King Tubby - Roots of Dub (1975)

King Tubby's dub art began to flower on remixes for producer Bunny Lee. The engineer treated hundreds of Lee productions between 1973-1975, establishing dub as a independent style in reggae music in the process. While protégés and future dub stars Prince Jammy and Scientist would eventually remix some of the Lee dub tracks under Tubby's name, the sides on Roots of Dub are all done by Tubby himself. As the title implies, one hears the beginnings of his original dub style: a soundscape made up more by spare yet innovative deconstructions of the original sides than by the many added sound effects heard on future mixes. And while a handful of Tubby discs suffer from second-rate material, this collection stands out with some of the choicest of Lee's rhythm tracks. No small credit for this quality goes to Lee's amazing early reggae house band, the Aggrovators, which featured bassist Robbie Shakepeare, drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis, and guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith, among others. A fine introduction to this artist's catalog.

Pajo - Scream With Me (2009)

If you the thought 3-chord punk couldn’t be simplified any further, then you’ve been misled. Pajo takes punk’s musical manifesto and turns it into very simple lo-fi acoustic jams. Pajo follows the chordal tonality of each song, then turning the power chords into natural chords more suitable for the tenderness of plucking and finger picking. Pajo’s feeble vocals could bother some, but I found them to be pleasantly human.

You’re not going to find a whole lot of progressive jazz riffs, piercing harmonics, spastic time signatures or anything else that made Pajo a Louisville legend, but there is a great way to enjoy this album: build a camp fire deep within your local wilderness destination, crack open a few cold ones and indulge in one of the most epic sing-a-longs courtesy of Pajo, and of course, Dr. Glenn Danzig.

Boston Spaceships - Brown Submarine (2008)

After two years of treading water following the break-up of Guided by Voices, Robert Pollard finally seems to be reconnecting with his muse in a real way. Robert Pollard Is Off To Business, his first album after parting ways with Merge Records and launching his own label, was the strongest and most consistent set he's released since going solo, and four months later Pollard has returned with a new band, Boston Spaceships, featuring John Moen of the Decemberists and the Dharma Bums and Chris Slusarenko of the Takeovers and Sprinkler. Teaming up with some fresh collaborators seems to have done Pollard a world of good after recording the bulk of his post-GBV work with Todd Tobias handling all the instruments; Moen and Slusarenko don't bring a striking level of chops to Brown Submarine, Boston Spaceships' debut album, but their work has an organic feel and a natural energy that helps these sessions sound like the work of a real band, and Pollard has thankfully focused on quality rather than quantity in his songwriting, with most of these 14 tunes suggesting the vitality of GBV's peak period without sounding as if he's rewriting his old work, which was the case with too much of his work in 2006 and 2007. Pollard and his partners don't sound as if they're breaking much new ground on Brown Submarine, but that doesn't seem to be the point with this album -- it doesn't reinvent the wheel but it lets it roll very well indeed, and hopefully this is a sign that Pollard is ready to make up for lost time after an unexpected fallow period.

The Fall - I am Kurious Oranj (1988)

The last thing most Fall fans expected the group to do in 1988 was provide music for a ballet, but in fact this is what they did. Of course, it helped that the Michael Clark company of dancers were some of the most avant-garde at the time in Britain and were inspired originally by the Fall's "Hey! Luciani" single. The concept, very loosely, centers around William and Mary of Orange, and finds Smith arranging William Blake's "Jerusalem" for the band, adding his own lyrics ("It was the fault of the government," providing ironic contrast to the self-sufficiency espoused in Blake). As a cohesive Fall album it fails: The strongest tracks are those that have little to do with the ballet (and are available elsewhere). "New Big Prinz" updates their own "Hip Priest" into one of their heaviest tracks, full of threat and wonder. "Cab It Up!" features all forward momentum and jingling keyboards. For the first time tracks felt like filler, and indeed they were. The CD booklet contains photographs from the performance full of giant pop-art hamburgers and cans of baked beans, suggesting I Am Kurios Oranj would have been more interesting to see than hear.

