''Year Of The Ox''


I'm the ox who broke my chains, so I could fly away...
Sleeve - Front:
Merge Records Press
Sleeve - Back:
Merge Records Press
Vinyl - 'A' Side

Vinyl - 'B' Side
Lyric Sheet - Front:
Year of The Ox

Lyric Sheet - Back:
Solomons Song






Stats #1 - Merge: 

Tracks: Year Of The Ox B/W Solomon's Song
Year: 2010
Label: Merge Records
Matrix A MRG-391-A WG/NRP
Matrix B MRG-391-B WG/NRP

Pressing Info: 
First Pressing: 2175
Test Pressings: 5
(Thank you to Wilson Fuller for the pressing info!)

Inserts:
Lyric sheet as above



Stats #2 - Matador: 

Tracks: Year Of The Ox B/W Solomon's Song
Year: 2010
Label: Matador Records
Matrix A OLE947-1 BA13859-01 A1 MRG-391-A
Matrix B OLE947-1 BA13859-01 B1 MRG-391-B

Pressing Info: 
TBA

Inserts:
Lyric sheet same as Merge but slightly different paper







Variants:
1. Merge Press
2. Matador Press


Sleeve Front:
Matador Press (Top) has brighter print + different text at bottom
Sleeve - Back:
Matador Press (Top) has brighter print, different text at bottom and barcode sticker.
Label - 'A' Side:
Matador Press (Left) has different address on LHS 
Label - 'B' Side:
Different logos at top









Notes:

Promo Info (Merge Records): 
Recorded over 6 months by Jon Drew at Giant Studios in Toronto, Year of the Ox is the band's fourth record in the continuing 12 year cycle and adds to its evolving retinue of guest musicians. The patient and building Year of the Ox features Nika Rosa Danilova of Zola Jesus for a guest vocal passage and Toronto's string quartet, New Strings Old Puppets. The b-side "Solomon's Song", a gothic vampire love tribute to Twilight, features a 5 minute saxophone solo from Aerin Fogel of the Bitters and heavy synthing from Trust.


Solomons Song (LFG Post Aug 09 2010):
It's not really about vampires, but we told everyone that it was. What it's really about is sex, and we copped the lyrics straight from THE BIBLE. You can read them when you buy the record, ok?


An interpretation (From Guest Review on American Aftermath):
The A-side is the title track, which opens with a strings, both haunting and hollow sounding, repetitive and tense.

More weight on the back of the aging ox (Youtube screenshot)
The lyrics revolve around life of work-ox. Plugging ahead, never falling out of line. The riff plugs along with the ox whose days are all the same and has no identity beyond labor value. Over time, the need to increase productivity forces more weight onto the back of the aging ox and that increased tension is shown brilliantly through the music. But, like Boxer, the Ox “Will worker harder.”

The Ox displays self-awareness in the second verse where he realizes that “the turning world rests on my heels.” Economic progress is in the hands of the workers and by the fourth verse, the Ox realizes the tyranny of work and breaks free.

The freedom is not without pain as he looks back at the world he’s left. However, in the absence of the yoke, the Ox grows wings and flies away from the brutality of his masters. The strings return playing a celebratory tune of emancipation and promise for a better world.

The climax of the story takes place over the bridge where Abraham is joined by Nika Roza Danilova (AKA Zola Jesus), the haunting voice of freedom, whose clean female vocals contrast Abraham’s brutal intensity and collide before the Ox’s majestic declaration of independence from his masters.

The ox flies away and the track closes with the familiar strings.











Sleeve Notes:

Front: 'Ox Flying Away' by Susan Gale (No other info available - assumed to have been commissioned for the record)

Back: Les trésors de Satan (1895) by Jean Deville.


(From Wikipedia): During the last decades of the 19th century, many people in the West reacted to the materialism and hypocrisy of the period by developing an interest in esoteric, occult and spiritual subjects. The enthusiasm for these ideas reached its peak during the 1890s, the decade when the Belgian painter and writer Jean Delville was at the height of his powers.



Though Delville frequently wrote about his ideas, he almost never discussed his paintings. He left the interpretations to the viewer, and as a result his best pictures have an air of mystery and intrigue.

Satan’s Treasures depicts Satan with a wild, fiery head of hair and huge red tentacles instead of wings. Scarlet waves surround his left arm, as he presides over a river of unconscious men and women. The nude bodies of these figures appear orange and yellow in reproductions, but in the original they are a subtle mixture of acid pinks and yellows, highlighted with touches of green. They lie transfixed in the centre of a luxuriant coral reef, surrounded by coins, jewels and strange fish. Beyond the reef one can see vast vistas filled with jagged rock formations, and painted in shades of orange, yellow and brown. Though the full interpretation is again left to the viewer, it clear that Satan’s Treasures is not a traditional vision of hell. It reveals a fascination with decadence and the erotic which was typical of Péladan and the period in general. At the same time, as in the Portrait of Mrs. Stuart Merrill, there is probably an underlying theme of initiation.

Delville was a great admirer of Eduard Schuré’s The Great Initiates, and it could well be that Satan’s Treasures is inspired by an episode from the Initiation of Isis in Schuré’s book. In the relevant scene, Schuré describes the novice’s failure of an early test, the temptation of the senses. Wrapped in a dream of fire, the novice becomes drunk with the heavy perfume of a seductive woman, and later falls asleep, after wildly satisfying his desire. This failure is described by his hierophant as a fall into the abyss of matter.

Delville’s vast undersea world, ruled by Satan, is almost certainly an image of the material abyss. Satan, lord of the physical realm, presides over its sleeping inhabitants. Wrapped in delusion, the dreaming men and women are mesmerised by Satan’s spell, and trapped by their own desires. Satan’s “treasures” include not only their sensuality, but also their attraction to worldly riches, represented by the pearls, coins and corals which surround them. Above all, the entranced people themselves are the treasures of Satan.






Mad Men / Madmen


Madmen is Jonah's solo hardcore project.



Liner Notes of Mixtape 4 (By Mike Haliechuk): 
Jonah doesn't really have access to current events and media for some reason, so in 2009 while the show Mad Men was ripping up the Neilson charts (do these even exist anymore?) and women's’ Facebook status updates everywhere, he formed a one man band, also called Mad Men. Eventually some one will clue him in about the TV show, and he will watch it, right after he finishes watching The Wire and Thirty-somethings. Anyways, besides all that, Mad Men (the band, not the award winning, ubiquitous, hit TV show) is some pretty ripping stuff, his seamless tribute to the glorious anvil headed hardcore of the great lost years of the middle 1980s (i.e. right before he was born). He was gonna call this song (Wax World) “Wayne's World” but I advised against it, for obvious reasons. Jonah responds: “1st Mad Men Demo was recorded June, 2007. 1st Mad Men TV episode aired July ’07, haha, so there.”

Despite his rightful claim to the name, Jonah's "Mad Men" was shortened to "Madmen" at some point around 2010; the two demo tapes issued prior prior to that are under the name Mad Men, later releases are Madmen.


 Discographied below are the following vinyl releases:
  • ''Madmen / Bootleg''  (12")
  • ''Suspiria'' (7")
The tapes and a compilation get a mention too...






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"Madmen / Bootleg" 12"

Sleeve - Front:
Generic white sleeve, with glossy sticker
Sleeve - Back:
Photocopy track list / images pasted over centre hole. Some copies have the photocopy as a loose insert

Vinyl:
Blank labels...


Stats:
Side I: Too Hot / No Mind / The Neighboorhood / Square Glasses / Counterfeit Traitor
Side II: Madmen, The Awakening / Wax World
Released: 2010
Label: Not on label
Matrix A: 85870 -1A EW26
Matrix B: 85870 -1B eW26
Pressing Info: 
Test Pressings - 10
First Press - 500 copies, some have alternate sleeves - see pictures further down.




Notes:

Demo Tapes: The vinyl bootleg combines the material from the first two Mad Men demo tapes, plus an additional track.

Side 'I' contains the first demo, orginally released as a cassette in 2007:
Demo 1
(Image from Discogs)

Side 'II'  has the second demo, consisting of two tracks, originally released as a cassette  in  2008, plus additional track "The Awakening".
Demo 2
(Image from Discogs)

The material from both demos plus the additional track were also compiled on the "TWO AT A TIME PLUS ONE" cassette (2009)
TWO AT A TIME... Cassette
(Image from Discogs)


"The Awakening" (The additional track on the bootleg and the third casette)




Fleetwood Mac: According to Rumours, the bootleg 12" was actually released before the "Two at a Time..." cassette. It's not clear at this stage, how the bootlegger got hold of the additional track before it was released, or why the dates of the releases don't tie in with this fact, but the rumours came from a reliable source, so let's not be pedantic.


Quietus Review Feb 15 2010Come early 2010, this 12" turns up in various keen distros: white label vinyl in a plain white sleeve with a tracklisting glued on the back. Official word is that it's a bootleg, but given Fucked Up's obtrusive approach to verifying the 'official' nature of some of their releases, smart kids reckon this might be Jonah's doing after all. If you're reading this and silently decrying it as irrelevant wild goose chase collectorscum anti-marketing-dollar hypeman bullshit, shame on you – what kind of monster would deny maladjusted men with low self-esteem the chance to feel part of an exclusive club? Anyway, this record bangs hard: constantly threatening to be tuneful but mostly sticking to the splattery chaos of metal-flecked 80s icons like Die Kreuzen and Void. Side two ups the weird a mite, slathering reverbed vocals and martial drumming over the turmoil.

In both style and aesthetic, Mad Men could be deemed 'mysterious guy hardcore'. Seriously? The scare quotes – that is an actual thing? Sort of, yes. It describes some bands with identifiable commonalities, which is generally how subgenres are constructed; it just doesn't exist outside of a few messageboards. (At this point – also thinking of 'hypnagogic pop' and 'wonky' here – annoying people seems to be as good a reason as any for inventing your own name for a basically unnecessary genre.)





Commodity Fetishism:

Alternate Sleeve # 1 - Front
White on black artwork - sheet pasted onto generic sleeve
Alternate Sleeve # 1 - Back
(As above)

Alternate Sleeve # 2 - Front
Gold on black artwork - sheet pasted onto generic sleeve
Alternate Sleeve # 2 - Back
(As above)


Test Press Sleeve - Front:
Black on white artwork pasted on
Test Press Sleeve - Back:
Black on white artwork pasted on
Test Press Dust Sleeve / Vinyl:
Black & white collage artwork pasted on. White hand-written label.


Test Press Dust Sleeve / Vinyl:
Black & white collage artwork pasted on








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"Suspiria" 7"

Sleeve - Front:
(First press)
Sleeve - Back:
(Second Press)
Sleeve comparison:
Top: 1st press - Fold out sleeve on glossy card. reverse is blank.
Bottom: 2nd press - Pocket sleeve on matt card. Back of sleeve is same artwork as first press

Vinyl:
Left: 1st press with small spindle hole
Right: 2nd press with punch-out hole

1st Press Insert: 
Lyrics & credits, photocopied on A4 red paper. Single sided - reverse is blank.

2nd Press Insert - Front:
Lyrics & credits + string vest printed on glossy paper

2nd Press Insert - Back:
Manly
Stats:
Side A: Suspiria / The Italian Flag
Side B: The Myth
Released: 2011
Label: Slasher Murder 009
Matrix A: U-64937m-A MURDER-009 Ⓤ
Matrix B: U-64937m-B MURDER-009 Ⓤ

Pressing Info (Thanks to Matt Bickle @ Slasher Records)
20 Test Pressings
300 First press
400 Second press





Notes:

Printing Errors: The ''first press" sleeve and vinyl were actually printing errors; the intention was for the record to have the punch out centre hole and matt pocket sleeves.


French Connection: Sleeve artwork by Ryan Hogan of Montreal Band  Omegas. Jonah gets production credits on their "Sonic Order" 7"



Italian Job #1: Suspiria is a cover version of the title track of a film score for the cult Italian horror film of the same name.
The original is an instrumental recorded by Italian prog band Goblin. The Madmen version extends and develps the tune into second track "The Italian Flag".




Commodity Fetishism:

"Pre-Release Sleeve" (Front)
Sold at a show before the proper sleeves were available? TBC

"Pre-Release Sleeve" (Back)
This one's housing a Test Pressing 

Test Pressing:
Hand written labels - ''Uomini Pazzi"






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More Notes:

Italian Job #2: At the time of writing (July 2015), the only Madmen track that dosen't appear on a Madmen cassette or record is a cover of  "Odia", originally by Italian punk band Tiratura Limitata.


French Connection #2: The Madmen version appears on the compilation "City Limits - Down And Out In Toronto & Montreal", which was released on Chris Colohan's High Anxiety label and is gives a snapshop of a particularly symbiotic sector of the Toronto & Montreal scenes.
Most of the recordings are exclusive to the comp; Jonah recorded a lot of the tracks on the 'Toronto' side and closing the circle, Yannick Sarrazin of Omegas recorded a lot of the Montreal ones.












''COUPLE TRACKS'' LP

(Compilation)

Jacket - Front

Jacket - Back:
Touring = partying

Jacket - Gatefold sleeve opened

Vinyl: 
'Front' labels have FU logo,
'Reverse' labels have Matador logo

Lyric Sheet - Front

Lyric Sheet - Back:
Band members relax in style



Stats:

Year: 2010
Label: Matador Records OLE 839-1
Matrix A: OLE-839 A
Matrix B: OLE-839 B 
Matrix C: OLE-839 C
Matrix D: OLE-839 D
Inserts: Double-sided insert, as pictured above
Variants: No (known) Variants



Notes:

The second singles compilation, like the first one contains several songs that weren't technically singles... More info on LFG Post HERE.



Sleve Notes:

Front: Same as 7" version, notes on that are HERE.

Back: Departure area picture, taken on Japan / China trip, read about it HERE.

Inner: Various 'on the road' snaps