So this one is heavier and stranger than usual, mostly due to the conjunction of various releases. In between the rock and grunge there is dub reggae, electronica, avant-garde, lo fi rock, ambient, guitar improv, and plain weirdness. Featuring music from Datura, King Tubby and the Observer All Stars, Pauline Oliveros, Christopher Willes, Public Recordings, Melvins, The Veldt, Niney & The Observers, Lamp of the Universe, Jeff Gburek, Cyrus & Oz, Maximiliano Mas, Marcelo von Schulz, Juan Marco Litrica , Waswas, The Observer Band, Evidence of a Struggle, Roman Angelos & Scott Solter, Cat Room Box Bois, and Mothra.
Datura – Magnetise – WEEDIAN : Trip To New Zealand
Another excellent compilation from Weedian this time concentrating on music from the Southern Hemisphere. They are all free on Bandcamp and an excellent introduction to a wide variety of bands you may not have heard of before
King Tubby and the Observer All Stars – Rebel Dance – Dubbing With The Observer, 1974 – 1976 (Cherry Red)
Of the 50 tracks that make up this collection of dub tracks, 21 are new to CD and all are drawn from the period 1974 to 76, when Winston ‘Sir Niney – The Observer’ Holness was at his most prolific and creative, regularly demonstrating that he was more than capable of holding his own against the other rebel producers active during roots reggae’s era.
The first 13 tracks on disc one showcase ‘Dubbing With The Observer’ album, considered one of the best dub collections ever to see issue. Originally released by Trojan on its Attack label in 1975, the album was released when Trojan was undergoing economic difficulties, resulting in it failing to receive the promotion that it merited. All the remaining tracks on this 2CD set were released during the mid-70s, with the only non-Jamaican-produced side being ‘Tribulation Dub’, a track that features the rhythm of Dennis Brown’s ‘Tribulation’. Recorded at London’s Chalk Farm Studio by the Cimarons and engineered by Syd Bucknor, it was allegedly remixed by King Tubby at his Kingston studio, demonstrating that no matter where the music originated, he was capable of transforming it into dub gold.
Pauline Oliveros, Christopher Willes, Public Recordings – To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation (Yellow Light Section) – Resonance Gathering (Art Metropole)
Resonance Gathering is a new double LP and book centred on the music of avant-garde composer Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016). Organized by multidisciplinary artist Christopher Willes and the collective Public Recordings, the release documents a large-scale performance project of Oliveros’s music that occurred in Tkaronto—Toronto between 2017-2019 which concluded with a performance at Toronto City Hall. Resonance Gathering shares audio recordings, a new sound poem by IONE (artist and Oliveros’ spouse), writing, photography and more— in a multimodal exploration of how Oliveros’s work continues to resonate with our time. The featured track is the second part of a three part orchestral work by Pauline Oliveros from 1970, which was recorded in a live performance at Council Chambers Toronto City Hall in 2019.
To Valerie… marked an important shift in Oliveros’s work, away from traditional compositional methods and towards sonic-somatic practices that call for radically inclusive forms of listening. Deep Listening, as she would later call it, can bring out “resonant connections that lie beyond the surface of our consciousness and help us change […] and grow.” Revisiting the piece fifty years after its premiere, this release explores how Oliveros’s ideas and music continue to resonate with our time.
Melvins – Hag Me – At The Stake – Atlantic Recordings 1993-1995
When the grunge sound of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam broke alternative rock into the mainstream at the start of the 1990s, there was a sudden rush by the major labels to sign a slew of previously underground bands with a similar sound. Although a lot of those musicians only saw their underdog status and relative geography in common – many of them came from in and around Seattle, Washington – it was enough to wipe away the hair metal and glam rock that had ruled the 1980s. Many bands from the Pacific North West, including Screaming Trees, Tad, Alice In Chains and Mudhoney, would benefit from this windfall of major label contracts, but one of the more surprising signings were the Melvins.
Atlantic signed Melvins for their 5th album, 1993’s ‘Houdini’ . Sporting a cover design by famed poster artist Frank Kozik, ‘Houdini’ was in part co-produced by Kurt Cobain, and their most commercially successful release was recorded mainly by Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover. A cover of KISS’ ‘Goin’ Blind’ shouldn’t have surprised any of their long term fans, and the songs ‘Hooch’ and ‘Lizzy’ were issued as singles, with ‘Honey Bucket’ even receiving airplay on MTV. Bonus tracks include their cover of the MC5’s ‘Rocket Reducer #62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)’, a cover of The Germs’ ‘Lexicon Devil’ and ‘It’s Shoved’ (Live). Their next Atlantic album was 1996’s ‘Stoner Witch’ , where they were now joined by Mark Deutrom on bass. Their third and final Atlantic album, ‘Stag’ , was in fact their eighth album, as they had continued to record for various indies in the 1990s. ‘The Bit’ and ‘Bar-X the Rocking M’ were issued as singles, with a cover of Pink Floyd’s sprawling ‘Interstellar Overdrive’, ‘The Bit’ (Radio Edit) and ‘Tipping The Lion B’ added as bonus tracks.
I am featuring a track from each of three albums.
The Veldt – The Everlasting Gobstopper – Single (5BC Records / Disc Drive)
Pioneering shoegazers The Veldt present ‘The Everlasting Gobstopper’, the first taste of their ‘Illuminated 1989′ album, the release of which has been anticipated for decades. Produced by Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie in autumn 1989 (and remastered by him in 2023), this record was intended to be the band’s first album. However, their label Capital Records shelved the recording (resulting in their debut ‘Marigolds’ album being produced by Lincoln Fong of Moose).
