1 August, 2020A 4xCS compilation needs more than one introductory post, so today I'm going to talk to you about four artists who contributed a song to ''Portraits from The Quarantine''
Peter Jefferies: Do I really need to introduce you to Peter Jefferies? We are talking about a legendary musician. I still don't believe that I'm working with him. Peter is a fantastic person and his contribution to the realization of this compilation is exceptional. Peter introduced me to a flood of extraordinary musicians and artists by involving them in this project. He lives exactly on the other side of the world and every morning, during the lockdown, I found his message, with ideas, proposals, projects and encouragements. Peter Jefferies is featured in three songs contained in ''Portraits From The Quarantine''. With live versions of ''Unknown Beach'' and ''Ghostwriter'' with Hamish Allan and with an Axos piece, a new project in which he sits on drums. Do I really need to tell you that on a desert island I would bring at least one of Peter's records?
Mus: for the first time on these frequencies. Mus is from Belgium, and it was Wio to introduce him to me.
If staying at home is strongly recommended, if putting your head outside the door is not convenient and it is dangerous, at least you can go away with your mind and dream by letting yourself be taken to a place where ''the green is grass and dreams come true''. Mus' version of ''Green=Grass'' is radically different from the original version by Wio. It has the soft rhythm of heart beats, and goes slow, slower, to the strenuous.
Painted Faces: I don't know how many albums Painted Faces has recorded during the lockdown, alone or with his roommate. ''Multiple albums'' he swore to me on May, 23rd and he has probably continued to write more synth noise/drone stuff to this day. Painted Faces was ready to take a plane to Europe when the situation started to fall, and he had to cancel his European tour. California is one of his creepiest songs.
Amps For Christ: Henry Barnes has recorded this song during the lockdown especially for this project. I wonder if he used one of his legendary musical instruments. Amps For Christ's discography is vast, they sound like noone else in this world, between experimental noise and traditional folk. During one of my trips to the United States, I was lucky enough to attend an Amps For Christ concert and see in person the modified musical instruments. My grandfather, who was a prisoner in South Africa and who in the years spent working in the diamond mines built a banjo with his own hands and learned to play it, who never wanted to tell me which party he voted for or his political faith although he greeted and knew everyone at the local headquarters of the Partito Comunista Italiano, would have loved Amps For Christ, Henry Barnes and this song.
You can preorder your copy here.
31 July, 2020My daughter Emilia turned four on July 12th, 2020, ''Emilia'', a collection of improvised nocturnes and lullabies by C. Worth will turn four on September 17th, 2020.
Of course this record has immense value for me, it's special and made C. Worth my brother. I can never thank him enough for this gift.
Years later, I finally uploaded the album to bandcamp. Let yourself be inspired and lulled by the notes.
Now you can finally listen to the music on bandcamp
C. Worth has recorded for Union Pole, Unread and his own The Robert Harden Recoding Co., most of his productions are available on his bandcamp. Do not miss them.
The record is still available on vinyl and the covers are customizable.
Send me a picture of your sleeping pet or tell me what's your favorite animal and I will portrait him or her for you.
I, once, sent four copies of ''Emilia'' to a lady in the United States. She handed the records over to her sons and sent me a photo of her family with the four sons who held the records on which I had portrayed their four-legged friends.
26 July, 2020Back in 2014, Almost Halloween Time Records released ''Heaven Is Hell'', the original motion picture soundtrack to a movie. The music is written, composed and performed by Eric Morrison and his 100% Storms Ensemble. The movie is an indie dark comedy and religious satire, directed by Chicago filmmakers Chris Sato and Mike Meyer, produced by independent film production companies Yokai Films and Eyeromp Films and crowdfunded through kickstarter.
The plot: When Faith, a devout Christian, suffers an untimely death, she awakens to find her prayers have landed her in the middle of a war zone with two other recently departed souls. Upon having her life saved by Judas and his machine gun, she discovers that she is indeed in Heaven, but not exactly the one she read about in the best-selling book of all time. After a quick video tutorial, Faith learns that she is to join the apostolic outpost charged with collecting the scattered remains of a never-resurrected Jesus. Once he’s brought back to power, they hope to join forces with Moses and his army and end the rule of God, who has become little more than a battery to recharge the power of a treacherous archangel and his minions. Faith and fellow newbie Jake struggle with their own moral dilemmas as they fight for their afterlife with a ragtag pack of apostles and assorted biblical characters in the ultimate battle for Heaven.
You can watch the movie here
And now you can finally listen to the music here
100% Storms Ensemble is Eric Morrison's (Home,Leels) fake orchestra.
Tackling the best syphonic commissions that they never were really offered: 1939 World's Fair, Launch music for the Voyager space probes, and the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in NYC as well as commissions that they were really offered: the soundtrack to ''Heaven Is Hell''
For this series, the vinyl version is still available, I'm painting frames taken from the movie or panoramas of the places where it was shot.
And the cast, copied and pasted from imdb:
Chris Sato ... (co-director)
Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)
Jason Kraynek ... (story)
Mike Meyer ... (story)
Mike Meyer ... (writer)
Mike Meyer ... (written by)
Chris Sato ... (story)
Cast (in credits order)
Lindsey Marks ... Faith
Christopher Marcum ... Judas
Ethan Henry ... Zerach
Mark ViaFranco ... Jesus
Jack Schultz ... Lucifer
Danny Heeter ... Jake
Tierza Scaccia ... Junia
David Bertucci ... Thomas
Christopher Meister ... Thaddeus (as Chris Meister)
Beka ... Gloria
Joyce Porter ... Mom
Tony Papaleo ... Priest
Abel Zander ... Jeff
You can preorder your copy here.
25 July, 2020Third premiere.
''Harden My Heart'' by Allen Callaci and Jeff Fuccillo.
No need for introductions here. During the lockdown and living in different corners of the world, the two longtime friends recorded a cover of ''Harden My Heart'' using a platform for the exchange of music files. The experiment and the remote collaboration went so well that they recorded other covers of 80's songs. There's an album in the making. The original by Quarterflash is not in my chords, but their cover is deadly. ''A transcontinental bedroom cover'' as Allen has pointed out.
Listen to ''Harden My Heart'' here
The song is part of the ''Portraits From The Quarantine'', a 4xCS compilation out on Almost Halloween Time Records soon.
You can preorder your copy here.
24 July, 2020Over the past few months I have updated the bandcamp page of Almost Halloween Time Records.
Finally you can listen to some of the recent and past productions.
I try to discourage the purchase of the digital version directly from me. I feel embarrassed to receive money for something I have done little for. If you really want to buy the audio files, do it directly from the bandcamp page of the artists. You will often find the digital version available from me at the same price as the cassette or vinyl version. Buy the cassette or vinyl, because I have a crazy desire to draw for you and for the artists to whom the music belongs.
Almost Halloween Time Records Bandcamp.
23 July, 2020''Portraits From The Quarantine'' is perhaps the most ambitious project ever made by Almost Halloween Time Records. A compilation spread on four cassettes, each lasting 70 minutes, recorded during the lockdown, in solitude, at home, with occasional tools or with the roommates, digging into forgotten archives to find pieces that seemed to be lost.
Sad music, in most cases, even if at times it is possible to glimpse a glimmer of light.
In recent days I posted the preview of the videos of two songs contained in the compilation, today I present one of the covers that will accompany the compilation, portraits of the plague mask struggling with daily chores and everyday life, and some of the artists whose songs are included in the compilation.
Antti Tolvi: Perhaps his contribution is the symbol song, manifesto of the whole collection. A suite for piano and vacuum cleaners that kidnapped and conquered me, listening after listening, by sucking my senses like a speck of dust depositing them in who knows what place or non-place. Apparently this is the only existing recording of this kind of performance and I'm really proud of this. Some people spent the lockdown maniacally cleaning their homes and belongings, Antii went further, using an appliance to make music.
Not sure if Kirigirisu still has copies of Leijunta, but if you want to hear more by this incredible artist, I definitely recommend you try to put your hands on that album.
Peopling: Recorded at a live show in Brooklyn Nov. 2018 but composed in isolation one night in 2018 at a campground in Utah. Peopling makes his debut on Almost Halloween Time after he has stolen a piece of my heart with his live set in Leverano (LE). During the lockdown, Peopling has been making noise in nature. Alone, wearing a mask. These sessions, that are available on his facebook wall, are really worth your time.
Wio: what's more poignant, heartmelting than a cello? a wio song in which there is the accompaniment of a cello. If you are feeling the lockdown on your skin and it's raining outside and you are in a nostalgic mood, this song is for you. Personally it also works well in the open air, driving through the countryside around Bari with the sun shining.
You can preorder your copy here.
22 July, 2020The second video of a song extracted from ''portraits from the quarantine'' is by Douglas Kramer Nye.
I often think of Douglas as a brother. His last album, on Almost Halloween Time Records, is titled ''The End Is Nye''. How current the lyrics from the songs of that album are today, perhaps the end is really near, the end of the world as we knew it for sure, but this is also a good opportunity to start again from scratch, to work on building a more humane society, where nobody is left behind.
I still have in my eyes the image of the Vlora, a cargo ship that sailed under the Albanian flag one day, 8 August 1991, arrived in the port of Bari in the aftermath of the fall of the communism in Albania carrying tens of thousands of refugees. An unprecedented mass arrival that caught Italian authorities unaware, but not us, the people from Bari. My family as well as a lot of other families in Bari opened the doors of our houses to welcome and give hospitality to these perfect strangers. The images of the Italian television are impressive. Esat and Arthur lived in my house for months, my father helped them to find a job. And the same
script was repeated in other houses, by other families.
During the Italian and German occupation of Albania in World War II, Albania was the only Nazi-occupied country in Europe to see an increase in its Jewish population, as Albanian Jews were not turned over to the Germans thanks to an Albanian set of laws known as Besa from the Kanun. A lot of Italians, therefore, found refuge in Albania. History always repeats itself.
After having seen that boat for me is really difficult to think about racism or closed borders.
This video is another premiere of what is coming.
A compilation featuring voices, tales, portraits and polaroids from the quarantine.
A few words about the song from Douglas: ''In times of trouble, I look back. I listen. I try to imagine what good leaders from our past would do, what the young people would do. They have a voice of reason. One that is less stained by the world's ills. Through a child's eyes, there are endless possibilities.
In 1931, Florence Reece wrote the lyrics to Which Side Are You On? She was twelve years old. Her chosen melody dates back even further. Some say it came about a few hundred years ago, but it's probably much older. We carry songs inside of us and pass them on. So it goes. Children don't get enough credit. They're well aware of what's going on, but we allow our elders to call the shots. It's time for revolution.
Prior to the pandemic I was wondering if my voice was necessary anymore. As a white man, I've been able to dabble in the music industry out of sheer desire. I wanted to make music and play it for people. It's been relatively easy. I followed the well-travelled path of songwriters that came before me. I wrote. I played shows. I recorded songs. I released records. I met amazing people along the way. More and more though, I find myself wanting to listen and wanting to amplify the voices of other people. If I'm going to continue making music, I must be more methodical.
In my own community, the voices of Women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ are very much in the minority. White men dominate the music scene where I live. While America continues a national dialogue on race, the artists from where I live should be having conversations about how we can make our community equitable and accessible to people who are not seen as cis white men.
I considered myself an ally before the pandemic…before George Floyd was murdered on TV by out of control police officers. I had a realization; if I was an ally at all, it was in the laziest form and primarily in my own head. I thought, ''I'm one of the good ones. I have friends from diverse groups. I stand up for what's right.'' This is not nearly enough. I hadn't bent over backwards to affect change. I hadn't used my whiteness to lift people out of the hell that America can be. I'm still trying to figure out my next moves. I'm learning. I'm changing my thinking and figuring out ways I can actually help.
Florence's song asks an important question. One that we should all ask ourselves on a regular basis. Which side are you on?''
You can preorder your copy here.
11 July, 2020Do you like football? no, it makes no difference whether you like it or not.
The original idea of making the compilation I'm going to talk to you about is by Wio.
It emerged during one of the famous Almost Halloween Time brainstorming sessions.
''What can be the theme of the next compilation?'' is the question that occurs every time we complete a project.
In a biblical sequence of events: ''Crock Rot'' was the father of ''It's Halloween Time'', ''It's Halloween Time'' was the father of ''Lodger Doll Three'' and ''Road To Istanbul'' and some other ideas that are still in a early age of development.
A multi-twins birth. If you already know all about ''Lodger Doll Three'' and it's not time to talk about embryos, you probably want to hear something about ''Road To Istanbul'', a project that I have already mentioned in some previous posts.
The name of this compilation is related, or I should say was related, to the seat of the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final.
The final for this year was originally going to be played at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, in Istanbul, Turkey on 30 May 2020, but you all know the turn the events have taken. The final was subsequently relocated by the UEFA Executive Committee to the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe.
This final is historical for many reasons. The match will be the first ever European Cup/Champions League final to be played on a Sunday, and the first since 2009 to not be played on a Saturday. It will also be the first ever final of the competition to be played after June. The match will be played on 23 August 2020, behind closed doors, though spectators could be allowed subject to a review of the situation and the decisions of the national and local government.
''Road To Istanbul'' is not the story of the final that is not going to happen or that will happen elsewhere, it is not even completely about football and the city of Istanbul. Lisbon made its appearance only when most of the songs had already been written and recorded.
''Road To Istanbul'' is a collection of 12 songs resulting from the collaboration between two or more artists, some well-known names that have already recorded for Almost Halloween Time Records and some new entries.
Two or more artists were joined by a draw whose regularity is certified by a video.
The result of the draw determined the formation of the following 12 groups:
- Furniture Of The Atomic Age: Joel Huschle (Furniture Huschle, Wckr Spgt) + Bryon Allison of (Kids Of The Atomic Age)
- Jeff Vs Wio: Jeff Fuccillo (Irving Klaw Trio, Hockenheit, Helll) + Wio (de portables, Wio)
- 1% Slasher: Jürgen De Blonde (Köhn, Ed Nolbed, de portables) + Isaac Levine (Isaac Levine)
- They Ran Out Of Blue: Caleb Fraid (Caleb Fraid, Giraffe) + Kyle Wood (Lovers Turn To Monsters)
- Goosewind x Nutrition Fun: Rick Goosewind (Goosewind) + Andrew Berkley (Nutrition Fun)
- Jacob Anderson And John Davis: Jacob Anderson (Spirit Duplicator, Yak, Celesteville) + John Davis (John Davis and The Cicadas, Folk Implosion)
- Simmons/Nunnally: Will Simmons (Will Simmons And The Upholsterers, Cruise Control Pills) + Phil Nunnally
- Little Bucko: Bob Bucko Jr (BBJr, Sex Funeral) and Little Whirls (Little Whirls)
- The Hookers With Debts: The Debts + The Hookers (I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE + Death Club)
- Ed De Goey: C. Worth + Steve Marreyt (Edgar Wappenthaler, Luster, Joe Speedboat, Het Interstedelijk Harmoniumverbond)
- Scalding Corals: Elton Wong (GG) + Adam Grahs (S.M. Wolf) + Doo Crowder
- Monogamy x Kiss Hello: Monogamy (Monogamy) + Kiss Hello (Kiss Hello, Gang Wizard)
I don't know much about the genesis of these songs, if the artists knew each other or knew at least the repertoire of the other artists assigned to them by chance. Who took the first step, how the music exchange took place.
Some collaborations were so natural, immediate, as if they had been written in the fate of the artists, others have been more complicated, troubled and have required my intervention.
Like a modern cupid, I have not skimped on the use of arrows and darts.
In some cases, the result of the collaboration is exactly what you would expect knowing the characteristics of the artists involved but sometimes not, it is surprising, unsettling, unexpected. In both cases you would like to hear more, other songs, a full lenght album.
The ''Road To Istanbul'' experiment will be repeated next year too and the intention is to make this an annual appointment. A new draw every year, perhaps some new entries and a single rule: always create new matches.
The compilation is out now in a limited edition of 50 cassettes featuring portraits of famous football players that have made the history of the UEFA Champions League but due to the contiguous events they will not be recognizable and will wear a mask.
Listen to the album here
21 June, 2020A Floating Action Starters Kit? Would anyone be interested?
Here's the deal, you pay for the records, I pay for the shipping, no matter if you live in Australia or Alaska. Send me a mail if you want more details.
Till the end of summer.
Is it exquisite?
Old World Camels
9 July, 2020Week 6 or Week 3 because I've been invited almost at the same time by Wim Lecluyse and Roberto Teodoro to list the ten records that have influenced me the most.
I spent my adolescence listening to The Cure, I know by heart the lyrics of almost all the songs contained on the official albums up to ''Wish''.
''Wild Mood Swings'' has betrayed and broken my heart. I only listened to it once, I put it away and since then it has accumulated dust.
I urgently needed something that would fill the void and my favorite radio show, punctual as always, came to my rescue. One night they passed ''You Moved In'' by Smog and ''You Have Cun In Your Hair And Your Dick Is Hanging Out'' by Palace Music.
since then I often associate these two artists.
Between ''The Doctor Came At Dawn'' and ''Arise Therefore'', both published in 1996 as ''Wild Mood Swings'' I choose the first, just because Will Oldham's ''Riding'' is from 1993.
''All Your Women Things'', ''Whistling Teapot (Rag)'' and ''Spread Your Bloody Wings'' have opened the doors of a new world.
8 July, 2020Week 5 or Week 2, a few days late.
I can't think of a better song ending than the one by Stereolab's ''K-Stars''
''Ebb's Folly'' by Boxhead Ensemble reaches almost the same sublime level but for god's sake, ''K-Stars'' is unreachable, the song literally curls up and every time I listen to it, I find myself hoping it will keep going like that forever.
Wim Lecluyse, Roberto teodoro, ''Peng'' by Stereolab is my fifth album.
What's your favorite song ending I wonder?
Or do you know any song whose ending is similar to that of ''K-Stars''?
By the way, the album also contains ''Super Falling Stars'' and ''Mellotron''
27 June, 2020Friday Night has turned to Saturday Morning.
Right when the lockdown was announced, I invited people to send me songs that will portrait the moment we were all living.
Eric Morrison sent me a message on March 15th at 22:06 when I was ready to go to sleep.
He wanted me to record some words, siamo tutti in quarantena e le volpi sono tornate.
With less people around, foxes were taking possession of the spaces occupied by men.
I did it, I sent Eric recordings of my voice, my wife's and my little daughter Emilia's.
At 23:35 I received an email from Eric with a song in attachment. It featured the voices of all my family.
When I first heard The Foxes Have Returned Home I cried and I laughed.
This morning I showed the video to my little one. She laughed when she saw the fox speaking with her voice. I wish I could have filmed those moments.
Over the last few months I have received so many great songs from all over the world that have warmed my heart.
This one by Eric Morrison And The 100% Storms Ensemble has of course a particular meaning to me.
This video is a premiere of what is coming.
A compilation featuring voices, tales, portraits and polaroids from the quarantine.
Thanks Eric, Stacey Jurgensen
and Eli Morrison.
21 June, 2020At Almost Halloween Time Records, we are really obsessed by traditions and recurrences.
There is a companion to almost every compilation we have released, there is at least one of the hand painted covers that has to feature a bird, etc.
Today we celebrate the 26th anniversary from the release of ''Bee Thousand'' by a band that really needs no introduction: Guided By Voices.
And if last year we released ''Lodger Doll Three'', the entire program of ''Bee Thousand'' reinterpreted by 20 different artists, today we celebrate releasing ''Bee Ano'' by Ed Nolbed.
A piano suite in two parts inspired by our favorite album, a sublime reinterpretation of the songs that never really got out of our heads.
''Bee Ano'' was improvised and recorded by Ed Nolbed over the course of an evening, in a single session.
Ed Nolbed certainly is one of the leading experts in the field and I can't imagine anyone more obsessed with ''Bee Thousand'' and Guided By Voices than he is.
We love Guided By Voices and we all love Robert Pollard.
The album is out today, a limited edition of 50 copies with unique hand painted artworks inspired by the music of the album and Robert Pollard's imaginary and beautiful work.
And now what can we do to celebrate next year's 27th anniversary?