The Fall - Perverted By Language (1983)

Punk may have been the initial spark for the Fall, but by 1983 they had made it clear that whatever trend was next was not for them. Brix Smith made her debut with the band on Perverted by Language, helping to introduce the slightly more pop-friendly era of the group with another fine album. She takes lead vocals at various points throughout, notably "Hotel Bloedel," while her husband plays violin and adds extra spoken word thoughts along the way. The hints of strange beauty that the Fall can sometimes let into its world appear here more than once -- whether it's Brix's influence or not isn't clear, and why not? "Garden" still hits hard while using a softer chime at its heart, while "Hexen Definitive" is almost a country (and western) stroll. Even for all the slightly more accessible touches for a wider audience, the Fall remain the Fall. "Smile" shows the band's abilities at tense audio drama excellently, a relentless, steady build with the Steve and Paul Hanley and Karl Burns rhythm section leading the way, winding up to a total explosion that never comes. Smith's increasingly frenetic vocals match the looming dread of the track to a T. "Neighbourhood of Infinity," notable for its appearance on Palace of Swords Reversed, crops up here in a studio take, again a sequel of sorts to "The Man Whose Head Expanded." Musically it hits its own stride, another of the many motorik-tinged tunes that helped give the Fall its own particular edge ("I Feel Voxish" also fills that bill, and quite well at that). "Eat Y'Self Fitter," touching on everything from meeting heroes (maybe) to returning late rental videos, makes for a great start to things, an endlessly cycling rockabilly chug with extra keyboard oddities and sudden music-less exchanges for the chorus.

The Fall - Grotesque: Expanded Edition (1980)

Kicking off with the thrilling bite of "Pay Your Rates," on Grotesque, the Fall really started hitting its stride, with Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon now a devastatingly effective combination, somehow managing to sound exactly placed between random sloppiness and perfect precision. The sharp rockabilly leads and random art rock racket thrived on both counts, with Smith as always the mad jester ripping into anything and everything while having a great time doing so. The final song of the album was especially fierce -- "The N.W.R.A.," short for "the north will rise again," Smith's own take on the long-standing "soft south/grim north" dichotomy in English society given extremely bitter life. Throughout the record, a slew of really good producers keep an eye on things -- besides the band themselves, there are Grant Showbiz, Geoff Travis, and Mayo Thompson all contributing. The end result is crisp without being polished, rough while packing its own smart punch (though "W. M. C.-Blob 59" intentionally sounds like it was recorded eight rooms over). Some nice variety starts appearing more and more in the Fall approach as well -- "C'n'C-s Mithering," a brilliant vivisection of California and its record business, and the attendant perception of the Fall themselves, relies on acoustic guitars instead of electric, creating an understated but still great groove. "Impression of J. Temperance" fits more immediately with what had come before, but the martial drums from Paul Hanley and Riley's freaky keyboards create some crazy atmospheres. Of course, Smith sends everything over the top, whether it's his rant about governments, dead neighbors, and scandals on the hilarious romp "New Face in Hell" or "In the Park." As a side note, the hilarious music scene caricatures on the front cover and wind-up liner notes add just the right level of acidic wit to the proceedings.

Jim Shepard - Evil Love Deeper (1995)

Evil Love Deeper exists in a weird place in the Iron Press; not quite as song-based as much of the V-3 material (although there is a great live V-3 track here, “Tetramagorica”), and it’s not as Jandek-influenced as Shepard’s aforementioned solo Siltbreeze LP. There are some great moments on Evil Love Deeper, such as Skullbank’s bouncy, Minutemen-like “Revelling Finalities,” Dickie’s cello-hook on “Your Leader,” the somewhat pretty “That One Thing,” and “Harry’s Getting Ready to Shave,” which sounds like a medley of two of V-3’s most well-known tracks, “Negotiate Nothing” and “Harry,” as played by a sleepy Pere Ubu.

