs that sound different than anything else I have ever heard.  Some similarities to Beat Happening and the Velvet Underground, but even more minimal – most Prewar Yardsale songs are all the same two chords, sometimes three chords.  Amazing to make an entire 15-year career out of only using the A and E chord, with just sometimes another chord or two.  I have some amazing unreleased recordings that I bootlegged form live shows or got from their home demo recordings, someday maybe I will try to release an album of the unreleased stuff, which is all insane and excellent.  As for the officially released material I recommend the first Prewar Yardsale album “Lowdown” but you can find all of their albums here.

Download MP3 file


Gentlemen’s Relish – Third In A Knife-Fight 

 People give me a LOT of home made albums at my concerts and in the mail, but this one is the best I’ve ever got.  The album is called “An Early Bath for… Gentlemen’s Relish” and it’s very strange.  The freakish album cover, a crude drawing of what seems to be a viking in a bathtub, gives no clue as to the sound of the album.  It still sounds like nothing else I’ve ever heard, I don’t even want to know anything else about it because that might defuse some of its chills and disturbing charm.  Despite the sort of 80s/”New Romantic” angle of it, it somehow fits in well with any collection of underground weird collector’s item “private-press” stuff from the 60s-70s.  If you were having a nightmare about Morrissey, these are the songs he would sing in your nightmare, and it would be very hard to recall them when you woke up so you would need this album to help you remember.  You can find the full album for sale here. Or you can contact the artist directly at

Reines d’Angleterre – Les Comores

Trio Reines d’Angleterre, made up of noise pioneer and veteran Ghédalia Tazartès teaming with younger deconstructionists él-g & Jo, have released a singularly ethnic album. Not that ‘ethnic’ by itself means anything: is it an offensive term for something Other? Does it refer to a specific place, a specific people, a specific style? A specific language even?

No, to all accounts (except, perhaps, the offensive question). On Les Comores, Reines d’Angleterre tightly restrain the free noise and industrial leanings of each member, and the result is an album that bounces and smashes influences and cultures, ethnicities and languages – even/especially Tazartès’ trademark fictional language – off and into each other. There are pieces of Native American drum circle wailing, Exuma-style Caribbean folk, American children’s folk music, gypsy clatter, blues riffs pulled into oblivion, French and English and gibberish. There is singing and speaking, and everything fighting for recognition over the walls of sound that, picked apart, are themselves clamoring pieces broken off of at one time coherent wholes.

Reines d’Angleterre are not curators picking up and showing off the pieces that have built them, they are musicians living within a multifarious and incoherent culture, they are the most recent examples of T.S. Eliot’s self-portrait in ‘The Waste Land’: “these fragments I have shored against my ruins”, because surely Les Comores is an album about ruin as well. No matter the urgency of Tazartès’ voice – that voice – by the end it is almost swallowed by the noise it rises from, the noise it combats and tries to shout into place. Is that the point? Is there a struggle between the human and the inhuman, first pointed at by the title that refers to an African island nation which France still oversees? Whatever the struggle, Reines make it one we must fight from within our contradictory cultural makeups so that we become not universalists, not French, not American or Comoran, but human, owning another poet’s prescient statement, a positive reinterpretation Eliot made negative, Walt Whitman wildly writing: “Do I contradict myself? Fine, I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”


Reines d’Angleterre – Untitled (Track 3 side B)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download MP3 file

Reines d’Angleterre – Untitled (Track 1 side B)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download MP3 file


This record was released by Bo’Weavil but is currently sold out. You can buy MP3/Flac version here.

our weeks on soulseek – 2

Two weeks ago, OSR tapes put out the first album of Better Psychics, twenty tracks of collaborative live mixing between Chris Weisman and Zach Phillips of Blanche Blanche Blanche, both international ambassadors of Brattleboro, Vermont.
It kind of sounds like a blend of early Psychic TV albums and Sebadoh cassettes, with sprinkles of woodsy experimental folk and acousmatic bossa nova on top. (it’s outstanding).
I never buy cassettes, as the closest tape player i could use is in the old family car, but I pre-ordered theirs as an inticement to finally get my driver’s licence and drive around while blissfully listening to it.
You can download the album (then consider doing a donation) and/or order it here.