20 June, 2020Week 3.
I would like to talk you about ''Unknown Pleasure'' today, but I will not.
It is always out of curiosity that I purchased ''20 Years And No Girlfriend'' by Nicole Kidman.
''20 Years And No Girlfriend'' by Nicole Kidman is actually on Bridgetown Records but I found it in the mailorder section of the Folktale website when I was exploring the catalog of the label..
Obviously Nicole Kidman is not the famous Australian actress, is not even a girl, Nicole Kidman is Jon Barba from Los Angeles and his music is some sort of dream pop characterized by the massive use of a Yamaha keyboard.
All the songs included in this collection seem to have a bond, comnncetion or reference with the actress. And so we got ''Dogville'', ''Eyes Wide Shut'', ''Birthday Girl'', ''Australia'', ''The Stepford Wives'', ''Practical Magic'', ''My Life'', ''Batman Forever'', ''To Die For''
How many of these movies have you seen? Jon Barba must have seen them all.
I have seen only a few, I have to confess and some good ones. ''Dogville'', the Kubrick one and ''Birthday Girl'' where she plays the role of a Russian mail-order bride, brilliantly.
Jon's obsession with Nicole Kidman is certainly greater than mine. The songs are morbid, unhealthy and sick, all in a good way, and I can imagine Jon watching the movies, there are even some audio samples and you can hear Jon comment and describe some scenes.
The keyboard sounds precarious and at times you would swear that if Jon had increased the volume by one tone, the keyboard would have exploded and gone to pieces.
I think I have played ''My Everything'' hundred times, pressing the repeat button and the theme outlined on the keyboard still resonates in my head occasionally.
On more recent records Miley Cirus appears, but Nicole Kidman is another thing.
I'd reissue this on vinyl, now, if I had the permission.
''Listen to the album here''
19 June, 2020When I was 5 or 6, my aunt bought me a salopette, it was the beginning of my troubles with the yellow color. I really could not wear that yellow overalls, too bright, too sunny, too yellow, too embarassing. It was a trauma. Would you ever wear a yellow salopette? Surely it was also for the particular nature of that garnment, but I cried so hard that I still remember the day they wanted me to wear it.
The 2020 Luigi still has troubles with yellow, you can see it clearly in my paintings where blue and black abound, and yellow is relegated to a supporting role, if not completely absent.
In 2019 I started working on a project called ''Road to Istanbul'', for sure I have already mentioned it in some previous posts. A compilation that will feature collaborations between two or more artists joined together by a draw. Twelve marriages arranged by chance which will be be officiated and celebrated shortly.
The new release I'm going to talk to you about today is by They Ran Out Of Blue, the fruit of the collaboration between Caleb Fraid and Lovers Turn To Monsters, whose marriage was combined by chance and which was so satisfactory as to lead to the realization of an entire EP and which anticipates the release of the compilation that generated it by a few weeks.
The two fellows obviously know my problem with the yellow color well and have decided to call their project They Ran Out Of Blue, a name full of meaning. Do they mean this collaboration happened out of nowhere or unexpectedly? I don't think so, because in my opinion it's something that would have inevitably happened someday. Lovers Turn To Monsters is a great fan of Caleb Fraid and the other way around. Something that happens without anyone having prior knowledge of it? No, their marriage, once again, is combined. Genuine surprise or shock? Yes, maybe, although their union is so natural.
I think the reference to ''blue'' hints to the problem I have with yellow. and ''they'' are my color suppliers who see me buying tons of blue and never yellow cans and ''ran out'' is a situation in which I often find myself.
The songs by They Ran Out Of Blue are exactly what you would expect from a collaboration between Caleb Fraid and Lovers Turn To Monsters and they are rich in the characteristics that distinguish their music.
I don't know exactly how the songs developed, but surely there was a thick exchange of emails and recordings between the two.
For this series, which by tradition will see each copy come out with a unique cover, I therefore decided to do without blue, favoring other colors that I usually don't use in my paintings.
13 June, 2020Week 2
Wim Lecluyse's request.
I bought ''Waffles and Windmills'' out of curiosity.
I have always been interested in local scenes.
When I have the chance, I never fail to ask info about bands, artists and groups from countries that usually aren't under the radar of newspapers and music magazines. The better if they don't even sing in English.
And so in my record collection you will find russian, greek, danish, portuguese, polish, hungarian, french, spanish records, etc.
Of course I haven't been lucky everytime and I can only name a few groups that I still listen to or that have become really important to me.
I have always read the catalogs of every small record label I happened to find greedily, so when my eyes caught on Lower Records a sampler of belgian and dutch artists, I could not resist and I ordered one.
We are talking about the end of the 90's and back then I had never been to Belgium or the Netherlands.
Although I knew very well what a windmill was, I wasn't sure about waffles.
Traditional sweets in Bari are much different and waffles would have made their appearance in Puglia only in recent years when I had already had plenty of them during my beglan trips.
The compilation features among the others Plover, Wovoka, Wio, Napkin Vs Soda, Bingo Trappers, Larz, Furtips, Tin Foil Stars, Ed Nolbed, Mote, Birdskin and the Luigi of 2020 would probably be a different person if I hadn't order this compilation.
No songs sung in flemish, but a sequence of great lo-fi tunes by mysterious home-tapers.
I think I have tried to contact all the artists featured in this compilation.
With some of them I am still in touch, of others I have lost the contact. How great is the song by Peep? With those homemade drums that I imagined to be carton drums of some local detergent. And Plover? Where is he now? And how many times I have played the song by Gush? Or ''The Wind'' by Pompidou?
8 June, 2020Day 1 or rather Week 1. Wim Lecluyse's request.
I knew one day, sooner or later I would have been invited to do a list for my 10 records that kind of influenced me.
I will just follow different rules. I'm not sure I can do this daily for ten consecutive days, so I will do this weekly, for ten consecutive weeks. And was it limited to compilation and soundtracks? I will do one that includes albums and compilation.
''I Can See Where I Am Now'' by Wio.
The third time I put my feet outside the Italian border, it was to go to what would have become my second home: Belgium.
I learned a lot of things while there, some very important lessons:
1) Always bring a raincoat, k-way or umbrella when you prepare your backpack for a holiday in Belgium, because rain is typical, so typical that they even have it written on t-shirts.
2) Don't trust cheap beers with what you judge from appearence to be uninteresting labels, because you can end up drinking a Westmalle Tripel from the bottle without noticing it is 9,5% ABV.
3) The Belgian scene of hometapers is really interesting.
I received my copy of ''I Can See Where I Am Now'' from Wio himself, after a gig I saw in a theatre in Brugge when I absolutely had no idea of where I was going.
''I Can See Where I Am Now'' is a collection of songs recorded between '94 and '97, some had already made their appearance on tapes, one was recorded live by the dutch radio VPRO and some were recorded specifically for this record.
A corelease between (K-RAA-K)3 and Slowball.
It features the Violinator, the same violinator that was at the gig and now that I read again the liner notes after years, also, Ed Nolbed on one song, Belgium's Wildest Pigfarmer?
I have played this album hundred times and especially the songs ''Langinstrumentaal'', ''Avignon Migennes'' and ''That Rainy-Sunday-Afternoon Feeling'', the title of this last one is self explanatory and I heavily recommend you not to play the song when it is raining, and it's winter and the town is empty because is Sunday, and, of course, the last two tracks, those that turned my infatuation into love. ''Since You Started Wearing Those Blue Jeans And The Zorro Mask'' and ''Mathematics'' that leaves me with the unresolved question: what was Wio printing?
7 June, 2020Harry Cloud insisted and I kept my promise.
Here's my review of ''The Pig And The Machine''
Harry Cloud is a multifaceted artist, there's no doubt about this.
The opening track ''Fantasia'', when I first heard it, made me think about The Cure and the music that opened the gigs of their Wish tour, majestic and monumental, the start of an odissey. Is ''The Pig And The Machine'' a concept album?
No, probably it is not, the second track ''Momo Island'' is the first turn. The chorus ''I saw and alligator through the window to beach / Rock steady leaves / I'm ready to rock'' makes your mind change immediately and you think you are in a theatre watching a musical.
But the pig makes its appearance on track three so maybe your guess about this being a concept album was right.
''School'' and ''Pink Custard Pie'' are indie rock tunes, they made me think about Flaming Lips on first listening but now after several listenings, I can say these are pure Harry Cloud gems, ghaving all the typical characteristics of a Harry Cloud tune.
''Asexual Bunnyrabbit'' is my favorite tune, the one that always needs a second and eventually a third listening every time, the one that I play loud, very loud. The vocals here are perfect, crystalline, convincing and so rich in pathos that at the end of the song you hate that bunnyrabbit and you want to kill him. There is something satanic about this song.
I can imagine Harry Cloud's frontman set himself on fire or do stage diving while performing ''Brain'' in a stadium full of mad fans.
The sensation is that Harry Cloud can arrive everywhere with his voice, Harry Cloud is a multiform creature or a collective of different individuals. One, noone and a thousand others, like an experienced dubber, Harry Cloud vocals are differnt from one song to the other. ''Haunted Hayride'' is my favorite one of the whole collection of songs, it plays in the final with ''Asexual Bunnyrabit''
''Bowser'' is a punk song. It is like you are listening to your favorite radio show and the selection of the radio host ranges across all kind of rock genres.
Once I got a demo tape by a death metal band called Necromicon, from Bari?, not sure, I remember there were some instrumental parts that were monumental, almost classic music, the best parts of that tape, ''Voorhees'' is not a death metal song, but there is something equally monumental in this song.
The title track ''The Pig and The Machine'' is also the final track of the album and one of the best too.
Other possible comparisons? Danielson Famile needing an exorcism, Built To Spill and Motorpsycho? But guys, really, Harry Cloud songs are unique and recognizable, and you can trust me since I have listened to a good deal of them and released some on my record label too.
The packaging and art design, by Ian Piirtola, are also really cool. A gatefold cover featuring a drunken Santa Claus, a small robot, a pig, views of Venezia. Really beautiful. 2x180gr solid blue vinyl records.
''Listen to The Pig And The Machine''
5 June, 2020''Parerga und Paralipomena'' is the title of the very last addition to the Almost Halloween Time Records catalog and family. A split cassette between two of my heroes: Gary Alien and Nutrition Fun.
''Parerga und Paralipomena'' is also the title of a collection of philosophical reflections by Arthur Schopenhauer, appendices and omissions to the theories of the german philosopher.
A very demanding title.
Gary Alien and Nutrition Fun's reflections on life, suicide, rebirth, broken statuettes, articulated prepositions, losses, bewilderment and death sentences. are recorded on this tape.
If Gary Alien would not have left earth without carrying with him a bunch of Nutrition Fun cassettes as a soundtrack for his intergalactic journey, Nutrition Fun swears that he knew from the beginning what Gary Alien would have become because he always were.
Of the first you have already been able to appreciate ''Landing'' a collection of songs that was released last year and the cover of ''Going To Spain'' included in the Imaginary Donkey compilation.
Of the last only two songs have appeared until today on Almost Halloween Time Records, ''Down In Denver'' included in ''Crock Rot'' compilation and Mauvais Sang included in ''It's Halloween Time'' compilation.
Nutrition Fun really needs no introduction because I'm sure you own at least one of his fabulous tapes on Unread Records, Gary Alien has also a bunch of other releases on his own I Can't Be A Musician record label.
As every release on Almost Halloween Time Records, and I'm not joking, every single copy of this release, and I'm not exaggerating or overestimating, will feature a unique hand painted artwork on which Dostoyevsky, Schopenhauer or flying saucers or a combination of them will make their appearance.
A limited edition of 50 copies.
4 June, 2020''Patterns'' could easily be the title of one of the short stories included in James Joyce's ''Dubliners''
I imagine Stephen as the boy in ''The Sisters'' wondering about the words paralysis, gnomon or simony or walking through the streets of Dublin reading all the theatrical advertisements in the shopwindows.
I imagine that ''Patterns'' is set in Tallaght rather than Dublin's city center and I can see Stephen walking through the streets and the industrial around there.
I can see him wearing a superhero mask, looking at the mirror or watching Shamrock Rovers at the stadium.
The urgency to record these songs, the impossibility to find a porper cable during the lockdown, the wish of sounding close to the artists that spoke to him when he first heard the music that made him feel a passion for it, made Stephen invent a new recording tecnique. Using a microcassette recorder and playing tricks with a cable he happened to find, he made these songs sound very old and dirt.
''Patters'' is a collection of short songs that are short stories and it is out now on Almost Halloween Time Records in a limited edition of 50 copies with unique hand painted covers.
30 May, 2020Record Label Owners Turn To Monsters
A few weeks ago while I was social distancing on the sofa of my living room, I read a post from Lovers Turn To Monsters announcing a new project called ''Custom Corona Bundle'' or ''A custom Bundle in celebration of our impending doom''.
The advertisement promised custom Lttm gear, a one in existence Lttm EP including a cover you can pick for a total of 5 songs, a mix tape of tunes, some art and some other stuff.
How could I resist temptation? I love Lovers Turn To Monsters and Kyle from the day he sent me a cover of a Franklin Bruno. His debut on Almost Halloween Time Records is only of a few years ago 'though, when I invited him to contribute a song to the Crock Rot compilation, from there it has been a continuous, an ep of songs that is the perfect companion to the It's Halloween Time compilation, a cover of a Secret Stars tune for the Imaginary Donkey compilation, an ep of songs done in collaboration with Caleb Fraid (a companion to the Road To Istanbul compilation, soon to be released), a song for Lodger Doll Three, the tribute to Guided By Voices and Bee Thousand.
All incredibly awesome...
So when he announced a custom ep, I had no other choice and ordered mine.
And since it is an axiom that lovers turn to monsters... I made it really difficult for Kyle.
I requested two covers: an Italian song from the beginning of the twentieth century that was obsessing me and has always been ringing in my mind since I first heard it and another Italian song from 1967 written by Belgrado Pedrini in the Fossombrone jail that I first heard covered by Matt Elliott in an occupied squat. ''Bruceremo Le Chiese'' and ''Il Galeone''
Of course I wasn't expecting Kyle to sing in Italian and I'm not that cruel... (although Matt Elliott sang ''Il Galeone'' in Italian)... so I provided translations of the lyrics too.
The result is gorgeous and credible, as if Kyle had been burning churches all life long and had been a silly anarchist punk.
I've got five songs in total, a mixtape, a booklet, stickers, two photographs and a letter...
This is certainly one of the most precious items in my collection of records.
Apparently Kyle has recorded or is still recording 12 different eps. An approach similar to what I do with artworks and covers... and this is another reason of why I love Kyle and Lovers Turn To Monsters.
Shall I try to contact the people who are the lucky owners of the other 11 eps?
I'm really tempted.
Kyle is not uploading the songs or sending them to anyone else.
25 April, 2020The first edition of ''Imaginary Donkey'' (50 copies) is sold out. I have shipped something like 20 copies this week and the one in the picture has arrived in the hands of someone who will treat it well. I have been avoiding post offices for the reasons you all know. There is going to be a second edition of 50 copies and if necessary a third.
24 April, 2020Seth Kauffman has been releasing Floating Action albums lately as if the world is ending...oh wait, it might BE ending. This newest Floating Action album ''Outsider Art'' is Seth's 11th album in the last 14 years, and the 4th release on Almost Halloween Time Records in the last 4 years. That's over 130 original songs. Floating Action's catalog is truly outsider art, as the music industry has largely shunned everything Floating Action. But it's these records, thankfully, that have found their way to more successful artists like Dan Auerbach, Jack Johnson, Jim James, Dr. Dog and countless more - who have freaked out, become fans, and kept Kauffman afloat by having him play on their records & tour with them (which consequently makes it possible for Floating Action albums to keep getting made.)
It's a bassackwards (truly outsider) route for sure, but we'll take it. Kauffman hadn't planned on creating another Floating Action record any time soon, after 2019's 'Old World Camels'. But last October, he was suddenly hit with a giant cluster of new ideas, and began recording them. ''They were so bursting with freshness, and super original...and they just all came to me at once, I just had to get them down fast. I had just gotten this weird delay pedal that uses real cassette tape, and this really cheap Amazon house brand (SET5) amplifier - which served as that 'perfect piece of new gear to get your juices flowing''.
In classic Floating Action form, there are catchy-but-deep-cut funky jamaican/afro grooves on ''Outsider Art'', airtight arrangements, highly melodic throughout, heavy philosphy hidden in code in the lyrics, extremely original and not really very like anything else. Also unique to ''Outsider Art'', is a constant thread of positivity in the lyrics, as well as an underlying theme of ancient Chinese wisdom and its connection to trees.
The album is available for preorder in a limited edition of 50 copies with unique hand painted covers. Water color paintings done by yours truly.
10 April, 2020''Bruceremo le chiese e gli altari / bruceremo i palazzi e le regge / con le budella dell'ultimo prete / impiccheremo il papa e il re'' which translated, reads like this ''We will burn churches and altars / we will burn palaces and palaces / with the guts of the last priest / we will hang the pope and the king'' are the lyrics of an anonymous song of the twentieth century.
For someone like me who has never liked priests and churches, it is very strange to welcome to the Almost Halloween Time Records family a Reverend.
The Reverend Terry Rice, of course, is not a real priest, unless he lied to me, Rev is a musician from southern Kentucky. His influences range from Hank Williams Sr, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Lou Reed & David Bowie to Black Sabbath, Dr Hook, Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie & The Ramones. His lyrics are genuine and true to his own life. Depression, poverty, alcohol, self mutilation, suicide attempts and lost love are reocurring themes. Rev lays out every aspect of his life in song leaving nothing untold.
Rev has been a long time member, as well as co-founder, of the creep rock band Dark Humor. He started a solo project under the name The Reverend Terry Rice & The Honky Punks as an outlet for songs that didn't fit in with the creep rock sound.
Stripped to the bone and raw, Rev's solo work is as real as it comes. Never once claiming to be a good musician or singer, Rev sings from the heart. Self described as bleeding on his guitar, sometimes literally, Rev refuses to be untrue to himself. Sometimes ugly, always real, The Reverend Terry Rice makes no excuses nor offers any apologies for who or what he is.
''Here Comes The Boogeyman'' is a collection of 11 songs, Halloween themed, the perfect soundtrack for this period, that is not Halloween, not even Almost Halloween, but really scary and sad.
''Here Comes The Boogeyman'' is out today on cassette, a limited edition of 50 copies with painted covers, done by yours truly, one by one, all different.
14 March, 2020Let your heart not become blind is a recommendation that we should try to make our own, a rule to follow every day. The heart, which pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system, which provides the body with oxygen and nutrients, which assists in the removal of metabolic wastes, often becomes of stone, a dry, barren muscular organ that still pumps blood but forgets to admire the beauty that surrounds us, to love the people around us, our family or perfect strangers that are just like us, with the same fears, desires, ambitions, emotions. MonThruSun, the new project by Hans Bos, explore the darkest meanders of the heart, where our feelings reside, and now that I have just had the opportunity to be with him for a few hours, I can tell you that his heart is not blind at all and that I have felt so good in his company.
The gig, with a full band of talented musicians at the Vondelkerk in Amsterdam was so good. Knowing all the lyrics of the songs and having played his album on continuous for months, has amplified the experience and the enjoyment of the whole set and I come back home with ''Powerlack'' still ringing in my mind, I'm gonna try ''to make the changes''.
19 January, 2020A new decade has just begun and I already see a flood of new releases and covers to be painted at the horizon.
I can date exactly the day when my label's new life began. Nine years ago. I have spent the last decade painting...
Of course the idea of waking up at dawn every morning for the next ten years doesn't appeal to me much, it's cold in the morning and I like to sleep, but this is my doom.
I have already sent three new albums to the vinyl factory, there are two new collaborations with People In A Position To Know, there are a lot of projects being defined, without forgetting some orders (and trades) that I have yet to complete. If you have not received any news from me or are still waiting for the records you have ordered, I apologize. I'm late and day after day the number of covers to draw increases and I still haven't managed to multiply my hands. It will be a long, cold winter in my office, and maybe the time has come to get a stove.
Do you want to hear what is cooking for you?