How do all of these memorable moments add up? Pretty well, I’d have to say that Shepard really knew how to orchestrate his material over the course of a full-length better than most people know how to pick their nose, and I’d take a full-length of his over one the many seven-inches he put any day; because while this may not be as oddly heroic as Negotiate Nothing, as eerie and unsettling as Picking Through the Wreckage with a Stick, as impressive as Photograph Burns, it feels like a lot more than the collection of odds and ends recorded over the course of the first half of the 90’s. Evil Love Deeper is a focused effort, full of peaks, valleys, twists and turns; one of Shepard's few remaining artifacts… urging us to scratch deeper beneath the surface of the two themes of love and evil, and dwell with Shepard in the underworld where the two could coexist with almost interchangeable identities.

Cabaret Voltaire - Red Mecca (1981)

It isn't without reason that Red Mecca is often referred to as one of Cabaret Voltaire's most cohesive and brilliant records. There are tangible bumpers (the record is buttressed by squealing/wheezing interpretations of Henry Mancini's music for Orson Welles' Touch of Evil), so by that aspect there's a tangible center. And taken as a whole, the record contains all the characteristics that have made the Sheffield group such an influential entity when it comes to electronic music of the untethered, experimental variety that isn't afraid to shake its tail a little. Unlike a fair portion of CV's studio output, Red Mecca features no failed experiments or anything that could be merely cast off as "interesting." It's a taught, dense, horrific slab lacking a lull. Dashes of Richard H. Kirk's synthesizer are welded to Chris Watson's tape effects for singed lashes of white noise, best heard on the lurching "Sly Doubt" and the jolting "Spread the Virus." Throughout, Mallinder's sinister jibber jabbering punctuates the high-pitched menace. What he's ranting about is rarely obvious, as the clarity of his voice is often obstructed by the tape effects, synth work, and other random whip-cracks (Watson's periodic surges of organ are another treat). Judging from his irritated tone, odds are the lyrics have little to do with bunnies jumping over dandelions or anything nearing pleasant -- it's that lack of definition that makes things all the more unsettling. Several tunes have a thick rhythmic drive. The instrumental "Landslide" is painfully short at two minutes, with a bopping machine beat and barely perceptible vocal samples that dart between the left and right channels. A grainy programmed rhythm and Kirk's sickly guitar manglings dominate the sleazy "Split Second Feeling." Sick, searing, engrossing. Along with 2X45 and The Living Legends, this is their best offering.

Swell Maps - Jane From Occupied Europe (1980)

On their second album, Swell Maps displayed even more ambition and confidence than on their debut, which was a plus. Even though their music was still somewhat fragmented, Jane from Occupied Europe was more focused and compelling than their debut focusing not only more on their song based-work but also in rackety instrumentals that sound like they are the product of of very spontaneous moments.

Ciccone Youth - The Whitey Album (1988)

On its initial release, The Whitey Album was treated like a collaboration between Minutemen bass virtuoso Mike Watt and punk rock revolutionaries Sonic Youth. This would have been a perfect match, with two enormous talents coming together for an entire album. But in reality it is far stranger than that: a highly experimental tribute to Madonna performed by Sonic Youth with the exception of one song that is entirely played by Mike Watt without any other musicians accompanying him. The DGC re-release features a cleaner sound and the original packaging from the 1988 SST version, along with liner notes written by Watt explaining his small role in the project. His song, a cover of Madonna's "Burnin' Up," is a smooth, groovy home recording that showcases his rich voice. Sonic Youth takes a shot at "Into the Groove" (renamed "Into the Groovey") and manages to mold a fantastic dirge out of the original. Thurston Moore's lazy vocals pair up with Madonna's sampled voice seamlessly, and the low-quality production only adds to the homegrown feel. Besides Kim Gordon's karaoke remake of "Addicted to Love," little else on this album resembles a normal song. Edgy noise experiments and heavy sound manipulation make these songs more than interesting, and the emphasis on dance rhythms keeps things from getting too unlistenable. Although the song order is questionable (after the first song there is a minute of silence), this album is incredibly fun and experimental. Although it was only a side project, the intense creativity of this time in Sonic Youth's career spills out all over this album, making it a rare treat for fans.

