Amoeblog

'Out of a Black Cloud' Comes a Great Album: Ruby Throat's Sophmore Triumph

Posted by Aaron Detroit, May 12, 2010 08:15pm | Post a Comment

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.

The album opens with quiet murmurs over angelic harmonies and chimy picking that sets the tone and fully captures the warm yet unnerving atmosphere that most Ruby Throat songs exist inside of and which fans are now very familiar with. “Shark” lyrically suggests a solace in the feeling of being cared for, even when danger is very much present. Wittingham’s foreboding rhythm guitar adeptly mimics this feeling, while Garside’s voice slightly cracks with a knowing fear. The search for solace, wellness and stability each appear as strong veins within Black Cloud. However, Garside also paints her characters as pessimistic and as their own worst enemies. On “Beneath My Undress” she purrs:

“Same time I escape the rope / So I put it back about my throat /
Blunt, Cold, hard hit /  On angels feet beneath I slip”



And on “Bolt The Horse”:

“When someone breaks you / The terrible truth is /
You want no mending /
…I bolt the horse / I grip the gate /
I split the meat /I take the bait”


The album’s centerpiece comes in the form of a striking, if not surprising, reading of Townes Van Zandt’s classic lament “Nothin,’” which stands strongly next to the original with a shadowy blues arrangement by Wittingham. Garside’s voice clings pensively to the song’s final lines:

“Sorrow and solitude / these are the precious things
And the only words  / that are worth rememberin'”

But as the album title suggests, during great struggle is when one may find their wings– beauty, art, and love – all the things that make life worth living. On the album’s final and title track Garside’s subject finds a bird of love and hope emerging from the Black Cloud of self-doubt and emotional baggage.
"Out of a black cloud /
Came a bird / Out of a black cloud / Came a bird..."


Amoeba Hollywood has quantity of the Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird import digipak CD featuring hand-drawing artwork by KatieJane Garside at a very fetching domestic price of $10.98. The vinyl release is being planned for winter via The Lovers’ Will imprint.

Amoeba Hollywood's Featured and Upcoming Goth / Industrial Vinyl Releases

Posted by Aaron Detroit, May 5, 2010 06:00pm | Post a Comment
With a new boom of appreciation for long-playing vinyl in full swing, our cozy dark corner of Amoeba Music Hollywood where the Goth /Industrial section lies is seeing lots of great titles come through. We’ve hand-picked some recent wax new releases and reissues and are featuring them in our section this month, so crank up your turntable for some of our highlighted dark wonders.

Sturmpercht Schattenlieder (Ahnstern)
3-sided double-LP in gatefold-cover with etched vinyl on the 4th side. The masters of Pagan Folk are back with their new album Schattenlieder - eine kleine Nachtmusik für Waldteufel und Berggeister. The album features 20 diverse and unique songs full of alpine mysticism, heathen legends and tales about strange fairies and pagan rites. Schattenlieder entrains you into deep forests, arcane mountains and dark chasms and guides you to hidden places in the depth of the central European forests, where hunters meet strange creatures from dusk til dawn. The album varies between gnarled songs about creepy fairies, catchy folk hymns and dark songs dealing with alpine myths, forest tales and hunter sagas. Schattenlieder is the perfect soundtrack for misty autumn evenings as well as for dark winter nights. The album features a large variety of instruments and sounds -- obscure, strange, folky, psychedelic, but always original and weird, in Sturmpercht's very unique way. Schattenlieder is completely unpredictable -- each track a standalone, but contributing to the overall ambiance of this new benchmark within the Pagan Folk genre. Not for everyone, but a truly bizarre and wonderful release!



Ruby Throat The Ventriloquist (The Lovers' Will)
The deluxe double vinyl LP edition of the classic Folk-Noir recording The Ventriloquist by Ruby Throat. Limited to 300 hand-numbered copies in a reverse-board gatefold sleeve and including a full colour insert, this is the first time this gorgeous recording– originally self-released on CD in 2007– has been issued on vinyl by Los Angeles-based label The Lovers' Will Records & Press! Ruby Throat is a bewitching duo from London, UK and is compromised of vocalist KatieJane Garside (Daisy Chainsaw, Queenadreena) and guitarist Chris Wittingham. Garside’s voice is much like The Ventriloquist’s subject matter – riding on a dark line between the ethereal and the visceral. The album is made up of psychosexual musings, spectral visions, stark murder balladry and other transgressive tales delicately surrounded by the Psychedelic dream-wrap and pastoral strumming of Wittingham. It also holds a high spot on our previously-posted list of the 20 Best Dark Music Albums of The '00's. Recommended if you like PJ Harvey, Current 93, Mazzy Star, and WIll Oldham.