''Brummagem Brilliance'' by Wio
I have already announced the forthcoming release of this album. Test presses have been approved and the records are being pressed as I write. In the meantime you can listen to the first three singles taken from the album here:
''Floating In Weightlessness''
''(I'm Not A) Symphonic Orchestra''
''Let My Heart Not Become Blind'' by MonThruSun
Lead singer Hans Bos of Soft Parade returns with a new album under the name MonThruSun. After an inspired collaboration with Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) that resulted in acclaimed albums 'Pure' and 'Get Well Soon', Soft Parade stopped in 1996. Bos always kept the music alive and now the hiatus is broken with a dazzling collection of new songs. ''Let My Heart Not Become Blind'' reveals a loving view of the world in which the tent canvas reveals through its holes the starry sky – a feeling of being connected.
The album was recorded in Amsterdam IJland and Americain Studios with Tinca Veerman (vocals), Robin Berlijn (piano, guitar), Dick Brouwers (bass), Eric C. Maas (also Soft Parade, bass), Leon van Egmond (trombone), violinists Antonio Pliz and Robert Uchida, Robijn Boekelmans (cello), and Imke Jansen on viola.
Together with drummer / producer Remko Schouten (Stephen Malkmus, Zzz, Bull) and supported by these wonderful musician friends, Bos delves into pure, poetic words. With a voice as clear as Bowie and warm as Stuart Staples, he soothes the modern soul. Listen to a song like the hope-driven 'Moon'; or 'A Hole in Your Head' that takes you to the bottom of your mind. The catchy 'AWeSoMe' will be stuck in your head, and after the grand finale of 'Home' a warm light continues to glow.
The music on the album resonates with artists like Adam Green, Spain, Pavement, The Velvet Underground, Tindersticks and – why not – The Beatles.
Right now, directors, filmmakers and animators are working on videos for each of the songs. The makers are Bara Lockefeer (Sorry), Willem Jan Bloem (Make Wishes), Eric Maas (Hole in Your Head), Stanley Kolk (Family it's our Blood), August Swietkowiak (Inking Black), Susanne Engels (Moon), Jessica Gorter (Awesome), and Marjolein Hendrickx (I Can Be Who I Want).
It's really a pleasure to work with Hans and I feel very lucky to have met him at a Bingo Trappers and Water show in Amsterdam on an Almost Halloween Time night .
''Let My Heart Not Become Blind'' is a limited edition of 50 copies with hand painted unique covers inspired by the lyrics of the songs.
''Songs From Shell Beach'' by Kiss Hello
Kiss Hello has already made an appearance on Almost Halloween Time Records a few months ago. His cover of ''Awful Bliss'' has ended up on ''Lodger Doll Three'', the tribute compilation to Guided By Voices that we issued to celebrate the 25th anniversary from the release of ''Bee Thousand''.
Linus Landucci is a member of Gang Wizard and Kiss Hello is one of his projects.
''Songs From Shell Beach'' is a corelease with Linus' own label.
Kiss Hello's music intertwines electronic looping and sampling with orgaqnic instrumentaion, often driven by emotion rather than rigid structure. It skirts the line between soundtrack, ambient music and melody-driven pop. Think Eno's textural, tonal landscapes combined with the lo-fi demeanor of an early Mount Eerie record or Pixies B-side, pasted together and raw.
Kiss Hello often collaborate with others and record their playing, but ultimately have the final say on how a part fits into a song. Linus writes all the msuci. For example, he might record a friend violin, but edited it heavily and chop it up, making it indistinguishable from the original. This synthesis and processing is what gives Kiss Hello its sound.
''Less Ready To Go'' by Michael Nau
What I'm going to talk about now is the seventh collaboration with People In A Position To Know, the other half of the apple of Almost Halloween Time, a label that I love and that is one of my main sources of inspiration. I'm really excited about the idea of ??working with Michael Nau. His new album ''Less Ready To Go'' was the soundtrack for my summer and I can guarantee you that it sounded equally good in autumn and it sounds great now that is winter and that I'm painting a set of artworks for it. Michael Nau's name has been linked to three different record projects in the past, after dissolving the band Page France, the American musican gave birth to Cotton Jones and The Broadway Hush, but while of the latter there are only a traces left (three singles), the former boast a cult-status record triptych.
Michael Nau's latest solo effort, proceeds on the path traced by the previous records and incorporates his unique blend of psychedelic folk, R&B, and indie rock. It features incredible collaborators like Whitney McGraw (Cotton Jones), Andrew Dost (fun.), Zach Miller (Dr. Dog), Benny Yurco (Grace Potter & the Nocturnals), Seth Kauffman (Floating Action), and Scott McMicken (Dr. Dog), who also served as producer.
Nau says of the album: ''We recorded these songs at hi-dez in Joshua Tree. It happened quickly. For each song, we'd do a live take, then switch instruments & do a live overdub on top. It was a fresh way to work. Going in, I was sure I had at least one song to do – we started there, and a couple days later it felt like a record was finished. I got scooped up by whatever happened those couple days – felt good to be moving. Any time I try to contrast one record, or process, from the previous one, it becomes more clear that it's all pretty much the same thing. I think I've been 'working on an album' every day for the last 12 years, yet I always feel underprepared. I'm lucky to get to make music with people who's energy can supersede my self doubt. That's the thread through all this.''
The covers I'm painting are abstract, images seen through smudged windows.
Only 50 copies, 25 available through Almost Halloween Time Records and 25 through People In A Position To Know.
''Eighteen'' by Home
One day ''Planet Rock'', my favorite radio show, broadcast a piece of a band called Home.The title was ''Halloween''. I was taking my first steps in the world of the music that I still listen to today.
The program had already introduced me to the music of Smog, Palace, Sebadoh and Cat Power. Within a couple of days I ordered my copy of ''X'' (the Roman numeral). All Home albums are in fact numbered. Something that has intrigued me from the start and that has almost made me crazy. It was useless to search the previous chapters on mailorder catalogs and internet was a minefield. In 1995 if you searched Home on the web and you were not an experienced spider, you would have had hundred thousand results but noone matching your request.
But I've never been one that gives up at the first difficulty. I contacted Emperor Jones, I learned about Screw Music Forever, I wrote Home and got in contact with Eric Morrison. All this process took years and in this space of time I got my hands up on a copy of ''IX'' (bought at Used Kids Records in Columbus, OH and ''Elf :: Gulfborewaltz''. I also started looking for the first eight chapters everywhere. Unobtainable, not to be found, very little information. Luckily Eric was kind enough to send me dubbed copies of the tapes. I still keep them as precious relics, although some years ago they were made available on a larger scale in digital format.
If you don't know them, it is better that you remedy this as soon as possible. You don't know what you are missing in your record collection.
Here I copy and paste a bio that is available on the Screw Music Forever website (by the way, all previous Home recordings are available for streaming and download there too).
''Pianist Eric Morrison and guitarist Andrew Deutsch meet in a performing arts high school in South Florida, and soon start collaborating on camcorder movies. The two ramble around various Floridian cities, moving from filmmaking to music. Eventually, they land in Tampa where they meet bassist Brad Truax and drummer Sean Martin and formally dub themselves Home (a nod to a fictional band in a soap opera they were writing). As the recordings started to pile up, they form a label/collective called Screw Music Forever and begin to offer $1 cassettes at local record stores. In a freak happenstance, one of these cassettes lands in the lap of a Relativity Records A&R man, who soon rolls up smoking large cigars and offering money for Home IX.
After Home IX, Sean gets a hold of some bad shellfish and disappears for 10 years. Home carries on, making six more albums. Then, Sean reemerges, just as Brah Records befriends Home, with the notion of creating a musical tribute to fucking, resulting in Home's first Brah release, Sexteen. Phase I (in which...)
The Home boys, in post-coital bliss return from traveling the land (metaphorically) having spent their wad on Home Sexteen and begin to envision an Alternate Reality (heretofore notated as ''AR'') from which to begin writing Home XVII. The basic story arc finds each member's life so suddenly destroyed that they are forced to all move back into a communal living space to start over and retreat to the pop-rock origins of their genesis. Par exemplar:
A) Andrew returns home to find his entire apartment building decimated and all physical manifestations of his identity completely erased.
B) Eric is excommunicated by his wife when she discovers he is a crossdresser and he embarks on a sweet but ill-conceived plan to win her back by exploding the sun on her birthday.
C) Chris discovers that his lover is an android of unknown design and motive.
Home converges in the Devils Isle WetLab Studio and records the skeleton tracks of Home XVII.
Phase II (in which..)
The Actual Reality (heretofore notated as ''AR'') Home embarks on a leisurely summer of overdubbery, during which they decide to tackle the long-overdue task of digitizing and mastering their first eight albums which have dangerously oxidized in a Makers Mark wooden box for nearly 15 years. Somewhere in analyzing these early recordings, Home becomes re-interested in the sound of songs in their genesis; the (wholley) imperfect object that is felt but not yet processed.
Phase III (in which...) Each member of (AR) Home is cast about to their individual places of comfort to record their pressing concerns. The carefully crafted uber-story abandoned for passing fancy. The MS-16 fullness for the red-line compression of a 4-track. When they reconvene, they sort through some 60 songs to file down to the ''new'' Home XVII, a scattershot sampling of moments and perspectives that somewhat awkwardly leaves archeological traces of cross-dressing and identity destruction.''
After 10 years, Home is back with a surprise new album to close out the decade. 18 is full of songs about the heart, inviting ghosts into your house, sending your kids off when they start a band and more.
Home started recording 18 a week after David Bowie passed, when Home played a set of Bowie classics at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore. That set helped lead to ''The Wrecker'' a Ziggy Stardust homage about fans so smitten with their idol, they don't even notice when they're choking on the rain.
Other songs include ''Ghost: A Ghost Story by Home'', which has Eric Morrison, over a melodic, upbeat backdrop, telling a story of trying to convince a ghost that it should come into his house to haunt it. After the bottom of the song drops out, sounding a little like what the Big Crunch will probably sound like, the Ghost (played by Eric's son, Eli) sings of drops of blood and London Bridge, which is still falling down.
''The Pictures You Took'' invites the listener to step outside of their safe space and think about how lucky they are they've made it this long, dressed in a mid-tempo, sunshiney shape.
''Farewell'' introduces us to a person who in the midst of losing a supernatural battle to save humanity from an evil force who awakens to a reality that is nearly as bad.
''Fine'' was written for Sean Martin, Home's original drummer, who passed away in the fall of 2017. The cover art is from a laser tag arcade Sean painted in Bradenton, Florida. 18 is dedicated to Sean and his family.
The rest of 18, which Dave Friedman mastered, includes dedications to Keith Emerson, embracing the void, new beginnings and never givin' up.
It's a limited edition of 250 copies (137 available here and 138 available directly from the band).
Two different editions, one with unique hand drawn, hand painted artworks featuring one of Sean's flying saucers and the other with screen printed covers.
30 November, 2019Harry Cloud arrived at Bari one day and I had absolutely no idea who he was, I had never heard of him or I knew one of his songs. Harry Cloud came to Bari for a date on the Painted Faces European tour I had helped to organize. Before the show we had lunch together, we had a bottle of my favourite primitivo wine and some of my mother homemade spirits. Harry Cloud gave me a bunch of his records in return and played live in Leverano, a last minute addition to the bill. I enjoyed his live set and in the following days I listened to the records he left. One after the other. I liked them.
The decision to work together came later and was the logical consequence of our meeting.
Harry Cloud was born in a Barn in SHit Fuck Georgia. He was raised by wolves and when he began to learn the English Language he arranged letters in ways that resembled words that people thought had meaning. He began banging on Trees with a pot and discovered a rhythm and started composing songs. Later he started using more sophisticated instruments like the guitar and using fancy means of recordings like digital. Harry Cloud is now ranked up there with all the famous guitar players like Slash, Duane Allman, Jerry Garcia and Dorothy Wiggin. His voice has been compared to such greats as Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, and Adele. Harry Cloud is also CEO of corporate conglomerate WhitewOrm that has been steadily releasing such amazing acts as Harry Cloud, Fannyland, Cops, The Jamie Pinter Experience and Orphan Goggles for over twenty years. His ultimate goal is World Domination.
It's hard and difficult to define and characterize Harry Cloud's music, Sludgelord said: ''Think of your favorite genre of music and Harry turns it on its head. One minute brutally heavy and the next an anthemic Stoner Rock'' and I have to agree with them.
''Florida'' comes out on cassette on your favorite record label and it is accompanied by unique paintings inspired by the music and the lyrics of the songs. And edition of 50 copies with one cover different from the other.
28 November, 2019The Tex Mess Junker Chronicle
What I pretended to know about Texas and Texans is partly true and partly not.
There are oil wells and oil suction pumps but not as many as I'd have expected, I haven't seen any car with bull or buffalo horns on the hood and this was kinda disappointing, I have spotted only one person wearing that particular texan tie, Doormat, TX is an extraordinary label and Caleb Fraid is really the histrionic artist I had imagined and depicted in my mind.
Everything is big in Texas, is immense and, of course, I could not see everything in a week but I really liked what I saw. The heart of Texans is equally immense. When our flight back to Italy was cancelled, we were saved and we felt loved. Thank you Caleb, Scarlett and Pete, I miss you already and I want to bring you in Italy. Darrell, I will find something that you can eat here too, don't worry! Scarlett, Pete, the next road trip is in Puglia, don't forget! Thank you Kimberly Holiday and Joel Richard Huschle for bringing us to Port Bolivar and that beautiful place by the lake. We want to be with you again soon. Two years, you said. Emilia loves you all.
No name is more suitable than Super Happy Fun Land for Super Happy Fun Land, the venue is colorful, scenic, warm and Brian, the host, is really friendly, cordial and affiable. The show and the art exhibition were wonderful. I wish I could have brought some art back to Italy.
How many hours did I spend at the Super Happy Fun Land? Many and all accompanied by good music and occasionally by the whistle of a train. By the way, how long are the trains in Texas and America?
I tried not to miss a single second of the concerts and I did it in part. I stayed almost to the end and if it hadn't been for the damn jetlag I could tell you how the evening ended. It was really exciting to see Caleb Fraid, Kids Of The Atomic Age and Nutrition Fun live for the first time after years of listening to their records and cassettes, it was incredible to hear Furniture Huschle sing songs from some of his records that I love. ''Man struggle Against Nature'', ''Be A Cop'', ''I Built A woman'', ''Cadaver Cake''! It was beautiful to see my friend Rick Goosewind on stage again, rocking hard, and Restaurnaut playing his horse music, how many years ago did he send me ''When The Hue Was More''?
I was pleasantly surprised by the performances of Doo Crowder, CC'D and Poopylungstuffing.
I almost completely missed the concerts of Muzak John and Organfailure but fortunately I had my portable recorder with me and I will have the chance to fix it. I saw only the last two songs of Kris Smith, which were really good.
I lost the end of the last concert and I'm really sorry, the tribute to Charlie, because I was tired and my little Emilia was sleeping in the stroller by hours. Celie, Will Milner, I wish I could have spent more time with you, hear tales about Charlie, I miss him a lot. I hope we will have other chances in the future.
I have a new wardrobe made of T-shirts that I will wear with pride and for which I thank you.
Christopher Fischer, I'm sorry I didn't bring you capperi, but I will send you some soon in an anonymous envelope.
And it's official, no matter how long I can practice or play, I will never understand the rules of baseball not even If a ball hits me hard on the head. It will certainly help me discover gravity, I will probably lose my memory and I will convince myself to be Omar Vizquel or Jose Canseco, but I will never know what to do after you hit the ball.
What is 100% sure is that I root for the Astros and the Doormat, TX team.
27 November, 2019I first heard of Jonathan Nankof while I was waiting my turn to drop off a plane. You know that very moment when all the passengers get up in unison and are eager to leave even if the plane hasn't reached the finger yet or there is no ladder. I had just come back from Athens, Greece and there was a message from John Darnielle in my mailbox. It contained a link to a bandcamp page and a few words, ''luigi, i heard this today and thought of you, thinking you might like it''
I listened to Jonathan Nankof's ''Charles River Variety'' session in my car while I was driving back home from airport. I really couldn't wait. John was right, Jonathan Nankof's music was really what I needed, his guitar style reminded me a little bit of some early recordings by Diane Cluck and the comparisons to Nick Drake and Jandek were really appropriate.
A few days later, I decided to contact Jonathan Nankof, because I wanted to hear more and see if we could work together.
Jonathan Nankof is studying in the jazz department at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. He's influenced by contemporary guitarist like Bill Orcutt, blues picker and European classical music.
''The Measured Mile'' is the reissue of an album that had come out on tape on Jonathan Nankof's private label a few years ago. It could easily be one of the outputs of the catalog of Elephant 6 (Olivia Tremor Control, Silver Apples, 16 Horsepower), or if you close your eyes you will find yourself catapulted in the late 60's, early 70's.
''The Measured Mile'' is out on vinyl in a limited edition of 55 copies, a corelease with Jonathan's own record label and in the tradition of Almost Halloween Time Records comes with hand painted covers, all different. A parade of skulls of dead animal as per Jonathan's request.
31 October, 2019Trick or treat or a new Wio LP?
''Brummagem Brilliance'' is the sibling of the ''Brilliant Brummagems'' Unread cassette from a few months ago.
Sometimes i like to think of myself as some sort of motivator, a motivator of Wio (some would say stalker) and now that I have a copy of ''Brummagem Brilliance'' in my hands I see all my efforts rewarded, all the hours i have spent begging him to record new songs recompensed. ''The Breakthrough Album'' from a few years ago featured old songs that had already been released or had been left in a drawer unreleased. So, when Wio wrote me saying he had new songs he had been working for a while, it was like I had a dream come true.
Wio hasn't been sleeping all these years, of course, he has been super active with de portables and at the end of the day, there was little time left for other musical projects. But then the idea came, to turn that ''problem'' into a creative starting point. And so he set himself a challance, whenever he had a small spot of time, to create and record a song in under 15 minutes. He thought: ''If I would aim for a total of 50 of those recordings'' and ''if out of this quantity some quality would surface''.
It took two years, from September 2016 to October 2018 to come to the 50 songs mark, to assembly, compose and realize ''Brummagem Brilliance'' and ''Brilliant Brummagems'', which also came forth of this project.
15 minutes only! That's crazy, isn't it?
I have had in the past, the privilege to attend the birth of ''The Breakthrough Album'', the chance to witness the evolution of songs.
What Wio delivered for the press was something completely different from what I had loved and listened to for months during gestation, some songs had undergone a sort of metamorphosis and I was no longer able to tell if I preferred the first or the final version. Unable to choose, so I stayed
Can we talk about embryos of songs for ''Brummagem Brilliance''? Perhaps.
What would have become of these songs if Wio had spent more time on them? Not that it really matters or that I care about.
Nature is said to be perfect and so are these embryos of songs. More than sketches or drafts, these songs are Wio's and they have a life of their own.
''Ultrasound Reality'' is the first single.
''Brummagem Brilliance'' is divided into two sections, the side a of the album contains only instrumental pieces, the side b, instead, songs in which Wio sings.
Of course for this album, that comes out in a limited edition of 100 copies, I will design handmade covers, one different from the other, as always, but unlike the past, this time, to respect the idea and concept of the album, I will spend only 15 minutes on every cover.
It's a difficult undertaking for one like me that usually spends a couple of hours on every jacket and it is definitely an interesting experiment. The abstract subjects represented on the covers are reproductions of stills from the abstract videos made by Wio for this collection of songs.
Preorder your copy now.
2 October, 2019I know what it means to feel like an alien, I feel like that every time I talk to someone about my musical tastes. After all, how many chances are there that someone knows Nutrition Fun, A John Henry Memorial or even The Mountain Goats? I would probably have better luck talking about The Cure or Arcade Fire. For geographical and cultural reasons. Festival di Sanremo, the Italian music festival has reached its sixtynineth edition and most, if not all, of the radio stations transmit only garbage. I don't know how Gary Alien discovered Unread or Almost Halloween Time, perhaps it was during one of his intergalactic journeys. I am sure that flying saucers are able to receive even the weakest radio signal from the smallest radio station that transmits from a lost corner of the immense vastness of the United States.
