February already! We’ve got an amazing array of stuff that’s gone out this week. I’ll be writing about some special Black/Death/Doom Metal CDs, Mercyful Fate picture discs, Nick Drake and Frank Zappa LPs and then something really special. We managed to get a copy of the hugely limited edition release of Aphex Twin’s Syro, yep, the raffle one in the perspex box! Ooh-la-la.
Kicking things off, we bought in a two collections of Metal CDs this week so the section is heaving. Some of the pieces we got are particularly rare and sought after so, here’s a selection:
Necrophobic, The Nocturnal Silence, original German Black Mark Production pressing from 1993. Ceremony, Tyranny From Above, limited press of 2500 copies from 1993 on Cyber Music. Abigor, Nachthymnen, the only CD pressing of this album from 1995, Austrian pressing on Napalm Records.
Manes, Under Ein Blodraud Maane, original 1999 pressing on Hammerheart Records, an excerpt taken from the booklet: “We do not care if the production and sound is not what you expect, and strongly hope (and think) that this album will appeal to none of the “black”metal people of today. In misery!” Lovely! Blasphemy, Fallen Angel Of Doom, reissue of this album from 2007 on Nuclear War Now! Productions. Protector, A Shedding Of Skin, original Red CD version from 1991, German pressing, the CD is quite marked so the price reflects this.
Trouble, Trouble, first CD pressing of their debut album on Steamhammer from 1988. Dissect, Swallow Swouming Mass, 1993 pressing of this album on Cyber Music from 1993. And lastly Demigod, Slumber Of Sullen Eyes, this is an unofficial Russian pressing, it took me a long time and a lot of research to make sure it’s not the original pressing otherwise it would have been about 50 smackers!
Obviously this type of Metal isn’t for everyone, so I’ve avoided adding any sound clips. This weeks playlist is going to be all about the Metal, selected by our own very metal Chris Bress, he’ll see you get your metal fix. I, for one, will be applying my trademarked corpse paint and covering myself in pig’s blood to listen to the playlist, stage name: Gurgler of Gore!!!
Moving on and in a similar vein, we got these Mercyful Fate pictures discs out in the metal LPs this week, they’re all fantastic and highly recommended:
Time, LP from 2013. Nuns For Slaughter, rare demos from 1981-82, limited edition from 2013. Countdown To The Coven, LP from 2013, also limited edition, Recorded live at Anna’s Hoeve, Hilversum, Holland, in 1984, soundboard recording.
King Diamond (Kim Bendix Petersen) is a creative and talented individual known best for his falsetto vocals. Listening to anything he’s been involved with is always an entertaining and interesting experience.
Holy heck I wish I was King Diamond!
Moving on, we have this brilliant Frank Zappa compliation on the wall this week:
Strictly Commercial a limited, numbered, double LP version of this comp on Rykodisc from 1995. Now, I’m completely biased as I love Zappa deeply but I find him to be one of the best stand-alone musicians that ever graced this earth. This comp is a brilliant introduction into the diverse sounds that this man created. It features 21 tracks that span a large chunk of his career, it’s by no means a complete collection of his music but the tracks that were selected are classics. This is the first piece of Zappa I ever owned and after listening to it, beginning to end, I knew I was in love. Freaky, funny and incredibly creative, Frank Zappa was a force to be reckoned with. He lived to make music and spent most of his waking life devoted to experimenting and pushing the boundaries of what it meant to be a ‘Rock Star.’ His fame and influence bought him many different experiences and opportunities to do things in only the way Zappa could. His memoirs The Real Frank Zappa Book is a massivley entertaining read and he speaks of his process and experiences with such intimacy that it’s as if you’re talking with a friend. This compilation is a great counterpart to that book. I’m going to select some of my favourites from this comp…
Dirty Love, from the album Over-Nite Sensation from 1973. A perfect example of how heavy the guy could shred the guitar but not sing at the same time, a talent that he admitted escaped him.
My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama, from the album Weasels Ripped My Flesh from 1970. This track was the first Zappa track I completely fell for, it’s all over the place but the beautiful acoustic guitar solo about halfway through always made me think that no matter how ridiculous his lyrical content may be, he was still taking it all very seriously.
