Jandek - Chair Beside A Window (1982)

The album kicks off with another classic haunted track... in which you can hear some weird almost freeform electronic tape hiss (?!) and Jandek's foot stomp, that also seems to have been accidentally fractalized into something greater than its parts by shitty technology. Then everything fucking EXPLODES and IMPLODES in Dylan-Live-1966-bootleg-proportions on ‘European Jewel’, featuring the funniest Rick Danko-meets-Mingus bass impersonation ever put onto tape! Jandek's guitar playing is getting choppier and more manic on this record until the freak-folk classic ‘Nancy Sings’ comes out of fucking nowhere for no reason causing time to momentarily stop — amazing what a woman's touch can do! The rest of the album noodles around aimlessly for a bit, but is no less ‘exploratory’, with some nice, frustrated steel-string buzz/drone on trax like ‘Blue Blister’ (speaks for itself really). It's interesting to note that despite the record being the most 'fractured' of his albums so far, Jandek's tapping foot is heard on nearly all tracks, proving there is some method to the meshigarse!

Jandek - Follow Your Footsteps (1986)

The solo numbers with acoustic 12-string and intense vocals are hard to top, but the drum-guitar duo that starts the first side has its own kind of ambience that is also priceless. What we have here is a record but more than that, part of a career that comes to us almost rolled up in a time capsule. It is about only itself and makes everything else irrelevant.

Jandek - Blue Corpse

If there’s a single Jandek record to own, I would strongly recommend this one...it stands as a rare moment of clarity within his typically willful obliteration of blues and folk standards. Blue Corpse constantly returns to citations of killing time, falling into the river, and pining for lost love. Jandek’s naturally melancholic wisp of a voice mopes through each of these songs, presenting itself as an embodiment of his internal gloom. Of course, these could be allegorical fictions and metaphoric dramas. Musically, there is also a considerable change in the Jandek approach [here] as his solo guitar work is principally acoustic and actually follows recognizably folkish chord progressions.

JT IV - Cosmic Lightning

Chicago's most notorious and elusive loner punk from the golden era, J.T. IV has been evading the spotlight since his first primordial crawl back in the late 1970s that spawned his unearthly brand of psychotic desperation. I became familiar with two compilation tracks that instantly peaked my interest ("Out of The Can" on Homework vol. 1 and "Death Trip" on Staring Down the Barrel), his name was met with blank stares along with obscurities such as The Crucified, The Exit, Razer, and Pistol Whip, when we went over the list of notable late 70s / early 80s band names we'd gathered while researching the Chicago Punk History article a few years back that ran in issue 11 of Horizontal Action Magazine. While "Out of The Can" straddled the fine line between irresistibly catchy strum-along and folky beard-scratching fare, "Death Trip" reared an uncontrollable (and most likely unintentional) punk ugliness that contrasted into the remarkable repertoire of one of the most important underground music figures in the Chicago area at the time. It's evident in these two polarizing styles that John Henry Timmis (aka J.T. IV) was holding onto a delicate balance of twisted internal pop sap with a lashing and bestial ulterior motive, as he brazenly meshed trashy punked-out glam, creepy outsider folk, and noisy basement experimentation into a pattern of controlled chaos that defies all feasible geographical logic. With only one seemingly solid friendly musical relationship in the loosely-knit Chicago "scene" with Sundog Summit's Lee Groban at the time, everything about the J.T. IV saga seem to perfectly encapsulate the "loner/outsider punk" motif, as a poignant example.

As the story goes, Timmis was institutionalized in 1976 at Menninger Clinic for schizophrenia, and from the sound of "In The Can," it's evident that his inner torment from living life in the gutters, struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism, truncated his mental state and he literally has the songs to prove it. His debut single, "Waiting For The CTA" saw the light of day in 1980, and like the rest of the J.T. IV releases, was produced in a tiny run of less than 200 copies, thereby isolating his influence almost by default. The song still rings true as anyone who's ever had to wait on the buses or trains here knows, and plays a cheesy homage to The Velvet Underground's "Waiting For My Man" with a clowny yet perfect sax track. But it's just the tip of the iceberg as tracks like "Monitors" "Out of the Can," and "Song for Suzanne" really cut beneath the surface of the tortured soul at hand and reveal a genuine vulnerable honesty that seems so out of place in today's music. Timmis died in obscurity in rural Pennsylvania in 2002, with very few people aware of his music or his story, yet with the splendid job on this fine reissue package, I'd assume all that is about to change with the new availability of the Cosmic Lightning album.

Source: Victim of Time

If anyone has a rip of the DVD that came with this album I would be forever grateful if you could share it!

