About Author: andrew

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L.A. Lungs & Mangled Bohemians

The long awaited L.A. Lungs record is now on sale for download and pre-sale on CD! Although a departure from their earlier material, this record is still brimming with the textures and washes of ambiance we have come to expect from these Tacoma based adventurers. Also going on sale today is Mangled Bohemians second release in a year’s time and also the third on the label.

L.A. Lungs - Letting It All Bunch Up

With “Nights in Hedonia” (Mangled Bohemians second release within a year’s time) we find ourselves tuning into a bizarre radio station. A transmission from an AM radio, from some basement of mid 60s folk psychedelia. Enjoy!

Mangled Bohemians - Nights in Hedonia

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Introducing DIVORCE PARTY!

We are extremely proud to introduce and announce our latest addition to the Aphonia Recordings family: Divorce Party! Their sound has been described as spasm-like, or careening from Melt Banana-esque contortions to summoning Jesus Lizard-esque riffage.

Divorce Party are David Slaga of the unrelenting drums, Ryan St. Claire’s guitar strains, Joe Biggerstaff raising the dead with his bass and Miguel Baptista Benedict supplying what I can only describe as the amplified vocal death knell of music itself. These souls wreak havoc in their short debut EP entitled “Astrocengertion Oporium.” Available in three formats, LP, CD and download (a first for Aphonia Recs). Described as “more spasm than song” Divorce Party indeed delight with a quick lightning bolt of an EP.

We hope you enjoy!

Divorce Party - Astrocongertion Oporium

Buy Now! $2 Download $5 CD and a 12 inch on it's way.


Divorce Party: Astrocongertion Oporium EP

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At Last! Derek M. Johnson’s Debut Solo Release!

Derek M. Johnson - self-titled

Our first vinyl only (download too, naturally) release is a full length, 4 track explosion of sound. Anyone who has seen Mr. Johnson’s recent performances knows that his elaborately constructed mounted slide animations are indeed like little explosions… at least when they are contained within their tiny 35 mm mounts. When projected though, they become galaxies, bleached (literally) impressionistic fields and hills, the beheaded forks of flames and larger than life globules. This release is, in it’s sonic signature, the same. No one is more happy (and relieved) than Derek M. Johnson for this release. It has been a project spanning nearly 2 years of continuous effort on his part and as he pointed out late in the mixing process, “I don’t even know if it is good or not.”

The first track “FKXMS,” is a negative homage to the cultural train wreck that most of us weather called “holiday season.” The track embodies (or perhaps disembodies) the latent disgust that most of us feel during the “most wonderful time of the year.” By “feel” it, I am suggesting that we somehow know how crass our culture has become but shrug it off as a function of living in the land of plenty. “FKXMS” is a not-so-abstractly expressionistic feat of shear violence. The assault, at times, seems to be directed solely at the instrument itself – the cello. The bow squeals and thrums across strings that pronounce the likelihood of their immanent death.

“Be” is something different altogether. It is simmering, slightly sad, slightly creepy and nearly meditative. Developing slowly over a thickening bed of subtle loops, “Be” realizes itself in stages and seems to be somewhat like a soundtrack set to deep sea phosphorescent life forms evolving before your eyes. It echoes and ebbs underneath mournful legato swells. This track is befitting Mr. Johnson’s most recent slide show animations, though feels succinctly composed and intentional.

Side B brings us two very different pieces from the first side. “Fete de la Patience” is a Scott Stobbe piece performed here with great clarity. Its direct quality is in disarming contrast from the first two tracks. “You’re Welcome to Play” divides and conquers the entire record, bringing a quiet, solitary cello plucking figure to a lush and full crescendo (and multitracked cello thickness) that gives the record a denouement fitting for such a diverse set of pieces.

We couldn’t more excited to offer our first LP vinyl release by our great musician and friend, Derek M. Johnson. He has performed at more of our showcases and supported our artists for years by recording cello tracks, promoting their shows, etc. Mr. Johnson’s dedication to music has culminated in this record. It is just the beginning, however. Expect much more from DMJ in the coming months!

