Uchida, Yuya & The Flowers – “Challenge!” – [Phoenix Records]

surferrosa   4/18/2012   12-inch, A Library

Released in 1969, this record is the first manifestation of Japanese psych rock outfit later to be known as the Flower Travelin’ Band, this project being their debut. Here is a collection of mostly Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane cover songs, with the exception of B3- Hidariashi No Otoko, the only instrumental, fully original piece of these recordings, and my personal favorite. This was producer Uchida’s way of dipping his fingers into the budding psych rock scene of the late 60s, and introducing then up and coming bands to a Japanese audience. Though they are cover songs, theses tracks have a flavor, and certain idiosyncrasies of their own due to the musical and vocal styling of this band from Tokyo (check at A4- I’m so grad). Female vocalist Remi does a surprisingly convincing Janis Joplin impression here… I would say zombie Janis but this came out before she died.. Staying true to the 60s fashion, there are also plenty of fuzzed out guitar solos and sticky licks. Gobble it up. – Surfer Rosa

Noh Mercy – “Noh Mercy” – [Superior Viaduct]

surferrosa   4/18/2012   A Library, CD

Noh Mercy is the brainchild of self reportedly heavily drugged Esmeralda on vocal mayhem, and Berklee school of music graduate Tony Hotel on drums. These pissed off ladies got together in San Francisco 1977 as a reaction to the male dominated music scene. Lets go ahead and call this minimalist punk. Its heavily dominated by totally audible vocals and the driving beat of a drumset, with the occasional musings of the moog keyboard or guitar abrasion. Esmeralda produces lovely vocal sounds when she cares to, other times she belts out the music of an angry cat being rubbed in the wrong direction. Her lyrics are merciless and clever, taking stabs at fashion or politics, or just stabbing for fun. Tony Hotel holds down a relentless beat on the drumset, which she has upgraded using an oldsmobile hubcap mounted on a cymbal stand and a piece of round metal found at the junk yard which she plays using a ball-peen hammer. These ladies are sticking it to all that is phallic and materialistic. Their moto is “No boys on guitars”. There is no pretty pink fluff here. – Surfer Rosa

Thollem, Parker, Cline – “Gowanus Session, The” – [Porter Records]

surferrosa   4/18/2012   CD, Jazz

Free improv courtesy of Thollem McDonas, William Parker and Nels Cline. This album teeters on the fringe of chaos and cohesion. It is tangible yet ever so abrasive. Thollem provides lovely piano sounds when he’s not having a seizure behind the keys or hurling his instrument down a flight of stairs. McDonas delivers the nickle wound sounds of the upright bass, with plenty of plucks and taps and clicks and scrapes. Cline provides the only processed sounds on this recording, saturating these massive noodlings with massive guitar electronics, feeding back and distorting the soundscape. At times it sounds like somebody is mixing in a noise record with some free jazz. This feels like sitting on a lumpy lazy boy, kind of unpleasant yet inexplicably nice. – Surfer Rosa

Sabertooth Cavity – “En Lack Ech” – [Sick Sick Sick]

surferrosa   4/11/2012   12-inch, A Library

Sabertooth Cavity – “En Lack Ech” – [Sick Sick Sick]

Here is a fistful of head banger riff rockage with the subtle flavor of odd meter. Loud, fast, punk rock sensibilities driving the groove all the way home with some tasteful repetition and the infectious jig of a massive jam. These guys lock together and hold it down. Add a bit of saxy skronky goodness and a healthy dose of moldy fuzz and you have yourself the complete package in all of its demented glory. *side A end with a locked groove* The B side comes in with a noisy cacophony descending into sticky, dual guitar madness plus saxy noodlings and sounds to spare. Between tracks B2 and B3 you will find 4 minutes of saturated, toothache static ..this is not listed as its own track but it does look and sound like it, take a glace at the grooves. Segues are super quick throughout, both sides are pretty much continuous the whole way through. The instrumentation here is tight and relentless. Quite pleasing. – surfer rosa

Sandoz Lab Technicians – “Let Me Lose My Mind Gracefully” – [Corpus Hermeticum]

surferrosa   1/18/2012   A Library, CD

New Zealand never seems to fail when it comes to delivering the noise.. this release, a piece recoded live in 1997 by the Sandoz Lab Technicians is no exception. What you have here is one 36 minute, improvised journey through the universe of bad trips and spaceous sound. The track begins with the clutter and clamour of an occupied room as ringing guitar feedback fades in, piercing your brain with the bends, moans, hums and clicks of a screeching distortion pedal and some guy standing way to close to his amp. Sounds of precussion, flutes, the tinks and taps of the glockenspiel (or toy piano?) fade in and out as the soundscape shifts in between thick and thin, busy and minimal. This is very much a stream of conciouseness. Its noodly like a bowl of spaghetti laced with bad LSD. This is 36 minutes of tense chaos and unsettling calm, just don’t wait for it go anywhere, because it doesn’t. -Surfer Rosa

Death Trip – “Pain Is Pain : The Complete Death Trip 1988-1994” – [ektro records]

surferrosa   1/18/2012   A Library, CD

Death Trip delivers some Finnish hardcore-heavy metal-punk-psych-fuzz-ROCK straight from the underground. Filthy, crunchy guitar riffage is acomanied by not quite cookie monster, I’m have a seizure style vocals. This music is loud and fast, hard and heavy. Its got a head band, mosh pit, punch your friend in the face kind of vibe. Live tracks are especially gritty and raw if you are feeling extra dirty. This album collects the band’s 7” singles, previousely unreleased live materal and rare demos from 1988 to 1994. Here is some good ol, not so clean fun. -Surfer Rosa

Apache Dropout – “Radiation” – [Mexican Summer]

surferrosa   1/18/2012   7-inch, A Library

Apache Dropout from Indiana deliver three tracks of noisy, garage-psych fun. The A side contains some hard drivings, fuzzed out distorto-shoegaze punk. Not too catchy, but just catchy enough. The B side kicks off with the track school girl, short and sweet, sticky with dirt, it delivers bob your head dance aroud infectiouseness. Born to die is a lazy, tremolo riddled, reberby almost yet not quite surfy tune. Spaciouse and sweet. MAKE NOTE!: tracks one and two on side B do not track. There is a locked groove in between them so don’t try to play the whole side at once. You should also note that B2 has reversed grooves, so drop the needle where it looks like the track should end and the needle will spin all the way back to the locked grove in the middle of the vynal. Have fun. -Surfer Rosa

Imbogodom – “Metallic Year, The” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

surferrosa   1/18/2012   12-inch, A Library

A dreadful duo from the UK and New Zealand, Imbogodom create a tense ominous landscape for your sonic pleasaure. An amalgamation of both acoustic and electronic drones. Gurgling, bubbling tones sink your soul into a dank, dark, underwater heaven. The stunning moan of bowed strings and the musings of a haunted piano leave a tense, bittersweet taste on the tip of your tongue. Clicks and scrapes of a guitar, warped sounds of tape manipulation and the occasional human hum or guttural groan build an immense wall of beautifully demented bliss. Ease yourself into the pleasant oscillation of electronic tones, ringing and swelling, fooling you into a thorny state of comfort. -Surfer Rosa

Habibiyya, The – “If Man But Knew” – [Island Records]

surferrosa   1/17/2012   12-inch, A Library

The Habibiyya are a group of Brits, three of which were formerly members of Might Baby. Apparently, these guys took a trip to Morocco and had a mystic, spiritual epiphany. Inspired, they returned to London, converted to the Muslim Sufi faith, and produced this record in 1972. The music here is meditative, it ebbs and flows with a free, droney, hippy-jam sort of vibe. There is also a beautiful variety of different instruments here (koto piece is lovely), check them out on the back. -Surfer Rosa

Bukelman, Ido – “Solo” – [Out Now Recordings]

surferrosa   1/4/2012   CD, Jazz

Its beautiful how an acoustic guitar makes so many sounds besides the notes you play with it. On this solo album, Ido Bukelmanexplores guitar sounds more so than music. This album is composed of the acoustic tones of nickel, wood and the occasional human breath or hum. The scraping of wound strings, clicks, taps, vibrations, any sound you can produce an analog instrument. These pieces are improvised and incredibly expressive, utilizing negative space, lulls and growths, chaos and calm. At times the melody and rhythm come together but never fail to fall apart. Check out #5 for some dirty grittiness and a touch of electronics. -Surfer Rosa

Bardo Pond / Carlton Melton Split [coll] – [Agitated Records]

surferrosa   1/3/2012   12-inch, A Library

Bardo Pond and Carlton Melton indulge us with two twenty minute side longs which compliment each other in their spaciousness as well as in their variance from one another. Bardo Pond fills their side with a dense, guitar driven, stoner rock head-scape. Drenched in fuzz, swirling and wandering guitar leads coming out through the smoke, dense with feedback and thick with riffage and drones. Ghostly banshee vocals appear in and out as well as the far away sounds of a psychedelic flute. An oscillating, freak out, space exploration. This side has more of a vaguely tangible, epic guitar-rock journey sort of feel. Carlton Melton starts off with blowing, wind like electronics and drones. A pleasantly tense, almost ethereal, encasing, ambient soundscape which simmers and bubbles for about five minutes before some fuzzed out guitar crunch slowly slips in. From here on its slow, driving, pulsating stoner rock thick with a dense, muddy sort of distortion. Low, moaning underground drones roll in about half way through, darkening and dampening this side long as it grows and decays throughout. Play the whole side, you know you want to. -Surfer Rosa

J.C. Satan – “Hell Death Samba” – [Slovenly]

surferrosa   1/3/2012   12-inch, A Library

French-Italian garage rockers J.C Satan give us two sides of fuzzed out garage-punk bliss. Dark distorted sounds riddled with largely (but not entirely) indecipherable male and female vocals, as well as the occasional appearance of something low key for extra flavor. These guys really know how to make a short song drive. Brief and to the point, these riffy tracks deliver an infectious sort of catchiness to bob your brain to. This record is a demented, crunchy, cake of garage-fuzz-pop-psych iced with a healthy layer of thick noise. Spin away, there are two sides of awesome here to chose from. -Surfer Rosa

Cole, Stranjah – “Morning Train” – [Jah Shaka Music]

surferrosa   12/6/2011   12-inch, Reggae

Stranjah Cole was mostly active in the Jamaican reggae scene in the 60s and 70s, this is his 21st century release. He has worked with many of your favorite artists such as Ken Boothe and Tommy McCook. This is some classic Jamaican reggae containing classic reggae themes such as Babylon, self empowerment, Jah, Zion….ect. The A side contains vocal tracks, the B side has dub versions of the tracks from side A. The track list on the back of the record lists the songs in incorrect order, so don’t you be fooled. Drum machines, reverb, echo, a touch of horns, groovy, rasta-friendly reggae sounds. -Surfer Rosa

Wolves In The Throne Room – “Celestial Lineage” – [Southern Lord Recordings]

surferrosa   12/6/2011   A Library, CD

Wolves in the Throne Room deliver some good ‘ol Nordic-style, somewhat cinematic/ theatrical, black metal. You will hear plenty blasts beats, cookie monster vocals and screeching heavy metal sounds dense with distortion and saturated fuzz. There is also a healthy dose of dynamic here, so its not all fast and heavy all the time. Tight instrumental breakdowns on most tracks, especially the longer ones (1, 6, 7..). Short tracks (2, 4) serve as ambient, moody interludes to ease the transition from metal to metal. Ethereal, melodic, female vocals are included (1, 5) for dramatic effect, as well as chimes, bells, blowing wind and other sounds. Check out #7 for some nice, stoney, half-time, doominess. Please Note: all tracks segue into each other. This sounds like a bunch of possessed fairies having a demented seance in the haunted forest. Go ahead and play it you dirty filthy metal head. – Surfer Rosa

Bizarre Uproar / Death Key [coll] – [Audial Decimation Records]

surferrosa   11/30/2011   12-inch, A Library

Bizarre Uproar and Death Key deliver two agonizing sides of pure noise straight from hell. Here you will find some terrorizing sounds, though the noise is not saturated, there is use of negative space here. Both sides are about 16 minutes of grating, unpleasant, apocalyptic noise. Bizarre Uproar creates a waking nightmare. It sounds like death. Riddled with the screams of people being burned alive. Sticky with the static crackle of destruction. These sounds are possessed and demented. Quite painful to listen to. Death Key creates a dark dronescape in two movements. A storm of static and low gritty moans, not loud, but tense for about the first half, before the second movement kicks in like machine gun fire unleashing the piercing sounds of warfare, annihilation and general unpleasantry. This split is like sandpaper to my ears. -Surfer Rosa

Hyun, Shin Joong – “Beautiful Rivers and Mountains” – [Light in the Attic]

