Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Brooklyn label Aqualamb Records announces its first release of 2015: the self-titled debut album by Hiram-Maxim, out March 3rd.

From Brooklyn, New York, Aqualamb Records is a new label with a new approach to releasing music. Run by graphic designers Eric Palmerlee and Johnathan Swafford, Aqualamb is "inspired by the lack of album art in the age of invisible music." In lieu of standard album packaging, Aqualamb's releases take the form of 100-page, bound, printed books – essentially, each album's art and liner notes, traditionally confined to an LP gatefold, a CD booklet, or the screen of some music-playing device, are reconfigured into book form. Each book also includes a download code for the music.

With a handful of releases out so far, a clear aesthetic has already taken shape. Like the 33 1/3 books or the catalogs of record labels like Young God and Sacred Bones, Aqualamb's releases are very much part of a series, adding up to a distinct, visually unified experience. 

Aqualamb's next release, the self-titled debut album by Cleveland, Ohio band Hiram-Maxim, is set for a March 3rd release. Named for the 19th-century inventor of the Maxim machine gun, Hiram-Maxim plumb the darkest depths of eerie, drunken psych, in line with Pink Floyd's early jams or the creepiest crawlings of Oxbow and US Maple. 

Hiram-Maxim's debut consists of four songs, spanning 36 minutes. Frontman Fred Gunn whispers, groans, and howls as he details tragic deaths, self-destruction, and cannibalistic love. Dave Taha's guitars lay down heavy blues then veer out into the uneasy ambience of Moore/Ranaldo space, melding with Lisa Miralia's electronics to create a bed of paranoid textures. On drums, John Panza keeps it sparse and loose, goading the songs along on winding rambles toward their final destinations.

Hiram-Maxim is a free-form, free-falling affair – spacious and improvisational. Live, natural, and totally unsettling, the album sounds as if it was recorded in one take in the attic of a haunted house. In truth, it is reported to have been recorded and mixed by John Delzoppo at Negative Space in Cleveland, Ohio and mastered by Chris Keffer at Magnetic North.

The tracklist is as follows:
1) Visceral
2) Can't Stop
3) One
4) Worship

Aqualamb will release the Hiram-Maxim book, designed by Cleveland-based graphic designer Ron Kretsch, on March 3rd, along with a limited edition, color vinyl release. Pre-order, here.

Stand by for news of Hiram-Maxim's next live shows!