Gary Higgins - Red Hash

Red Hash is simply one of the best folk albums from the 1970s and was something of a lost masterpiece until Drag City re-issued it a few years back. Gary Higgins is criminally underrated... or maybe his excellence has reached redundancy. The composition and presentation of the songs is impeccable and Higgins' guitar playing is incredibly emotive and the range of emotions present on this album is absolutely stunning.

Factums - The Sistrum

Full-length follow-up to last year’s LP on the recently resurrected Sitlbreeze label from this band that vaguely circles in the A-Frames/Intelligence/Fruit Bats orbit. Critics have compared Factums to Tronics, Cabaret Voltaire, or Pere Ubu’s more chaotic moments also citing some heavy Kraut influenced flashes.

Buy It Here

Dead C - Secret Earth

The elegance of howling guitar noise was fully realized when The Dead C appeared. For over twenty years now, the trio has continually redefined what rock music is and can sound like, and have inspired Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Wolf Eyes, and Comets On Fire, not to mention the current fertile underground noise scene.

The Dead C is the ultimate blues band. But rather than departing from the heartfelt singing of the African-American South, they express the tenets of alienation in society with unrelenting force-- a focused soundtrack to accompany Knut Hamsun novels, Samuel Beckett plays, and Ingmar Bergman films. Michael Morley's monotonic vocal moan anchors the inherent isolation of our modern world--nothing is more earnest, nothing sounds so lost.

In its career, The Dead C has oscillated between two poles. Recent albums explore drones, electronic loops, and musique concrete. However, their new album, Secret Earth, proselytizes oceanic feedback, catastrophic drumming, and a return to the cripple rock blasts of their early material.

Along the axis of The Dead C's recordings, Secret Earth sounds like it was created between Eusa Kills and Harsh '70s Reality. It contains a straightforward (for them) expression of sound, while continually pushing their vast improvisational techniques into a realm of subconscious genius.

Sapat - Mortoise & Tenon

Sapat is sort of a black sheep among the trash-punk of recent Siltbreeze releases. It's a pretty clean-sounding record in comparison-- not to mention owing more to krautrock than punk or noise. But it still veers between extremes in unpredictable and often gorgeous ways, using instruments from country to classical as they quietly shift the face of rural America like a rust-belt expansion pack for Populous. "Phalange" is hazy ambient from solitary keyboard tones, while "Maat Fount" builds from a simple riff to inevitable full-band climax with droning strings and back-porch plucking. "Dark Silver" is a different band entirely, with huge ascending guitar riffs over witchy vocals and a tribal full-band throb. Common and comfortable ways to "jam", perhaps, but what Sapat add to it is subtle and striking, from the quivering bed of strings in "Root Bulb" to the skull-splitting phase tone that slices through the wah-pedal piddling of "Lovely & Free".

Folk Implosion - Pole Position 7"

The very under rated lead-off single for Dare to Be Surprised that captures everything that is great about this band into one concise statement. Also featuring an acoustic version of the EP track "Opening Day" and the great surf instrumental "Summer's Over"

Titmachine - We Build A New City 7"

For the lucky few who were floored by Titmachine's debut 7" (released earlier this yr via Meeuw Muzak) come this sophomore effort, loaded for bear & released on the Siltbreeze label. Continuing their penchant for a-side covers, this time the ladies tackle Palais Schaumburg's 'Wir Bauen Eine Neue Stadt' (or 'We Build A New City' if you speak only in God's preferred tongue) & the results are as devastatingly great as could be imagined. Stripped of it's NDW gloss, Titmachine's reworking is more doused in raw Gueuze than refined Pilsener. In other words, them yeast's be wild y'all! The flip is an awesome (& original) little jawdropper entitled '1989' & is remarkably akin to what the Shaggs might sound like tackling the Urinals 'Ack Ack Ack'. Pressed on heliocentric black vinyl in a human(e) edition of less than one million copies, how chuffed can your summer be if you miss this chance to woggle in Titmachine's primitve, urpy grock? Don't tempt fate, buy now!

Little Claw - Race To The Bottom 7"

The evolution of Little Claw has been wondrous to behold & now their beguiling cluck has found it's way into the Siltbreeze ranks. On what is their 5th vinyl outing, the band has laid down 2 distinct tracks & they are mightly gallops of ambidextrous charge. 'Race To The Bottom' rakes across the nodules of your brain w/serrated glee while 'Feeding You' could be a cosmic transmission from futuristic denizens who have carved Terrence Mckenna' pancreas into psychedelic sweetbreads & gobbled them for lysergic sustenance. The sound is, as one of the main pie tasters from Bull Tongue recently opined, "Fucking Awesome"! Edition of 400 copies

Woods - How To Survive In + The Woods

Experimental folk music anthems with Jeremy and Christian from Meneguar. How To Survive consists of everything from more traditional singer/songwriter songs to noisy yet beautiful outbursts of brilliant lo-fi madness. A truly amazing collection of songs. Originally released as a double cassette on Fuck It Tapes, now remastered and finally avaliable on cd.

Woods began in the woods, at the foot of Bear Mountain. In the earliest days it was a collaborative improvisational group with two core members and several guests, known as woodsists. Shortly thereafter, Jeremy Earl and Christian DeRoeck emerged from the woods, dusted themselves off, and began to walk upright. The two woodsists immersed themselves in human culture, learned to craft a melody, to wield a tambourine, to construct a crude phonograph from spare bicycle parts. They learned the value of a cassette. Jeremy and Christian returned to the woods and shared their newfound knowledge with the other woodsists. The result was Woods, songs and improvisations by outsiders, inspired by the human experience.

Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments - You Lookin' For Treble?

Comprised of material recorded between 1989 and 1994, You Lookin' for Treble? is the musical equivalent of Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments' junior-high yearbook. A document of the band's early, occasionally awkward stages, the album is marked by lineup shifts (detailed in the liner notes) and the usual trappings of a new band trying to find its sound. Over the course of Treble?'s 20 tracks, the band gels into an abrasive, yet danceable, noisy punk outfit (fittingly heavy on the treble all the way around) led by vocalist Ron House who was quite clearly trying to distance himself musically from his recently disbanded bouncy rock/new wave outfit Great Plains. With the rhythm section in an almost constant state of turnover, the band's sound is defined by House's snide tirades and Bob Petrick's nimble guitar work characterized by a winning balance of barred chords and false harmonics (also present in Petrick's other first-rate outfit, Girly Machine). Of the songs included on You Lookin' for Treble?, only one, "You Can't Kill Stupid," ever found its way on to a proper Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments studio effort (a cleaned up take appears on 1995's Bait & Switch), though several others can be found on the band's impossible-to-find early singles and their infamous promo-only 10", as well as various compilation records (at least half a dozen of the songs are available on volumes one and two of Datapanik Records' Greatest Hits). You Lookin' for Treble? serves nicely as the missing link between House's exit from Great Plains and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments 1995 major-label debut, Bait & Switch, on the American/Onion imprint.

Woods - At Rear House

A combination of campfire folk and strange assembly techniques that should make mouth-breathers everywhere tingle with desire. Indeed, there is much to like about the way these guys play by the numbers, then fall apart and reassemble themselves in different guises. Gotta say, the new folk reaction to noise is pretty damn dandy.
-Byron Coley

Buy it here

Nothing People - Anonymous

Over the last couple of years, the Nothing People have released three stellar 7" records and during that time, they have built a 'fan club' that includes Anopheles Records' Karl Ikola, the guys at Victim of Time, Siltbreeze's Tom Lax, In the Red's Larry Hardy, the folks down at Your Flesh, Ryan Wells of Z Gun, and many more. And over the last couple years this 'fan club' has asked me 'when's the full length?' over and over again. Well, now they can shut the hell up, because the Nothing People's first album is here! And let me tell you this, while the Nothing Peeps have plenty of songs that yell out 'put me on a 45,' they have just as many that demand to be heard in long form.

Sic Alps - U.S. Ez

After a run of successful EPs, singles and compilation appearances in 2006-2007, the Sic Alps joined the Siltbreeze roster and dropped their best material yet and arguably the best album of 2008. The duo of Mike Donovan & Matt Hartmen took the purest essence of the sound they had developed to that point and mixed it with soaring 60's pop. If no one told you otherwise you'd swear from the warm fidelity that this album was recorded in 1968.

You'll read a lot of lazy comparisons to Nuggets when you read about this band, but did any of those bands sound this sleezy and this raw while still delivering hooks like the ones in "Mater" and "Sing Song Waitress"? Somehow I doubt it. Take the early Stooges, Spacemen 3, The Zombies & The Clean and put them in a blender and you have the sound of the Sic Alps. So imperfect yet so right at the same time. Listen to it and love it. This is what rock & roll is supposed to sound like.

Buy the album from Siltbreeze

V-3 - Russian Roulette (Chinese Style) 7"

A very strange release that is really nothing like any other V-3 release that I have heard. This isn't so much a collection of songs as it is a collection of weird fragments of found sound (mainly spoken word) and super lo-fi song fragments. It's almost like tuning in to some weird distant radio station.

The Shadow Ring - City Lights

The very first Shadow Ring album. Unlike their other work, this album is much less heavy on the vocals. It's clear that the band is definitely still developing their sound at this point, but if you are a fan of their other albums you will find a lot to enjoy on this one.

Note: I will now be using Sharebee from this point forward.