Derek M. Johnson
Derek M. Johnson

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Mangled Bohemians Begin Second Leg of Summer Tour 2011

Mangled Bohemians

Mangled Bohemians(PDX) and My Empty Phantom will be embarking on their summer west coast tour this Saturday August 27th. Starting at the Josephine in Seattle with locals Forest Friends to kick off the tour.

08/27-The Josephine-Seattle,WA

08/28-The Comet Tavern-Seattle,WA

08/29-The Alice Coltrane Memorial Coliseum-Portland,OR

08/30-Backspace-Portland,OR

08/31-The Ella St. Social Club-Portland,OR

09/01-The Black Forest-Eugene,OR

09/02-Cafe Coda-Chico,CA

09/04-Gamma Space-Oakland,CA

09/05-The Trip-Santa Monica,CA

Press:

“Mangled Bohemians create the same sort of hazy, eerie experimental pop music as our Leading Lady of Fuzz, Liz Harris. But while Grouper’s music sits just left of the pop dial, Mangled Bohemians make guitar music that sounds like it’s coming from outer space. The band’s new LP, At the Edge of Earth, sounds foreign and slightly off-putting until you really listen to it closely and notice all the wobbly details, intersecting guitar lines, and hidden melodies that make it a perfect soundtrack to any late-night comedown. “  Michael Mannheimer, Willamette Weekly

“Portlands Mangled Bohemians play a mellow brand of psychedelia that expertly balances languidness and eeriness—think Spacemen 3′s “Call the Doctor.” It can be viewed as a kind of fluid, shivery freak folk that provides an escape valve into another dimension where time and responsibilities aren’t crushing you into urgent activity; you can sense that Mangled Bohemians’ music offers a portal to the infinite.”  Dave Segal, The Stranger

“Mangled Bohemians like their sometimes tour mates Jackie O Mother f**ker have elements of experimental music and folk music that don’t really fit into either category.”  Ben Meyercord, Crappy Indie Music-The Blog

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Foxy Digitalis Reviews “Dried Fish Is Just Good As Bait” by Tetsuya Hori

Tetsuya Hori

Click to read Isaac Aronson's review

Isaac Aronson’s recent review of Tetsuya Hori’s record entitled Dried Fish Is Just Good As Bait is chock full of healthy critique and praise. Aronson begins his review with skepticism over Hori’s claim that:

“My pieces do not have concept. That is my concept. The concept develops in the head of the listener.”

Aronson opines that statements like these are often parroted by artists whose ideas “really only make sense to them.” Or something like that. His latent skepticism is quickly brushed aside and rightly finds in Dried Fish:

“…a beautiful album with a surprising array of emotions… Dried Fish blurs the line between instrument and object, allowing the listener to truly get lost in the piece and explore the emotions within.”

Rating the album 9 out of 10, Aronson plainly has explorative ears and writes with passion about one of our recent additions to the label. We couldn’t be happier. Go read the whole thing over here, but before you do so listen to the record below and purchase a limited edition CD that includes a gigantic 15 inch X 15 inch full color poster.


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Spokane and Mirror Mirror: “Lonely Are the Brave”

Mirror Mirror - Spokane's Finest

Jason Campbell (front) and Mirror Mirror/Photo: Jordan Beauchamp

Spokane, Washington’s local weekly The Inlander has delved deep into Jason Campbell’s music in a recent article entitled “Lonely Are the Brave” detailing his band Mirror Mirror’s recent climb up the Spokane club and bar scene. What isn’t apparent in the write-up is that Spokane has, over the years been a kind of incubator of Campbell’s darkly romantic gloom-rock. A native to Spokane, Campbell spent years playing in Spokane in the 90s with several different bands. He bounced between Olympia and Portland for awhile also playing and recording music but never quite clinching the momentum to garner this kind of write-up. On the other hand, maybe people just weren’t paying attention.

