Thursday, March 27, 2008

Reviews 3/28

With my co-Suppositor Denman leaving the country in a couple days, I realize I'm going to have to step up the posting. So let's start with a couple of reviews before I hit the hay. Just got both of these today:

RELIGIOUS KNIVES - Live at Bigjar (Archive)

Yet another live release courtesy of the superlative Archive label, recorded by label-dude Scott Slimm in Philly last August. I've been a fan of RK for a while now, and though I wish they had kept tapping into the weird droney vein that was manifested on most of their past releases, I'm pleased to say that I dig the psych-rock thing they're doing now too. I saw them in DC on the same tour within days of the Bigjar gig, and I noticed they were having some communication issues on the improv tip - drummer wanted to end a song, guitarist didn't, or vice versa - but they put on a good show nonetheless. Maybe there were evil looks passing between the band members at the Bigjar show as well, but you can't tell on the recording. They laid down their set smoothly. Four tracks, all "new" stuff. Excellent recording. 600 copies. Vinyl version of their first full-length should be dropping on TMU any day now.

OREN AMBARCHI - In the Pendulum's Embrace 2xLP (Touch/Southern Lord)

Ambarchi is one of my favorite minimalist artists, and this is his first full-length since 2005's Grapes From the Estate. (Actually, he had some help here: two of the four tracks are collaborations.) The first two sides of the LP are reminiscent of that record, featuring his trademark lonesome electric guitar tones that start with a recognizable "click." But Ambarchi's approach on Pendulum is not the stringently minimalist exercise that Grapes was. It's warmer, with some additional instrumentation - most present on the C-side track "Trailing Moss in Mystic Glow." Flurries of acoustic guitar notes, sounding like an aimless James Blackshaw, support the drones. Side D is a vinyl-only bonus track called "The Intimidator," which is, not surprisingly, darker and more menacing than anything else on the album. 1500 copies pressed; order direct from the Lord and you will get one of the 500 on gorgeous marbled aqua vinyl. I can't recommend Ambarchi enough, and this album is a good place to start for the uninitiated.

Dying Yellow Swans?

In their announcement of the new Yellow Swans/Ex-Cocaine split LP, the Not Not Fun crew had this to say: On the B, Yellow Swans channel a supreme slice of psychedelic eulogy that cuts twice as deep with the knowledge that after many a summer (they birthed in 2002-ish) dies the Swan. Pete and Gabe’s DYS saga has spanned the decade and their impending non-existence will be lamented all over the world, so the more 11th hour record books they want to stencil with their electric synergies, the better for all of us.

A quick jaunt over to the Swans' Myspace shows they're playing shows at least through June, so who knows when the final nail in the coffin will be nailed into the coffin. If in fact there is a coffin. Which there seems to be. Anyway, I will definitely miss this duo, but I'm sure Pete and Gabe's names will continue to float around in the potent stew that is west coast experimental music.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Even I wanted to party hard....

Was I the only person that heard Andrew W.K. on PRI's Fair Game With Faith Salie yesterday?

I would not necessarily call myself a fan of the guy, but then again, I don't really have anything against him. Hell some of my friends even dj'ed with him once. However, this made me laugh out loud (yes, while walking two large dogs, totally randomly in public..).

I think it's genius, and you should absolutely give it a spin.....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Life's been swell now I wanna Dystopia record

Finally, after literally YEARS of waiting, the newest, and sadly the last Dystopia album has arrived. For those of you even remotely into "hard" music, if you have not heard this band, you surely must think "hard" means Captain and Tennille. As for me, I have a long history with one of the first real punk bands that I ever heard.

I was in college, in Mississippi, knowing nothing about good music, and was excited to test out this new website I'd heard about called Napster. So I plugged my phone line into my clunky Toshiba Satellite, and sent that 14.4 baby into action. Now this was before the real controversy about piracy had begun, and the people involved already had some of my money. Don't even ask how, but I had been able to buy a live compilation from some label called "Slap a Ham Records," and was anxious to look up a few bands that had impressed me. In particular, I had been "wowed" by a live version of the song "Backstabber" by a band called Dystopia. Sure enough, I was able to find a few songs by them on Napster (I would later buy all of their records from Life is Abuse, which is what you should do as well...), and I was soon downloading a song called "Stress Builds Character." An hour or two was all it took to make the song mine. The beginning was this weird speech about some guy hating his life, and then suddenly he yells out "I DON'T EVEN LIKE MONEY, AND I'VE GOTTA WORK EVERYDAY JUST TO FEED MYSELF!!" It was gut wrenching, and I'd never heard any punk or metal song up to that point profess such anger towards the necessity of commerce. I would soon dive deep into all types of political punk, and continually seek harder and harder bands. Dystopia had totally hooked me, and they have been a very important band in my life since then.

Which brings me back to the point at hand, the very last Dystopia record. We'll cover the tangible aspects first, then get to the music.