Do Make Say Think - Goodbye Enemy Airship, The Landlord Is Dead (2000)

What's refreshing about Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord Is Dead is its earnestness and straightforward approach. The band implements some interesting mixing techniques, including panning electronic loops and rich reverb, which invite the "post-rock" critiques, but also enhance their sound. The guitars are deft, and most of the album relies on minor droning themes. "When Day Chokes Night," the first track, opens with a lone guitar riff that builds to a cathartic demise, but this formula -- simple melodies pushed to their brink -- is used too often and becomes a bit repetitive. "The Landlord Is Dead," as well as the final track, "Goodbye Enemy Airship," both have this build-up dynamic. The band's best moments come during the subdued passages when tiny electronic blips undercut the drummers' rim shots. These relaxed passages seem well suited to the band's sense of experimentation and also allow them to indulge in a bit of variety. Far from the Tortoise or jazz sound, Do Make creates some interesting moments that prove there's more to music these days than a sampler and a drum machine.

Minor Threat - Complete Discography (1981-1983)

Complete Discography compiles Minor Threat's entire body of recordings on a single compact disc. Hardcore, as a rule, wasn't particularly musically diverse, but Minor Threat were one of the genre's groundbreaking acts and their music has held up better than most of their contemporaries. As the de facto leaders of the Washington, D.C., hardcore scene, the band pioneered the straight-edge mentality by emphasizing impossibly fast tempos, brief songs, political lyrics, and a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle. Besides setting the precedent for several generations of punk rockers with their music and ideals, Minor Threat were simply a better band than most hardcore groups. They had a tight, distinctive sound that wasn't as heavy as their Californian counterparts and, therefore, were often more bracing and effective. Although some of the music on Complete Discography, like much of hardcore in general, hasn't aged particularly well -- with its cheap production, rigid song structures, and political concerns, it is very much a piece of the early '80s -- the sound remains invigorating; the band possessed a visceral energy matched by only a handful of their peers. Complete Discography, in fact, is not only one of the cornerstones of any hardcore collection, it's not a bad way to become acquainted with hardcore.

Alan Licht - Sink The Aging Process (1995)

As guitarist with '90s indie rock group Run On, Alan Licht was known as a crafty pop sideman. As a member of Rudolph Grey's Blue Humans, he summoned feedback and noise from his guitar in the free improvised music context of post-punk New York. On this solo record, his love for minimalist music comes to the fore, presenting two side-long tracks of droning feedback that recall Terry Riley in their mantric intensity. "Betty Page" is a swirling and hypnotic noise-drone that collapses under its own weight; the guitars at times bring to mind Eno and Robert Fripp on No Pussyfooting. While the flip side, "Polarity," is credited to Mike Watt, it is apparent that Licht is making a joke on the concept of it being a cover of the Minutemen, as the prevailing drone hypnotizes for some 20 minutes. Leading a new wave of minimalism coming from the post-rock quarter, Licht's explorations go a step further on Rabbi Sky, his subsequent solo album.

Chocolate USA - Smoke Machine (1994)