This one is short but it kills me:
Better Psychics – I bet I can write one more (right click/save as)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Better Psychics - What stays

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Better Psychics - With my attitude

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


I guess I have a thing for every band John Dwyer plays in, as they cover the entire spectrum of genres that naturally stroke my ears, from garage punk to weird doo wop and drone psych pop. However it seems that, lately, The Oh Sees have been favoring their binary rock’n'roll side (close to Dwyer’s older band, The Coachwhips), to the detriment of the numerous other facets that made the superiority of their first records. But now their new album is out on In The Red and it’s quite a gem — great name, great artwork, wicked songs. The tracklist of Putrifiers II is somehow based on a chiasmus, with rowdy garage tunes both opening and ending the record. “Cloud#1″ provides a graceful contemplative transition towards the middle of the album, which is very 60s sounding, but in a way that freshens your bronchial tubes, spruces up your hair and takes you on a fuzzy journey where Nico and John Cale (“So Nice”) are striving to deprave the Everly Brothers (“We will be scared”) while impish voices fuse with Can-like instrumentals (“Lumpine Dominus”). Makes my day.

The Oh Sees – So Nice (right click/save as)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The Oh Sees – We will be scared

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The Oh Sees – Lupine Dominus

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Natural Snow Buildings is an impressive French experimental duo who have released about 20 albums since 2001. They were/are mostly released on outrageously limited series, so the only way to listen to them is through culture sharing. Night Coercion Into The Company Of Witches, one of their best albums, was first issued in 2008 with 22 (yes, twenty two) copies, but people who love to manipulate cumbersome objects before listening to music can rejoice, as Ba Da Bing just made a three CD/four Lp reissue (yes, it is almost three hours long). Judd of Ba Da Bing speaks the truth: “Natural Snow Buildings make melodic, orchestrated, folk, droning compositions with layers of guitars, chants, woodwinds, percussive bells, distortion and delay. On Night Coercion, they push to extremes, producing layers of stereophonic sound both nuanced and grandiose. This record is the ideal introduction to the band’s sound, building harmonies upon noise upon harmonies, and providing a clear explanation as to why their albums (even the ones that aren’t so limited) sell out so immediately upon release”.

Natural Snow Buildings - Kadja Bosou (right click/save as)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


everything’s okay

Right before retiring from music and going to work with chickens and goats in a farm, Sir Jason Molina recorded eight songs with just guitar, rawness and his elegant voice from Desperate Land. I have to admit I’m not a huge supporter of his whole Magnolia Electric Co. era, but Autumn Bird Songs arouses the same kind of shivers in the stomach as his majestuous Lionness album with Songs:Ohia. We will always love you Jason.

Jason Molina – A Sad Hard Change (right click/save as)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Songs:Ohia – Lionness (right click/save as)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Death Grips stick their cock in the eye of sony music, release their new album for free, let anyone make money with it, then change their mind about it

Many people wound up on this post through various sources (Death Grips Twitter account, Brooklyn Vegan, Tiny Mixtapes, CorruptFork…). If you’re into weird hip hop, you should also listen to the amazing band Clipping. They are not this week’s epicentre of the Hype, but they do mindblowing music.

Don’t let machiavelian PR schemes fool you, the bear is the actual album cover.

Last february, I was disappointed to learn that Death Grips, a wonderful trio making angry fractured hip hop (with The Magnificent Zach Hill on drums, Andy Morin on keyboards and Stefan Burnett on vocals), had signed a major label deal with Epic/Sony.

Ex-Military Mixtape, their first album, was released under a Creative Commons non commercial licence, allowing people to copy, distribute, display, and build derivative works based on their music, as long as it was for non-commercial purposes. Consequence ? Ex-Military was shared hundreds of thousands of times. It turned Death Grips into one of the most famous indie band taking a real alternative stance on the actual copyright system, acknowledging people’s right to share. AND it is an awesome record.

Download full version of Ex-Military Mixtape (or instrumentals + acapellas version).

Then they signed with a Major. Obviously, it wasn’t just a greedy move (anyone who knows the bands members will agree on this), but rather a “we’ll have big distribution and total control over creativity” blah blah thing. Death Grips stated they would release two albums this year via Epic: The Money Store (last april), and No Love Deep Web (planned this October).

When the Money Store came out, Epic/Sony predictably barred them from using a Creative Commons licence. The band then decided to act naughty: they leaked the album on Youtube anyway, allowed people to download a bunch of tracks, leaked the instrumentals after an incredible hide-and-seek game in the deep internet. Death Grips also are the most legally-downloaded band on BitTorrent in the first half of 2012 (oh my god, 34,151,432 downloads of weirdo hip hop noise music). The Money Store truly is an amazing piece of music, but the whole album wasn’t released under a Creative Commons licence, so legally people weren’t allowed to share all the tracks, remix it, etc.