This is by far the best cover artwork for one of their albums. It is an actually well done photo-collage starting across the top with cheering (and maniacal) people, hovering over a second layer of guns and missiles, with an AMAZING picture of Bush wielding an almost bloody looking chainsaw below their name. The vinyl is clear, and is joined by a very nicely done booklet insert. Like the cover, the booklet contains some great artwork, and photos, and includes the lyrics to all the songs.

Speaking of which, let's get to the music shall we. While this record may not be as hard hitting as their previous two full lengths, it is still a force to be reckoned with (and would easily destroy most other bands). In keeping with tradition, samples are heavily prevalent through out the album. Which is of course how the first track begins, with a long sample of some ever depressing sound bites until the song lands. It reminds me in a way, of the aforementioned "Stress Builds Character." Two things stand out as a whole on this release. One is that the songs are all slightly more minimal and dirgey, than ever most Dystopia fans are used to. The second is that the vocals are much more grim and brutal than anything the band has ever put out. Also, alot of the guitar work is much more riffy, technical, and catchy. All the songs on the first side string together to form one long crushing blow that ends in a final track of samples of very sad and demented people yelling about their horrible psychiatric treatments. Which absolutely sets the tone for side two, which comes out swinging. By far my favorite track "Illusion of Love" comes out swinging with the fastest, non-deathmetal, tempo Dystopia has ever played. After the first half, the rest of the track takes us back to that misanthropic dirge that will continue until the end of the album.

I just wanted to take a little time to talk about the lyrics here. Dystopia has never been known to pull a punch, but instead, in a crass and upfront way, have always gone right for the throat. Some previous lines that come to mind are,"Life's been swell now I want to die!," and "Fuck your son I hope he fucking dies!" Never missing a beat, this type of lyricism holds strong until the bitter end. Going a little out of order, on that favorite track of mine,"Illusion of Love," with gut wrenching intensity, Dino screams,"Jesus! Fuck your love!" Which is repeated many times throughout finally to be joined with "..And the USA!" The whole song is about Christian based US imperialism. Which is a perfect segue into the next song. "Number One Hypocrite" is a continuation of the US angst theme. God the lyrics in this song are great. A few of the better lines are,"If you want an SUV we'll have to kill some children, and you don't fucking care as long as you are not impaired!","The simple fact is this: You're the terrorist!," and the one I had to look up just to make sure I heard it correctly,"I'm a product of where my parents fucked!" Well, I could go on and on about the rest of the lyrics on this album ("Your fingerprints are human, and you are a piece of shit!"), but I'll leave that up to the future listeners to experience.

Needless to say, Dystopia is one of the most important bands in the modern punk scene, and this last release is a testament to that. They are a band that for many years has tackled topics such as depression, capitalism, suicide, racism, the military, life, work, and death with their own honest and brutal opinions. To learn more about Dystopia, you can check out their myspace page here, and their record label Life is Abuse, which is also where you can pick up a copy of this new album. However, good luck getting your hands on one. Only 3,000 have been made so far, and they are so swamped with orders, the entire label has had to put everything else on hold to deal with it. However, if you can get your hands on one, you should at all cost.

It is also worth noting that if you are a Dystopia fan, you should check out the other amazing band that Dino is in, Asunder

Monday, March 3, 2008


It was important to me that my first post here be classy. Well, what could be classier than a band called Syphilitic Vaginas? Huh? Any ideas? I'll wait...

Ok, then. As repulsive and stupid as the name is, SV simply did what so many other punk bands have done - that is, name themselves after a song by a classic band. In this case, it's an abbreviation of an even classier (if you can believe it!) GISM song title. I had heard these guys described as a cross between GISM and Bathory, and in fact their top three Myspace friends are those two plus Venom. The early thrash metal vibe is strong here, and it's augmented with the driving, balls-to-the-wall energy of Japanese hardcore. I'm not the biggest fan of gruff vocals, but they work great here. The band apparently hails from Japan (their Myspace used to say "Tokyo, Japan," but now it just says "Japan"). I was skeptical at first, since it seemed a perfect concept for a US band to run with, but honestly, I don't think Yankees could sound like this.

I picked up their recent s/t cassette release, and it kills! Three burners followed by a synthy, Goblin-style coda. The blast beat riff in "Iron Sabbath" has to be in the running for best riff ever. Go listen to it on their Myspace immediately. I just did - twice - after listening to it on the tape. Which, incidentally, is the most recent of three super-limited SV releases. There are 100 of them. Prior to that, they had a split 7" with Netjajev SS (200 copies) and a lathe cut 9" (50 copies). I missed 'em, and chances are you did too. But they seem to be busy little Vaginas, with multiple upcoming releases on Recued From Life and Haunted Hotel. Everyone's going to love this band in a few months.