Ahead of the full album (due out in autumn of this year), The Veldt is releasing the single digitally and as a 12” vinyl single via Disc Drive and 5BC Records. The accompanying video was produced by Jammi York and the late Yuko Sueta. The B-side is ‘Joshuu Lullaby’, a previously unreleased vinyl exclusive, produced by Robin Guthrie in 2023. One of the most notable first-wave shoegaze bands, formed in North Carolina in the 1980s, The Veldt surrounds identical twins Daniel Chavis (vocals, guitar) and Danny Chavis (guitar). Their unique sound was influenced by Cocteau Twins as readily as Marvin Gaye and free-jazz warriors Sun Ra and Pharaoh Sanders. Referencing European postpunk while embracing modern hip-hop, these trailblazers work with transient dreamscapes as fluidly as solid song structures.
Niney & the Observers – Tribulation Dub – Dubbing With The Observer, 1974 – 1976 (Cherry Red)
Lamp of the Universe – The Messianic Rule – WEEDIAN : Trip To New Zealand
Jeff Gburek – Backwards Walk Through Magnetic Mirror – The Art of Prepared Guitar Volume One (Ramble Records)
Described as “A wondrous intuitive collection of guitar vignettes where Jeff takes his eyes off the frets, and starts ‘to play purely through sound and timbre.”
Cyrus and Oz – Downer – Ephemera Collection 18 – 19 (Ramble Records)
Ephemera Collection 18 – 19 by Virginia artist Blake Parker’s improv project Cyrus and Oz is a collection of tracks recorded live from several venues, basements, attics, and outdoor spaces. The result is an ethereal mix of guitar-based ‘transient tracks’ that range from psyched out space-soundscapes, shoegaze, scrapes, loops and feedback drone and ambience. – releasing on limited edition CD and digital DL.
Melvins – At The Stake – At The Stake – Atlantic Recordings 1993-1995
Maximiliano Mas, Marcelo von Schulz, Juan Marco Litrica – Mirando al calor del fuego las sombras de Platón – Trio Preludio a La Siesta De Un Fauno – Volumen Uno (Ramble Records)
Five tracks of pure guitar-centric improvisation with percussion and ¼ grand piano from 3 of Argentina’s leading free-improv artists.
Waswas – Conjectures on time (without firm evidence of its existence) – Just because you wander in the desert, it does not mean there is a promise land (Ramble Records)
Italian exploratory guitarist Alessandro Denti, is always pushing the boundaries regardless of whether it’s with his ethno-jazz free improv project W.BI or his solo project Waswas. At the heart of Waswas’ latest ‘Just because you wander in the desert, it does not mean there is a promised land’ is the Fahey-Basho school of American Primitive guitar but it encompasses pastoral folk, drone, jazz, and psychedelia with wonderful songwriting and inspiring playing. Releasing on limited edition vinyl and digital DL May 26.
The Observer Band – Rub Bald Head Dub – Dubbing With The Observer, 1974 – 1976 (Cherry Red)
Evidence of a Struggle – Seize – Evidence of a Struggle (Self Released)
Evidence of a Struggle began in 2020 during lockdowns. This ambitious effort sees Rev. Billy play every instrument – guitar, drums, piano, synth and violin – recorded and engineered from his home studio, The Glue Factory. With Covid restrictions lifted, he began working with Sanford Parker (Voivod, Russian Circles, Yob, Eyehategod, Wovenhand, Darkthrone, Youth Code, Pelican), who helped produce and record the final versions of the songs for this record, as well as mastering.
Cat Box Room Bois – Big Dick Dog – Tinder Vittles (Metal Postcard)
“Tinder Vittles” is the lo-fi, foul mouthed, blues-based garage rock debut from new Texas-based band Cat Box Room Bois! Consisting of Son of El Borko (Legless Crabs, Occult Character, Legless Trials, Baby Cucks, Rudy Now and the Negative Cutters, Badger Carcass) on vox, Shan Japan (Baby Cucks, Badger Carcass) on drums, and mewling ingenues/instrumental wunderkinds The Danimal and Ted “Biggy Smöl” Stickles on guitars and bass and sometimes drums and vox too!
Roman Angelos & Scott Solter – Foghorns (Low Order Mix) – Supermarkets, Underwater (Happy Robots Records)
The new album is a fully reimagined set of remixes of Roman Angelos’ 2022 album ‘Music For Underwater Supermarkets’, a 9-track offering that combines electronica and exotica, painting a sonic dreamscape that transposes the mundane act of grocery shopping to an aquatic utopian landscaping. Here, Solter flips the script by transforming the bouncy and upbeat material of the original album into a darker and more ambient landscape. Weaving in noise and shifting electronic percussion, it’s an entirely new record. Exploring Roman’s obsession with the library and soundtrack music, with unfashionable sonic influences from Burt Bacharach to Vangelis.
Roman Angelos is the nom de plume of Brooklyn-based producer, composer and multiinstrumentalist Rich Bennett, developed as a vehicle to explore his obsession with library recordings of the 60’s and 70s, muzak and exotica. Exotic, dreamy, and wistful, this is the sound of a jazz sextet as channeled through synths and drum machines, creating a spacey feel.
Melvins – Goggles – At The Stake – Atlantic Recordings 1993-1995
Mothra – Splinters – WEEDIAN : Trip To New Zealand