Rock Archive


Russian Invasion! Garage Rockers SONIC DEATH Land in US


Nikita Krikunov & Arsenij Morozov on the cover of GOTHIC SESSION

Formerly Padla Bear Outfit, this St. Petersburg, Russia based duo is composed of Arsenij Morozov and Nikita Krikunov. They now call themselves SONIC DEATH. They have carved a distinct garage-y, moody niche out of a retro 60s psychedelic pastiche. I am not even sure what I just wrote. In any event, in rare form, these gentlemen found Aphonia Recordings and sent in a demo. We get quite a few demos and certainly we try to give some attention to ones that catch our ears. Luckily for me, I still do have my ear holes open. Listen below!

Morozov describes the process of recording “GOTHIC SESSION” thus:

After a little break we started work on a new session. Seven fresh songs were recorded on a Tascam cassette Portastudio, sitting in the already known bathroom. At this time we used a clean slightly reverbed guitar sound, the drum section was shaded with maracas. The sound is soft, psychedelic vibrating, like The Cannanes meet Vivian Girls on The Seeds cover party. The lyrics are all about dark love emotions and solitude. All of this has been called GOTHIC SESSION. The first track with the western spirit and refrain “I take off all of me/ You will not get pleasure” is entitled ‘Pleasure’ and is like a roll call with Stones ‘Satisfaction’. The second called ‘Now(Son Of A Bitch)’ and has at the end the converted quotation from Misfits “I am goddamn son of a bitch/ you better think about it baby”. Third song named ‘Marzipan’, and has a sample from an amateur slap porn video, whose plot is about pining for the attention from a girlfriend. The fourth acoustic-postpunk song ‘Streets’ laments the loneliness in the city. Fifth ‘To Me’ is classic garage-y amateur guitar rock. The sixth track ‘Huuuh-uuh-uuuh’ is an acoustic ballad for two voices. The last one ‘Floor’ is a confluence of The Jesus and the Mary Chain with Buddy Holly and back again. On the cover, we photographed against a background of the crucifix as Bible sellers in East European chic.
Dat shit cray!

This music is decidedly lo-fi. That’s OK. I don’t really see that as being all that important in terms of the songs. The songwriting is incredible. Even though it is grimy, gritty, loud and rambunctious, the songwriting doesn’t suffer. In fact, the whole record has a posture of being relaxed and effortless, which I find particularly charming. Folks, this is garage-psyche at its best. It embodies everything you want it to be. If they weren’t singing in Russian I would think they were from late 1960s Los Angeles. Seriously, it is that level of fidelity to the roots of that scene that these two obviously take very (un)seriously. As their Bandcamp page states: “We are two horrible motherfuckers with problems.”

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Mirror Mirror Videos Galore: Tune Into YouTube

Artwork: Nina Pratchios

Few artists on our label get the online attention that Mirror Mirror receives. For this Spokane, Washington based psychedelic rock group, no other outlet has been so successful as their YouTube channel.

The band has truly reached online fandom, especially in Europe, where video artists continually post versions of their most popular tracks. True to the murky, underwater and downright dark overtones to the record, the videos can be repetitive, oblique and ultimately spacey.

We certainly expect new and great things from Mirror Mirror this year.


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.


Mirror Mirror Video! “Locked From the Inside”

A sneak peak into Mirror Mirror’s upcoming full length release on Aphonia Recordings! Check out Mirror Mirror’s other videos here.

Click below to purchase:


Pics From Evon’s Debut Show on Jan. 25th

On January 25th,  Aphonia Recordings artists Evon played at El Rio in San Francisco.  A belated release party show for the band,  we welcome you to check out some choice photos from the event as well as listen to the release. We recommend you view the pictures below as a slideshow (the page will reload) while using the player. It’s almost like you were there! OK, not really. So the next time they play, get your ass off the couch and see them. Check the Aphonia Recordings website regularly for show dates.

Evon is an amazing group of 6 stupendously talented musicians lead by Agnes Szelag from Oakland, CA. Enjoy!

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And Now… Mirror Mirror! Surprise Digital Only Release!

Welcome Mirror Mirror! Primarily composed of guitarist, songwriter Jason Campbell of Olympia, Washington, Mirror Mirror’s sound is drenched and stained in melancholy melodic figures and shadowy lyrics.

Available now is Mirror Mirror’s debut on Aphonia Recordings. For only $0.99 you can download the two track mini EP. Click here.

All Mirror Mirror songs are recorded at home in Olympia, Washington by Jason Campbell. The approach is about solid and melodic songs, the sound is about creating a soundtrack for the night, with Psychedelic, Post-Punk, and Dramatic themes. Mirror Mirror has been influenced by everything from Ennio Morricone to 60′s Psychedelia to The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Campbell has been a steady musical presence in both Olympia and Spokane, Washington. He has played with the bands Mynx, Fairfax, Airshow and The Nerve among others. Active for many years, Campbell joins the Aphonia Recordings cohort with a series of digital singles, all available for free from Mirror Mirror’s Bandcamp website. Have a listen in the meantime:


Release Party & Show in San Francisco for Evon

San Francisco, CA -

On January 25th recent Aphonia Recordings artists Evon will be playing at El Rio in SF.  This is a very special show since it is a very belated CD Release show for The Bees Are Coming which Aphonia Recordings released in Autumn 2010.

Evon is an amazing group of 6 stupendously talented musicians lead by Agnes Szelag and this is their first show and it is a very early show – 7PM! Evon will go on at 8PM.

Audrey Howard’s band Steel Hotcakes will be opening and Eli’s Band will be headlining. For those of you who are used to Agnes Szelag as an experimental artist – this project is rocky and melodic. (See reviews from KFJC 89.7 FM in Los Altos, CA and Textura)

So come one, come all, bring friends!

Go to Evon’s release page for The Bees Are Coming:

Evon - The Bees Are Coming