…..news letter #840 – rama…..

Finally! The first real ‘big’ releases of the year! Hot Snakes, Preoccupations and Jack White in one week! And other cool stuff in and on the way. By the by, if you haven’t already looked, the Record Store Day list is out. Please look and let us know if there’s something on there you are gonna want, LET US KNOW ASAP!

…..picks of the week…..

hot snakes

Hot Snakes: Jericho Sirens (Sub Pop) LP
After a 14-year hiatus from the studio, Hot Snakes kick down the door with their new album, Jericho Sirens. The record blasts out of the speakers with the furious “I Need a Doctor,” inspired by Rick Froberg’s experience needing a doctor’s note in order to miss an important work function. Throughout Jericho Sirens, Froberg commiserates with the frustration and torrential apathy that seems to be a fixture in our daily lives, while also reminding us that we have no fucking clue. “Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that,” he says. “No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.” Musically, the album incorporates the most extreme fringes of the Hot Snakes sound (the vein-bulging, 78-second “Why Don’t It Sink In?” the manic, Asian Blues on speed of “Having Another?”), while staying true to longstanding influences such as the Wipers, Dead Moon, Michael Jackson, and Suicide on propulsive tracks such as “Six Wave Hold-Down.” Other moments like the choruses of “Jericho Sirens” and “Psychoactive” nod to Status Quo and AC/DC.

File Under: Punk, Rock, Rocket From The Crypt, Drive Like Jehu
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musciRoberto Musci & Giovanni Venosta: Water Messages on Desert Sand (RER) LP
Water Messages on Desert Sand was the very first sound creation from the Italian avantgarde duo of Roberto Musci and Giovanni Venosta. A classic work in the genre, released by Chris Cutler’s Recommended Records in 1987. Back in the mid Eighties, Musci & Venosta, both on sampler, synthesizer, guitar, piano, effects and tapes were masters in overlaying and constructing rhythmic and harmonic pictures of transparent sound from electronic, acoustic and documentary source, taking ethnic field recordings (from Africa, Indonesia, Asia, India) as their thematic centre. “Water Messages” finds place In the realm of Eno-Byrne “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” but far more accomplished and developed. A rich moving and still very stimulating work and an essential purchase for anyone interested in adventurous modern art informed by ethnic music and sound explorations. In two words: Highly Recommended!

File Under: Experimental, Ambient
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…..new arrivals…..

czarfaceCzarface & MF Doom: Czarface Meets Metal Face (Silver Age) LP
Rising from the wreckage of a war torn planet, Czarface joins forces with MF Doom in the epic Czarface Meets Metal Face! Blending Doom’s trademark abstractions and Czarface’s in-your-face lyrical attack, this album is ripe with cartoon violence, societal observations and pop culture musings. Over banging beats provided by The Czar-Keys, the armored team give you the witty unpredictable treats any hip-hop fan can sink their fangs into. Expect beats, rhymes, and metal as Czarface controlled by Wu-Tang Clan powerhouse Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric team up with everyone’s favorite villain, MF Doom. With track titles like “Nautical Depth”,”Meddle With Metal”, “Astral Traveling” to “Madness of Badness” this album packs a punch with 16 brand new tracks. Add that with features from Open Mike Eagle and Jedi Mind Tricks’ Vinnie Paz, we promise you mind-bending metaphors and brain-melting beats as this powerful pairing sounds off in March 2018!

File Under: Hip Hop
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Dabrye: One/Three (Ghostly) LP
Combining the loose swagger of Detroit hip-hop (Slum Village) and the minimal glitch ethos of modern hybrid IDM (Chocolate Industries, Schematic), 2001’s One/Three is a concise, albeit bizarre study in abstract beatscapes. Under his Dabrye alias, Tadd Mullinix couples his oddball sense of humor with his love for the hip-hop instrumental, grinding out compelling cut-up beats that are as strangely listenable as some of the skittering R&B symphonies heard on pop radio lately. The first LP in a trilogy of the Dabrye sound, One/Three diminishes the space between the cerebral and the sexual in this blend of abstract electronics and attempts to tie the immediate past to the way-far future, with more than pleasurable results.

File Under: Hip Hop, Electronic
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Dabrye: Two/Three (Ghostly) LP
Tadd Mullinix first made a name for himself as Dabrye in the early 2000s with a pair of instrumental albums combining the rhythmic finesse of Detroit hip-hop with the ingenuity of electronic music. But instrumental beats were only a temporary goal, a way for Mullinix to catch the ears of MCs. On Two/Three, his second Dabrye album for Ghostly, Mullinix brought together a formidable crew of local and national talent to make the statement he’d always intended. Released in 2006, Two/Three offered a fevered vision of rap’s future that remains just as intoxicating a decade on. Ahead of the long-awaited conclusion of Dabrye’s hip-hop trilogy in 2018, Ghostly is reissuing Two/Three. Dabrye’s move towards rap began in 2004 with the album’s first single, “Game Over” featuring Jay Dee and Phat Kat. An early inspiration of Dabrye’s, Jay Dee invited Mullinix to his crib in 2002 for a listening session during which he picked the “Game Over” beat to rap on. Crucially everyone involved was in accord that despite perceptions of their respective work this would be a hardcore rap song. Together with Kat, Jay delivered a one-two lyrical punch on “Game Over” that no one saw coming. Detroit made the world go round and everyone’s head spun. “Game Over” set the tone for the album and, over the next few years, became a Detroit anthem. Moody, propulsive, and above all ambitious, Two/Three emerges from a sonic stew of Detroit and UK dance music, Jamaican sound clashes, and hip-hop sampledelia. The guests, a who’s who of the mid-’00s underground rap scene, engage in a raucous rhyming session that pays as much attention to the realities of the streets as it does world events. MF Doom, Wildchild, Vast Aire, Beans, and AG represent for the various coasts while local talents – Waajeed, Ta-Raach, Invincible, Finale, Kadence, Guilty Simpson, Big Tone, Phat Kat, and Jay Dee – bring Two/Three alive with an infectious energy. In between bursts of raw rap and hard beats, Dabrye showcases detailed instrumentals that evoke bleak industrial futures, underwater meditations, and smoky late night sessions.

 File Under: Hip Hop, Electronic
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Dabrye: Three/Three (Ghostly) LP
When Tadd Mullinix began exploring hip-hop under the name Dabrye 20 years ago, he soon honed in on a startling vision of what the genre could be: ingenious, refined, daring. This vision came to life across two albums for Ghostly – 2001’s One/Three and its 2006 follow-up Two/Three – with each record further positioning the Michigan producer as one of his generation’s best, equally comfortable creating minimalist instrumental meditations or sharp rap salvos. In the late 2000s, following critical acclaim and accolades from both peers and inspirations (including the late Jay Dee with whom Mullinix collaborated before his untimely passing), Mullinix put the Dabrye moniker on ice and dedicated himself to other genres and ideas. All the while the influence of his work on a new generation of electronic musicians continued to make itself felt in subtle but meaningful ways. All this changes as Dabrye makes his long-awaited return with Three/Three, a razor-sharp rap album that brings to completion a prophetic trilogy. Mullinix’s incisive productions provide the backdrop for equally acute rhymes that run the gamut from intergenerational observations and being your best self to back alley deals and having fun in the ride. Guests include indie rap legend Doom, whose previous collaboration with Dabrye remains a point of reference for many, Wu Tang storyteller Ghostface Killah, L.A word fanatic Jonwayne, and Long Island’s rugged surrealist Roc Marciano. Most importantly Three/Three is, much like its predecessor, an unfettered celebration of Detroit-area talent with Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, Kadence, Quelle Chris, Danny Brown, Shigeto, Clear Soul Forces and more all lending their touch to Dabrye’s return. The blend of American and British dance music, hip-hop sampling, and Jamaican sound clash energy that underpinned Two/Three remains a quiet, guiding principle. At the same time Mullinix rejoices in a refreshed perspective, having had time to incubate ideas and find clarity in the distance between albums and the evolution of scenes. The beats are looser and less angular, more embracing of repetition. Organic techniques inspired by soul and jazz round off some of the harsher sonics. The resulting broad palette of tracks reflects both this evolution and the range of the Dabrye persona: relaxed headnod (“Tunnel Vision”); nervous, slow-motion electro (“The Appetite”); glacial motifs (“Emancipated”); jazzy, cut-up funk (“Sunset”); minimal brutalism (“Electrocutor”); intricate layering (“Culture Shuffle”).

 File Under: Hip Hop, Electronic
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Dabrye: Instrmntl (Ghostly) LP
2002’s Instrmntl is a continuation of the beat experiments Tadd Mullinix aka Dabrye began with One/Three and a bridge to the diverse textures that would define Two/Three four years later. About half of its nine tracks (ten if you lived in Japan) were created at the same time as One/Three while the rest were newer or made specifically for the album. Once again Mullinix looked outside of hip-hop to techno, house, and drum & bass for stylistic and technical ideas while embracing the blissful minimalism of a good hip-hop instrumental and the rhythmic nuance of Detroit. Despite the similarities between Dabrye’s debut and this follow up, Mullinix didn’t simply replicate what had made One/Three so arresting. He pushed and pulled further between the two cornerstones of his approach to reveal more potentials. Instrmntl takes you deeper into electronic depths – the rugged synth stutter of “Won,” the tumbling, wobbling bass in “No Child Of God,” the electro get down of “Prospects (Marshall Law)” – while also treading more organic grounds by letting samples breathe and moods unfurl at a gentler pace (“Take Me Home,” “Evelyn” and “You Know The Formula Right?”). And then there are the moments where this push and pull finds balance and the result becomes more, as it does on the mournful march of “D-Town Tabernacle Choir” and the twinkling daydream of “This Is Where I Came In.” At just over 30 minutes, Instrmntl offers a snapshot of a time when potentials seemed infinite, when lines could be drawn between jazz, ragga jungle, techno, and hip-hop and the resulting shape divined an exciting future.

File Under: Hip Hop, Electronic
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final tour

Miles Davis & John Coltrane: Final Tour (Columbia) LP
Miles Davis and John Coltrane first collaborated in 1955, when Davis recruited the tenor saxophonist alongside pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. This “first great quintet” debuted on record with ‘Round About Midnight, Miles’ first album for Columbia Records in 1957. These early recordings showcased the stunning contrasts between Miles’ spacious, melodic lines and Trane’s cascading high-energy solos, famously described by the critic Ira Gilter in 1958 as “sheets of sound.” While the quintet disbanded shortly after the release of ‘Round About Midnight, Coltrane was back in Miles’ ensemble in early 1958. A year later, the Miles Davis Sextet (Davis, Coltrane, Chambers, saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianist Bill Evans and drummer Jimmy Cobb) recorded the historic Kind Of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time. That same year, Coltrane built upon the modal jazz ideas of Kind Of Blue (based on scales or “modes” instead of chords) on his fifth studio album Giant Steps, released by Atlantic Records in 1960. Giant Steps established Coltrane as one of the most innovative bandleaders of the genre, and it became clear that his rising star would take him in a different direction than Davis. Even so, Miles could not immediately find a suitable replacement for a Jazz At The Philharmonic tour of Europe organized by jazz impresario Norman Granz, and persuaded his bandmate to join him one last time. It was Trane’s first trip to the continent, and his intense, exploratory playing often baffled audiences (who responded vocally). Nonetheless, these early performances from that European tour – Miles and Trane’s last outing together before Coltrane passed away in 1967 – showcased both musicians’ incredible influence on the changing sound of jazz. The beautiful music they made together at Copenhagen’s Tivolis Koncertsal on March 24, 1960 is presented here for the first time from the original ¼” analog tapes recorded by national broadcasters in Sweden.

File Under: Jazz
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Decemberists: I’ll Be Your Girl (Capitol) LP
The Decemberists explore a new sound with a new producer on their inspired eighth studio album I’ll Be Your Girl. The acclaimed Portland, Oregon-based band worked with producer John Congleton and embraced influences such as Roxy Music and New Order to spark a new creative path as evidenced on synth-driven lead single “Severed.” “The songs tend to the darker, more absurdist side of things and feature a lot of nice vintage synth work by Jenny and Chris, some heavy drumming from Mr. Moen and, of course, the sort of baroque bass work you’ve come to expect from Nate Query. All in all, everyone acquitted themselves quite nicely,” explains the band.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Dungen & Woods: Myths 003 (Mexican Summer) LP
For the third Marfa Myths release, we’re proud to present seven all-new songs written and recorded by Stockholm’s psychedelic masters Dungen and adventurous Brooklyn indie-folk pioneers Woods. In the case of Dungen and Woods, the two bands were tour mates in the summer of 2009, traversing America and bonding with one another in the process. The familiarity with one another’s music and personalities was already well in place, but the eight years that passed between the tour and the making of this record reveal that nothing was lost in the interim. That this is the most music assembled for a Marfa Myths release to date is telling of a rare and special connection between Dungen and Woods, reignited by the circumstances of the occasion. Myths 003 showcases a seamless merging of two bands following the same track to different locations throughout their career, as if they’d been playing together for decades, an exhilarating and buoyant example of how shared experiences can foster truly wonderful music.

File Under: Indie Rock
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green druid

Green Druid: Ashen Blood (Earache) LP
Brooding. Atmospheric. Isolationist. With weighty riffs summoning the Lovecraftian horrors of the cosmos, Green Druid’s music entrances listeners with tales of the Old Blood and of dismal worlds too soon forgotten. Hailing from the land of Denver, Colorado – the first US city to legalize marijuana, Green Druid worships at the feet of the monolithic amplifier, and performs holy communion with the tremorous onslaught of murky tones that emanate from its maw. Ordained at the allowed altars of Sleep, Electric Wizard and all things THC, Green Druid’s full length debut album, Ashen Blood, descends upon the ears of the worthy in early 2018.

File Under: Stoner, Metal
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hendrixJimi Hendrix: Both Sides of the Sky (Reprise) LP
Jimi Hendrix’s Both Sides of the Sky is the third volume in a trilogy of albums intended to present the best and most significant unissued studio recordings remaining in the music legend’s archive beginning with Valleys of Neptune (2010) and followed by People, Hell and Angels (2013). This dynamic third release completes the spectacular recording event in epic fashion with 13 studio recordings made between January 1968 and February 1970, 10 of which have never before been released. Hendrix’s desire to push the boundaries of blues music can be heard throughout and Both Sides of the Sky additionally highlights his mastery of studio production and increasing use of these facilities as a proving ground for new sounds, material, and techniques. Pressed at QRP, this 180g 2LP set sounds amazing on vinyl. Many of the album’s tracks were recorded by the trio that would come to be known as Band of Gypsys: Jimi on guitar/vocals, Billy Cox on bass, and Buddy Miles on drums. For their first-ever recording session on April 22, 1969, Hendrix turned to their shared musical root, delta blues. Their previously unreleased, uptempo reworking of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” opens the album and sets the tempo for what follows. “Lover Man” was a favored Hendrix original and the guitarist was determined to realize a finished master. Previous attempts by the original Experience had yet to yield this for Hendrix but this December 1969 effort by the Band Of Gypsys – complete with its homage to the popular Batman theme song – was his strongest effort to date. “Hear My Train A Comin'” features drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding from the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. This original blues composition had become a staple of Hendrix’s concerts. This previously unreleased April 1969 recording captured the furious power and dynamic tension that made the song so memorable. Previously unheard recordings of “Stepping Stone,” “Jungle,” “Cherokee Mist” (which features Hendrix on both electric guitar and sitar) as well as the January 1968 recording of “Sweet Angel” provide further highlights. Both Sides of the Sky also features an assortment of notable guest musicians. Stephen Stills befriended Hendrix at the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. In September of 1969 Stills was invited to a Hendrix session at the Record Plant in New York. Stills burst into the session with a song Joni Mitchell had recently composed, titled “Woodstock.” Joined by Hendrix and Buddy Miles, the trio recorded this version first – months before Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released their popular rendition of Mitchell’s song. Stills would also contribute “$20 Fine,” an original song that featured Hendrix on multiple guitars, Mitchell on drums, Stills on organ and lead vocals and Duane Hitchings (Buddy Miles Express) on piano. Another of the album’s unique band creations sees Hendrix and Johnny Winter on guitar, backed by Billy Cox and drummer Dallas Taylor of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. An excerpt of their rendition of Guitar Slim’s “Things I Used To Do” was initially heard as part of a 1990 nationally syndicated radio program and accompanying box set, but here it is presented in full, newly mixed by Eddie Kramer for Both Sides of The Sky. On “Georgia Blues,” Jimi is reunited with his old bandmate Lonnie Youngblood (vocals/sax) from his pre-fame days in Curtis Knight & The Squires. Briefly issued as part of the 2008 Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues series but out of print for nearly a decade, this special recording is once more available to Hendrix fans throughout the world on all audio formats. Both Sides of the Sky was produced by Janie Hendrix, John McDermott, and Eddie Kramer. Kramer served as recording engineer on every Jimi Hendrix album made during the artist’s life. In order to preserve the integrity and continuity of the Hendrix legacy, this same team has produced every Jimi Hendrix audio and visual release since 1996.

File Under: Rock
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mobyMoby: Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt (Arts & Crafts) LP
Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt is a glowing tapestry exploring spirituality, individuality and the brokenness of humanity and finds Moby returning to his orchestral, soul, trip-hop and gospel roots. Featuring LA-based soulstress Raquel Rodriguez, lead single “Like a Motherless Child” is a re-work of the well-known spiritual with origins in the slavery of the American South. The track describes the void left when one feels separated from a parent, higher power or similar guiding force. Over the years this powerful song has been reinterpreted by the likes of Odetta, Lena Horne, Mahalia Jackson and Van Morrison. Moby also curated a playlist of artists that influenced the recording of his fifteenth studio album which includes Baby Huey, Marianne Faithfull, Grace Jones, Soul Makossa, Mulatu Astatke, Liquid Liquid, Fresh Four, Sly And Robbie, Simple Minds, James Brown, Talking Heads and Gil Scott-Heron.

File Under: Electronic, Pop, Trip Hop
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monstermagnetMonster Magnet: Mindfuck (Napalm) LP
Monster Magnet put the pedal to the metal with Mindfucker, their tenth studio effort which mastermind Dave Wyndorf stated is “full-ahead Detroit-style, early 70s, MC5 and Stooges type of rock.” In terms of power driven stoner rock these gentlemen from New Jersey belong to the measure of all things. But Mindfucker is different, a step forward and a step back at the same time to the almighty roots of beat music. Wyndorf seeks and finds timeless songs here, kindled by the unpretentious protopunk era and manipulates his guitar with rich virility and the drive of his shifty soul throughout. Pumping and scratching at every turn, all things are in constant motion with a sound of groovy straightforwardness, always heading for the essence of the song. Up tempo, savage in both sound and spirit, Mindfucker is the real deal. The album has the potential to surprise and to whip up the love for the genre, while still giving the sludgies and stoner freaks exactly what they wish for in a new Monster Magnet album.

File Under: Stoner Rock, Psych
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last jediOST: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Disney) LP
In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. After creating the scores for the seven previous Star Wars films, five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams returned to compose and conduct his signature sweeping music for The Last Jedi. As with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, audiences can expect to hear quotations from earlier Star Wars themes. For Williams, incorporating the previous themes is part of the fun of scoring the Star Wars movies and helps create what he calls “the fabric of the films.” Many of the characters also have their own musical themes. Williams explains, “Rey has a theme, Kylo Ren has a theme, Finn has one, Rose has one…These thematic elements infuse the whole score and are part of what moves the film along, giving its sonic outline. In the Star Wars films, the orchestra can be as extrovert as it wants to be at given times, so it really becomes a big part of the fun and imagination of it all.”

File Under: OST
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preoccupationsPreoccupations: New Material (Flemish Eye) LP
Preoccupations’ songs have always worked through themes of creation, destruction, and futility, and they’ve always done it with singular post-punk grit. The textures are evocative and razor-sharp. The wire is always a live one. But while that darker side may have been well-explored, that’s not quite the same as it being fully, intensely lived. This time it was, and the result is New Material, a collection that broadens and deepens Preoccupations to a true mastery of their sound. In it lies the difference between witnessing a car crash and crashing your own, between jumping into an ocean and starting to swallow the water. “It’s an ode to depression,’ singer Matt Flegel says plainly. “To depression and self-sabotage, and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred.” Typically resilient, the months leading up to recording New Material brought a new order of magnitude to feelings that had been creeping up on Flegel for some time. New Material builds a world for that feeling, playing through its layers and complexities while hiding almost nothing. That inscrutable side is part of the magic, here, and a necessary counterweight to the straight-jab clarity of Flegel’s lyrics. You can deep-dive the lyrics or zone into a riff; you can face it or you can get lost in it. Opener “Espionage” kicks off with a clattering, rhythmic echo that gives way to sprinting percussion and a melody in the orbit of Manchester’s classics. “Manipulation” explores the futility of going through the motions, balancing a droney, minimal march with a thunder roll that brings it to the brink, and to the doomed romantic declaration, “please don’t remember me like I’ll always remember you.” “Dissaray” bursts up like a blackened confetti cannon, the song’s undeniably bright melody dancing over a refrain of “disarray, disarray, disarray” and literally nothing else. The hunt turns into a search-and-destroy mission on “Decompose,” a tense, speedy, “blow yourself up and start again” type of song. If the through-line unifying Preoccupations’ work is a furious, almost punishing cyclical quality, New Material does offer some relief. Closer “Compliance” may not seem revelatory on first listen, but it is deeply elemental, a crucial finale and the band’s first standalone instrumental. Flegel acknowledges it is more affecting to him than any other song on the record. It’s not redemption, more like a forced reprieve.

File Under: Indie Rock
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rosenstockJeff Rosenstock: Post- (Polyvinyl) LP
Jeff Rosenstock wrote POST- in a double-wide trailer in the Catskill Mountain town of East Durham, the snow-covered hills surrounding him like a landscape of blank pages. The serene, empty space was a big change of scenery for a guy who bounces around the world like a human comet, playing super-catchy, super-devastating shout-alongs to dedicated fans around the world. Written in the days after the 2017 Presidential inauguration, POST-‘s lyrics get (really) heavy but the melodies are so catchy and the builds are so big and bright that the end result is more of a rallying cry than a surrender. The album was recorded in a one-week, 86-hour marathon recording session with Jack Shirley (Joyce Manor, Deafheaven) at the Atomic Garden in East Palo Alto, CA. “The four of us stood in a room without headphones on and just played the songs live to tape, and after that we had some friends (Dan Potthast, Laura Stevenson, Chris Farren, PUP) fill out some of the sound,” explains Rosenstock. So, if the record feels even more unifying than usual, like a party that turns into a sleepover that turns into egg-n-cheese sandwiches on the beach that turns into a protest march that unites a gang of buddies for eternity, well, maybe that’s why. “POST- is a confirmation of Rosenstock as one of punk rock’s greatest, most effusive living songwriters.” – Pitchfork

File Under: Punk
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suunsSuuns: Felt (Secret City) LP/DLX LP
There are those in our ranks who are touting this new triumphant collection from Montreal’s art-rock heroes Suuns as the most outright grooved record they’ve made. But hold it right there. Not so fast. Suuns have always had that deep groove on fucking lock, albeit oft-slithering within an austere and/or sneering veneer. Consider, if you will, how Kraftwerk had far more funk flowing through their wires and cables than most of we flesh bodies. Same goes for the necromancers of Suuns. And their world class drummer Liam O’Neill has heroically accepted the challenge of playing in and around programmed beats like a diabolical, sentient metronome. O’Neill’s kit is a bit more out front than it’s been in a hot minute and he’s as patient and ferocious as ever. Meanwhile, Singer/guitarist Ben Shemie’s sourmilk deliver is as frightening and enchanting as ever, but now coming from some deep area that feels like a human heart. And as alluded to by its title and neon-warm album art, Suuns’ Felt is gonna make you feel things. You’re gonna learn something about your body listening to cuts like on DJ Shadow-leaning, head-bobber “Look No Further” or “Make It Real,” which could be a radio signal of a lost Silver Apples cut – that is, before it becomes a doomsday siren breakup song. These four gentlemen could be making beats for 21 Savage or Migos. But for now, lucky for you, they’re ruthlessly set on being one of the planet’s finest, bravest bands.

File Under: Indie Rock
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umilianiPiero Umiliani: Africa/Continente Nero (Dagored) LP
Dagored presents a double LP bundle of two first official Piero Umiliani reissues. Africa from Piero Umiliani’s M. Zalla moniker, originally released in 1972, and Continente Nero, released under Umiliani’s own name in 1975. The double LP bundle contains inserts with liner notes for each release; Edition of 500. From the liner notes for Africa, curated by Stefano Gilardino: “. . . Keep in mind the release year, January 1972, before approaching the matter covered in this precious jewel: the black rhythm of the incredible ‘Africa To-Day’, the ‘fourth world’ Jon Hassell-style of ‘Green Dawn’, the ‘exotic’ touch à la Martin Denny (‘Lonely Village’, ‘Echos’), the ‘Sortilège”s reference to the electronic new wave (really!), the folk influence (‘Rite’, ‘Folk-Tune’). With many years in advance, Umiliani synthesizes in Africa sounds and styles that will make then the fortune of well-celebrated and famous artists. . . .” From the liner notes for Continente Nero, curated by Luca Collepiccolo: “. . . The African continent rebuilt in ‘microsolchi’ by maestro Umiliani in 1975 is therefore a projection, an image that is influenced strongly by the affairs of overseas colleagues. All those artists from Duke Ellington to the Art Ensemble of Chicago, through Max Roach, who have been fundamental in the genesis of African-American culture . . . Over 40 years since its conception, it is a remarkable, pioneering work, a place of hypotheses and happy intuitions. . . .”

File Under: Library
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jackwhiteJack White: Boarding House Reach (Thirdman) LP
Boarding House Reach is the eagerly anticipated new album from Jack White, the 12x Grammy Award-winner’s third solo LP and first all-new album in nearly four years. The record sees White expanding his musical palate with perhaps his most ambitious work thus far, a collection of songs that are simultaneously timeless and modern. Written and conceived while holed up in a spartan apartment with no outside distractions, Jack replicated the identical environment and used the same gear as when he was a 15 year old (a quarter-inch four-track tape recorder, a simple mixer, and the most basic of instrumentation) to pen sketches of the songs. The album explores a remarkable range of sonic terrain – crunching rock ‘n’ roll, electro and hard funk, proto punk, hip hop, gospel blues, and even country – all remapped and born anew to fit White’s matchless vision and sense of restless experimentation. Boarding House Reach is a testament to the breadth of White’s creative power and his bold artistic ambition. The 13-track set features White on vocals, acoustic and electric guitars and drums, organ, and synthesizers. He’s backed by a remarkable new lineup of musicians that includes: drummer Louis Cato (Beyoncé, Q-Tip, John Legend, Mariah Carey), bassists Charlotte Kemp Muhl (The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger) and NeonPhoenix (Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z), synthesizer players DJ Harrison and Anthony “Brew” Brewster (Fishbone, The Untouchables), keyboardists Neal Evans (Soulive, Talib Kweli, John Scofield) and Quincy McCrary (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Pitbull), percussionists Bobby Allende (David Byrne, Marc Anthony) and Justin Porée (Ozomatli), and backing vocalists Esther Rose and Ann & Regina McCrary of Nashville’s beloved gospel trio, The McCrary Sisters, as well as longtime collaborators like drummers Daru Jones (Nas, Talib Kweli) and Carla Azar (Autolux, Depeche Mode, Doyle Bramhall II). Singer-songwriter C.W. Stoneking also appears, contributing a stirring spoken word performance to the album’s “Abulia and Akrasia.” Boarding House Reach is ushered in by the rapidly acclaimed new single, “Connected By Love,” b/w “Respect Commander,” and was produced by Jack White and recorded at Third Man Studio in Nashville, TN, Sear Sound in New York, NY, and Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, CA; the album was mixed by Bill Skibbe, Joshua V. Smith, and White at Third Man Studio in Nashville, TN.

File Under: Rock
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saruVarious: Eccentric Soul: The Saru Label (Numero) LP
The 20th volume of Numero Group’s flagship Eccentric Soul series has all the boxes checked: Gun-toting, skip-tracing record producers, child stars, rip-offs, the “World’s Greatest Bail Bondsman,” swindles, soaring falsettos, and a dwindling rust-belt cityscape offering mere glimpses of hope before the record industry escaped for the coasts. Helmed by the O’Jays Bobby Massey, Saru was a creative vortex that pulled Cuyahoga County’s greatest talent in, making a strong case for Cleveland to contend with Detroit, Philly, and Memphis as America’s soul music capital. Includes obscure and unknown sides from the Out of Sights, the Elements, Pandella Kelly, David Peoples, Sir Stanley, the Ponderosa Twins, the Ba-Roz, Bobby Dukes, and of course, the O’Jays.

File Under: Soul


Boards Of Canada: Geogaddi (Warp) LP
Broadcast: Work And Non-Work (Warp) LP
Can: Monster Movie (Mute) LP
Johnny Cash: With His Hot & Blue Guitar (Wax Love) LP
Felt: The Seventeenth Century (Cherry Red) LP
Flying Lotus: Youre Dead! (Warp) LP
Nils Frahm: Solo (Erased Tapes) LP
Kayranada: 99.9% (Sony) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Flying Microtonal Banana (ATO) LP
Lamar; Kendrick: Damn (Collector’s Edition) (Aftermath) LP
Lcd Soundsystem: Sound Of Silver (DFA) LP
Massive Attack: Blue Lines (EMI) LP
Massive Attack: Mezzanine (EMI) LP
Meters: Fire On The Bayou (LP
MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (
Os Mutantes: s/t (Lilith) LP
Pink Floyd: A Collection of
Visible Cloaks: Reassemblage (RVNG Intl.) LP
Marlon Williams: Make Way for Love (Dead Oceans) LP
Townes Van Zandt: s/t (Fat Possum) LP

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…..news letter #839 – pano…..

A bit of light week here, but if that damned Hot Snakes vinyl wasn’t late that would be all we’d be talking about anyway… Hopefully its here next week! In the meantime check out the killer Avulsions from Saskatoon or get depressed with the new Mount Eerie Then cheer yourself up and party down with Thundercat.

…..pick of the week…..


Ken Sugai: UkabazUmorezU (RVNG Intl) LP
With a melodic cluster dripping into a pool of dark water, UkabazUmorezU’s arrival ripples as an apex in Sugai Ken’s continued construction of a deeply resonant, enveloping sound world. Upon contact, UkabazUmorezU gently and generously unfurls across aural alleys and streets mundanely but mystically detailed with recontextualized Japanese rituals and tradition. Sugai’s compositional language took its most cohesive form in the producer’s almost decade long career with the 2016 album On The Quakefish. Evolving the sound design intuited on 2010’s ToKiShiNe and  2014’s Tada, Quakefish utilized an all-seeing, all-knowing edit for wider screens and wilder properties. The sable stage set for UkabazUmorezU is both bottomless and forgiving, a rich soil for new experiments to grow in Ken’s self-described “style that conjures [the] subtle and profound ambience of night in Japan.” A lived experience of traditional Japanese music’s conversation with environment, and vice versa, forms the melodic make-up and metaphysical philosophy conditioning UkabazUmorezU. Upon imagining a landscape, Sugai decomposes the image (and the images within the image) and replaces it with a sound representation – an artifactual terrain, tethered to but abstracted from the natural world. The 11 pieces which form UkabazUmorezUdovetail meaningfully with the invented album title, roughly translating to “slow and steady wins the race.” Made up of recordings sourced and appropriated from the local performing arts of Kanagawa, Japan (where Sugai lives), his daily surroundings, and Sugai’s tool kit of electronic synthesis,  UkabazUmorezU evokes tranquil patience while never settling into a single style or still of sound for too long. Sugai Ken’s upbringing among a generation of Japanese artists exposed to Western culture becomes the basis for another part of UkabazUmorezU’s ritualistic experimentation. On “Sawariyanagi,” for example, an atmosphere inspired by the yokai monster Yanagi Onna finds itself speaking through a Western electroacoustic motif. Elsewhere on “Ganoubyoshi” a processed “hoarsely voice of the elderly” is treated with a reverence reserved for the realm of symphonic music – the micro and the macro receive equal amounts of mindful care in the cerebral ceremony of Sugai Ken. The profundity of UkabazUmorezU’s nighttime arrives, in part, upon the idea that what remains hidden is limitless. While one might be horrified by the concept of negative space, Sugai views this obscured horizon as an invitation for a tempered type of spontaneity. A heartfelt connection to his personal trajectory and the folk history of his country allows UkabazUmorezU to calmly throw itself headlong into a jumbled sound experience sometimes beyond our conscious comprehension.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Experimental
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…..new arrivals…..


The Avulsions: Expanding Program (Flemish Eye) LP
In tomorrow… The Avulsions’ highly anticipated debut album Expanding Program launches the Saskatoon group’s gothic post-punk into a sci-fi dystopian future that may not be far off. Songs uncoil slowly while patiently working through hypnotic passages. Shards of spindly guitar and synth work alternate between chilly, dread-inducing backdrops and regal orchestral-style arrangements, all pinned down by distinctive percussion that rarely relies on a familiar beat. On these slow-burning mini-epics, spectral ambience inspired by The Cure is fused with the chiming dissonance of early Sonic Youth, the deadpan drama of Nico’s The Marble Index, or the nuclear war paranoia of This Heat.  The album’s morbid lyrics conjure a society of “Mars” under military control, lingering evil in the Twin Peaks referencing “BOB”, and the scorched earth of “The End” eliminating all suffering forever, before the explosive release of 12-minute closer “Clone” serves up a closing moment of uncertain calm.

File Under: Goth, Post-Punk
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David Byrne: American Utopia (Nonesuch) LP
American Utopia fits hand-in-hand with David Byrne’s vision for his series “Reasons To Be Cheerful,” named for the song by the late Ian Dury. Over the last year, Byrne has been collecting stories, news, ideas, and other items that all either embody or identify examples of things that inspire optimism, such as a tech breakthrough, a musical act, a new idea in urban planning or transportation – something seen, heard, or tasted. Just as the album questions the current state of society while offering solace through song, the content of the series recognizes the darkness and complexity of today while showcasing alternatives to the despair that threatens us. While Byrne has collaborated on joint releases with Brian Eno, Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim), and most recently St. Vincent over the past decade, American Utopia is Byrne’s first solo album since, 2004’s Grown Backwards. American Utopia morphed during the writing and recording process, beginning with longtime collaborator Brian Eno, and eventually growing to include collaborations with producer Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, King Krule, Sampha, Savages) alongside a diverse cast of creative contributors including Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never), Jam City, Thomas Bartlett (St. Vincent producer, aka Doveman), Jack Peñate, and others. The album was recorded in New York City at DB Spare Bedroom, Reservoir Studios, Oscilloscope, XL Studios, and Crowdspacer Studio and in London at Livingston Studio. The packaging features the work of “outsider artist” Purvis Young, whose work was often a blend of painting/drawing and collaged elements comprised of everyday found objects. A painting depicting a head with a face of indeterminate race or possibly gender – dreaming, meditating, contemplating – is on the album’s cover. American Utopia will be accompanied by a world tour and choreographed concert that Byrne has called “the most ambitious show I’ve done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense.”

File Under: Pop
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Django Django: Marble Skies (Ribbon) LP
Django Django – David Maclean (producer/drummer), Vincent Neff (vocalist/guitarist), Jimmy Dixon (bass) and Tommy Grace (synths) – return, exploring new sounds with their third full-length album, Marble Skies. It’s a concise and focused album that recalls their dynamic, genre-blurring debut and its handmade, cut-and-paste approach. Following the release of their 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated debut and 2015’s Born Under Saturn, the process for Marble Skies began with a back-to-basics approach in line with the DIY ethos of the band’s early days. In late 2016, Django Django (minus Maclean) assembled at Urchin Studios in Tottenham, London with Metronomy drummer Anna Prior to experiment with new material. After ten days of recording, there was plenty of raw demos to send to Maclean for him to edit, refine and evolve before the band rejoined for recording proper. Marble Skies was completed in mid-2017 in their small, equipment-crammed studio in north London – a similar environment to the first record, which was recorded in Maclean’s bedroom.

File Under: Electronic
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Dwarves: Free Cocaine (Burger) LP
The Dwarves’ killer 39-track, 2LP compilation Free Cocaine: 1986-88 collects material from the band’s Fuck-You-Up-And-Get-High Years. The pus-charged and violently dripping assemblage of scum from punk rock’s reigning over-the-hill bad boys includes compilation cuts, the Toolin’ For A Warm Teabag 12-inch, the Lucifer’s Crank 7″, the That’s Rock’n’Roll 7″, the I Wanna Kill Your Boyfriend 7″, the She’s Dead 7″ and the Sex & Violence 7″ plus 15 unreleased tracks.

File Under: Punk
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Earthless: Black Heaven (Nuclear Blast) LP
Earthless has a surprise for you. Whereas the band’s three previous albums featured anywhere from two to four completely instrumental space rock jams, the California trio’s fourth and latest, Black Heaven, is nothing like that. “It’s quite different,” drummer Mario Rubalcaba explains. “It has six songs, and most importantly it has vocals on about 70 percent of the record. There goes being pigeonholed as an instrumental band, I guess…” Of Black Heaven’s six tracks, only two are instrumental. And one of those instrumentals is less than two minutes long. “It wasn’t a premeditated thing to do a record with vocals,” Rubalcaba notes. “On the older records, Mike was responsible for a lot of the riffs that would start these jams, but on this one Isaiah really brought his own pizazz and flavor to it. I’d say that’s one of the major differences on this album: It has more of Isaiah’s input. He took a risk bringing these ideas to us, not knowing if we’d like them. But as with everything we’ve done in the past, it felt very organic and natural.” Black Heaven is a game changer for Earthless. “I’m sure there will be some people who have come to expect the big gargantuan space rock jams, and I don’t know if they’ll be into this or not,” Rubalcaba admits. “But I’m ready to deal with a little bit of disappointment from people who just want the freakout stuff. At the same time, I think people are gonna enjoy hearing a different side of us. If people really listen to what we’re doing, it’s gonna sound like us. Sometimes it just takes a few listens. And that’s the kind of stuff that pays off more in the end.”

File Under: Metal
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Diamanda Galas: At Saint Thomas the Apostle Harlem (Intravenal) LP
Diamanda Galás is a Greek-American avant-garde composer and performer, whose work confronts the subjects of violence and despair with political conviction and austerity. Galás rose to prominence in the ‘80s and ‘90s with the recorded trilogy, Masque of the Red Death, and the performance work Plague Mass, which addressed the AIDS crisis in a time of deafening political silence and inaction. At St. Thomas the Apostle Harlem documents Galás’ volcanic May 2016 performance at St. Thomas the Apostle church in Harlem, NY, described by the New York Times as “guttural and operatic, baleful and inconsolable, spiritual and earthy, polyglot and wordless, nuanced and unhinged.” The concert, produced by Intravenal Sound Operations and Red Bull Music Academy, was composed exclusively of what Galás calls “death songs.”

File Under: Jazz, Experimental
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Hayden: Moving Careful (Hardwood) LP
Following an anniversary edition of Everything I Long For, Canadian songwriting hero Hayden is giving his Moving Careful release the same treatment. Hayden releases the 1996 EP as an expanded 20th anniversary edition, both on vinyl and digitally. It will mark the first vinyl pressing of the release since it initially arrived as a 10-inch. Moving Careful was originally recorded in the mid-’90s and released via Hardwood/Sonic Unyon in late 1996. For the expanded reissue, Side 2 of the release will include a series of rare recording captured between ’94 and ’96. In a statement, Hayden had this to say about the release: After touring my debut, Everything I Long For, across Canada for the better part of two years from 1994-96, I celebrated its imminent International release by developing a strong dislike for the sound of my music. A major sticking point in my negotiations with Outpost Recordings (my US label at the time) was to have the ability to release singles and EPs on my own or through smaller labels. They agreed, and Moving Careful was born from late night obsessions on the third floor of a rented Victorian house in Toronto. Although much of my debut was recorded on a 4-track cassette, I was eager to get back to my Yamaha MT100 II, and very inspired by what Eric’s Trip and Lou Barlow were doing at the time.

File Under: Indie Rock, Folk
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hot snakes

Hot Snakes: Jericho Sirens (Sub Pop) CS
Where oh where is the vinyl at!!!! After a 14-year hiatus from the studio, Hot Snakes kick down the door with their new album, Jericho Sirens. The record blasts out of the speakers with the furious “I Need a Doctor,” inspired by Rick Froberg’s experience needing a doctor’s note in order to miss an important work function. Throughout Jericho Sirens, Froberg commiserates with the frustration and torrential apathy that seems to be a fixture in our daily lives, while also reminding us that we have no fucking clue. “Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that,” he says. “No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.” Musically, the album incorporates the most extreme fringes of the Hot Snakes sound (the vein-bulging, 78-second “Why Don’t It Sink In?” the manic, Asian Blues on speed of “Having Another?”), while staying true to longstanding influences such as the Wipers, Dead Moon, Michael Jackson, and Suicide on propulsive tracks such as “Six Wave Hold-Down.” Other moments like the choruses of “Jericho Sirens” and “Psychoactive” nod to Status Quo and AC/DC.

 File Under: Punk
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Imarhan: Temet (City Slang) LP
When Imarhan released their self-titled debut album in 2016, they stepped into a genre already flooded with talent and exposure, but still managed to rise to the top and be heralded as the “new wave Of Tuareg music” by Fact Magazine and The Guardian. Temet is a huge leap forward in production, as well as creatively for Imarhan. Whereas their debut was anchored in the meditative Desert Blues tradition, Temet eclipses such notions, finding bounce and drive by stirring their sound with funk, fuzz, disco and rock. This is not a novel concept to the band, as anyone who has seen them play will attest. There is a disparity between their emotional and thoughtful first album and the raucous, ecstatic live show. And while Temet is decisively more eclectic, the aesthetic wisdom and singular vision of their debut remains on full display.

File Under: African, Tuareg, Desert Blues
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mount eerieMount Eerie: Now Only (PW Elverum) LP
Now Only, written shortly following the release of A Crow Looked At Me and the first live performances of those songs, is a deeper exploration of that style of candid, undisguised lyrical writing. It portrays Elverum’s continuing immersion in the strange reality of Geneviève’s death, chronicling the evolution of his relationship to her and her memory, and of the effect the artistic exploration of his grief has had on his own life. The scope of Now Only encompasses not only hospitals and deathbeds, but also a music festival, childhood memories of conversations with Elverum’s mother, profound paintings and affecting artworks he encounters, a documentary about Jack Kerouac, and most significantly, memories of his life with Geneviève. These moments and thoughts resonate with each other, creating a more complex and nuanced picture of mourning and healing. The power of these songs comes not from the small, sharp moments of cutting phrases or shocks, but the echoes that weave the songs together, the way a life is woven. The music, fully realized by Elverum alone at home, is fleshed out texturally and seems to react to the words in real time. In a moment of confusion, dissonance abruptly makes itself known; in a moment of clarity, gentle piano arises. On the title track, the blunt declaration of “people get cancer and die” is subverted by a melody that can only be described as pop. As Elverum reinvents his lyrical process, he is also refining his musical vocabulary. Elverum’s life during the period he wrote Now Only was defined by the duality of existing with the praise and attention garnered by A Crow Looked At Me and the difficult reality of maintaining a house with a small child by himself, as well as working to preserve Geneviève’s artistic legacy. Consumed with the day to day of raising his daughter, Elverum felt his musical self was so distant that it seemed fictional. Stepping into the role of Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie held the promise of positive empathy and praise, but also the difficulty of inhabiting the intense grief that produced the music. These moments, both public and domestic, are chronicled in these songs. They are songs of remembrance, and songs about the idea of remembrance, about living on the cusp of the past and present and reluctantly witnessing a beloved person’s history take shape. Time continues.

File Under: Indie Rock

myrrorsMyrrors: Burning Circles in the Sky (Fuzz Club) LP
The band’s debut album, recorded sometime in 2007/2008 prior to the band’s extended hiatus and originally released in a limited run of fifty handmade, screen-printed copies. Features the original Myrrors lineup of Nik Rayne, Grant Beyschau, and bassist Claira Safi, who also designed the now somewhat iconic sleeve. These are quite literally the first recordings made by the band, cut at Nik’s house, quick and loose and on the fly. That original self-released edition sold out long ago, but the album has since been reissued internationally multiple times on CD, cassette, and LP by labels like Fuzz Club Records, Cardinal Fuzz, and Rewolfed Gloom.

File Under: Psych
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starchildStarchild & The New Romantic: Language (Ghostly) LP
“Black boys have a whole world of complexity that society makes us stomp out of ourselves.” Language, Bryndon Cook’s full-length debut as Starchild & The New Romantic, communicates his refusal to do so. Describing himself early-on as a “young romantic boy from Maryland,” Cook has long been a dreamer, a student of black music’s rich lineage and its intersection with pop. He’s drawn to landmark moments where artists have found truth in darkness; the diverse language of music living in their core. This record is his; lifting off from the monochrome world of Crucial, his 2016 EP, up towards a dazzling crimson blood-rush of sky-high defiance and autonomy. On Language, Cook refines his phonics for funk, electro, and R&B, and arrives at a revelation, best summarized by a single motto: “my sensitivity is my strength.” Sonically and spiritually, Cook finds guidance in grand standards: looking up to producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, studying their contributions to the New Jack Swing era and pop music at large. Touchstone statements like Janet Jackson’s Control, Michael Jackson’s Bad, and Prince’s 1999; singular breakout LPs from Terence Trent D’Arby and Bobby Brown; the honesty of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska and Carole King’s Tapestry; the ingenuity of Laurie Anderson. Cook also reflects on recent years with Solange, as part of her touring band, and collaborations with Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange, as reminders of artistic individuality. Hit most earnest, warm-hearted material to date, Language is the sound of Bryndon Cook eloquently occupying his space without apology, envisioning a world where the crimson qualities of sensitivity and softness aren’t shamed, they are celebrated as magic.

File Under: R&B, Soul
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of abstracSun Ra: Of Abstract Dreams (Strut) LP
Strut and Art Yard present another exclusive from the vast catalogue of cosmic jazz pioneer Sun Ra: a previously unreleased radio session most likely recorded at the WXPN FM radio studios in Philadelphia, 1974-5. This newly discovered session features a new version of Ra’s earlier ‘Island In The Sun’, a romping, raucous rendition of ‘Unmask The Batman’ and the first studio recording of ‘I’ll Wait For You’ There is no bass player on the sessions and Ra’s left hand beats out a rhythmic bass pattern on the piano. All tracks are remastered directly from the original tapes. The album package features a newly commissioned painting by legendary Bristol urban artist Guy Denning and new sleeve notes by Paul Griffiths. Recently discovered in the Sun Ra archive, the recording forms part of a series of sessions that Ra and the Arkestra recorded for WXPN-FM between 1974 and 1980. The ‘Antique Blacks’ album was recorded there in ’74. Based on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania, WXPN’s station manager Jules Epstein and music director Russ Woessner were instrumental in the exposure and recording of The Arkestra in their broadcast production studios. Geno Barnhart, founder of The Empty Foxhole concert collective, Jules and Russ broadcast an on-going series of jazz concerts covering a wide spectrum. The Arkestra performed at The Foxhole in Philly many times from 1974.

File Under: Jazz

drankThundercat & OG RonC & The Chopstars: Drank (Brainfeeder) LP
Brainfeeder presents a special chopped not slopped mix of Thundercat’s incredible 2017 album Drunk by DJ Candlestick and OG Ron C of legendary Houston DJ collective The Chopstars. Slowed down and chopped up, the mix has been appropriately re-titled Drank. It appeared online in 2017 as an unofficial homage to the virtuoso bassist, songwriter and producer’s third and universally acclaimed album and received hearty approval from Thundercat who proclaimed “If you got Drunk it’s only right that you get Drank. I feel like they go together,” inciting Brainfeeder to offer up this colored vinyl pressing. “I’ve always been a fan of chopping up creative music,” explains DJ Candlestick. “A lot of people don’t know we chop up rock and alternative music. We believe in chopping up everything just like DJ Screw’s dream – ‘chopping up the world.’ We are fans of this type of music and especially Thundercat and Flying Lotus. With these type of projects, OG Ron C and myself usually vibe out and do what we do best. ‘Drank’ gives you a perfect musical high. It’s also a project that all types of people can vibe to – smooth, chill and entertaining.”

File Under: Hip Hop, Funk, Jazz
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ween2Dean Ween Group: Rock 2 (Schnitzel) LP
Dean Ween – aka The Deaner – recorded the rock2 album at his dedicated studio facility in Lambertville, NJ, across the river from his native New Hope, PA. Ween says: “A lot has changed since I released my first ‘solo album’ a couple of years ago…This album is a snapshot of the fall of 2016 – there have been a lot of tunes recorded before then and even more since then, but this is my second official solo album. These were written for this sole purpose and recorded with the entire lineup: the best band in the world, Ween – Claude Coleman Jr., Dave Dreiwitz and Glenn McClelland, also the other best band in the world, the lineup of the DWG – Mike Dillon, Bill Fowler, Ray Kubian, Scott Rednor, and the other 50 members and usual suspects…I’m pretty proud of this one – it represents the first time that I was able to take what we do onstage and put it on a record…Every little thing I’ve ever learned is somewhere on here, somewhere.” Gatefold colored 180 gram LP.

File Under: Rock
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yo la tengoYo La Tengo: There’s a Riot Going On (Matador) LP
There’s A Riot Going On. You don’t need Yo La Tengo or anyone else for that matter to tell you that. These are dark times, in our heads as much as in the streets. It’s easy to lose contact with the ground. Confusion and anxiety intrude into daily life and cause you to lose your compass. There are times that call for anthems, something to lift you out of your slump and put fire in your feet. And sometimes what is needed is a balm, a sound that will wrap around you and work out the knots in your neck. For Yo La Tengo, this is a slow-motion action painting. Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew did it all themselves, in their rehearsal studio, with no engineer and no complicated equipment (John McEntire later assisted in mixing). They did not rehearse together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are joined with such a liquid brush. You’d imagine most of the songs had sprung forth whole, since they will enter your head that way. You will be powerless to resist the magnetic draw of “Shades of Blue,” will involuntarily hear “She May, She Might” on your internal jukebox first thing in the morning and “Let’s Do It Wrong” late at night. While There’s A Riot Going On, Yo La Tengo reminds you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. There are shimmery hazes, spectral rumbles, a flash of backward masking. You are there. And even if your mind is not unclouded – shaken, misdirected, out of words and out of time – you can still float, ride the waves of an ocean deeper than your worries, above the fray.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Alvvays: s/t (Royal Mountain) LP
Robbie Basho: Art of the Acoustic Guitar (Gnomesong) LP
Robbie Basho: Visions of the Country (Gnomesong) LP
Caravan: If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You (4 Men With Beards) LP
Alice Coltrane: Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse) LP
Charlotte Gainsbourg: Rest (Because) LP
Johan Johannsson: Arrival OST (Deutsche Grammophon) LP
Love: Forever Changes (Rhino) LP
Kikagaku Moyo: s/t (Guruguru Brain) LP
Kikagaku Moyo: House in the Tall Grass (Guruguru Brain) LP
Mariah: Utakata No Hibi (Palto Flats) LP
John Mayall & The Blues Breakers: s/t (Sundazed) LP
Microphones: The Glow Pt. 2 (PW Elverum) LP
Mount Eerie: A Crow Looked at Me (PW Elverum) LP
Pink Floyd: The Wall (Pink Floyd) LP
Porcupine Tree: In Absentia (Kscope) LP
Porcupine Tree: Deadwing (Kscope) LP
Andy Schauf: The Party (Arts & Crafts) LP
Sleep: Holy Mountain (Earache) LP
Swans: Glowing Man (Young God) LP
Ebo Taylor: s/t (Mr. Bongo) LP
War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding (Warner) LP
Weezer: s/t (Blue) (Universal) LP
Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (Matador) LP

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…..news letter #838 – speed…..

Big software changes around here, so things are both easier and more work all at the same time… so some things are taking longer, but luckily there still isn’t that much coming out this year yet so I guess we picked a good time to do it. Anyway, enough about us, here’s some killer tunes for you to stick in your ear.

…..picks of the week…..


Terekke: Improvisational Loops (Music From Memory) LP
Terekke drifts gracefully onto Music From Memory with a long player of looping ambient pad pressure. Terreke explains: “The recording of Improvisational Loops began in 2012 during yoga classes at Body Actualized Center in NYC. In the spirit of past ‘new age’ or minimal music, it aims to open up a space within the room giving the listener a chance to explore inward or outward. It was recorded using a digital synthesizer, reverb, and looper.”

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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BB280LP_CUHeldon: Electronique Guerilla (Bureau B) LP
Bureau B present a reissue of Heldon’s debut album Electronique Guerilla, originally released on Disjuncta in 1974. In 1973, 22-year old Richard Pinhas was well on his way to becoming a full-time philosopher. He had almost finished his PhD and begun teaching at the University of Paris. But he also had a hobby: writing music and recording it himself. When he submitted a few tracks to British label E.G. (home of King Crimson and Roxy Music), the imprint was interested, but Pinhas was frustrated to find out he’d have to wait a year for them to release anything. So Pinhas put out his first album on his own label, Disjuncta. He called the project Heldon (from a location in Norman Spinrad’s 1972 sci-fi novel The Iron Dream). It might have been the first self-released rock record in France. “Or at least the first one that worked,” says Pinhas. “It was like a musical and political event in France. Musical because there were few artists using synthesizers here, or even in the world. And political because we tried to say that the big companies make everything bad and their records are too expensive.” Most of Electronique Guerilla was made by Pinhas alone, but “Ouais, Marchais, Mieux Qu’en 68” featured five collaborators, including one of his mentors, Gilles Deleuze. Over winding guitars and pointed percussion, the French philosopher reads lyrics taken from Friedrich Nietzsche’s “The Voyager and His Shadow” (1880). Despite being self-released — with Pinhas himself delivering some stock directly to record stores — Electronique Guerilla quickly sold over 19,000 copies. That convinced Pinhas he should make and release more music by himself — but he would have little time for philosophy. “I had to make a decision, because at that point in France, you couldn’t do two jobs,” he remembers. “So I made this very bad choice to be a rock ‘n’ roll musician.” It’s a choice he’s stuck to for four decades, and the fiery Electronique Guerilla provided a potent spark. 2018 remaster by Willem Makkee.

File Under: Prog, Psych, Electronic
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…..new arrivals…..


Alessandro Alessandroni: Romance & Drama (Transversales Disques) LP
Transversales Disques present the first reissue of Romance & Drama, an essential LP by Italian pioneer and Ennio Morricone cohort, Alessandro Alessandroni. Originally released on Munich based experimental, progressive library label Coloursound. Alessandroni at his best: very refined Italian cinematic sound, tense 12-string guitar themes, synth sequences, beautiful sound of chamber classical music mixed with psych choir. You can feel Alessandroni’s magical touch for melodies and arrangements on nearly every song and at the same time, some are reminiscent of François de Roubaix on themes like “Dramatic” and “Sad Farewell”. No doubt each track of this underrated masterpiece could have been a classic soundtrack theme. Remastered from original tapes.

File Under: Library, Italian
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Tony Allen: Black Voices (Comet) LP
Comet presents a reissue of Tony Allen’s Black Voices, originally released in 1999. This reissue features remastered versions and “Ariya (Psychedelic Juju Mix)” as a bonus track, which was not part of the original release. Tony Allen completely rewrote the books on what was possible within the Afrobeat genre with his stunning 1999 album, Black Voices. When one considers exactly “what” is going on throughout Black Voices, it is quite mind boggling, as it is almost impossible to associate a minimalist, electronic feel with the massive walls-of-sound which Allen was known to create. Yet these walls-of-sound are still very present, yet they gain an entirely new feel due to the presence of the producer, Doctor L. He takes the mesmerizing rhythms that Allen creates and he spins them into a stunningly modern sound. While Doctor L’s production work throughout Black Voices is truly fantastic, it is clear that the genius behind the album lies within the mind of Tony Allen. With the absolutely mesmerizing, funky grooves that Allen creates, it comes as little surprise that the vocal collaborations are handled by members of one of the funkiest bands in history: Parliament-Funkadelic. For almost two decades, Black Voices has remained a stunning example of the fantastic results that can occur when seemingly unrelated genres clash.

File Under: Afrobeat, Funk
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baker davis

Aidan Baker & Gareth Davis: Invisible Cities (Karlrecords) LP
Invisible Cities, the first collaboration between Aidan Baker (Nadja, B/B/S) and bass clarinetist Gareth Davis (Oiseaux-Tempête), offers the finest ambient/chamber jazz/subtle drones of a highly meditative quality. Be it solo, as member of the drone duo Nadja or B/B/S (his trio with Andrea Belfi and Erik Skodvin, aka Svarte Greiner) or in various collaborations with artists like Tim Hecker or Thisquietarmy, the Berlin-based Canadian is one of the most productive and versatile artists when it’s about post rock, drone, or ambient and without doubt a true master on the guitar. In recent years Baker also starting exploring new grounds as a composer of contemporary/ensemble music — e.g. his composition “An Instance Of Rising” was commissioned by Spółdzielnia Muzyczna Contemporary Ensemble and Sacrum Profanum Festival for their 2017 edition. Invisible Cities marks Baker’s first collaboration with Gareth Davis whose eclectic oeuvre spans contemporary classical, free improvisation, and orchestral music through to rock, noise, and electronica. The bass clarinetist is a steady member of the critically acclaimed post-rock formation Oiseaux-Tempête and A-Sun Amissa, interpreted compositions by Alvin Lucier with Machinefabriek, worked with Bernhard Lang and Peter Ablinger, performed with musicians like New York downtown veteran Elliott Sharp, Merzbow, or Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner) and realized multimedia work with artists including Christian Marclay and Peter Greenaway. Recorded in November 2016 at Muziekhuis, Utrecht, the four tracks create a calm, even meditative atmosphere in their reduced manner that gives much room to the individual instruments/sounds, occasionally spiced up by field recordings that intensify the overall chamber jazz/ambient moods. 180 gram vinyl; includes download code.

