sobota, 31 października 2009

SUN CITY GIRLS - 330,003 CROSSDRESSERS FROM BEYOND THE RIG VEDA [1996]



"A melting pot of music styles — demented surf, Indian Rāgas, free-form noise, gamelan percussion, fractured folk, you name it — with doses of kabuki theater, shadow puppetry, and maverick guerilla stagecraft thrown in, the avant-everything Sun City Girls were a fiercely independent and experimental trio whose only credo seemed to be to continually stretch boundaries while remaining amazingly inclusive, a process that led to a dizzying array of vinyl, cassette, and CD releases over a period stretching nearly 20 years.
Formed in Phoenix, AZ, Sun City Girls first performed under the name in 1981, and after morphing into the short-lived Paris 1942 (with former The Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker), the group emerged as a trio with brothers Alan Bishop and Sir Richard Bishop and percussionist Charles Gocher in 1982. Sun City Girls released their first album, Sun City Girls, in 1984 on placebo Records, going on to release nearly 30 official albums since then, along with countless limited-edition vinyl, cassette, and CD-R projects, making the group’s discography almost impossible to completely document. Throughout its history Sun City Girls remained a challenging, unpredictable, and eclectic musical unit, operating outside the commercially driven aspirations of the mainstream recording industry, and eventually becoming something of a beacon to independent musicians and artists everywhere. Relocating to Seattle in the early ’90s, Sun City Girls established their own label, Abduction Records, as well as an archival imprint, Sublime Frequencies." LAST.FM

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THE HEROINE SHEIKS - RAPE ON THE INSTALLMENT PLAN [2000]



"Fronted by Shannon Selberg (ex-Cows), The Heroine Sheiks (aka Heroine Sheiks) was an american noise rock band “just as original, noise-ridden and catchy” as Selberg’s previous group, according to Mark Prindle.
It began in New York, 1999, as a collaboration of Shannon Selberg, Norman Westberg and John Fell. After the release of two albums - ‘Rape On The Installment Plan’ (2000) and ‘Siamese Pipe’ (2002) - the original line-up split up, and other musicians worked with Selberg for the release of the band third album, ‘Out Of Aferica’ (2005).
Back to his hometown, Minneapolis, MN, Selberg reunited the Heroine Sheiks third line-up, including ex-Hammerhead Paul Sanders (guitar), Jesse Kwakenat (bass), Sarah Huska (keyboards) and John Harvey Broms (drums). In 2008, the band released their fourth album (‘Journey to the End of the Knife’), by the noise label AmRep, and started off a national tour to promote the new album.
The band called it a day around the beginning of August 2009 for reasons detailed in a myspace blog post by Shannon.
“The patches of habitat, like San Francisco or New York where the Heroine Sheiks can survive have become so isolated and widely spaced that we can no longer make a go of it. We need crowds of a certain size and type in order to feed properly.” LAST.FM

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BRAINBOMBS - URGE TO KILL [1999]



"Brainbombs are a noise rock group from Hudiksvall, Sweden formed around 1986. The band consists of Dan Råberg, Peter Råberg, Jonas Tiljander, Drajan Bryngelsson and Lanchy Orre. Drajan and Lanchy also play in the punk band Totalitär. In 1986 Brainbombs appeared on two underground compilation albums, “Unveiled” on Mechanik Cassettes and “In the Shadow of Death” on Cold Meat Industries. Soon after they released their first single “Jack the Ripper Lover”. Between 1986 and 1992 they had a few more singles and compilation appearances before releasing their first full-length album “Burning Hell” on Big Ball Records. Throughout the 90s they released three more albums: “Obey”, “Genius and Brutality… Taste and Power” and “Urge to Kill”, as well as some more singles and EPs. In the 2000s they continued releasing singles but didn’t release another full-length record until 2008’s “Fucking Mess”. Most recently they have released another single titled “Substitute for Flesh”. Brainbombs have been infamous not only for their abrasive music but their extremely explicit lyrics, depicting rape, murder and child molestation among other things. Despite only being able to produce limited releases and do small tours, Brainbombs have been continuously active since their formation in 1986" LAST.FM

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MORKOBOT - MOSTRO [2006]



"Since the dawn of the first galaxies the voice of MORKOBOT resounded solemn over the saturated atmospheres of the planets in evolution. Dominator of the magnetic strengths and ancestral regulator of the conscience flows, Morkobot has returned to the Earth through his three messengers LIN,LAN,LEN brutally subdued to his will. On our planet MORKOBOT manifests himself through sonic experimentations that humans call music. Morkobot pervades the darkened minds of LIN,LAN,LEN conducting their notes in sadistic consequential deliriums. come to feed you with the supreme verb! LIN, LAN, LEN." LAST.FM

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NURSE WITH WOUND - SOLILOQUY FOR LILITH [1988]



"Where did this come from? An ambient album from Nurse with Wound in 1988 was an invigorating shock to the system. Soliloquy for Lilith was a complete turnaround from the kosmiche/noise that Steven Stapleton and crew had been coming up with. Six tracks, each roughly 20 minutes, one track per side of a triple-vinyl box set, each piece subtly different from the others, all with a quiet power to completely dominate the environment of wherever it is played. The mystery of the album lay in its unique sound source -- Stapleton merely looped a collection of effects pedals together and then found that by gesturing in the air around them, as if playing a Theremin, he could manipulate the tone generated by the electricity itself. What a wonderful discovery, and put to complete use here, as the possibilities in the setup are fully exploited over the course of two hours. Slow pulses in the lower register, similar to what Alan Lamb came up with in his high-tension wire recordings, complete with annular buzzes and high-end controlled feedback. It isn't far-fetched to see the roots of this album in the drone experiments of La Monte Young's Theatre of Eternal Music, or Tangerine Dream's epic Zeit. Occupying a completely separate corner of the massive Nurse with Wound catalog, Soliloquy stands outside of genre, and in the right frame of mind, outside of time. An absolute classic. " AMG

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THROBBING GRISTLE - 20 JAZZ FUNK GREATS [1979]



"It's a break in the clouds from Throbbing Gristle's pummeling noise and a first glimpse at the continuing pop influence on the TG/PTV axis, but 20 Jazz Funk Greats still isn't best described by its title. If there is such a thing as a funky Throbbing Gristle LP, however, this could well be it. "Hot on the Heels of Love," "Still Walking" and "Six Six Sixties" add only occasional bits of distortion between the rigid sequencer lines. 20 Jazz Funk Greats is the best compromise between TG's early industrial aesthetic and the reams of industrial-dance and dark synth-pop groups that used the album as a stepping stone to crossover appeal." AMG

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U.S. MAPLE - LONG HAIR IN THREE STAGES [1995]



"U.S. Maple's debut album is nothing short of stunning, combining angular guitar attacks, odd skronks, jazzy tones, and a generally deconstructive approach to music into a sound of unparalleled idiosyncrasy. The record's finest moments come when the slanted attack and fractured composition converge to simulate something approaching a conventional song ("Letter to ZZ Top," with lyrics like "Give my bones to Billy Gibbons," pretty much rules out any notion of normality). Between these off-kilter constructions and the group's even more off-kilter deconstructions, a truly amazing record is created, one that combines hard-edged, "whiskey, no chaser" rock with exceptionally intelligent slants and fractures." AMG

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WHITEHOUSE - DEDICATED TO PETER KURTEN, SADIST AND MASS SLAYER [1981]



"Aware of the new ground they broke with Erector, Whitehouse was quick to continue in a similar vein with Dedicated to Peter Kurten: Sadist and Mass Slayer. Instead of rehashing the dark meandering sounds from their previous release, they built upon that foundation with increased aggression and a better-formulated political philosophy. The barely tolerable extreme frequencies, that were quick becoming a Whitehouse trademark, are delivered like lightning bolts amidst the ten tracks on Dedicated to Peter Kurten. Evidence of the newly formulated sonic approach can be found in the reworking of previously released material, namely "The Second Coming" from Birthdeath Experience, "On Top" from Total Sex, and "Her Entry" from the Hoisting the Black Flag compilation. Each new version is ten times more aggressive and streamlined compared to the original. These new versions allow for drastic comparisons that illustrate how much the group progressed in their first two years of development. Each Whitehouse record attempts to make a unified conceptual statement, but none succeed quite like Dedicated to Peter Kurten, a record about the mind of serial killers. Each track cultivates terror in the listener by describing the impulses and thoughts of mass murders with horrid detail. Not for the faint of heart, but recommended for those interested in aggressive, shocking experimental noise." AMG