Gary Alien and I share the same interests. Who else other than myself can tell you something about Bobby J? So I'm really happy to release something by him on my record label.
''Landing'' is a journey across the universe, Gary has been away from the earth for a very long time, he has been abducted by aliens who were in love with his music.
During this cruise, Gary never stopped playing guitar, smoking marijuana and thinking about a girl he left home. ''Landing'' is a sort of logbook of this intergalactic journey and the chronicle of the consequent landing.
The album is a corelease with Cream Over Misery and Can't Be A Musician Records and comes out in a limited edition of 20 copies with unique handmade painted covers.
It is also available on Almost Halloween Time records bandcamp for digital download and streaming.
30 September, 2019I really like to receive demos from artists that I don't know, it rarely happens and even more rarely that I have time to listen to electronic format demos after a long workday in front of the PC. However, there are exceptions, pure chance or maybe because there is something that strucks me in the letter that accompains the songs. Today I'm going to announce the release of 'as flurries'' by Isik Kural from Glasgow, Scotland.
I don't know much about him, but I know I like his songs very much.
Songs as light as the wind, full of literary references, poems sung, clothes bouncing on clotheslines in unnatural ways.
Isik Kural plays some kind ot ambient, experimental pop, embellished with filed recordings collected everywhere. ''As flurries'' features 5 instrumental songs and five songs sung in English and Turkish.
It is a funny fact that Isik sings in Turkish because I'm currently assembling this compilation temporarily called ''Road To Istanbul 2020'' whose theme may be football or the city of Istanbul or even not. The title made me realize that I still know very little about the Turkish music scene. Back when I was twenty or something, I went to izmir and I bought spices, a chador, a bracelet and a few cassettes. A taxi driver told me about and advised me to listen to the music of Sezen Aksu but I was looking for something else.
Isik sings in a language that has always fascinated me and that sounds really melodious and now if you ask me about the Turkish music scene I'll tell you about him.
For this album that comes out in a limited edition of 50 copies on cassette, I will design handmade covers, one different from the other, inspired by the lyrics of the songs.
It is also available on Almost Halloween Time records bandcamp for digital download and streaming.
12 September, 2019Difficulty level: 10. I hate you Ingwio D'Hespeel but it was fun and I love both ''Disintegration'' by The Cure and ''Breaking Up Is Never Easy I Know'' by Ed Nolbed. This last one has just come out, don't miss the opportunity to choose the cover you want to be ripped off.
8 September, 2019Updates, updates, updates...
I haven't been sleeping all the time you haven't heard from me.
From the last time I announced Almost Halloween Time Records plans for 2019, a lot of things have happened.
Have you ordered a copy of ''Imaginary Donkeys'' and you have never received your copy? It's for a good reason, the day I announced the forthcoming release of the Shrimper tribute compilation, I received a mail from an artist that I adore saying that he would like to contribute a song... so please don't hate me if I let you wait a little bit longer.
I'm also finally going to ship a few preorders I've got of the Ed Nolbed LP and the Sundog LP as well as a bunch of other orders that have been on standbye for a while.
New projects? Another compilation, several vinyl records and a bunch of cassettes.
7 September, 2019My daugher and I saw the first live show together, sitting side by side, clapping and enjoying the music. It was an unforgettable experience that I hope to repeat as soon as possible.
It wasn't the first time we were at a gig together. Last year we saw Black Heart Procession and Uzeda live in Catania. She was sleeping in the stroller after a few songs and I was enjoing the music wondering if the volume of the music wasn't too high. Last October, I saw Bingo Trappers and Water in Amsterdam but she fell asleep before the bands started to play.
So now, it is official, I can formalize. The live of S.M. Wolf and Good Moaning at Pecora Nera will go down in history as my daughter and I first concert together.
And it is great because Adam Graahs, S.M. Wolf, is a friend, Pecora Nera is my second home, I brought S.M. Wolf in Puglia.
Listening to the live version of songs that you have played hundred times on your turntable from a vinyl record that you have released on your record label is an immense satisfaction.
I'd also never forget the improvised version of ''The Station'' that Adam performed at a B&B in Casamassima, using a vintage guitar that hadn't been tuned in something like 50 years. It was magic.
I don't know if one day I'll become a professional booking agent, what I know for sure is that I love music and it is great to have so many talented friends from all over the world, to have friends running one of the best clubs in the world. If I was a musician I would sell my soul to the devil to play at Pecora Nera CountryPub
S.M. Wolf brought to Bari, Michael Dixon. He rules, he runs one of the best record labels in the world, one that I adore and I'm sure sooner or later we will work together at the release of something as crazy as the octagonal castle in Castel del Monte.
6 September, 2019Who's next? It sounds like The Who are a recurring topic at Almost Halloween Time Records headquarters these days . A few months ago to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ''Bee Thousand'', we issued a tribute compilation called ''Lodger Doll Three''. This morning I completed the artwork in the picture above. Yes it is a a rip off the artwork of ''Who' s Next'' by The Who.
Ed Nolbed LPs are finally here and I have just started painting artworks.
Here's the deal: I'm looking for record covers of records that deal with relational breakups or heartbreak OR that meant a great deal to you personally during a period of breakup or heartbreak, you know, records that helped you through a rough patch.
I'm going to use your suggestions to create something even more painful.
Ed Nolbed LP ''Breaking Up Is Never Easy I Know'' can be ordered from Almost Halloween Time here
6 July, 2019You have never been to Bari if you haven't tried Sgagliozze from Maria says the poster on the doors of the little corner shop near the Cathedral. I was born and bred and Bari and I have been at Maria's countless times. It is not really a shop, it's a house and in summer it's the street. When the word ''streetfood'' was still in the mind of those who conceived it, Maria was already there.
A few days ago I was sitting on the stairs of the cathedral with a bag full of sgagliozze that Christopher, Melissa and I shared. The queue at the shop was long and while we waited, at some point, I began to fantasize about the possibility that the gas cylinders used by Maria and her daughter for frying sgagliozze could blow up. After all they were playing with lighters and screwdrivers, with a temperature of 32 degrees and scooters and kids and people running and walking all over the place. Confusion reigned everywhere and I had been telling Christopher and Melissa about some precedings. The explosion of the gas cylinders of a camper in Casamassima a few months before, the explosion of a house near my parents when I was a kid caused by a gas cylinder and finally the explosion of the bridge in Genova who would have happened the day after they took the train to the North.
Luckily we did not explode. I have had a great time hanging around Puglia with Christopher and Melissa. And I can proudly say that now they both think focaccia barese is better than focaccia di Recco.
If there's something really explosive, it is Unread Records that Christopher runs in Pittsburgh PA and that I am a big fan of. It's really difficult to say which is my favorite release from their catalog since I almost have them all. A lot of time has passed since my first order, Christopher and I have been talking through emails, collaborated a few times and shared the same love for the world of DIY record labels and the hometaping universe. Unread is a continuous source of inspiration and it was good to finally talk in person with someone I have always admired.
21 June, 2019''Beneath A Festering Moon'' was aired by the radio hosts of ''Planet Rock'' one day. When I was moving the first steps in the Lo-Fi world, I used to record every radio brodcast of that program on used cassette tapes that I still keep as a precious relic. ''Planet Rock'' was aired at night by Radio Due, while I was hanging out with friends. I could not listen to all the transmissions live so I recorded them, I absolutely didn't want to miss any of them. The morning after I had at least two hours of good music to listen to, the perfect sountrack to read a book, study or just relax. If I liked a song, I would stop the tape, rewind and dub a copy.
That's the operation I did when I listened to that Guided By Voices tune for the first time. It was exactly my cup of tea. How could a song that beautiful be only a compilation track?
So I began my investigation and mailordered the first GBV record. There was a phone booth from where I always called my favorite record store in Roma: Just Like Heaven, it was part of a ritual. Sometimes from the same receiver I even left messages on the ''Planet Rock'' answering machine.
I could not really find all the things I wanted in local record stores and Just Like Heaven seemed to have everything I wanted. Before I knew it, ''Mag Earwhig'', ''Under The Bushes Under The Stars'', ''Sunfish Holy Breakfast'', ''Bee Thousand'' and a plethora of 7''s found a place in my record collection and not to accumulate dust.
''Beneath A Festering Moon'' was a regular presence on all the mixtapes that I compiled.
''Bee Thousand'' is turning 25 today and Almost Halloween Time Records is celebrating the anniversary with ''Lodger Doll Three''
All 20 classics contained in the album reinterpreted by 20 talented musicians and artists who are crazy about Guided By Voices.
I don't know how they came to know about them, their origin is different, they come from Belgium, Holland, Germany, Romania, Great Britain and the United States.
To deliver the songs in time for the celebration, one of the artists, Caleb Fraid, has taken a plane to New York, another one, The World Of Dust, has put his children to bed earlier and closed himself in a hot studio.
Ed Nolbed has recorded an entire album of piano improvisations inspired by ''Bee Thousand'' (Next Almost Halloween Time spin-off / companion release?).
I'm really pleased by the material we have put together and that was masterfully mastered by Jürgen de Blonde
The songs are different from the originals and they reflect the quality and characteristics of the artists who took part in the tribute, they are the proof of how much the Guided By Voices are loved and confirm the importance they have in the world of music.
''Lodger Doll Three'' is out on cassette in a limited edition of 50 copies with hand drawn unique artworks where the protagonist is the same dark figure that wears a wizard hat that is present on the original cover of ''Bee Thousand''
And it is also available on Almost Halloween Time records bandcamp for digital download and streaming.
Here's the list of the artists featured on this tribute compilation: Hunter Complex, S.M. Wolf, Bruno, Wio, The World Of Dust, Stars Are Insane, Smirkworthy, Caleb Fraid, Lovers Turn To Monsters, Kiss Hello, Restaurnaut, Ed Nolbed, The Debts, Graham Repulski, Tondefekt, Nutrition Fun, Little Whirls, GG's Home Appliance System, Spirit Duplicator and Bob Bucko Jr.
13 June, 2019For the forth consecutive year I find myself collaborating with one of the most influential and innovative record labels around: People In A Position To Know.
What scares me the most is that if I ask Mike, Piaptk's boss, to you create a lathe cut having the shape of a pair of supplementary hands, the answer will probably be positive, the hands will work and i will use the lathe cut to paint as hell.
And for the third consecutive year I find myself collaborating with one of the greatest american songwriters: Seth Kauffman of Floating Action.
He has collected in his career more titles than a member of the Royal Family.
The life's work of Jim James (My Morning Jacket) according to an interview he did for Rolling Stone is to turn people onto Seth's music
''A classically trained violinist turned multi-instrumentalist who records every single sound himself'' (AllSton Pudding), ''a soul man, funk fan, dub star, vintage rock 'n' roll master'' are the etiquettes about Seth collected by John Schacht, Blurt Online, ''Seth brings a distinctly laid-back vibe to each project'' (Tape Op).
''Old World Camels'' is rich of beautiful images and populated by a lot of interesting characters.
Every time I have to paint things for Floating Action, it's great fun. Noone but Seth could give me The opportunity to portray Selassie, Richard Swift, Rick Ross and Omar Vizquel.
This is a limited edition of 100 copies (50 available through my website and 50 through Piaptk) with unique hand painted artworks.
You can preorder your copy now.
4 June, 2019The hidden gemstone of the Almost Halloween Time Records catalog is without any shadow of doubt Douglas Kramer Nye. I don't remember how Doug came to know about my record label, why he chose me but I needed only one listen to ''No Good Samaritan'' to decide that I wanted to work with him. Seven years after, Douglas has delivered to me another masterpiece.
''The End Is Nye'' is less personal than the previous chapter and it is rich of contents. Slave plantations, cotton flowers, Folkways, Monarch, Apple, Orch and Flying Nun, the house where Bob Dylan recorded, Elvis, Roy Orbison, funerals, birds, the Lawrence Welk show, tin soldiers, the dystopian world in which we live, Angel Oak, the Jane Collective, fascism rising again. This is a limited edition of 55 copies with unique hand drawn, painted artworks inspired by the lyrics of the album. The album is also expected to be released in the United States with a screen printed artwork. Limited to 55 copies too.
19 May, 2019Sometimes I like to step into the shoes of a booking agent, it's the second time this year and hopefully not the last. I do it for friends and for myself. After a life spent traveling all over Italy and Europe in search of good music, I help musicians and artists that want to come to Puglia and Italy to present their music and play live, I want to listen to something that I'm sure I like, live versions of songs that I've enjoyed on records many times and new stuff too. It costs time and fatigue to organize a show, contact venues and trying not to be discouraged by negative answers or sudden unexpected changes.
There's nothing better than live music.
Yesterday I've had the pleasure to finally see Painted Faces on a stage. He performed a lot of songs from Return To Vault Of Fear, the album that came out on my record label a few years ago. Keep On Rocking In The Freek World, Finding Love On Tinder (And Getting Ghosted), Macabre Breath Of The Creeper. It was great. David is really a great entertainer and a fantastic musician. He has been hanging around Europe for a few weeks before heading south together with Peopling and Harry Cloud.
And now that the tour is over, I've got two new friends.
Peopling really blew my mind and not only mine according to a few voices I've caught at the end of the show.
Harry Cloud was also great. He was not expected to play, he was a last minute addition to the program and a pleasant surprise.
And the people in Leverano, Renzo Durante and Simone Ombre and Mujmuné Renato. Their association Mujmuné Asuddinessunnord really rocks. If I lived in their neighborhood, I'll spend a lot of my time with them. Their campaigns and events are amazing. I wish there were places like theirs in every city. The musicians and I have really felt at home .
The experience has been great and I'm ready to do it again and again.
Come to play in Italy!
There are a lot of assholes, real assholes but also some very special people.
1 May, 2019It is almost ready, this is the news of the day.
I'm talking about the tribute compilation to my favorite record label ever.
It is no secret, you all know, it is Shrimper Records!
I have been working days and nights at this project, for months and I'm really satisfied by the result.
The compilation is titled ''Imaginary Donkeys''. Back when I had limited access to Internet, there wasn't paypal and no credit cards I could use, the only way to order Shrimper tapes was to take a paper and write a letter to Dennis, wait for a catalog and send an International Money Order. I always went for the surface mail, because I had no money and airmail was so expensive. From the first letter to the postman ringing at my door to deliver my tapes, months and months passed and in these pauses I kept wondering what Surface mail could eventually mean. There was an ocean to be crossed and a lot of land, no doubt they were using Donkeys to deliver my tapes.
To release a tribute to my favorite record label wasn't an easy task. To cover a song that is already perfect, who could?
But my invitation has been accepted by a lot of friends and incredible artists.
Do you want to know what's on the menu?
1. Shrimper recording artists covering songs by labelmates.
Paul Lydon. I discovered Blek Ink long time before ''Six White Ghosts'' appeared on Shrimper.
I have always been curious about music sang in different languages and Blek Ink was exactly my cup of tea.
Paul on the ''Random Strike'' 7'' was singing in Icelandic.
I was really fascinated by Paul's beautiful voice and by that mysterious language and I continued to follow all his projects, from Sanndreymi to the Paul and Laura stuff and when Shrimper released ''Six White Ghosts'', it was a dream.
Me and my favorite record label had the same taste. Paul covers ''I So Liked Spring'' by Linda Smith and his version is wondrous, believe me.
Linda Smith. It was through her cassette on Shrimper that I was introduced to her music. '' I so Liked Spring'' is in the top ten of my favorite Shrimper cassettes. Beautiful and poetic. Linda has been an outsider in the last few years, she has dedicated herself to painting more than music but we have kept in touch over the years. The interest about her music has grown during the years. Juniper Tree Songs has released a few years ago a beautiful introduction to her music titled ''All The Stars That Never Were'' and last year Lost Sound Tapes has released ''Reminds Me'' a tribute to her music.
When Linda accepted my invitation to record a song for the tribute I was in Seventh Heaven. Linda covers ''I'll Come Back When I Come Back'' by Herman Düne.
Simon Joyner. You know how much I love Simon. Having the opportunity to work with him again is a blessing. If you were living in my neighborhood you will see me often wearing a black t-shirt with Simon And The Ghosts written and an illustration I did for his book of lyrics screenprinted on it.
Simon covers ''Bicycle'' by Refrigerator. A Shrimper classic.
Guillotine Graze. This name will most likely not tell you much, but Guillotine Graze is a new project by an artist that I consider one of the columns of Shrimper. They cover ''Fever Pitch'' by Halo.
Ghost Grove. Same as above. This is the new project of a Shrimper recording artist that belongs to the new generation. If you listen to his voice you will know immediately who he is.
Ghost Grove covers ''Itzcuintli Totzli Days'' by The Mountain Goats. Cumbia!
Allen and Chris of Refrigerator. No need for introductions here. Allen and Chris cover ''Ocean So Lonesome'' by Diskothi-q. One of the very first Shrimper artists I have loved. Allen's voice here is unbelievable and really brings me back to the days when I was waiting in my room for the next batch of Shrimper tapes.
Jeff Fuccillo. Jeff and his family cover ''Beach House'' by The Mountain Goats. From again one of the first Shrimper tapes I have loved and worn-out, ''cause the seal is a wily and a vicious creature''. One of the first times I saw my two years old daughter Emilia experiencing fear, it was while she was watching an episode of her favorite animated movie and a seal made its appearance.
The Debts. They belong to the nouvelle vogue of Shrimper recording artists and they are actually among my favorites, in fact I've released a full lenght by them. The Debts cover ''Mellow, Cool and Painfully Aware'' by Sentridoh. Lou Barlow is the reason why I heard about Shrimper for the first time.
Furniture Huschle. Joel is a friend of mine and one of the first Shrimper artists I have ever been able to contact. One day he sent a VHS full of videos that he probably had to convert to the Italian system just for myself. His choice is not trivial, Furniture Huschle covers a song from one of the rarest, hard to find Shrimper tapes, ''Taboo VI: The Homecoming'' by The Mountain Goats.
John Davis. He is responsible of the belated release of the compilation but I forgive him as he came on tour to Italy and Bari last month. John covers a song taken from the beautiful collaboration lp between Simon Joyner and Dennis Callaci of a few years ago.
Will Simmons. Will covers a song by John davis and he does it in his unique style. A John Davis' song that sounds like a Will Simmons' song. When I fell in love with Shrimper, the very next day I fell in love with Bees Make Honey and Will's music.
2. Special mentions.
The Cannanes. Never on Shrimper as far as I can recall, but very close to Shrimper. I still can't believe that Frances accepted my invitation and the fact that they are covering a song by The Ah Club makes the contribution of The Cannanes even more special.
The recording of the song was completed in a van parked near the ocean in Australia. And this is poetry for my ears.
Water. The new project of Tinca from Mongrell and Luveable Nurse. She is so sweet and I'm really happy that she has accepted my invitation. She has been more dedicated to painting than music lately and as for Linda Smith, I hope that this is the beginning of a new recording season. Water cover a song by Patch, one of the most appreciated and acclaimed Shrimper tapes and their version is rad.
Little Whirls. A very latest addition to the program and one that makes me really happy, since they accepted the challenge to cover a song by Dump.
Lovers Turn To Monsters. My partner in crime for this release. Kyle and I were talking about the more and the less when suddenly the idea of releasing a tribute compilation to Shrimper records popped up. If this compilation sounds like a solid collection of song is thanks to his contribution. Lovers Turn To Monsters cover a song by one of Shrimper's sacred monsters: The Secret Stars.
Caleb Fraid. He sent not one but four covers and there is going to be a spinoff release featuring covers of Shrimper songs interpreted by Caleb, which I'm really looking forward to release and hear. This compilation features his version of a Shrimper's classic. ''Big Pink Heart'' by Nothing Painted Blue.
C. Worth. He keeps saying that his music is not suitable for compilations, but my opinion is different. He did a very good job in releasing a medley between a song by Will Simmons and one by The Azusa Plane. Plus, I would not be here assembling compilations for you, if it wasn't for him.