File Under: Ambient, Jazz, Drone
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Bola: D.E.G. (Skam) LP
Skam Records present the return of Bola. After ten long years hidden away in the hills, huddled in the Bolamachine — at long last Bola awakens, delivering an album of power, elegance, and beauty… All tracks composed and performed by Bola. “Kappafects” was co-composed and performed by Dennis Bourne. No humans were harmed during the making of “Evensong”. While every care was taken, slight but unavoidable human abuse was endured in the making of “Kappafects”. Art and design by Michael England.

 File Under: Electronic, IDM
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Max Eastley/Steve Beresford/Paul Burwell/David Toop: Whirled Music (Black Truffle) LPBlack Truffle present a reissue of a landmark UK release, Max Eastley, Steve Beresford, Paul Burwell, and David Toop’s Whirled Music, originally released on Quartz in 1980. Remastered and cut at 45RPM by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering Berlin. Includes a 24-page booklet with archival materials and notes from David Toop, alongside contemporary reviews, flyers, notes on the instruments and performance documentation; Gatefold sleeve. “[Whirled Music is] one of the key documents of the inventive and energetic scene around the London Musicians Collective in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Originally released on Toop’s own Quartz label in 1980, the LP features a remarkable series of performances made entirely with whirled and swung instruments and objects. Part of the second generations of British free improvising musicians, the prolific scene centered around the performers heard here chafed at the limitations present within the music and ideology of improvising legends such as Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Tony Oxley, and John Stevens. Where the first generations of British free improvisers often demonstrated a rigorous commitment to non-idiomatic free improvisation and instrumental virtuosity, musicians like Beresford reconnected with the dada antics of figures like Han Bennink and surrendered to joyful musical promiscuity, gleefully disrupting expectations around ‘serious’ improvised music through quotations (of anything from Beethoven to reggae) and deliberate amateurism. . . . Beginning in 1979, Whirled Music was the title given to a series of performances in which a variety of instruments and objects, both home-made and store bought, traditional and invented, would be whirled to produce sound. In addition to variations on traditional instruments such as the bullroarer, Whirled Music also made use of whirled whistles, hand drums, radios, and microphones. Due to the danger this represented for both performers and audiences, the performers wore protective masks and were separated from the audience by a net. . . . Presented in glorious cassette-recorded room fidelity, the LP’s first side features a single extended live performance in which percussive chattering, resonant gong-like tones, mysterious wind tones, and swells of delirious noise join together to create a sonic landscape as reminiscent of an environmental recording (wind in the trees, the squawking of birds) as of an ethnographic recording of the music of an unknown civilization. Although purely acoustic, the music has an unstable, dispersed quality reminiscent of the pioneering live electronics of the Sonic Art Union or even early Voice Crack. The LP’s second side presents a series of shorter excerpts, including some beautifully sparse outdoor recordings where the sounds of the whirled instruments blend indistinguishably into the backdrop of environmental sounds.” –Francis Plagne

File Under: Improvised Music, Experimental
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Nadah El Shazly: Ahwar (Nawa) LP
Clear vinyl version. Nawa Recordings present Ahwar, the debut album by Nadah El Shazly. Starting out singing Misfits covers in a local punk band, then moving on to producing her own electronic tracks and making a name for herself in Cairo’s underground scene, Nadah El Shazly’s backstory is not that unusual. Her debut album on the other hand, is an entirely unexpected story. Two years in the making, Ahwar (Arabic for “marshlands”) is an otherworldly record, not unlike an abstract mythological story-tale. Opening with the mangled and filtered vocals of “Afqid Adh-Dhakira (I Lose Memory)”, like an alien dream, the drones of a bowed double bass lead the listener into a drum groove that lays the groundwork for El Shazly’s sultry and captivating presence. The Arabic prose lingers over interjections of slap-back delayed guitar twangs and an avant-garde arrangement of dissonant winds, horns, and seemingly random drum fills, ending with an eerie soundscape that wouldn’t feel out of place in a giallo classic. Composed, written, and produced by El Shazly herself in collaboration with The Dwarfs Of East Agouza’s Maurice Louca and Sam Shalabi on co-composition and arrangement duties, the album was crafted across two continents, between Canada and Egypt, and features the crème of Montreal’s contemporary-classical and improvised music scene, most of whom are members of Shalabi’s own Land Of Kush ensemble. In between El Shazly’s five original tracks, the listener is treated to an abstract conversion of Sayyid Darwish’s classic “Ana ‘Ishiqt (I Once Loved)”. El Shazly’s haunting vocal floats over broken kalimba and harp arpeggios which slowly intertwine with a free, bowed double bass improv to nestle within the breaks between Younes Al-Qadhi’s early 20th century verses of love and betrayal. More than that, it is difficult to really describe, but imagine the worlds of Nico, Björk, and Annette Peacock with the Arabic language as their mother tongue, re-approached through acoustic avant-jazz harmony and re-constructed with a dash of Kamilya Jubran’s modern styling of Arabic maqam and you may be somewhere close. Recorded and delicately mixed through miles of analog cabling by Thierry Amar and mastered by Harris Newman, the album is adorned with the surrealist artwork of Egyptian artist Marwan El-Gamal and designed with custom typography by Egyptian designer Valerie Arif. Includes booklet featuring the lyrics in Arabic and English.

File Under: Electronic, World
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Heldon: II: Allez-Teia (Bureau B) LP
Bureau B present a reissue of Heldon’s second album Allez-Teia, originally released on Disjuncta in 1975. Before making his own music in the early ’70s, Richard Pinhas was a King Crimson fan. The British group has buzzed in Pinhas’s mind for decades, but their greatest impact came early. When he first saw them play, Pinhas was struck by music played during intermission. “When I saw (King Crimson guitarist) Robert Fripp and Brian Eno perform in Paris later, I realized that the intermission music was their work,” Pinhas said. “I didn’t know that when I first heard it, but I was very impressed by it. It was the most important influence on Heldon.” That influence is clear on Allez- Teia, originally released in 1975 on Pinhas’s own Disjuncta label. “In The Wake Of King Fripp” is a soaring mix of string-like electronics and smeared guitar, a reference both to the guitarist and King Crimson’s second album In The Wake Of Poseidon (1970). The meditative “Omar Diop Blondin”, in which free tones float above a repetitive guitar figure, is dedicated to Fripp and Eno. A strong influence also comes from The Soft Machine’s Robert Wyatt, who was slated to record some tracks with Pinhas for Allez-Teia until the expense of his travel from London to Paris proved prohibitive. Yet Allez-Teia — the title a nod to the ancient Greek term for philosophical truth, “aletheia” — is hardly a tribute album. The pieces Pinhas crafts with partner Georges Grunblatt — guitar, Mellotron, ARP synths — are beatific on the surface but infused with undercurrents of tension. Over four decades after he made Allez-Teia, Pinhas’s admiration for King Crimson remains profound. He actually met Fripp in 1974, and the two still stay in touch. “We have a great friendship; he has been very helpful,” says Pinhas. “Fripp has always been my Hendrix.” Some artists might balk at admitting such strong influence over their own work, but for Pinhas it’s all about respect. “In the academic world in France, you list your sources,” says Pinhas, who received a PhD in philosophy before launching his music career. “So I thought it was good to say, ‘Yes, we are influenced by this, and we are proud of it, and people have to know it.’ The work of King Crimson at that time was very important. It’s not a secret.” 2018 remaster by Willem Makkee.

File Under: Psych, Prog, Electronic
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Hunger: Strictly From Hunger (Now Again) LP
“The latest release in Now-Again’s Reserve Series is Hunger — Strictly From Hunger: the band’s preferred version of the album, unedited, fuzz-guitar heavy late 60s psych-rock, restored and remastered from a rare test press. Hunger arrived in L.A. from Portland in late 1967 as the Outcasts, a teenage cover band, but within six months they had signed with a connected manager, played all over Los Angeles, embraced psychedelia and signed on to record an album of original music for the label their manager founded for them: Public! Records. They showed tremendous promise — and their producers invested heavily into a band that was going to be the next marquee act at the Whiskey A Go-Go, bringing in members of Strawberry Alarm Clock, including future Lynyrd Skynyrd star Ed King, to produce an album. But Hunger broke up before their album’s release and their entry in rock’s canon was shadowed for years. This is the definitive Reserve Edition reissue of a late ’60s psych-rock classic, overseen by Hunger’s band members John Morton, Steve Hansen and Mike Lane: the band’s preferred, unedited, fuzz-guitar heavy version of the album, restored and remastered from a rare test press. This is the first time that band’s vision for the album has been issued in full on vinyl. Contains an extensive booklet by Jim Cherry, Eothen Alapatt and Clark Faville that corrects many factual inaccuracies told over the record’s celebrated past three decades as one of rock’s holy grails. The booklet is filled with never-published photos from lead guitarist John Morton’s archive. Here’s an example of what’s in store ? the full version of ‘Open Your Eyes’ featuring Ed King’s lead guitar lines — all but absent on the Public! Records issue — and nearly double the length of the issued version!”

File Under: Psych, Garage
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Jung an Tagen: Agent Im Objek (Edition Mego) LP
Jung An Tagen is practicing sonic animism on a molecular level. With Agent Im Objekt he confronts his listeners once more with a form of highly abstracted electronic music — puristic club sounds for an accelerated future. Kicking off with an accumulation of high-pitched, psychoactive sounds, Agent Im Objekt takes you into a hyperreal sphere reigned by sonic entities. Playing with swarm-dynamics and singular signals, moments of distance and proximity and noise textures that stimulate perception, Jung An Tagen transgresses the common syntax of club music. His strategies resemble computer music composition and focus on timbre, texture, and structure in an almost analytical way. The sounds filtered from his synthesizer are polished and bright, but behave in an astonishingly organic way, forming propulsive melodic sketches. Arranged in multiple layers of versatile polyrhythms, the tracks are nurtured by the forceful dialectics of precisely arranged chaos and ecstatic order. With his titles, Jung An Tagen is further adding an enigmatic narrative to his tracks, transcending the actual sphere of the dancefloor towards fictional storytelling. Following the structure of a one-sided chat log, they evoke associations from the X-file series or mystery novels, revealing a brainteaser that is drawn from mysterious coordinates and secret codes. In addition the official video “20:03 [Y] HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?” underlines Jung An Tagen’s interdisciplinary interest in synesthetic processes. Developed in collaboration with the programmers JeongHo Park and Scott Sinclair the video visualizes particle explosion data from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Inspired by Peter Kubelkas’s Arnulf Rainer (1960), the resulting geometric figures are exposed to a “complimentary stroboscope” that glitches your receptors and stimulate your brainwaves with photo- and EEG-stimulation close to seizure, inducing a hallucinative reality. Agent Im Objekt is playful but analytical, uplifting but mentally disturbed. While the dynamic use of reoccurring motives forces your body to move, cerebral timbres provoke a series of stimuli to massage your brain. It is intellectual body music that might mark a poetic turn in progressive dance music. Composed, recorded, and mixed by Jung An Tagen in the VIV. Titles by Stefan Juster. Artwork and layout by J. Fröhnel. Mastered by Rashad Becker.

File Under: Electronic
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liminLiminanas: Shadow People (Because) LP
“What was old is new again” … The old adage is so tired that nobody takes its proper measure: all people hear is the word “old”, when the important one is “new”. Making new things out of old things is an act of alchemy. The proof is in The Limiñanas’s fifth album — no rest for the wicked of Perpignan — which is blown right open here and there by a few very contemporary guests. After the opener, “Ouverture”, with its almost surf-like guitars, comes “Le Premier Jour”, where Lionel Limiñana talks about his rock baptism with the punks, the mods, the skinheads, and the Lambrettas of his youth in the South of France. What comes just after is the seismic shock of “Istanbul Is Sleepy”: the Imprimatur of Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre is simply enormous. Then comes Emmanuelles Seigner’s super sexy tornado on the title track; and “Dimanche” follows, with Bertrand Belin. Lionel sees him as a “French Nick Cave who writes songs that resemble films.” “The Gift” features Peter Hook who scrapes his bass guitar again here; obviously a song reminiscent of an early period New Order. Finally, the Limiñanas on their own send out an instrumental cavalcade with a furious beat, like a kraut Morricone, “Motorizzati Marie” followed by “Pink Flamingos”, introduced with psych rock pads played backwards forming a vaporous song bathed in acoustic arpeggios. A respite in the album… before the fuzz and the abyssal bass of “Trois Bancs” violently shakes the ghost of Gainsbourg: an electroshock in talk over. And to close the scene, a love message: “De La Part Des Copains”; its organ, its tambourine, its quaver, and its brass place it in the classic soundtrack category revered by the band. An ideal conclusion for this incredible, faultless record. The rock n’ roll epiphany thus continues. It belongs to those who will listen — full blast — to Shadow People and will doubtless feel the urge to plug a guitar into an amp. A valve amp, of course.

File Under: Garage, Psych
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mcclellenRandall Mclellan: Healing Music of Rana Vol 2 (Aguirre) LP
Aguirre Records present the first vinyl reissue of Randall McCellan’s The Healing Music Of Rana Vol. 2, originally released on cassette in 1983. Exceptional recordings by this new age maestro, only recently re-discovered by his friend JD Emmanuel and the band Sun Araw. Randall McClellan was a founding member of the electronic music studio at the Eastman School of Music in 1967 where he later received a Ph.D. in Composition, Theory and Musicology. A growing interest in North Indian music and vocal technique prompted him to develop his personal compositional practice into an active platform for inducing altered states of mind. He constructed his concerts to be spaces for harmonization of mind and body through a musical practice informed by his esoteric studies of ancient mystery schools and sacred geometry, believing these to be primarily teachings on intentional resonance. These performances were given between 1977 and 1983 in semi-darkened spaces that allowed listeners to relax on carpeting while being enveloped by sound. Each improvisation lasts from 25 to 45 minutes. An entire performance is up to three hours and is designed to provide an environment of meditative sound. His final live performance took place at New York City’s Alternative Museum in October, 1983. The Music Of Rana Enviromental Series uses synthesizers, drone box, tamboura, voice, and tape delay to create an environment of continuously evolving multi-layered melody. Described as subtle, graceful, and of other worlds. The name Rana (“Sunbreath”) has its origin in ancient philosophical concepts that recognized vibration as the fundamental creative force and central principle of the many esoteric mystery schools of the ancient world. In the broadest sense, the practice of music for its healing ability may well stand as our oldest continuous musical tradition. This album is the second volume in the series, and part of the cassette box set published by Sun Ark in 2013. This music is based on principles outlined in Randall’s book, The Healing Forces of Music: History, Theory and Practice (1988). These compositions are selected for their meditational and healing abilities. EQ settings of treble and bass levels determine the music’s effect upon you. Please explore until the most comfortable settings are found. Instrumentation includes the Moog Prodigy and MicroMoog synthesizer. RIYL: Joanna Brouk, JD Emmanuel, Iasos. 180 gram vinyl; Edition of 500.

File Under: Ambient, New Age
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napeyesNap Eyes: I’m Bad Now (You’ve Changed) LP
Acclaimed Canadians Nap Eyes return with I’m Bad Now, an ambitious, allusive third album that achieves a new sonic clarity, depth, and range to match their effortless melodies and extraordinary writing. It’s the band’s most transparent and personal set of songs to date, in which singer Nigel Chapman interrogates social, psychological, and spiritual milieus for clues about the elusive nature of knowledge. I’m Bad Now constitutes the third chapter of an implicit, informal trilogy that includes Whine of the Mystic (2015) and Thought Rock Fish Scale (2016). Colored vinyl LP features heavy-duty reverse board jacket, color inner sleeve with band photos and lyrics, and high-res Bandcamp download code. RIYL The Only Ones/England’s Glory, The Modern Lovers, Felt, The Clean, The Verlaines, The Go-Betweens, Bedhead, Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett, Nikki Sudden, Belle & Sebastian, and all things Lou Reed.

File Under: Indie Rock
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of montrealOf Montreal: White is Relic/Irrealis Mood (Polyvinyl) LP
“Two important events occurred during the making of White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood. I became “Simulated Reality” paranoid and I fell in love. Well a lot more happened during the process of writing and recording, but those are the two big ones. I also reached a healthy point of self-forgiveness for my failed marriage and became deeply educated in the lies of America the Great. I feel like a switch was recently turned on in my brain and now I’m beginning to see through the lies that have been fed to me my whole life by the masters of media and by those who control and manipulate the narrative of our cultural identity and social order. “My paranoia began during the presidential election cycle and reached a dangerous peak shortly after the inauguration. In the meantime I watched and read countless works of art in a mad effort to be reminded of how many truly brilliant people there are living/struggling among us and to try to maintain a positive outlook. The works of Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky, Chris Kraus, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and the autobiographies of Malcolm X and Mark E Smith were all great inspirations, to name a few. Musically, I was very inspired by the extended dance mixes that people used to make for pop singles back in the ‘80s. It’s so cool how a lot of the 80’s hits had these really intricate and interesting longer versions that wouldn’t get played on the radio and could only be heard in the clubs. I used that template with these tracks, I wanted them all to feel like the extended “club edit” of album tracks. “I also decided to abandon the “live band in a room” approach that I had been using on the recent albums and work more on my own or remotely with collaborators. I used the same drum sample packs throughout because I wanted the album to have a rhythmic continuity to it. I wanted the drums to have a strong and consistent identity, similar to how Prince’s Linn Electronics LM-1 drum machine played such an important role on his classic albums. Zac Colwell also played a huge role on this album, adding saxophones and synths to most of the songs. I also got a lot of help from long time collaborators, and of Montreal touring members, Clayton Rychlik and JoJo Glidewell. “The two title concept came to me when I was thinking about how difficult it is to frame the message of a song with just one title, because so often the songs are about so many different subjects. ‘White Is Relic’ was inspired by James Baldwin’s writings regarding the creation and propagation of a toxic American White identity. I’ve come to learn how it’s just a tool wielded by the 1% to give poor white people a false sense of superiority in an effort to keep the masses placated and numb to how deeply we’re all getting fucked by our capitalist rulers. An ‘Irrealis Mood’ is a linguistic indicator that something isn’t yet reality but does have the potential to become so.”  – Kevin Barnes

File Under: Indie Rock
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oneidaOneida: Romance (Joyful Noise) LP
Six years after the release of A List of the Burning Mountains, Brooklyn, NY”s Oneida release their newest studio creation Romance, their first album for Joyful Noise Recordings and a record marked by wild eclecticism, even for a group known for its shape-shifting nature. Recorded over several years in various locales, the eleven songs on Romance are built around deeply developed long-arc rhythm/phase concepts, noise, yearning, blind guitar rage, longing, the lurch of dying electronics, and a multi-modal embrace of human fallibility and artifice. From the crackling synth-led opener “Economy Travel” to the expansive 18-minute epic “Shepherd’s Axe,” Romance is an album in constant flux. On “Bad Habit” the band employs phasing between organ and guitar to great, disorienting effect, while the primitive riffs of “Cockfight” offer a contrasting vision of rock minimalism. Listen closely on “Lay of the Land” and you will hear constant rhythmic development, with drummer Kid Millions eschewing repetition in favor of morphing patterns of hi-hat and snare. As with all mystery, Romance reveals more through closer attention and multiple listens.

File Under: Indie Rock
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primitivePrimitive World: White on White (Ecstatic) LP
White On White is an absorbingly dynamic, multi-layered album of improvisations made on the seminal PPG Wave synth, inspired by the work, life, and theories of the great, if forgotten, British constructivist artist Marlow Moss (1889-1958): a radical, gender-bending British Jewish lesbian and innovator of non-figurative art who was a then-contemporary influence on Piet Mondrian, with whom she worked alongside from the late 1920s as part of the Abstraction-Creation artists association in Paris, until the Nazi’s forced her from mainland Europe back to England, where she settled in the far west of Cornwall. White On White forms a follow-up of sorts to Sam Willis’s Ascention tape (2015), and perhaps more aptly, leads on from his and Alessio Natalizia’s reworks of Daphne Oram — arguably another overlooked, British female pioneer of her field – which are collected on their Walls album, Sound Houses (ELP 005LP, 2014). There’s little doubt that this is some of Willis’s strongest solo work, which can be attributed to the fecund inspiration of Moss’s work, life, and theories, as well as his access to a prized arsenal of rare vintage synths. Titled after the Moss piece which adorns the LP’s front cover, White On White forms a welcome first introduction for many to Moss through a combination of visual representations — photographs of the artist and her work — with text by Lucy Howarth, curator of Moss’s recent exhibitions at Museum Haus Konstruktiv exhibition (2017), the touring Tate display (2013-15), and of course the music itself, which seeks to describe Moss’s mathematically sound geometries and evocative aesthetics through its lattice of unique, free-floating timbres and spatialized rhythm patterns. White On White is thus a direct result of the artist immersing himself in Moss’s oeuvre, or what is left of it (most of her pre-WWII output was destroyed in the war), with results strongly reflective of the austere clarity and modernist structure of her works, from her syncopated line drawings modeled in the helixes of “Double Line”, to the rotating perspectives of her 2D-into-3D metal sculpture manifest in the illusive, Peder Mannerfelt-like designs of “Matrix Of The Visible”, whereas the closing nine minutes of perilous abstraction recalling Wendy Carlos’s Clockwork Orange OST in “Man Guessed At A Spiritual Meaning And Imposed A Moral System” both literally and metaphorically serves a sort of unsentimentally elegiac, enigmatic lament for the artist’s neglected status. RIYL: Oneohtrix Point Never’s Good Time OST, Peder Mannerfelt’s brut ambient, Rashad Becker’s lysergic sound designs.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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pye cornerPye Corner Audio: Where Things are Hollow (Lapsus) 12″
Martin Jenkins, aka “the artist’s artist”, explores emotive techno in “Resist” and “Northern Safety Route”, two tracks that coast through progressive arpeggios, slow pulsating beats, and soaring pads. Meanwhile, “Mainframe” and “Continental Drift” move through more ambient and melancholic terrains, two cinematic songs perhaps reminiscent of works by John Carpenter or Delia Derbyshire. This special release will also feature the collaboration of two of Spain’s most prestigious independent graphic artists, Alex Trochut and Basora, whose artwork for Where Things Are Hollow is sure to become a collector’s piece.

File Under: Electronic
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rateliffNathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: Tearing at the Seams (Stax) LP
In tomorrow… Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ highly-anticipated new record, Tearing at the Seams, follows the band’s critically and commercially lauded self-titled debut, which has now sold over a million records worldwide. Issued through Memphis’ legendary Stax Records, the album was recorded with producer Richard Swift who has helmed records by The Shins and Foxygen in addition to The Night Sweats’ debut, collectively creating a group of songs that capture the band’s emotion and intensity. The group dynamic is pivotal to the Night Sweats; initial writing and recording sessions for Tearing at the Seams took place in Rodeo, New Mexico where Rateliff and the band re-established their writing and recording process. “For the first record, I demo’ed everything up and created most of the parts,” says Rateliff. “This time, I felt like we’ve all spent so much time on the road that we should all go off somewhere together. We should all have that experience together.” This mentality and approach to the record is no more evident than on opener “Shoe Boot” a five minute, funk infused jam and “Intro,” the raucous jam used to open the band’s sets over the last few years. The album closer and title track however is perhaps the most moving, lyrically tackling the huge challenges and sacrifices faced along the way by a band who are constantly away from home on the road. Tearing At The Seams is a deeply personal yet always accessible record for any situation.

File Under: Rock
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asyncRyuichi Sakamoto: Async Remodels (Milan) LP
As one-third of Yellow Magic Orchestra and an Academy Award-winning composer for his work on the soundtrack for The Last Emperor, synth pop innovator Ryuichi Sakamoto is among the most groundbreaking artists to have emerged since the late 70s. A musician’s musician, Sakamoto has created intriguing musical unions with artists such as David Sylvian, Iggy Pop, Tony Williams, Bootsy Collins, and Jacques Morelenbaum among many others. Following the massively successful release of the electronic masterpiece Async in 2017, Sakamoto’s first studio album in eight years, Milan is proud to present the remix compilation Async Remodels. It features a dozen remixes of Async’s tracks by a who’s-who of experimental giants – everyone from Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (Arrival, Sicario) to Oneohtrix Point Never (composer of Good Time) to Arca (producer of numerous Bjork releases) have gotten their hands dirty remixing Sakamoto’s work. Even reworks by the Canadian synthpop duo Electric Youth and Austin-based synthwave legends S U R V I V E are included. With such a well of talent reinterpreting such a personal album, this is one release Sakamoto fans can’t afford to miss. Pressed on a pair of 180g LPs and housed in a matte coated gatefold jacket.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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spanish moogAlfonso Santisteban: Spanish Moog (Adarce) LP
Adarce Records present a reissue of Alfonso Santisteban’s Spanish Moog, originally released in 1975. Don Sicalíptico on the recording: “We can think of fewer things more Spanish than the works of Alfonso Carlos Santisteban. . . . A tireless Spanish music workaholic, he made no differences between copla, rumba, pop or soul and didn’t mind if it was for Bambino, La Polaca, Mara Lasso, Calibre 38, Ellas or Mila. . . . Spanish Moog, an album Adarce Records has the pleasure to present, is one of those strange and almost invisible musical milestones that our man portrayed in Italy. Just as he wrote in his autobiography, in 1973 and thanks to the help of José Antonio de La Loma, he met two of the capos of the most important film music publishing empire in Italy, Giuseppe Campi and Giuseppe Giachi. They were about to open a C.A.M. (Creazione Artistiche Musicale) delegation in Madrid so they could start building their business in the most exciting times for Spanish film industry. The company started by signing two Spanish composers: our man, and Waldo de Los Ríos. . . . Apart from a large number of small (or more like embarrassing) film scores, Santisteban published five library albums up until 1975 for C.A.M.: Ambiente E Folklore (1974), Rinascimenti (1974), Night Club (1984), Situazione Per Orchestra (1975) and this one, Spanish Moog. Five of the songs included (‘Jugando Al toro’, ‘Nuestro Ayer’, ‘Gitanos’, ‘Torremolinos Soul’ and ‘Todo Ha Sido Un Sueño’) were originally recorded by Santisteban and Rafael Ferro for the album Flamenco Pop (1969), and three more (‘Zorongo’, ‘Nuestro Ayer’ and ‘Tierra Mojada’) were originally meant for Sabor A Fresa (1971) by La Nueva Banda De Santisteban. Beyond the supposed editorial filibusterism, what is left is a wonderful festival of grooves and beats; an omnipresent Moog, wah-wah and ‘cañi’ soul blend in ‘Torremolinos soul’. Dreamy melancholy, fuzz and southern touch in ‘Tierra Mojada”, impeccable arabesque beats in the steadfast ‘Zorongo’, funk and folklore sown tight in ‘Noche En Marbella’ and pure space Blaxploitation in ‘Tute De Reyes”… Alfonso Carlos Santisteban would collide inevitably with a time already lost in the annals of history. We cannot think of a better way to resume his works and his person than the sentence he used to open his autobiography: ‘… I speak with the authority given to me by failure…'”

File Under: Library, Moog
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Sun Ra: Sun Embassy (Roaratorio) LP
Roaratorio’s survey of the unheard Sun Ra continues with Sun Embassy. Consisting of recordings from Sun Studios (aka Ra’s house in Philadelphia) from 1968-1969, the album features nine tracks: six compositions which have never been heard before in any form, plus fresh coats of paint on such 1950s classics as “Sunology” and “Ancient Aiethiopia”, and an early rendition of “Why Go To The Moon”. Essential listening for Sun Ra devotees. Includes download coupon.

File Under: Jazz

xenakisIannis Xenakis: Persepolis (Karlrecords) LP
After La Légende d’Eer in 2016, the Perihel series presents one of the milestones of electroacoustic music: Iannis Xenakis’s mind-blowing, 54-minutes oeuvre Persepolis. Persepolis is the longest electroacoustic composition by Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) who ranks among the most influential 20th century avant-garde composers. Commissioned by the Persian Shah, the piece was part of a multimedia performance — Xenakis’s so-called “polytopes” — which premiered in 1971 in Shiraz-Persepolis (Iran) as a performance including light-tracks, laser beams, groups of children walking around with torches, and 59 loudspeakers to project the music in an open-air situation. Xenakis had realized Persepolis on 8-track analog tape in the Studio Acusti in Paris and released a stereo reduction on vinyl in the famous Philips series “Prospective 21e Siècle” in 1972, adding the new subtitle “We bear the light of the earth”, his most hymnal title ever. Out of print for decades now, the LP became — especially the Japanese edition from 1974 — one of the most expensive collector’s item of electroacoustic music. There were some later CD versions with different durations — too long due to a wrong sample rate, others shortened by three minutes due to other reasons. The Perihel series now presents a new version: mixed from the original master 8-track tapes by longtime zeitkratzer sound engineer Martin Wurmnest and mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin — the same experts who had already taken care of the 2016 Karlrecords release of La Légende d’Eer, another milestone composition among the works of the Greek-French avant-garde composer. Previous releases in the Perihel series, curated by Reinhold Friedl: Guy Reibel’s Douze Inventions en Six Modes de Jeu (KR 028LP, 2015); Iannis Xenakis’s La Légende d’Eer (KR 024LP, 2016), John Cage’s Complete Song Books (KR 029LP, 2016). 180 gram vinyl; Includes insert and download code.