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BORIS WITH MERZBOW - ROCK DREAM [2007]



"For starters, leave all expectations of what a(nother) collaboration between Boris and Merzbow might sound like, because Rock Dream is nothing like Sun Baked Snow Cave, which was released by Hydra Head in 2005. This limited-edition double CD (5,000 numbered copies) was recorded live in November of 2006 at Tokyo's Earthdom festival. Rather than a free-form improvisation drone and noise fest, it features Boris running through their own set with the mighty noise master (here known as Merzbow One Man) as an additional member of Boris, transforming the power trio into a quartet. The band runs through its set, or, rather plods and hammers through it, from the 35-plus-minute "Feedbacker" and "Black Out" to "Evil Stack" and "Rainbow" on disc one. Make no mistake, there's plenty of noise here. Boris have never backed away from the loud and proud; it's just that Merzbow's textural additions give the band's already loosely based tunes on disc one more power and presence. The fantastic sound quality makes every one of these nuances ring in crystal distorto-sonic. Evidence as to what actual Boris songs sound like -- which are more in evidence on disc two -- can be previewed in the smoking rendition of "Rainbow" that closes the initial CD, with Wata's spooky voice and freakout guitar solos contrasted with the otherwise subdued tune. Merzbow brings a shockingly primeval yet controlled power to that mix. For all of its improvisation and volume overload, "Feedbacker" itself is amazingly listenable and its melody distinct. When it comes to "Black Out," it gets rougher, and "Evil Stack" is simply too much for mere mortals.
But it's on disc two where everything really kicks into gear. "Pink" starts it off with a bang, and the band is in full throttle, rocking it to the rafters and beyond. Merzbow's complementary swathes of power electronics add so much to Wata's guitar and Atsuo's drumming is double and triple time, leaving Takeshi to hold this machine to the ground. "Woman on the Screen" is pure punk metal pyrotechnics, with drum whomp and bass and guitar scree poured through Merzbow's wildness -- in this short track he is totally unhinged. Think of Motörhead-accompanied power tools. As the band literally rages through "Nothing Special," "Ibitsu," and "A Bao a Qu" -- with lots of whoops and hollers to underscore this pure rock-out orgy -- the energy is unrelenting. The first 17 minutes of this disc are some of most intense in freak rock existence. Things slow a bit on "The Evileone Which Sobs," but only in tempo. It's still pure guitar, bass, and drum insanity and Merzbow ups the ante with enormous drones and a high-pitched swell that never goes above the higher end of Wata's guitar scream, keeping it all in some middle range of the doom zone. (Is she the hippest guitar player in rock or what?)
The greatest moment of the entire proceeding, though, has to be the off-the-rails version of "Just Abandoned My-self," which begins at about 95 mph, gets to 120 mph, and then heads further into the red-line zone without abandoning its RAWK crunch. When Wata cuts loose on the solo, Merzbow gives her the biggest hammering wall of absolute maximum power to play off of, matching pitch and texture without being tempted to take it over the ledge into chaos. It walks the tightrope for the entire proceeding without once hesitating or falling over into simple excess. Feeling like a showstopper, it turns out that Boris has one more in the can in an eight-minute version of "Farewell" that could make Sonic Youth at their best look on in disbelief and total envy. Indeed, it's almost as if Jimi Hendrix and his keen melodic sensibility were backed by Glenn Branca's multi-guitar orchestra, but it's all just Boris and Merzbow. When Wata lets herself go here, it's sublime; she climbs that monolithic pillar of racket and brings order to the chaos with her solo temporarily bringing it near the ground again before it just explodes for the finish. This is a breathtaking gig and more than anybody would have hoped for, or, based on past listening experience, had any reason to hope for. Indeed, Rock Dream is exactly that, and sends heavy music in 2007 off with a grand display of mercurial, majestic sludge and wail." AMG

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BORIS WITH MICHIO KURIHARA - RAINBOW [2006]





"As longtime Boris fans can attest, you can always expect to be surprised by the Japanese trio. On the heels of Pink, the band's straightforwardly eager garage burner, a resurfaced Dronevil emerged, followed by Altar, their swirling/droning/drum-soloing collaboration with Sunn0))) and friends. Now Boris have thrown another curve ball with Rainbow, their collaboration with Michio Kurihara. The seminal psych guitarist played with PSF legends White Heaven, helped Damon & Naomi reach an apex, and continues shredding in Ghost. So, basically, the collection finds a few of Japan's most consistently face-melting, soul-stirring artists intersecting. They land near the late 1960s then continue onward, radiating a dusky Siltbreeze sound, Kurihara expanding Boris' reach with his gauzy, moody, fretwork.
Pink's just about always described as a rock'n'roll album (see above), but despite the critical frame, a certain strain of Jesu and Ride fans pointed toward the opener, "Farewell", as the album's sublime apex. If you're in that hanky-holding camp, Rainbow should be a treat: It not only revisits that shoegaze moment, but also includes lounge weirdness, toy-box balladry, and moody, stringed pyrotechnics. Throughout, the addition of Kurihara staggers: Opener "Rafflesia" takes what "Farewell" did so well, but pushes it even further, Kurihara managing to nail stars with hypnotic tone-benders.
There are other new sounds: Guitarist Wata handles vocals on the slinky title track. "Starship Narrator" takes off Siamese Dream-style, locating a bluesy guitar scorch before it dries out amid a flood of Can-loving amplifier worship. Continuing the haze in a gentler realm, a Loren Connors-esque guitar unwinds to full flutter on the moving, all too brief "My Rain", with tape-noise lapping up the dampness in the background.
The closest we come to Ghost's fathomless psych-folk is "Shine", its troubadour rattle eventually blooming into a somber, echo-chambered sound. There's a depth to the production here that's quite different from the upfront immediacy of Pink. Helping slightly to warm the vibe, "You Laughed Like a Water Mark" seduces downcast, stoner-friendly, monotone psychedelic rock: Kurihara's guitar steamrolls as the song continues its seven minutes, ending in a flurry, even as the rest of the band maintains a consistent doze. The hazy "Fuzzy Reactor" would've made an excellent finale: With its unidentified wind source and backward tape, it sounds like a retreat.
Inevitably, Boris keep pushing: "Sweet No. 1" closes this quiet-is-the-new-loud ramble with a rock dervish. It starts slow (much of it feels more like a strum exercise) before a stutter-step guitar strut. But this isn't Comets on Fire: It's burnt, damp, and saturated. Thing is, it also seems a bit unnecessary. And it's a solid track-- don't misunderstand-- but it comes across like a party crasher, drowning out the slow-release of what came before, only to return to the quiet toy-box mini-orchestra outro, "...And, I Want".
sick of Boris? It's easy to feel worn out amid the big-time magazine features, hectic release schedule, and endless touring (and, well, seemingly endless live sets-- sorry folks)? I was almost at the end of my own Boris rope, but Rainbow gave me a jolt, sounding a lot like something that would've set up camp on my turntable a dozen years ago when I memorized those Forced Exposure catalogues. It's vintage and totally invigorating. The immediate Pink punk-slap isn't here, but where the former nails one hue and keeps running with it, I can imagine this new, deeper set keeping me cozy for years to come. It's already eerily familiar." PITCHFORK

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SUNN O))) & BORIS - ALTAR [2006]



