Volcanic Tongue Catalogue

Various Artists
2 Million Tongues Festival

Bastet 006


Arthur-produced compilation to celebrate Chicago's second Million Tongues festival curated by Steve Krakow aka Plastic Crimewave. Exclusive tracks from Mountains, No-Neck Blues Band, Miminokoto, Tim Kinsella & Amy Cargill, Michael Chapman, Josephine Foster, Chris Connelly, Pearls And Brass, Travelling Bell, The Singleman Affair, Jack Rose, Tar Pet, Birdshow, Tony Conrad, Hototogisu, Haptic, Lux and Hardscrabble.

Hototogisu + Burning Star Core

Yik Yak 014


Beautiful looking edition of 500 copies that gathers re-worked, re-edited versions of material that previously snuck out on CD-Rs from Drone Disco and Heavy Blossom: "Hototogisu - the duo of UK experimentalist Matthew Bower (Skullflower/Sunroof et al) and New York-based-guitarist Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards/Zaimph/GHQ) - are all about impact, about taking the physical aspect of sound and hallucinating it to the point of abstraction, so much so that for all of the complexity of their music it often sounds like it's standing still, simply hanging in the air and vibrating without anything approaching a 'plot' to bring it to a point. By contrast, Burning Star Core, the trio of drummer Trevor Tremaine, Robert Beatty on electronics (both of whom also play in Hair Police alongside Mike Connelly of Wolf Eyes) and C.Spencer Yeh on violin and electronics, are more overtly propulsive, usurping 'classic' rock form via electronics and drums but still focused on momentum, on the jam as a form of structural gravity, on the unfolding of action via development over time. This all-improvised studio meeting is the perfect reconciliation of both tendencies, of Hototogisu’s obsessive layering of strata after strata of violently conceived noise and of Burning Star Core’s epic, post-Kraut thunder-punk style. Bower has long been on record about his opposition to anything approaching 'dialogue' in improvised music, favouring a senses-devouring simultaneity over anything that might pass for actual exchange, so it's no surprise that there is little on this new record that sounds even close to conventionally improvised music. Instead, it feels more focused towards the zone where energy begins to spontaneously birth form, where the monomaniacal pursuit of the nowhere zone bears fruit in the shape of a music that transcends its constituent parts while being totally based around – and rooted in - the individual response to the moment. BXC play it ginchy and garage-pop right from the start, simultaneously inverting and amplifying Bower and Bassett's vertical constructs with drums that sound like they might have been lifted straight from the most flower-power parts of the Silver Apples' back catalogue and bass patterns that are as tactile and rock-anchored as Can's Holger Czukay. To hear Hototogisu's music given this kind of injection of dynamic energy makes them seem more obviously sourced in 'classic' rock music than you might otherwise have guessed, with a dense, implosive sound that feels like a hyper-distilled take on all of rock's most outlaw aspects, the feedback that makes you feel like you could explode in a ball of electricity, the anti-gravity effect of heavy fuzz, the seductive, alien tongues. It's certainly the most 'garage band' side that either of the groups have cut to date, albeit in the form of a Gnostic, post-acid re-think where the vibration is more important than the outer forms, where energized enthusiasm makes for a more fundamental guiding principle than verse/chorus/verse and where the only direction left is out. Which is another way of saying it feels genuinely bad-ass. In an era where even the best groups seem polite, pro, participatory, democratic, this is music that is disregarding in its overwhelming power, exhilarating in it irresponsible spontaneity. And in an underground scene where self-conscious notions of avant-garde and 'free improvisation' have long displaced any concept of an intuitive rocks off-style, well, it feels like a re-connection to the source. So file this one closer to Kill City or Sticky Fingers than Persian Surgery Dervishes or The Black Album and feel the gravity of your whole record collection shift." – David Keenan.

Live Hasselt

Heavy Blossom


Limited edition of 100 copies documenting a live solo show from Marcia Bassett that took place 6/6/06 in Hasselt. 28 minutes of thick, frozen air, slow brain-bloating highs, and thunderous ecstasy peaks. One of the darkest/densest blats from Marcia to date and highly recommended. Comes in wraparound colour pro-printed sleeves.


Heavy Blossom


The first ever release from the Hototogisu duo of Matthew Bower (Skullflower/Total/Sunroof) and Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards) that even approaches being ‘generally available', Green is a real CD - not a CD-R - pressed up for the group by the sainted Ed Hardy of Eclipse records and available in an edition of 1000 copies complete with a suave full-colour booklet reproducing a bunch of the duo's art. Anyone whose mind was blown by the vision of this pair powering their way through one of the most magical/unforgiving sets of Subcurrent 2005 will find plenty to drown in here. Tracks are shorter than on previous releases, though even more obsessively detailed. There are points where the cacophony is so insanely oversaturated that the noise starts to sound as if it's spontaneously giving birth to language: you start hallucinating words and sentences, almost as if the film protecting you from a constant bombardment of information-heavy environmental radiation has been blown apart. Green also features some of Hototogisu's most straight-ahead death/doom metal moves. Although they're not quite Skullflower, the first track features snatches of classic death metal riffs alongside the stomach-punch of a cheap drum machine and on their theme song, the beautifully ferocious “Heavy Blossom”, Mick Flower of Vibracathedral Orchestra plays drums. Alongside all the iron first action, there are some beautiful moments where Marcia and Matthew's voices melt into ribbons of pure white light and the whole thing floats to the ceiling. A modern classic, and possibly the best Hototogisu album to date. Highest recommendation.