However, it seems the honeymoon between Death Grips and Epic is officially over.
Death Grips tweeted today “The label wouldn’t confirm a release date for NO LOVE DEEP WEB ’till next year sometime. The label will be hearing the album for the first time with you”.

Ten hours later, they released their new album for free. Tons of websites have already reported it, but it seems only a few (i say “a few” because i’m polite, i actually read nothing about it – edit: Death Grips and others have spread the A&D post you’re reading, thanks to them, and Consequence of Sound wrote a piece about it) noticed they didn’t just “release it for free”: they allow anyone to make money with it.

According to the download link they’ve posted themselves, this album is indeed released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence, a veeery open one. Of course, it lets people share and remix the music, but contrary to the previous licence they chose for Ex-Military, it also authorizes commercial uses without asking permission, as long as the music is still credited to the band. Yes, you can use Death Grips’ music in a TV ad (for an energy drink maybe?), or in a big commercial movie. You don’t have to wait for a physical release date, you can start a record label instead, press and sell 10,000 copies of this album without even asking the band NOR Epic/Sony if they are okay with that. Well, if you’re not an asshole, I hope you’ll send Death Grips some money.

Some people (Hi Sean!) are wondering if the whole operation is a PR stunt. But the licence chosen debunks such hypotheses because it implies that Epic/Sony don’t have exclusive commercial rights on Death Grips’ music anymore (while a Creative Commons Non Commercial licence would have allowed Epic/Sony to retain exclusive rights on commercial uses). There’s no way a major compagny would accept such a licence as part of a PR scheme. Actually I think it is the first time a band signed on a major label releases an album on a CC Attribution 3.0 licence.

Anyway, i wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Epic/Sony for pissing off Death Grips and pushing them back to the arms of Creative Commons. Sharing is Caring, blah blah blah, Amen.

EDIT 10.4.12: Death Grips have now changed the Creative Commons Attribution licence into an Attribution-Non Commercial one. It means you can share or remix the work, but NOT use it commercially without permission. Several explanations are possible:
- They didn’t know what kind of licence they took in the first place (I doubt it, as it wasn’t their first Creative Commons release and Death Grips themselves shared this A&D post via Twitter).
- They changed their mind.
- Epic/Sony made them change the licence, so the Major Company can still have exclusive commercial rights on Death Grips music. As the Major Company has paid for the recording of No Love Deep Web, this scenario is quite likely.

Death Grips website was down for a while. I thought it was collapsing because of too many visits, but serious prominent yet corrupt press talked to Zach Hill, and he confirmed Epic/Sony took the website down! And then Epic/Sony denied it! And then the website came back! Then it disappeared one more time! Then it is here again! Woo! (my guess is their web hosting company had a problem with the penis cover)

Thank God/Santa Claus/Richard Stallman, you can also download the full album via or via Bayfiles or stream it via Soundcloud (who didn’t like the album cover either apparently).

Clipping – Our world is a ruin


I suppose you have noticed it, more and more blogs/webzines/old medias have developped the quite peculiar habit of getting carried away by bands that have recorded only one or two mp3s, and/or to write about records which won’t be released until several months.
These cultural phenomena have deep and multiple causes, although today we will briefly touch upon a few of them:

On the media side
If you want to get some attention among the thousands of billions of posts cracking everyday on the interweb, you have three options:
1) To be the first
2) To be interesting
3) To be funny

To be interesting is difficult and takes a lot of time without any certainty of any achievement. To be funny is a gift from the gods and, as an unfair but logical consequence, is not accessible to everyone. To be the first thus is the easiest. And writing about something months prior its release, or about someone still in his foetal state, is a good way to be the first.

On the band/producer side
The goal is to create artificial buzz with tiny bits of a piece of work. You can’t verify and judge by yourself, you have to believe the teaser. Without even acknowledging it, a lot of small indie labels use the same marketing methods as the movie and video game industries. Sometimes their teasers reach unexpected heights of vacuity : “Hey, a-band-you-don’t-care-about has just released the TRACKLIST of its new EP! Let’s all talk about it!”

On the “everyone” side
We’re all addicts to the Novelty Orgasm. We want to be connected to the Flux of Now, to listen to new music as soon as it has been recorded. As if music obeyed to a darwinian process, as if The New was, in itself, superior to The Old.

These are troublesome facts because they are largely scattered, almost systematic. When we’ll write the Tablets of Stone of A&D, we shall include these two commandments : Don’t write about a band until he has released at least one full album.
And Don’t write about it until you have actually listened to it.