"Longtime Southern Lord labelmates, tourmates, and metal bands Sunn 0))) and Boris seem like natural collaborators, though they approach their music with disparate intentions: Sunn 0)))'s blood-covered drone subsumes everything around it, while Boris' blend of patiently unraveling noise and fractious thrash entices and then dramatically repels an audience. With that contrast between push and pull in mind, Altar-- written and recorded largely before a joint tour last fall-- risks leaving an audience stranded in the middle by inertia.
Indeed, the second half of Altar does just that, leaving the audience adrift in left field with little direction or purpose. But, together, the first three tracks are a perfect capitulation of their conjoined aesthetics. Opener "Etna" creeps in through feedback and slowly building and shifting bass tones before a huge guitar sweep-- split between Sunn 0)))'s Greg Anderson and Boris' Takeshi-- takes charge a minute in. A veritable war of tones follows, Boris drummer Atsuo filling the low-lying space between the subterranean guitar arches with cymbal rolls. Six minutes later, the air forces-- piercing, upper-register, signature-Boris guitar attacks-- obliterate the lowly, warring miscreants, razing the drama and letting it slow burn into "N.L.T."
The follow-up-- featuring the bowed bass of Sunn 0))) collaborator Bill Herzog-- is a vibrantly bleak and texturally captivating work reminiscent of Daniel Menche. Atsuo-- the only other musician present-- splatters the canvas, lustrous edges shaped from the sound of bowed cymbals and a carefully managed gong. It's followed by Altar’s centerpiece and masterpiece, "The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep)". "Belle" is the one track on which its players conspire to subvert outside notions of both bands. Sunn 0)))'s glacial motion is intact, as is Boris' lucid use of almost-gentle tones. But the amplifiers are turned down, and distortion is all but lost. Instead, warm analog delay lets the sound drift in plumes, and beautiful, understated slide guitars and O'Malley's careful piano create a cradle for Jesse Sykes. Here, her voice shifts and floats like the retiring wafts of blue-gray smoke from a funeral pyre at a misty dawn. It’s an exhalation, a last breath of robust beauty.
But, on the heels of such an overwhelming, unexpected triptych, Altar never recovers, essentially moving in redundant circles for 32 minutes. Three tracks either highlight the magic Sunn 0))) and Boris have crafted separately for a decade or the pitfalls that such work has avoided. The deftly fragmented chords that end "The Sinking Belle" open the door for the record's second side, but "Akuma No Kuma" is waylaid early by a harangued vocal take, an out-of-place horn fanfare, and overly involved Moog lines. Wata's eerie voice and the nebulous echo on everything in "Fried Eagle Mind" builds a paranoid sleep-state eclipsed after seven minutes by a solid sheet of guitar noise. It fades barely, slamming hard into "Bloodswamp", a 14-minute, multi-textural drone that would be an accomplishment for most other bands.
Asymmetrical and leaning, Altar isn't the metal icon its lineage would suggest: It bears neither the rapturous juggernaut geography of Sunn 0)))'s White 2 or Black One nor the transcendent overpowered amorphousness of Boris' Pink or Amplifier Worship. But it does speak of things to come, brave new directions for bands respectively referred to hitherto either as sheer sonic titans or on-off schizophrenics. Those descriptions are much too reductive, and such evidence is the onus and gift of Altar.
" PITCHFORK

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czwartek, 29 października 2009

SLAYER - WORLD PAINTED BLOOD [2009]



"Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981. The band was founded by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Slayer rose to fame as one of the leaders of the American thrash metal movement with their 1986 release, “Reign in Blood”, which has been called “the heaviest album of all time” by Kerrang! The band was credited as one of the “Big Four” thrash metal bands, along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth.
Slayer is best known for speaking through perspective without being necessarily sympathetic to the cause of their inspiration. Slayer’s musical traits involve fast tremolo picking, guitar solos, double bass drumming, and shouting vocals. The band’s lyrics and album art, which cover topics such as death, deviants, suicide, genocide, necrophilia, insanity, Nazism, religion, Satanism, serial killers, and warfare have generated album bans, delays, lawsuits and strong criticism from religious groups and the general public.
Since their debut record in 1983, the band has released two live albums, one cover album, one box set, three DVDs, one VHS, two EPs, and nine studio albums, four of which have received gold certification in the United States. The band has received three Grammy nominations, winning one in 2007 for the song “Eyes Of The Insane”, and one in 2008 for the song “Final Six”. They have headlined music festivals worldwide, including Unholy Alliance and Ozzfest."


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JULIAN CASABLANCAS - PHRAZES FOR THE YOUNG [2009]



"Julian Casablancas (born August 23, 1978 in New York City, New York, United States) is a singer and songwriter and the lead singer for the alternative rock band The Strokes. His debut solo album “Phrazes for the Young” will be released on November 2, 2009.
Julian Casablancas is the son of John Casablancas, the founder of Elite Model Management, and Jeanette Christiansen, a Danish model who was Miss Denmark in 1965, making him half Spanish, half Danish. His parents divorced when he was young. He attended kindergarten with future bandmate Nikolai Fraiture.
When he was 14 he was caught drinking before class and was enrolled in rehab two days a week. Later, because of his poor grades, his father sent him to the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland. Although he only attended the school for six months, it was there that Casablancas first met fellow band member Albert Hammond Jr., one of the few American students on campus other than himself. When Casablancas returned to New York, he continued his education at Dwight School, where he met Fabrizio Moretti and Nick Valensi, who would also later become his fellow band members.
He attended Five Towns College in Long Island after getting a scholarship by writing a classical composition.
He later met up with his now band members and together they became one of the most successful bands to come out of New York City. It has been said that their sound is similar to that of The Velvet Underground and Television, also fellow New Yorkers. They have a huge celebrity following including the likes of Kate Moss, Bruce Willis, Elizabeth Jagger, Kirsten Dunst and Arctic Monkeys." LAST.FM

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OCEANSIZE - HOME & MINOR [2009] [EP]



"Oceansize are a British band that combines emotional heavy rock with some progressive elements. They formed in 1998, and funded themselves through various jobs including writing music for arcade games and building/repairing helicopters. At the start of 2001 they were named ‘Best Unsigned Band in Manchester’ by the Manchester Evening News. The A Very Still Movement EP was released that August, and the band enjoyed support slots with the likes of Elbow, Lift to Experience, and The Cooper Temple Clause and in March 2002 were asked to open the BPI stage at the SxSW festival in Austin, Texas appearing alongside Elbow and Oxide and Neutrino.
In June 2002 Oceansize secured a contract with Beggars Banquet Records; their first release was the Relapse EP in October 2002 followed by another EP, One Day All This Could Be Yours and the single “Remember Where You Are”.
In September 2003 Oceansize released their debut album Effloresce and set off on their first European tour supporting Aereogramme. In 2004 they released the “Catalyst” single and a video directed by Mark Thomas and Michael England of the Soup Collective.
After extensive touring around the UK, Europe and USA, Oceansize retreated to their rehearsal studio to commence the writing of another EP, Music For Nurses and their second album Everyone into Position. During the promotional tour for this album (2005 and 2006), they did some gigs as a support for Porcupine Tree in Europe.
Their third album ‘Frames’ was released on October 1st 2007, and features the single ‘Unfamiliar’. The album sees the band continue to experiment with song structures and experiment with more instrumentation, including piano and strings." LAST.FM

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KATATONIA - NIGHT IS THE NEW DAY [2009]



"Katatonia formed in 1991 in Stockholm, Sweden and was brought together by long time friends, Anders Nyström (aka Blakkheim) and Jonas Renkse (aka Lord Seth). After more than a year of rehearsals and composing, the first real fruits of their labour came to light in mid 1992 with the release of the demo ‘Jhva Elohim Meth’, recorded at Sweden’s Gorysound Studio and produced by the multi-musician Dan Swanö. The demo sold out immediately, bringing Katatonia to the attention of Dutch label Vic Records, who went on to re-release the demo as a mini CD, titled ‘Jhva Elohim Meth – the Revival’. With the CD selling out fast and their reputation spreading like a wildfire through the underground, the duo knew they would need a fuller line-up to move the band up and forward. So, bassist Guillaume Le Huche (aka Israphel Wing) was enlisted to their ranks, enabling them to perform live in concert for the first time in their career.
‘Dance of December Souls’ | 1993
Things progressed at pace and at the end of 1992 the trio entered into a one-album deal with the now defunct Swedish label No Fashion records. April 1993 saw Katatonia re-enter Gorysound (now renamed Unisound) to record their first full-length album ‘Dance of December Souls’, produced by Katatonia and Dan Swanö."

