Monday, December 26, 2011

happy halloween

Thursday, December 8, 2011

big snow

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

United Waters at Shea on THursday

hey... Seems the awesome United Waters band will play this Thursday at Shea Stadium. Don't miss it! Details below.

Apologies for the sudden unavailability of the Devin, Gary, and Ross record. And so soon after the sweet review on the Siltblog! Seems I'm moving to Massachusetts. Nothing against Brooklyn or anything... it's just too crowded for me and my giant baby. Anyway... all outstanding orders are on the way ... and the DGR will be back on the Market in the next month or so..

hey all -
New Monuments
United Waters

Thursday Dec. 8th
Shea Stadium
20 Meadow St. Brooklyn, NY
9pm | $8 | All Ages

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spectre Folk Band ...

Spectre Folk is Pete Nolan, Peter Meehan, Steve Shelley, with Aaron Rosenbloom on tapes and keys and a special guest bass player Bentley Anderson for the Saturday gig at Big Snow and ? for the Monday gig at Death by Audio. Spectre Folk are a good psych rock band from New York. Jammers. Check kem out at Big Snow Buffalo Lodge on 89 Varet St. this Saturday night (the 19th) in good old Brooklyn and again on Monday at Death by Audio in Williamsburg, BK along with a host of other awesome bands... see the flyers for more details.

Spectre Folk is Pete Nolan, Peter Meehan, Steve Shelley, with Aaron Rosenbloom on tapes and keys and a special guest bass player for each of these 2 gigs. Spectre Folk are a good psych rock band from New York. Jammers. Check kem out at Big Snow Buffalo Lodge on 89 Varet St. in good old Brooklyn and again on Monday at Death by Audio in Williamsburg, BK along with a host of other awesome bands... see the flyers for more details.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

United Waters Zebulon October 6


just got word from the United Waters camp that a rare appearance is happening this sunday at Brooklyn's Zebulon "jazz" club. Don't miss out. Here's the official press release:

hey all

Please join us this Sunday at Zebulon for a special night of music celebrating Barge's new release entitled Loop Current / Raft, to be performed by percussionist Mike Weis. Live sets by United Waters and Koen Holtkamp, as well as DJ sets by the Barge fellas, should make for a pretty fun night. Details below.

Thanks for reading!



Sunday, November 6th, 9pm

Mike Weis (Barge Recordings)

Koen Holtkamp (Thrill Jockey / Type)

United Waters (Arbitrary Signs)

DJ sets by Ian & Dave from Barge

Zebulon, 258 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn

About the artists:

Mike Weis is no stranger to the American indie / experimental music scene. He's been the percussionist and drummer for the highly respected Chicago outfit Zelienople for the better part of the last decade, and has collaborated with such esteemed underground luminaries as Scott Tuma, The North Sea, Xela (John Twells), and Jasper TX. The compositions on his first solo LP on Barge Recordings entitled Loop Current / Raft breathe a singular vision of percussion as centerpiece to a multi-layered aural canvas. Mike's drums are shrouded in billowy clouds of ambient sound and muted synthetic drones. Tribal rhythms glean in and out of focus as sheets of bells, claves, bowed cymbals, and rattles dance over a hazy backdrop of manipulated field recordings, short wave radio samples, and found sounds.

Listen here.

After several years of focusing predominantly on film and video, Koen Holtkamp (b. 1978 NL) began working with sound in 1997. He co-founded the apestaartje collective / label in 1998 while studying at The Art Institute of Chicago. Holtkamp has released five albums as Mountains (Apestaartje, Catsup Plate, Thrill Jockey), a duo project with Brendon Anderegg as well as several albums under his own name (Type, Thrill Jockey). Holtkamp has shared bills with Fennesz, Loren Connors, James Blackshaw, Tape, Tim Hecker, Oval, Tony Conrad, Supersilent etc., and collaborated with Ben Vida and Chris Forsyth amongst others. His current solo performances utilizes a customized analog / digital performance system which integrates guitar, synthesizer and modular electronics via various strands of processing that communicate via control voltage to create an extremely gradual and hypnotic listening experience. He’s currently finishing a new solo album based on video footage of rivers he shot in upstate New York titled Liquid Light Forms.

Listen here.

United Waters is the solo project from Mouthus guitarist / vocalist Brian Sullivan. The live performance of the material from his debut recording entitledYour First Ever River on the Arbitrary Signs label will include accompaniment by Patrick Cole (Scumbags / Francis) on guitar and Robert Mayson (ex-Grey Daturas) on electronic percussion. Tiny Mix Tapes accurately reviews Your First Ever River: "The album is loaded with this kind of otherworldly flotsam — gurgling vocal manipulations, wooly acoustic guitars, fingerdrumming loops, synthy syringes — barely cohering into songs, but how Sullivan manages to make the stuff so warm and inviting despite everything is a little harder to point at."