surferrosa   11/29/2011   12-inch, A Library

Shin Joong Hyun is South Korea’s godfather of rock and roll, bringing psychedelic sounds formerly foreign to the Korean mainstream. Shin is a guitarist and composer. The pieces contained here are a collection of his solo works and collaborations with vocalists and bands from 1958-1974. Personal commentary from Shin on each track is included in the liner notes. Shin was first and foremost a musician and stressed the importance of not only the vocals but especially the music itself. Shin likes to jam. He likes to improvise, and you can hear it all over these recordings. He took his musicianship seriously, the guitar sings on all these tracks. The music here is incredibly artful, full of soul and never takes the backseat. Vocals are expressive, powerful and share the spotlight with clean guitar work and some super savvy organ sounds, along with all sorts of various instrumentation which elevates these compositions. Sides A and C are my favorites. A kicks in with some bluesy, surfy, 60s sounds. C starts off with 15 minutes of epic improvised blues jam trading off solos with guitar, organ and drums and continues to deliver solid awesome on the other two tracks. B contains 70s style Korean pop-rock ballads. This is really a great collection of Shin’s works, showing his various styling and impeccable musical ability. Mr.Shin never made it big outside of Korea and his music was certainly not embraced (much of it was banned or destroyed) by the South Korean dictatorship in power in the mid 70s. It is interesting to note that In 1975 Shin was arrested, tortured by government officials and sent to a mental institution for possession of marijuana. -Surfer Rosa

Dead Elephant – “Thanatology” – [Riot Season]

surferrosa   11/23/2011   A Library, CD

Dirge (noun)-?? a funeral song or tune expressing mourning in commemoration of the dead. This is my one sentence review. Now here is the rest: In the words of the band, this album aims to investigate the concept of loss. This here is some thick, sludgy, DOOM metal with a slow head-banging, funeral march pace. Each of these tracks, like a piece of classical music, has movements. The long tracks (all but #3) move from phase to phase in an almost cinematic manner, creating an effective sense of dread and sorrow. There is a lot of dynamic here, its not all heavy in your face all the time for 42 minutes, these pieces progress. The lulls in these tracks are amazing. You will hear a change in pace, a deceptive, eerie sort of calm which gets more and more tense until it breaks, dropping heavy metal right on your delicate little skull. #1 is straight doom right to your face. #2 starts off with some orchestral funeral music before it descends into hell. #3 is faster, angry thrash. #4 is an epic 16 minute track which kicks off with 8 minutes of nerve wrecking calm, before the heavy comes down, like silence in a horror movie, building intensity, right before some deranged psychopath pops out with a chain saw. This music is thick like coagulated blood. Its drips slowly from your speakers like dense, sticky resin. Play it lots. Instigate some nightmares. -Surfer Rosa

Sunlore – “Sunlore” – [Tequila Sunrise]

surferrosa   11/16/2011   12-inch, A Library

Here is a collection of musical, instrumental sounds. Not so much songs as clicks, scrapes, noodlings and fleeting, moaning melodies which tastefully repeat pulling a thin string through your ears.These tracks were extracted from hours of improvisations recorded at the artists’ studio in New Hop, Pennsylvania. The pieces here are fragments. They are distinct from each other, though they sound like they belong together. Meditative and tense, moody and hypnotic, the feel changes frequently. Piano, keyboard sounds and melody lines. Grinding and oscillating drones, tones…feedback. Somebody on the?? guitar strumming were the strings were not built to be plucked. Tracks are short and segues are quick. This is a limited edition of 200 copies. Each record sleeve was made by hand using a process involving fire and spray paint.There is a lot you can do with this unique record. – Surfer Rosa

Dug Dug’s – “Dug Dug’s” – [Sony Music Distribution]

surferrosa   11/15/2011   12-inch, A Library

This record starts off (A1) with a lovely dissonant distortion. Don’t let this fool you, there is nothing wrong with the needle or the vynall, its just how the Dug Dug’s chose to kick off their first record. These guys are a 60s/70s psych-rock band from Mexico. They started off as a High School band, gained momentum in Tijuana, and landed a record deal in 1968 once they moved to New York. This, their self titled first release, came out in 1971. The Dug Dug’s were one of the only Mexican rock band to write and sing music in English, and they do so with a charming Mexican accent. These guys know how to rock. Their sound is dripping with classic gritty 60s fuzz guitar. The music here is pretty dynamic, ranging from laid back and easy to fast and hard. There is a lot of energy here, this record is fun to listen to. Chock out the epic Moby Dick-esque drum solo on A5. All tacks are recommended, there is no space-filler here, only two full sides of solid awesome. -Surfer Rosa

Jacks, The – “Vacant World” – [Sweet Dandelion]

surferrosa   11/15/2011   12-inch, International

This album, Vacant World, was released in 1968 by the Jacks, a Japanese psych-rock band. The music here is not really that heavy of psychedelic, with a generally melancholy sound and quite a number of low-key ballad style songs. This album is vocal-centric and not as guitar heavy as most psych, with sad sounding male vocals sung entirely in Japanese, and the occasional fuzzed out guitar?? solo. A1, A5 and B1 are the heavier, more psychedelic tracks. A2 has got some nice vibes on it. B3 sounds a bit more cheery and upbeat. B5 is a nice track with booming organ and spoken word. -Surfer Rosa

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