De Stijl No Cat


Brand new full-length recording from the duo of Matthew Bower (Skullflower/Total/Sunroof et al) and Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards/Zaimph/GHQ) features a more rock-reverent take on the kind of vertical screens of impossibly detailed overtone that defined their earlier albums, with Marcia's viola slow-burning fluttering afterimages of neon spirals deep into the air while Bower's guitar/microphone worship generates repeat-ascensions of overloaded ecstasy tone. Something grittier, more immediately tactile, that makes this their most dramatically meat-based orbit of hallucinated space/time vectors to date. Highly recommended.

Pale Heat Of Summer

Heavy Blossom No Cat


Out of print 2007 limited self-released album from GHQ that spans a bunch of different line-ups, from deeply focussed psychedelic space navigated by the duo of Marcia Bassett (Hototogisu/Zaimph et al) on guitar and Steve Gunn on viola through almost Japanese sounding trio blow-outs with Basset and Gunn joined by John Truscinski (XO4/Slaughterhouse Percussion et al) on drums and electric guitar. Their most overtly psychedelic outing in a while, just beautiful, endlessly deep voids of slow-motion electricity and lucid Americana. Tracks recorded live in Montague and Brooklyn. Packaged in black hard card sleeves with screened gold artwork.

White Wolf

Cold Spring Records CSR-12S08

one-sided LP

Edition of only 100 copies one-sided LP from UK underground legends Skullflower: only ‘officially’ available direct from the label,  White Wolf presents a torrential side-long epic from Matthew Bower and co that takes off where Fushitsusha circa Tokyo Flashback 3 left off, with buzzing armies of transparent guitar oblivions dissolving in endless vectors of fuzz to the point that they generate hallucinatory arcs of classical string elegies, sounding a symphonic threnody w/a distant euphoric metal backbone. Bower’s recent work has been particularly amazing and the combination of classical scale and full in-the-red guitar violence is exceptionally potent here. Limited supply, obviously, comes in a white sleeve with a hand-stamped obi strip. 


Posh Isolation No Cat


Split LP of 333 copies with two tracks from Matthew Bower’s Skullflower – one long, inchoate feedback ritual and a shorter martial drums/guitar tattoo – paired with new material from Limepit, a black noise/vocal/drone group with connections to Heavy Blossom recording artists Sarah’s Charity.  Silkscreened covers with insert.

Metal Forest

Cold Spring Records CSR-167


Necessary culling/upgrading of a bunch of tracks from the mid-90s by this major UK underground outfit, the brainchild of Anthony Di Franco of Ramleh/JFK/Skullflower et al: Voyages presents devastatingly re-mastered tracks from OOP releases like 1997’s Astronomy, 1994’s Nova Feedback and 1995’s Ax II. Ax’s sound was extremely prescient, somehow tying together the kind of endlessly postponed cathartic metal of SunnO))) with thudding fists of electricity and bass heavy boombastics, birthing a thug-punk take on Butthole Surfers-play-Suicide that would appeal to fans of the most esoteric Zaimph sides as much as the early Zos Kia rituals. And the material has never sounded better, benefiting from a clarity and punch that is truly ear-lacerating.

La Bas: 1987-1992

Fourth Dimension Records FD2LP87


New vinyl collection of stray tracks and unreleased jams from this great UK underground group with a side that restores the full session featuring Matthew Bower (Skullflower at al) on guitar that was recorded at JTI on 29/1/90, two nights before Skullflower recorded the Xaman album at the same studio: JfK was the brainchild of Anthony Di Franco of Ramleh, Skullflower, Ax et al and they played a bizarre mutant form of thug-psych that took drum machines and monstrous acid bass and devoured them with shots of pure electricity. Think The Cramps, Chrome and The Buttholes given a furious post-Broken Flag dressing down. La Bas gathers a buncha choice shots into the void, including their great Temple Of Set/Sexodus 7” that came out on Fourth Dimension in 1992 alongside eight otherwise unavailable recordings and the tracks with Bower on guitar – including a previously unreleased alternate take of “Sexodus 90” – see him at his most iconoclastically testifying. Also comes with two more bonus tracks unique to the vinyl. A key piece of the puzzle from the depths of the UK underground. Recommended!

Bull & Gate Oct 7, 1987

Dirter No Cat

one-sided LP

Devastating early live show captured on limited to 250 copies one-sided vinyl, only ‘officially’ available as a bonus LP with the 4xCD art edition set of early Skullflower albums released on CD by Dirter: this one documents the early Skullflower line-up in massively form-destroying glory, with Matthew Bower joined by Stefan Jaworzyn (Ascension/Whitehouse/Shock et al), Gary Mundy (Ramleh/Broken Flag) and Stuart Dennison live at the Bull & Gate in London on October 7th 1987. 

Double Leopards/Sunroof!/Mouthus
Crippled Rosebud Binding

Music Fellowship LPDOUBLCRIP


Much anticipated hook-up between these three trans-Atlantic monsters. One-side each and then a third monster inter-band jam. Leopards side is a classic haunt, with wraiths of hovering drone peaking in eye-rolling vocal confusion, while the Mouthus track is a fabulous punk trouncing of fuzz-impacted guitar and clattering electrified skin. Sunroof! jams are the real highlight though, especially the doofily-named “Cortez Tha Killa” that features Matthew Bower on repeat-riff nirvana while Mick Flower of Vibracathedral Orchestra lets his wrist fly with some of the most insane and righteously piloted post-Young acid delirium of anyone’s career. Too fucking much. Final big-band side presents a beautiful void of spooked eternity, with shadow forms moving in and out of earshot like so much hallucinatory cumulus. Comes in a full-colour gatefold sleeve, already sold-out at source, so move it.