As promised, here's a quick review of my top 10 records of 2007:

10. THE ANGELIC PROCESS - Weighing Souls With Sand
9. GRAILS - Burning Off Impurities
7. ALVA NOTO - Xerrox Vol.1
6. THE FIELD - From Here We Go Sublime
5. VOMIT ORCHESTRA - Antecrux (December '06, deal with it)
4. RICHARD CRANDELL - Spring Steel
3. THE DEAD C - Future Artists
2. OBSCURUS ADVOCAM - Verbia Daemonicus
1. DRAGONFORCE - Inhuman Rampage

Turns out....We were right....

So, for those of you who know me personally, have you ever had that moment where I'm talking about music, and you've said to yourself,"What the hell is he talking about?" If so, then it's time to learn. Music retail is quickly becoming a scared creature as far as the hardcopy formats and major labels are concerned.

In another bit of odd news gathered from Myspace of all places, local record store Crooked Beat posted this statement today:

Date: Mar 3, 2008 3:59 PM
Subject: A Few Words Regarding the Future of Major Label Releases

Attention Customers:

Since 1997, Crooked Beat has always prided itself in being fiercely independent by primarily focusing on and specializing in stocking releases from independent and import labels. We also have always carried a lot of New CD Releases from the major record labels (WEA, Capitol, Sony/BMG, UNI) and their affiliates.

In recent years, however, most of these major labels have not been making their New CD Releases available to independent Distributors to purchase at a fair price in comparison to the prices the big box stores are paying for the same product. This, in turn, has caused a lot of our distributors to no longer consistently stock-- and sometimes not even stock in their warehouses-- certain major label New CD Releases at all. This has made it very difficult for independent stores to obtain a larger number of major label New Release CDs.

Furthermore, there is now a substantial penalty being enforced by One Stops/Distributors in the event that an independent record store returns major label product that does not sell. This makes it difficult for an independent store to even want to consider stocking, and more importantly, taking a chance on a new artist that is affiliated with a major label.

Due to these unfortunate circumstances and the fact being that major label sales on CD have become less than 3% of our sales since 2004, we will be extremely limiting our stock of major label New CD Releases from the following labels: WEA-Warner, Elektra, Atlantic, Capitol/EMI, Sony/BMG, UNI and their affiliates.

Update - February 2008

In 2007, CD sales from the major labels (WEA, Capitol, Sony/BMG, UNI) and their affiliates accounted for less than 1% of our total sales. Therefore, effective February 1, 2008, we will only be stocking select titles from these labels on CD. A large number of major label titles are now being reissued on LP vinyl that usually come with a free MP3 download offered inside the album jacket. LPs outsold CDs at Crooked Beat for the first time ever in 2007.

Due to this, we will be expanding our vinyl selection over the next several months.

We will also continue to specialize in and stock CDs from literally hundreds of independent and import labels.


Bill & Helen

Major labels are seeing most of their sales coming from online mp3's being bought or downright taken gratis. It only makes sense that between them and large retail stores the squeeze is being put on the "small players" to keep the money stable in the big hands.

This also seems to be going hand in hand with an independent music renaissance of sorts. People seem not only more interested these days in lesser known indie and underground artists, but they are also heavily invested in vinyl collecting.

DCist recently ran a story about local music stores where much of the same rhetoric can be heard. You can check that out here, and when you're done you should actually check out all of these bastions of good taste. Though I did say and mean ALL, here are my three local favorites:

Crooked Beat
Som Records
Smash Records

As far as the increase in the sale of vinyl goes, even NPR has to admit that there is a resurgence.

So close out your itunes, throw away that copy of "Music played on Dawson's Creek," and ask that weird music nut in your life just what the hell they are listening to.

(I'm listening to Behemothaur)

Just when you thought it was safe to be on Myspace.....

I could not pass up posting this bulletin I found today:

Mar 3, 2008 11:30 AM
Body: Some funny guy online here who runs a fake Twilight page (claiming it as official) has posted the bulletin below, its 100% fake and please ignore anything coming from any myspace 'twilight' page, we do not have one and the band is not even active and quite possibly will never do anything again.

I encourage any of you that have this 'twilight' page on your friends list to delete it as its just obviously someone thats trying to spread lies and rumors for their own personal amusement. I enjoy the joke as much as he does, its funny someone would actually spend so much time impersonating myself and the other members of a band that hasn't done anything in 5 years, but I do need to clarify its completely inaccurate.

Blake / Nachtmystium


I apologize for the lack of news lately, Twilight is hard at work with the new album, which will be out August 10th of this year.

We are very pleased to announce that Twilight will be collaborating with 3 very talented artists in the underground black metal scene.

Three of the new tracks on the upcoming twilight album will feature the unique and beautiful vocals of Maynard James Keenan of Tool.

"Working with Maynard was unlike anything I had ever experienced. His studio ethic and lyrics are incredibly eloquent. He and I are even discussing future collaborations with Xasthur and A Perfect Circle. It sounds crazy, I know, but we all sort of bonded this year with this art. " -- Malefic

Also joining us is Black Tribe mastermind John Gill.

John Gill's work with Black Tribe has been a huge personal inspiration to the music of Nachtmystium and Leviathan. We are pleased to have his songwriting cover a great portion of our new material.

We encourage all of our fans and supporters to listen to his music and support him as if he was one of us. Because he is. In our hearts.

Other news:

Twilight will be performing a select number of dates later on this year. Twilight plans to tour South America, North America, Canada, Scandinavia, and at least 8 European countries this Fall. So stay tuned!

Xasthur also apologizes for the hacking that recently occurred on his official site. He issues this statement:
"Some asshole has hacked the official Xasthur site, so until control is re-established, I will communicate any new Xasthur news through Twilight, which is now my main project until further notice. The hacker has posted fake news about Twilight and about Xasthur, also adding incomplete information to the discography."

Also, we kindly ask anyone involved with to kindly update the artist information about Twilight to include Malefic, Maynard James Keenan, and John Gill as the current full time members of Twilight. It is most appreciated.

Thank you,
-Blake Azentrius Judd Mystical, on behalf of Twilight

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Denman's (Award winning) top 10 of 2007

And speaking of winners, mailorder customers Kraig Keller and Denman
Anderson were the two lucky recepients of $25 AQ gift certificates,
randomly selected from the pool of peeps who sent in their 2007 Top
Ten lists before our deadline last month. Thanks again to everybody
who shared their lists (often with more than ten items, and often
with interesting and/or entertaining commentary). You're all tops
with us. You can view the collected 2007 Customer Top tens here: Check it out.


1.Ammo)(omma-Go to Hell cd-r
2.Caacrinolas-Vargtimmen cd-r
3.Wolves in the Throne Room-Diadem of 12 Stars 2xlp
4.Harvey Milk-My Love is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love
Could Be (re-release) cd
5.L'Acephale-Mord und Totschlag cd
6.Bone Awl-Undying Glare 7"
7.Time of the Wolf-s/t cd
9.Xasthur-Xasthur mlp
10.Yelle-Pop-Up cd
11. De Magia Veterum-Spikes Through Eyes Demo, Clavicula Salomonis,
The Blood of Prophets and Saints

Minterview number four

Well old friends I suppose this is waaaaay overdue, and I'll try to hammer it out before I have to take off.

As always, let me needlessly explain...Two Sundays ago I woke up with a sore throat, sinuses, and an horrible demeanor (no I mean, really, more so). This quickly devolved into what I've already mentioned was not unlike the plague. All I could do was work and sleep, which is good news since I still walk dogs. Nothing soothes a body like pouring rain in a 25 degree atmosphere.

So here we are, almost two weeks later, with my good friend illness at least having the decency to move from a horrible flu into a mucal lung infection. Fantastic.

I should also note that at the very least, for logistical reasons, I will be posting minterviews by-weekly, and at the most I will post them when I have time. I have alot going on, but I'd like to hammer out a few more of these before I go to Mexico on March 29th (can it frikkin come fast enough!?)

None the less, this minterview should be well worth the wait. OvO is an amazing band that I was randomly able to catch at a noise show at the Warehouse Next Door, where I used to book shows. Here were these two crazy Italians, in full on costumes, with props, and very experimental ideas, interacting with the audience, playing a crazy crust/noise combination, and it was just awesome. At one point the drummer threw cymbals out into the crowd, stepped on them, and started to use them like shoes to dance through the crowd. It was really refreshing. I talked at length to the other member of the two piece, and bought a few records. A year of so later, I caught them again at a noise fest at the Warehouse, and was again blown away, I spoke more with them, and bought more records. OvO records are always good, but nothing compares with their live shows. I was lucky enough to discover this band, and it is a shame that they are not more well know. They should be, and with their output, I'm sure they will.

I was lucky enough to get some very nice responses to a hand full of questions I tossed out to Bruno, one of the notable gruesome twosome. Here is what he had to say:

(normal font=me, italics=Bruno)


Hi, we do remember you, you were there everytime we played in DC... yes, we're underated, but don't forget we're italians... do you know any overated italian noise band?
Ok, I go with the questions:

1.I’ll just start with the tried and true. So, how did OvO begin?

We began at the end of 2000. Me and Stefania are together in life since 11 years. It was natural to start a band together. Cock ESP were touring Europe, so the organizer asked us to drive them for some shows, and we made a band in order to do it with more fun. That's how we started.

2.While I love and own many of your records, you are an amazingly creative, interactive, and theatrical live band first and foremost. With that in mind, what is process for creating your music and live shows like?

Our music developes on stage. We started as an improv band, open to friends and collaborations. Then we became a duo, and the improvisations started to become songs with a structure. A quite easy structure, I'd say, even if it sounds like nonsense the first time you hear it. So we kept this composition process. The next album is gonna be almost completely composed in studio, it'll be the first time. We'll see...

3.You are a band that, in my opinion, crosses genres (without always mixing them). In America at least, that type of complexity is often met by a puzzled crowd. How have you come this mostly crust and noise concept, and how is it generally received?

It's generally well received in the US. I have the feeling the US crowd is more open to challenge. Some european crowds don't like to be challenged, don't like me to touch them and play music among the audience. I had to fight some alley cats a couple times during the show. This never happened to us in the US, even if we played hundreds of shows in the country. Things are slowly changing in Europe anyway. Labels like Load or Southern Lord and bands like Wolf Eyes or Black Dice getting famous there allow us to play in front of much more prepared audiences.

4. On a greedy personal note, though I own several of your records, my favorite has to be your split 7” with Cock E.S.P. Both sides are really killer. How did you hook up with Cock E.S.P. to put out a split, and what was that process like?

As I said, OvO started just to tour with Cock ESP. In some weird way, we got along. I love Hagstrom and Bacon. And I adore Paige and Elyse. We're so different but we take care of each other when we're on tour. We toured the US with them too. A split had to be done...

5. Finally, again with tradition, what have you been up to lately, and what are future plans for recording, touring, etc?

We're coming to NYC to record our new album .. in a couple days. A black metal remix album is gonna be out soon on Blossoming Noise. After the recording we'll play a few shows on the West Coast, then a little euro tour in march. Then we'll stop until the new album will be out, then we'll do a massive world tour...
In the meantime I'll tour with my other bands Ronin and Bachi Da Pietra, and Stefania will tour solo as ?Alos or with her female band Allun. Check to know where in the world we are today...

And there you have it. Great stuff in my opinion.

For more information about OvO, you can check out their myspace profile here.

Okay, I have to hop off to work, but I'll have more up soon I'm sure. Two things, my friend John and I will probably move our musical writings over to a co-blog as soon as we have time to hammer out all the details. When that happens, the new blog will be the home of the previous minterviews, and any other and future rantings about music. This lame duck will then be the home of pointless rantings about my life........I'll keep everyone updated, and let you know when you should jump ship.

In the meantime, keep your ear to the underground.....

Minterview number three

First let me apologize for not posting this yesterday as promised. There were several factors, and one common theme. To begin with, the internet that I use at home is strictly “borrowed,” and somehow, even though I have three networks to choose from, none of them have been functioning for several days now. There must have been some sort of epidemic, since the café in the neighborhood that I can also use for wifi had a large sign proudly announcing, “Internet not working today, sorry!” Beyond that, there were no options that I felt like persuing.

But as exciting as my internet woes are, let’s get on to some music eh? About a month ago now, Aquarius records was doing a bit of a spotlight on a cd-r label that they had become fascinated with. Dealing with the darker side of the experimental and ambient (well, sometimes not ambient at all…) spectrum of the underground, Faunasabbatha, is home to many dabblers of sonically damaged conjuration.

Two examples that caught my attention immediately were the SORC'HENN "Harmonium pieces & dead reveries" cd-r, and also the WAVERLY HILLS "The Nurse" cd-r. The first recording is tagged as Ritual & funeral music from Breizh (Brittany), played under a dead pine tree., while the more simply named, Waverly Hills, gets the more complex description, Unhealthy, hypnotic, oppressing and depressive sounds from the haunted sanatorium. The clips I heard of both artists were incredibly haunting and dense. Needless to say I quickly placed an order for both. (And actually ended up ordering all the releases offered by the store, though oddly, none have come in yet…..)

As I mentioned previously, in the small world of underground music, when you talk about enough obscure artists, labels, etc, eventually these people will begin reading what you’ve said. As with Caarinolas, the same was true for Faunasabbatha. And just like the first instance, I took advantage of the situation to delve a little deeper into that person’s creation. Fortunately, Bruno, who runs Faunasabatha was more than happy to answer a few simple questions. So, without further ado, here is minterview number three:

(again, normal font=me; italics=Bruno)

Bruno/ Faunasabbatha

How did Faunasabbatha records come about?

Faunasabbatha is not exactly a label by its own existence ; it's a kind of subdivision of an older label called Ruralfaune. This last one is dedicated to experimental music, drone, wyrd folk (etc..)
Because i 'm a fan of metal since my teenage years, i decided to create this "lame son" to put out the heavier stuff but also the darker one. Faunasabbatha is for occult sounds, ritual music and other weird sounds from unblack metal to harsh-noise music. For the moment the BM takes the main place

Who are some of the people that you have put out on the label, and how have you found them?

Faunasabbatha - like Ruralfaune - is a place for young, unknown artists to put out some of their music but it's also a place for confirmed artists to put out unusual stuff, you know to express their dark side haha !
So , Behemothaur is NZ band with members of Futurians, Wolfskull , they all already released many albums. Heads of Pagan, Sorc'henn and Waverly Hills are three projects issued from the streets of Angers, France, the city where i live. We all are good mates.

What interests you in projects that you put out on Faunasabbatha?

To spread the word that making music belongs to everyone and isn't necessary something difficult to do. Many people need to get more confidence in their possibilites to do good music and they just often don't know how to do.
The label is very small so my help is modest but i'm so proud when an artist i released access to a new stage by releasing on bigger labels. For example Sorc'henn is going to put out a cdr on Crucial Bliss the cdr subdivision of the might Crucial Blast camp.