Baby Dee A Book Of Songs For Anne Marie  (Drag City)
After seeing an overwhelming response to Safe Inside The Day in February 2008, the peerless Baby Dee (a 57-year-old transgendered musician and artist from Ohio) returns with A Book Of Songs For Anne Marie. What was overwhelming about the response was the instant reaction to the purity of expression in her music. That dizzying sense of self is again an essential feature of this new music. While the last album was lit with the production fire of Will Oldham and Matt Sweeney producing, A Book Of Songs For Anne Marie glows softly with the calming presence of Maxim Moston (arranger of some standing and part of Antony And The Johnsons' touring band). In essence, this album is a prequel to Safe Inside The Day. The songs here were released in a different set of recordings and in a limited-edition book form (150 copies!) on David Tibet's Durtro label back in 2004. For most listeners, this is its first outing.


Allerseelen Cruor
The first CD-album by Allerseelen from 1993 in a brilliantly remastered version on highest-quality double-Allerseelenvinyl, with additional material! Fascinating organic Ritual-Industrial music about the blood-rituals of the Mithras cult.
Allerseelen
Allerseelen Sturmlieder
Re-release of the sold out third CD, containing 6 brand new bonus tracks! Completely remastered and re-edited for this vinyl edition. The quite excellent track, “Wir tragen ein Licht,” is dedicated to John Balance (of Coil), who died on 11.13.04; the original CD has been completely remastered and re-edited for this vinyl edition.




Upcoming NEW Vinyl Releases

current 93
Current 93/Andrew Liles Like Swallowing Eclipses
Box Set (Dirter)
For the first time on vinyl the complete highly acclaimed Andrew Liles remixes of the first five classic Current 93 albums! Andrew Liles has re-imagined Nature Unveiled, Dogs Blood Rising, In Menstrual Night, Dawn and Live at Bar Maldoror. Also exclusive to this set is a sixth LP, Haunt Invocation (Apadno) which is a remixed version of Faust and A Special Plan. These influential albums by Current 93 are regarded by many as groundbreaking and innovative; building upon this Andrew Liles has re-dreamed and re-imagined these pieces with the flare and vision that he is renowned and respected for. All the records in this 6 LP set come in individual covers and a beautiful spot varnished box and are adorned with Cold Cave Life Magazineastounding artwork by David Tibet and photographs by Simona Dalla Valle. Available early June.

Cold Cave Life Magazine Remixes (Matador)
On June 8, Matador will release the second single from Cold Cave’s Love Comes Close LP, “Life Magazine” as a limited vinyl 12″. Features a rare remix from Arthur Baker and a KILLER remix by Cold Cave's own Dominick Fernow under his noise-moniker Prurient.

A1. "Life Magazine" (The Arthur Baker’s Not Going Back Remix)
A2. "Life Magazine" (An Optimo (Espacio) Remix)
B1. "Life Magazine" (Pantha Du Prince First Flash Remix)
B2. "Life Magazine" (Prurient Remix)

Xasthur and Marissa Nadler Collaborate On Genre Bending New Album

Posted by Aaron Detroit, April 23, 2010 08:00pm | Post a Comment

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.

If Portal of Sorrow is anything to go on, Marissa Nadler fans may have quite the unexpected album on their hands when the chanteuse releases her next solo LP, which is currently in the works. While Portal is Conner’s affair in composition, the album’s dim light shines from the scary corners of both musicians' minds and hopefully has opened up a new world, not just for Malefic but Marissa as well. The album maybe controversial among the narrowly-focused “trueheads” of grim Black Metal but no one really cares what they with such limited palates think anyway. Their loss, our win.

Conner has stated he has every intention of writing, recording and releasing music again, though he refuses to identify what it will be like other than of an equally dark tone. Portal of Sorrow, in the end, is both a death knell for Xasthur/Malefic and a herald of rebirth for Scott Conner. Xasthur is Dead, Long Live Xasthur!

Listen: "Karma/Death" from Portal of Sorrow

Amoeba Music Hollywood has quantity of Portal of Sorrow as well as many Xasthur catalog titles. Be sure to also check out Marrisa Nadler’s many gems in the folk section! Portal of Sorrow will also be available on vinyl via Hydra Head later in the year.

Tor Lundvall's Latest Spectral Masterpiece; Plus Hollywood's Goth / Industrial New Releases

Posted by Aaron Detroit, April 15, 2010 06:45pm | Post a Comment

Tor Lundvall
, famous for his outstanding paintings, has a very haunting style. The figures in his gorgeous landscape paintings are at once ghostly and earthly, ethereal and organic. The feeling one gets when staring into his soft but rich work is isolation, but not loneliness. It’s a remoteness with Spirits, a communion with nature where a gateway to shadowy unknown worlds exist. No surprise then that his work as a musician seems to perfectly score his stunning visual art. Though he made a limited private press album of Industrial music in 1997,  Lundvall's first big waves in music came in the form of a 1998 collaborative effort with Tony Wakeford (of Sol Invictus and Death in June fame), entitled Autumn Calls. The album, though equally billed between the two artists, was mostly a Lundvall affair with some minor embellishments from Wakeford and other guests. Autumn is full of  the warm yet effecting dark ambient soundscapes that Tor has continued to mine with increasingly finer results with each successive release. Recently, his exceptional 10th full-length, Sleeping and Hiding (via Dais Records), made our Best of 2009 and our Best of The Decade lists and now his just released CD collection, Ghost Years, is likely to make 2010’s.