3. Extra value.
Gary Alien. This is his first appearance on AHT. Gary and I are white flies in a country where the radio only broadcast music by mainstream artists and where you can see a nun partecipating to talent shows. A real shock, when I saw few frames of a nun dancing like a star. Now, that I have met Gary Alien, I feel less alone.
L. Euegene Methe covers a song by Linda Smith and he does it in a beautiful fragile way. I'm always delighted by his talent and every excuse is good to ask him collaborating again.
GG And The Hot Chalupas. I might sound ripetitive, but this guy is one of my favorite artists right now. All the things I have the opportunity to listen to, always surprise me. GG does a medley between ''Parachute'' by Simon Joyner and ''Pooh Piece'' by Sentridoh.
Charles Dingus ft. DC Shrug. They do a classic by Franklin Bruno and they do it right. ''LIfetime Seance'' from one of the Shrimper compilations that have made the history of the record label.
Restaurnaut. Everytime I listen to something new by them, I think they are becoming better and better. This time Restaurnaut is a full band and they cover ''Broken Freeways'' by John Thill.
Bob Bucko Jr. The boy is brave, no doubt! He covers ''Lonesome Surprize'' by Refrigerator.
Monogamy. They were busy recording a new album, but they absolutely didn't want to miss the opportunity of being part of this project. Their version of ''Cheap Sunglasses'' by The Human Hearts is perfect.
Wio. He almost had a cassette on Shrimper, I think at some point the release was even announced on Shrimper catalogs. I don't know what went wrong back then. Wio's music would be perfect for Shrimper. Dennis, please, if you read this, return to Wio what history has taken from him. Please!
Kids Of The Atomic Age. There is no compilation on AHT without a contribution from Kids Of The Atomic Age. It has been a rule till today and I hope it will become a tradition. ''Fisherman's Friend'' by The Ah Bus! This guy knows exactly what I want.
Mean Spirit'd Robots. They would also deserve to be on Shrimper after a carreer that has seen him recording for Catsup Plate, unread and Blackbean And Placenta Tape Club. They do ''Linoleum'' by another Shrimper column: Paste.
The Hex. Another first time and I hope the first in a long series of collaborations since I really like their music. A Shrimper tribute compilation would have not been complete without a cover of a Good Horsey tune. Luckily these Canadians guys came to the rescue.
Wholewheat. Second time on AHT and I'm falling in love with them. I'm really glad C. Worth introduced me to their music. ''Badger Song'' by The Extra Glenns. My world would have been different if I hadn't bought that copy of Abridged Pervesion.
Douglas C. Keith. My new friend. We have a lot of things in common, and the passion for Shrimper is one of these.
Matthew Edward Clarke. Second time on AHT for him also. Matthew is a Chthonic recording artist and covers a song by Bingo Trappers and you all know how much I love them.
Tondefekt. New project by one of the National Heroes of Traumatone, Theme Park and Catsup Plate fame and another name that would not have disfigured on a Shrimper cassette.
J. Boulay. The head of Chthonic Records, We know each other from years when we were trading live recordings and we have collaborated at the release of ''It's Halloween Time'', the second AHT compilation. J. covers ''New Year's Song'' by Simon Joyner.
Pernath. They never disbanded it seems and this compilation was the opportunity for their return.
Phil Yates. If you like AHT, you are already familiar with Phil. A Few years ago I released ''No Need To Beg''. On the letter accompanying the songs, I clearly remember that Phil meantioned Wckr Spgt.
Plundershop. Another one that needs no presentation. This compilation would have been incomplete without a contribution by Plundershop.
Ed Rooney. Last but not least. Ed Rooney performs ''Architect's plan'' by Blek Ink on top of the roof of a building and his song is perfect to close the circle that started with Paul Lydon many words above.
There is no alternative. As a fan of Shrimper Records and Dennis Callaci's drawings, the artworks for this series are going to be ink pen drawings animated by wax colors. One of a kind, all different, inspired by the lyrics of the songs or artworks of my favorite Shrimper tapes.
This is going to be a limited edition of 50 cassettes, 2x70 minutes tapes. And you can preorder your copy here.
31 March, 2019It seems like yesterday that John Davis asked me if I could help find a place where he could play in Italy. John and Mike Ladd have been here and it has great. A dream come true. I'm not a booking agent, I've got no experience. I'm just a fan, someone that still thinks that live music is one of the best forms of entertainment. And I'm not alone it seems. Without Pino, Dario and Ivo Simone at Pecora Nera Country Pub, without Luca Caserta at Godot Art Bistrot this would have never been possible. The passion they put in everything they do warms my heart and makes me wish I had more firends willing to come here to play their music.
15 March, 2019The first soundtrack of a famous breakup that came to my mind is ''The Doctor Came At Dawn'' by Smog. All the artworks for ''Breaking Up Is Never Easy I Know'' by Ed Nolbed are reinterpretation of the artworks of albums that have been consumed while having a hard time.
I'm not sure about the author of the original artwork of ''The Doctor Came at Dawn'' but I have a copy at home and I will check. As usual every artwork for every copy is going to be different and it's on request. Just let me know which was your soundtrack.
Coming soon: an artwork inspired by ''Curtains''. The album by Tindersticks.
28 February, 2019At Almost Halloween Time records, we have planned or I have planned as, in fact, it is a one man label, the operations and activities for the coming months. It sounds like I'm going to be busy forever. Do you want to hear some?
- Douglas Kramer Nye LP is in the hands of the pressing plant and will be ready soon. A matter of days. The third new LP from the beginning of the year.
- Charlie Mcalister LP and John Davis LP have just been delivered to the headquarters and I'm slowly dispatching the copies that have been preordered. Don't forget that I'm still hand drawing every single artwork of every release in catalog. And that I'm also the one that answers the phone, replies to the emails, goes to the post office and has a full time job other than the label.
- I'm also working day and night at a tribute compilation to my favorite record label, our favorite record label would be appropriate in this case, as the love I have received from the artists that are partecipating is universal and immense. Deadline for the submissions is today, then it will be time to put the songs on tape... if all goes well by the End of March I will have a new release to trouble my dreams.
- LP by Sundog. Sundog and Jonathan Nankof have been introduced to me by someone that has a big influence on me and that really know my taste, it seems. You can preorder your copy here.
- Something I'd have never imagined and that was totally unexpected. A new Ed Nolbed album and what an album. It has been playing continuosly in my car wherever I go, whatever I do. You can preorder your copy here... and you can even choose or determine what I will draw for you. The rules are simple. Just let me know to what album you were listening to during your ''famous breakup'' and tell me something about it. I will tear your heart in pieces again.
Happening this summer:
- holidays in Berlin
- 2 LP by 2 new members of the Almost Halloween Time family.
- a new collaboration with People In a Position To Know.
Happening in Autumn:
- something big, something I have been wanting to release from the day I decided to start the label.
I'll either declare bankruptcy or ask for your help again...
16 January, 20192018 has been a great year, I hate to make balances but it has certainly been the year I've been drawing the most.
Counting only the artworks I did for People In A Position To Know, a set of 25 for ''Bad Ocean'' by S.M. wOLF, another set of 25 for ''Easy Not Easy'' by Graves, a set of 48 for ''Heartache Essentials'' by Floating Action, i reach quota 98 different artworks... but this is not all, there are the best sellers ''The Breakthrough Album'' by Wio and ''Inner Truth'' by Good Horsey... and all the other orders and a bunch of new cassette releases... and some trades finally completed (because I always like to listen to stuff on other labels)... and the two exhibitions in Amsterdam where I presented something like 50 pieces, certainly one of the highlights of the year. To show my artworks and feel the interest of strangers in what I'm doing was a beautiful experience, something I will never forget. Yes, 2018 was the year I drew the most and slept the less but 2019 promises already to be another great year for my label.
On January 2nd I was drawing a bunch of artworks for ''When Will We Take Mercy On Ourselves'' by Bob Bucko Jr... The New Year has started exactly in the same way the previous ended: drawing artworks for my beloved releases.
There are also already a lot of things slowly cooking in the oven.
John Davis is coming to Italy. No, I'm not kidding. He is touring Europe and I have been able to find a couple of venues where he will be playing next March. It's a real satisfaction since I've been following him forever. And a success as I'm not a tour manager or a professional organizer.
I have devoured my copies of both his solo and Folk Implosion recordings. You will read 50 / 50 on the cover of the ''Electric Idiot EP'' meaning that the contribution of John and Lou is equal but the balance isn't right in my opinion. I'm still convinced that the influence of John in certain Folk Implosion recordings is higher than the 50%.
The tour will touch 7 european cities and two in Italy:
Pop-In, Paris, 3/23
Larry's Corner, Stockholm, 3/24
Leipzig, Germany 3/26
Godot Art Bistro, Avellino Italy, 3/27
Pecora Nera Country Pub, Cassano delle Murge, Italy, 3/28
Donau 115, Berlin, 3/29
Gaukurinn, Reykjavik, 3/30
Pecora Nera rules. It is one of my favorite places in the world. Top quality food, the best craft beers, good live music and the owners are awesome. Godot Art Bistro is a really cool venue. I have had a look at the shows and the artists they hosted in the past and if I were living in Avellino I'd be there every night.
I'm literally ticking down the days.
John will be accompained by two Cicadas (and Mike Ladd who is going to open the shows) and they will perform old and new songs from John's repertoire.
if this is not already enough, Almost Halloween Time Records is releasing a new LP by John.
''Outside A Small City'', a collection of guitar instrumentals, a walk in the fields and the country roads of North Carolina populated by vultures, mobile homes, crushed cans of Bud Light, shadows, trees, lights and leaves.
The record will be available during the tour and on preorder here. A limited edition of 100 copies with hand drawn covers, all different.
The album has been already sent to the pressing plant and is expected soon.
I'd also like to spend a few words about all the other vinyl releases announced here as forthcoming:
Here's an update about their status:
''I Am The World's Richest Man'' by Charlie Mcalister - test presses were approved last December and I'm waiting for the records. It's a matter of days so if you have preordered a copy you will hear from me soon, if you still haven't ordered yours, I recommend you do it now because this record is beautifully sad.
''The End Is Nye'' by Douglas Kramer Nye - is ready to be sent to the pressing plant.
''Elizabethan'' by Bingo Trappers is ready and it is brilliant!!!!
- A tribute compilation to my favorite record label ever. I guess you can imagine what I'm talking about...
- LP by Jonathan Nankof
19 October, 2018Lovers Turn to Monsters is the never ending and constantly evolving solo project of Scottish 30 year old Kyle Wood. His music deals with the usual existential topics of life,death, love, music, movies, and comic books. Across a backdrop of emotive lo-fi inspired pop... ''Better Weird Than Dead'' is a supernatural collection of songs. Kyle recorded and produced the album while a malevolent possessed chihuahua was talking to him through a mystifying oracle. Based on a true story... For this series I'm going to draw for you a portrait of Carol Anne Freeling. Limited to 50 copies.
12 October, 2018IT'S HALLOWEEN TIME, it's Almost Halloween Time. I've finally found what I want to do in my life: compilations of songs by my favorite artists. Having a look at the tracklist of this double cassette release, I see only a couple of names missing.
A1 C. Worth - Backbones, Neckbones
A2 Charlie Mcalister - Sea Goblin
A3 Furniture Three - Apple Valley Death Investigation
A4 Citizen Electrical - Seasons Shifting
A5 Matthew Edward Clarke - Creeping Feeling
A6 Charles Dingus - Hack Frauds / Lackluster Blockbuster
A7 Will Simmons & The Upholsterers - The Bomb
A8 Kids of the Atomic Age - Texas
A9 Caleb Fraid - Deer Park
A10 Cougheteria - The Ghosts We Know
A11 T.E.V. - Graveyard Bongo Boogie Woogie
B1 Refrigerator - Another Ghost Town
B2 Nutrition Fun - Mauvais Sang
B3 Mr. Microwave - No More Screem Queens
B4 Hoops - A Monster at Home
B5 John Davis - There's One Time of Year When Everybody Thinks It's Okay to Beg
B6 Restaurnaut - I Was Possessed (By A Ghost)
B7 Hochenkeit - Coach Randall (666)
B8 Painted Faces - Hippy Halloween
B9 Bingo Trappers - City of Diamonds
B10 Goosewind - Vrykolakas
B11 Tiffany Boulanger - American Nightmare
C1 Ed Rooney - Thriller/Chiller (excerpt)
C2 Chris BjornnVThat's What You Get For Living in a Place that's Haunted
C3 Bob Bucko Jr. - We Are Not All Monsters
C4 Wio - Summer of 69 Square Meters of Serpula Lacrymans
C5 Nicole Kidman - Virginia
C6 Black Cum - Hungry 4 Flesh
C7 Gladhands - No Fear™
C8 Monogamy - Last Year's Costume
C9 Plundershop ft. Michael Overman - Michael's Letter to the South Southern Carolinians (Live on WUSC, Columbia 2007)
D1 Neil A. - Dungeons & Dragons is for Adults
D2 Home - Ghost: A Ghost Story by Home
D3 Wica Intina - To Essentially Become Again a Stranger
D4 Corpse Calypso - Summer
D5 Marijean - Untitled
D6 Phil Yates - Ninjas vs. Zombies (Let's Keep Our Heads)
D7 The Debts - A Song to Lift the Veil
This is a partnership with the fine folks at Chthonic. A soundtrack for your Halloween parties that you can enjoy 365 days a year. You can order your copy here and you can choose the monster that will haunt your dreams. I'll portrait it for you.
The comp is also available from Chthonic here in a different version.
This compilation would not have been possible without the help of my dear friend Jonathan.
5 October, 2018Shortcut Freaks are like an inactive volcano right now, they haven't touched music for years now and this collection songs is from 15 or 20 years ago.
Back then Blackbean And Placenta Tape Club was one of the sexiest labels around, releasing hundred records on beautiful vinyl, photocopying artworks on colored cardboards, recycling used jackets and exploring differnt styles and genders of music.
BBPTC must have been quite popular in Japan, as there is a long list of japanese artists that have worked with them.
Shortcut Freaks are one of them and they had their first 12'' released by BBPTC.
There was an article about Orange Cake Mix on a japanese magazine, Shortcut Freaks thought it was cool and they sent a letter and a demo tape to Mike L. An answer came and it was funny, Mike L. had cut the address on the envelope which was in japanese and had it pasted to a new enevelope to send his reply.
I, sincerely have no idea of what Shortcut Freaks are singing in their songs but I love their music which is some sort of lo-fi groovy japanese DJ music, underground hometaping drum'n'bass that is completely nutso. What am I going to draw for this? I'll find out copy per copy.
4 October, 2018Caleb Fraid is a living legend of the hometaping diy lo-fi movement with releases on his own label Doormat, TX and Unread.
We've been talking about working together since 2010 when I was moving the first steps in the world of handdrawing artworks and I'm happy as a pig in slop to finally have the chance to draw a set of artwork for him.
Caleb is at his best, the past years has seen him in true songwriting form, pumping out song after song, one per day, every day. Something similar to what I do, draw a cover every day, one per day. Let's call them healthy exercises.
I like Caleb Fraid's music a lot, I own many of his releases, solo efforts and projects with other people. I have even offered myself to release a boxset with 365 of his songs. This is not happening now, but who knows, maybe in the future.
This is a collection of 15 songs. I'll illustrate some of the lyrics.
29 September, 2018Amsterdam here we come. Please join me in Amsterdam on November 1st at Plantage Dok. I will have some drawings to show and Bingo Trappers and Mongrell are performing. It is going to be fun.
Halloween is around the corner and so I have tons of news for you.
The test presses of ''Elizabethan'' are fantastic. The new chapter in Bingo Trappers history is almost ready and it is one of their best. I've just given the ok to the pressing plant.
I'm never tired of working at new projects and that's why I have embarked myself in many many things:
- ''Water of Life'' by Rudy Ciavarro. This is almost ready too. I have known Rudy for years and this is our first collaboration. For his book I draw a set of four, and you can have a look here.
- ''Plague'', I did the artwork for the new Brainwashed album. I have really enjoyed working with Scott at ''Heirus'' so I had no hesitation when he asked me to draw something for his new collection of songs. The album will be out on Halloween, isn't that the best release date?
- a Halloween compilation featuring lots of my favourite artists. A corelease with the fine folks at Chthonic. Two hours of music that you can enjoy on October 31st as well as everyday because it is always almost halloween time. Home, John Davis, Refrigerator, Charlie Mcalister, Bingo Trappers and many many more. A limited edition of 50 copies with handdrawn covers. Order your copy now and don't forget to request the portrait of the monster haunting your dreams.
5 September, 2018If necessary I will not sleep all Fall and Winter long.
I have already shouted at the four winds some of the new projects slowly cooking in the open... but not all.
''When We Will Take Mercy On Ourselves'' by Bob Bucko Jr is out today.
Bob Bucko, Jr. resides and records in Dubuque, Iowa, a quarter mile from the Mississippi River. Relentlessly touring and uncompromisingly prolific, Bucko, as Joshua Tabbia from Already Dead Records as pointed out, ''has spent the last several years establishing himself as a widely varied experimental artist. His output is consistently engaging and eclectic, while somehow never pulling the same punch twice''. He has released 3 LPs on Captcha Records, as well as dozens of tapes and CDs on labels large and small - including his own Personal Archives imprint - since 2011. This is not a debut on Almost Halloween Time Records, as Bob has already contributed a couple of tunes to the Crock Rot compilation. Standing at the intersection of songform, free improvisation, and psychedelia and crossing genres with blatant disregard, each BBJr album is reflective of its own inner logic. On ''When Will We Take Mercy On Ourselves'', Bucko returns to his 4-track roots, using pawnshop guitars and consumer electronics to convey the fragile and often fractured pathways between thought and emotion. Recorded in the fall of 2016 on a wicked bender, and amidst budding political turmoil in America, ''When Will We Take Mercy On Ourselves'' lays bare personal fears and failings against the backdrop of late capitalism's crumbling empire. This cassette release is limited to 50 copies. All with a unique hand drawn artwork.
2 September, 2018Fall is probably my favourite season of the year and that's why I'm working on several new projects.
- A series of illustrations for ''Water of Life'', a book of comic poetry and prose by Rudy Ciavarro.
- New album by Bingo Trappers. How long have I been waiting for this? Five years have passed since ''Sister Planet'' came out. Waldemar and Wim are in perfect shape and this new album is amazing. Bingo Trappers at their best, believe me. For this release I've teamed up with some of the finest record labels around: Morc from Belgium, Grapefruit and Unread from the United States. A limited edition of 250 copies, the record will be available worldwide and will come out in two different editions, one with screen printed artworks and one with hand drawn artworks (I'll take care of this myself). Approximate release date: middle of October. Can you wait this long? The edition with hand drawn artworks is very limited, 50 copies only and if you want to be sure to have one, you can preorder it here.
- New album by Douglas Kramer Nye. Five years for the new Bingo Trappers, six years for the new Douglas Kramer Nye. Time runs fast. ''No Good Samaritan'' is one of the hidden gems of the Almost Halloween Time Records entire catalogue and I'm really happy that my path has crossed that of Douglas. It's really exciting to work on this new collection of songs. Very limited again and available for preorder here
- ''I am the world's richest man'', new album by Charlie Mcalister. I've just received the master amd it saddens me and it makes me happy. I often think at Charlie's failed trip to Bari. Charlie once sent me an email. He wanted to come to Bari and stay here for months, we would have been hanging together around Italy. The idea was to record a new album and I was so excited at the thought of finally meeting one of my heroes. We almost meet each other. He would have stayed at a house in the countryside. I had found a used tascam machine that he could use for recording, my grandpa homemade banjo that he made while he was prisoner in South Afrika during the second world war, some of my friends would have been is backing band, a really talented guitarist, a violinist and some horn players too. Charlie had not enough money and the trip was delayed, postponed and it never happened in the end... to our great disappointment. To spend months together with one of my favourite artists. Charlie told me he had had some troubles with the law before, I never investigated, it wasn't a trouble for me. Had he killed someone, I would have given him a roof and food the same. I sent him videos from Bari, to get acquainted with my city and its habits. We're strange, we eat raw octopus, we bite the octopus on the head when it is still alive to kill it and we throw it on the rocks to make it tender and we eat it without cooking it, a practive that makes sushi look pale. And sea urchins, we've got them also, as they come out from the sea, without cooking. Charlie wasn't too much impressed. It's hard to realize that Charlie is no longer with us, that this trip will never happen, that we will never meet. ''I Am The World's Richest Man'' is the follow up to ''Umpo Scuzzi'', we were talking about this a few weeks before he left us. I knew he was working at a bunch of new songs, I did not know he had almost completed them. This collection of songs has been assembled by Charlie's close friends and I'm forever in debt with them for this. These songs came from 4 tapes which were mixdowns of songs, and none were the final. Celie has chosen the best versions based on Charlie's notes. Thank you Celie and thank you Will for all your effeorts and for making this happen. I miss Charlie, but luckily he left me with his tapes and his music to listen to. And now this...