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sobota, 24 października 2009

WEEZER - RADITUDE [2009]



"Weezer is an American alternative rock band. Formed in 1992, they have released six full length albums, two EPs, and a DVD. Their latest album, entitled Weezer (The Red Album), was released on June 3rd, 2008. They have sold over 7 million records in the United States to date.
The Beginning (1992-1993)
Weezer formed on February 14, 1992, in Los Angeles, California by Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Matt Sharp, and Jason Cropper.
Five weeks after forming, they had their first gig, opening for Dogstar at Raji’s Bar and Ribshack on Hollywood Boulevard. Weezer began playing clubs to small audiences around L.A. and recording home-demos. Soon the band began to receive attention from various A&R reps, and were signed on June 26, 1993 by Todd Sullivan, an A&R rep from Geffen Records. The band was signed onto the DGC label (which later became Interscope).
Creating “The Blue Album” (1993-1994)
The self-titled debut, Weezer, commonly referred to as The Blue Album, was released May 10, 1994. “Undone - The Sweater Song”, “Buddy Holly” and “Say It Ain’t So” were released as singles. The album was produced by former Cars frontman Ric Ocasek. During the recording of the Blue Album, Jason Cropper left the band to take care of his future wife, who was pregnant with their first child. Jason was replaced by Brian Bell, a then bassist from a band called Carnival Art." LAST.FM

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BIG BLACK - ATOMIZER [1986]



"After countless rock and neo-industrial outfits attempted to one-up each other's levels of extremity over the years, Atomizer holds up extremely well. It's not every day that one hears a song considering self-immolation as "just something to do" or another that tackles the case of an alleged parent-child molestation ring from the viewpoint of the offender. Instrumentally, Atomizer is a wailing behemoth of assaultive Roland beats, Steve Albini and Santiago Durango's clanging and whirring guitars, and new member Dave Riley's lumberjack bass. Their musical invention went a couple steps further, most obviously on the warped-beyond-recognition guitars of "Passing Complexion" and "Kerosene." The latter is undeniably Big Black's brightest/bleakest moment, an epically roaming track that features an instantly memorable guitar intro, completely incapable of being accurately described by vocal imitation or physical gesture. It's also Albini at his most plainspoken and bleak: "Stare at the wall/Stare at each other and wait 'til we die." It's Big Black's "Light My Fire," literally. "Bad Houses" tops Killing Joke in affecting moodiness, serving as a perhaps unintentional reply to John Mellencamp's "Pink Houses." Both Albini and Mellencamp were commenting on the Midwest, so why not? Other points of interest include the demented, storming menace of "Fists of Love" and a live version of "Cables" that features an extended guitar wobbly from Albini. The record remains as horrifying as the day it was recorded. [Atomizer was released on CD as part of The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape. The mediocre, largely instrumental "Strange Things" was removed from the digital version. Touch & Go kept the original record in print on vinyl.]" AMG



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SCRATCH ACID - THE GREATEST GIFT [1991]



"Scratch Acid played a huge part in the noisy underground movement of the 1980s; they took punk to the dirtiest, dingiest mudhole they could find and sullied it from top to bottom until it looked and sounded like some hell-bound bogeyman. It's not too far-fetched to think of Scratch Acid as the American equivalent of the Birthday Party, the Texans donning the mantle that was dropped when the BP disbanded. The Greatest Gift contains everything the band ever recorded, including a few lo-fidelity instrumentals. Scratch Acid never received the notice it deserved, but the musicians could pound out brilliantly frenzied and highly original post-punk/noise rock that sometimes rivals the material released by singer David Yow and bassist David Sims' future (and much more well known) project, the Jesus Lizard. The first eight songs were originally released in 1984 as an eponymous EP; from the opening crashing bars of "Cannibal" to the terrifying lyrics heard on "Lay Screaming" (a song which reads like something culled from a medieval book about torture), this band obviously never had any desire to control itself. Only one slight reprieve can be found in the relatively tender "Owner's Lament," a song replete with weeping strings. Songs nine through 20 first saw the light of a sickly day as Just Keep Eating, Scratch Acid's one and only full-length that found the band expanding its musical palette: insane noise rock numbers ("Eyeball," "Holes"), jaunty, faux lounge grooves ("Amicus"), goofy Zeppelin-esque riffs ("Cheese Plug"), and a spot-on cover of the Webber-Rice rocker "Damned for All Time," complete with exclamatory horns. The remainder of the disc comprises the songs from their definitive statement, the 1987 Berserker EP. A little more money went into this recording; as the sound quality is better than on Just Keep Eating, it was definitely worth it. "Mary Had a Little Drug Problem" and "Flying Houses" are whirlwinds of pounding drums, foreboding basslines, and scathing, blinding guitar phrases. The band never played so well or wrote better songs. Highly recommended to any Jesus Lizard fan and noise rock/hardcore punk aficionado. " AMG

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COIL - MUSICK TO PLAY IN THE DARK VOL.1 [1999]




"From the opening pairing of "Are You Shivering?" and the gorgeously titled "Red Birds Will Fly Out of the East and Destroy Paris in a Night," it's apparent that Coil was making a return during 1999 that would prove to be as influential on the post-industrial scene as its 1984 debut, Scatology. The group never really went away in the ensuing period, of course, but had maintained a cult status underground for the better part of the '90s. The duo consistently produced stunning albums, but the recordings were often in scarce limited editions that usually reached only hardcore fans. The Musick to Play in the Dark CD and LP were available through mail order only, and featured the core duo of Peter Christopherson and John Balance joined by collaborator Thighpaulsandra. The CD is the first full-length album Coil released on its own Chalice label as a subscription only release. Later in 2000, the album was thankfully re-pressed by Word Serpent, assuring wider availability. The album is a masterpiece of the caliber of the classic '80s trilogy Scatology, Horse Rotovator, and Loves Secret Domain, which gave Coil the highest stature in the post-industrial music scene as one of the most inventive, original, and courageous groups of the genre. Musick to Play in the Dark is an utterly mesmerizing work, and is nothing short of brilliant. The album's scope takes in the music of the '90s, the bleak digital processing and glitch music (Oval, Coh, and Nurse With Wound all spring to mind), but here these often sterile sounds are married to a human warmth that is inimitable Coil -- a sound that carries through the group's career as one of the most distinctive in the post-industrial canon. Along with the essential Coil '80s recordings, Musick to Play in the Dark cannot be recommended highly enough. It represents a chapter in British music that goes beyond the term industrial and into untapped realms of experimentation that place Coil, along with Current 93 and Nurse With Wound, among the '90s British groups more deserving of attention than their obscurity may ever permit. " AMG

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HOT SNAKES - SUICIDE INVOICE [2002]



"Suicide Invoice is the second full-length for this band, whose star members bring components of their former/current projects into the sometimes cartoon, always intense world of Hot Snakes. There's the theatrics of Rocket From the Crypt's John Reis and experimental hardcore elements of Rick Froberg's Drive Like Jehu with a weird, darker tone than Automatic Midnight, their first effort. Recorded in a garage, the album is another study in rock in jokes with such titles as "Gar Forgot His Insulin" and "Bye Nancy Boy," which feature pummeling drums and a hot, metallic bass offered by Gar Wood. Froberg's vocals go from raged to sincere, and on "Why Does It Hurt" he almost sheds the rock persona to identify with his listeners -- almost. He gets it back in "I Hate the Kids," where spitfire lyrics stretch over the band's brutal assault. With this album, Hot Snakes only build their repertoire of rock to satisfy the indie kids looking for something as angry as nu-metal with a tinge more self-awareness." AMG

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DIRTY THREE - OCEAN SONGS [1998]



"The Dirty Three's fourth venture into long-play territory is easily their most controversial, and a decided change in direction. While the band's previous recordings -- Sad & Dangerous, Dirty Three, and Horse Stories -- have all, in some way, attempted to capture the trio's live show, where slow, winding patterns and riffs become a swirling churning blast of emotional cacophony for both musicians and listeners, Ocean Songs takes a very different tack to achieve an end that is similar, but more focused. There is an aesthetic at work on Ocean Songs, from the cover through to the last note of the original recordings (early issues of the CD came with a second CD with three bonus tracks, all of which have surfaced elsewhere), the purpose of which is held in the somewhat mysterious title. The music is what makes it so. Are D3 playing songs inspired by or seemingly "created" from the ocean? Or are they paying homage to the ocean? The music here keeps all tempos reigned in and all instrumental flurries to a minimum, creating the feeling of waves lapping and pouring into and out of one another. It's as if the D3 were on a vessel, playing to the ocean itself. There are hints in guitarist Mick Turner's gorgeous cover painting, which shows a tranquil mermaid on one side, a near tidal wave over a red boat on the back sleeve, and both in deep blue against a light blue background, seemingly under the ocean. On the tentative opener, "Sirena," Warren Ellis plays two- and three-notes lines, held interminably against Turner's pastoral and minimal guitar flourishes while Jim White's rhythmic constructs glisten and shimmer through the middle, offering it all more room to drift rather than create a frame. On "Distant Shore," a tune built on three chords and a fragment, Ellis puts the album's tentative nature forth in the elegantly twisting lilt of his violin, creating a melody that is simply a chant, as Turner and White slip around his center, creating a view of the shore and the ground, mirage-like and ephemeral, and presented through a watery prism, as mournful, left behind, turned away from. The centerpiece of the album -- from which there is no return, either to "traditional" D3 form or to anything else considered rock music -- is "Authentic Celestial Music." Ellis, for the first time, overdubs his violin, creating a series of drones and overlapping melodies. Turner plays its straight, creating a chord structure that follows the dynamic changes in Ellis' minimal style, from one melody to the next, with no more than 12 notes total. White relies on his tom toms and a muted snare, almost leaving his cymbals out of the mix entirely until over halfway through the tune's nearly 11 minutes. Here is a new kind of intensity for the D3, one built in unison and not in any kind of rock counterpoint. A dynamic range is built upon slowly, with repeated phrases and rhythms masking the turbulence underneath, mirroring it even, and holding some degree of it in, where previously the dials would have been in the red. This is not to say there isn't drama or tension -- far from it. It's just that it does not get released through catharsis; instead, it merely goes quiet. When "Backwards Voyager" ushers in the second half of the album, it is clear that listeners are in the aftermath of a storm. A dangerous calm is created by White's whispering snare, and deepened by Turner's generous open-tuned chords, plucked and gently strummed, as Ellis just hovers elegaically in the background, moving the band into a lulling, shimmering space where everything floats in open, empty, poetic, and lyric space. D3 move eventually from this gorgeous, mournful, and some what sad space into the heart of beauty itself, meditating on this new terrain, one which extends far beyond anything they conceived of exploring as a band on previous albums. Loss, desire, remembrance, solitude, and the tenuous benevolence of nature are all emotional frames explored in tracks like "Last Horse on the Sand," the densely mysterious "Sky Above, Sea Below," and "Black Ride." The disc ends with "Ends of the Earth," with Ellis taking up the piano as well as his violin, and Turner playing a gorgeous yet simple lyric line that evokes the shimmering horizon, endlessly out of reach, just over the next curve in the earth. Ellis, whose chords underlie his fragile song, also layers his violin just above White's brushed snare that haunts Turner's guitar. In the middle of the tune's five-minute span, one can see into the depths of the ocean itself, and hear it speak its secret truths while revealing its hidden, flowing body. It's a song than ends in a small, shimmering whisper about things to come, things that are, and things that will never be. On Ocean Songs, the Dirty Three have expanded themselves immeasurably as a band by holding themselves in to listen, and have made some of the most haunting, poetically profound, and emotionally honest music ever to come out of the "rock" world."

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czwartek, 22 października 2009

FLY PAN AM - N'ECOUTEZ PAS [2004]



"Fly Pan Am, or Le Fly Pan Am, is a Canadian experimental rock band formed in Montreal in 1996. They released their albums through the Montreal-based Constellation Records, producing and collaborating on works with the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Shalabi Effect.
The band was formed in 1996 by guitarists Jonathan Parant and Roger Tellier-Craig, drummer Felix Morel, and bassist Jean-Sebastian Truchy. Eric Gingras would later on join the band in 2002, contributing guitar and percussion.
They shared personnel with Godspeed You! Black Emperor until guitarist Roger Tellier-Craig left Godspeed You! Black Emperor in 2003 to concentrate full time on Fly Pan Am. In 2005, Roger Tellier-Craig and Eric Gingras began the french psychedelic kraut-pop outfit known as Pas Chic Chic along with other members of Montreal’s illustrious music scene.
The band is noticeably influenced by the French Canadian culture of Quebec, as well as the burgeoning avant-garde musical scene in Montreal. French is the predominant language used in producing albums and writing lyrics, with English peppered throughout. The track titles on past records, as stated by Roger Tellier-Craig, were written in a way to interpret the song, which Tellier-Craig concedes was “lost on most listeners” due to the French used. Unorthodox electronic sounds, occasionally provided by Alexandre St-Onge, intersect the music and often serve to confuse the listener." LAST.FM

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JAWBOX - FOR YOUR OWN SPECIAL SWEETHEART [1994]



"The screams of a thousand chain wallet-clad indie purists could be heard across the nation once word spread of Jawbox's signing to Atlantic; no band had left the good ship Dischord for a major label prior to Jawbox, so it was seen by more closed-minded types as an unforgivable crime against D.I.Y. If they'd stuck around to hear the record that didn't bear the Dischord logo, they'd hear the band's best record, the one they had always wanted to make. And it wasn't just the label change that made For Your Own Special Sweetheart (a phrase taken from a Barbie product) a transitional record. Adam Wade left the band for art rockers Shudder to Think, and he was replaced on the traps by Zach Barocas.
Even more bristly and blaring than Novelty, Bill Barbot's and J. Robbins' guitars are about as tingly as a jump into a cactus. Their interplay reaches a zenith on Sweetheart. Imagine two Andy Gills in Gang of Four, and you'll see what they're getting at. Though not quite as jagged and dry as Gill, the guitars employ a little distortion to slightly round the edges out. Producer Ted Nicely knew just what to do with the rhythm section -- Kim Coletta's bass is more prominent, and uber-drummer Barochas' complex tom shots run rampant. (He was more likely to emulate Jack DeJohnette than Topper Headon.)
Subject matter includes JG Ballard's Concrete Insland-inspired "Motorist," leaving Robbins wrecked in an ugly part of Chicago; "Savory" examines the objectification of the female species. Otherwise, you need your Jawbox decoder ring to decipher lyrical content. Sonically, the terrain is expansive. Though "Whitney Walks" is stuck at the end of the record, it's relative quietude deserves just as much attention as anything else. Otherwise it's a manic, thrilling ride, nothing short of brilliant." AMG

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LABRADFORD - MI MEDIA NARANJA [1997]



"Labradford consists of bassist Robert Donne, guitarist/vocalist Mark Nelson, and Carter Brown on keyboards. Their music style is experimental ambient/post-rock, although their earlier releases such as Prazision and A Stable Reference were much more related to dark drone rock.
In 1993 they released their debut album on Kranky which has remained their home since. The group’s music mostly drifts on the guitar effects and the keyboard passages, with the vocals, when present, in the background.
In 1999 they started a tour with Godspeed You! Black Emperor and their Festival Of Drifting series, which featured appearances from Pole, Matmos, Papa M and Sigur Rós.
Though the group has not officially disbanded, they have not released another album since 2001’s critically acclaimed Fixed::Context, and the band members have apparently moved away from their former base of Richmond, Virginia. Robert Donne has joined the slow-core group Spokane. Mark Nelson continues to release records on Kranky under the name Pan•American." LAST.FM

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MORPHINE - CURE FOR PAIN [1993]



"With their cult following growing, Morphine expanded their audience even further with their exceptional 1994 sophomore effort, Cure for Pain. Whereas their debut, Good, was intriguing yet not entirely consistent, Cure for Pain more than delivered. The songwriting was stronger and more succinct this time around, while new drummer Billy Conway made his recording debut with the trio (replacing Jerome Deupree). Like the debut, most of the material shifts between depressed and upbeat, with a few cacophonic rockers thrown in between. Such selections as "Buena," "I'm Free Now," "All Wrong," "Candy," "Thursday," "In Spite of Me" (one of the few tracks to contain six-string guitar), "Let's Take a Trip Together," "Sheila," and the title track are all certifiable Morphine classics. And again, Mark Sandman's two-string slide bass and Dana Colley's sax work help create impressive atmospherics throughout the album. Cure for Pain was unquestionably one of the best and most cutting-edge rock releases of the '90s. " AMG

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SLOWDIVE - SOUVLAKI [1993]



"Though not as big and swirling as Just for a Day, there's more of an attempt to put advanced song structure and melody in place rather than just craft infinitely appealing, occasionally thunderous mood music. Everything is simplified, as if Brian Eno's presence on two songs -- he contributes keyboards and treatments and co-wrote one tune after turning down the band's invitation to produce -- hammered home the better aspects of "ambient" music. This is no Music for Airports though. On the opening "Alison," the largely uplifting "When the Sun Hits," and the darkly blissful "Machine Gun," Slowdive are still capable of mouth-opening, spine-tingling flourishes. They've found a way to be quiet, moving, and aggressive simultaneously, mixing trance-like beauty with the deepest delayed guitar sounds around, a sound at once relaxing, soothing, and exciting, and most of all harshly beautiful. [SBK released Souvlaki in the U.S. a full eight months after its English release on Creation, with three-quarters of the 5 EP tacked on the end, plus one unreleased track, a memorable, spacy run through Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood's "Some Velvet Morning."] " AMG

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SPACEMEN 3 - THE PERFECT PRESCRIPTION [1987]



"Drawing together some earlier material and a slew of new songs, Spacemen 3 tied everything together on the brilliant Perfect Prescription, the clear point of departure from tribute to psych inspirations and finding its own unique voice. Planned as a concept album, Perfect Prescription works where so many other similar efforts failed due to the strength of the individual songs, as well as the smart focus of the concept in question -- a vision of a drug trip from inception to its blasted conclusion, highs and lows fully intact. The bookending of the album makes that much clear -- "Take Me to the Other Side" is a brash, exultant charge into the joys of the experience, a sharp, tight performance. "Call the Doctor," meanwhile, is a pretty-but-wounded conclusion, husky singing and a drowsy mood detailing the final collapse. The many highlights in between beginning and end are so striking that the album is practically a best-of in all but name. Sonic's eventual work with Spectrum and E.A.R. gets clearly signaled via the majestic reprise of the Transparent Radiation single, here introduced by the swirling flange of an edited "Ecstasy Symphony," also originally from that release. Sonic's breathless delivery of the Red Krayola classic, combined with the elegant arrangement, is a marvel to hear. "Walkin' With Jesus," meanwhile, is practically the birth of Spiritualized, the much different earlier takes now become a reflective combination of acoustic guitar, two-note keyboard lines, and Pierce's yearning, aching desire. The intentionally nasty flip to that is the storming charge of "Things'll Never Be the Same," a call to arms (or injecting something into them) that's as disturbing as it is energetic, the compressed, violent rage of feedback and rhythmic charge a gripping listen. Guest performers from the Jazz Butcher family tree, including Alex Green on sax, help expand the record's sonic range even further. Further reissues include a rotating series of bonus tracks from contemporary singles."

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BIOSPHERE - SUBSTRATA [1997]



"Substrata (released, oddly, on the new age-heavy All Saints label) was the first full-length solo work released by Biosphere's Geir Jenssen following a three-year period of silence. The album was the first of three to appear almost simultaneously, however -- the other two being the soundtrack to the psychological thriller Insomnia, on the Norwegian Origo Sound label, as well as his third Apollo album -- proving he'd hardly been in hibernation. Interestingly, while many ambient artists have moved increasingly toward the integration of percussion and rhythmic sequencing, Substrata finds Jenssen almost completely abandoning the rhythmic elements of earlier works such as Patashnik and "Novelty Waves," focusing on dark, subtly melodic, often piercingly melancholic soundscapes that flow seamlessly from one to the next. The album recalls the more abstract moments of Global Communication's ambient works, as well as the glacial expanses of Jenssen's 1996 collaboration with Higher Intelligence Agency, Polar Sequences, and is quite easily among his most accomplished, satisfying works to date. " AMG

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SPIRITUALIZED - LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE ARE FLOATING IN SPACE [1997]



"Spiritualized's third collection of hypnotic headphone symphonies is their most brilliant and accessible to date. Largely forsaking the drones and minimalistic, repetitive riffs which have characterized his work since the halcyon days of Spacemen 3, Jason Pierce re-focuses here and spins off into myriad new directions; in a sense, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, with its majestic, Spector-like glow, is his classic rock album. "Come Together" and the blistering "Electricity" are his most edgy, straightforward rockers in eons, while the stunning "I Think I'm in Love" settles into a divided-psyche call-and-response R&B groove, and the closing "Cop Shoot Cop" (with guest Dr. John) locks into a voodoo blues trance. Lyrically, Pierce is at his most open and honest: The record is a heartfelt confessional of love and loss, with redemption found only in the form of drugs -- designed, no less, to look like a prescription pharmaceutical package, Ladies and Gentlemen is pointedly explicit in its description of drug use as a means of killing the pain on track after track. Conversely, never before have the literal implications of the name "Spiritualized" been explored in such earnest detail -- the London Community Gospel Choir appears prominently on a number of songs, while another bears the title "No God, Only Religion," pushing the music even further toward the kind of cosmic gospel transcendence it craves. A masterpiece." AMG

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SHELS - SEA OF THE DYING DHOW [2007]



"Formed by former Mahumodo front man Mehdi Safa and drummer Tom Harriman, based in the United Kingdom and in California, *shels (sometimes referred to as Shels) self-released their debut album ‘Sea of the Dying Dhow’ on June 18, 2007 on their own imprint (*)shelsmusic.
Showcasing progressive, cinematic soundscapes and raw brutality, *shels’ live lineup has featured members of Eden Maine, Mahumodo, and Fireapple Red.
*shels was formed in 2004 following the split of Mehdi Safa’s former band Mahumodo. While some of his former band mates went on to form Devil Sold His Soul, Mehdi (born in America of Lebanese and Iranian parents) relocated to Los Angeles. There he wrote the music that has created *shels.
*shels released “Laurentian’s Atoll” in December of 2007 again to acclaim from the press.
Plans are already being started for a UK tour in the summer of 2009, along with a US tour before the new album “Plains Of The Purple Buffalo” is unleashed later in the year." LAST.FM

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BLUT AUS NORD - MEMORIA VETUSTA II: DIALOGUE WITH THE STARS [2009]



"Blut aus Nord is a black metal band from Mondeville, France. The name “Blut aus Nord” is German and literally translates to “Blood From North”.
The band started in 1994 as a solo project, with Vindsval playing all instruments under the name Vlad. He released two demos under this title before changing the projects name to Blut Aus Nord before the release of Ultima Thulée in 1995. The next three albums were recorded with the aid of session musicians: It is only recently that the group has had any permanent members apart from Vindsval (who also played in The Eye).
The project’s most critically acclaimed release is The Work Which Transforms God, a concept album which - in spite of being mostly instrumental with none of the lyrics made public - is meant to challenge the listener’s prejudices and preconceptions about reality, life and various metaphysical subjects. The Work Which Transforms God has been almost unanimously praised in reviews and was named by Terrorizer Magazine as its number one album of 2003." LAST.FM

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wtorek, 20 października 2009

AT THE DRIVE-IN - DISCOGRAPHY [1994 - 2005]