Listen here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2 Magik Markers Gigs in Western Mass Friday

Magik Markers will be playing 2 gigs Friday October 28th... One early one at Hampshire Halloween and a later one (after 10) at Feeding tube Records in Northampton.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

United Waters review from

United Waters
Your First Ever River

[Arbitrary Signs; 2011]

Rating: 4/5

STYLES: lo-fi, lock-groove lullaby, noise-removal-noise
OTHERS: Mouthus, Eskimo King, Pink Reason, Pumice, Waggers Over the Station


Your First Ever River, the debut album from Mouthus guitarist/vocalist Brian Sullivan’s United Waters, sure is… quiet?

Let me explain why this is better than it may sound. "Quiet," in this case, is two-pronged: first and fairly obviously, the whole project is pretty far removed from the cuspily-seminal noise rock of Mouthus; whatever in hell United Waters is, it sure evokes quieter paradigms. But "quiet" is also a misnomer that gets tossed around a lot in the so-called Loudness Wars, of which some readers may have heard. Nick Southall’s several-year-old article“Imperfect Sound Forever” remains the best primer on the topic, but in short: over especially the last 15 years or so, competitive producers have mixed albums at increasingly ‘loud’ levels, which actually means that they’re being compressed into a far narrower dB range. Consequently, turning up the music with an actual volume knob (the absolute power of which renders "quiet" a misnomer) yields a more cluttered, distorted sound — even with records most would agree are produced with finesse, like Cosmogramma. Southall convincingly argues that this trend corresponds with the ubiquity of contemporary music and the restlessness of contemporary listeners; music that only utilizes the top 5% of a CD’s dynamic range is designed for maximal initial impact and eventual background throb, rather than close listening and investment.

What United Waters’ somewhat antiquated mastering means for Your First Ever River as a whole is that, while it doesn’t fare particularly well on shuffle/playlists/mixtapes, it demands to be as dynamically immersive as it is sonically. This clutch is also where it diverges from Sullivan’s scattered and almost coincidentally pretty work as Eskimo King. When, halfway through the 11-minute opener “My Geology” (which begins/began as an EK song), some seismic-ass low-end throttles the song, spilling through pores of a permeability we just don’t hear much these days, no one’s gonna even whisper “Bassnectar” — because well, there’s no beat, no law, no tension/release, but moreover, your ears don’t feel pushed back by any such nauseating certainty; they feel welcomed, if more than a little confused. You don’t know from which direction the blackened-in waveform came. You don’t know where Sullivan’s going with it. It’s not even entirely clear that every listener would agree that the song is no longer "quiet."

The album is loaded with this kind of otherworldly flotsam — gurgling vocal manipulations, wooly acoustic guitars, fingerdrumming loops, synthy syringes — barely cohering into songs, but how Sullivan manages to make the stuff so warm and inviting despite everything is a little harder to point at. I once tried recording a folky/Sebadoh-ish song with a broken-beyond-repair microphone held together with a paperclip and a rubber band. The result sounded like flat white noise to me, but just for kicks, I decided to run it through Audacity’s “noise removal” filter. What was left was a smattering of barely-there audio fragments sanded off at the edges, remarkable in its own way but frustratingly far from my vision for the song. I dumped the recording (and the mic), which was stupid, but a response I think most musicians would have had when faced with oblivion. Yet United Waters sounds like the cool mastery of this stumbled-upon noise-removal-noise, subtractive occasionally to the point of stomach cramps but so consistently and densely ‘out there’ that, at its best, it feels like a blueprint for an absolutely fresh direction. And if 'Unique' weren't such a bratty empiric, I’d be serious: it’s been a long time (The Glow Pt. 2, maybe, at my croniest) since I’ve heard such a compelling case for obfuscation-as-form-as-horizon in pop music.

And yes, somewhere in there, this is pop music. The context of Mouthus had to be a pretty hellish foundry to develop one’s songwriting skills — and the duo’s excursions into ‘accessible’ territory were often such heaving shrugs as to leave everyone vaguely disappointed — so the biggest surprise of United Waters is that Sullivan comes off not only as a fully-formed texturalist, but also as a fully-formed melodicist. It’s doubly impressive that he’s working with such crudely shaped tools, up to and including his own gutter-scraping baritone. But the tools are a crucial part of the hypnosis he has going here: he’ll build structures out of apparent silence just to create a line for something else to ooze over, like the clammy, pitch-shifting worm that both diagnoses and derails “Statuary.”

Such collisions no longer feel like coincidental, nihilist-in-a-room stuff; for a guy who has had such a stubborn one-take history, Sullivan is now stroking his wiry beard all composer-like. “Platetectonics” demonstrates some amoebic diligence — around some inaudible kernel, he spins a ribby acoustic line, a few flecks of reversed drum machine, and a keyboard attempting to vamp on a hamsterwheel. (I could bleed pointless words about anything else in there, the tempo choices in the tiniest tremolo buzz). And yet somehow “Platetectonics” emerges the closest to a blogger-pick in the whole crop, an elliptical confirmation of the other tracks’ elliptical suggestions and, for better or worse, a tad more familiar a tad sooner. When you can hear them, Sullivan’s lyrics are geometrical, geological, new-agey without the benefit of bath salts — completing circles and the like — but they work best as thematic fenceposts, or promises empty-until-colored.