Smoke Machine is the second and final album from Chocolate USA, a kind of satellite, proto-Elephant 6 band (led by pop savant Julian Kostner) that comes on like the sloppily perfect project handed in by the dumb brilliant kid in art class who tosses off skewered masterpiece after skewered masterpiece almost in spite of himself. And like that art project, Smoke Machine is a mess full of loose musical threads and lighthearted goofing off, but it's also an inspired mess that is packed full of ideas and inspiration. The album is as much a product of wandering attention spans as it is a result of broad imagination, or, most likely, the band's attention strayed because it had so many ideas that it wanted to pursue. The manner of recording -- on the run between various bedrooms and studios in Tampa, Athens, Hoboken and Belleville, NJ -- might have something to do with the splayed creativity of the album, but it could not have been accomplished without a vision, and Chocolate USA seems to see in bright, bold patterns. Smoke Machine is presumably a concept album of sorts -- not one that reveals its logic readily, but one can assume it springs out of childhood experiences and perspectives as evidenced by the fun-loving, cartoonish angst that permeates the songs ("The Boy Who Stuck His Head in a Dryer" contains the depressed motif "there is no Santa Claus"). If Nick Drake had been less introspective and more well-adjusted with a propensity for joyous, off-the-cuff pop ditties that stretch the barriers of the form, he might have ended up as part of Chocolate USA. While every melody and song is catchy as hell, and although Kostner's vocals are tender, this is pop music at its most exploratory without aspiring to (yet not sacrificing) accessibility. The whole of it is un-self-conscious brilliance.

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe As Milk (1967)

Beefheart's first proper studio album is a much more accessible, pop-inflected brand of blues-rock than the efforts that followed in the late '60s -- which isn't to say that it's exactly normal and straightforward. Featuring Ry Cooder on guitar, this is blues-rock gone slightly askew, with jagged, fractured rhythms, soulful, twisting vocals from Van Vliet, and more doo wop, soul, straight blues, and folk-rock influences than he would employ on his more avant-garde outings. "Zig Zag Wanderer," "Call on Me," and "Yellow Brick Road" are some of his most enduring and riff-driven songs, although there's plenty of weirdness on tracks like "Electricity" and "Abba Zaba.

Note: This is the far superior mono version, ripped from vinyl.

Jandek - Worthless Recluse (2001)

Jandek does away with any tunefulness and goes for straight ahead spoken word inter-galactic beat poetry. Why this hasn't been taken more seriously by the spoken-words/poetry scene as a major work is a travesty of the highest order. A very interesting curiosity if nothing else.


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Jim Shepard - Picking Through The Wreckage With A Stick (1995)

Monomaniacal home-recordists-cum-outsider-musicians are getting to be a rather common breed, but Columbus, Ohio's Jim Shepard was hunkered down in his primordial lair back when most people thought "lo-fi" meant listening to music on a transistor radio. Far more devoted to noise than most one-man/4-track operations, Shepard — who hung himself at home in October 1998 — had a flair for carving out blocks of blue-collar art-rock that rivals fellow Rust Belt survivors like Destroy All Monsters and Pere Ubu (in its heyday). He also tempered the smart-guy sound-assemblage with a dark and smoky garage aesthetic born of toxin-laden practice spaces and beer-soaked lunch hours out behind the plant.

Fire Engines - Hungry Beat (1980 - 81)

The Fire Engines managed a mere three singles and one mini-album before dissolving in late 1981, yet they remain a hugely seminal band. As austere as any post-punk combo, this Edinburgh four-piece specialised in surreally frenetic live gigs that rarely stretched beyond 15 minutes and were an acknowledged major influence on the Jesus & Mary Chain. Although they took their name from a 13th Floor Elevators song the Fire Engines were never about psychedelia. This spirited grab-bag of a better-late-than-never greatest hits set confirms them as musical contemporaries and soulmates of fellow Scots Orange Juice and Josef K; an amateurish and engaging mix of propulsive punk, spindly funk and gentle adolescent poetry. Their sole album, 1981’s Lubricate Your Living Room (Background Music For Action People!) was so defiantly anti-commercial that it arrived wrapped in a plastic carrier bag, and at times the Fire Engines seemed to be nothing but rough edges. Nearly thirty years on, scratchy, itchy song-bursts like "Candyskin" and "Meat Whiplash" still sound like first-take demos: the “production,” if the term even applies, is so rudimentary that it scarcely exists. This was part of the appeal, of course. Despite their terminal non-musical cack-handedness, there was a sweet alchemy to even the Fire Engines’ rawest machinations. The attitudinal white-boy funk of "Big Gold Dream" remains a visceral rush despite the limitations of nasal singer Davie Henderson, and it makes total sense that the abrasive, Fall-like "Get Up and Use Me" is regularly covered by current Fire Engines devotees Franz Ferdinand. Talking Heads’ first ever CBGB’s soundcheck must have sounded something like this. Hungry Beat is a period piece, sure, but it's a fascinating and a rewarding one.

