THE HAMS

Giving Thanks b/w Thanks Giving

(Zaius Tapes) 12-inch $12.00

Unexpected reissue of this 80s obscurity that bears an uncanny resemblance to “an SST project from the Byzantine era, Painted Willie collapsing into a black hole of Turkish Barbarism. Or yourself, evaporating into the abyss of any Montrose album, shattered on Tuinals, chewing those solos.” Generic centerhole jacket, as was the original. Edition of 197

MAHOGANY BRAIN

Smooth Sick Lights

(Zaius Tapes) LP $20.00

Mahogany Brain forged their unique audio dialect with their debut release, With (Junk-Saucepan) When (Spoon-Trigger) for the legendary Futura label in 1971. More avant-garde than prog, it speaks to the souls of the dedicated one percenters — such as the ESP Disk set — specifically patrons of The Godz and Cromagnon. But in early 1972, Mahogany Brain recorded Smooth Sick Lights, a follow-up release even more bewildering than its predecessor, yet this sat neglected until 1976 when it was issued by the Pole label. It’s hard to know what sort of impression it made on anyone beside Steven Stapleton (as his NWW list is how many have been informed of its existence). It had enough allure that the Tapioca label reissued a botched mispress in 1977, which seems to be the version that most latent hep-cats, whom knew not better, got fooled into owning. Zaius Tapes comes to the rescue once again with a stellar reissue of this exemplary diamond in the rough. For fans of the further out ’70s French prog, it goes beyond Red Noise and Fille Qui Mousse. You can see how the brain-beams emitted from this release were studied by Heratius, Gutura, and others. It’s possible Smooth Sick Lights even helped inform factions of the New York No Wave (lead guitarist Patrick Geoffois would go on to be a member of both The Contortions and James White & The Blacks). As the bard once penned, “conjecture is nine-tenths of the truth.” RIYL; Frolk Haven, Mars, Jandek, Sproton Layer. Edition of 300

NEGATIVE REACTION

Negative Reaction

(Zaius Tapes) LP $20.00

The brilliant lone album by Australian trio Mick Kingham, Milan Stojanovic, and Jim Bodnar was originally released on cassette by Tom Ellard of Severed Heads (Terse Tapes, 1981) and reissued on LP in 1982 by Dogfood Production Systems (home of the estimable Slugfuckers). So you know the pedigree is tip-top. While you’d be correct in assuming the vibe here is experimental — merely by association — be prepared for a perfect example of dystopian malaise released by a band from the then-burgeoning post-punk movement. It’s easy to overlook that in the dawn of the ’80s, specific niche genres hadn’t been painstakingly carved out. Negative Reaction’s album trods forth across the landscapes of industrial, experimental, and minimal, gathering the Cold War gloom and the bleak threat of impending global nuclear holocaust, and forges it all into this self-titled masterpiece. Done primarily with recitation, blurred guitar lines, echoes and feedback, it’s a harrowing snapshot from the other side of an inevitable apocalypse. The beauty is in its simplicity; it doesn’t jolt like SPK, nor does it attempt to shock like Throbbing Gristle. Negative Reaction go for the sublime, matter-of-factly and evenly laying down six tracks of impending doom that give “John” and The Book of Revelation a run for its money. One of the most pivotal records ever from a bygone era that was teeming with them. Edition of 250.

VARIOUS ARTISTS

The Buntingford Long Playing Record

(Zaius Tapes) LP $20.00 (Out-of-stock)

At the dawn of the 1980s, when the UK was awash in regional compilations documenting the local punk, postpunk, DIY — spurred on by Rough Trade’s seminal Wanna Buy A Bridge? — a small market town in East Hertfordshire tagged in with a particularly strong collection, comprised of about a dozen or so local youths under different monikers. Originally released in 1981 by Small Town Tecords, The Buntingford Long Playing Record sidetracks the punk handle (quite the scarlet letter in this bucolic civil parish) and nails a brace of shambling mod, power-pop and DIY tracks by The Chokes, Riverside Rocky, The Debutantes, The Others, The Infinites Lots, The Runs, Malc The Talc.