But of course, a few bands would lead anyone to bend these rules. For instance, Clipping:


Clipping make hip-hop. They are a weird, noisy, radical hip hop trio. Two guys twiddle bleep bloop machines producing krrrrrrrr and ssshhhh and sometimes jkl<dy!!_*hfsd sounds, while a third one declaims demented lyrics in fast forward mode. We had some very good deviant hip hop recently (Death Grips, Shabazz Palaces), and one can expect the same kind of febrile excitation here.

At first (thanks to Brian Miller of Foot Village/Deathbomb Arc), I listened to this song, Loud:


It just drilled my ears. Actually I needed it to accompany me in the bus, at the supermarket,  or at the golf club. Clipping didn’t care about me and didn’t include a download button so I bravely ripped it from Soundcloud and listened to it 321 times. But it was only one song, so I had to curb my enthusiasm.

Then I saw this video:



Ok Gwendolyne, they seem to not suck live (I have a slight tendancy to speak to myself when i’m moved emotionnally). Their show at Enter The Interweb confirmed this assumption:


My expert detective skills a basic internet search coupled with a few questions to Brian Miller taught me more about the identities of Clipping’s members. One of them already is an undergound star : Jonathan Snipes of electro dance punk metal joyous pop hardcore band Captain Ahab. Jonathan makes all his music available digitally on a free donation basis (go listen to the last Captain Ahab album, The End of Irony).
Another Clipping dude has been involved for a long time in the let’s-release-crazy-experimental-modular-synth-music-limited-to-30-copies scene: William Hutson of Rale. He releases limited cassettes on numerous labels and runs Accidie Records.
And then there is Daveed Dibbs, rapper, actor, educator with a lot of messy hair and an insane flow. Dave released his first solo album for free last January (grab it here).

And now the time of the first Clipping release has come: A tape just came out on Deathbomb. It only is a three songs/ten minutes tape, but it will make a rain dance happen in your panties. At least, it finished to wow me and to get through all my ethical principles. Listen below to Face (an hysterical swoop), a studio freestyle, and Broke (dark, slow track). Hail Clipping.


Dinosaurs, Norwegians and Epic Ensemble in the discotheque

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth – Jeans Shopping With Jesse (Made In Kansas)

More blown out fucked up fuzz from When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. Had been waiting to hear this one for a considerably long time once I knew it was coming out. Didn’t realize it was going to be as limited as it is though, apparently only 100 made of this mean piece of wax. And mean is most certainly the right way to put it. To anyone that felt the need to unleash the aural bleeding that came as a result of their previous release Peaced, then Jeans Shopping With Jesse (Made In Kansas) will undoubtedly be exactly the type of heaping trash that fills that need once again. Not as punishingly treble heavy as Peaced, but rather more so of a complete culmination of noise being thrown at the listener this time around. It’s hard to resist the comparisons to Rusted Shut, but this certainly fits the bill. No less filthy, that’s for sure, but maybe a bit less frightening. You get that these guys might actually have a sense of humor behind all that distorted crust…or maybe a big drinking problem. Who knows? Surprisingly though, Jeans Shopping for Jesse isn’t the type of monotonous trudge through noise that you might expect it to be. Some of the best moments here are the groups abilities to subtly let the tracks set in with a level of claustrophobic nature, eventually becoming an overwhelming amount of noise before either fading out or cutting off completely. That of which is often followed by brief tracks of full-frontal noise that approach the ferocity and pacing of noise-punk. Absolutely relentless and pretty jarring at that. Fans of the genre certainly should give this one a try.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth – Jeans Shopping With Jesse (right click/save as)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth - Jah Fingies

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

+ their amazing previous record, Peaced, available for free download. In the bands own words: “This album was recorded in our practice space in the month of April 2010. We were very drunk, and very stoned. We’ve recorded quite a bit of stuff before, but this recording actually captures realistically what we do and how we do it. Cheap, loud, and drunk”.

You can buy last copies of these two Lps here.

Neon Blud – Discotheque Deathbed (Vinyl Rites)

The collective that just keeps on giving, that being the folks down south that have helped spawn projects like Cult Ritual, Merchandise, and so on. This LP comes from yet another outlet under the name Neon Blud. Those out there probably know them from their split with Diet Cokeheads or releases on Fan Death and Drugged Conscience that came out awhile back. Previously I had known them as more of a noisier pop group that had a very prominent early Sonic Youth thing going on, however things have changed up fairly dramatically with their new full-length Discotheque Deathbed. The label Vinyl Rites mentioned Live Skull in the description, which if you’re looking for my attention, that’s a fairly good way to get it. A track like “Tick” certainly channels this more than anything, but I’d be lying if I said this album greatly resembles the band. I certainly hear the connection though and I’m loving it. Neon Blud have more so driven their sound down the path of late 70’s/early 80’s goth heavy post-punk but spreading out amongst a far more abrasive landscape of feedback and atonal droning noise that seemingly cycles its way in out of this album in an unobtrusive and effective manner. This is a much darker and noisier band than I imagine people were prepared to hear, and more importantly its one that has stepped out from a more confined songwriting approach and really allowed themselves to take this in an interesting direction. Most of the tracks are rather lengthy, filling the spaces nicely with repetitive bass lines that develop the sort of “disco” beat that they are looking for. And generally on more than one occasion per song, things lead in and out of explosive waves of noise before dropping back into a locked groove. Vocals are present, but likely merely only for the added effect of the depressive and bleak mood the album seems to function on. Really cool stuff. Not sure if this is the last output that we’ll hear from the band or not, but if it does indeed happen to be, then this is a fine way to go out.

Neon Bud – Tick (right click/save as)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Neon Bud - Temple

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This album is sold out, so you’ll have to look for it on Soulseek.

Staer – Staer (Gaffer Records)

Some pretty warped instrumental noise out of Norway from these three gentlemen known as Staer. Due to locale they are most commonly linked back to Noxagt, which actually fits quite well musically. Despite being a three piece, these tunes pack a thunderous amount of sludgy rumble. It’s hard to simply call these guys a “sludge” band though, despite these songs stomping along in a slow motion hulk like style. Things however tend to take on jazzy feel, but as if it were stuck in mud…slowly shifting from one atonal riff to another. Described as precise in execution, it’s much dirtier sounding than one would gather from reading that. It may be precise, but it certainly sounds the part of something that would be a destructive mess visually. Staer aren’t completely opposed to hitting a run of simple rhythm, as evidenced by a track like “Sex Varnish”, which basically focuses on one big bouncy riff throughout the song while surrounding it by free drumming and a multitude of guitar effects. That latter seems to be a recurring theme throughout this self-titled debut. The trio certainly have a good grasp of the fun things that they can do with their instruments and they make it very well known on this album by pushing sounds and effects that one would assume would require someone in the background twisting knobs and such. Maybe that’s the case and I just missed that somewhere, but no matter it certainly works for them. The songs are heavy and just about as wildly out of control/demented as a band that is said to be in control can be. Really nice debut from these guys.

Staer – Det Ar Nyar, Javlar (right click/save as)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Staer – I Roll With Creflo

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This one is available through Gaffer label. Head on over there to grab yourself a copy.

V.Vecker Ensemble – In the Tower (Majorly Records)


V.Vecker Ensemble was spawned out member Keith Wecker’s idea to start the collective after spending time playing in Glenn Branca’s Symphony #13: Hallucination City and Anthony Braxton’s 2010 Sonic Genome Project. Having a fairly nice size of talent surrounding him already in the Vancouver underground, he enlisted the services of Brody McKnight and Andrea Lukic (Nu Sensae), Daniel Presnell (Von Bingen), Liam Butler (No Gold), David Rogers (Basketball), and Corey Woolger (Cowards). This LP is the first recorded output from the collective and features one long instrumental piece split on to both sides of the record. The first movement is a nice slow burn mix of psych and creeping noise. The use of sparse santur at the beginning of the track, as it slowly melds into a swirl of complementing sounds, gives the entire piece a bit of an exotic feel. This far less of the controlled chaos type of approach that I was kind of expecting with this, but rather it ends up being a wonderful tension building exercise of melody and subtle noise. The pieces eventually cools down, which provides the opportunity to flip the record to move on to the second piece of the composition. The second side continues a bit in the same way, but things get a bit more claustrophobic on it. The santur again provides a skeletal shaping of exterior sounds as a way to introduce the slow inclusion of guitars and bass, while both drummers keep things slightly nailed down with a steady beat. However, with this portion of the composition by the end of it the instruments all eventually reach the same atonal apex of noise to finish the piece off with a loud steady trance-like pound. Really dig this, look forward to more.

For those interested in picking up a copy of In the Tower can do so by hitting up Majorly Records.