You can preorder the album here
Please also visit Spew Geyser to know about all the projects, archival, new releases and book production.
1 September, 2018I could not be more proud to announce that some of my drawings will be presented at Studio Smit Shows in Amsterdam this September. Back in 2011 when I started hand drawing every single artwork for every single copy of ''Wooden Bird'' by The Kitchen Cynics, I'd have never imagined I would have gone so far. Seven years later, with more than 60 albums released, I have completed more than 1.300 different artworks, collaborated with a lot of my favourite artists and record labels, shipped my works all over the world (from Greece to Germany, from Alaska to New Zealand, from Israel to Japan) and never grown tired of this. Could I draw 24 hours a day, I'd do it, could I use both hands, I'd do it. It has never been easy, but it has always been rewarding. The positive feedback I've recieved all these years from friends, fans, strangers, makes me want to continue forever. This exhibition happening in Amsterdam is something I would have never imagined when I started. I will be presenting only a small selection of works, 12 pieces that I have drawn especially for this exhibition... because you know, of all the 1.300 artworks I have drawn, I have only kept ten for myself, maybe...
29 June, 201825 artworks for Graves done, 25 artworks for S. M. Wolf done, all preorders of Wio, Good Horsey and The Debts LP done, what is going to trouble my sleep now apart from orders and a few trades? Seth Kaufman and Mike at People In A Position To Know have asked me to release a set of 50 artworks for Floating Action's new album.
''Heartache Essentials'' picks up exactly where ''Is It Exquisite'' left off. It's a an amazing brilliant album.
Floating Action are named after a vintage Gretsch bass drum pedal and is the pseudonym of Seth Kaufman from Black Mountain, NC. Musician, songwriter, producer, Seth Kauffman has collaborated with My Morning Jacket, Angel Olsen, Dr Dog, The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey and Ray Lamontagne. Isn't that a fantastic, crazy resume already?
Folk, soul, southern-rock, gospel, surf, and bedroom lo-fi coexist in this record creating a warm and lushly anachronistic sound that is uniquely Floating Action.
''Heartache Essentials'' is a co-release with People In A Position To Know and IPreferPi.
A limited edition of 50 copies with hand drawn unique artworks inspired by the lyrics of the songs contained in the album. Just to give you an idea, this time you will see portraits of Jose Canseco and Angel Olsen dealing with aching hearts, Ford Ranger and Count Ossie. 25 copies are available from me and 25 copies will go to People In A Position To Know and will be available at a reasonable price for the american market... maybe will be is not correct as I've just been informed by Mike that he has already sold all his copies. But don't worry, you can always order one from me and the album is also available in other versions from Piaptk and I don't exclude there will be a second edition of hand drawn artworks in the near future, because I love this album and Floating Action a lot.
PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW!!!!!
21 April, 2018There is a saying in Italian that translated would be something like 'Who sleeps doesn't catch fishes...' meaning something similar to the English one 'The Early Bird gets the worm'. April and spring in general have always been for me that season of the year when I would rather spend hours in bed sleeping then going out. Not too warm, not too cold, drowsy, sleepy and dozy but life has changed a lot from when I was a university student and I could afford a little nap in the afternoon or a late wake up. The hours I spend in bed are every day less and to keep drawing I'm waking up early every morning. It's a healthy exercise, like footing for those who like running or eating fruit. In the last few months I've been really productive and I've embarked myself on several new projects. Today I'll tell you about one in which I was dragged in by my good friend Mike at People In A Position To Know. To draw a set of sleeves for the forthcoming S.M. Wolf LP. For those who don't know them, S.M. Wolf is the creature of Adam Gross from Indianapolis, IN, former front man for group Amo Joy and it's a fuzzy, psychedelic, power pop band. S.M. Wolf new album is titled ''Bad Ocean'' and it's a voyage into that dark place within a person that they try to keep at bay. So I'm waking up early every morning to draw/catch creatures from the bottom of the sea that are wearing winter clothes. This is going to be an edition of 50 copies (25 that will be available through my website and 25 that will go to Mike and will be available through People In A Position To Know). It's a customizable project, when ordering, please don't hesitate to request a portrait of your favourite sea creature or to post the picture of your favourite sweater.
23 February, 2018''I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.'' - Edgar Allan Poe
It is official, I'm insane. As if I hadn't already enough things to draw, as if I hadn't already enough problems, as if it was easy to figure out what to draw on the sleeve of one of the more than sixty releases that are out on my record label right now and that has been just ordered, as if I had plenty of time to draw and dedicate myself heart and soul to something new, as if I was having enough sleep, I'm doing it again... I've accepted a new project. Draw a set 50 sleeves for the reissue of ''Easy Not Easy'' by Graves. The call came from Mike Dixon at People In A Position To Know and when the red phone in my office rings, there is only one possible answer: ''Yes, sure, I'll do it.'' I love People In a Position To Know, all their releases are unique, wondrous, Mike has never ceased to amazed, picnic plates and x-rays that you can spin in your turntable (where did he get all those x-rays from?), he has created new formats (I'd like to see the faces of the people working on discogs, they are certainly having hard times with him), he is an innovator and a landmark. There is not in this world another label like his. And this project I've accepted is for something big: Graves!
''Easy Not Easy'' originally came out in 2006 on Hush Records, and it is, like Mike has so nicely descibed, nothing more nothing less than ''a total unknown classic of hook laden, smooth, relaxing, sexy, wxperimentally and understatedly kooky beauty and masterful songwriting.'' For this series I'm going to draw boats, icebreakers, artic landscapes. 25 copies will go to People In A Position To Know, 25 copies will be available for sale on my website (23 actually, because I'm going to keep a couple ones for me at least). Very limited, very essential!
24 January, 2018Extravagant, bizzarre, excessive, Doctor and the medics, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, Commodore 64, the fall of the wall, the Challenger disaster, the Chernobyl cloud, Salman Rushdie sentenced to death, Tienanmen square, the scream of Marco Tardelli and the 1982 World Cup. Even if you weren't born in the 80's you probably already know what I'm going to talk about. Today I'm going to announce the release of ''Eat This Eighties'' by de portables, a tribute to one of the most controversial problematic decades in music, characterized by the massive use and abuse of electronics and synths, simple refrains that will enter your ears and remain stuck in your head for days and days, but also by the post punk, rock and more obsure colourfully mind altering issues. de portables presents here a brief anthology of the those years, and they do it in their own style as always. Not simple cover songs that you will listen in the pub around the corner performed by a group of nostalgics, but their own interpretation of worldwide known classics and hidden gems that makes you wish the 80's never come to an end. I've never been a huge fan of Pet Shop Boys, I kind of hated them, but here we have a wonderful rendition of ''Rent'' and you start thinking they weren't that bad and you wish de portables will cover more of their songs. How great would ''Domino Dancing'' or ''It's a Sin'' if our favourites would embrace the instruments again? And do you know Sinead O'Connor repertorie in depth? I honestly don't, but maybe I should explore her catalogue... de portables ''Troy'' is even more dramatic than Sinead ordination as a priest being a woman with a Roman Catholic background. This is a pleasant return, after the acclaimed '' It's Time To Leave This World Behind'' from 2012 (Almost Halloween Time Records) and it's follow up ''The Killing Horizon'' (9000 Records). This tribute comes out on cassette, a relic for many, but a format that has apparently won its battle against technology. Who buys compact discs anymore? Every single copy, this is an edition of 50, comes with a unique hand drawn sleeve. This is for all those of you that don't turn the radio station when you listen to The Cars or XTC, this is for you that turn the station when you listen to Erasure or Nena. The 80's like you have never heard.
16 November, 20172017 is the year, I'm more than happy to welcome Plundershop to our family. For those who don't know him yet, Plundershop started recording on boomboxes and handhelds back in the 90s, he graduated to four-track later. All of his early material was self-released until he discovered shrimper tapes in a local record store and figured out that other people were making music at home too. Via shrimper he started gathering addresses and writing other home-tapers, trading and submitting songs to comps on many closet labels. His most recent stuff is recorded in logic on macbook with two cheap microphones and a handful of partially functional instruments. ''Pink Into Grey'' has been laying in a drawer for a couple of years, only me and Plundershop himself had access to this songs as far as I know. It's time to open that drawer finally and release this wonderful collection of songs. In the style of Almost Halloween Time records, this is a edition of 50 cassettes with hand drawn unique covers. All different.
21 September, 2017September, the latest swims, sunsets and sundowns by the sea, bonfires, grape harvest and time for new releases. Autumn is just around the corner and I am more than excited to announce the release of ''An Echo Through A Kind Tree'', the perfect soundtrack for the end of summer. Wica Intina is one of the nom de plume used by Dakota Brown, an artist, musician from Tennessee who has been recording under the name Sheep Bella Tine. ''An Echo Through A Kind Tree'' is the debut on Almost Halloween Time Records, a collection of Intimate, melancholic songs, written, and recorded in the summer of '17 except, ''Against the sky, and ahead of the wind'' that was originally going to be included in Wica Intina first full length LP due sometime at the end of '17, but that he has decided to donate us.That was written, and recorded in the summer of '16. ''These have all been brought to life in the last year which for me has been incredibly life changing. For the better, and for the absolute worst, but I'm beginning to understand that this is simply how it is, and this is simply how we as artists, musicians, or whatever you most identify with at the end of the day channel our own phosphorescent selves. These are simply four pictures that I've managed to bring back from those times.'' - Dakota says.
''When you see that those black eyed susans have come back once again to end and begin again, you'll see that we must also do just that.''
For this series, limited to 50 copies, I'll be drawing portraits of Dakota Brown himself. All will be different.
15 September, 2017When I was a kid, summer was the season of the horror movies on TV.
Jaws, Halloween, the Nightmare series, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Night Of The Living Dead, The Thing, The Evil Dead passed on the screens and when my parents were sleeping or they were out, I was wide awake with my brother watching them.
The sleepless nights that followed such views are still a vivid memory.
I would not watch these movies again today, because I know that I will probably be disappointed by them, what was scary for little Luigi is now just something to laugh about compared to the news on tv. Like when the Exorcist came back in a director's cut version a few years ago. I went to the cinema and laughed all the time and went out for a beer or two and had a very good sleep.
But I love those movies and if I run a record label called Almost Halloween Time, there must be a reason, so I'm very pleased to welcome to the family the last effort by Painted Faces ,a brilliant post-punk/freak folk/experimental rock opera called RETURN TO THE VAULT OF FEAR, an odissey in the freak world. featuring a message for Bev Marsh, a ghost living in a guitar case, gargoyles and a failed attempt to commit suicide.
This is a corelease with Already Dead Tapes, I have only 75 copies available for sale, and all with come with a hand drawn unique sleeve, inspired by a horror classic.
14 September, 2017The project is ambitious and I need your help. Almost Halloween Time Records is going to release 5 new LPs by the end of this year. This is the crazy deadline I've fixed and this is my hope. I don't like preorders very much, I usually don't like to spoil surprises but the cookies have been baked and have been cooking for very long now and it's time that you all can listen to these gems.
- Inner Truth by Good Horsey. It is no secret that I'm a huge fan of Mark Szabo and I've been desperately trying to contact him for years, like a truffle hunter. The opportunity to talk to him came unexpectedly last year when a friend of mine posted on facebook the picture of a mysterious tape by Mark called Szabotage. This tape was missing in my collection and I asked him info. Then I got his address from another friend and I sent him a letter, rigorously hand written where I requested a a copy of Szabotage and I offered myself to release his next album. When he wrote me back I was over the moon. The opportunity to listen to some new material by Mark and the promise of more to come. Mark had accepted my offer to release his next album and after a few months I received a collection of songs by one of my favourite Szabo's incarnations: Good Horsey. I could have never hoped for more. New Good Horsey stuff, a collection of songs that had been apparently lying in a drawer for years waiting for a small Italian record label to release them in 2017. The album is ready to be pressed and it is awesome. I'm about to contact the pressing plant. This is going to be a limited edition of 100 copies, with hand drawn sleeves. Release date is October, halloween time, so please preorder your copy now.
- Montavilla by The Debts. After ''The Desert'' cassingle, I'm releasing a full lenght by The Debts. I wanted to release ''The desert'' on vinyl already, but seven inches are idle objects and none seems to be interested in them anymore, so I decided to release it on cassette, but I had fallen in love with the music of these guys and I knew the appointment was only delayed. When Dane sent me Montavilla, it was love at first hearing and I've spent days listening to this album, while I was working on other projects, when I was relaxing in my apartment, through the streets of Puglia, every occasion was perfect to listen to this album. I don't see any other possible format for this album than vinyl. This is going to be another limited edition of 100 copies with hand drawn sleeves and the release date is November, just after halloween. You can preorder your copy now.
- Wio's new album. I'm not kidding! I'm serious. After several tapes on Studio Muscle, Zoologic, Cactus Gum, Toothpick and Unread that I've consumed to the bones, after ''I Can See Where I Am Now'', the milestone of the wafflerock. the universally recognized masterpiece of the belgian lo-fi pop, after its follow up on (K-raa-k)3 that has never left my car cd player since the time of its release, after a very long pregnancy and gestation, after many emails, beers, visits to belgium, encouragements, stalking and bullying, I'm excited to announce this new album is going to see the light of the day. The demo versions of the songs contained in this album have been in my possession for years, the final versions are in my hands now and Wio has done the magic again. If the demo versions were awesome, the final versions are stellar. This is going to be a limited edition of 100 copies and the sleeves are going to be hand drawn. If you don't want to miss the plane, it is better you preorder your copy now. Release date is November.
The other two projects will remain top secret for now, but you won't be disappointed and if you preorder one or all of the above albums you will help me to release the other two before the end of 2017.
2 August, 2017We're doing it again! I'm really happy to announce that We're collaborating with People In A Position To Know once more. When Mike calls, I'm not able to say no and this time he has invited me to corelease the new LP by Floating Action! How could have i said No? No matter how many sleepless nights will cost me to hand draw 100 different covers in addition to those I'm hand drawing for other projects. Floating Action is the creature of Seth Kaufman, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Black Mountain, NC who has been recording amazing music for over a decade, who has collaborated with My Morning Jacket, Lana Del Rey, Angel Olsen, the Black Keys, Dr Dog, Band of Horses, Ray LaMontagne, etc, who has released such fantastic acts as ''Hold Your Fire'', and ''Research'' (both on PIAPTK).
Listen to the first single, Don't Desert Me, here...
Is It Exquisite is being issued on vinyl by a team of record labels: Almost Halloween Time, PIAPTK, OK Recordings, Baby Gas Mask Records, and Ipreferpi Recordings.
AHT will have 50 copies only. All will come with hand drawn unique artwork. For this release I will play on a unifying theme, a geodesic dome where different objects will make their appearance.
PIAPTK will be the US Distributor for the Almost Halloween Time versions. They will receive 50 copies!
PICK ONE UP HERE!
1 August, 2017Scott is a real good friend of mine and one of the reasons why I'll never grow tired of hand drawing covers for my own record label. He is really passionate and he encourgaes me all the time and he is the owner of a collection of my drawings and records that is constantly growing. He is also a really talented musician recording under the Brainwashed moniker. His music is some some sort of Improvised & semi-loop-based surrealist dark ambient, experimental, & electronica music. Scott has a really good ear and we share the same interest in many obscure projects and labels. Drawing something for him was exciting. ''The Arrival On Planet Heirus'' is his sixth full-length, a concept album about a day on a planet named Heirus. The idea for the artwork came one morning when i was having a lonely breakfast in a hotel in Athens, Greece.
You can stream the album here
And I don't exclude i will draw more things for him in the future!
27 May, 2017Ladies and gentlemen, I've always wanted to release a compilation of unreleased tracks by my favourite bands and finally the dream has come true. Back in 2016 I was contacted by C. Worth because I had been identified as ''an artist/performer/ friend/advocate /patron/connoisseur of Unread Records & Tapes & its mastermind, Mr. Christopher Fischer''. I am indeed a huge fan of Unread records, the proud owner of many of many many of their releases and a friend of Chris, so I was invited to organize a celebratory package, a tribute to Unread 200th release.I had no hesitation and I joined the party. The project was ambitious, the final result is something definitive. Almost every Unread recording artist was contacted, in some cases harassed, and invited to donate a song. But C. Worth, Brantley Fletcher, Nick Dolezal, Joel Huschle and I, the editors, curators of the comp. went further and started to invite people and artists we thought could have fitted, artists we thought were in the chords of Christopher Fischer and Unread records and that have never been on Unread. The compilation grew bigger and bigger, day by day, the bulk of contributions was impressive and the compilation ended to be the monster that it is now: a 3xC90 cassette tapes compilation. And this has happened in the course of a few months. Unbelievebale. I haven't received negative answers apart from a couple of invitations that were left unseen, unheard. Everyone was happy to contribute a song... and the collection of songs here is terrific. I couldn't have imagined something better than this. Take a look at the names and the tracklist:
A1 Kids of the Atomic Age - You Gotta Friend
A2 Bingo Trappers - Topple from the Perch
A3 I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE - I AM THE WARNING ANGEL
A4 Leaaves - Lily
A5 Nutrition Fun - Down in Denver
A6 Nathaniel Hoier - Smoke and Mirrors
A7 Noah Sterba - Corporate Women
A8 Edward Gray - Haunted Shoes
A9 Graham Repulski - Malcolm's Ex
A10 Caleb Fraid - Cans Are Kites
A11 Joe Kile - Eugene
A12 Furniture Three - Carolina in My Mind
A13 -- GG Interlude 1 (Come Over Sometime) --
A14 C. Dingus - I'm No Fischer
A15 Bob Bucko, Jr. - Traveling Song
A16 Allen Callaci and Franklin Bruno - State Trooper
B1 Swampwalk - All I Want / Space
B2 Navy Gangs - Wide Awake
B3 George Willard - You Think It's All Right (But It's Not)
B4 David Nance - Ambulance
B5 Staffers - Thought I Could Do It Turns Out I Couldn't!
B6 Wholewheat - This Ain't My Life
B7 C. Frank - Stagnant Fear
B8 Rake Kash - Zloty
B9 Jerk - The Jain You Ganed
B10 Chauchat - Great War
B11 John Thill - Impunity
B12 GG - You Always Hurt The One You Make Love You
B13 Hip Replacement - Were U Sitting Too Close to the Magnet Again?
B14 Will Simmons - Insomnia, Parts 3 & 4
B15 -- Martian Interlude 1 --
B16 C. Worth - Eve and Autumnal (For Chris Fischer)
C1 The Crazy People - Sugar High
C2 Dirty Swears - Death Rattle Blues
C3 Restaurnaut - Down the River Is...