File Under: Avant Garde
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rumbitaVarious: Rumbita Buena (Pharaway) LP
From the archives of the legendary Belter and Discophon labels, essential to understand the birth of the Catalan rumba and flamenco-pop genre in Spain, Pharaway Sounds have selected 14 dance-friendly tracks taken from overlooked LPs and 45s. This is the real gipsy-funk sound, full of screaming flamenco vocals, funk drums, electric guitars, wah-wah, organ, electric bass, exotic percussions, soulish horns, Latin and even oriental touches… Featuring folkloric ye-yé singers, gipsy princes, teen rumba stars, and groovy rumba-pop bands: Dolores Vargas “La Terremoto”, Chango, Rosa Morena, Rumba Tres, El Príncipe Gitano, El Noi… Also features Lola Flores, Los Candelos, Lola Flores Y Antonio González, Teresiya, Los Candelos, La Marelu, and Dolores Abril. Master tape sound. Includes insert with photos and liner notes by Txarly Brown (Achilifunk).

File Under: Rumba, Funk, Spanish

taniVarious: Tani – Disco Rumba & Flamenco Boogie (Pharaway) LP
Disco music, Philadelphia sound, and Salsoul fever were also present in the rumba-pop and flamenco-funk scene of Spain in the late ’70s/early ’80s. Producers, sound engineers, and studio musicians collaborated closely with flamenco/rumba singers and bands. Among others, Pharaway Sounds offer a compilation highlighting the production/studio work that genius Josep Llobell did for the Belter label in Barcelona. 12 disco-rumba-flamenco-boogie bombs, a time machine to the Spanish boîtes and discotheques of the late ’70s and the perfect soundtrack to an imaginary “Kinki” cinema soundtrack. Features Sangre Gitana, Rumba Tres, Los Gachós, Tobago, La Marelu, Barracuda, Juan Bautista, Las Deblas, El Turronero, and Sangre Gitana. Includes insert with liner notes by Txarly Brown (Achilifunk) and photos.

File Under: Rumba, Disco, Boogie

wavesVarious: Waves of the Future (Mannequin) LP
The modern synth wave scene would be significantly poorer without the keen ear and tireless efforts of Mannequin Records, run by Alessandro Adriani. Geographically situated within the nerve centers of Rome and Berlin, yet with a musical spirit that easily transcends these boundary lines, Mannequin Records’ back catalog has been an important component in electronics-based independent music in the 21st century. Recent accolades and accomplishments — being named Resident Advisor’s “Label Of The Month” in May of 2017, starting the Death Of The Machines 12″ series, and being given the “green light” for bi-monthly parties at the Säule room in Berghain — have been earned through Mannequin Records’ unflagging commitment to sonic diversity and Adriani’s own realization that the anxious and sharp-edged sounds associated with, say, the Cold War of the 1980s can convey a completely different message today. Mannequin Records continues to go on exploratory missions to find the best and most relevant aspects of genres like acid, industrial, EBM, post-punk, cold wave, and still more. Mannequin Records’ 100th release, Waves Of The Future, is a double-LP compilation which is not a conventional retrospective collection. None of the artists appearing on this collection have put out their own releases on Mannequin Records yet, despite acting as Mannequin’s unofficial ambassadors (via DJ sets and other means). The set includes other scene leaders and label owners including Beau Wanzer, Willie Burns, Silent Servant, and Ron Morelli. Waves Of The Future projects a sense of aesthetic resilience and continuity; showcasing just how well the current artists allied with Mannequin Records employ and re-interpret the sonic lexicon of the label’s reissues of “classic'” acts. Each track here pivots around a couple of key sound elements that seem to set the stage for the next track to come: see the sputtering/chopped ghost voices on Morelli’s “Charges Won’t Stick”, which easily informs the slicing drone and authoritarian beat of Shawn O’ Sullivan’s “Ill Fit”, which then lays down the emotional foundation for the sequencer-powered “With You” from An-I and Adriani or the glassy landscape of Illum Sphere’s “Exhaustion”. Elsewhere, the wired mischief of Not Waving intersects easily with the spherical electro-funk and coded commands of Beau Wanzer. When all the disparate parts of Waves Of The Future are soldered together, it perfectly illustrates Mannequin Records’ non-linear philosophy and Adriani’s suggestion that listeners engage with the music rather than try to analyze or dissect it.

File Under: Electronic


Ash Ra: Correlations (MIG) LP
Felicia Atkinson: Hand in Hand (Shelter Press) LP
Bonobo: Dial M For Monkey (Ninja Tune) LP
Carter Tutti Void: Plays Chris & Tutti (CTI) LP
Johnny Cash: Rock Island Line (Charly) LP
Earth: 2 (Sub Pop) LP
Nils Frahm: All Melody (Erased Tapes) LP
Hot Snakes: Automatic Midnight (Sub Pop) LP
Hot Snakes: Suicide Invoice (Sub Pop) LP
John Coltrane: Lush Life (OJC) LP
Jaylib: Champion Sound (Stones Throw) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Polygonawanaland (ATO) LP
Terry Riley: Persian Surgery Dervishes (Aguirre) LP
Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (Abkco) LP
Shame: Songs of Praise (Dead Oceans) LP
Taj Mahal Travellers: 7/15/72 (B13) LP
Kuniyuki Takahashi: Early Tape Works (Music From Memory) LP
Amon Tobin: Foley Room (Ninja Tune) LP
Cosey Fanni Tutti: Time To Tell (CTI) LP
US Girls: A Poem Unlimited (Royal Mountain) LP
Various: Red Bird Story Volume 1 (Charly) LP
Various: Red Bird Story Volume 2 (Charly) LP
Various: Rock & Roll Pills (Charly) LP
Various: Rockabilly Tunes (Charly) LP
Various: Sunset Special (Charly) LP

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…..news letter #832 – maaaarch…..

A new month, new releases… and some much needed restocks. And, records, records,  records, records, RECORDS!!!!

…..pick of the week…..


Dedekind Cut: Tahoe (Kranky) LP
In tomorrow… Northern California electronic producer Fred Welton Warmsley III’s solo work as Dedekind Cut (pronounced “dead-da-ken cut”) has evolved from fractured industrial design into increasingly subdued and sublime ambient meditations across two years of dedicated activity. His second full-length collection, Tahoe—so named after the mountain lake town he now calls home—swells with widescreen grandeur, evoking vistas both inner and outer. There are echoes of his earlier, more tempestuous mode in tracks like “MMXIX” and “Spiral” but overall the album skews panoramic and pensive, muted synthetic mists contoured with choral melody, field recordings, and radiant drone. His compositional instincts feel alternately classical, contemporary, and conflicted, befitting an artist whose discography spans labels as divergent as Hospital Productions, Ninja Tune, and NON. Warmsley characterizes Tahoe as a “time peace,” sifting through “the past, the present, future, and fantasy.” Recorded primarily in New York, with additional sessions sourced from Berlin, Cambridge, and Placer County, California.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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…..new arrivals…..


Bad Religion: Stranger than Fiction (Epitaph) LP
2018 Remastered Reissue! (Limited coloured indie-shop-only edition) Bad Religion has become synonymous with intelligent and provocative West Coast punk rock and are considered one of the most influential and important bands in the genre. Over the past three decades the band has continually pushed social boundaries and questioned authority and beliefs armed only with propulsive guitars, charging drumbeats, thoughtful lyrics and an undying will to inspire and provoke anyone who will listen. Stranger Than Fiction is the eighth album from Bad Religion, and one of their most popular. First released in 1994, the album has been certified Gold and features hit singles“ 21st Century Digital Boy”, “Infected” and “Stranger Than Fiction.” Features guest appearances from some of punk’s greatest including Rancid’s Tim Armstrong (vocals on “Television”) , Jim Lindberg of Pennywise (vocals on “Marked” ) and Wayne Kramer of the MC5 ( guitars on “Incomplete”. )

File Under: Punk
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Breeders: All Nerve (4AD) LP
All Nerve, The Breeders first record in a decade, reunites band members Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson – the classic line-up behind the iconic and platinum-selling record, Last Splash. The quartet returned to the stage in 2013 to celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary and have been quietly working on new material ever since. Recording took place with Mike Montgomery at Candyland, Dayton, KY; with Steve Albini and Greg Norman at Electrical Audio, Chicago, IL; and with Tom Rastikis at Fernwood Studios, Dayton, OH. Artwork was conceived by Chris Bigg, who has worked with the Breeders since their first album Pod. Includes the infectious lead single “Wait in the Car.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Carlton Melton: Mind Minerals (Agitation) LP
In tomorrow… This is the new Carlton Melton album, the first full length release since 2015’s widely-lauded Out To Sea, itself a languid drifting of drones and psychedically-enhanced riffmongering. Admittedly, there has been some long EP releases since: Hidden Lights in 2017 (featuring the immeasurable drone-sike-float on “Rememory”) and Aground in 2016 (a companion, the Desert Island weather beaten psych-flow follow up to Out To Sea). Now it’s time to soak up Mind Minerals. This album finds the band in fine fettle: all the songs were recorded and engineered at El Studio in San Francisco by Phil Manley over two days (except “Untimely”), with the studio suiting them—a logical progression from previous weekend recordings out at the Dome. Under Manly’s watchful ear / eye, the band have created a futurescape soundtrack, a 3001 Space Odyssey. The drums are more pounding and direct than ever, the constantly re-assuring bass creates a helping hand of propulsion through the clouds of static and shards of electrifying guitar dazzling the horizon. Synths help soothe the sharp edges and lull one into an out of body experience, while the orchestrated calamitous scree brings one back. This is a breathless, yet deep breathing album. The core trio of Andy Duvall (drums/guitar), Clint Golden (bass guitar), and Rich Millman ( guitar/synth) have some alchemical bond that’s helped them create a post –rock / psychedelic / freeform organic slab of American Primitivism / space drift, unashamed head-music from the melting pot of Northern California. Five decades ago this album would have been released on the ESP Disk Label or even Apple. Carlton Melton provides the aural microdose to reset your mind and psyche!

File Under: Psych, Rock, Drone
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cindy lee

Cindy Lee: Act of Tenderness (W.25th) LP
In tomorrow… available again thanks to Superior Viaduct! Cindy Lee is the diva alter-ego of singer / guitarist / drag queen Patrick Flegel, the one-time captain of heralded Canadian experimental guitar pop act, Women. In Flegel’s working on / as Cindy Lee exclusively over recent years, their songwriting makes a move toward high atmospherics, often achieving a mysterious sweetness rooted equally in beauty and ache. As Cindy Lee’s first long-form statement, Act Of Tenderness makes use of antipodal themes to create a living sound: static with grace, distortion and sugar, all masterfully arranged with crooked nods toward pop classicism. The layered vocal on “Power And Possession” creates a palpable haunt, bringing historical girl-group lament to choir-esque heights. The feedback shriek and industrial grind of “Bonsai Garden” provides near-operatic damage, yet never stumbles into the irrevocably grave. These snowy pieces give the album a decidedly cinematic feel, albeit one bent more towards Eraserhead. Originally released in a scant private edition in 2015, Superior Viaduct’s imprint W.25TH is pleased to give Act Of Tenderness its deserving wide release.

 File Under: Indie Rock, LoFi, Women
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Lucy Dacus: Historian (Matador) LP
Historian is a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent that finds Lucy Dacus unafraid to take on the big questions – the life-or-death reckonings, and the ones that just feel that way. It’s a record full of bracing realizations, tearful declarations and moments of hard-won peace, expressed in lyrics that feel destined for countless yearbook quotes and first tattoos.The album was helmed by No Burden producer Collin Pastore and mixed by John Congleton. The sound Dacus and Co. created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut – an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll. Dacus’ remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving Historian the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers, on a new level of truth-telling and melodic grace. The past year, with its electoral disasters and other assorted heartbreaks, has been a rough one for many of us, Dacus included. She found solace in crafting a thoughtful narrative arc for Historian, writing a concept album about cautious optimism in the face of adversity, with thematic links between songs that reveal themselves on repeat listens – touching on everything from systemic racism to creative burnout to the death of her grandmother. “It starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” she explains. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Insect Ark: Marrow Hymns (Profound Lore) LP
In tomorrow… Combining elements of horror-film soundtracks, psychedelic doom, and atmospheric noise, NYC / Portland-based instrumental duo Insect Ark presents their newest record, Marrow Hymns. Comprised of Dana Schechter (bass, lap steel guitar, synthesizers) and Ashley Spungin (drums, synthesizers), Insect Ark’s intensely visual music weaves interludes of fragile beauty with crushing passages of swirling doom, spinning like a backwards fever dream. This album is a wordless song, a hypnotic voice that screams and whispers from a place deep in the furrows, from the bones, from the blood. Defying easy categorization, their uncommon sound is in part the amalgamation of these two women’s passions: Schechter’s sinister bass lines and unconventional use of lap steel guitar (and her complete omission of electric guitar), and Spungin’s lucid, exacting drumming and synth work with her own hand-built analog noise pedals (Ormus Electronics). With the two halves of the band residing on opposite coasts, the album was largely skeletal in form upon commencement of recording. Overdubs and further writing / arrangements were done after Spungin’s return to Portland in the isolation of Schechter’s home studio. The sense of distance and vast emptiness remained intact in the songs, built out over many long nights. These songs of displacement, loss, and isolation are personal journals of that time period, as both members found themselves simultaneously experiencing existential crises. However, the album also tells a story of strength and determination, made from the marrow of these two women, a song for all things that struggle to survive.

File Under: Metal
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king gizz

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Polygonowanaland (Strange World) LP
In tomorrow… More copies.. these ones on the Aussie label Strange World. Crazy colours, and only a few…  “Polygondwanaland is the farthest the seven-piece has strayed from their usual psych sci-fi roots. The band still employ lyrical nerdiness and wigged-out guitar in the album, but whereas King Gizzard’s last records got knee deep in prog rock, Polygondwanaland slinks into those waters until it’s waist high and loses the usual gnarly riffs. Like its mouthful of a title, Polygondwanaland delivers a 10-course meal without dividers between its dishes. Songs seep into one another for an immersive listen. The stirring, quiet percussion of ‘Inner Cell’ tiptoes into ‘Loyalty’ for a slow buildup, before it splashes into the punctuated vocals of ‘Horology,’ a sea of guitar tapping and rich, warm woodwinds. As usual, transitions are key in King Gizzard’s work, but they add a smoothness to Polygondwanaland that makes it particularly digestible, so that every vocal sigh and gaudy synth acts as a complementary flavor.”—Pitchfork

File Under: Psych Rock
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Seun Kuti & Egypt 80: Black Times (Strut) LP
Strut presents the new album from the modern day leader of Afrobeat, Seun Kuti. The youngest son of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti is as incensed by injustice as his father ever was and, with his mighty new album Black Times including features from Carlos Santana and Robert Glasper, he honors the revolutionaries who have gone before and rallies the torch-bearers to come. Black Times is the fourth album by Seun and Egypt 80, the extraordinary dance orchestra created by Fela Kuti as a conduit for the common people. Inherited by the 14-year-old Seun in 1997, the younger Kuti has been building to this, his most accomplished and honest album yet. Here, then, are tracks designed to spark conversation and realign priorities. The elegant “African Dreams” insists that commercial success counts for little. “Black Times,” with its rousing male and female harmonies, furious guitar riffs courtesy of Carlos Santana and Kuti’s soaring tenor sax, gives us truth. “Bad Man Lighter” is a horn-heavy track calling out duplicity and defending the right to smoke the good weed. The politically charged “Corporate Public Control Department (C.P.C.D)” is a roiling protest anthem directed at Muhammadu Bahari’s Nigerian government and deceitful politicians the world over. The frenetic, finger-pointing “Kuku Kee Me” borrows from a Nigerian saying (“When someone is always on your case, you’re like ‘Save yourself the stress and kuku kill me now'”) while “Theory Of Goat And Yam” ridicules a homily invented by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who justified corruption by likening politicians to goats tempted by yams. “Last Revolutionary” featuring Robert Glasper’s keys is a paean to authentic leaders past, present and future.

File Under: Afrobeat, Funk
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Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio: Close But No Cigar (Colemine) LP
Close But No Cigar is the debut album from Seattle’s Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio. The group channels old-school organ combos like The Meters and Booker T & The MGs, but are making it fresh and feel new again. Super in the pocket, tight and dirty drums, everything you want in an organ trio. “DLO3 plays music that speaks to the soul and intellect of the listener,” says the band. “So brace yourselves for a passionate, heartfelt, mind boggling, intense musical experience you will never forget.”

File Under: Funk
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luciusLucius: Nudes (Mom + Pop) LP/DLX LP
After releasing an acoustic version of “Until We Get There” in 2017, Lucius offer up a full album of acoustic tacks entitled Nudes. The 10-track collection encompasses acoustic versions of four old songs, three new numbers including charming lead single “Neighbors” and three cover songs plus features by collaborators like Roger Waters and Nels Cline. Recorded over two days at New York’s legendary Electric Lady Studios, Nudes was produced by Lucius, engineered by Joe Visiciano, mixed by Dan Molad and Stephen Kaye, and mastered by Bob Ludwig.

File Under: Indie Rock
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menThe Men: Drift (Sacred Bones) LP
Drift is the seventh full-length by New York City rock polymaths The Men. The band’s last album, the self-released Devil Music, was the sound of a band who had been through hell hitting reset and looking to their roots to rediscover themselves. On Drift, The Men return to their longtime label Sacred Bones Records and explore the openness that Devil Music helped them find. The immediately evident result of that exploration is the experimental quality of much of the material on Drift. Songwriters Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi chase their muses down a few dozen thrilling rabbit-holes over the course of the album’s nine tracks. The songs on Drift veer in a number of directions, but notably, almost none of them feature a prominent electric guitar. The lone exception, “Killed Someone,” is a rowdy riff-rocker, worthy of the finest moments of the band’s now-classic Leave Home and Open Your Heart albums. The rest of the record drives down stranger highways. “Secret Light” is an improvisation based on an old piano riff of Perro’s. “Maybe I’m Crazy” is a synth-driven dancefloor stomper for long after last call. “Rose on Top of the World” and “When I Held You in My Arms” are paisley-hued, psyched-out jams with big, beating hearts. The album was recorded to 2″ tape with Travis Harrison (Guided by Voices) at Serious Business Studios in Brooklyn. A whole pile of instruments was involved – synths, strings, sax, steel, harmonica, tape loops, on top of the usual guitar, bass, and drums. Unlike recent releases from The Men, there aren’t many overdubs on Drift – a reflection of the personalities of its makers becoming less frantic. In fact, the band removed a lot of the additional parts they tried adding early on, giving the final product a bit of a ghostly feel. The songs on Drift took giant leaps and trips from their beginnings only to find the band returning to the first spark of creation.

File Under: Indie Rock, Punk
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mind spidersMind Spiders: Furies (Dirtnap) LP
In tomorrow… “The ‘Furies’ are the ancient Greek Gods of vengeance and violence,” says Mark Ryan of the title of his latest album. “The Furies were tamed,” he continues, “but in my story, they are waking up and the ancient chaotic ways are resurfacing.” Ryan (The Marked Men, High Tension Wires, Radioactivity), alongside Peter Salisbury (Baptist Generals) on synth and Mike Throneberry (The Marked Men) on drums, lead this modernistic, machine-like and cinematic version of the story of the Furies and have churned out something furious in return; this is their most electronic album yet. Gone are any notions of Ryan’s former project the Marked Men and its style of winningly bombastic garage-pop. Since 2012’s Meltdown, Mind Spiders have been perfecting an aggressive, relentless, frenetic and melodic style of punk that is a long, dark shadow of DEVO but carries something much more sinister in its jaws as it slinks its way through the ears, illustrated by their lone, intensified cover of Grauzone’s 1980 hit, “Eisbaer.” It’s a sound for the new dark ages, emboldened by urgency and sped along by some good old fashioned panic.

File Under: Punk
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nightcrawlersNightcrawlers: Biophonic Boombox Recordings (Anthology) LP
Deep, diverse, and unheralded, the Philadelphia ambient electronic music scene of the 1980s is explored with The Nightcrawlers’ The Biophonic Boombox Recordings, an expansive archival collection documenting the hard-knuckled kosmische synthesizer trio’s home recordings self-released and distributed over 35 cassettes between 1980 and 1991. Featuring the farthest reaching spacescapes of those cassette releases—improvised straight into the mic of a JVC Biphonic Boombox—none of these performances have been released beyond the original format, and essentially went out of print when Nightcrawler Peter D. Gulch got tired of dubbing them to blank tapes to mail-order through his Synkronos label and sell at live shows. Restored and recalibrated from the original cassettes, The Nightcrawlers’ music has never sounded better or so readily accessible. First pressing limited to 1,000. Vinyl housed in gatefold jacket with 28-page booklet of ephemera and liner notes by journalist and Kosmische expert D. Strauss.

File Under: Ambient, Kosmische
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promisePromise Ring: 30 Degrees Everywhere (Epitaph) LP
The Promise Ring were formed in 1995 in Milwaukee, WI by guitarist Jason Gnewikow, drummer Dan Didier and bassist Scott Beschta. The band was eventually rounded out by frontman Davey von Bohlen, who at the time was a new enlistee into Midwest darlings Cap’n Jazz but gave The Promise Ring their crucial missing piece. In 1996, the group signed with Jade Tree and released their debut, 30 Degrees Everywhere, a powerful introduction that distilled the spirit and vigor of some of the members’ punk and hardcore backgrounds and spit-shined it with von Bohlen’s tastefully angsty melodicism. But 30 Degrees Everywhere is deceptively complex, masked by layers of driving guitars and buoyant rhythms. It’s also deceptively dark, as the singer’s heart-on-sleeve lyrics – tackling love, loss, regret and disappointment – and emotive delivery were hallmarks of The Promise Ring’s genre-leading sound. This raw emotion, along with an overall lack of polish, ultimately gives the album an endearing personality. You won’t find perfect performances here; rather, you’re getting real songs about real life played by real people in real time. Boiled down, 30 Degrees Everywhere is the foundation of a musical legacy, a lightning-in-a-bottle musical moment that demands listeners pay attention to its urgency and passion – in the end, what more could you ask for?

File Under: Punk, Emo
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simplySimply Saucer: Cyborgs Revisited (In The Red) LP
In tomorrow… Simply Saucer’s Cyborgs Revisited is an explosive time capsule from one of the great Canadian cult rock ‘n’ roll groups. Formed in Hamilton, Ontario, these sci-fried proto-punks created a sound fusing Hawkwind, The Kinks, Pink Fairies, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, and the omnipresent Velvet Underground. Originally recorded from 1974-1975, the album became a critically revered classic when it was finally unearthed in 1989 by Mole Records. Now, In The Red is proud to release the definitive, remastered double album edition featuring new liner notes by band biographer Jesse Locke, unseen images, and the complete live recordings available as a second album for the first time ever. As a means to escape his oppressive experiences while living in a practice space surrounded by biker gangs, singer and fretboard-shredding guitarist Edgar Breau wrote a set of songs filled with dystopian visions of the future, conjuring metalloid thugs, Eva Braun’s cyanide love affair, and “dancing the mutation.” With nimble-fingered bassist Kevin Christoff, clatterwauling drummer Neil DeMerchant, and electronic cosmonaut John “Ping Romany” LaPlante (Breau’s foster brother and answer to Pere Ubu’s Allen Ravenstine), his lyrics were launched into a sonic supernova. Their first recording session took place in the basement of brothers Bob and future superstar producer Daniel Lanois and was initially intended as a demo. Naturally, interest was non-existent for the sneering six-song set. It’s shocking how anyone could have overlooked “Bullet Proof Nothing,” an undeniably catchy VU-swiping anthem for the used, abused, and confused.  Shelving these sessions, the band ascended into the future with 15-year-old drummer Tony Cutaia. This set off a series of gigs before the band touched down on the roof of a local shopping center! Following their 2006 reformation, Simply Saucer continue to tour and perform to ecstatic fans while being celebrated with a belated wave of releases, reissues, and documentation, including a rarities compilation, Jesse Locke’s book Heavy Metalloid Music: The Story of Simply Saucer (Eternal Cavalier Press), and an upcoming 7-inch. At long lost and at the top of this towering stack, In The Red’s expanded reissue of Cyborgs Revisited gives the Canadian cult classic the deluxe treatment it so greatly deserves.

File Under: Garage, Psych
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sleepwalkerSleepwalker: 5772 (Sentient Ruin) LP
In tomorrow… The unparalleled 2016 debut album from elusive multinational psychedelic/avantgarde black metal enigma Sleepwalker now officially re-released on cassette and finally also available on 12″ vinyl. A visionary collision of sounds and of different schools of thought in extreme and experimental metal and beyond, that bursts the listener’s synapses open with a mind-shattering alloy of drone, raw black metal, kraut/psychedelic rock, free-jazz, noise rock, and tribal ritualism – a truly unparalleled mind-fuck suspended between the visionary opposites of Voivod, Zeni Jeva, Oxbow, John Zorn, King Crimson, Darkthrone, and Xasthur.

File Under: Metal, Psych
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slowSlow: Against the Glass (Artoffact) LP
Finally back in stock, cuz you missed it in November… Slow was a short lived band from Vancouver BC. Somewhere between seventies barroom boogie, punk and high octane rock n roll, the group was around long enough to release one two-song seven inch single and this absolute stunner of an EP. Six songs, around ten minutes each side, but this is frantic, exciting rock that unfortunately seems now to only be a side note in the history of Canadian music, although it deserves so much more. Some have said this band helped kickstart grunge in Seattle. I don’t know if that is true or not, but you can definitely hear that this is one of those “should have” releases that probably influenced more people than ever had the chance to hear it. Opening with the infamous “Have Not Been The Same” – the song that spawned the title for the incredible book that Michael Barclay, Ian Jack and Jason Schneider did on the Canadian independent music scene in the late 80s and early 90s – the song has a bluesy riff to its beginning that, after some Stonesy-backing vocals, becomes an absolute barnburner. Vocalist Thomas Anselmi sings “I’ve been drinking/But drinking doesn’t make me feel alright” in a slight warble that sounds like a precursor to David Yow’s warble in the Jesus Lizard years later and the band ramps up in the second half to a furious feverpitch. Second song “Out of The Cold” features quite possibly the best skronking sax on any Canadian punk rock record from the mid-80s. It sounds like it wouldn’t work, but it totally does. This must be the best Stooges song ever written by a Vancouver band. The side’s final song, “Bad Man”, is no slouch either. It sounds like Rocket From The Crypt nearly a decade before they became a band. Yes, really, this record is that good. The second side of the record is no slouch either. “In Deep” starts off like a windswept Morricone instrumental from a classic spaghetti western but soon enough turns into the most traditionally sounding song here. Wow, this band must have been absolutely stunning live, especially if they could pull this stuff off (I am sure they could!). “Looking For Something Clean” sounds like it could be your favourite Mudhoney song – I am sure those guys had this album on high rotation when they formed their band – and the title track has a “Train Kept A Rollin” feel to it, if that song was done by a bunch of ragged punk rockers that snorted way too much speed for their own good. The band broke up shortly after this twelve-inch came out. A very wild performance at Expo 86 that included throwing two-by-fours into the crowd and getting naked onstage had organizers pulling the plug on both the band and the festival their performance was part of. The band did their only Canadian tour almost immediately afterwards, but broke up before that tour was over. The band members split off into two different bands, Copyright and Tankhog respectively, but neither managed to reach such great heights as they did during their time in Slow. Against The Glass is one of my top five Canadian releases in dire need of a reissue. Apparently both Zulu and Mint Records have approached the band about doing just that, but the band could not agree on it and to this day it still hasn’t happened. It’s a crying shame too, as this album is now selling on Discogs for upwards of $50 US. Hopefully one day this will be able to happen, but until then it will trade hands through record collectors for an inflated price. Snap it up if you can!

File Under: Punk
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tkop1This Kind of Punishment: A Beard of Bees (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow… In the fertile terrain of New Zealand’s 1980s post-punk scene, few figures loom as large as the Jefferies brothers. Graeme Jefferies and Peter Jefferies—the primary forces behind This Kind Of Punishment—wrote some of the best music to come out on Flying Nun, Xpressway or elsewhere. A dizzying mix of pastoral ballads and DIY experimentation, TKP’s songwriting was at once classic and acutely raw. Among This Kind Of Punishment’s myriad recordings, A Beard Of Bees best outlines the collective vision of the Jefferies brothers. Their classic second album feels more meticulous than its predecessor, proffering a grey, near-Mancunian influence that serves as both touchstone and springboard for the proceedings. The unique maneuvering on “Trepidation” is a marvel: guitar sweetness shifting toward melancholic piano and ending with their combined shimmer. Conversely, the augmented VU-inspired noise of “East Meets West” positions itself as the album’s prime moment of severity, creepily building toward horror-show screams that inch to a buried, found-sound resolution. Originally self-released in 1984, A Beard Of Bees has been out of print for almost 25 years.

File Under: DIY, New Zealand, Indie Rock, Flying Nun
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tkopThis Kind of Punishment: s/t (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow… In the fertile terrain of New Zealand’s 1980s post-punk scene, few figures loom as large as the Jefferies brothers. Graeme Jefferies and Peter Jefferies—the primary forces behind This Kind Of Punishment—wrote some of the best music to come out on Flying Nun, Xpressway or elsewhere. A dizzying mix of pastoral ballads and DIY experimentation, TKP’s songwriting was at once classic and acutely raw. On their self-titled debut, the Jefferies brothers and Chris Matthews eschew the punk-informed modes of their contemporaries for a sound that is decidedly more deliberate / intimate. Rooted in a marriage between simplistic, classically-influenced piano, alternating guitar chime and sparse, subtle violin drone, This Kind Of Punishment is a contemplative, inventive collection of ideas corralled via economic 4-track recordings, minimal instrumentation and an austere performance style entirely of the Jefferies’ own making. Songs like “After The Fact,” “In View Of The Circumstances” and “Two Minutes Drowning” boast a living quality whereby the listener can act as bystander to these moments of creation—a trait that the band would expand upon throughout the course of their brief tenure. First-time vinyl reissue since its initial release in 1983.

File Under: DIY, Flying Nun, Indie Rock, New Zealand
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Titus Andronicus: A Productive Cough (Merge) LP
Since debuting in 2008, Titus Andronicus (hereafter +@) has been conditioning faithful listeners to expect only the unexpected. With A Productive Cough, +@ has executed the most shocking departure yet—but only if, as ever mercurial singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles insists, “you haven’t been paying attention.” In a move that may infuriate the black-denim-and-PBR set, A Productive Cough sets aside leadfooted punk anthems in favor of a subtler, more spacious approach that pushes Stickles’ soul-baring songwriting to the fore, creating an intimacy between artist and audience with which previous +@ efforts had only flirted. Features guest contributions from veteran pianist Rick Steph (Cat Power, Lucero, Hank Williams Jr.), esteemed cellist Jane Scarpantoni (R.E.M., Bob Mould, Lou Reed), listeners Brooklyn singer Megg Farrell, and many others. Limited edition LP version is pressed on blue-gray swirled vinyl.

File Under: Indie Rock
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turboTurbonegro: Rocknroll Machine (Burger) LP
It’s been over six years now since the word got out that the Titans from The Big O (Oslo, Norway) were re-resurrected for a second time since their grimy beginnings back in 1989. November 2015 heralded the unveiling of the first new music from Turbonegro since 2012’s Sexual Harassment. “Hot For Nietzsche” found our boys in full throttle, staring the void right in the face and raising a glass to its honor. May 2016 saw Turbonegro unleash another single “Special Education,” a story of a teenage boy’s fall from academic grace and the cruel and unusual discipline he finds at the very bottom. And so finally, in the wake of the infamous blizzards of the Scandinavian Winter of 2017, the savvy six gathered in the studio in Oslo to record their ninth studio album, Rocknroll Machine. Vocalist Tony Sylvester had this to say about the new material: “We’ve spent the the past years honing our skills. The music we are releasing now is more distilled, more refined, more pointed, more powerful; we traveled to the future and this is what we heard on the radio!”

File Under: Punk
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ditaDita Von Teese: s/t (Record Makers) LP 
Dita Von Teese sings about the power of seduction and the ecstasy of letting go in an album bearing her name, written and composed by Sébastien Tellier. “I’ve collaborated with artists I admire that have invited me, such as Monarchy and Die Antwoord,” recalls the Michigan native. “But nothing compares to this project with Sébastien Tellier. When we began recording, he offered to let me to write some lyrics, but I preferred the feeling of letting go, of making a Sébastien Tellier record. I had a fantasy about having a modern Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg moment. To describe the album is difficult; perhaps it’s me with less make-up.” Tellier has long dreamt of composing for a woman, but was not inspired by any professional singers. “I was looking for someone both beautiful and unique,” he explains. “When I saw Dita dance to a piece of music I had written for her, I had a feeling that her physical presence and her personality were a perfect fit with my music. My wife, Amandine de La Richardière, wrote some sexy pop lyrics to balance the melodrama of my tragic vision that love always ends – in my songs – in bitterness and regret.” Recorded in Sydney, Los Angeles, and Paris, Dita Von Teese owes much to the talents of Tellier, the singing of Dita Von Teese, and the art of two instrumentalists – programmer/keyboardist John Kirby (Solange, Blood Orange, Money Mark) and drummer Daniel Stricker (Midnight Juggernauts) – who co-produced the album, under the name of Mind Gamers. “Sparkling Rain” is a futuristic calypso shot through with angel choirs and the syncopated rhythms of marimbas; “Rendez-Vous,” a robotic reggae which Grace Jones would not have disdained; and the bewitching “My Lips On Your Lips” and “Bird Of Prey,” despite their air of inoffensive TLC-like silky ballads, promise a thousand erotic raptures. Woven with powerful heartbeats, waves of liquid pianos, guitars cracking like whips, Chinese sounding motifs, and synthetic steel drums, Dita Von Teese asks to be lured into its intoxicating wake, as if the singer who had crossed invisible and tormented worlds had found the path leading to divine ecstasy.

File Under: Electronic, Pop
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waits2Tom Waits: Glitter & Doom (Anti) LP
In 2008, Tom Waits launched a sold-out national tour, garnering intense critical praise and thrilling fans across the country and the world, some in cities where he had never performed before. Glitter And Doom Live is the document of those concerts, 17 performances hand-picked by Waits from along the tour. Leaning heavily on songs from his ANTI-releases including a haunting “Trampled Rose” from Real Gone and a roaring “Get Behind the Mule” from Mule Variations, Waits also digs into the vaults for tracks like a re-imagined “Singapore” from 1985’s Rain Dogs. Glitter and Doom Live resides in the Waits catalog alongside earlier live albums like Nighthawks at the Diner and Big Time.

File Under: Rock
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waitsTom Waits: Closing Time (Anti) LP
After signing with Asylum Records in the early 1970s, Tom Waits recorded a series of acclaimed albums whose noir tales about the after-midnight underworld transformed the seedy into the sublime in songs laced with both dark humor and profound longing. Decades and several musical evolutions later, Waits’ Asylum years still hold a special place in the hearts of many fans. Waits’ first seven albums on Asylum have been remastered and will be re-released via Anti-Records. All titles – many of which have been long out of print – will be re-issued on high quality 180 gram vinyl throughout 2018. Waits’ time-honored and critically acclaimed 1973 debut Closing Time was released when the singer-songwriter was 23 years old and foreshadowed the distinctly lyrical storytelling and original blending of jazz, blues and folk styles that would become hallmarks of his distinguished career. Home to such enduring career classics as lead single “Ol’ 55,” the heartbreaking “Martha” and the gentle acoustic folk of “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You,” a number of artists covered songs from the album including Tim Buckley, Bette Midler and the Eagles.

File Under: Rock
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zummoPeter Zummo: Frame Loop (Foom) LP
“A few years ago , American composer and trombonist Peter Zummo discovered a 1984 recording of unreleased material from his Six Songs suite in his archive. Six Songs was the basis for Lateral pass , his award winning score for modern-dance choreographer Trisha Brown’s work of the same name. Material taken from Six Songs can also be heard on his seminal Zummo WIth An X (Loris Bend, 1985/Optimo 2012). The work is now being released as this new album, r ecorded live and in single takes, it features a stellar line-up of longtime Zummo collaborators: Arthur Russell on amplified cello, Bill Tuyle on marimba, and Mustafa Ahmed on congas. Zummo plays trombone and euphonium. He describes the recording as ‘an exercise in spontaneous arrangement’. He mainly hews close to the score, while from time to time introducing canonic lines and variations. Arthur Russell, using his signature amplified cello sound, alternates between solos and rhythm playing, while Ruyle vamps on the notation, while Mustafa Ahmed’s improvised percussion drives the forward momentum. Sometimes the music takes its time traversing a sonic landscape; at other points, it jumps from one section to another . Players’ decisions push and pull the downbeat ; rounds emerge, then disappear…”

File Under: Electronic, Experimental
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hexadicVarious: Hexadic III (Drag City) LP
In tomorrow… If we subscribe to the current ISO 8601, then 2018 is Hexadic year three—the third annum since we were introduced to a new wave in combinatorial theory with powerful potentialities for music composition. The book, The Hexadic System, was written by Six Organs of Admittance’s Ben Chasny, who demonstrated the possibilities of the system with two albums of Hexadic composition, as well as touring the music and chairing talks on the process and uses of THE SYSTEM around the United States and Great Britain. This third installment of the Hexadic series had been planned from the beginning—inviting others outside of Ben Chasny’s Hexadic headquarters to make music using THE SYSTEM. Features music from Moon Duo, Jenks Miller, Meg Baird & Charlie Saufley, Tashi Dorji, Richard Youngs, Phil Legard, and Stephen O’Malley, Tim Wyskida & Marc Urselli.

File Under: Folk, Experimental
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tg3Various: Typical Girls Vol 3 (Emotional Response) LP
In tomorrow… Emotional Response continue their quest to highlight the finest in current female fronted punk, post-punk, hardcore and indie. Following on from the two previous vibrant volumes of Typical Girls, Emotional Response was quickly presented with a wealth of staggeringly high quality material. Rather than sit on tracks, or exclude material that the world needed to hear, it was feverishly decided to release two new breath-taking volumes simultaneously (Volumes 3 & 4). Essential listening. Features tracks from C.H.E.W., Sick Bags, Alice Bag, Daudyflin, Swann Danger, Warm Bodies, Natterers, Rata Negra, Judy And The Jerks, Macho Boys, Crooked Bangs, Scaredy Snake, and more.

File Under: Post Punk, Indie

tg4Various: Typical Girls Vol 4 (Emotional Rescue) LP
In tomorrow… Emotional Response continue their quest to highlight the finest in current female fronted punk, post-punk, hardcore and indie. Following on from the two previous vibrant volumes of Typical Girls, Emotional Response was quickly presented with a wealth of staggeringly high quality material. Rather than sit on tracks, or exclude material that the world needed to hear, it was feverishly decided to release two new breath-taking volumes simultaneously (Volumes 3 & 4). Essential listening. Features tracks from Neon, No Love, French Vanilla, Janitor Scum And The Scums, Couteau Latex, Chroma, The Primitives, Replica, Cruel Summer, C-3’s, and more.

File Under: Post Punk, Indie Rock

warfaring-strangers-acid-nightmares-1Various: Warfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares (Numero) LP
FINALLY BACK IN STOCK!!! As the hippie movement hurdled towards its emanate demise, bad vibes infiltrated the rock world. Tainted LSD, loud motorcycles, and a series of brutal deaths spawned inspiration for guitar-wielding teenagers across the globe. Implementing deafening fuzz and satanic screams to create their protometal monstrosities, short-lived stoner bands pressed their lysergic experiments in microscopic quantities before blacking out entirely. Lifted from the ashes of the acid rock hell fire are 18 distorted tales of dope fiends, pill poppers, and the baddest of trips. Deluxe 2LP comes housed in a blacklight poster-style jacket, replete with flocking and lysergic neon. 24 pages documenting the creeping existential dread of the hard rock underground are tucked into the gatefold pocket alongside two dead dinosaur-heavy LPs.

File Under: Psych, Hard Rock
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A Winged Victory for the Sullen: ATOMOS (Kranky) LP
Adele: 21 (XL) LP
John Bender: Plaster Falling (Superior Viaduct) LP
Drab Majesty: Careless (Dais) LP
Drab Majesty: The Demonstration (Dais) LP
Deux Filles: Silence & Wisdom (Dark Entries) LP
Flesh Eaters: A Minute to Pray A Second to Die (Superior Viaduct) LP
Flesh Eaters: Forever Came Today (Superior Viaduct) LP
Jamie XX: In Colour (Young Turks)
J Dilla: Donuts (Stones Throw) LP
Drive Like Jehu: Yank Crime (Hedhunter) LP
The Fall: Hex Enduction Hour (Superior Viaduct) LP
The Fall: Live at the Witch Trials (Superior Viaduct) LP
Liquid Liquid: Optimo (Superior Viaduct) LP
Liquid Liquid: s/t (Superior Viaduct) LP
Liquid Liquid: Successive Reflexes (Superior Viaduct) LP
Madvillain: Madvillainy (Stones Throw) LP
Melvins: Houdini (Thirdman) LP
Pandit Pran Nath: The Raga Cycle (SMM) LP
No Age: Snares Like A Haircut (Drag City) LP
Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht (Brain) LP
Klaus Schulze: Timewind (Brain) LP
Shellac: 1000 Hurts (Touch & Go) LP
Shellac: Dude Incredible (Touch & Go) LP
Shellac: Excellent Italian Greyhound (Touch & Go) LP
Sigur Ros: ( ) (KrunK) LP
Solid Space: Space Museum (Dark Entries) LP
The Sound: From The Lions Mouth (1972) LP
Stars of the Lid: And Their Refinement of the Decline (Kranky) LP
Suicide: First Rehearsal Tapes (Superior Viaduct) LP
Ebo Taylor: And the Pelikans (Mr. Bongo) LP
Justin Walter: Unseen Forces (Kranky) LP
Yo La Tengo: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (Matador) LP
Various: Funky 16 Corners (Stones Throw) LP

Tagged , , , , , , ,

…..new letters #831 – lap 42…..

As you can see, we are swimming in new stock this week! Needless to say, I’m swamped, so read on or better still, come down for a dig.

…..picks of the week…..

shimizuYasuaki Shimizu: Music for Commericals (Crammed) LP
In tomorrow… You bought Kakashi (you did right?) now get Shimizu’s version of library music. Killer…. Yasuaki Shimizu’s Music For Commercials [1987] is here given a much needed first ever reissue some 30 years since it appeared on Crammed’s Made To Measure library music series, which also included editions by Tuxedomoon and Hctor Zazou. Very safe to say that if you were enchanted by Visible Cloaks’ Reassemblage LP or their Fairlights, Mallets & Bamboo mixes, this one is a must! In 24 parts Shimizu unfolds a tightly packed lattice of crystalline gems and vignettes crafted for TV commercials, plus the 15 minute Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu piece for a Computer Animation Video which is practically worth the price of entry alone. Presumably titled after the corporations who employed him, you’ll find stacks of super sweet, pastoral 4th world emulations patched from keys, sax, gamelan, drum machines and electronics for the likes of Seiko, Ricoh, Sharp, Honda, Knorr and Bridgestone, each as exactingly cute and piquant as the last. Known for his numerous albums, soundtracks, and collaborations including with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Bjork, this is perhaps Shimizu’s most sought-after and influential work and one that perfectly encapsulates our collective yearning for peace and quiet in an increasingly commercialised, chaotic world. Recommended!

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Jazz, Library
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buy corals

Loke Rahbek & Frederik Valentin: Buy Corals Online (Editions Mego) LP
One of my very favorites from last year, I’m not sure I’ve ever had enough stock to even put this in the news letter. An amazing slab of modern ambient/electronic… First outing for this collaborative effort from the prolific Posh Isolation mainstay Loke Rahbek and Frederik Valentin of KYO, also on the revered Danish label. As old friends circling around the same scene, this is the first time they have combined their respective perspectives. The results are an ambitious aquatic infused audio environment. Recorded near water at Valentin’s studio within the vicinity of the new aquarium in Copenhagen, Buy Corals Online channels the sensual floating aspects of such environments. “During Japan’s Edo period (1615-1868) the phrase ‘the floating world’ (ukiyo) evoked an imagined universe of wit, stylishness, and extravagance — with overtones of naughtiness, hedonism, and transgression. Implicit was a contrast to the humdrum of everyday obligation. The concept of the floating world began in the Japanese heartland, migrated eastward, and came to full flower in Edo (present-day Tokyo), where its main venues were popular Kabuki theaters and red-light districts.” –Wikipedia Buy Corals Online arrives as a suite of works embracing the joy of being close to something you don’t require interaction in order to experience. This enchanting aquatic infused audio hovers a sensual world rich in sensory experience. Loke Rahbek and Frederik Valentin’s debut outing conjurer’s a world both sensual and abstract as it moves casually alongside fantasy. Recorded 2016 & 2017, Copenhagen S, Natfabrikken. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin, Germany 2017.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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nashJonny Nash/Lindsay Todd: Fauna Mapping (Island of the Gods) LP
Another of my favorites that might not have made the list late last year. Another killer outing from Island of the Gods, tropical Fourth World vibes full of lush found sounds, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED… Jonny Nash (Gaussian Curve, Melody As Truth) and Firecracker’s Lindsay Todd get barefoot and turn out a stunner of an LP with Fauna Mapping. Over the course of twelve compositions, you’ll find the pair utilizing their recordings in a whole host of ways, avoiding the well-trodden clichés of the “exotic” and instead attempting to achieve a personal interpretation of the flora, fauna, and climate of the island. Spending time amidst the insects, rice fields, and scorching sun, the pair gathered a library of found sounds which were then taken back to a studio space to be stretched, mangled, and manipulated alongside a variety of electronic and acoustic instruments. The outdoor studio itself became a living instrument, with the duo setting up multiple microphones for durations of up to 12 hours around the space, layering and processing the results in tracks such as “Fauna Mapping” and “A Series Of Small Frogs”.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Field Recordings, Fourth World
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…..new arrivals…..


Bell Witch: Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore) LP
In tomorrow… Finally some stock! These might all be gone  before you even read this, but we’ll be getting more next week or so too… With their third full-length album Mirror Reaper, Seattle doom metal duo Bell Witch have created their most enormous and all-encompassing work to date.The band takes their blueprint for minimalistic, mournful, yet massive sound and expands it to a new level, doing the unthinkable in the genre: a continuous 83-minute piece unfolding as a single time-stretching track. Once again engineered and mixed by veteran producer Billy Anderson (who claims this as one of the milestones in his entire producing career) the duo of Dylan Desmond (bass, vocals) and Jesse Shreibman (drums, vocals, organ) push the sound even further beyond their landmark 2015 album, the genre-defining Four Phantoms. With organ adding a new layer, the album also sees honorary member and guest vocalist Erik Moogridge (Aerial Ruin) return once again offering an even more prominent presence with his vocals. On the themes surrounding the concept and lyrics, the band states: “Our original idea for this record was to write a two-song album titled As Above / So Below. These two songs would have been split into seven movements to correlate with the seven Hermetic principals. The process took a life of its own and upon completion we have one song spanning 83 minutes. It is titled in reference to the axiom ‘As Above So Below’. During the writing process we were devastated by the loss of our dear friend and former drummer, Adrian Guerra. Out of love for and in respect to his memory, we reserved an important yet brief section in the song for him that features vocal tracks left over from our previous album. We believe he would be proud of it.”

File Under: Metal
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Alberto Boccardi & Stefano Pilia: Bastet (Nashazphone) LP
Collaboration piece between two major players in the contemporary Italian electro-acoustic music scene. Alberto Boccardi has studied composition and music theory at Milan’s Music Civic Academy and has frequently collaborated with Lawrence English, Nicola Ratti, and Maurizio Abate, among others. Stefano Pilia is a prolific guitarist and electro-acoustic theorist with a massive body of work and compositions. He has collaborated with Mike Watt, Nico Vascellari, David Tibet, and Valerio Tricoli, to name a few. “The sounding worlds of Boccardi and Pilia meet in quasi-narrative paths. Immediately, from the first glance at the tracklist, something seems to thematize the encounter in its two-faced nature: two dedications (‘Bastet’ and ‘Dayira’, the birth), each one in two parts, but also an encounter between electric guitar and percussions. The guitar being itself already an encounter between acoustic and electric sounds. Yet again, organic and electronic soundscapes are coupled down into introspection and vision. While ‘Bastet’ is set to follow an inner voyage along memories and ambiences where Popol Vuh and Robert Rich seem to faintly appear, it is ‘Dayira’ that is given the mission of projecting the inner vision into vast emotional landscapes. And at the very end something new is birthed, a minor chord that apparently has nothing to do with the drones and patterns preceding it, along the sound of the entire album. An intriguing surprise that is driven by an electronic, floating aura to a quasi-interrupted ending. Functioning as a promise that this voyage has yet to be finished.” –Massimilano Viel, Milano, Italy, January 2018 “I love this new album Bastet by Alberto Boccardi and Stefano Pilia right from my first listen I decided I would go to the sea (my pedro town is in the harbor of Los Angeles) to write my thoughts about it cuz the sea is what I first thought of when I heard the first sounds of it coming — I figured it was the sea cuz I had feelings from the music I had these sensations cuz I felt I was in the ocean — on a boat… actually not just on a boat but in the bottom of it — down in the bilge. The musical interaction between Alberto and Stefano is seamless and whole, free of potentially encumbering static structures. I’m drawn into the pitch and yaw, the port and starboard, the heave and ho. The piece is made of two parts (‘Bastet’ and ‘Dayira’) with each of those parts being made of likewise two parts. By the middle I feel lower in the bowels of the boat and in fact, this boat is now feeling like a submarine and so not only am I deep down up in the vessel itself, the world I feel around in is also deep down in it, deep down beneath the waves and so I feel the pushing of currents, the pressure of the depths compressing the bulkheads. On the very bottom of the hull’s inside, over the keel I place my head so the vibrations can pass right the bone of my skull. The last part of the voyage for me is a surprise cuz now the sub feels more like a train. We’re still moving but everything is no longer wet and there are many gifts falling into my eyes and I survey the passing landscapes. The mechanized sounds throughout the piece by now only confirm my suspicion they were only coincidences of chance and not purpose-built reels of barbed-wire to enforce fake borders. Maybe this ‘railroad’ in my head actually was the sea becoming a river and I got confused. Whatever, Alberto and Stefano created and preformed a whole and beautiful work that I feel we are very lucky to get to share with them. Music connected by imagination to let the spirit flow true. No wonder I read somewhere the cat-headed old Egypt deity of past was considered the guardian of the dream world. I am inspired. Grazie, fratelli.” –Mike Watt, San Pedro, California, January 2018

File Under: Electronic, Experimental
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David Bowie: Heroes (Parlophone) LP
In 1976 David Bowie relocated to Berlin, enlisting Brian Eno and Tony Visconti to begin recording the albums that would become known as his “Berlin Trilogy”: Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979). Most of the music across the three albums wasn’t even recorded in Berlin, the unifying factor actually being Bowie, Visconti and Eno. In fact the only album of the three to literally be recorded in Berlin was the second installment, Heroes. Joining the fold here was King Crimson’s Robert Fripp whose strapping guitar lines proved to be the perfect foil for Bowie and Visconti’s ahead of the curve sonic innovations. Propelled by the spectrum spanning singles “Heroes” and “Beauty And The Beast,” the LP peaked at No. 3 in the UK album chart in November 1977, a year in which it was also named Album Of The Year in both NME and Melody Maker. No mean feat considering the other great music that was released that year, not least of all, both of Iggy Pop’s first solo releases, The Idiot and Lust For Life, two records which Bowie also had a very big hand in. There’s old wave, there’s new wave, and there’s David Bowie!

File Under: Rock
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David Bowie: Lodger (Parlophone) LP
In 1976 David Bowie relocated to Berlin, enlisting Brian Eno and Tony Visconti to begin recording the albums that would become known as his “Berlin Trilogy”: Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979). Most of the music across the three albums wasn’t even recorded in Berlin, the unifying factor actually being Bowie, Visconti and Eno. The final installment, Lodger features no instrumentals and is the most pop-leaning of the trio of releases. Toeing the line of accessibility and and experimentation is a Bowie hallmark and he does it to perfection on the melodic and multi-layered standouts “DJ,” “Look Back in Anger” and “Boys Keep Swinging.” Frank Zappa guitarist Adrian Belew also replaces Robert Fripp this time around as well and his free-range playing helps define the underrated record. There’s old wave, there’s new wave, and there’s David Bowie!

 File Under: Rock
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David Bowie: Low (Parlophone) LP
This OBVIOUSLY would be a pick of the week had we not been massively shorted on our order, more soon hopefully! January 1977 saw the release of the first installment of what came to be known as David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy. That album was the Bowie/Tony Visconti produced Low and it was followed later the same year by Heroes with the trilogy completed in 1979 by the arrival of Lodger. Most of the music across the three albums wasn’t even recorded in Berlin, the unifying factor actually being Bowie, Visconti and Brian Eno. Much has been written about the brilliance and braveness of the music on Low, and rightly so. It’s probably hard to imagine with the ears of today how absolutely unique the record sounded back in 1977. Apart from the obvious slicing of the album into two distinct sides, Visconti gifted Low that distinctive drum sound, among other things. Though Low was a record purportedly informed by the likes of Kraftwerk and other German musicians of the time, it actually sounded far more organic and not at all mechanized. This was in no small measure due to the nucleus of the band Bowie had favored during this whole period (starting with Station To Station), of Carlos Alomar (guitar), Dennis Davis (drums) and George Murray (bass). The album was a commercial success, peaking at No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 11 on the US Billboard Pop Albums chart. “Sound and Vision” and “Be My Wife” were released as singles; the former reaching No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart. Low sounds as fresh today as it ever did…thirty nine minutes of untouchable genius. Prepare to be transported by its gloriously uplifting melancholia and majestic musical language from a time and place that has yet to arrive.

File Under: Rock
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David Bowie: Scary Monsters (Parlophone) LP
Berlin Trilogy producer Tony Visconti returned to co-pilot 1980’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) which found David Bowie back at the top of the charts and in more conventional rock & roll territory (by his standards anyway) for the first time in years. Incorporating aspects of his classic ’70s output, glam rock and the avant-garde – and featuring such world class guests as Robert Fripp, Pete Townshend and Roy Bittan – the inspired collection yielded the stylistic hits “Ashes to Ashes” and “Fashion” and is regarded as arguably the musical maverick’s final masterpiece.

File Under: Rock
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S. Carey: Hundred Acres (Jagjaguwar) LP
At its heart, Hundred Acres – the third full-length from Wisconsin singer/songwriter S. Carey – finds him grounded and confident, writing the strongest songs of his career. More direct than ever, there is a wellspring of confidence in this new batch of songs that allow for ideas to remain uncomplicated while laying bare the intricacies of life. Written in between touring schedules and the growth of his family, Carey produced Hundred Acres at April Base in Fall Creek, WI with support from his regular crew and contributions from the likes of Rob Moose (yMusic), Casey Foubert (Sufjan Stevens) and Sophie Payten (Gordi). He employed a smaller, more focused scale of instrumentation than on his previous albums while writing mostly on guitar instead of his go-to piano. Using more traditional song structures instead of the Steve Reich-ian repetitions of his past work, a new balance is struck that creates something unique. The result is a collection of poetic yet clear-eyed songs that both stand brightly on their own and tightly weave together to create a powerful album.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Robert Cohen-Solal: Les Shadoks (WRWTFWW) LP
Comes as a limited edition 12″ + 7″ vinyl album; High glossy gatefold; Includes an exclusive Shadok drawing by Robert Cohen-Solal. WRWTFWW Records announce the release of the complete soundtrack of cult French animated TV series Les Shadoks (1968-1974) by Robert Cohen-Solal, available for the first time ever in its entirety. It’s the right in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jacques Rouxel and René Borg’s legendary television cartoon. Electro-acoustic pioneer and eminent member of the illustrious GRM (Groupe de recherches musicales, the French equivalent of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop), Robert Cohen-Solal has explored music and sound alongside luminaries such as Bernard Parmegiani, Pierre Henry, Luc Ferrari, and Iannis Xenakis, and is responsible for numerous projects in the field of applied music, soundtracks (documentaries, shorts etc.), and experimental recordings. His work on Les Shadoks is simply extraordinary — a fascinating and bizarre collage of wacky electro pop (à la Jean-Jacques Perrey), drones, musique concrète, classical, and dadaist sound experiments seamlessly mixed into a cohesive and cinematic listening experience. The ideal soundtrack for what will remain one of the weirdest animated TV series ever created. A true literary, cultural, and philosophical phenomenon in France, Les Shadoks caused a sensation while airing between 1968 and 1974. Its unique combination of Alfred Jarry-style surrealism, off-centered British humor, and US comic strip inspiration, all brought to life by illustrated bird-like creatures (reminiscent of Paul Klee’s La machine à gazouiller, or Twittering Machine), left a lasting mark, making the term “Shadok” an oft-used satirical expression to describe policies and attitudes considered to be absurd.

File Under: OST, French, Pop, Musique Concrete
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Conjoint: Earprints (Demdike Stare) LP
Demdike Stare present the first ever reissue of Conjoint’s Earprints, originally released in 2000. After a slew of acclaimed releases by Equiknoxx, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Shinichi Atobe, and Mica Levi in 2017, Demdike Stare start 2018 in typically unexpected style with a remastered reissue of David Moufang (Move D), Karl Berger, Jamie Hodge, Gunter Kraus, and Jonas Grossmann’s gorgeous sophomore Conjoint album, Earprints (2000). Conjoint was the little-known but hugely regarded ensemble founded by David Moufang two decades ago, featuring techno pioneer Jamie Hodge, Deep Space Network’s Jonas Grossmann, acclaimed jazz guitarist Gunter Ruit Kraus and, most intriguingly Karl Berger, the jazz pianist and vibraphone player for Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, and George Clinton, to name a few. The ensemble are accompanied on Earprints by Andrew Pekler, Anna-Lena Fiedler, Burkhard Höfler, and Kai Kroker, among many others, and flesh out a full frequency spectrum of instrumental and electronic timbres, precisely yet louchely coalescing a timeless and cool blue sound that is entirely respectful to its roots, yet dares to imagine them in an altered context. In that respect it’s an influential, memorable precursor to Jan Jelinek’s acclaimed Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records that was released the following year. Democratic in its construction and flush with pregnant, contemplative space between and around the notes, the lasting impression made by Earprints is indelibly classic, quietly awaiting immersion by a new wave of listeners who will no doubt marvel at its many charms. If you’re into late night listening and have followed the work of Move D, Miles Davis, Tortoise, Detroit Escalator Company, Elodie, Terre Thaemlitz, or Jan Jelinek’s frayed, late night jazz minimalism, this one’s for you. Remastered by Matt Colton.

File Under: Electronic, Jazz, Abstract
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demeyYves De Mey: Bleak Comfort (Latency) LP
“Following up Drawn With Shadow Pens on Spectrum Spools, Belgian sound artist Yves De Mey returns with Bleak Comfort, his third solo full-length. Geared towards serving up an intense musical experience, the album deconstructs regular club music to highlight some of its key elements in a transformative way. An album about absence, malfunction and disorientation, Bleak Comfort is equally packed with floor-functional material and left-of-center electronics. By turn sizzling and spherical, convulsive and atmospheric, Yves De Mey ushers his listener in a hypnotic kaleidoscope of sounds, providing a fascinating picture of his ever dynamic grammar at variable scales and tempos.”

File Under: Electronic
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felt crumblingFelt: Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty (Cherry Red) LP
In tomorrow… Anyone who has been living on the grapevine these past few years must have heard the rumours about the coming of the FELT reissues – well they’re here. During the ‘80s Felt produced ten albums and ten singles for the Cherry Red and Creation labels. This beautifully produced series examines the work of one of the greatest underground groups of modern times. These vinyl records, unavailable for many years, have been re-mastered and revisited by Lawrence, and he has fashioned the ultimate definitive collections. They are available in a deluxe gatefold sleeve. Lawrence’s ambition was to release the best debut English album ever! Adrian Borland offered his services, but commitments with his band The Sound prevented this from happening. So Felt began a relationship with Swell Maps producer John A. Rivers. Recorded and mixed over six days, the band got a taste of how bitter reality fares compared to the “mellow fruitfulness” of blind ambition.

File Under: Indie Rock, Post Punk, Ethereal
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felt igniteFelt: Ignite the Seven Cannons (Cherry Red) LP 
In tomorrow… Produced by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins and featuring the sky-scraping vocal of Elizabeth Fraser on the mighty Primitive Painters. Felt found themselves at the top of the independent charts. Unhappy with the overall sound though – it was as if some of Lawrence’s best songs were lost in an “ethereal swirl.” John A. Rivers has been given access to the original master tapes and six songs have been remixed. Also – side 2 has been focused, edited and “made symmetrical.” Finally these songs can be heard as intended by Felt. It has become at long last a cohesive whole.

File Under: Indie Rock
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felt 17thFelt: The Seventeenth Century (Cherry Red) LP
Previously named Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death, this album is now renamed The Seventeenth Century – the original name for the album was changed late in the day. This reversal of misfortune was classed as an awful mistake and Lawrence’s biggest regret. Fast forward to now and this situation can finally be rectified. “You can’t change the title of an album” – they told him – so he said; “if Kraftwerk can and Bowie can then I can too!!”

File Under: Indie Rock
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felt splendorFelt: The Splendour of Fear (Cherry Red) LP
In tomorrow… Lawrence escapes the contours of a bland city and retreats into his mind. Felt had risen from the underworld searching for a new horizon but only managed to slip into a desolate obscurity! Dark black slabs of creosote guitar – vast swathes of epic interplay – casting futuristic Shadows – an idiosyncratic and unobtrusively brilliant band, the music Felt made on this album is unlike anything attempted before. This really is a template for an age yet to come. And it pays to know that Maurice Deebank now resides in a monastery in Birmingham!

File Under: Indie Rock
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felt strangFelt: The Strange Idols Pattern & Other Short Stories (Cherry Red) LP
In tomorrow… Before the Stone Roses and after Be-Bop Deluxe and Plastic Ono Band, John Leckie worked with Felt. Booked into a metal/reggae studio in Birmingham’s industrial wasteland he sculpted a Michelangelo slice of new rock – exquisite and beautiful guitar odysseys – quite unlike anything the city had experienced before. Merging pop with a classical nuance Felt stood alone as the forerunners of a brand new style. And Gary Ainge was finally allowed to use his high-hat!

File Under: Indie Rock
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fever rayFever Ray: Plunge (Mute) LP
Karin Dreijer makes her long awaited return as Fever Ray with the project’s second album Plunge, the first release since 2009’s celebrated Fever Ray. Featuring lead single “To The Moon and Back,” Plunge was largely recorded in Dreijer’s Stockholm studio in collaboration with the producers Paula Temple, Deena Abdelwahed, NÍDIA, Tami T, Peder Mannerfelt and Johannes Berglund. “Fever Ray’s Plunge…is Karin Dreijer at her most vulnerable and powerful, a righteous reclamation of kink that extends a knowing invitation,” writes NPR. “Across 11 tracks of coquettish synth-pop cut with neon, Dreijer is not just frank about her sexual desires, but how she desires them – with consent, with trust, with pain, with love.” Karin Dreijer is one half of the electronic duo The Knife along with her brother, Olof Dreijer. Mixed by Johannes Berglund. Mastered by Mandy Parnell at Black Saloon Studios. Single LP edition with poster and download card.

File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop
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fireFire!: The Hands (Rune Grammofon) LP
Very much a tight knit unit with three equal players, Fire! has been likened to powerful guitar led trios such as Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, but with Johan Berthling’s heavy, doom-laden basslines being such a typical identifier, you can’t help but think of Black Sabbath’s debut album (1970) when it comes to hypnotic impact. The Hands is the trio’s sixth album and it once again displays a totally uncompromising and intriguing mix of (mostly) heavy, dark, and intensely burning music whether one decides to call it jazz or rock. The album closes on a quiet and reflective note with the appropriately titled “I Guard Her To Rest. Declaring Silence.” And you might say it’s easily their best so far. Personnel: Mats Gustafsson – tenor, baritone and bass saxophones, live electronics; Johan Berthling – electric and double bass; Andreas Werliin – drums, percussion and feedback.

File Under: Jazz
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haino sumacKeiji Haino & Sumac: American Dollar Bill Keep Facing Sideways You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On (Thrill Jockey) LP
Japan’s fearless multi-instrumentalist and cultural provocateur Keiji Haino has made a career out of his free-form musical improvisations and diverse collaborations. Whether deconstructing American blues to a few rogue notes hanging across chasms of empty space in his solo endeavors, sparring with the nebulous fringes of psychedelia in Fushitsusha, or teaming up with musicians like Faust, Boris, Jim O’Rourke, Stephen O’Malley, John Zorn, and Peter Brötzmann for fleeting aural experiments. Haino’s work is never pre-planned or structured, but rather a completely spontaneous exploration of chemistry, texture, and dynamics. SUMAC’s tenure is much younger than Haino’s, though guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner has covered a similarly large swath of musical territory across numerous projects and collaborations, from the sedated drones of recent projects with Daniel Menche and William Fowler Collins to the modern compositions of Mamiffer and all the way back to the restless evolutions of post-metal stalwarts ISIS. With his cohorts Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists, Erosion) on drums and Brian Cook (Russian Circles) on bass, Turner has dissolved the rigid forms of heavy music, searching for a balance between disciplined precision and unhinged musical barbarism, crafting music that vacillates between meticulously detailed instrumentation and uninhibited forays into oblique abstraction. For American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On, Keiji Haino and SUMAC met up in Tokyo’s Goksound recording studio to track a series of unrehearsed, completely non-premeditated sessions. Captured across several reels of tape, the collaboration harnessed Haino’s tension-inducing use of empty space on songs like “I’m over 137% a love junkie, and it’s still not enough” while pushing SUMAC’s dissident metal vocabulary on “What have I done (I was reeling in something white…)”. Throughout the course of its hour-plus length, American Dollar Bill pushes and pulls at the strictures of metal and bends the stylistic formalities of improvised music to create a sonic purge unencumbered by convention.

File Under: Metal, Noise
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haswellRussell Haswell: Respondent (Diagonal) LP
Russell Haswell returns to Diagonal with a new five-track mini-album called Respondent. Not quite an EP nor long enough for a full album, this record marks a significant shift in direction for Haswell, who collaborates with a vocalist, Sue Tompkins, for the first time in a career defined by its unorthodoxy, Haswell says Respondent is influenced by these formative years when he was exposed to new sounds and ideas but lacked the ability and equipment needed to express himself. “In a way I’m regressing, but I’m not trying to regress with the music,” he says. “What I’m trying to do is think about how I felt and the energy and what this stuff communicated to me.” Respondent’s juiciest cut is “Special Long Version (Demo)” featuring Sue Tompkins. One second shy of ten minutes, this is Haswell’s definition of house music. Taking cues from vintage Chicago tracks such as “Your Love” by Frankie Knuckles, Muff Man’s “Sit On the Face”, and Maurice Joshua’s “I Gotta Big Dick”, Haswell forces their essence through his filters, distilling the sexual energy to a crude groove, while Tompkins, a Glasgow-based artist formerly of the band Life Without Buildings, talks, shouts and sings, her voice distorted and dulcet. “I want your love,” she says at one point. “Let Suffering Become You” is a mangled acid stomp that starts with a sample from the 1980 punk documentary D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage (1980), with Guinness heir Jonathan Guinness haughtily observing: “An awful lot of people who enjoy punk would really like to be back in those days when they could actually see physical people hacking each other to death.” Elsewhere, “First In Man” is a cavernous dub-speckled track, with spasmodic lasers, dedicated to Diagonal co-founder Jaimie Williams. Haswell has chosen to release this material as a mini-album because he considers it an “underused format”, citing as a classic example New Order’s merger of their two early singles “Everything’s Gone Green” and “Temptation” on to one five-track 12-inch, titled 1981-1982 (1982), for the US market. He views this release as a stepping stone to his next project, an album featuring a number of guests. So don’t rule out that Kylie collaboration just yet. RIYL: Fad Gadget, John Bender, Smersh, LCD Soundsystem. Artwork by Guy Featherstone. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton. Clear vinyl; Edition of 500.

File Under: Electronic
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imarc4I Marc 4: Nelson Psychout (Vampisoul) LP
Italian library music expert Alessandro Casella on Nelson Psychout: “Welcome to the second release of Vampisoul’s Psychout series. In this album we dig into the record library of Nelson Records, founded in 1970 by the musicians Maurizio Majorana, Antonello Vannucchi and Roberto Podio after establishing the recording studio Telecinesound, right where the New Italian Library Sound was created. This is the sound that many collectors, musicians, record producers and film directors still like, look for, rediscover and re-use for their work. The New Italian Library Sound has the signature of I Marc 4, a quartet that recorded 20 albums from 1970 to 1980 but who also collaborated with the great masters of Italian soundtracks of the ’60s and ’70s, especially with Armando Trovajoli, bringing their own style into this new sound, mixing jazz, pop, rock and psychedelic music. Maurizio Majorana on bass, Antonello Vannucchi on Hammond organ and piano, and Roberto Podio on drums, were the backbone of the quartet, but the real soul was the guitarist Carlo Pes. Although Pes played with the RAI (Italy’s public broadcaster) orchestra together with his three colleagues, he did so as an external musician. He was a virtuoso guitar player with international experience who wrote music for the pop singers of the great RCA Italy label. His biggest hits were ‘Il Mondo’, sung by Jimmy Fontana, and ‘Che Sarà’ by José Feliciano. Thanks to their recording visits to Telecinesound, these four musicians were an experienced and very inspired studio band. Through their rhythmic experimentation they created a warm sound, sweet, most of the time sour-sweet, inspired by pop music of the period, filtered by their great technical execution. Their jazz roots did the rest to create the New Italian Library Sound. Any derivation of the pysch-groove genre is explored in this album. Despite having collaborated with the great artists of pop music, it is only in I Marc 4’s own records that we have the chance to hear a guitar so rough, aggressive and sometimes disturbing, as was required by the composers of the time. Enjoy the Psychout world of I Marc 4.”

File Under: Library, Funk, Psych


Makoto Kawabata/Richard Pinhas/Tatsua Yoshida: Trax
(Bam Balam) LP
Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple), Richard Pinhas (Heldon), and Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins). What else is there to say? Richard Pinhas is one of the more atypical French musicians of the last 40 years. He has been surprising everyone all these years — Always appearing where you expect him the least. Makoto Kawabata, who has been a big follower of Heldon, has also been a longtime friend and partner of Tatsuya Yoshida. So naturally, these three reunited in 2016 at the Studio Condorcet in Toulouse (France) to record a series of fiery improvisations and experimentations. Free noise, blues, and psychedelia are all intertwined, but there is an uneasiness to it, some anxiety matting the mix. The music is relentlessly broken down: percussive guitars turned bewitching metronome, while other guitars are taken on a sometimes lyrical but always chaotic journey, keeping the listener on edge. Repeat listens will trigger memories of German psychedelia or even the more recent noise rock or no-wave. Every title is named “Trax” followed by a number. The second “Trax” flirts with bands such as Can in their most primary form; that’s to say that it’s obsessivly repetitive. But the trio is so skillful that they turn influences into subliminal messages. Each “Trax” is a sonic outburst, relentlessly following each other. The musicians expose their most expressive and unbridled sides; it’s a free music but without the permanent collapse. Richard Pinhas’s guitar is a bit like Sonny Sharrock’s, but with some sort of Sonic Youth treatment applied to it, and you still can spot those particular effects reminiscent of the Heldon years.

File Under: Experimental

kudoTori Kudo: Gala-Kei (Bruit Direct) LP
Three levels of sound, based on an inspiration by Kudo Tori, with material added from the voicemail of Hashizaka Ai and her family, from a Maher Shalal Hash Baz 30th anniversary show in Shinjuku. Hashizaka’s sounds are full of the highly entropic sadness of northern Wakayama and Maher at Shinjuku sounds like they were a little angry. Kudo says that he picked up a sense of blankness and kindness from these fragments. Something like the feeling you get at an out-of-the-way bookstore that has a nice collection of books, or at a small cheap bar that has fried organ meat, or a bakery, or taking a long trip, or when you’re extremely busy with cooking, cleaning, housework, and child care, or other real experiences that make life worth living. RIYL: Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Tenniscoats, Pastels.

File Under: Folk, Pop, Japanese
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damnKendrick Lamar: Damn Collectors Edition (Aftermath) LP
In five whirlwind years, Kendrick Lamar has gone from being hip-hop’s hottest rising star to one of the most important voices of his generation. And as his latest album, DAMN., proves, he shows no signs of stopping. His third No. 1 in a row, the 7x Grammy-nominated release sees Lamar make another about-turn after the fearlessly creative excursions of 2015’s To Pimp A Butterfly. If DAMN. is a more stripped-back, direct album, it’s also another utterly compelling one. With his laidback flow and thought-provoking lyrics, it finds Kendrick at the very top of his game, making the personal political – and vice versa – and ensuring that he leads the charge, at a time when the world very much needs a voice like his. Featuring the hit single “Humble” and guest spots from Rihanna, Zacari and U2, this numbered, colored collector’s edition of Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. features the track listing in reverse beginning with “Duckworth” and closing with “Blood” plus alternative black and white artwork. “I think like a week after the album came out, [fans] realized you can play the album backwards,” Lamar told MTV News. “It plays as a full story and even a better rhythm…I don’t think the story necessarily changes, I think the feel changes. The initial vibe listening from the top all the way to the bottom is…this aggression and this attitude…You listen from the back end, and it’s almost the duality and the contrast of the intricate Kendrick Lamar. Both of these pieces are who I am.”

File Under: Hip Hop
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leviMica Levi: Delete Beach (Demdike Stare) 2×10″
Mica Levi presents her latest, stunning soundtrack, this time to the Phil Collins-directed anime short Delete Beach (2016), on Demdike Stare. Following on from the maverick pop auteur and film composer’s European Film Award-winning score to Under The Skin (2013), and her Jackie soundtrack (2016), this is Mica’s first musical accompaniment for animation, by revered designer Marisuke Eguchi, animated by STUDIO4ºC. Delete Beach is a sci-fi anime set in a near future where carbon-based energy is outlawed. The film supposes a paradoxical scenario, one where fossil fuels — the ostensible accelerator of humanity’s progress and decline — become energy for the toil against state oppression and enforced inequality. In doing so, it resonates with anime’s strong tradition of exploring eco-feminist themes and power dynamics, both socio-political and technological. Using a signature palette of dissonant strings and combustible electronics laced with skeletal percussive treatments, Levi paints a series of sweeping backdrops to the short’s blend of classically-schooled anime and up-to-the-second CGI designs. The central Delete Beach theme, a diaphanous section of airborne synth-string contours and charred guitar distortion carved in pirouetting turns-of-phrase, appears in Japanese and English narrated versions and an Instrumental mix. They are divided by the beat-driven “Interlude 1” and “Interlude 2″ parts, recalling a mix of string slashes mixed with opiated chopped ‘n screwed rhythms comparable to Micachu & The Shapes deconstructions of London Sinfonietta. After her work underlying and exploring complex characters in Jackie, a biopic of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and the alien-woman metaphors of Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, her Delete Beach soundtrack follows suit with an impendingly tense, viscerally affective sound that reflects and conveys a sense of independence in the face of uncertainty, of a struggle against imposed forces or control systems. It’s another beguiling testament to Levi’s role as one of the most original and eminent composers of her generation. Gatefold jacket printed on reverse board; Includes 10″ x 10” 12-page color booklet of cells from the film. Master and cut by Matt Colton.

File Under: Electronic, OST
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magmaMagma: Retrospektiw (Southern Lord) 3LP
The first 10 years of Magma were celebrated on three memorable evenings in June 1980 at the Olympia theatre in Paris. This retrospective, reuniting most of the musicians who had performed in the group, was issued as two albums, Retrospektïẁ 1 / 2 (double) and Retrospektïẁ 3 (single). Issued first, Retrospektïẁ 3 comprises 3 titles Retrovision, a long piece in the style of the album Attahk, in which the vocalists Stella Vander, Guy Khalifa and Maria Popkiewicz turn in a blazing performance over a driving rhythm section; a supercharged version of Hhai, in which the trio Lockwood / Paganotti / Widemann works miracles; and finally La Dawotsin, where, in a more muted register, the voice of Christian Vander triumphs through its mastery and profound sensibility. Recorded, like Retrospektïẁ 3, during the soirees at Olympia in June 1980, Retrospektïẁ 1 & 2 is an absolutely fundamental album in which Theusz Hamtaahk, the first movement of the trilogy of the same name, is presented for the first time. The second and third movements, Wurdah Itah and Mekanik Destruktiw Komandoh, were of course already well known. Although played in concert since 1974, Christian Vander had waited for years before recording it for posterity as he wanted every note to be as beautiful, magical, essential and definitive as possible. It is with the same respect for his music that he releases here the most successful version of Mekanik Destruktiw Komandoh, considered outstanding on account of two incredible improvisations from Bernard Paganotti and Didier Lockwood. Klaus Blasquiz, who did not perform on Retrospektïẁ 3, is the lead vocalist on this version – and justifiably so, since he was indeed the Magma singer who first sang these two masterworks. There’s no doubt about it, Magma have left a legacy of music that defies any of the standard and convenient classifications of rock, operating instead in a realm of their own creation. Southern Lord looks forward to being part of their ever-evolving story… Retrospektïẁ 3LP collection, including Volume I + II and Volume III via Southern Lord on the 24th November. Available as a limited pressing of 1500 hand-numbered copies, remastered by Brad Boatright, including original artwork by Eva Nahon, also including the classic comicstrip by Solé, Dister and Gotlib depicting Magma’s trials and tribulations.  Packaged in a beautiful triple-gatefold PLUS thick cardboard jacket/case.

File Under: Prog
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mehannaHany Mehanna: The Miracles of the Seven Dances (Radio Martiko) LP
Radio Martiko present a reissue of Hany Mehanna’s The Miracles Of The Seven Dances, originally released in 1973. A belly dance holy-grail from the organ king of Cairo, combining traditional rhythms with spaced-out modern sounds. Hany Mehanna, beloved musician and composer of the greatest artists from the Arab world, such as Oum Kalthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez, shows himself from a more experimental side on his solo albums. The Miracles Of The Seven Dances is a pure work of genius: hypnotic organ grooves, psychedelic guitars, mystic strings, and haunting percussion. Belly dance as good as it gets! High quality pressing. Artwork and label design by Pieter Heytens. Includes download code.

File Under: Belly Dance, Egyptian, Organ, Psych
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nazgulThe Nazgul: s/t (Mental Experience) LP
Lost-in-time kosmische/kraut/avant-garde artifact produced by Toby Robinson, aka The Mad Twiddler, circa 1975 for his private Pyramid label. Tolkien-inspired dark ambient soundscapes with spooky/ritualistic atmosphere, treated percussions, gongs and guitars, trippy Hammond and Mini-Moog, tape loops, weird noises, and drones… File under dark ambient, proto-industrial, kraut, experimental… RIYL: Kluster, Stockhausen, Taj-Mahal Travellers, Nurse With Wound, Throbbing Gristle, Lustmord, Cozmic Corridors. 24-bit domain remaster from the original tapes. Includes insert with detailed liner notes by Alan Freeman. LP version includes download code. “A major work of electronic avant-garde — high quality deep esoterica of the weird and spooky kind.” –Alan Freeman

File Under: Experimental, Ambient, Industrial
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oldenyolkOlden Yolk: s/t (Trouble in Mind) LP
Olden Yolk is a New York-based group whose penchant for dystopian folk, abstract poeticism, and motorik rhythms have enveloped them in a sound uniquely of-the-moment yet simultaneously time-tested. The project is led by songwriters, vocalists, and multi-instrumentalists Shane Butler and Caity Shaffer, whose interlaced vocals are found guiding each composition on their enlivening self-titled debut. The project was initially conceived in 2012 by Butler as an outlet for one-off songs and visual art while touring and releasing albums with the band Quilt (Mexican Summer). Following the release of a split-record with Weyes Blood in 2014, Olden Yolk became a collaborative entity. On the album, Butler and Shaffer are joined by drummer Dan Drohan (Tei Shi, Uni Ika Ai) and guitarist Jesse DeFrancesco who round out the studio sessions and live-band. Drohan’s deep passion for jazz, hip-hop, and experimental percussion come to fore while Defrancesco’s minimal yet powerful guitar ambiences are heard swelling in the peripheries of each song. The album was recorded at Gary’s Electric in NYC by Jarvis Taveniere (Woods) with co-production, electronics, and mixing by Jon Nellen (Ginla, Terrible Records). Other guests, such as multi-instrumentalist John Andrews (Woods, Quilt, The Yawns) and violinist Jake Falby (Mutual Benefit, Julie Byrne), add to the mercurial nature of the record, creating a landscape tinged with beatific songwriting and transgressive underpinnings.

File Under: Indie Rock
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oughtOught: Room Inside the World (Royal Mountain) LP
In tomorrow… On Room Inside the World—OUGHT’s third album and first for Merge—growing up doesn’t mean mellowing out so much as it means learning to pay attention, listening carefully and openly, staying somewhere long enough to really understand where you are. Recorded at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn with producer NICOLAS VERHES (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Silver Jews), Room Inside the World explores themes that have always concerned the band—identity, connection, survival in a precarious world—but with a bolder, more nuanced sound palette. Vibraphone, justly intonated synthesizers, drum machines, and a 70-piece choir suffuse the precise post-punk breakdowns that spangled Ought’s first two albums, giving rise to an emotional complexity that pushes their characteristically taut sound to greater depths. Ought approached this record with newfound patience, constructing a (digital) moodboard to set their intentions: Brian Eno and Stereolab synths, the Mekons’ 1985 album Fear and Whiskey, and Gerhard Richter and Kenneth Anger’s sexy, fluorescent hyperreal all made it into the melting pot. CD housed in 4-panel digipaks. LP in gatefold jackets with printed insert. Indie version LP pressed on coloured vinyl.

File Under: Post Punk, Indie Rock
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pinhasRichard Pinhas: Rhizophere (Bureau B) LP
Bureau B present a reissue of Richard Pinhas’s Rhizosphere, originally released in 1977. Richard Pinhas is one of the most important French electronic space rock musicians. Following five albums with his band Heldon, he released his first solo record in 1977. Backed by Heldon’s congenial drummer François Auger but no longer bound by the group dynamic, he explores his freshly purchased Moog modular system in search of new sounds. It marked a departure into new realms. “We don’t need new technique: everybody has a technique. We need new sounds. Trying to find new sounds is difficult.” Finding new sounds is the task Pinhas set for himself on Rhizosphere. Not long before, he had acquired a Moog modular synthesizer, then settled into his home studio and began a committed relationship with his new instrument. Rhizosphere wasn’t his first solo recording with the Moog — Chronolyse was made a year earlier and released in 1978 — but it was the first to be released. On four of its five tracks, Rhizosphere presents just the 25-year-old Pinhas and his synth alone together, a melding of man and machine that gradually becomes an expansive, outward-bound journey. Pinhas’s simple approach spawned a galaxy of diverse sounds and ideas. Each track on Rhizosphere inhabits its own mini-universe sonically and emotionally. The range of moods traversed is stunning. The only other human being on Rhizosphere is drummer François Auger, who accompanies Pinhas on the title track. The escalating arc of its 18-minute run plays like a moonbound rocket-trip, with pulsing synth and roaming percussion made all the more otherworldly by the decision to filter Auger’s cymbals through an AKS modular synthesizer. In science, the word “rhizosphere” means the layer of soil that surrounds and is altered by the roots of a plant. Using it as an album title suggests music as a kind of Möbius strip, creating its own nourishment, feeding off of its own discoveries in order to find more. But for Pinhas the choice was philosophically-inspired: he adopted it from a book about arithmetic by his academic mentor Gilles Deleuze. “It’s about no gods, no sentimental things,” he explains. “It means everything is the same until an event appears on a planet … maybe music.” Music as an emerging phenomenon, puncturing the surface of what’s come before: Richard Pinhas certainly found what he was looking for on Rhizosphere. 2018 remaster by Willem Makkee.

File Under: Prog, Electronic, Psych
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popoliTiziano Popoli/Marco Dalpane: Scorie (Soave) LP
Soave present an official reissue of Scorie, Tiziano Popoli and Marco Dalpane’s minimal wonder from 1985. Long coveted and hunted by collectors, Scorie falls among the strange and definition resistant artifacts of Italy’s remarkable avant-garde music scene of the ’70s and ’80s. An emblem of sonic diversity rendered through electronic sound, distilling a daunting number of traditions and ideas, while sculpting its own world of creative singularity, standing apart from the rest. While a great many of Italy’s avant-garde and experimental music practitioners began within the spectrums of popular music, slowly pushing into more explicitly ambitious and challenging realms as the years wore on, Tiziano Popoli and Marco Dalpane represent a change in the directional tide. Scorie is a part of movement toward, and the incorporation of, popular forms within avant-garde music which swept across the globe during the 1980s. As challenging and uncomfortable as it is seductive and inviting, Scorie weaves a world without boundary, of collision and harmony. A vision of possible futures, rendered in its present day. A melodic realm, almost entirely constructed through the use of synthesizers, with subtle interventions of electronic rhythm generators, bridging the metronomic territories explored by Terry Riley and Steve Reich and the drifting harmonics of new age, with the moodiness of new wave and the adventurous spirit of the avant-garde. Comes on color vinyl; Includes insert and CD.

File Under: Experimental, Italian
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prurientPrurient: Rainbow Mirror (Hospital) LP
Prurient announces Rainbow Mirror, in addition to the vinyl reissue of Buddha Strangled In Vines (1997), released as a four-CD through Profound Lore and as a seven-LP box set here on Hospital Productions, to coincide with 20th anniversary of the project.Rainbow Mirror is a release exceeding three hours in length, consisting of new material that delves into the glacial, meditative, and ambient side of Prurient creating an epic of pure “Doom Electronics”. Rainbow Mirror, which coincides with the 20 year anniversary of Prurient, a project that is steeped in history and origins. The cover art for Rainbow Mirror is the first collage created in the pre-recording era of Prurient. Like the first Prurient live performance 20 years earlier, the Rainbow Mirror lineup consists of three members. For this exhausting work, Dominick Fernow called upon Matt Folden (Dual Action) and Jim Mroz (Lussuria) to form the trio. All of the material was recorded live at Hospital Productions and later meticulously mixed and produced by Shifted in Berlin. Rainbow Mirror stands as another singular work amongst the vast repertoire that Fernow has amassed under the Prurient moniker. While familiar moments from the Frozen Niagara Falls (2015) album can be found within the massive scope of Rainbow Mirror, through the three-plus hour duration of this rural ambient industrial creation, Rainbow Mirror proves to be a monolithic, crawling psychological noisescape of time-stretching electronics, layered counterpoint feedback, machine loops, and maximalist pulsating synth passages. Like the infinite and distorted reflections produced by a hall of mirrors, Rainbow Mirror is a portrait in perpetual tension. Track listing for Rainbow Mirror, which will also include a short story of the same name written by Scott Bryan Wilson and Fernow in the spirit of violent dreams. Expert mastering by Paul Corley. Comes housed in a sturdy black-linen wrapped and pigment-stamped, debossed box with tip-on cover; Each record in its own individual printed jacket; Includes large format two-sided poster; Includes download code.

File Under: Ambient, Noise, Drone
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rennerMark Renner: Few Traces (ReRVNG) LP
Few Traces surveys the total chapter of Mark Renner’s scarcely released and unreleased material from 1982 to 1990, embracing and evoking the timelessness of his artistic statement: a wordless translation of the individual’s musical experience, met with the poetic expression of being here. The sum of Renner’s music is one-part literary, one-part painterly. The artist cites the individualism of Herman Hesse as a guiding force, and there are overt references to W. B. Yeats and John Greanleaf Whittier among other authors. Lyrical themes evoke the presence of the ancient past, much like early Felt songs or the spiritual visions of Van Morrison. Compiled three decades after the music was originally put to tape, Few Traces collects Renner’s early music but strives not to simplify or reframe it. The instrumental explorations remain on par with the great ambient adventurers of the period (Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Roedelius), while the vocal and guitar-centric songs crystalize across similar terrains being transversed by Cocteau Twins and The Durutti Column. Few Traces highlights in intuitive sequence gems from Renner’s scarce discography and archive: the self-released debut All Walks of This Life (1986), the aptly titled follow-up Painter’s Joy (1988), plus early singles, compilation tracks, and exemplary songs that saw no original release. Few Traces allows an intimate look at an artist growing into their sound and surroundings, finding the in between echoes and spirituality of the individual. It comes complete with extensive liner notes from Brandon Soderberg and unseen ephemera.

File Under: Electronic, Rock
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toopDavid Toop & Paul Burwell: Suttle Sculpture (Sub Rosa) LP
Never before released recordings from Logos Foundation live sessions with David Toop and Paul Burwell in Brussels, on May 7, 1977. David Toop on the recordings: “When Paul Burwell and I started playing together just after Christmas, 1969, we found ourselves wrestling with a new language of sound, listening, actions, objects and space. At first it was music. We studied in the improvisation classes given by John Stevens at Ealing College in 1971-2, and also took classes in African music at London’s Africa Centre. Most of the musicians lasted only one or two sessions so we resigned ourselves to being a duo and worked out an approach to free improvisation that expanded from simple structures and instrument combinations. Decomposition, we called it. We had worked intensively together, searching for techniques through which to decondition ourselves from orthodoxies, devising exercises in listening and instrument building, studying esoteric organology, bioacoustics, environmental sound, raw musics and anthropology. We were both fascinated by phenomena like diffraction, propulsion, resonance, projection, masking and heterodyning, and by shamanism, the symbolically grounded agency of shamanic drums, animal-becoming and noisy costume, the shaman’s capacity to enliven quotidian space with the commotion of discarnate audible entities from the spirit world. This recording is one of the very few that conveys anything of what we were about.” Personnel: Paul Burwell – percussion, whistles; David Toop – flutes, home-made reeds, whistle. Logos Foundation in Belgium is Flanders’s unique professional organization for the promotion of new music and audio-related arts by means of new music production, concerts, performances, composition, technological research, and other activities related to contemporary music. This organization was founded in 1968 by Godfried-Willem Raes.

File Under: Improv, Jazz, World
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tuttiCosey Fanni Tutti: Time to Tell (CTI) LP
The long-awaited deluxe special edition reissue of Cosey Fanni Tutti’s Time To Tell, originally recorded and released on cassette in 1982, sees a timely release after the success of Cosey’s recent autobiography Art Sex Music (published by Faber & Faber). Available now for the first time on vinyl, this deluxe special edition has been remastered and edited from the original audio tapes for this exclusive vinyl release. It is presented here on super clear vinyl, in a gatefold sleeve incorporating a foil block title and is accompanied by a 16-page full-color 12″ booklet containing the original cassette transcripts and photos, plus many new and updated statements and color photos.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Ambient
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flower of sulphurYoshimiO/Susie Ibarra/Robert AA Lowe: Flower of Sulphur (Thrill Jockey) LP
In December of 2016, three improvisational luminaries performed live together for the first time. Multi-instrumentalist YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO, SAICOBAB), avant-garde percussionist Susie Ibarra, and artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens) met up in New York City for a singular evening of exquisite sound, documenting an exceptional performance and displaying their remarkable talents. YoshimiO is a drummer and member of the revolutionary group Boredoms who also plays guitar, keyboard and trumpet. She is the leader of the experimental band OOIOO, a member of Free Kitten with Kim Gordon (ex. Sonic Youth), and most recently the vocalist in SAICOBAB – a quartet who blend ancient Indian musical traditions and instruments with electronics and modern sounds. Known for her ability to improvise in a variety of contexts, YoshimiO has previously performed and recorded improvisational music with saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, Jim O’Rourke, and recently with Lowe, and then Ibarra during a series of collaborative performances in New York City, late in 2015. Susie Ibarra, is one of the most significant female percussionists and composers of our time, known for her work as a performer within contemporary, avant-garde, jazz, classical, and world music. Ibarra studied with jazz luminaries Earl Buster Smith (of Sun Ra Arkestra), Vernel Fournier and Milford Graves, and Philippine Kulintang gong-chime music with Danongan Kalanduyan. Ibarra has been recognized for her work as a musician and cultural documenter through her work with indigenous tribes in the Philippines, receiving a TED Fellowship, an Asian Cultural Council Rockefeller Fellowship, and an award from New York Foundation for the Arts. She has performed with the likes of: John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Yo La Tengo, Mamadou Kelly, Sylvie Courvoisier, Ikue Mori, Marc Ribot, Yuka Honda, Derek Bailey, Wadada Leo Smith, and many more. Ibarra currently leads her band Dreamtime Ensemble with their new album Perception, blending strings, vocals, electronics and percussion in her compositions. Recent works include Mirrors and Water, a sound installation for Ai Wei Wei’s Circle of Animals at the National Wildlife Museum; Musical Water Routes of Fez, a music and architecture app for the Medina of Fez, Morocco in collaboration with architect Aziza Chaouni; Fragility: An Exploration of Polyrhythms, an interactive game piece commissioned by Asia Society in partnership with the Pioneer Works residency program. Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is strongly rooted in exploration of moments and the hypnagogic state. Movement and gesture play key factors within this process, and in the performance realm are focused on by voice and modular synthesizer. His most recent work has seen him curating an exhibition at the Museum Of Arts and Design in Manhattan called Subject to Gesture, as well as exhibiting works at the Rubin Museum in a show called the World is Sound as well as at the John Michael Kohler Art Centre in Sheboygan Wisconsin called An Encounter with Presence. Lowe has contributed music to Denis Villeneuve films Sicario and Arrival, and was a fixture of Chicago’s experimental community throughout the 90s and early 2000s prior to relocating to New York. Susie explains the idea: “We had all performed in different configurations before but never together as a trio. I think actually I have met each YoshimiO and Robert at different times when collaborating on larger works with Tarek Atoui. But we had not performed together as trio. I was very happy with the prospect to play a trio concert, as I could imagine the sonic palette could be very interesting, being that we each come from different aesthetic backgrounds but enjoy crossing into various sonic territories.” The resulting recording of their collaboration, Flower of Sulphur, is a transfixing piece of continuous improvisational work which explores the direct relationship between the artists and their individual configurations. The album takes the form of the trio each playing their principal instruments with no specific goal other than the exploration of the space in that moment. This spontaneous composition showcases the freedom and musical immediacy of all three artists’ ability to interplay as well as their individual unique techniques to create engaging experimental sounds. Flower of Sulphur was recorded at Roulette in Brooklyn in front of an audience; the trio are hoping to make additional live performances throughout 2018. The hour long instillation builds to a captivating crescendo elegantly fusing immersive layers, rewarding the listener with a true emotive experience.

File Under: Experimental, Improv
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plaenteartVarious: Music From Planet Earth Volume 3 (Stag-O-Lee) 10″
Stag-O-Lee presents the third and final 10″ in a series devoted to space-age sounds from the ’50s and ’60s. Includes a signed and numbered 24×24 cm screenprint of the front cover drawn by well-known artist Marcel Bontempi. Features: Rose DuBats, Dave Diddle Day, Jean-Jacques Perrey, Les Baxter, Russ Garcia, Gale Storm, Butch Paulson, Gene Vincent, Frosty & The Diamonds, Sun Ra Arkestra, Space-Men, and Marty. “It’s a perennial starting point for conspiracy theories, the perfect excuse for lost homework or any kind of irrational behavior. Alien intervention solves everything. Things from other planets are a sustainable reason to many unanswerable questions and, across the music industry in the late ’50s and early ’60s, in the wake of a slew of space-based exploitation movies, a series of 45s and suitably unearthly concept albums emerged to capitalize on this burgeoning, bizarre and mysterious idea. Everyone was viewing far off planets with wonder, amazement and the occasional well-directed sound effect. No-one really knew what aliens could do, so the potential for music to accompany whatever they did was limitless. Over 50 years after these sides were released in a fit of futuristic creativity, we’re still asking about the potential of water on Mars, puzzling of the rings of Saturn and wondering if anything really did happen at Roswell. ‘Aliens stole my dog’ screams the headline in the National Enquirer. Of course they did.” –Dave Henderson, MOJO magazine, 2017

File Under: Space Age, Exotica, Lounge

slasaVarious: Roots of Salsa Volume 2 (Grosso) LP
Pablo Yglesias, aka DJ Bongohead, compiles an amazing series for Grosso Recordings, Roots Of Salsa, with classics tunes from Caribbean music that became great successes of “Salsa”. Yglesias on the compilation: “This is the second volume in our series on the roots of salsa… The main criterion was to pick tracks that sounded adequate for today’s DJs to play at a gig, or were sufficiently interesting (or enough of a surprise to fans of the later version) to merit inclusion. The other measuring stick was that they needed to come from the old-school, before the more modern era (from 1962 on) and all of its recording innovations and marketing strategies… for now, listen to these dozen gems and then go back to their more familiar cousins from recent times and compare and contrast, and we’re sure you’ll be enlightened and entertained.” Features: La Sonora Matancera, Conjunto Colonial de Nelo Sosa, Chappotín y Sus Estrellas, Trío Matamoros, José Curbelo and His Orchestra, Flores Valdéz y Su Conjunto Musical, Tito Rodríguez y Los Lobos Del Mambo, Estrellas de Chocolate, Pacho Alonso con Bebo Valdés y Su Orquesta, Conjunto Kuvabana de Alberto Ruíz, Conjunto Niágara, and La Orquesta Siboney de Pepito Torres. 140 gram vinyl; Includes insert with Spanish/English liner notes by Pablo “Bongohead” Yglesias; Includes CD; Edition of 700.

File Under: Salsa, Latin America


Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO) LP
Alvvays: Antisocialites  (Royal Mountain) LP
Mulatu Astatke: Mulatu Steps Ahead (Strut) LP
Beatles: Rubber Soul (Apple) LP
Beck: Colors (Universal) LP
Beck: Morning Phase (Universal) LP
Boards of Canada: Trans Canada Highway (Warp) LP
James Brown: Superbad (Polydor) LP
James Brown: Excitement (Mr. Dynamite) (Polydor) LP
Budos Band: s/t (Daptone) LP
Nick Cave: Dig Lazarus Dig (Mute) LP
Childish Gambino: Camp (Glassnote) LP
Cluster: Sowiesoso (Bureau B) LP
John Coltrane: My Favorite Things (Waxtime) LP
John Coltrane: Ole (Rhinio) LP
John Coltrane: Sun Ship (Impulse) LP
D’Angelo: Voodoo (Modern Classics) LP
DAF: Produkt (Bureau B) LP
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (Columbia) LP
Depeche Mode: Violator (Warner) LP
Dio: Holy Diver (Rhino) LP
Gord Downie: Grand Bounce (Universal) LP
Dr. Octagon: Octagonecologyst (Universal) LP
Marvin Gaye: Trouble Man (Universal) LP
Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On (Universal) LP
Marvin Gaye: When I’m Alone (Universal) LP
John Hassell: Dream Theory In Malaya (Glitterbeat) LP
High Rise: II (Black Editions) LP
Johann Johannsson: Orphee (Deutsche Grammofone) LP
Johann Johannsson: Sicario OST (Universal) LP
Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures (Rhino) LP
Jurassic 5: Power in Numbers (Universal) LP
King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King (Pangyric) LP
Kraftwerk: Autobahn (EMI) LP
Kraftwerk: Man-Machine (EMI) LP
Kraftwerk: Tour De France Soundtracks (EMI) LP
Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (EMI) LP
Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um (Waxtime) LP
Charles Mingus: Pithecanthropus Erectus (Waxtime) LP
Charles Mingus: Tonight at Noon (Waxtime) LP
Thelonius Monk: Underground (Music on Vinyl) LP
Nightmares on Wax: Shape the Future (Warp) LP
Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine (Universal) LP
Psychic TV: Allegory & Self (Sacred Bones) LP
Psychic TV: Force the Hand of Chance (Angry Love) LP
Psychic TV: Pagan Day (Sacred Bones) LP
R.E.M.: Automatic For The People (Universal) LP
Roedelius: Jardin Au Fou (Bureau B) LP
Roedelius: Durch Die Wuste (Bureau B) LP
Slayer: Season in the Abyss (Universal) LP
Sonic Youth: Goo (Geffen) LP
Sonic Youth: Murray Street (Geffen) LP
Steeldrivers: s/t (Rounder) LP
Superchunk: What a Time to Be Alive (Merge) LP
Tragically Hip: s/t (Universal) LP
Townes Van Zandt: Late Great (Omnivore) LP
Velvet Underground: Quine Tapes (Sundazed) Box
Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti) LP
Tom Waits: Real Gone (Anti) LP
Tom Waits: Blood Money (Anti) LP
Scott Walker: Scott 3 (Universal) LP
Scott Walker: Scott 4 (Universal) LP
Weezer: Blue (Universal) LP
Various: Duomo Sounds (Livingstone) LP
Various: Tokyo Flashback (Black Editions) LP

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…..new letters #830 – finally…..

Loads of sweeeeet jams this week. And lots of real chill grooves to lull you through till spring. The new year drought might be over! I know there’s lots en route for next week too, rejoice!

…..picks of the week…..


Kuniyuki Takahashi: Early Tape Works (Music From Memory) LP
The Japanese producer and DJ Kuniyuki Takahashi is the subject of Music From Memory’s latest retrospective compilation with ‘Early Tape Works – 1986-1993’. Composed of two volumes, the compilations gather together a selection of tracks from a tiny run of privately released tape only albums, highlighting a fascinating early period in Kuniyuki’s musical output, one of which little is known. “After discovering the world of nightclubs in Japan around 1986, and the seemingly boundless freedom expressed there through music as well as art, Kuniyuki became inspired to experiment with electronic music. Excited by the possibilities of new music technology, he would begin to gather together a number of, at that time, reasonably accessible and inexpensive local keyboards, drum computers and recording equipment. This became for Kuniyuki a way in which to explore music not as such made for nightclubs, but certainly inspired by them. Setting up a home studio in his hometown of Saporro, Kuniyuki would record extensively during this period with the equipment he had gathered together, equipment such as Roland’s Juno60, TR-606, TB-303, Casio FZ-1, Korg 770, Boss DE-200, Foster A8 and a Yamaha MT44 track cassette recorder. Driven to develop a musical language derived as much by an exploration of music technology and a desire to create new sounds, Kuniyuki was also looking to evolve the possibilities of what he refers to as a ‘new Oriental sound’. Early Tape Works – 1986-1993’ then brings together two albums of material which not only highlights the evolution of Kuniyuki’s own work but also of Japanese electronic music as a whole.”

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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Nils Frahm: All Melody (Erased Tapes) LP
In tomorrow? For the past two years, Nils Frahm has been building a brand new studio in Berlin to make his seventh studio album All Melody, which will be released in January 2018 via Erased Tapes, before Nils embarks on his first world tour since 2015. Since the day Nils first encountered the impressive studio of a family friend, he had envisioned to create one of his own at such a large scale. Fast forward to the present day and Nils is now the proud host of Saal 3, part of the historical 1950s East German Funkhaus building beside the River Spree. It is here where he has spent most of his time deconstructing and reconstructing the entire space from the cabling and electricity to the woodwork, before moving on to the finer elements; building a pipe organ and creating a mixing desk all from scratch with the help of his friends. This is somewhere music can be nurtured and not neglected, and where he can somewhat fulfill his pursuit of presenting music to the world as close to his imagination as possible. His previous albums have often been accompanied with a story, such as Felt (2011) where he placed felt upon the hammers of the piano out of courtesy to his neighbors when recording late at night in his old bedroom studio, and the following album Screws (2012) when injuring his thumb forced him to play with only nine fingers. His new album is born out of the freedom that his new environment provided, allowing Nils to explore without any restrictions and to keep it all about the melody. Despite being confined within the majestic four walls of the Funkhaus, buried deep in its reverb chambers, or in an old dry well in Mallorca, All Melody is, in fact, proof that music is limitless, timeless, and reflects that of Nils’ own capabilities. From a boy’s dream to resetting the parameters of music itself.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Modern Classical
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Hiroshi Yoshimura: Music from Nine Postcards (Empire of Signs) LP
Not the first time we’ve had this, but last time it didn’t even make it into the news letter, so you probably missed it, so here this minimal masterpiece is… Despite his status as a key figure in the history of Japanese ambient music, Hiroshi Yoshimura remains tragically under-known outside of his home country. Empire of Signs – a new imprint co-helmed by Maxwell August Croy, Spencer Doran and distributed by Light In The Attic – is proud to reissue Yoshimura’s debut Music for Nine Post Cards for the first time outside Japan in collaboration with Hiroshi’s widow Yoko Yoshimura, with more reissues of Hiroshi’s works to follow in the future. Working initially as a conceptual artist, the musical side of Yoshimura’s artistic practice came to prominence in the post-Fluxus scene of late 1970s Tokyo alongside Akio Suzuki and Takehisa Kosugi, taking many subsequent turns within Japan’s bubble economy afterward. His sound works took on many forms – commissioned fashion runway scores, soundtracking perfume, soundscapes for pre-fab houses, train station sound design – all existing not as side work but as logical extensions of his philosophy of sound. His work strived for serenity as an ideal, and this approach can be felt strongly on Music for Nine Post Cards. Home recorded on a minimal setup of keyboard and Fender Rhodes, Music for Nine Post Cards was Yoshimura’s first concrete collection of music, initially a demo recording given to the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art to be played within the building’s architecture. This was not background music in the prior Japanese “BGM” sense of the word, but “environmental music”, the literal translation of the Japanese term kankyō ongaku [環境音楽] given to Brian Eno’s “ambient” music when it arrived in late 70’s Japan. Yoshimura, along with his musical co-traveler Satoshi Ashikawa, searched for a new dialog between sound and space: music not as an external absolute, but as something that interlocks with a physical environment and shifts the listener’s experience within it. Erik Satie’s furniture music, R. Murray Schafer’s concept of the soundscape and Eno’s ambience all greatly informed their work, but the specific form of tranquil stasis presented on releases like Nine Post Cards is still difficult to place within a specific tradition, remaining elusive and idiosyncratic despite the economy of its construction. This record offers the perfect introduction to Hiroshi’s unique and beautiful worldview: it’s one that can be listened to – and lived in – endlessly.

File Under: Ambient, Japanese, Electronic, Classical, Minimal
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…..new arrivals…..

alexanderHarold Alexander: Sunshine Man (Tidal Waves) LP
Harold Alexander was a competent saxophonist and dynamic flutist whose early and mid-’70s albums for Flying Dutchman and Atlantic blended originals, soul/jazz and R&B effectively. Alexander recorded three albums (including a live ‘Montreux Jazz Festival’ record in 1972) and contributed to various other recordings during his career. After a very brief period of recording music, from about 1967 to 1974, Alexander disappeared from the music scene. He is alleged to have commented on the music industry by saying: Most people don’t know what happened to me…I guess they think I’m gone. They didn’t kill my spirit, but they killed my desire to share”. Before his removal from the scene of recorded music, Harold Alexander provided the world with some incredibly funky jazz fusion tracks with a distinct otherworldly craziness. His most recognized LP is 1971’s Sunshine Man, on Flying Dutchman Records. On that album, the most sought after groove is the straight up banger “Mama Soul”, which features insane scatting over a delicious funky flute and organ driven beat. An immaculate six minutes of mental vocals and Alexander’s flute doing exactly what the vocals are doing. It comes as no surprise that “Mama Soul” was sampled multiple times by artists from ‘Blackalicious’ to ‘DJ Shadow’. Another highlight (one of the many on this album) is the adept double beat from iconic drummer “Bernard ‘Pretty’ Purdie” (husband to Aretha Franklin & known for his work with Isaac Hayes, Cat Stevens, B.B. King & Joe Cocker) who is delivering some of the most tight and wicked drum-skills known to man. Bass duties here are filled by another icon: the award winning “Richard Davies” (known for his work with Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Frank Sinatra & Leonard Bernstein). Production of the album was handled by industry veteran “Bob Thiele” who produced & arranged countless albums from the likes of Art Blakey, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Quincy Jones, John (and Alice) Coltrane & Gil Scott-Heron. Harold Alexander’s Sunshine Man is pure bliss, free-form Jazz with hints of soul and P-funk (courtesy of ‘Jimmy Castor’ collaborator Richard Landrum on the congas) to cosmic music with both profoundly spiritual and resolutely physical dimensions. Sunshine Man is that rare record that’s both far-out and funky at the same time. Originally released in 1971, now back available as a limited deluxe vinyl edition featuring the original gatefold artwork. To top all this off, this reissue also comes with extensive liner notes by Harold Alexander himself.

File Under: Jazz, Funk
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Laurie Anderson/Kronos Quartet: Landfall (Nonesuch) LP
Inspired by Laurie Anderson’s experience of Hurricane Sandy, Landfall is the first collaboration between the iconic storyteller/musician and the groundbreaking Kronos Quartet. Landfall juxtaposes lush electronics and strings with Anderson’s powerful descriptions of loss, from water-logged pianos to disappearing animal species to Dutch karaoke bars. “These are stories with tempos,” Anderson says. “I’ve always been fascinated by the complex relationship of words and music whether in song lyrics, supertitles or voice over. In Landfall, instruments initiate language through our new text software, erst. The blend of electronic and acoustic strings is the dominant sound of Landfall. Much of the music in this work is generated from the harmonies and delays of unique software designed for the solo viola and reinterpreted for the quartet. In addition, there were elements of the optigan, a keyboard that uses information stored on optical discs.” Kronos Quartet founder, artistic director, and violinist David Harrington says, “Laurie Anderson is the master magician musician who has always inhabited those secret places where technology has personality, where ‘real time’ is questioned and where all the elements of performance meet and combine into music. Her process is to gather and continue to gather potentially useful aspects as she sculpts a shape. Her sense of play and fun and her continuous experimenting make her the ideal chemist (or is it alchemist?) in the laboratory of music.”

File Under: Electronic, Avant Garde
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Michel Banabila: Trespassing (Séance) LP
Trespassing is a 2LP compilation focusing on Dutch electronic artist Michel Banabila’s incursions into otherworldly and imagined realms. LP1 is a compilation of works spanning over 20 years that acts as a bridge between his earliest work and his contemporary practice. LP2 is a reissue of his early masterpiece Marilli, a highly sough-after album that acts as both an LSD inspired DIY tribute to Byrne and Eno’s Ghosts and a youthful exploration of Banabila’s personal background and his experience as a squatter in Amsterdam in the early 80s.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Experimental
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Courntey Barnett: Nameless, Faceless (Mom + Pop) 7”
They announced today the upcoming album from Courtney Barnett, out May 18th. Since that’s months away, here’s a super limited (100 copies for Canada) single. Get it while you can.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Belle & Sebastian: How to Solve Our Human Problems (Matador) 3×12” Box
The How to Solve Our Human Problems EP project is the latest installment in a career that has always pursued a singular and delightful vision of what pop represents and what it can achieve, a career that has seen them triumph against the odds to win a Brit award, be one of the first bands to curate their own festival, and play at the London residence of the US ambassador. Belle and Sebastian’s new music has the timeless blend of joy and melancholy that has always characterized them. What has changed is how the group want their music to be released, and over the coming months, they will gift the world a double album’s worth of music – richly melodic, deliciously literate, as gentle as a summer stream but as insistent as a river. Harkening back to their 1997 release of three consecutive EPs (Dog On Wheels, Lazy Line Painter Jane and 3.. 6.. 9 Seconds Of Light), Belle and Sebastian issue three new EPs under the umbrella title How To Solve Our Human Problems, with the first EP coming out in December 2017, the second in January 2018, and the third in February 2018. The EP trilogy culminates in this limited 12″ vinyl box set containing all three EPs. Just as those three early EPs are a crucial part of the Belle and Sebastian canon, these three new releases aren’t merely a detour between albums, but as definitive releases in their own right. How To Solve Our Human Problems is both an era of its own, and part of a long, rich history. How To Solve Our Human Problems is, if you like, Belle and Sebastian Redux. When Belle and Sebastian felt new music percolating, they decided to break from the working methods of the recent years and instead stay at home, record the tracks as and when, often producing themselves, working with friends and collaborators to see what emerged. Working in Glasgow gave them the freedom to work without the constraints that making an album can impose: they could take their time honing and experimenting. One thing that has defined Belle and Sebastian has been their relationship with fans, and that’s apparent in the new EPs. For the three sleeves, the group issued a call to fans to come to be photographed by Murdoch at a studio in Belsize Park in North London. 50 were selected, and all those photographed were also recorded answering the question: “How do you solve your human problems?”

File Under: Indie Rock, Pop
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Car Seat Headrest: Twin Fantasy (Matador) LP
Car Seat Headrest fans, new and old alike, will be elated to learn that Will Toledo’s 2011’s Bandcamp masterpiece, Twin Fantasy, has been re-recorded and re-imagined and comes out via Matador Records He has, now, the benefit of a bigger budget, a full band in fine form, and endless time to tinker. According to him, it took eight months of mixing just to get the drums right. But this is no shallow second take, sanitized in studio and scrubbed of feeling. This is the album he always wanted to make. It sounds the way he always wanted it to sound. It’s been hard, stepping into the shoes of his teenage self, walking back to painful places. There are lyrics he wouldn’t write again, an especially sad song he regards as an albatross. But even as he carries the weight of that younger, wounded Will, he moves forward. He grows. He revises, gently, the songs we love so much. 2 LP Includes MP3 download coupon. Dbl CD includes a remastered version of the original 2011 recording, Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror).

File Under: Indie Rock
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Stanley Cowell: Regeneration (Pure Pleasure) LP
Around the time of this recording, Stanley Cowell had achieved a degree of prominence as the pianist for the advanced bop quartet Music Inc., which he co-led with trumpeter Charles Tolliver, as well as for unusual projects like his Piano Choir. With Regeneration he chose another path, essentially trying to produce a jazz-infused pop album with strong African roots, perhaps owing a little bit to Stevie Wonder. He assembled an extremely strong cast of musicians for the venture, including Marion Brown, Billy Higgins, and Ed Blackwell, as well as several African string and percussion masters and, by and large, succeeded conceptually if not commercially. A few songs use vocals in a fairly standard pop framework, and, while they are performed capably enough, the lyrical content leaves something to be desired in typical mid-‘70s fashion. But much of the rest of the music makes up for this with, among other things, a delightful fife and drum piece by Brown and strong bass work by Bill Lee (Spike’s dad). Regeneration is an interesting, often enjoyable album which, aside from its own small pleasures, provides a snapshot of some of the cross-fertilization in genres occurring at the time.