Ghost Years collects B-sides, unreleased outtakes, and compilation tracks from 1995-2005 and, much like Sleeping and Hiding, this collection focuses on Lundvall’s delicate vocal-centered songs. The fact that the album’s tracks were recorded years (sometimes a decade) apart is completely unnoticeable, though it did aid in creating the variety of sounds within the LP’s tracklist. His earliest track on the disc, “Grey Sunday,” is the most structured and “pop” of the bunch with an almost danceable beat and bouncy bassline, whereas the most recently recorded track, “Alienor,” drifts along in ambient washes and spectral voices. Fans of late period, blissed-out Slowdive ala Pygmalion will find much to love here.

While Lundvall’s music is essentially “ambient” and works well as mood music, one benefits from deeper listening as the textures, layers and accents here all have transportive qualities, much like Lundvall’s paintings. Lyrically, Lundvall is very much rooted in nature, albeit a nature that is surrounded by but maybe secluded from modern living and all its trappings. Seasons and their signifiers (rain, leaves, snow, flowers) abound not as metaphors, but simply as themselves to provide a landscape for the supernatural moods and memories they can invoke. Obviously, Lundvall writes much like he paints.



Listen: "Grey Sunday" from Ghost Years

Amoeba Hollywood has quantity available of the Ghost Years CD now, as well as just few copies left of the super-limited and superb Sleeping and Hiding LP.
New Goth / Industrial Releases This Week, Amoeba Music Hollywood

Divine Muzak Maison Skinny [Punch] CD Import
Here we find plastic drumbeats, cruel analog synthesizers, retro organs, kinky guitar strings, weeping musical saw and theremin tears, isolated accordion keys and departed acoustic instruments, along with emotional and deep girlie vocals. Divine Muzak is reaching its highest by creating a personal recipe for a bizarre medicine made of electronica, lounge, industrial, cabaret, post-modern psychedelia, dark pop and looney poetry. You are invited to experience it under the name of "hospital-pop" while taking your unsafe seat in Divine Muzak's Maison Skinny.

Loveliescrushing CRWTH (Chorus Redux) [Line] CD
The original release of Chorus itself was inspired by a challenge... to make a Lovesliescrushing album abandoning Scott Cortez' trademark guitar work and using only the voice. Chorus was created by taking vocal tracks, deconstructing them via minimal processing, and turning them into new compositions. CRWTH is a completely re-edited take on the material, not merely a remix album, but an alternate version of Chorus, a redux. CRWTH (Chorus Redux) is even more spectral, spacial, and hushed.

Wumpscut Siamese [Metropolis] CD

Siamese harkens the elements that made Wumpscut’s Embryodead such a cult classic. Brooding vocals, destructive percussion, ominous synths, and captivating sequences. Tracks “Boneshaker Baybee” and “Loyal To My Hate” are destined to be club favourites with their acidic beats and sticky melodies.

Mt. Sims Happily Ever After…Again [Punch] CD Import
Like the sequel to a novel, Mt. Sims (Matt Sims) returns with his magnum opus entitled Happily Ever After...Again! as the final response to his previously released album Happily Ever After. Once known as hedonistic “electroclash” noise maker Mount Sims, Sims has since shaved off some letters form his moniker, moved to Berlin, collaborated with The Knife and has now moved onto chillier musical terrain that mines classic-era 4AD and the industrial dancefloor. Win!

April Shower Soundtracks: Hollywood's Featured Goth / Industrial etc. Releases

Posted by Aaron Detroit, April 7, 2010 06:30pm | Post a Comment
 
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
E
ateralums 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!

Back to L.A. on our final featured release, the darkly experimental and always excellent Habitat is already on their third release in less than a year! The new CD, You Can’t Argue With Nature, is their first release to prominently feature vocals. Their two previous releases – the extremely limited Habitat and Code Gray -- were largely ambient and nebulous; however YCAWN is a structured song-cycle of eccentric, apocalyptic pop with a sly sense of humor occasionally peeking through.

So stop in the L.A. store’s Goth/Industrial section for all the above releases and more. The forecast is for rain this weekend and these are the perfect soundtracks for the grey weather and April showers! How’s that saying go? “Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain?”

Continue reading...
BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  >>  NEXT