Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers - s/t LP w/ bonus CD

Nero's Neptune #7
December 2009

When the Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers' self-distributed inaugural CD first appeared in 1997, fans of Jayhawks-founder Mark Olson had to work pretty hard to find it. Now, Nero's Neptune Records presents this overlooked masterpiece on vinyl for the first time. Pressed at RTI on 180 gram virgin vinyl (with deluxe packaging that includes a free CD), a new era of discerning music-lovers can now discover what a devout few have known all along: Mark Olson is one of this country's very finest songwriters, and this LP is as fine a representation of his poetic vision as has ever been bestowed upon the world. Olson, together with multi-instrumentalists Mike "Razz" Russell and Victoria Williams, offers 10 tunes that revolve around his gently strummed acoustic guitar. Lovingly woven background vocals (courtesy of Ms. Williams) and tasteful, sparse use of piano, mandolin, fiddle and banjo flesh out Olson's heartbreakingly sincere and affecting songs. Pure and simple, this is a desert island-level classic. As No Depression magazine gushed, "it's the kind of music that's impossible to strive for, to fashion from careful study or conscious effort; the only way it happens like this is when it flows straight out from the soul."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dark Dark Dark - "Love You, Bye"

Nero's Neptune #5

Dark Dark Dark is a four-piece, baroque-gypsy band (originally based out of Minneapolis) who have in recent months called New York City, France, New Orleans, and a raft on the river “home.” They are led by Marshall LaCount on banjo and Nona Marie Invie on accordion, and are backed by Todd Chandler on upright bass and Jonathan Kaiser on cello. All four members sing. Their haunting, dreamy and dark Eastern European-inflected music is informed by influences drawing from the cabaret and folk traditions. The five songs presented here (four originals plus an enchanting “Wayfaring Stranger”) reveal the intimate sound of Dark Dark Dark at home, each with its own take on loss and loneliness. The group draws heavily from, in their own words, the “long tradition of wandering musicians and those who have lived deeply.” Pressed in editions of 32 branded, white leather covers designed by installation artist and sculptor Jay Heikes and 328 printed jackets are derived from photos of those. Artist editions are $100 each. Regular editions are $12 each. Email for shipping details.

Vampire Hands - "2 E.P.'s"

Nero's Neptune #4

Vinyl pressing compiling Vampire Hands' first two self-released CDRs: At Wizard Island Too Punk To Fuck and Cuz It's A Beach Funeral. Originally released to coincide with Vampire Hands' Spring 2009 23-date tour with Wavves. Minneapolis' Vampire Hands are a rather difficult-to-pigeonhole lot, one with so many disparately abundant ideas bubbling out of their collective skulls that they barely keep pace with them. Citing influences as diverse as Exuma, Can, Neil Young and Simply Saucer, Vampire Hands' sound might (lazily) be described as Marc Bolan meets Mayo Thompson in Neil Haggerty's cannabistro. Fuzzy, distorted guitars meet tribal, pulsating rhythms. An eerily affecting falsetto melds with a lower, drier voice to create delightfully off-kilter harmonies. Die-cut, silkscreened jackets designed and printed by Burlesque of North America. 350 copies, $20 postpaid in U.S.

Track Listing:
A1. Queen Juno
A2. Greasy Hair
A3. Invisible Boy
A4. Wolf Skin Pose
B1. Statuette
B2. Paradise Knife Fights
B3. (telephone)
B4. We Widows
B5. Christ, Scientist
B6. Desert Dreams

- Vampire Hands have also released on labels such as Modern Radio, Freedom From, and Peppcoff.
- "The chatter and hum of bloggers across the country singing your praises may be a mixed blessing, but Vampire Hands had better get used to it." --Reveille Magazine

Michael Yonkers - "Circling the Drain"

Nero's Neptune #3

The second of two startling Yonkers releases is an eight-song LP of solo, modified guitar improvisations. These recordings were picked from a number of tapes representing the entire works recorded by Yonkers that utilized a severely altered Steinberger knockoff guitar (that has since been retired). The music was recorded on a high-speed four-channel cassette machine, further manipulated during mastering. This is the 'noise' record that lucky regional Yonkers aficionados have been hoping for since witnessing his infrequent, brain-scrambling, all-instrumental performances -- and then some! Vinyl-only edition of 303 numbered copies in a gorgeous, four-color hand-screened jacket by Minneapolis artist and printer Dan Black complete the scrumptious package. SOLD OUT.

Michael Yonkers & The Blind Shake - "Carbohydrates Hydrocarbons"

Nero's Neptune #2

A chance nightclub pairing of the incomparable Michael Yonkers with Minneapolis noise rockers the Blind Shake went so exceptionally well that a studio session ensued. The result is this, one of two vinyl documents that represent by far the most exciting new work that Yonkers has recorded since his international emergence. The Blind Shake rock with a sound not unlike latter-day Hammerhead (which might be a better thing than you think), with Yonkers splattering maniacal guitar shards and impassioned vocals over the top. Add the best collection of songs (with great, skewered god-damn HOOKS even!) Yonks has come up with since at least the early '70s and you have a serious contender for rock record of the year. The beautiful, hand-numbered silk-screened sleeves were designed by Zak Sally (ex-Low) and printed by Minneapolis-based screening gods, Aesthetic Apparatus. Limited edition of 400. SOLD OUT.

Paul Metzger - "Four Improvisations on Modified Banjo and Guitar"

Nero's Neptune #1

Double LP includes all 3 numbers from the Chairkickers Music CD Three Improvisations on Modified Banjo with the addition of 1 exclusive track, recorded on modified guitar at the same sessions. 240 numbered artist edition packages hand-assembled by Metzger. SOLD OUT.