Peaches En Regalia, from the album Hot Rats released in 1969 (the year of his son Dweezil’s birth) this is a fine example of his instrumental work. It was also featured in The Real Book, which is a high accolade for any Jazz composer although he probably just laughed and thought “bitchin’!” There are many theories as to what the title actually means but it seems that the overall consensus is that it has something to do with breasts “peaches dressed in finery”
Valley Girl, from the album Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch from 1982, featuring his wonderful daughter Moon on vocals imitating a typical Californian teenage girl of the time. It’s shows his capability to mock popular culture (nobody was safe) but still convey a tenderness for the world he lived in. Ultimately it’s a silly song but I always felt it a very Zappa-esque illustration of the relationship he had with Moon, they understood each other and it’s quite apparent in this song.
Muffin Man, from the album Bongo Fury a live album recorded with Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vleet) from 1975. Zappa and Van Vleet attended high-school together in Baltimore and were firm friends during their careers. Members of Zappa’s band would be kicked out of his band and walk immediately into Captain Beefheart’s. They could get away with taking more drugs and not have such a rigorous and punishing rehearsing schedule that Zappa inflicted on his musicians. Their closeness is really nicely portrayed in the whole album and the coming-together of their weirdo minds makes for enjoyable listening.
OK, I think that’s probably enough Zappa for now. More completely biased writing from me as we have these two LPs from another of my favourites; Nick Drake:
Time Of No Reply, a first pressing on Hannibal Records from 1986, over a decade after his death. This album is a compilation of regular album tracks plus some early home-recordings and demos that hadn’t been released before. A lot of the tracks also feature on the 2004 compilation Made To Love Magic, an album that bought him to a new generation’s attention and rightly so!
Bryter Layter, a UK pink rim original on Island from 1970. Drake’s second album features ten tracks with a slightly more uplifting feel than his other albums but the most striking artwork. Nerdy side-note: the shoes featured on the cover were actually the photographers, not Drake’s, he didn’t even want them there but they make the image all the more haunting for some reason.
The man was amazing all round as a musician but incredibly troubled as a human. It’s a depressing but fascinating debate as to whether he had been successful during his lifetime, would he have been capable of making such breathtakingly sad music or did everything happen just as it was supposed to. I still stand firmly on the side of the fence that agrees: that man wanted to die. Luckily, he left us with three outstanding and sublime albums that can be enjoyed and loved forever even if his physicality had to be ephemeral. Nick Drake died in his family home in Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwickshire, of an overdose of his prescribed antidepressants. His parents, Rodney and “Molly”, kept his room in stasis and often welcomed fans that would make the pilgrimage to his home into the building for a cup of tea and a natter about Nick’s life.
Now for something really really special. As mentioned we have a limited edition copy of Aphex Twin’s album Syro:
This is a very limited edition of the 2014 album Syro on Warp Records. A highly anticipated release as it had been thirteen years since his last full-length album. As always, Richard D James’ releases are shrouded in mystery and the reason behind him waiting so long to release new material is moot. Whatever the reason may be Syro couldn’t have been more worth waiting for. This album has had more playing time in the shop than any other album of the past few years, it’s brilliant from start to finish.
This edition of the LP could only be won via a ballot, limited to 200 copies you’re really buying a piece of electronic history when purchasing this from us. It’s a large LP-sized perspex box housing the triple 12″ 180gram album and an art print titled Syrobonkus (a name his five year old son apparently coined) a 300 x 300mm Intaglio print from metalwork mother plate, hand printed on 280gsm Somerset Velvet Radiant White paper and presented in casebound print folio. You also receive a download card and some printed instructions. The outer case is a 324mm x 324mm x 30mm acrylic slipcase. Finished by hand and silk screen printed to front featuring an image of his berzerkatoid face:
We did pay a lot of money to get this into the shop and out there for all you Aphex-heads so there is a minimum amount we’d accept as an offer on this release. We’re entirely open to (reasonable) offers on this so please do contact the shop if you’re interested: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 0207 437 4271. It’s currently not for sale out on the shop floor and this blog post is the first time we’re mentioning it’s existence. As much as I want it for myself (it really would look glorious on my shelf, next to my awkward sealed copy of Drukqs, alas, I’m not made of money) this will end up going to a happy home to be loved and appreciated by an Aphex fan of the highest caliber. A stunning album in some really beautiful packaging.
As always, a playlist of all the tracks featured on this week’s blog entry can be found here.
And as promised, here is Chris Bress’ very metal playlist for this week. Hail Satan!!