C4 Wio - To Unread Is Not a Word They Say
C5 Jeff Fuccillo - Mutts and Rutts
C6 Mark Johnson - Drove Me Home
C7 -- Crazy Interlude --
C8 Phil Yates & The Affiliates - You Make Me
C9 Skeleton Man - Rising Tides
C10 Joey Pizza Slice - Lunchtime
C11 The Debts - The Twelfth Chime
C12 -- GG Interlude 2 (500 Flavors) --
C13 Mean Spirit'd Robots - Green Lights
C14 John Davis - Amanda
C15 Handmedown Satellites - Misbegotten Reverie
C16 The Crazy People - Sugar High (Reprise)
D1 The Ham Stains - Illegal Smile
D2 Spirit Duplicator - For Unread, 20 Years Later
D3 Charlie Mcalister - Rip Van Winkle
D4 A John Henry Memorial - Widowermaker
D5 Simon Joyner - I'll Fly Away (Demo)
D6 Ramon Speed - Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis
D7 Eloine - Doorknob Fruit
D8 Plundershop - Texas, You Told Us So Already
D9 Space Capsules - Relief
D10 Jarbaby - Odd Bless +++
E1 Safetycntrl - An Apple Stole My Hedddd
E2 Nicole Kidman - The Sweat Pours Into Your Socks
E3 Das Torpedoes - Juche
E4 Chernobyl USA - Baby Blue
E5 Hamstrings - Sloggin' Thru the Turd Bog
E6 Monogamy - Hot Tears
E7 Church of Gravitron - Simmit Simmit
E8 Jozril Dahl - Microtape, GA
E9 M A T H - Why Is This So Hard?
E10 Lovers Turn to Monsters - Vassar
E11 -- Martian Interlude 2 --
E12 The Wrong Wizards - Ex-Summoner Tooth Vs. Red Capricorn Suit
E13 Surfeit - Doing Drugs
E14 :3 - I Am A Rain (Demo)
E15 Voost Viszt - Zhai Nan
E16 Charlie Mcalister & The 5000 Watt Compressed Air Band - Waterin Jug
F01 -- GG Interlude 3 (Supernatural Forces) --
F02 Anna McClellan And Razors - I Swear
F03 Will Simmons & The Upholsterers - Not So Good
The compilation titled ''Crock Rot'' and features some of my favourite artists, that are for the first time on Almost Halloween Time Records: John Davis, Franklin Bruno, Allen Callaci, Simon Joyner, Wio, Jeff Fuccillo, Plundershop, Caleb Fraid, David Nance, Noah Sterba, Mean Spirit'd Robots and I Am The Lake Of Fire. It features old friends of Almost Halloween Time Records: Charlie McAlister, Space Capsules, Ramon Speed, Monogamy, Nicole Kidman, Math, Restaurnaut, Phil Yates, Autopilot, Will Simmons, Ed Gray, Bingo Trappers, Rake Kash, C. Worth, Furniture Huschle and : 3. It features artists with whom I've just started to collaborate: The Debts and Lovers Turn To Monster and artists that I'd like to work with one day.
For this series that is limited to 50 copies, I will draw three unique sleeves per copy (for a total of 150 different sleeves, as if I had not already enough things to draw for the other releases). The drawings will be inspired by the songs.
26 May, 20172017 is the year I will go bankrupt, but at least I will have released a lot of music to console me and light my days.
I've got lots of projects that I will not reveal for superstitious reasons because I've got to admit that I'm superstitious...
After the brightening release of 'Emilia' by C. Worth, I'm really excited to announce the entry into the Almost Halloween Time Records family of The Debts. Isn't this a wonderful start of the year already?
The Debts are a low fidelity folky band that has its roots deep in Omaha, Nebraska and that teams for this release: Dane Sybrant, Brooke Sybrant, Nicole Blauw and Kevin Shaw. They have donated us two songs, one recorded on a Tascam 4-track in what I beleive is a haunted Motel in Wray, Colorado and one recorded live at the White Eagle Saloon in Portland, Oregon. This comes after several cassette albums on Unread and one LP on Shrimper just to give you an idea of what to expect from these guys and is part of the series of the cassingles Almost Halloween Time Records has been releasing in the course of the years. 31 copies and all the sleeves will be different, hand drawn, hand numbered, unique. Cattails, Typha, Muddy Waters, Missouri River and Salt will populate the sleeves for this series.
8 February, 2017It's finally here and it sounds great on my turntable. Almost Halloween Time Records and I are really happy to welcome C. Worth in our family. A really talented guitarist from Pennsylvania with releases on some of my favourite record labels of all times (Unread, Union Pole and The Robert Harden Recording Co.). ''Emilia'' is a collection of improvised nocturnes and lullabies written for a little girl. I've played her the album several times and the response has been great. She loves these songs and we have spent evenings listening to them. In the tradition of Almost Halloween Time Records I'll draw all the sleeves. One of a kind for a total of sixty different drawings.
18 December, 2016Orange Cake Mix is the nom de plume of Connecticut resident Jim Rao. A prolific singer/songwriter, Rao began scribbling lyrics and humming his own melodies as a child; in the early '90s. I discovered his music years ago when I was exploring the Blackbean and Placenta Tape Club catalogue and in the course of the years I've been able to collect some of his many album and cassettes. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to work with Jim. Of Broken Dreams and Better Days is out today, a collection of 12 songs originally recorded in the 90s that have been closed in a drawer too long. I'll hand draw 50 different sleeves for this album.
16 October, 2016I still can't believe I've got the opportunity to work with an artist that has played a leading role in my education as an adult listener. What I am now is a combination of all the great albums and cassette tapes I've listened in my life. Wearing headphones, in my room, singing along, driving through the streets of Bari with tapes and cds in stereo, going to live shows. I'm not able to say how many hours I've spent listening to songs by Eric Gaffney or with Eric Gaffney playing instruments, singing. These would probably amount to months, years. To give you just a small idea of Eric's influence in the lo fi home-taping scene: Eric has been recording on cassette since 1981, he founded 'Grey Matter' in 1983, wrote songs, drummed, started performing at hall shows, was part of the Western Mass Hardcore scene, drumming, writing lyrics, making a fanzine (Withdrawal), writing scene reports for Maximum Rock 'N' Roll, was the Lead singer of 'No Preservatives,' at age 16, he co-founded Sebadoh (and it's not a secret that Sebadoh is one of my favorite bands of all times), after leaving Sebadoh, he embarked on a solo career' recording some many great albums on cassette and cds, He currently sells music via his Bandcamp page and has sixteen records digitally distributed worldwide!!!! And believe me, these are all great. 'Land of Make Believe' is his first full length vinyl LP!!!! And I'm really proud to announce that Almost Halloween Time records is finally doing him justice!!! This is a limited edition of 110 copies, 25 available directly from Eric and 85 available from me. Both editions come with exclusive, all different hand drawn sleeves. Eric is drawing the ones for his copies and I'm drawing the ones for mine. Illustrations inspired by his lyrics that will see moose, beavers and mice, Phil Spector, Amazonian flies and other phantasmagoric characters taking the scene. As usual, I won't have all the 85 sleeves ready at the same time and I will draw most of them as I receive orders, so please don't hesitate to place yours if you want to see a Possum peeping out a commode triumphing on your copy.
Here's what Erick Mertz (Bearded UK) says about this collection of songs: ''His newest release, Land Of Make Believe is a record that exists outside of time. This is the kind of gem-laden collection that reminds you why you loved lo-fi rock in the first place. The raw riffs of 'What An Attitude' feel like they could have been cranked out of one of the many beer filled troughs at Satyricon, his sneering critique of his dead-eyed neighbors on 'America's Drug' is raw and blissfully wise ass in a post punk tradition. Gaffney lays everything bare on 'Lake Of Make Believe' (as he does on every recording) from his well heeled sense of humor 'Howlin' Krishna' to his keen ability to pay homage to '60's garage on 'No Telling Why' to a dose of downtrodden blues on 'Bouquet For A Siren'. This is the kind of variety which makes him such a rare and precious gem.''
If you are in the U.S. and want to order ''land of make believe'' Lp from Eric...
19 August, 2016Back in 2015, L Eugene Methe asked me to reproduce a black and white version of ''The Stone Breakers'' by the french painter Gustave Courbet, the master of realism. This is my attempt at reproducing the painting. I don't remember how many hours I spent working at this project but if I think of myself drawing it now, I imagine myself wearing the very same expression of Courbet in his self portrait, also known as ''The Desperate Man''. This drawing is the front cover of the new RAKE KASH album and I'm really excited to hear the news that the record will be out soon.
25 August, 2016It is my pleasure to announce the release of ''Semifloral'' , the new EP by Monogamy, the creture of Ann Arbor, MI multi-instrumentalist D Alfred Lyons backed up by two new members Toni Wang (keys and vocals) and Sam Johnston (bass, synth, vocals). A collection of noisy pop songs and synth melodies that captures a lot of anxiety, doubt, and self-contempt. Recorded by the local music legend Fred Thomas at his Life Like Studio. Here's what the author has to say about the EP: ''I'm so proud of all of these songs… I'm astounded that those sounds came out of a project that just started with me having no one to play music with in high school. The lyrics are probably the best I'll ever write.'' This is a corelease with Citizens Of The World Media and Side Wound Worship. Almost Halloween Time Records is releasing ''Semifloral'' in a limited edition of 50 copies with hand drawn sleeves, all different, attempts at illustrating the lyrics of this collection of songs. The EP is also abvailable via COTWM (50 copies printed on angelic gold jackets) and SWW (100 copies printed on skull white jackets.
26 June, 2016It's with infinite pleasure that I'm finally ready to announce the release of ''Driver'', the new album by the belgian band Autopilot. 275 copies ready to spin on your turntables, 135 with handdrawn, unique, one of a kind sleeves, 140 with professionally printed sleeves. A collection of 16 songs, whose lyrics I'll try to illustrate for you. It is going to be fun and I'll go crazy in the end, but it's Almost Halloween Time Records and someone has to do it. Active from the early 90s with tapes on the glorious Studio Muscle label, featuring one member of de portables... years in the making. The first time I've listened to this collection of songs was 2012 and since then I've listened to this collection of songs so many times in my car and at home, so many times that now certain places or certain memories are strictly connected with this album. Stuck in the traffic under a bridge in Bari... makes me always think of Bertrand singing that ''He will never be a mexican no matter how hard he tries''!!! I've always found this album perfect, exciting, beautiful, from the very first listening. Back in January 2015, I've met the Autopilot guys personally, seen them perform live and got the confirmation that this record absolutely had to see the light of the day, it would have been a crime to leave it unrealesed, closed in a drawer somewhere. ''Driver'' is for fans of Sebadoh, Pavement, for genuine indie rock fans and waffle lovers!!!
25 June, 2016I'm a nerd, I know, but it's not my fault if I'm so in love with Shrimper Records. I've recently added a ''new'' old cassette to my collection. A Very old one and I'm happy as a child. I don't know much about this band apart from their name ''Jive'' and I don't think a google search will help me to shred some light on this obscure piece of the 90s. With Shrimper it was love at first listening and time hasn't changed my feelings, how could be otherwise if they continue releasing great stuff (woods, john thill, donovan quinn!!!). My - not so secred hope/plan is to collect them all. It is not easy and I will probably fail, but I'm gonna try. Some of you probably has a box of old tapes in the garage, basement or cellar. Don't let the dust bury your tapes and help this poor crazy man realize his obsession. Show me your Buzzsaw, Fip Placard, Refrigerator tapes!!!!!
27 April, 2016When Mike Dixon of People In A Position To Know asked me if I wanted to work with him at the release of American Monoxide's new album, I had no hesitation. PIAPTK is one of the most revolutionary record labels around, I'm crazy about their stuff, lathe cuts, unique releases, spectacular artworks, every new releases overpasses in greatness and originality the previous, amazing! Mike and I have been trading some stuff in the course of the years, boxes loaded of phenomenal records by Golden Boots and American Monoxide among the others. And hearing after hearing and listening after listening I've fallen in love with the work of Dimitri Manos. So when Mike offered to work together with PIAPTK at the release of Dimitri Manos' last effort, I was on cloud nine. I'm supposed to draw 100 sleeves for this project, in advance, before I receive orders. And I'm going crazy... American Monoxide is the solo lo-fi home recordings of Dimitri (member of Tucson's Golden Boots, Crab Legs and Philly's Dr. Dog), His music described as ''Straight to tape trashy jams and trashy instrumentals'', ''weird electronic feel good summer jam''. Dimitri and Mike have gathered together all their favourite labels to co-operate at the release of ''Web Content'', all of them are encouraged to create their own variant/version of the album with special features. Here's the list of all the fine folks involved and what their version will look like:
PIAPTK - Bonus Lathe Cut
Almost Halloween Time Records (Bari, Italy) - hand painted covers!
Soild Gold (Tucson) - Soild Gold Style Bootleg Cover
Baby Gas Mask Records (Tucson) - Library Style Mylar sleeves with Bonus Cassingle with unreleased track
Hocus Bogus (Tucson) - Bonus Zine with Lathe Cut cover!
Lazy Boy Recording Co (Lynchburg, VA)- TBD
Wooden Tooth Records (Tucson) - Cassingle with bonus track
Shot By A Fan (Austin) - Bonus video content!
31 January, 2016If you ask me what will remain of the 90's, among the dozens of artists, albums, cassettes and record labels I have venerated and adored, I'll certainly name ''Interplanetary Music'' by the National Heroes. Some might erroneously think that lo-fi indie rock was an american exclusive (Sebadoh, Pavement, Diskothi-q, Refrigerator, Nothing Painted Blue) but we have had great representatives here too and National Heroes are certainly the best british lo-fi indie rock combo of the 90's if you ask me. They have sadly and guilty been understimated and undervalued, almost forgotten but I have just been informed that Cargo Records is going to reissue and finally put under the spotlights the only LP ever recorded by National Heroes. Originally released by Theme Park, after a series of cassettes on some of the greatest tape labels of the time (Catsup plate and Traumatone) and a bunch of 7''s, almost impossible to find nowadays. I'm really happy and excited about this reisssue, a lot of people will finally have the opportunity of listening to this great band but it is also time that these guys return on a stage and record something new because I have worn out my copy of ''Interplanetary Music''. I know for sure Matt Seigne is still active, as I have release one cassette of his and we're talking about releasing more, I don't know about Bill Dunmore. Will this reisssue mean the return of the great National Heroes?
30 January, 2016I'm really excited to announce the release of Warm Pursuit by this really talented artist called Magi. Out on cassette, limited to 50 copies. Every single copy comes with a hand drawn sleeve, always different, inspired by the obscure lyrics of the songs. In the style of Almost Halloween Time Records. I don't know much about Magi but I'm in love with his music. He has a tape out on Juniper Tree Songs other than this cassette and he has received several positive reviews. Noise pop, outsider rock, chamber freak folk and ambient lo-fi electronic dark chillout, this is how they describe his music. Listen to the song Water and you will understand why I'm in love with Magi.
3 January, 2016The first series of Feast Of The Upright Bass by Joe Speedboat is officially sold out after having portraited a lot of my firends (Michael Dixon, Mike Andriani, Ingwio D'Hespeel, Wim Lecluyse, Lobke D'Hespeel, Jelle Vanlerberghe, Jürgen De Blonde, Scott Meade, Christopher Fischer, Stief Marreyt), myself and some perfect strangers. Only two portraits left to be drawn to complete all the 31 copies but I'm going to keep these last two for myself. One must feature a bird for the unwritten rule that wants at least one copy featuring one feathered creature. I've been talking with Joe Speedboat about a possible reissue and they seemed excited. I'll probably change the point of view of the stage if this will happen.
23 August, 2015Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm really excited to announce the forthcoming release of Live In Osimo from Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession, Three Mile Pilot and Built In Sun). A limited edition of 100 copies, released in collaboration with Analog Ghost Recordings, featuring unique hand drawn sleeves and the recording of a wonderful live show I've been really lucky to attend last fall in Osimo.
You can pre-order your copy now.
22 August, 2015I've been loving Simon Joyner's music for years now and drawing an illustration for this book is really a dream come true. You can pre-order your copy now from Magic Helicopter Press.
28 March, 2015It's with great pleasure that I announce the release of 'A Crooked Thorn' by Restaurnaut. This is his second release on Almost Halloween Time Records and the first lathe cut we have ever released. So I'm really excited. Restaurnaut does make horse music and I love what he does. Through the years and the works of some of my favourite record labels such as Blackbean And Placenta Tape Club, Folktale and People In A Position To Know I've grown a passion for these weird objects called lathe cuts. They sound great and they look beautiful. The one here has been cut by my dear friend Carlos that runs the wonderful Analog Ghost Recordings label and shares with me the same love for music. We've known each other for years, but we have finally seen each other last summer in the United States for the first time. We met at a Refrigerator, Wckr Spgt, Lou Barlow show in Pomona. Could have ever been a better place to finally meet one of your friends? I don't think so. This lathe cut is born that day. Restaurnaut was there too, we saw each other for the first time. 'A Crooked Thorn' is a limited edition of 40 copies and all the sleeves are going to be handdrawn in the style of Almost Halloween Time Records.
15 March, 2015Spring is here again, trees are blooming and we have two new releases coming out this month. I can't be happier. Tonight I'll introduce you with ''No Need To Beg'' by Phil Yates And The Affiliates. I'm waiting for a big box to officially release this but I've already painted sleeve number one so here's a preview... a portrait of Lizzie Borden inspired by one of the songs in the album. It wasn't easy to portrait Lizzie and I've had to ax the first attempt before I was happy with my drawing. Next one will feature a Pontiac station wagon. The LP is going to be a limited edition of 110 copies with handdrawn sleeves, all different - in the style of Almost Halloween Time Records. Phil Yates And The Affilities will bring you ear candy from Burlington, Vermont with their Indie power pop.
Phil Yates, not the Phil Yates of Midnight Guitar Moods fame, is a Burlington, Vermont based singer-songwriter who used to call Los Angeles, Chicago, Columbia, SC, and Springfield, IL home. When not performing, he teaches in the mathematics department at Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont, and sporadically DJ's a show called ''Spork!'' on the college's radio station (WWPV 88.7 The Mike).
Describing his sound as ''too folky for the rockers and too rocky for the folkers,'' Phil blends (at least what he thinks are) clever lyrics with melodies full of hooks. On his EP Tumble Stairs, digitally released on Revolution Road in May 2011 and physically released on his own in June 2011, Phil went into the studio with a band full of friends to build on his songs. Two of the tracks, ''Ninjas vs. Zombies (Let's Keep Our Heads)'' and ''The Bottom of an Urn'', appear in the movies Ninjas vs. Zombies and Ninjas vs. Vampires, respectively. ''The Gift of Love'', a song whose verses were written by his friends in the lo-fi legends of southern California cassette culture Wckr Spgt, also appeared on the compilation Smooth Sounds: Various Artists Play the Future Hits of Wckr Spgt. This compilation was in honor of the 20th anniversary of Shrimper Records and features bands like The Mountain Goats, Sentridoh, So Many Wizards, Jad Fair, Simon Joyner, Amps For Christ and Franklin Bruno covering Wckr Spgt songs. Wckr Spgt, in turn, covered the Phil Yates penned tune ''Honeycomb'' for their Today I Saw Turtles EP that came out in April 2011. In May 2012, Phil went into the studio with The Affiliates and recorded the single ''Could You Be The One?'' for the movie Ninjas vs. Monsters. The song was mixed and mastered by Matt Rogalsky (Memory Device, Kingston, Ontario), who worked on PS I Love You's 2012 release, Death Dreams. In February 2013, Phil Yates & The Affiliates released Oh So Sour, the follow-up full-length album to the Tumble Stairs EP. Oh So Sour was played on various college radio stations around the U.S. and Canada, even reaching #20 on the charts for Radio1190 (Boulder/Denver, CO) in April 2013.
Over the years, Phil has had the opportunity to open for a variety of acts. He has played with The Mountain Goats, The Babies, The Dead Milkmen's Joe Jack Talcum, Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs, Franklin Bruno, Wckr Spgt, Ann Beretta, Mary Prankster, and The Push Stars. Phil has also shared a basket of chips and salsa with The Apples in Stereo's Robert Schneider.
27 January, 2015It's nice to have internet at home. I'm back and there are a lot of cookies cooking in the oven for you
Super secret projects and things that are already in an advanced phase (LP by Phil Yates and The Affiliates and a lathe cut)
A few months ago I've also drawn a set of five sleeves for a 7'' by Grey Waves coming out on one of my favourite record labels: People In A Position To Know on January 30th. You can see what I've drawn in the gallery section here under Grey Waves.
From the last time I wrote here the italian postal service has raised all shipping costs fares but it's gonna take a while since I update all the paypal buttons here, so if you order now you will save on shipping. It sounds like a good deal.
