Monday, April 27, 2015

THE SPACE MERCHANTS


Aqualamb Records presents its next release: the self-titled, debut album by The Space Merchants, out June 9th.


A self-proclaimed "country band traveling through space," The Space Merchants drive, jangle, and twang their way through sweet, haunting jams, as majestic as they are minimal. Theirs is a lo-fi psych experience, befitting of interstellar exploration as well as lonely highway trucking.


Naming The Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, and Bobbie Gentry as musical inspirations, and mining the realms of science fiction, religion and myth in their lyrics, the co-ed Brooklyn band marries backporch Americana with brain-blowing transcendence, a juxtaposition they themselves sum up as "like Johnny Cash explaining current theories in astrophysics."


On perfectly composed songs like "One Cut Like the Moon" and "Mainline the Sun," female and male voices intertwine in rich harmonies over bluesy guitar- and organ-driven rock. The instrumentation is classic, the song structures are tried and true – The Space Merchants follow a recipe that has been working since the birth of rock n' roll, yet these are songs that seduce, abduct, and lead guided tours of other worlds. 


Stream or download "One Cut Like the Moon," exclusively via Magnet Magazine, here.

The Space Merchants was recorded with two engineers at two locations: with Aaron Bastinelli at Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn, NY (where he has also engineered and mixed recordings by The Hold Steady and Kurt Vile), and with Josh Meakim, a member of A Sunny Day in Glasgow, at the Sex Dungeon in Philadelphia, PA. The album was mixed by The Space Merchants' own Michael Guggino, and mastered by Josh Bonati (Psychic Ills, Pharmakon).

The dazzling/dizzying cover art is by Braulio Amado, whose work has graced the covers of The New York Times Magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek.

The tracklist is as follows:
1) One Cut Like the Moon

2) Evil Itch
3) Mainline the Sun
4) Beatniks
5) Good Day to Die
6) Reavers
7) One Thousand Years of Boredom
8) Where's the Rest of Life

While they sound as if they were born playing these songs, the 'Merchants are in fact a new band and this is their debut. Drummer Carter Logan is a longtime collaborator of filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and currently plays with Jarmusch in the band SQÜRL. Bassist/vocalist Aileen Brophy was formerly in an X-Ray Spex cover band with Brian Viglione of Dresden Dolls and Violent Femmes. 


The Space Merchants is Aqualamb Records' second release of the year, following the acclaimed debut by Hiram-Maxim. Founded by Brooklyn graphic designers Eric Palmerlee and Johnathan Swafford, Aqualamb specializes in releasing albums in book form – in lieu of standard LP or CD packaging, they design and print 100-page books containing art, liner notes, and download code. Of Aqualamb Records, Steel for Brains founder Jonathan Dick wrote recently, "In the spirit of labels like Hydra Head or Sacred Bones, Brooklyn's Aqualamb Records was born from the desire to place as much value on the aesthetic of a physical release as the music itself."

Pre-order, here.

The Space Merchants, live:
May 14 - New York, NY @ Cake Shop w/ Weird Owl
June 8 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade w/ Mini Mansions

The Space Merchants:

Michael Guggino - guitar, vocals
Ani Monteleone - keyboard, vocals
Aileen Brophy - bass, vocals
Carter Logan - drums

Photo by Andrew Strasser