Spokane is an arid city with remarkably distinct seasons that stands alone amongst farmland and Ponderosa Pine covered hills. It’s heart lies in a valley in Eastern Washington – the last major outpost on Interstate 90 before the expanse of the Great Plains. It is the largest city between Seattle and St. Paul, Minnesota. It is a large enough burg that it touts itself as the capitol of the Inland Empire. A moniker that once had us all speculating about David Lynch’s announced film of the same name (it actually references a place in Southern CA). Was it (Inland Empire) about our strange hometown? Lynch spent time in Spokane having been born in nearby Missoula, Montana. As Spokane doesn’t seem to have many local celebrities – unless you count Craig T. Nelson and a few sports stars – our artsy crew took pride in the fact that Lynch walked our streets and that his movies might have been influenced by the truly odd characters and landscape Spokane exhibits. It is a conservative stronghold in mostly blue Washington, but it also has a very rich array of subcultures that thrive purely on their own fuel. Nary a word in the local press was printed about the underground scenes, underage church basement noise shows and DIY warehouse raves in the 90s. Spokane has seemed to morph from a culturally starved backwater to a more viable petridish of the arts. The local press is now starting to take notice.

Spokane has garnered many detractors, myself among them. One thing is clear however, Spokanites know good music when they hear it. After it is the hometown of Ben L. Robertson (drums/Aphonia co-founder) and Campbell. Both spent significant amounts of time on both sides of the cascades and it seems fitting, if not perfect, that the Mirror Mirror would reform and receive the notice that Olympia, Seattle and Portland collectively neglected.

Indeed, there is a hint of David Lynch in the music of Mirror Mirror. I can see Campbell as sharing crooning company with Julee Cruise, Lynch’s oft utilized anti-diva. His vocals are part of lyrical canvas both vague and specific, full of shadows and mystery. It is a fitting soundtrack to a city that stands alone near the precipice of the the Great Plains, which is to say, near something huge.

Read the article here. Listen below. Purchase here.

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Unicorns in the Snow New Record / Embark on Eastern US Tour

Julia Vering is the singular voice behind Unicorns in the Snow. Hailing from Kansas City, Kansas, Vering first came to the attention of label founders Ben Robertson and Andrew Senna at the Evergreen State College where all three were studying music composition. Vering’s performance based music is at turns spooky, theatrical and whimsical. Vering’s debut release with Aphonia The Geriatric Pony Express [AR007] is at times part pop, part storytelling and swirls around piano figures and spacey synth tones. Those familiar with Geriatric will not be disappointed.

The Aviator (click to listen) marks a more ambitious turn for Vering. Coming in at 24 minutes, The Aviator consists of a single “narrative” track. Although the CD has yet to ship, you can catch Unicorns on their midwest/northeast tour and pick one of the limited 100 copy release. The release supports Vering’s vision to engage the elderly in contemporary art. Read more about that here.

YOU LIVE HERE TOO / UNICORNS IN THE SNOW EASTERN US TOUR:

8/8  St. Louis, MO @ The Lemp Neighborhoods Art Center
8/9 Chicago,  IL @ The Ball Hall
8/10 Cleveland, OH @ Boo Box
8/11 Rochester, NY @ Meddlesome Lab
8/12 Troy, NY @ 51 3rd St.
8/13 Northampton, MA @ Feeding Tube Records
8/14 Cambridge, MA @ Cambridge YMCA
8/15 Brooklyn, NY @ Death by Audio
8/16 Baltimore, MD @ Red Room
8/17 Pittsburg, PA @ Garfield Artworks
8/18 Cincinatti, OH @ The Mockbee

Click on the image below to read about Vering’s ambitious aims as a performance artist and musician. Hers is a truly unique and inspired vision. Enjoy!

You Live Here Too - Dolls

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“Kappa” Teaser Video From Tetsuya Hori’s Latest Record

New Aphonia Recordings artist Tetsuya Hori gives us a glimpse, visually speaking, into the first track (“Kappa”) on his debut release “Dried Fish Is Just Good As Bait.”

Tetsuya is a composer for “things” or objects as much as he is a pianist. Most of us in the Pacific Northwest will find limited opportunities to see this truly creative experimental composer at work. This short “teaser” shows the artist and performer recording and performing. Those of you who have frequented past Aphonia Recordings showcases and are familiar with our artists will no doubt find some sense of camaraderie that goes along with the exploration of sound as music.

kappa for voice and cigar box from Tetsuya Hori on Vimeo.

