posted October 10th, 2012

SUMMER DEEP did we get here, anyway? Here we are, sitting on top of a pile of primo records, really great shit man. The last few months must have been awesome! Time for a moment of instrospection and self-hypnosis...ahhh. Safety. Now, if memory serves, it all started in the bloody heart of the summer. This is siesta time in many parts of our incredible shrinking industry, but not here at Drag City's weatherproof fartress. July was the time we chose to start our end of the year putsch with a definitive, tri-pronged attack: a head-on assault, some flanking action and yeah, even a bit of trickery. The three titles for this mission chose themselves, really - but they couldn't have been more perfect, promising to blow up three different areas of both the theoretical worldwide market as well as the literal shop around the corner. Their names are now a matter of public record collections everywhere: Laetitia Sadier, Silencio; Bonnie 'Prince' Billy "Now Here's My Plan," and OM Advaitic Songs.


4th of July be damned! The big fireworks popped for reals on the 24th of the month, when all of the above hit the streets and split into three directions, each ending up dominating conversation in their respective parts of the world. OM drew the mystics into a circle and blew their group mind with the cycle that will ever be Advaitic Songs. Laetitia took the pure poppers, the soundtrackers and the do-gooders by the neck and, waving for Silencio, pointed toward the intricacies of the injustices of the world they hadn't noticed in their righteousness, doing it with such grace and melodiousness, all were captivated and changed in the process. Meanwhile, catlike, Bonnie dropped into his crowd of 'Prince'-ites and was quickly absorbed in...well, it wasn't clear what they were all on about, and what they went and did after that can't really be repeated here, which is pretty amazing if you think about it. Anyway, the nasties that they did were to the tune of the "Now Here's My Plan" EP, which recasts six different moods of Bonny from classic records like Arise Therefore, Superwolf, Ease Down the Road, _Master and Everyone_, Beware and of course, I See a Darkness.

All three records have gone through several printings there and are all in danger of selling out again. If you haven't made your move already, it's time to parties with these bad boys and girls. Give it a try, life is long!


August deep, and we were ready for another realm-changer. Like the unstoppable OM and the transcendent Advaitic Songs, another one of the big musical items of the second half of the year sprang from the steaming days of summer. Like a flaming arrow, it passed through the body politic uncleanly, pulling scraps of meat off the bone as it burned its way through. Why, even at this late date, wounds around the country are still open, pulsing with fresh rivulets of blood and maggots born of this musical onslaught - and frankly, that's the world Six Organs of Admittance was born into. That's the desperate, life-and-death-style that 600A magus Ben "I ? The Stand" Chasny giggles over in his daydreams. He's been working consistently for years making incantatory, exploratory music that never stops reaching outside itself and pulling that outside back in to its darkest soul-caves - but with Ascent, Six Organs of Admittance has managed to roll it all together as one, bringing spiritual projections and astral planes crashing together in a brutal display of rock. The stars are clearly in alignment for Ben, who has not only achieved a graceful trip into the rock-opera genre with Ascent (a bit more Tarkovsky than Ken Russell, if you read between my wavy lines correctly), but also engineered a reunion of sorts for one of the aughts' best underground rock titans, Comets On Fire, in the process. As well as the the sci-fi narrative of Ascent, there's also the META sci-fi aspect of things that comes with the album's inclusion of new versions of songs that Six Organs was playing at the time that Ben hooked with the Comets fellows - because remaking them within the context of this encompassing narrative seems to comment on the comment, you dig? Outta site! Naturally, we wouldn't even be talking to you about any of this if the songs hadn't intruded upon our (fiercely-guarded) inner lives - but it is so, everyone is walking around the compound all day, their faces each a perfect blank. But a matching blank, and you know just from looking that we're all humming the same tune inside our perfectly-clouded heads. Ascent is just that perfect of a combination of head rocking and ass-rolling boogie. Clearly, Chazz’s having his fun as he revisits “Close to the Sky” and “One Thousand Birds,” unleashing loads of steaming guitar leads to pour volcanically over the dialed-in rhythms. Ben and the Comets guys aren't the types we imagine to be into taxidermy, and naturally, that would involve their creatures of choice being lifeless, which is anything but the case. Instead, all and sundry prove to be ace at reanimating the old flesh - to wit, there are a couple Crazy Horsican stomps tossed out like the bones that they are during the proceedings. Additionally, side one echoes wickedly into time like the lost third side of Peter Green’s “Oh Well.” So the classics are represented as well as the new stuff, all of which ascends as high as Six Organs has ever gone. This is what rock and roll is about - and Chasny the guitar man has now officially approached rock from all the angles (except for doo-wop - Ben, would you...uh, okay forget it). Don't worry about what's next! Ascent will take you there.