A Band - Artex b/w A lot (1993)

This early '90's freak ensemble boasted such luminaries in their ranks as Neil Campbell, Richard Youngs, Stewart Walden, and the fire breathing Sticky Foster. This LP sounds like if Sun Ra and Nick Turner from Hawkwind bred and created a race of mutant children. Both tracks were recorded live to a walkmen circa 1990-91.

Cabaret Voltaire - The Living Legends (1978 - 1981)

If one needs a starting place to discover how an obscure trio of Sheffield sound experimentalists became one of the founders of industrial/EBM music, not to mention a whole range of artists interested in pushing the boundaries of recorded sound, The Living Legends is it. Conveniently collecting the series of singles the classic trio line-up released on Rough Trade Records, Legends makes for astonishing listening even today, alien now as it was then, and perhaps even more so. Compiled in more or less chronological order with a few exceptions, the tracks range from the quietly mysterious to astonishing, in-your-face sonics. The earliest single, "Do the Mussolini," and its various B-sides initially cast the band as gloomy, dour figures interested in fooling around with tape machines, rhythm boxes and a sense of echo that always made them sound like they were recording in the deep bowels of the earth. The Velvet Underground's "Here She Comes Now" gets an intriguing revamp here, Kirk's guitar buzzing the main riff in the background. After that, things really kick in with the groundbreaking "Nag Nag Nag," brilliantly coproduced by Rough Trade boss Geoff Travis and Red Krayola bandleader Mayo Thompson. Mallinder's abstract aggression as his electronically treated voice roars the title line is breathtaking enough, but the combination of heavily treated guitar and keyboard noise over the basic but effective rhythm pulse adds to the fantastic effect. Many other standouts follow from here, including the lengthy drone/groove of "Walls of Jerico" and the near-clinical push of "Second Too Late," with a gripping duet between a distanced Mallinder vocal and an upfront, vocodered and dead sounding voice. The sense of how the Cabs used everything from the more chaotic end of Krautrock to dub techniques surfaces throughout, capturing the sense of how they at once synthesized past approaches and created new ones.

This Heat - Deceit (1981)

Out of all the boundary breaking that occurred during the fertile era of post-punk, This Heat's Deceit is one of the most expansive, imaginative, and remarkably wild records to have been produced during the time -- and very possibly the last three decades. It's an impressive procession of tangential shards that encompass tape collages, Middle Eastern motifs, barbaric vocal clamoring, and occasional pointy-jagged-atonal guitar passages that alternate between hypnotizing and shooting clean through your spine. The typical structures of jazz, world music, and rock & roll are heaved into a blender, cooking up a post-punk paella that's about as relaxing as a crosstown walk through a hail storm. It ends up hardly resembling anything it takes cues from. As with a good number of the album's ten tracks, random peeks into "Paper Hats" at the minute markers will hardly sound like the same song. And that song hardly resembles any of the others on the record; yet, it encapsulates what makes the whole thing so exciting. The song in question trots along arrhythmically with some bass, drum, and spindly guitar interplay until sputtering into a wreck of those instruments and who knows what else -- this 20-second interruption, which resembles the Junkyard Gang's idea of warming up, abruptly gives way to a march down a Twilight Zone-themed corridor of snaky guitar, pulsing high hats, and creeped-out atmospherics. If you can make out any of the lyrics (the ones in "Independence" should ring a bell, though), you'll realize the mushroom clouds and political figures depicted in the sleeve aren't the only evidence that the record is about war and nukes. Know this -- if you really want to be thrown around a room, there's hardly a better source. No greater record has been made in an abandoned meat locker.