11 January, 2015Back in Bari, back to my drawings and brushes. The Luigi Fest has been a success and I feel really lucky to have been there with you and see bands and people that I have been wanting to see live on a stage for years, to meet old friends and new ones, people I have portrayed on the sleeves of the Joe Speedboat tapes too. It's something I will never forget. Thank you very much for all this, for the friendship, the good beers and all the talks we have had. I have really enjoyed all your performances, listen live to songs I've been playing many many times while drawing things for you has been exciting. The addition of Philippe Guslain to the schedule has been a beautiful suprise. One of the first releases on my record label has been an album of The Ordinary Seaman. I love the belgian (dutch) language and it's nice to listen to someone singing in belgian (dutch). I might not understand what he is singing but I like what I hear. Wio is an old friend of mine, I've met him on my first trip to belgium, seen him a couple of times on stage and loved and wore all his records, time hasn't changed my feelings, I always think he is a great musician and love his music a lot. Mote's album has come out of the blue, I thought the had disbanded, I did not know they were still active and It has been wonderful to see them on stage. Powerful, intense, pure. It was nice to see Annelies perform live again. One of the first tapes on AHT is by her, beuatiful piano songs, the first vinyl lp is by her (Zent One) and I've followed her on Morc and other labels. I've really enjoyed her set. It is really beautiful to see how you all contribute to other projects. Lobke and Jelle on stage with Annelies. Hans and Jurgen on stage with Mote. Autopilot: I've devoured their demo, listened to it many many times while driving through the streets of Bari. It's a bomb and I'm happy to have been the cause of their return on stage after twelve years if I've understood well. Why so many years? Kohn was mind blowing, luckily I recorded his set and I'm going to listen to it again and again. Joe Speedboat, the rising star of the belgian lo-fi scene, with Jelle speaking a perfect italian. One of the weirdest requests I've got in matter of sleeves was portraying all speedboat memebers for a guy. Lots of fun, it was great to see all the sleeves I've did for them projected on the wall (Thanks!) Lots of work, but also great fun. de portables ruled, so many talented musicians in a single band. Listening to the songs of It's Time To Leave This World Behind live has been beautiful, thank you very much for this, I'm a lucky fan, you even performed Haut Gay Emoticon smile Thank you guys. Uh, and Wio's cover version of that italian classic, that's another highlight.
I'm back to Bari with a lot of projects for the new year, try to convice the Autopilot and Wio to finally give a follow up to their last albums (I'm ready to use the brute force, like closing them on studio and throw away the key), wait for the new albums by de portables, kohn, annelies and mote, work on that idea with joe speedboat, draw some sleeves for Philippe Guislain, reissue Kohn and Joe Speedboat tapes with new sleeves, the first AHT releases to be reissued, organize a Luigi Fest III in Bari.
30 November, 2014I'm still without an internet connection at home, I have a lot of pictures and videos that I'd like to upload from Antonietta's and my trip to the United States. It has been a wonderful adventure that we will never forget. The first Almost Halloween Time Records festival ever has taken place in Los Angeles. It was great to meet and finally see in real life some of my favourite bands. Thanks to Manny Vazquez for hosting the show and thanks to everyone who was there Joel Huschle, Kimberly Holiday, Jawsh Lopez, Jon Babra, Nick Dolezal, Damaris Paz, Matthew Gray, Kevin Grnspon, Rick Goosewind, Joseph Knight and Jilly Ann. We hope to meet you again soon.
22 October, 2014It's Almost Halloween Time and we've got a new release. Philippe Guislain's Werkelijk Waar. A limited edition of 50 cassettes with handdrawn sleeves. A series of sleeves featuring my first attempt at portraying Pelè. It wasn't easy as I thought. This is return on AHT, as years ago we release something by Filip Gheysen, a visual artist and audio-artist that has now his singer-songwriter project with Dutch lyrics under alter ego Philippe Guislain, years after he made songs as The Ordinary Seaman.
6 August, 2014Almost Halloween Time headquarters are going to be closed this month. Feel free to order, but I won't be able to ship your records out earlier than September 1st, 2014. Have a nice summer!
13 July, 2014It's with great pleasure that I welcome Stars Are Insane to the Almost Halloween Time Records family. Stars Are Insane is a long running 4 track home recording project that was started in 1998 by Mike Andriani of Yes Sensei/Dude Japan and Rok Lok Records that has mixed the lo fi sincere acoustic melodic-ism of early Sebadoh with the noisy, shoegazing guitar drones of My Bloody Valentine to create something rather unique. Predominantly a solo project with scattered accompaniment throughout the discography. Influenced by Shrimper Records, K Records, field recordings, collages and tape trading.
These songs were written in response to Mike's trip up the west coast this past winter and even feature field recordings from said excursion.
'When Last We Met' is out on Cassette, every copy comes with unique hand-drawn sleeve and it's limited to 50 copies
9 February, 2014''A great indie rock record. Actually more specifically a great dreamy post-rock record. And I love dreamy post-rock. At least that's what I would call it. And considering I started The Flower Shop Recordings as a hand-stamped hand-numbered limited edition 7'' record label I also love the fact that Mote and Almost Halloween Records from Italy are releasing this as a limited edition (I believe 100?) hand-painted double-vinyl LP. Respect. The infamous Gentse collective Kinky Star (label/bar/hedonism) are also releasing this digitally but if I wasn't currently living out of a suitcase I know where my money would go...''
Robin Proper-Sheppard (Sophia/The God Machine/The Flower Shop Recordings)
Robin, if I knew how to reach you, I'll send you a copy for sure. I'm a huge fan of your music. ''Vulnerable in The A.M. Light'' is available in two editions, one with hand-drawn sleeves (50 copies) and one with professionally printed sleeves (50 copies). Double vinyl.
Here's some info on the band:
Founded in a galaxy far away, Mote was discovered by Patrick Bruyneel at the legendary Democrazy club in Ghent, Belgium. As a result, Mote's first outing was as support act for Smog, featuring Bill Callaghan and Cynthia Dall on the band's Burning Kingdom tour. In the years that followed Mote would support a host of U.S. role models, including Guv'ner, The Grifters, Archers of Loaf, Unwound and Blonde Redhead. Mote released singles and EP's on Rotten Windmill Recs, Blackbean and Placenta Recs, Toothpick Recs, Ubik Recs and Schrimper Recs. Despite band members spreading their wings across the globe (Sydney, NYC, San Francisco, Brussels, Ledeberg...) Tom Lezaire, Lobke D'Hespeel, Ben Depoorter and Glen Steenkiste found time to get together at irregular intervals to record the full length album ''Vulnerable in the a.m. light'', which we have released on 100 vinyl discs.
7 February, 2014Ladies and Gentlemen, Almost Halloween Time Records is proud to announce the release of Innuendo: The Italian Way, the latest album by Will Simmons & The Upholsterers. Hand-drawn sleeves, illustrations of the lyrics, all different.
This is a corelease with one of my favourite labels of all times: Unread Records.
And here's a nice review by Quayle Smithers.
Winter's End is its Own Revenge
''I've struggled with this. I've ripped so many pieces of paper out of my typewriter and crumpled them up that I look like I've been on the losing end of a snowball fight. The thing is I've got so much to say about this record and so little liner note space. The main thing: Will is back! He's been around tribute-and-country-banding it up, but now it's his material that he's bringing to life. It's good to have him back. Hearing his voice, thoughts and music made me realize how much I missed him. Will's sole focus has always been on the music. Now he's further exploring, through his band, different instrumentation like subtle synth and heroic trombone riffs. I don't always care what's going on when it sounds this good.
So you're going to be listening to whatever particular format you find this recording on and, of course, you're going to form your own opinions about what you're hearing. I'm here to give you a few interpretations of my own. I have been sorting through the clutter that surrounds me, looking for my preview copy of the recording in all my Quayle piles, distracted by scraps of paper and trying to decide what I'm supposed to do with them. I get cold seeing the winter sun dwindling too early. The Upholsterers have recorded a soundtrack to my gray day. Out of coffee! How can I get anything done under these conditions?
This is a pretty damn good tiger song! I mean who else is writing tiger songs, zookeepers maybe? It's late, it's night and it's cold, and then you realize what you must do: Bust out that one string guitar solo. When in doubt bust it out. What's all this crap on the keyboard? You know I can't type with old drafts draped across my fingers.
I'm cleaning as I listen and paper piles are layered like snowflakes making snowbanks and Will is singing about birds with bird sound effects and it makes me want to just hold on until I can hear real birds singing—just get through the winter to something better and the horn blasts. Hang on for spring, for some warmth, some brighter skies, some hope. You can hear the theme and the passion in the trombone landscapes as the birds look for greenery through the grimy snow above the brown mud.
Yeah, so ''Landscape With Stag and Hound'' seems to be inspired by the inside of a castle with an electronic zither plugged in by Prince Harry wearing a Bob Dylan t-shirt--royally psychedelic. We can only be glad that no one took pictures. Majestic in its imagery and sonic artistry, the song transports me to a misty Hipgnosis album cover world. How am I going to keep this organized? I got piles of receipts that aren't mine. I got pictures of dogs wearing birthday hats for birthday cards because everyone should see a picture of a dog wearing a birthday hat on their birthday. I got a screenplay. Paper, paper, so much paper driving me mad.
''Waiting For the Night'' features one loping guitar riff that I could listen to all night! Can I borrow a file folder? It will help me organize. Envelopes pile up, empty envelopes. Robins get name dropped. Robins are birds. Time is going so fast. The second hand is like the minute hand it just keeps moving then there's a jazzy trombone solo, one that a Robin might like to listen to. It's guitar solo vs. trombone solo then, mon Dieu! - a bass solo. And this isn't even a solo album!
Traveling around town, looking at churches, but everyone seems lonely and the trombone adds isolation. Just a little sun that can't warm this day to add to the mood and people wearing long coats—too cold to socialize. I really can't explain...the light, the winter light, the weather we all have to survive just to get to a better day taking me back to a sixties solo man blow my mind why don't you?
If ''The Telephone'' is not one of the greatest songs about telephones ever written then it's a screenplay that's been boiled down to be a song. There's a character. He's crazy. He's working too much. He's a badass who talks a good game. Most people expect to see him expired in a ditch by the side of the road while his car door remains open with this song playing on the car stereo.
We're out on a lonely night—that's a literal translation of the song title and overly simplistic but you get Will as a guy who's out and about looking at stuff, maybe breaking out a little notepad and writing a line here and there. The cathedral could tell you everything but it's gone, gone into the darkness, gone into history. Is it a misty night or watery eyes? Life can get sad for a moment; pull your coat or your gal closer to try to get to some warmth and let's keep moving and block it all out with trombone!
Then there's is a tongue in cheek nod to the flu, I think. So it's more of a love song. Oh man where is the trombone? Busy and fun with loopy quick fluid guitar twirls with bouncy drums, got to have some heat around here. There's a lyric that makes me blush out loud. I'd stick a trombone in there. Clipboards, I got a clipboard collection. I have a collection of everything. Madness. The only cure is trombone!''
Quayle Smithers, Portland, Winter of 2013.
25 January, 2014One night Joe Speedboat went drunk as Dunedin and recorded two hours worth of material on the spot with Wim's phone. A selection of all this is now released as a 15 minute cassette on Almost Halloween Time Records. Hearing back these recordings we're left wondering whether there really was a kazoo on it or was it just neighbour Noël honkin’ for den deurwaerder? Limited to 31 copies, hand-drawn sleeves, all different.
If you are planning to order some stuff, please always send an email first. Combined shipping is possible and the paypal thing sucks. It keeps adding shipping. With 10 or 15 euros according to where you live I can ship twenty tapes or four LPs.
24 January, 2014I'm not going to sleep anymore, I won't go to sleep and try to stay awake for twentyhours a day. I'm supposed to draw a lot of things this winter with all the new releases on aht and the old ones and the ones I still haven't even desired to release. I will go crazy in the end, I know, but I really like Almost Halloween Time Records, it means a lot to me. January brings us the first female voice in our rooster. I've fallen in love with I Kill Cameron at first listening. I'm releasing her tape. I Kill Cameron, is one woman angsty folk ukulele music. I'm gonna draw 50 sleeves for her all different.
23 December, 2013Post-jurassic Surfey Pop Bedroom Emo songs pertaining to a period occurring from 140 million years ago to today characterized by the absence of dinosaurs and the popularization of birds, mammals and post-dinosaurs. This is how Wikipedia would review Palm Tree Nursery debut songs. This is part of the Almost Halloween Time Records cassingle series that already features Ramon Speed with Wooden Horses, Köhn, Goosewind and Kostoglotov. Limited to 31 copies, hand-drawn sleeves, all different.
19 October, 2013This is a preview of what is coming out on Almost Halloween Time Records this fall. I've just finished drawing the picture on the right, the paint is still wet but I can't no longer wait because I'm really excited about this album. It's the original motion picture soundtrack to a horrow movie and it's written by one of my favourite musicians Eric Morrison. It is going to be a limited edition of 100. All the sleeves are going to be different??? I think you already know the answer.
3 August, 2013Today is the last day of work at my new job, I'll be on holidays soon and to celebrate this great event we have another new release. Math's debut on Almost Halloween Time Records. I love this album. Sleeves are going to be homemade, handdrawn as usual. The one on the right is copy number 1/50 and it's an homage to Katsuhiro Otomo, the director of Akira. If you will order this tape now, you will also understand why.
2 August, 2013To celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of my favourite bands of all times - GOOSEWIND - we are proud to release this cassette album, a sort of greatest hits, it contains some of their best and most beautiful songs. The album is title Charlie Don't Surf and comes with portraits of Charlie, the band manager, on every sleeve.
29 July, 2013Another debut on Almost Halloween Time Records. : 3 (aka Silly Cat Face) play lofi cat songs about death, anxiety and ghosts. Their influences are satan and scooby doo. I love these guys. Next sleeve will feature a ghost on fire... This is another limited edition of 50 copies with handdrawn sleeves...
28 July, 2013File Me Under: Vampire - We named ourselves Almost Halloween Time Records but we haven't released yet any album dedicated to this special day we all love. October is far, we don't care... Restaurnaut's debut tape on AHT comes out today. So wear your scary masks and go and ask your neighbours for candies. 6 songs about halloween, vampires and evil monsters. All the sleeves are handdrawn and they will scary you to the bones. We draw sleeves on request, so please order your tape now. This is limited to fifty copies.
27 July, 2013Songs about love... Almost Halloween Time Records is proud to announce the release of The Woman, the new album by INDN WAR DRUMS. We don't have many italian bands on our rooster, we used to have some but all their albums are long time out of print... so if you're wondering what we sound like these days, don't miss this tape... Handdrawn sleeves, you can choose your favourite animal mask and we'll draw it for you. Limited to 50 copies only.
18 July, 2013Almost Halloween Time Records turns 30, Kostoglotov's new cassingle is our 30th release. We're really proud of this release. Two songs for ambient, drone, lo-fi, noise lovers.
This is part of our cassingle series and like all our releases comes with handdrawn unique sleeves. Only 31 copies...
We're working at many projects right now, two cassettes, three LPs... Did we say we wanted to slow down the things a little bit?
9 June, 2013Almost Halloween Time Records is proud to announce that we're still handdrawing all the sleeves for our releases. I'm not as fast as in the past, but I'm still painstakingly handdrawing every single sleeve for you. If you order an album now you've got to be very patient as I've got a new job and I've got to reduce drastically the time I can dedicate to the handdrawing... but you can be sure you'll receive something unique in the end. This is how life goes here...
4 April, 2013Umpo Scuzzi/Convicinio has come true. One side by Charlie McAlister, the other by Furniture Huschle. Can you ask for more? Order your copy now. There are only 100 pieces... 99 pieces.
Future projects, Will Simmons new LP, Mote double LP, Goosewind cassette and the soundtrack for an horror movie written and performed by one of my favourite musicians.
23 March, 2013I can't resist, this is another preview of an album that is coming out on Almost Halloween Time Records in the next few weeks. Long announced, long awaited Convicinio/Umpo Scuzzi by Furniture Huschle and Charlie McAlister. It is a great pleasure to release something by two of my favourite artists that have released so many great tapes on Shrimper, Flannel Banjo, Hut Boy, Car in Car Disco Products. Convicinio/Umpo Scuzzi or the italian album as this was conceived in my country. Convicinio is a mysterious and fascinating place we have in Matera, Charlie sings about a failed trip to Italy on one of his songs and Umpo Scuzzi is supposed to mean something in my language. This is a split LP, one side by Furniture Huschle, the other by Charlie McAlister. Sleeves are going to be views of the city of matera, pompei, naples... about one hundred and ten copies only. You can preorder your copy now or wait until this one is out... three weeks?
22 March, 2013Packages full of Bingo Trappers LPs in Bari. I feel rich this morning. Sister Planet is available in two editions one with handmade sleeve and the other with professionally printed sleeve, respectively 50 and 10 copies. Morc Records and the band have more copies of the pro-printed, so there are more than 10 copies of the pro-printed version in the world. This is a corelease. Handdrawn are available from Almost Halloween Time Records only, these are representations of some of the lyrics and are very limited. First copy, the homage to Neil Young's On The Beach is gone... going to draw more in the next few days.
20 March, 2013'Sitting on the beach with my girl, Thinking 'bout the Revolution Blues' sings Waldemar Noe in 'Concern For The Bereaved'. The first sleeve I've drawn for Bingo Trappers' 'Sister Planet' is a homage to Neil Young's 'On The Beach'. The album is full of beautiful images and I'm going to have great fun in drawing all the sleeves. The Courier is late, I still haven't received the LPs but I feel like he is just 'round the corner so please feel free to order your copy of 'Sister Planet' now. You can choose between the homemade handdrawn version (limited to 50 copies) or the standard edition with professionally printed artwork (10 copies only). I still haven't been able to fix the paypal shipping calculation issue, so if you're planning to order more than one copy, I recommend you send me a mail first. Four LPs or just one doesn't make any difference for the italian postal service. So you can save a lot on shipping ordering more than one Almost Halloween Time release.
10 March, 2013Spring is here and AHT is blossoming. We finally have a new website. We've passed from version 2.0 to version 10.0. In the course of the night, with a few simple clicks. All this wouldn't have been possible with the great help of Will Simmons, one of the best musicians around and a very talented web developer. We have a new gallery and a new catalog page displaying the entire Almost Halloween Time Records production. All the sleeves that we've been drawing, which are quite a lot now and are continuosly growing in number. And all the releases we've made for you.
This new version also signs the return of an old release we're really proud of. Out of catalog for years, now back in stock. Not a real reissue, as we've got only five or six copies for you.
8 March, 2013If you live in the states and you're looking for some Almost Halloween Time records, I recommend you contact Rok Lok Records. They are carrying some of our releases... Rok Lok is also an amazing record label so don't forget to ask for their latest releases: Yes Sensei, Stars Are Insane, and the marvellous cassette singles club... this is what I'm obsessively listening to these days.
23 February, 2013Almost Halloween Time Records is proud to announce the release of the new Bingo Trappers album: Sister Planet. Bingo Trappers are long time favorites of mine with albums on Shrimper, Luveable Nurse, Animal World Recordings, Morc and H Records...
This comes out in two editions. one with handdrawn slevees in the style of Almost Halloween Time Records (50 copies) and one with professionally printed sleeves.
This is a corelease with Morc, our second joint venture actually!!!! 'Cause we work well together.
Available soon, we're waiting for the courier.
In the meantime, please have a look to one of their last shows on youtube. Here they perform lots of the songs contained on Sister Planet.
So with the Bingo Trappers album ready, the things still cooking in the oven for you are: Furniture Huschle/Charlie McAlister LP, Will Simmons LP and How Mammals Talk (Nicole Kidman/Pet Rock collaboration) LP. It is going to be a great 2013.
22 September, 2011The folks over at Songs Heard on Fast Trains wrote a really nice review of Ed Gray & Company's The Old Bending River LP, calling it a times 'curious', 'gentle', 'menacing', 'tortured' and 'twisted'--that sounds about right.
Read the full review at http://www.shoft.org.uk/2011/09/22/edward-gray-the-old-bending-river/