You know what the world's all but forgotten about? Geez, the list's too long to even go into, but what we were thinking about when we started this sentence a second ago was the act of sweating. It used to be such a constant part of life during the hot months. And don't forget, we're reviewing some of the hottest months of 2012 in this little passage of the newsletter - it may be icy cold where you are, or unbearably mild, but when these two Streamline records we're about to talk about were released, it wasn't just hotter than July, it was as hot as the first week in September! Hot is a perfect temperature to hear the new records from Streamline. Streamline, as you must surely be aware by now, is one of the many labels curated by Christoph Heemann, the German experimentalist/post-kraut/industrial/wha??? musician whose own work includes the discographies of H.N.A.S., Mimir, Plastic Palace People and too many damn collaborations to even do more than indicate at here. Over our decade-plus of working with Streamline, releases have included records by Nurse With Wound, Little Annie, Xhol Caravan, Andrew Chalk, William Basinski, Jim O'Rourke, Charlemagne Palestine (remixed by Heemann) and many freaky others. But what people don't know about Streamline releases is how secretly sunshiney they are, and therefore, how perfect they are for the dog days of summer - put one on and let the clock tick and the sweat pour as the sonic minutia unfurls - it's a lovely way to get back in tune with the earth and the tides and the sun. Take Nicholas Szczepanik's Please Stop Loving Me CD (back in print here!), with its crystalline, bell-like approach to drone-construction. Magnificent! Now he's collaborating with a fellow-traveller in the sea of microsound, Federico Durand. Together they are Every Hidden Color. Their shimmering debut LP is called Luz. Really good copies are still available in our store, and if you're the kind who credits yourself with open ears and a eye for the infinite, you gotta Luz. Also debuting from Streamline on that steamy September day was an extensive reissue of all sorts of material that made the record I, Anatomy by CELER. Simultaneously heavy and light, I Anatomy is heavier than the average record - that's cause it's a double album, hyuk! All super-hilarity aside, the sounds of CELER (Danielle Baquet-Long and Will Long) on I, Anatomy are comprised of music, samples and recordings collected and regenerated between 2005 and 2009. Using the emergent style of capture and transmorgification, these are contemporary ambient electronics, with a new goal. That goal is achieved when new and clearly other quasi-musical forms emerge - which they do repeatedly over the four sides of this album. As we said above, massive - and hot and dusty and all-weather too - now that it's cold, or mild or raining, Both CELER and Every Hidden Color aren't affected in the least. In fact, they're only enhanced! Funny how that happens - we can only assume that the sonic alchemists that Streamline favors have a line on how this works.


Record labels are worse than ever! I mean, there was like, two months there with no new Ty Segall record! Come on people, you can do better than this! The kid's virtually breathing records out on a daily basis it seems! We helped keep the flow going back in April with the Hair collaborative album featuring White Fence - so there's an idea, young labels! Just throw ol' kid in the studio with a couple other of your best and brightest and bingo! Ty Plays Acid-Folk Classics! Ty Segall and the All-Stars of Grunge! Ty Segall Meets the Master Saxes! Then we'd get back to having a record every month. Meanwhile, we put out a 7" in September called "The Hill," which in case you are stupid, or merely forgetful, was the lead-in (with non-LP B!) to the new official Next Album After Goodbye Bread lined up for October. That's right - Twins is here! We love parties that never end, burritos at 4am, dogs that love cats, and Twins! If feel like we feel, add it to the shopping list! And while you're at it, cross another month off the Ty Segall release schedule for us. Drag City has done our duty - three out of the twelve months of 2012 are covered, dude. Who's next?

We're forgetting something, aren't we? If only we could remember our name, or what it was, or where the papers were, or who took the last box of CDs by whathisname...we'll get back at you on the morrow with another installment of "What We Did On Your Holidays While We Were Working Our Brains Out (Do Brains Grow Back), What's My Name Again?"