And finally, what is the label doing next?
Many things are in the works.. A new batch will be ready to be released soon. You'll be able to find some black metal with Law of the Rope cdr - a band from LA ; a cdr by De Magia Veterum a one man band from the Netherlands and also some other things. Later there will be an amazing lp by Mrtyu and a cd by Hail! , a side project by members of L'Acéphale and Wladteufel

And that, my friends, is that.
I’m grateful that Bruno took the time to honestly answer each question.

If you are interested in Faunasabbatha, and by now you should be, you can find more information about the label, and the records being put out, on their myspace page here.
And of course, you can buy Faunasabbatha releases at places like Aquarius Records.

That’s it for this week, but be sure to check back next time for a minterview of the mighty Italian duo OvO. In the meantime….

Keep your ear to the underground.

Minterview number two..

Far from the grim hordes of the west coast, black metal on the east coast is mostly made up of a handful of random, misanthropic individuals hiding out in their respective basements gently stroking their Deathspell Omega records, their faces plastered with thick corpsepaint (much like how I imagine Malefic’s concept of heaven would look). The fans are few, and the bands are fewer, however they do exist. Here at the head of the serpent, one band has the “adopt-a-highway” duties for the left hand path. That band is DC’s only black metal band, Time of the Wolf. I was fortunate enough to see their first pummeling show at a blackmetal fest in Baltimore on 6/6/06. From note one they wanted the world to know that they were out for blood; blood for our dark lord Lucifer. Since then they have put out a full length, had several lineup changes, written several new songs, and started playing out more regularly. Very close to the tradition of the later second wave, they are very technical, straight forward, aggressive, and just as tight live as they are on their record. I sent out a “minterview” to one of the founders of the band, Tim, to talk a little about how they started, where they are going, and their own record label, OGH. Here’s what he had to say:

Again, normal font=me; italics=Tim

Tim/Time of the Wolf

1. How did Time of the Wolf come about?

Joshy and I worked together at an art store about 6-7 years ago. The 1st time I met him he was wearing a "Basket Case" shirt. So I figured "this guy might be alright." We started talking about horror movies and heavy metal and quickly became friends. We tried to start a few bands over the years, but to no avail. About 3 years back, Joshy was playing w/ Exosus and they needed a new guitar player. I tried out and brought with me what would become the TOTW song, "Of Rebel Angels"(which I’d written for another metal band I played with a long time ago). It went pretty well, but I was also playing w/ Crime Spree at the time. Crime Spree was doing well - we'd recently released a demo, toured w/ The Aftermath and Never Enough, and played some great shows (like the Posi #s fest in PA). So Exosus wanted someone whose primary focus could be Exosus - which I could not commit to at the time. Crime Spree broke up shortly after Exosus found a new guitar player. Then Exosus broke up. I called Joshy about 2 years ago, I think we were talking about Satanism or satanic bands, and the conversation ended up going something like this:
Tim: You know what we should do?
Joshy: Start a Satanic metal band?
Tim: Yes.
So I had already written "Of Rebel Angels" and had a lot of other music & lyrics ready to go. Joshy enlisted Matt Kozar (our original lead guitarist) and we began working on what would become the 1st record. Originally, we'd planned on being a low-commitment "studio project". We really didn't even plan on getting a singer or bass player as we assumed we could easily fill those roles ourselves in the recording process. We only planned on recording a demo. Then we decided it might be fun to play some shows - just for "shits and giggles." We found Brian RedBeard (Tradition Dies Here, Sick Fix, Etc) who seemed really into playing bass for us. He joined and brought Orion on board shortly thereafter. And that's that...

2. Tell me about the new lineup.

Matt and Brian couldn't commit to the band as much as everyone else would have liked - so they eventually quit. They were both in other bands, and really busy w/ their personal and professional lives as well. Orion was friends w/ "The Brothers Griffiths" (Brendan - Bass & Dylan - Guitar) and he brought them on board. They were playing w/ Empurios at the time, but Empurios seemed to be falling apart - members were going away to school, moving back to Norway, etc, etc. So Brendan joined not too long before Dylan. Empurios is pretty much done, I think. And we've just recently gotten Brendan and Dylan up to speed on a solid set of TOTW songs. They still need to learn a few of the old songs, but it seems to be working out really well. Everyone is really committed to TOTW. And, I have to say, I think the band is stacked w/ really great musicians at this point.

3. How are the new songs coming along?

Most of the new material was put on hold while Dylan was learning the set. We have 2 unreleased songs in our set right now. And I'm pretty pleased with those. There's also a few songs, and parts of songs, that we've been toying with for some time now. It's slow going as we're just settling into the new lineup. I think we really need to figure out our band dynamics at this point. Also, I've been really lazy about writing lately - so that's put more pressure on others. It'll all come together though.

4. When and what are you recording next?

We're planning on recording another demo in the next few months.

5. Are their any plans for non-TOTW releases on your label, and could you tell me a little about OGH's other release, The Kill, Baby?

The Kill, Baby is actually a Last House Records release. It was a chaoticore / screamo band that I was in back in '97-'98. Holy shit! I just realized that that record's a decade old now!! Anyway, I wrote that record, loved the songs, and insisted on recording - despite the fact that band members were at each other’s throats and refusing to even be in the same room w/ one another during the sessions. The singer and I put it together and pressed 1000 7"s. He still has boxes of them collecting dust in his room. We wanted to go on and re-form w/ new members, but it just didn't work out. I think the singer also decided he wasn't too proud of the record - so he never tried to get it distributed. Sometimes we talk about it and he's told me that he's seriously considered burning the remaining records. I still like it. Maybe just for sentimental reasons thought. I don't know.

As far as non-TOTW releases are concerned, yes we do plan on doing that. I'm still trying to convince Empurios to let me release their demo. I'm working on a "solo" project tentatively called "The Priesthood." And OGH is working on building a small distro. We also kicked around the idea of putting together a comp. We still need to talk to some bands, but we're hoping to put out a benefit comp for the Bobby Fisher Memorial, featuring dark / heavy bands from the DC area.

That is all.

Well that’s it for the second in my hopefully ongoing series of minterviews. If you want to hear some Time of the Wolf, find out more about the band, and purchase their album you can check out their myspace page here, and check out the OGH Records profile here.

I should have several more minterviews lined up for the next few weeks, but in the meantime look for the next installment with Bruno from Faunasabatha Records one Sunday from this.

Keep your ear to the underground…..

My little interviews.....(Minterview #1)

So, for any of you who are here because you read my other blog, I am moving all of my minterviews over to this new fangled blog. In future, all minterviews (and there will be a future of minterviews) will be posted here, and all music blogging will also be done here. Starting with numero one, here are the previous four minterview posts from Day in Day Out:

So, funny thing, if you mention obscure bands, records, and labels enough, eventually people involved with those bands, records, and labels will not only begin reading your blog, but also commenting on it.....

This literal happenstance has convinced me to steer this blog into a somewhat more serious and regular direction. While I will provide the occasional anecdote (who could resist mentioning being stopped by gang members and asked if you were "family"....), I will try, for the time being, to focus more on music.

The first commenter happened to be Bjoern Eichstaedt, one of the creators of the aurally intriguing, minimal, musical soundtrack project, Caacrinolas. After he thanked me for saying a kind word or two about their most recent release "Vargtimmen," I thought I might track him down for my first in a series of mini-interviews (or, as I will more irritatingly call them from here on out "minterviews"...) More than kind, Bjoern went above and beyond to give some very fascinating answers to some basic questions. And yes, this minterview will get you from Darkthrone to Tangerine Dream in ways that eerily make sense. So without futher ado, here's what this musical craftsman said:

*(me=normal font, Bjoern=italics)

Bjoern Eichstaedt

First, on a merely personal level, is there any way to still get a hold of A Thousand Cries Has the Night, and Valley of the Dead? I'm guessing no, what with the limited run, but I figured if anyone would know where to dig them up it would be you.

I only have one copy each of them for myself left. But if you search for the titles, there are a lot of sites online, which offer the records for illegal download...

Second, what projects are you working on now? Any remote plans for a Caacrinolas 4?

We just did a remix project with a German gothic band called KALIBER 9, but I have no clue, when the record will come out. Talking about Caacrinolas 4, yes we are working on it. It is based on the classical piece DEATH AND THE MAIDEN by German composer Franz Schubert and will be recorded in a surround sound version for DVD. Might take us some more time, but it will definitely see that light of day ...some day.

What is your aesthetic view of the Caacrinolas project?

Well, it all started as a black metal project from guys who had never ever heard a black metal album. Larry and myself were playing in a free improvised music trio called BRETZEL KILLING MACHINE together and one day a friend of mine played a DARKTHRONE record to me which completely blew me away. So I immediately called Larry and told him: Let's do a black metal record - he had never heard any black metal before we started the recording process of A THOUSAND CRIES HAS THE NIGHT - which was as close to black metal as we could get. But being both interested in a wide range of music, we had no problems to adapt to the style. The second album VALLEY OF THE DEAD was more soundtrack oriented, so we tried to get some horror movie feel into it (that is why we used the title - it was something like a mixture of the titles DAWN OF THE DEAD and VALLEY OF THE DOLLS - a 60s movie starring Sharon Tate, the wife of Roman Polanski who has been murdered by the Charles Manson group in the late 60s) and mixed the album with influences from soundtrack composers such as ENNIO MORRICONE, also we put some prog rock influences such as KING CRIMSON or early GENESIS into it. From that moment on we defined the Caacrinolas music as film music without film. VARGTIMMEN then used that approach and took it a little further, also putting doom influences into the record. Also the record was influenced by 20th century classical composers such as György Ligeti and Penderecki, who's music was often used by filmmakers such as STANLEY KUBRICK or WILLIAM FRIEDKIN for films such as THE SHINING, THE EXORCIST or 2001. Also the music on Vargtimmen paid reference to German 70s krautrock group TANGERINE DREAM. The music of Caacrinolas is a kaleidoscope of alot of our musical influences, being classical music, prog rock, jazz, krautrock, ambient music, black metal, minimal music etc. and also our influences from the world of movies. It is film without pictures...does that answer your question?

And finally, just out of curiosity, what are you listening to these days?

I listen to alot of music. I love soundtracks, like music from 60s Mario Bava films for example, french jazz, RnB music - Neptunes stuff for example, I just bought three Kelis records. Also alot of Miles Davis 70s music recently plus German language pop music such as the latest album by German singer / songwriter Bernadette La Hengst. Well, to be honest, all kinds of stuff....

It kind of blows my mind that you were able to start with Darkthrone and end up at Tangerine Dream. It is funny that we both listen to black metal and hip hop (you may hate this stuff, and we won't even get into the subject matter but you should check out Bonecrusher and Trillville, or if you like the dj scene, DJ Dave Nada, and Tittsworth)

I know Bonecrusher - love that stuff. Never heard of the others though, but will definitely check.

Well to be honest, Tangerine Dream is not so far away from Darkthrone in my opinion since I think that Black Metal, although it is really fast, really FEELS very slow sometimes, very meditation like. Which is what Tangerine Dream is all about in my opinion. Also, Tangerine Dream did soundtrack music for William Friedkin, who also used Pendereckis music... so all is very close really. Oh, I forgot: Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch's composer definitely was an influence too.

Also I love exotica music, like the early records of Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and some Les Baxter stuff. Listen to these alot as well.....

[...] I just have to say that I love exotica music. I own many Martin Denny LP's, and love Yma Sumac, and Arthur Lyman, and Les Baxter, etc. I've been listening to that genre for ten years now. Out of all the diverse styles of music that my friends listen to, none of them seem to understand my deep appreciation for something like Quiet Village

Quiet Village is... well.... amazing ;-) And Yma Sumac, I just forgot about her. Although I mainly like MAMBO and VOICE OF THE XTABAY... the others are kind of cheesy..

And that friends, is the end. For coherency's sake, I should add that the first part was a series of questions that I sent Bjoern, and then it devolved into us just talking about random things we find interesting.

Unfortunately, as he mentioned, you cannot find copies of the first two Caacrinolas releases, as they were limited run cd-r's. However, you can still pick up their newest piece "Vargtimmen." If you are smart, you will grab up a copy here:Aquarius Records Simply scroll down the page until you find Caacrinolas, if you want to read about each release and hear a sample.

Well that's it for the first installment. For now I will try to put one up each week. The next two weeks will consist of an interview with one of the guys behind DC's only black metal band, Time of the Wolf, on what they've been up to lately, and the week after that, a few words with Bruno about his black metal inspired Ruralfaune Records sub label, Faunasabbatha. So keep checking in.

On a less positive note, my favorite DC record store,
Smash was broken into last week.
Here is their official statment:

in case you hadn't heard SMASH was broken into the nite of mon january
7th/8th. we've received many kind responses. while the situation
totally sucks, it could have been much worse. thanx for all the
support during this crappy time.


8 January 2008
Smash! was broken into last night.
The thief/thieves broke-in and stole eight black men's leather jackets
and all the cash from the cash register and change box were stolen.
That's over $3000 in valuables.
You want to help?
1.- Be on the lookout for someone trying to sell brand new leather
jackets at discount prices on Craigslist, Ebay, etc..
2.- Stop by Smash and buy something, we lost a lot last night, we are
small independent local-owned business.
3. Don't steal/shoplift from small independent local-owned business.
We are a dying breed due to multinational franchises.
Thank you.
Love from the Smash Staff.

It's a sad day when people are willing to steal thousands from a small, independent record store. For anyone in the DC area reading this, you should stop in and pick up a few killer items to help them out. I promise it will be well worth your time.

Thanks for reading, and in the meantime, refuse to listen to the music you are fed....

Deer obcessive musicalists......

We welcome our future loyal reader to this new collaborative effort between the fantastic minds that brought you both Day in Day Out and Mundane Arcana. In keeping with the innovative and groundbreaking drive of these personal endeavors, we have joined forces to bring you up to date news about music that we like. That means eclectic music. We're not experts, so some of you will be like "psh, I knew that," while most of you will be like "psh, I don't care about that."

Coming first: Denman's first four minterviews reposted for your convenience. Coming second, a reposting of our 2007 top 10's (both John's elaborate and sincere, chronicled top 10, and Denman's aQ "award winning" cop out.) Then Denman is going to prove that "life has been swell, and now we do want to die", and John's going to talk about some of the records he bought recently, and we're off to the races. We welcome your comments, both good, and better.

(On a side note, Denman is happy to have his personal blog back, so that he can regale everyone with tales of crying himself to sleep and keeping up to date with Britney on TMZ.)