This Heat - Health & Efficiency (1980)

This two-song EP from 1980 showcases what This Heat did so brilliantly, if so far below the radar that it is only posthumously that the groundbreaking British trio gets recognized: somehow they manage to be astronomically influential yet polarizing in the same breath. The eight-minute A-side, "Health and Efficiency" (titled from a bandmember's in-joke about the benefits of bicycling to the recording studio) is an insistent and pulsating Krautrock projectile, hurtling forward anthemically on herky-jerky discordant guitar splatter and a pummeled and abused drum kit. It's an obvious precedent to latter-day experimental rockers like Sonic Youth and Le Fly Pan Am. The 11-minute B-side, "Graphic/Varispeed," is an epic sprawl of barely shifting drone that can just as easily hypnotize the listener as provoke them to rip it from the turntable in a fury. Graciously, the listener was originally encouraged to play it at the speed of their choice, 16, 33-1/3, 45, or 78 rpm. The band's assertion that "it sounds great at all speeds" leaves it up to the listener to agree or rebut.

The Yips - 1000% Fox (1995)

The debut single from the Yips. Containing two former members of Mike Rep's quotas. Whereas their proper full-length albums stuck closely to the lo-fi template of Siltbreeze, this single hints more closely to their punk roots. Great stuff.

This Heat - This Heat (1978)

This British group could neither be called post-punk nor progressive rock, yet This Heat was one of the most influential groups of the late '70s. They created uncanny experimental rock music that has many similarities in approach to German pioneers such as Can and Faust. Other groundbreaking independent groups such as Henry Cow and Wire may be their only peers, and much later This Heat also became profoundly influential on the '90s genre known as post-rock. Their angular juxtapositions of abrasive guitar, driving rhythms, and noise loops on the opening cut, "Horizontal Hold," preempt much later activity in the electronica and drum'n'bass scenes. The outstanding "24 Track Loop" is based around a circular drum pattern that could have been a late-'90s jungle cut were it not recorded in late-'70s London, long before such strategies were even dreamed of in breakbeat music. This album is a great example of ahead-of-time genius, work that draws on elements of progressive rock, notably "Larks Tongues in Aspic"-era King Crimson for all its abrasive, warped rhythm, as well as Can, Neu!, and Faust's pioneering work -- though there is little else that comes close to the unique and distinctive avant rock sound, an entirely new take on the rock format. Their self-titled debut is a radical conglomeration of progressive rock, musique concrète, free improvisation, and even -- in a bizarre distillation -- aspects of British folk can be heard in Charles Hayward's singing. There are very few records that can be considered truly important, landmark works of art that produce blueprints for an entire genre. In the case of this album, it's clear that this seminal work was integral in shaping the genres of post-punk, avant rock, and post-rock and like all great influential albums it seemed it had to wait two decades before its contents could truly be fathomed. In short, This Heat is essential.

George Edwards Group - 38:38 (1978)

If you've never heard of it before, that just means it's rare, right? This makes The George-Edwards Group's '38:38' one of the rarest private press albums of all time. '38:38' departs from the norm of the genre: instead of a low-fi demoquality outing elevated mainly by dealer hype, this album is a haunting piece of music that offers an unusually highbrow take on the archetypal Midwestern rock 'n' roll existentialism usually addressed with a solid beat and sneering vocal. Crafting their sound out of the many influences of the day, Edward Balian and Ray George created pop music with acoustic guitars and harmonies, heavily reverberant piano riffs, cold sheets of synthesizer, bells and chimes. This release of '38:38' includes never-seen-before art, photos and original liners, press releases & notes, as well as a song from an equally rare 7" single not found on the original LP pressing.

The Yips - Bonfire In A Dixiecup (1996)

Fitting into the Siltbreeze line-up of bands that consistently spew out basement quality recordings, the Yips simplify pop music's arduous tonality by meshing boom-box ferocity with a laid-back approach to songwriting. Produced by underground hero Mike "Rep" Hummel.