Visit Mr. Hori’s Vimeo page for more examples of video work.

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June 10th-12th: The 17th Olympia Experimental Music Festival

Nathan Markiewicz: Curator of the Olympia Experimental Music Festival

The line up for recent Olympia Experimental Music Festivals has featured many artists from our little record label. This year is no exception. L.A. Lungs, Mangled Bohemians, Paintings For Animals, Derek M. Johnson and Marlo Eggplant all grace the stage at Northern – Olympia’s preeminent all ages venue.

We welcome this special time of year when this, one of the most comprehensive showcases from the Northwest’s experimental community, puts on a seriously huge series of experimental acts.

See Jason Baxter’s write-up in The Weekly Volcano here. Festival schedule below:

Friday June 10th:

Paintings for Animals (Olympia, WA)
Big Tom the Lithuanian (Olympia, WA)
LA Lungs (Tacoma, WA)
Marlo Eggplant (Portland, OR)
Echos of Infiniti (Olympia, WA)
Four-Dimensional Nightmare (Olympia, WA)
Eurostache (San Francisco, CA)

Saturday June 11th:

Wood Paneling (Olympia, WA)
Boyband (Portland, OR)
Violet (Olympia, WA)
Sustentacula (Portland, OR)
The Dead Air Fresheners (I-5 Corridor)
Night Jar (Olympia, WA)
Pavonine (Austin, TX)

Sunday June 12th: A/V night featuring artists who incorporate visual projections with live sound creation:

Devon Damonte (Olympia, WA)
Eric Ostrowski (Seattle, WA)
Mangled Bohemians (Portland, OR)
Forrest Friends (Seattle, WA)
Derek M. Johnson (Olympia, WA)
Cathartech (Seattle, WA)

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Mangled Bohemians Kick Off First Leg of Summer Tour

Portland’s own Mangled Bohemians tours Washington in the next week with Seattle’s Blue Moon being the first stop. If you are not familiar with Mangled Bohemians Michael Mannheimer of the Willamette Weekly puts it this way:

… Mangled Bohemians make guitar music that sounds like it’s coming from outer space. The band’s new LP, At the Edge of Earth, sounds foreign and slightly off-putting until you really listen to it closely and notice all the wobbly details, intersecting guitar lines, and hidden melodies that make it a perfect soundtrack to any late-night comedown.

Since the release of “At the Edge of Earth” [AR036CD] James Lee has been making the circuit around Portland and beyond. His current rounds include the following dates:

June 9th-Seattle,WA-The Blue Moon W/ Below Blackstar and Shot in Minnesota
June 10th-Bellingham,WA-The Cabin Tavern W/ Zach Zinn and Sick Kids XOXO
June 12th-Olympia,WA-The Northern The 17th Annual Olympia Experimental Music Festival W/ Derek M. Johnson, Eric Ostrowski, Forrest Friends and more..

<a href=”http://aphoniarecordings.bandcamp.com/album/at-the-edge-of-earth” mce_href=”http://aphoniarecordings.bandcamp.com/album/at-the-edge-of-earth”>At the Edge of Earth by Mangled Bohemians</a>

More press snippets below:

“Portlands Mangled Bohemians play a mellow brand of psychedelia that expertly balances languidness and eeriness—think Spacemen 3′s “Call the Doctor.” It can be viewed as a kind of fluid, shivery freak folk that provides an escape valve into another dimension where time and responsibilities aren’t crushing you into urgent activity; you can sense that Mangled Bohemians’ music offers a portal to the infinite.” Dave Segal, The Stranger

“Mangled Bohemians like their sometimes tour mates Jackie O Mother f**ker have elements of experimental music and folk music that don’t really fit into either category.” Ben Meyercord, Crappy Indie Music-The Blog

More confirmed dates:

July 6th – Ella Street Social Club, Portland, OR
August 28th – The Comet, Seattle, WA
September 1st – The Black Forest, Eugene, OR
September 8th – The Soda Bar, San Diego, CA