While song development is gushable across the board (except perhaps for the tumbleweed-kicking "No End to Eyes"), it’s really the sustained dankness of the album, its elastic and inside-out physics, that will draw listeners back time and time again. Melody and sound converge so darn well that it’s a wonder the recordings don’t just tattoo themselves on one’s brain. Instead, calling the album to mind when it’s not playing involves the more deeply embedded neural memory of trying to peer with one’s ears. Even Sullivan’s diehard followers admit that he has spent an awful lot of time basically just fucking around with Principles of Beauty and Sound, so it’s particularly neat that now, after by my estimation his longest release gap since Mouthus’ debut in 2004, he has pulled together a capital-P Project. Whether it’s a momentary confluence, a meticulous culling, or the first in some insular whirlwind of limited releases,Your First Ever River measures up, if on a wildly different axis, with the best of Sullivan’s scraptastic past.

01. My Geology I-IV
02. Spires I
03. Platetectonics
04. Spires II
05. No End to Eyes
06. Statuary
07. Different Heavens

LINKS: Arbitrary Signs

United Waters "Your First Ever River" available now

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Spectre Folk at Luchador in Barcelona

Spectre Folk (Pete Nolan solo) will be playing a gig at Luchador records in Barcelona next week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2 Petes, 1 Canada... Spectre Folk hits the Golden Road with MV and EE

Spectre Folk will pay a visit to our neighbors to the north this weekend as a lean, mean, way zoned duo. They'll be hitting the streets of gold with good buddies and multiple label mates MV and EE. In spite of how they appear in the press photo below, Spectre Folk are just a couple of real friendly New York dudes who'd love to make some new friends in Canada. They won't hurt you. Come check em out in Montreal on Saturday and Toronto on Sunday.


For all our Montreal friends, a musical announcement...

>>Popcorn Youth presents…



MV+EE [Brattleboro, VT]


Les Momies de Palerme [Montreal]


La Brique / 6545 Durocher #402

9pm doors / 9:30pm start

Sliding scale $8-10

Saturday, August 20 / a night of gorgeous psychedelic folk, heavy drone jams + sudden pop exploration

We are so so excited and honored to welcome Spectre Folk to our city. Spectre Folk is led by Pete Nolan (of GHQ, Magik Markers, and Arbitrary Signs fame) and Peter Meehan (oh and their drummer is Steve Shelley – yes that Steve Shelley – of Sonic Youth!). Earlier this spring they celebrated their latest release, the EP “The Blackest Medicine, Vol. 2,” on Woodsist Records. This is going to be a really special night. PLEASE RSVP to me, natasha.pickowicz AT gmail DOT com to get your name on the guestlist as it is a private event. Thanks + hope to see you there!

Monday, August 8, 2011

United Waters in Pitchfork's Overlooked recs of 2011

Here's what Pitchfork's Marc Masters had to say about the Untited Waters record in Pitchfork's "best Overlooked recs of 2011":

United Waters: Your First Ever River [Arbitrary Signs]

The debut from Brian Sullivan's solo project United Waters can be as murky and dense as his primary concern, Mouthus. But Your First Ever River is also subdued and intimate. It sounds like Sullivan crafted these tunes in some kind of ocean-floor bedroom, building rolling melodies out of small fragments-- an acoustic strum, a two-note riff, a looping beat-- and creating his warmest, most inviting record to date. (Watch the video for United Waters' "Platetectonics" here.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Isolated Markers Cassette review on Tiny Mix Tapes

Markers cassette got a rad review here:

Magik Markers
Isolated from Exterior Time 2010 a.k.a. Bonfire [CS]

[Arbitrary Signs; 2011]
By Squeo

As the title suggests, the Markers retreat from the Drag City limelight back into the womb, documenting the mitosis of their mind into a handful of rickety songs à la the 2007 flood of CD-Rs that paved the road to Boss. One track is indistinguishable from a Velvets bootleg; another sounds like the final beach blanket bingo party after the seas dry up; Bob Seger's "Ramblin', Gamblin' Man" isn't covered so much as prepped for alternative dental surgery; near the end of side A, the band works out a straight 90s driving anthem, yearning over the horizon on the chorus and birthing one of their best songs yet in the back room of a Stephen Chbosky-penned coming-of-age rager. All these tunes still have a ways to go, but in this age of straining neck muscles to reallyhear music like we're manning the boards at the INA-GRM, it's refreshing to hear something so rambling and janky, and it demonstrates what still seems so valuable about this band and its MO: an ever-evolving attempt to be honest and strong in the present environment, to inhabit the performance space as the same sloppy humans they were before pressing 'record' and, through the divining rod of inspiration, living their way into startling works of art.

ASCS008 Magik Markers "Isolated from Exterior Time" Cassette... get some basement clues to the Markers new direction... 60 minums long


Also... don't forget to come see: