We recently purchased an amazing batch of private press LPs -- synth, glam, folk, country, pop, jazz and more! There's even a picture disc shaped like a batch of fries! Check them out on the main wall between the classic rock & world collectibles at the Hollywood Amoeba.
Last week, I posted details about the new limited deluxe vinyl edition of Folk-Noir duo Ruby Throat’s cult-classic debut, The Ventriloquist. This week , Amoeba Hollywood has just received quantity of Ruby Throat's sophomore full-length recording, Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird. The album was released in a limited Special Edition CD run in November 2009, but has now been issued in this standard digipak CD edition.
Ruby Throat vocalist KatieJane Garside became quite prolific this past decade with three separate musical projects running in tandem with each other (as well as a one-off LP with Hector Zazou - R.I.P); the long-running Queenadreena with former Daisy Chainsaw cohort Crispin Gray, her solo project Lalleshwari, and Ruby Throat with guitarist Chris Wittingham. While Queenadreena is a bombastic, cathartic and lustfully-charged rush bemoaning innocence lost, Lalleshwari revealed a more rudimentary, internal and transitive process of the artist. With Ruby Throat, Garside draws the characters in her songs as reflective, self-aware and with a sense to the nature of their struggles, though still very much struggling.
Black Cloud finds Garside's unsettling fairytale-stylings firmly rooted in her usual but always powerful psychosexual minefield of hushed lullabye, bluesy belting and bat-shit babelouge. Wittingham's psychedelic soundscapes and dreamy dark Americana-influenced arrangements are richer and fuller here but with the same minimalist bent and care as on the group’s debut.
Fresh in the racks at Amoeba Music Hollywood just today is the wonderfully bleak and dissonant Portal of Sorrow (via Disharmonic Variations), a truly collaborative effort by the one-man depressive black metal band Xasthur and ethereal folkie Marissa Nadler. Scott Conner, aka Malefic, the man behind Xasthur, recently announced that this would be the absolute final release under the Xasthur banner. Oh! And what a glorious end it is! Upon first spin, Portal is easily recognizable as the best of Conner’s last few releases and will likely hold up as one of the touchstones in the Xasthur discography and beyond -- wherever Conner decides to go next.
The album announces its individuality in the Xasthur catalog with acoustic guitars that swirl around a plodding dirge enveloped by the ghostly purrs of Nadler. Eventually this lovely and melancholic breath is absconded away by the brief shattering sounds of glass and horror-film -orchestra stabs that leads into the cascade of bizarrely mixed buzzsaw guitar, Deathrock-like bass warbles and clattering cardboard box drums of the second track, “Broken Glass Christening.” The song is then shortstopped by an ominous piano, Malefic’s anguished shrieks and further apparitional lacing from Nadler. For all the album’s sorrowful moments, there are flashes in half-light, like the lovely “Mourning Tomorrow,” which infiltrates the album’s tracklist like a Folk-Noir Cocteau Twins. The LP lacks any monotonous riffing or repetition usually found in the gloomier end of the Black Metal genre, and aside from the above mentioned instrumentation, incorporates synthesizer and organ which supply some very dreamy yet crestfallen ambiance.
California, for all its famed sunshine, has historically fostered some pretty dark and cloudy musical ventures. From the original Christian Death and Von on to The Vanishing and Leviathan, this state has produced some of the greatest and most well-known Dark musical acts. That tradition strongly continues today, as all four of our featured releases this month are from quite excellent, decidedly shaded, California-based artists. The Crystelles' Attach and Detach is a wonderfully raw, gothy & garagey blues LP featuring the wildly soulful wail and musings of former Christian Death member Gitane DeMone. The Los Angeles-based band’s lineup also features Demone’s daughter (who is also a reknowned and quite amazing surrealistic painter), Zara Kand, on drums. The vinyl-only release is composed of 12 dirty and volatile tracks that Gitane herself calls ‘Death Blues’ and also includes a gorgeous 28 page Lyric & Art book. This is an essential release and is stacking up already to be one of our favorite releases this year.
Another current “local to L.A.” favorite of ours is Minimal-Synth project Frank Alpine. Alpine released a 7” this past year via the always superb Dais Records entitled Night Tripper, and also just self-released a CD version of the previously cassette-only release Keyboard Cassette. Frank Alpine’s mastermind is former New Collapse drummer Rich Bitch, however Alpine’s cold atmospheres are far-removed from his former band’s spastic synth-freakouts. Tracks vary from spare, chilling ambience to full-on John Carpenter-worship (like B-side “Another Land”). Both Night Tripper and Keyboard Cassette are only available in limited quantities, so don’t slack!
The Bay Area’s Worm Ouroboros features Amber Asylum, The Gault and World
Eateralums and its self-titled debut CD (via Profound Lore) mixes Doomy riffing, Dark Ambient, and ethereal Folk harmonies fluidly into a dazzling and crystalline pool of sound. The album also features beautiful Digipak and booklet art by bassist/vocalist Lorraine Rath, revealing her to be an equally soul-stirring visual artist and vocalist. The only thing that isn’t perfect about this release is that it is not available on vinyl. Please get with it, Profound Lore!
Whew! Am I glad to see you! Because it means that it’s a new week, and let me tell you – I used last week until it was nothing but a grey and tattered rag. So I can’t wear last week anymore, but I can use it to clean my car.
But I don’t have a car.
Life is complicated.
Since I arrived in Hollywood five years ago, a young and vibrant crackerjack of a kid with high hopes and boundless dreams, I have used my wit and spunk to cultivate a lifestyle wherein which I spend most of my time hidden away in my spooky study, hunched over my laptop and writing scripts about young and vibrant crackerjack kids which I ceased to resemble about five years ago. It’s a circle of muthuhfuggin’ life.
As a result, I haven’t ever actually developed a circle of friends. I’ve just kind of Yoko Ono’d my way into my boyfriend’s social circle, hoping no one would notice. People from my hometown find this hard to believe.
“Job, how is it that a young and vibrant crackerjack like you hasn’t been surrounded by fawning admirers?” they collectively ask.
“Well gang,” I answer as I mix up a batch of my famous celebrities, “I’ve just been so focused on my writing career. I’ve already met the person I want to be in a relationship with for the rest of my life, so unlike my single friends I’m not driven out to socialize in order to find a mate; plus there’s something about fun and laughter and good times that gives me a tummy ache.”