"Combining emotional melodies and an upbeat rhythm moving at an unpredictable rate, At the Drive-In definitely stuck out in their hometown El Paso, TX. Formed in early 1994, the group debuted soon after with their first EP, Hell Paso, followed by a brief tour across the Lone Star state. With a lineup secured around Cedric Bixler (vocals), Omar Rodriguez and Jim Ward (guitar), Paul Hinojos (bass) and Tony Hajjar (drums), At the Drive-In continued on with a second EP (Alfaro Vive, Carajo!) and toured mostly empty houses and clubs across the western United States. A small gig in Los Angeles -- with an audience consisting of only nine people -- somehow got the attention of Flipside Records, who released the band's first full-length Acrobatic Tenement in 1996. With constant energy and a stubborn enthusiasm to continue, At the Drive-In began to develop an audience, helped out by constant touring and word-of-mouth hype. Their 1997 follow-up EP El Gran Orgo had more of a melodic bite, but their musical depth and originality still remained. In Casino Out followed in 1998, and 2000 saw the release of Relationship of Command. Then in 2001 the band went on indefinite hiatus. Bixler and Rodriguez formed the Mars Volta, while Ward, Hajjar, and Hinojos moved on to Sparta. By May 2005 that hiatus looked pretty permanent, with both Sparta and the Volta's careers thriving and At the Drive-In issuing a retrospective compilation. This Station is Non-Operational, released through Fearless domestically, included hits, rarities, cover songs (Smiths, Pink Floyd), and DVD content. " AMG



[1994] HELL PASSO
[1995] iALFARO VIVE, CARAJO!
[1996] ACROBATIC TENEMENT
[1997] EL GRAN ORGO
[1998] IN/CASINO/OUT
[1999] VAYA
[2000] ROLODEX PROPAGANDA
[2000] ONE ARMED SCISSOR
[2000] RELATIONSHIP OF COMMAND
[2000] LIVE AT FLAMINGO LOUNGE, TEXAS
[2001] INVALID LITTER DEPT
[2001] LIVE ON AIR AT EAST, TOKYO
[2005] THIS STATION IS NON-OPERATIONAL

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poniedziałek, 19 października 2009

BUILT TO SPILL - THERE IS NO ENEMY [2009]



"Built to Spill is an indie rock band based in Boise, Idaho, United States. The band is best known for its catchy guitar hooks and the unique voice of frontman Doug Martsch.
Former Treepeople frontman Doug Martsch formed Built to Spill in 1992 with Brett Netson and Ralf Youtz as the band’s original members. In an interview with Spin magazine, Martsch stated that he intended to change the band’s lineup for every album, with Martsch being the only permanent member. After the band’s first album, Ultimate Alternative Wavers (1993), the lineup changing idea held true, as both Netson and Youtz were replaced by Brett Nelson (not Netson) and Andy Capps for 1994’s There’s Nothing Wrong With Love. A compilation album called The Normal Years, consisting of recordings by both the first and second trios, was released in 1996. Between recording albums in 1995, the band gained notoriety by playing on the Lollapalooza tour.
Martsch signed Built To Spill to the Warner Brothers label in 1995. Unlike many artists signed to major labels, however, the deal the band brokered with Warner allowed it to retain a large degree of creative control over future albums. Built to Spill produced its first major label release in 1997 with Perfect From Now On. By this time, the band consisted of Martsch, Nelson, Netson, and Scott Plouf." LAST.FM

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THE KILIMANJARO DARKJAZZ ENSEMBLE - HERE BE DRAGONS [2009]



"The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (TKDE) formed in 2000 as a project to compose new music for existing silent movies. Jason Köhnen and Gideon Kiers, both graduates of the Utrecht School of Arts, combined their audio and visual skills to reinterpret classic movies by F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu) and F. Langs (Metropolis).
In 2004 UK trombonist Hilary Jeffery and Swiss cellist Nina Hitz joined TKDE to record the self-titled debut album which was released on Planet Mu Records in May 2006. The ensuing tour saw Eelco Bosman and Paris based vocalist Charlotte Cegarra join, forming the Ensemble into a sextet. London based violinist Sadie Anderson joined in 2008 to supply the group with extra power on stage.
The Netherlands has been TKDE’s homebase since 2007, while members have moved closer to each other to make composing and producing easier.
Apart from the mothership which is TKDE, there is another entity; The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation is a live improv jazz/drone/doom sideproject consisting of TKDE members and a host of interchanging guest musicians.
Due to the vast possibilities within the band, the sound spectrum of TKDE is hard to capture within one specific composition. Moreover, the project will lean towards various styles depending on the respective members working together at a given time. A good mix between atmosphere and technique is always the strong basis for a TKDE composition. " LAST.FM

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niedziela, 18 października 2009

STEVEN R. SMITH - CITIES [2009]



"Steven R. Smith is an American musician, instrument-builder, and printmaker often associated with the Jewelled antler collective.
Born in Fullerton, California and based in San Francisco and, more recently, Los Angeles, his musical output began in the mid-1990’s and continues on at the present.
His main instrument is guitar, although other instruments, including the hurdy gurdy, bouzouki, fretted spike fiddles, and assorted ethnic instruments, have been incorporated into his work.
Smith’s music tends to range from dense, orchestrated pieces to sparse solo excursions on electric guitar and is improvised as often as composed.
His music has drawn elements from psychedelic rock, traditional folk music, soundtracks, free jazz, and modern composers, and tends to be contemplative and somewhat mournful. Some of his records feature elaborate packaging, woodcut and linocut prints, and hand-made chapbooks.
Throughout his career Smith has recorded for a number of independent labels such as Soft Abuse, Catsup Plate, Last Visible Dog, Jewelled Antler, Darla Records, and, most frequently, Emperor Jones who has handled the bulk of his more recent releases.
In addition to his ongoing solo work, Smith has been a member of the instrumental psych-rock group Mirza, the improvisational group Thuja, and Hala Strana, a project which focuses on the traditional music of Eastern Europe. A reluctant live performer, Smith has appeared in the occasional live setting with Mirza and Thuja, but remains elusive in regards to solo performances.
He has recently embarked on a new project, Ulaan Khol." LAST.FM

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środa, 14 października 2009

MURCOF - MARTES [2002]



"Fernando Corona had a stated purpose for his debut album as Murcof: Take contemporary composition and introduce it to the world of minimalist Mexican techno. Originally released only in Mexico in late 2001, Martes didn't see broader distribution until the middle of 2002, when the Leaf label saw fit to reissue the record in North America and Europe. The album was quite a departure for Corona, already widely known in Mexico as Terrestre, whose decidedly funkier fusion of traditional norteño and electronica had already become a staple of Tijuana's Nortec Collective. Martes (Spanish for "Tuesday") is far afield of Terrestre's bootylicious grooves. In this much more intimate affair, Corona isolates the smallest elements of select classical works, such as a plucked string, one bow length across a cello, or a furious pound on a piano's keyboard, and integrates them with beats similar to those programmed by Morr Music or blip-hop artists. The result is a moody recontextualization of contemporary classical music, in which, though dismembered, the original pieces find new life and space to breathe while somehow maintaining their original mood." AMG

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wtorek, 13 października 2009

OXBOW - LET ME BE A WOMAN [1995]



"The provocative San Francisco-based quartet Oxbow formed in the late '80s around vocalist Eugene Robinson, guitarist Niko Wenner, bassist Dan Adams, and drummer Greg Davis. Combining the squall of bands like the Birthday Party with elements of free jazz and musique concrète, the group debuted in 1990 with Fuckfest, followed in 1992 by King of the Jews. The menacing The Balls in the Great Meat Grinder Collection also appeared in 1992, and after 1995's Steve Albini-produced Let Me Be a Woman Oxbow signed to the SST label for 1997's Serenade in Red, which featured guest vocals from Marianne Faithfull. They released a split EP with the Italian band White Tornado in 1999, followed by An Evil Heat in 2002. The compilation Love That's Last: A Wholly Hypnographic and Disturbing Work Regarding Oxbow arrived in 2006. Wenner has also played with God and Swell. "

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DON CABALLERO - WHAT BURNS NEVER RETURNS / AMERICAN DON [1998 / 2000]





"Don Caballero is a critically-acclaimed instrumental rock group from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are often categorized as math rock, though the band dislikes this label. The group took their name from the character Guy Caballero, portrayed by Joe Flaherty, on the sketch comedy show Second City Television. In SCTV’s parody of the film The Godfather, Guy Caballero is called “Don Caballero.”
Don Caballero (affectionately called “Don Cab” or “The Don” by fans) formed in the summer of 1991, released five albums on Touch And Go Records between 1993 and 2000, then disbanded in November 2000. Drummer Damon Che recruited new personnel for a reconstituted Don Caballero in 2003, but this new lineup has been met with mixed reception from fans. They have since signed to Relapse Records and released a new album, titled World Class Listening Problem, on May 16, 2006." LAST.FM

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SHACKLETON - 3 EPS [2009]



"Co-ran Skull Disco with Appleblim. Shackleton’s unconventional take on big basslines and complex beats doesn’t fit into easy categories and that’s how it’s going to stay. Shackleton has been carving out his own brand of eclecticism on Skull Disco releases so far with intricate, snaking percussion, hypnotic melodies, seriously deep bass lines and dubwise sensibilities."

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GAS - POP [2000]



"On Pop Wolfgang Voigt lightens the tone of his Gas work, adding earthly sounds and brighter melodies. The result remains stylistically ambient; in fact, the stripping away of bass beats, which had been employed on his past two albums, Zauberberg (1998) and Königsforst (1999), makes this more of a purely ambient album than an ambient techno one. Such a distinction (i.e., between ambient and ambient techno) may seem hair-splitting, but it's a key difference between Pop and its predecessors, and this is an album that aims to be different and, presumably, more accessible (if the album title is to be taken meaningfully). Even though, for the most part, there aren't any underlying rhythms of looped kick drums on Pop, there's plenty of rhythm; rather than looping low-frequency bass beats, Voigt loops mid- and high-frequency percussive sounds (for example, a tinny clanging sound on the fourth track). Actually, there's a lot going on in the mid- to high-frequency range, a variety of looped sounds -- some rhythmic, others melodic, still others simply ambient -- and these are a different set of sounds than were previously employed. In general, the seven tracks of Pop are comprised of a multi-layered set of loops that carry on seemingly to no end, though subtle nuances are constantly at play, creating a steady and sustained ambience that is forever shifting and swirling around lifelike. The final track is the most remarkable; at almost 15 minutes, it's the longest, and it's far and away the most intense and rhythmic, chugging along like a runaway train. Besides being remarkable on its own terms, this final track is a great finale and gives Pop the same sense of arc that characterized Zauberberg. While all of the Gas albums are cornerstone works, setting the stage for the style of "pop ambient" techno popularized by Kompakt in later years, Pop, along with Zauberberg, is a crowning achievement for Voigt and, as if his mission were accomplished, he chose to conclude his series of Gas albums here. " AMG

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PELICAN - AUSTRALASIA / THE FIRE IN OUR THROATS WILL BECKON THE THAW [2003 / 2005]





"The secretive instrumental art metal outfit Pelican was formed in Chicago by guitarists Trevor de Brauw and Laurent Lebec, with bassist Larry Herweg and his sibling drummer, Bryan. Owing a great debt to pioneering forefathers Neurosis and often compared to Boston's nearly as influential Isis (minus the vocals, naturally), Pelican coincidentally also found a home at Isis mastermind Aaron Turner's Hydra Head Records. After making their debut with an eponymous four-song EP in 2003, Pelican expanded their epic, otherworldly trance-metal to continent-sized movements with 2003's critically acclaimed Australasia album and followed it with 2004's The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw. After nonstop touring, playing in clubs, small halls, and mammoth festivals, the quartet took a much-deserved break. They returned to the studio in 2006 and released City of Echoes in June 2007, followed by the live CD/DVD After the Ceiling Cracked later that December." AMG

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A SILVER MT. ZION - " BORN INTO TROUBLE AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD"



"For their sophomore release, A Silver Mt. Zion has expanded and changed their name, adding three more members to make the original trio of Efrim, Thierry, and Sophie from Godspeed You Black Emperor! a sextet at their core, plus the addition of a huge horn section (one heavily overdubbed contributor on trumpet and trombone) and various others lending vocal, atmospheric, percussive, and textural support. The three new members -- Becky, Jessica, and Iain -- fill out the band's sound with a denser string presence, which creates a backdrop for piano and eventually, electric guitars and drums. This band is like the mirror image of Godspeed You Black Emperor!; things evolve more slowly and melodically, and they open onto themselves. One example is the opener, "Sisters! Brothers! Small Boats of Fire Are Falling From the Sky!," where a lone violin and piano are eventually engaged by more strings and high, whining guitars that grow out into chord progressions that build on the ostinato of the theme but never, never explode. On "Could've Moved Mountains," the strings open up sad vistas in the heart of sound itself and are caressed by a guitar streaming, ever so slowly, along the underside of the mix before it reshapes the tune in its own image. This is music constructed with the same sense of dynamic and attention to detail, from echo and flange to masked vocals and the shimmer in cymbals, but it is so stunningly, heartbreakingly beautiful in its unfolding that for it to reach any other conclusion than to fall apart or disintegrate at the end of each piece would be to violate it somehow. As it is, the music on Born into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward is devastating in its beauty and ghostly in its articulation. We can only wonder what spirits came from the ether to inform this vision, and be glad they did." AMG

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A SILVER MT. ZION - HE HAS LEFT US ALONE BUT SHAFTS OF LIGHT SOMETIMES GRACE THE CORNER OF OUR ROOMS [2000]



"A Silver Mt. Zion has created a quiet album of beautiful and hypnotic melancholy, giving it the lengthy name He Has Left Us Alone, but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms. With this early 2000 release on Montreal's Constellation label, Efrim, Thierry, and Sophie of Godspeed You Black Emperor! (also on Constellation) create a sound similar to that of GYBE!, but less mournful and more gentle. Layers of string sections surround inner rings of light echoes, surrounding a core of sparsely played, reverberating guitar. This mostly instrumental album occasionally calls to mind the simple, quiet, and space-filled works of modern composer Peter Garland, as well as the solo albums of Dirty Three guitarist, Mick Turner. Efrim (piano), Thierry (contrebass), and Sophie (violin) are joined by other members of the Montreal bands Godspeed, Exhaust, and more, resulting in an often lush and raw sound that can include drums, clarinet, guitar, and tape loops. Dedicated to Efrim's late dog, Wanda, this release is in keeping with the other serious and vulnerable music found in the Constellation catalogue." AMG

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BEDHEAD - WHAT FUN LIFE WAS [1994]



"It didn't seem like it at the time, but with the appearance of this, Bedhead's debut, and Low's own first album some months later, the zeitgeist of post-grunge indie rock started to shift toward something more reflective and restrained. Not that WhatFunLifeWas doesn't steer clear of loud moments, to be sure; many of the songs use swelling transitions from quieter to noisier performance and back, all while avoiding the abrupt soft-loud-soft cliché of the time. However, even at the band's most explosive, there's less a sense of getting ripped out of your head on sound than there is a tension between steady, careful performance (drummer Martinez especially so) and more wide-ranging power. The various comparisons to the Velvet Underground, Joy Division, and Spacemen 3 all make a certain sense, but even at this early stage of the band's life, Bedhead have much more of an individual sensibility, something that fuses and looks beyond rather than simply rehashing. Things sometimes can be a touch more playful than expected -- "To the Ground" is almost jaunty -- but otherwise the moods are calm and often blue, and a large part of that lies in the singing. Matt Kadane's soft, understated semi-drawl doesn't slot easily into comparisons, and its contrast with the band's music is often striking. "Haywire," an epic guitar blast with an almost giddy surge to music and performance, gets additional intensity against Kadane's barely-there vocals. In the quieter moments, like the openings of "Crushing" or even more so, the flat-out lovely "Powder," the intensity level is ratcheted even higher; the overall performance is not so much easy listening as it is a prompting to listeners, who must lean forward to catch everything. Add the intertwined guitar work of both Kadane brothers, who combine power and control excellently, and listeners need ask for little more." AMG

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