Japanther reviews Creepy Teepee Festival

Incomplete festival review and contest. Kuma Hora, Czech Republic – july 13th, 2012. 
All the concert goers looked like the future people in Bill and Ted’s. One of them   floated up and shyly asked if I’d judge a contest of a few new bands playing the fest.  I took this request from the future very seriously and these reviews are the result.

Planety: Pět minut za městem
A dreamy crash-boom-bang traditional pop sound played with force. Heavily effected up beat lead guitars smells like Czech grunge. The lo-fi approach and flavor has me dancing around the room. It doesn’t even matter that I don’t understand a word, I instantly liked Planety’s simple approach.


KRISTEN: An Accident!
Loopy intricate guitar & bass paired with sparse open drumming and repetitive vocals. Solemn interesting indie noise music. I believe the late Jean-Michel Basquiat would have loved this Polish trio. Aggressive jazzy dance jams with free form bits scattered all over the place. BRAVO!


Piotr Kurek: Coda (Digitalis – sold out)
Insanely surreal video game sounds pushed together by analog keyboards. Like being trapped in a 8 bit haunted house while wearing a lead suit. I like that this Warsaw artist is working with dance companies and artist residencies. I’d love to see the results of those efforts someday.


Aches: Fine Tongue EP on EXITAB label.
Colorful droning loops with nice organic feeling. Super creepy “stalker vibe” vocals and ultra slow drum machine beats. Painterly guitars that seem dream like over what sounds like screwed up jungle beats. This Brit relocated to eastern Europe and interesting results abound.


Mile Me Deaf: Call Us Rats – Fettkakao Sampler – Fettkakao 2011 // fett022 
Sarcastic psychedelic pop music. Driven by a collective beauty and tight guitars. From Fettkakao, the same Vienna label that brought you PLAIDED and VORTEX REX, two additional pop groups with a very unique takes on the form. I recommend all three whole heartedly.  


Rouilleux: Zugzwang
Hand made black and silver digipack. Slow sad wash of tortured guitar. Like a long folk song sung underwater. High smokey vocals sung under a curtain of effects. Rouilleux is very depression influenced but still the balance of noise and songwriting is pleasant and keeps the listener engaged.


S ND Y P RL RS: DARK MATTER book + cdr, 22 pgs, Colpa Press
Nice warm German drone that lasts and lasts. The book would certainly enhance the experience of the piece, alas I didn’t get one. Still I enjoy the warm, slow building rumble this Berliner produces. Sounds like living in a jet engine or a steam ship. Just like any long trip, after about 40 minutes, S ND Y P RL RS slowly fades out and ends…

Field Hymns Tape Trade

The history and function of tape trading is something we’re very interested in at Decoder Magazine. To that end, using the stock from our tape label Crash Symbols, we’ve been conducting a series of “guided trades” with other cassette imprints. Part of the advantage we perceive in this treatment is the ability to identify and talk clearly about a more structured notion of “eclecticism” – the idea that many beautiful things can work with and enhance one another so long as they are all beautiful. In the case of art objects or furnishings, they needn’t be made in the same style or by the same craftsman. The same can apply to albums. A record label’s catalog might draw more or less from one or more particular genres, but it need not of necessity. As curators, many label owners would sooner maker their catalogs a reflection of themselves. Considering that a fair number of these people are avid collectors of experience, information, and tapes or records, their imprints begin to share in the same academic and operational rigor that motivates their other passions, so it seems meaningful for us to talk about their catalogs comprehensively.

More importantly, trading tapes underscores a positive way to cultivate coherent and self-sufficient communities, independent of the kind of praise that we admittedly make every effort to lavish on labels in our recurring Tape Trade feature at Decoder. To some consumers, labels are a thing worth reaching out to, and for some label owners, an imprint is something to communicate with; this sometimes plays itself out in the common perception of imprints as too aloof, but also too friendly, depending on what angle you use to scrutinize “the scene”. The difficulty with really evaluating tapes and tape culture is the extent to which it has become a fundamentally voluntary and participatory culture. Paradoxically, many cassette labels have distinguished themselves through an honest and effective leveraging of support through social media.

So, that’s the big idea. This is our fifth tape trade – you can check out some earlier ones here and here) – but more than being your requisite 1,000+ words worth of random music reading today, we hope that this will inspire you to reach out to friends, bands you love, or labels you admire and offer to trade. If you hit us up at Crash Symbols, God knows we’d be psyched to arrange something.

Without further ado, Field Hymns of Portland, an imprint focused on experimental electronic music, with significant helpings of kosmische, prog-rock, and even a little bit of skwee (which I for one can always use is greater quantity than I’m getting).

Continue reading