File Under: Jazz
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Betty Davis: Nasty Gal (Light in the Attic) LP
Limited coloured wax! Betty Davis was riding high in the 70s. A new record label, a series of high profile relationships, and intensely sexualized live performances made her a rising star. It seemed like everything was aligned to take the music world by storm. So Betty and band got back into the studio where she would act as writer, producer, and performer, creating what she thought would be her definitive release… What emerged was the unapologetically uncompromising, self-referential 1975 album Nasty Gal. Now – over forty years later – Light In The Attic Records is proud to announce the vinyl reissue of this final Island Records-release by unparalleled funkstress Betty Davis. The re-release features liner notes by John Ballon (writer of the Wax Poetics Betty Davis cover story in 2007), original album art, complete lyrics, rare photos, and interviews. Ahead of its time, Nasty Gal shows Betty digging deeper into her musical and cultural expression than ever before, and delivers from every angle. This is Hendrix and Sly Stone inspired funk-rock at its finest. From the title tracks mutant groove and grunt to her onetime husband and jazz legend Miles Davis co-written ballad “You and I”, this lady will tear your heart out! Betty’s time is now…

File Under: Funk
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Digable Planets: Reachin’ (Modern Classics) LP
Super limited coloured wax!!! At a time when hip-hop was determined to snap your neck, a young, hip trio from Brooklyn (by way of Seattle, Philly, and Brazil) conspired on an uncommonly smooth new sound and freaky way of speak, a titanically chill expression of Black bohemia loaded with jazz idiom and a subversive Marxist bent—and pushed it worldwide via an undeniable crossover hit. Digable Planets’ 1993 debut, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), unexpected to all involved, produced a massive radio hit in “Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)”, which won the 1994 Grammy for Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group. Unduly lumped into an “alternative rap” subgenre they chafed at, the Dig Plans were dismissed by some as one-hit wonders, coming out of nowhere; but the Digable Planets concept, and what became Reachin’, had been in the works for close to five years, as group leader Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler wrote music and soaked up game in multiple cities, navigating the industry of hip-hop’s golden age. In the end, Butler, Mary Anne “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira, and Craig “Doodlebug” Irving came together to create a seamlessly articulated vision of urbane hiphop cool with an uncommonly literary bent that subtly pushed the hip-hop genre’s frames of reference and added breadth to rap music’s burgeoning political philosophy. Drawing on inspiration from Butler’s jazzbo father, the Black Panthers, Jose Luis-Borges, the Last Poets, and Jimi Hendrix, Reachin’ posited a theory of “universal beats”, narrated by three unearthly MC’s that had “split to Earth to resurrect the funk”, assuming curious, arthropodic aliases—a nod to the natural collective action of the insect world. In just four years the crew would record two beloved and ambitious LPs before disbanding. Out of print on wax domestically since 1993, Reachin’ captures one of the last gasps of rap music’s jazzy, upbeat adolescence in the early 90’s—those warm, blissed-out grooves every bit as slick as when they were laid way back when. Put this on, roll up with your crew and bug out again with the insect tribe.

File Under: Hip Hop
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lomaLoma: s/t (Sub Pop) LP
In tomorrow… Loma’s enigmatic debut feels beautifully adrift in time and space. It’s an album that takes you to a place you’ve never been, with a rare confidence in the strength of its own vision. Though it was recorded off a dirt road in rural Texas, there’s no hint of country here: from the first airy notes of “Who Is Speaking?” to the decaying choir of “Black Willow,” Loma create a hypnotic world of their own, where rustling leaves, fuzzed-out bass, panting dogs, prepared pianos, and a wilderness of percussion form a backdrop for Emily Cross’ translucent voice. Cross is a steady, clear-eyed presence throughout, even among the heart-pounding pulses of “Relay Runner,” the skittering drums of “Dark Oscillations” and the galloping release of “Joy”; in sparer songs like “Shadow Relief” and the haunting “I Don’t Want Children,” she’s a fearless ally, swimming calmly with you against a powerful undertow. Loma is inviting but also beautifully self-contained, like a dream that stays with you all day. There’s something here for lovers of Nina Nastasia or Broadcast, but also Linda Thompson, or The Silver Apples – even early Pink Floyd. But most of all, this arresting and mysterious album marks the arrival of a band whose first steps already feel timeless. Loma was recorded by the group at Dandy Sounds Studios in Dripping Springs, Texas and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.

File Under: Indie Rock
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bronxzOST: Fuga Dal Bronx (Death Waltz) LP
Fuga Dal Bronx (also known as Escape from the Bronx) is one of Director Enzo G. Castellari’s crowning achievements. It’s part of his low budget Mad Max-inspired trilogy that started with 1990: The Bronx Warriors and I Nuovi Barbari. Fuga, though, is the jewel in that particular crown, and is so over the top it makes Mad Max 2 seem like a Disney film. Dispensing with story all together, Casterllari is able to go wild with crazy over-the-top stunts, explosions and gratuitous violence. Francesco De Masi’s score is nothing short of masterful proving why he is one of the greatest (unsung) composers that worked in Italian genre pictures during the exploitation heyday of the ’70s and ’80s. His score veers from tense, smokey, jazz-inspired moodiness to full on rousing funk action, masterfully composed and beautifully orchestrated. It’s another essential Italian score that deserves to be in your collection.

File Under: OST, Italian, Jazz, Funk
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iron fistOST: Iron Fist (Mondo) LP
In celebration of the forthcoming Netflix Original Series Marvel’s The Defenders, Mondo is excited to unite the previously released soundtracks to Marvel’s Daredevil – Season One, Marvel’s JEssica Jones – Season One and Marvel’s Luke Cage soundtracks with the fourth Defender, Marvel’s Iron Fist. Composed by Trevor Morris (Castlevania), the score continues the tradition of giving each of The Defender’s their own sound and feel. Marvel’s Iron Fist feels right at home beside the scores to The Raid 1 & 2, delivering moody, ominous synth cues with frantic, pulsating percussion that attack and release in powerful bursts.

File Under: OST, Superheroes
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jawsOST: Jaws (Mondo) LP
One of the finest achievements in film music and quite possibly the most iconic score of all time, John Williams’ score to JAWS is absolutely essential for soundtrack collectors. While the Grammy-winning 1975 MCA album was a re-recording, our 2x Vinyl set presents the entire Academy Award-winning score as composed and recorded for the actual film in its first-ever vinyl release. Album co-producer Mike Matessino restored, edited and mixed the music from the original studio elements for the best possible quality, approved by the composer himself. John Williams won a much-deserved Oscar for his work on JAWS, with a score that not only manages to accentuate the terror of the onscreen action without resorting to cheap stingers, but also layers in beautifully understated cues to offset the horror with much needed relief. Quiet and calm one minute, then ratcheting up the tension with screaming strings the next when the great white attacks.

File Under: OST, Sharks
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metal slugOST: Metal Slug (Data Discs) LP
The culmination of more than a year’s collaborative work with SNK Corporation, to develop an exclusive soundtrack release for the Japanese publisher’s most iconic franchise and one of the most beloved shooters of all time. The vinyl edition includes the complete music from the first entry in the series (Metal Slug: Super Vehicle-001), composed by Takushi Hiyamuta in 1996. Working in collaboration with the SNK Sound Team, the audio was sourced from a NeoGeo development kit in Japan and then mastered at our in-house studio in London. The release is packaged in a gatefold sleeve with accompanying double-sided lithographic insert, featuring rare artwork from the Japanese archives and a special translucent OBI strip with fluorescent Pantone print.

File Under: OST, Videogames
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portalOST: Portal (Mondo) LP
Mondo, in conjunction with Valve software, is proud to present the premiere vinyl release of the soundtrack of the legendary puzzle adventure Portal. The music to Portal by Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratories (Mike Morasky) is incredibly dense, featuring super atmospheric ambient soundscapes that you can literally get lost in, recalling such ambient pioneers as Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream. It also features the incredible ear worm of ‘Still Alive’, an absolutely charming pop song that once heard is never forgotten! This limited edition record is housed in a deluxe, debossed, ‘Magic Wallet’ style jacket designed by design wizard Alan Hynes (Fight Club, Anomolisa).

File Under: OST, Videogames
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OST: Portal
(Mondo) LP

Mondo, in conjunction with Valve software, is proud to present the premiere vinyl release of the soundtrack of the legendary puzzle adventure Portal. The music to Portal by Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratories (Mike Morasky) is incredibly dense, featuring super atmospheric ambient soundscapes that you can literally get lost in, recalling such ambient pioneers as Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream. It also features the incredible ear worm of ‘Still Alive’, an absolutely charming pop song that once heard is never forgotten! This limited edition record is housed in a deluxe, debossed, ‘Magic Wallet’ style jacket designed by design wizard Alan Hynes (Fight Club, Anomolisa).

File Under: OST, Videogames

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Mustafa Ozkent: Funk Anatolian (Hammer) LP
The incredible music of Anadolu Pop’s very own Dr. Frankestein-Maestro Mustafa Özkent. As The Daddy of all Turkish rarities, this record simply has to be heard to be believed and even then it’s still literally UNBELIEVABLE. As an expert in both carpentry and and electronics ,Özkent was keen to combine his skills with his interest in music and science.fuelled by a passion for traditional music values the natural progression was inevitable and as Mustafa’s reputation and repertoire of original compositions mutated so did his instruments. Özkent’s band is funky and loose in the way hyperdiscipilined musicians can be,and it’s no surprise that Özkent is a World-class arranger.But the record transcends mere craftsmanship by fusing Özkent’s Turkish traditions with his contemporary funk musicians across the Atlantic. Mustafa Özkent is a talented guitarist who was known to modify the design of his instruments to create unusual tonal qualities by adding extra frets on his guitar to play traditional Turkish modes. Özkent was a nationalist, but the blends his Turkish folk influences so perfectly into modernity of the psyche-jazz-funk that you might not even notice them unless you knew what you were listening for.

File Under: Funk, Turkey, Anatolian
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parkerBilly Parker’s Fourth World: Freedom of Speech (Pure Pleasure) LP
Most of the musicians who gathered to record this fantastic spiritual jazz record for the Strata-East label on May 24th, 1974 had crossed each other’s paths in various musical pairings over the preceding few years. Husband and wife team Dee Dee Bridgewater (vocals) and Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet) had been working together on albums like Frank Foster’s “Loud Minority”, and Roy Ayers’ “Coffy” and “Virgo Red”. Ten weeks before the “Freedom Of Speech” session, the couple had been joined in Tokyo by Cecil’s brother Ronald Bridgewater (tenor saxophone) to record Dee Dee’s debut album, the beautiful “Afro Blue”. Also in the studio on May 24th, 1974 was Donald Smith, (piano, vocals), fresh from recording on his older brother Lonnie Liston Smith’s “Cosmic Funk” – on which Ronald Bridgewater had also played percussion. Cecil McBee (bass) was also there – just two weeks before, he’d completed his own Strata East date “Mutima”, and in February he’d played on Mtume’s “Rebirth Cycle” – with both albums also featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals. He’d also played on Lonnie Liston Smith’s “Astral Travelling”.

File Under: Jazz
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payneCecil Payne: Zodiac (Pure Pleasure) LP
It’s impossible to talk about this album without acknowledging the spectre of death that hangs over it – not only is it the third entry in Strata-East Records’ Dolphy Series, a collection of archival recordings from some of the label’s close associates honoring the recently deceased multi-instrumentalist, but it is actually dedicated to two members of the band, Wynton Kelly and Kenny Dorham, who died in between the recording sessions and its release. The point is driven home even further by the fact that the album begins with a tribute from Payne to the fallen Martin Luther King, Jr., a piece that acts as a de facto solo for Dorham – his playing all rosy elegance and regal warmth – before shifting into the lighter (though equally coolly-paced) “I Know Love,” a showcase for Payne’s sax. While not the most somber jazz track ever recorded, this opening suite is a low-key and mournful way to open the affair, but thankfully the album really picks off and shows these musicians more in their element the rest of the way. “Girl, You Got a Home” is a funky piece, beginning very soulfully with some tight interplay among the rhythm section of Kelly, bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Albert Heath. Ware is in especially fine form on this track, tying together the disparate passages of the piece by grounding the more ponderous moments in a deep funk, while Kelly’s playing is especially ear catching in the way he stabs at his piano like it’s an organ. After the first two tracks take up nearly twenty minutes, the four-minute “Slide Hampton” feels almost impossibly brief, a feeling that’s enhanced by its quick, jittery, and infectious rhythm, driven by some really dexterous work from Kelly. The final track, “Flying Fish,” may be the album’s highlight, a Caribbean-inspired composition that casts the rhythm section as flighty ground for both Payne and Dorham to vamp on. The track is oddly danceable for something released on Strata-East, maybe the most fun moment ever for the label, and relentlessly uptempo. Though this release may be in part defined by the deaths that preceded it, it’s clear that the recording process was actually a lot of fun for everybody, as their enthusiasm and energy jumps right out of the speakers. This is one of the first Strata East records I really got into and is still one of my favorites, a must-hear for any fans of the flightier moments of Dorham or Kelly’s career, and a fitting tribute for both master musicians.

File Under: Jazz
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Richard Russell: Everything is Recorded (XL) LP
Everything Is Recorded is the full-length debut solo album from record producer and XL Recordings co-founder Richard Russell featuring vocal contributions from Sampha, Giggs, Ibeyi, Obongjayar, Infinite and Wiki & Syd plus instrumental contributions from Kamasi Washington, Damon Albarn, Rachel Zeffira, Peter Gabriel and Owen Pallett. The 12-track collection follows up the accomplished Close But Not Quite EP and is ushered in by the raw and emotional lead single “Show Love” with R&B singers Syd and Sampha.

File Under: Electronic, R&B
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schulzeKlaus Schulze: La Vie Electronique Volume 1 (One Way Static) LP
Klaus Schulze is a German electronic music pioneer, composer and musician that needs very little introduction. In the late sixties & early seventies he was a member of several iconic bands such as ‘Tangerine Dream’, ‘The Cosmic Jokers’ & ‘Ash Ra Tempel’ before launching a solo career consisting of more than 60 albums released across five decades. Collaborations were numerous and highlights include working with Steve Winwood, Brian Eno & Alphaville… just to name a few. Klaus Schulze’s proto moog-synthesizer work is regarded as a milestone in electronic music & during the decades he released landmark albums in genres catalogued as ‘Ambient’, ‘Electronic’, ‘New Age’, ‘Berlin School’, ‘Experimental’, ‘Kosmische Musik’ & ‘Krautrock’. Mr. Schulze had a more organic sound than most electronic artists of the time, often he would throw in decidedly non-electronic sounds such as acoustic guitar and a male operatic voice. Schulze is also known for developing a Minimoog technique that sounds uncannily like an electric guitar, which is quite impressive in concert. On occasions he would also compose film scores such as Body Love (1977), Barracuda (1978), Next of Kin (1982), & Angst (1983). His best known song ‘Freeze’ has been used in films like Manhunter (1986) and more recently in Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Bling Ring’ from 2013. In 2009, producer Klaus D. Mueller and Schulze began releasing La Vie Electronique (“The Electronic Life”), a series of sets that collected rare sought-after early works & unreleased tracks put in chronological sequence. These sets contain some of the best music Klaus ever created and are early 70’s masterworks that will appeal to both fans and collectors. Now available for the first time on vinyl, One Way Static Records presents the first volume in our new archival series ‘La Vie Electronique’. This volume (1.0) focuses on the years 1968-1971 and is spread over two glorious LP’s containing +78 minutes of Klaus Shulze rarities. This deluxe vinyl set also comes with an insert containing extensive liner notes.

File Under: Electronic, Kosmische, Krautrock
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clamsShannon & The Clams: Onion (Nonesuch) LP
Oakland-based, indie garage punk quartet Shannon & the Clams, known for a diverse sound that incorporates elements of doo-wop, early rock & roll, classic R&B, garage psych, and surf rock as influences, releases their fifth album, Onion, this time working with producer Dan Auerbach and Easy Eye Sound. The song “Backstreets” is guitarist Cody Blanchard response to the Ghost Ship fire, and particularly the issues of artist housing and being forced to make your own way in a society that is not arranged to accommodate artists. Album closer “Don’t Close Your Eyes” is Shannon’s response, an inspirational ballad urging those suffering through loss to not give up in the midst of tragedy. “It’s Gonna Go Away,” is the album’s biggest stylistic departure, mixing elements of soul, disco, R&B, psychedelia, the Zombies, chanting and baroque while opener “The Boy” is quintessential Clams, a heavily 60s rock inspired track with a mournful hook.

File Under: Indie Rock, Garage, Punk
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songsSongs: Ohia: Travels in Constants (Temporary Residence) LP
In tomorrow… Sometime in 2001 – sandwiched between the release of Ghost Tropic and its follow-up, the cryptic classic, Didn’t It Rain – Songs: Ohia recorded an EP for Temporary Residence’s distance-themed subscription series, Travels In Constants. The untitled EP consisted of a single 18-minute song – performed live by Jason Molina in his living room, recorded directly to 4-track cassette as the sounds of a typical Chicago night bled through the air. Built solely from an acoustic guitar and Molina’s familiar melancholy croon, it’s a hauntingly intimate track. Molina once remarked that it was “probably too out there” for a proper Songs: Ohia album, which is perhaps why it felt right at home in this context. Scarcely available in its original CD-only edition of 1,000 copies, Travels In Constants has finally been remastered and reissued for the vinyl format. Completing this reissue is “Howler,” another unusually lengthy Songs: Ohia track that, like Travels In Constants, was recorded and released in 2001 in an edition of only 1,000. These tracks are amongst the most abstractly beautiful and alarmingly delicate music that Molina ever committed to tape. Temporary Residence is honored to finally make thenm properly available to the world.

File Under: Singer-Songwriter, Folk

skmSun Kil Moon: Ghosts of the Great Highway (Rough Trade) LP
One time only vinyl re-press of Sun Kil Moon’s 2003 cult classic Ghosts of the Great Highway. An album as good as Ghosts of the Great Highway should never go out of print. Ghosts… continues – even fine-tunes – the work Mark Kozelek did with his former band, Red House Painters. These songs are virtuously stoic Americana – all shimmery guitars, measured tempos, malevolent moods, and wandering melodies. His voice sounds like Neil Young’s, especially in the effortlessness with which he hits the high notes then returns to a lower, earthier texture. Ghosts… is a travelogue of sorts, speeding through the Midwest and the West; in this sense, it’s the male equivalent to Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, especially in the imperfect mirroring of physical terrain and emotional geography. The band Kozelek assembled for Ghosts… – Anthony Koutsos (Red House Painters), Tim Mooney (American Music Club), and Geoff Stanfield (Black Lab), along with a few guests – ably but subtly bolster his lyrics and vocals, generating a steady clip that never flags. The result is an album as hypnotic as highway divider lines whizzing past. Includes original bonus track “Gentle Moon (Acoustic).”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Sun Kil Moon: Ghosts of the Great Highway (Rough Trade) LP
One time only vinyl re-press of Sun Kil Moon’s 2003 cult classic Ghosts of the Great Highway. An album as good as Ghosts of the Great Highway should never go out of print. Ghosts… continues – even fine-tunes – the work Mark Kozelek did with his former band, Red House Painters. These songs are virtuously stoic Americana – all shimmery guitars, measured tempos, malevolent moods, and wandering melodies. His voice sounds like Neil Young’s, especially in the effortlessness with which he hits the high notes then returns to a lower, earthier texture. Ghosts… is a travelogue of sorts, speeding through the Midwest and the West; in this sense, it’s the male equivalent to Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, especially in the imperfect mirroring of physical terrain and emotional geography. The band Kozelek assembled for Ghosts… – Anthony Koutsos (Red House Painters), Tim Mooney (American Music Club), and Geoff Stanfield (Black Lab), along with a few guests – ably but subtly bolster his lyrics and vocals, generating a steady clip that never flags. The result is an album as hypnotic as highway divider lines whizzing past. Includes original bonus track “Gentle Moon (Acoustic).”

File Under: Indie Rock

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Marlon Williams: Make Way For Love (Dead Oceans) LP
In tomorrow… Known for his effortlessly distinctive voice, Make Way For Love marks New Zealand singer/songwriter Marlon Williams’ exponential growth as an artist. Throughout 11 originals, he explores new musical terrain and reveals himself in an unprecedented way in the wake of a fractured relationship. While Make Way For Love draws on Marlon’s own story, it captures the vagaries of relationships we’ve all been through: the bliss (opener “Come To Me”); ache (“Love Is a Terrible Thing”); nagging questions (“Can I Call You”); and bitterness (“The Fire Of Love,” whose lyrics Williams says he “agonized over” more than any). Delicate and bold, tender and searing, it’s a mightily personal new step. The album was recorded with producer Noah Georgeson and his backing band, The Yarra Benders, in NC’s Panoramic Studios after several weeks of pre-production in his native Lyttelton with regular collaborator Ben Edwards. The finished result is an expansive record that moves Marlon several paces from “country” – the genre that’s been affixed to him more than any in recent years – with forays into cinematic strings, reverb, rollicking guitar, and at least one quiet piano ballad.

File Under: Indie Rock
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windhandWindhand/Satan’s Satyrs: Split (Relapse) LP
Two of Virginia’s finest heavy bands team up for an amp-worshipping, acid trip from hell on Relapse Records! Includes two brand new songs of smoldering gloom and grief from Windhand paired with three tracks of devilish, fuzz-drenched metal/punk from Satan’s Satyrs.

File Under: Metal
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hillbilliesVarious: Hillbillies in Hell Volume 5 (Iron Mountain) LP
Obscure Hell-fired Hillbilly laments, forgotten plaintive Gospel pleas, demonic alien visitations, grisly hayseed homicides and crazed inebriates. Originally waxed on microscopic labels and distributed in minuscule amounts, these troubled troubadours sing of infernal monsters and windswept deserts of vice, damnations and tortured final fallen moments. Years in the making – ‘Hillbillies In Hell’ (Volume Five) presents a further 18 timeless testaments of sinners, winners, troubles, tribulations, shallow graves and hot flames. An abandoned catacomb of subterranean 45s, some of these sides are impossibly rare and are reissued here for the very first time. All for your primal listening pleasure.

File Under: Country

la contraVarious: La Contra Ola – Post Punk & Synth Wave from Spain (Bongo Joe) LP
Bongo Joe records is pleased to present La Contra Ola, a compilation recording dedicated to the early 80’s Spanish Synth Wave and Post Punk scene. First to be published outside Spain, this anthology explores the electronic music side of the independent music produced in the days in the Iberian Peninsula: Synthetic pop music with industrial sounds including futurist Art Rock, dancefloor productions and low-fi experiments on cassettes. Classics or true hidden treasures, this selection of nineteen songs is symbolic of the musical dawn that Spain experienced during the decade marked by the return of democracy and by the creative freedom initiated by Punk music.

File Under: Punk, Synth Wave, Electronic
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Black Angels: Directions to See A Ghost (Light in the Attic) LP
The Bug vs Earth: Concrete Desert (Ninja Tune) LP
Michael Chapman: Wrecked (Light in the Attic) LP
Michael Chapman: Fully Qualified Survivor (Light in the Attic) LP
D’Angelo: Voodoo (Modern Classics) LP
Serge Gainsbourg: Histore De Melody Nelson (Light in the Attic) LP
Hayden: Place Where We Lived (Hardwood) LP
Mauno: Tuning (Idee Fixe) LP
John Maus: Screen Memories (Domino) LP
Ennio Morricone: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (AMS) LP
Neu: s/t (Gronland) LP
Neu: 2 (Gronland) LP
Olympians: s/t (Daptone) LP
OST: The Fog (Silva Screen) LP
OST: Escape From New York (Silva Screen) LP
Pink Floyd: Animals (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd) LP
Terry Reid: Other Side of the River (Future Days) LP
Tom Rogerson/Brian Eno: Finding Shore (Dead Oceans) LP
Rodriguez: Searching for Sugarman OST (Light in the Attic) LP
Super Super Blues Band: s/t (Jackpot) LP
This Heat: s/t (Modern Classics) LP
Tyler the Creator: Flower Boy (Sony) LP
Marcos Valle: Previsao Do Tempo (Light in the Attic) LP
Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun (Sargent House) LP
Link Wray: Mordicai Jones (Tidal Waves) LP
Link Wray: Be What You Want to (Tidal Waves) LP
Various: Microcosm (Light in the Attic) 3LP Box
Various: I am the Center (Light in the Attic) 3LP Box
Various: Even a Tree Can Shed Tears (Light in the Attic) LP

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…..news letter #829 – green…..

Ok, last time an Eno record will by the pick of the week for a long time.. unless they reissue the ambient series right away… This year has been off to a rather slow start for new releases, but… don’t worry, we got lots of dope stuff to stick on your turntable anyway. That used stuff I hinted at is hitting the bins, come have a dig.

…..pick of the week…..

agwBrian Eno: Another Green World (Astralwerks) LP
I swear, this is the last time an Eno record will be the pick of the week for at least a year, but if you haven’t picked this up yet (Austin…) now is the time… From its release in 1975 to today, Another Green World has been heaped with accolades. At the time, Village Voice described it as “the aural equivalent of a park on the moon” and Rolling Stone called it “a major triumph, an important record – and also a brilliant one,” whilst recently Q dubbed it “breathtakingly ahead of its time.” The album’s music veers from the experimental sounds of Brian Eno’s previous albums – based loosely around rock – to the more meditative, synth-oriented instrumental minimalism of his subsequent work. Produced by Eno and Rhett Davies, like his previous solo efforts, Eno had several guest musicians contribute to Another Green World: Robert Fripp, John Cale, Phil Collins and his fellow Brand X member Percy Jones. Unlike his previous albums, Eno worked on more solo material, including 6 songs in which he plays all of the instruments himself; “In Dark Trees,” “The Big Ship,” “Another Green World,” “Sombre Reptiles,” “Little Fishes” and “Spirits Drifting.”

File Under: Rock, Ambient, Electronic, Pop, Essential Grooves
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…..new arrivals…..


Franz Ferdinand: Always Ascending (Domino) LP
Scottish quintet Franz Ferdinand are back with Always Ascending! Nothing short of a rebirth, the album’s ten songs are a triumphant recasting of the group, bursting with fresh ideas and vigorous sonic experimentation. Always Ascending was recorded at RAK Studios, London and Motorbass in Paris, with the help of French producer extraordinaire Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix, The Beastie Boys), the mutual affection between band and producer seeping into every dazzling groove. Always Ascending shows Franz Ferdinand broadening their palate, as exuberant as it is euphoric, creating a sound that singer, Alex Kapranos, refers to as “simultaneously futuristic and naturalistic.” These are the louche tales of the Parisian night, the exhilaration of an Italian car racing down the autobahn; a feeling of euphoria so pure it could only exist on a knife’s edge. As such, best to press play expecting nothing more than a good time. “I hope that when you listen to it you feel exhilarated,” Kapranos adds, “Until you fully absorb the lyrics.” LP includes the album in a single LP jacket, 8 page 12″ booklet, 24″ double sided poster, and a download card.

File Under: Indie Rock
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marduk wars

Marduk: Warschau (Century Media) LP
Formed in 1990, Sweden’s Marduk are not only one of the most long running and respected black metal acts out there, but also one of the most productive. Even thirteen albums into their storied career, the quartet have never ever delivered a weak record and never wavered from their path of utter blasphemy and misanthropic contempt. Now, Century Media Records and the band are re-visiting various much sought after titles from their vast catalog: 2004’s Plague Angel was the first release featuring current vocalist Mortuus (Funeral Mist, Triumphator) who played a pivotal role in Marduk’s reinvigoration after the departure of previous singer Legion. He brought a new level of vocal and lyrical intensity plus a frightening stage presence into the game catapulting the group to new heights. The latter is perfectly presented on the merciless live album Warschau, recorded in 2005, as well as on such monumental studio albums like Rom 5:12 (2007) and Wormwood (2009), which will also be returning to vinyl in 2018. Warschau is available for the first time on vinyl in the U.S. as a 180g 2LP-set with gatefold jacket packaging and an accompanying poster.

File Under: Black Metal

marduk plague angel

Marduk: Plague Angel (Century Media) LP
Formed in 1990, Sweden’s Marduk are not only one of the most long running and respected black metal acts out there, but also one of the most productive. Even thirteen albums into their storied career, the quartet have never ever delivered a weak record and never wavered from their path of utter blasphemy and misanthropic contempt. Now, Century Media Records and the band are re-visiting various much sought after titles from their vast catalog: 2004’s Plague Angel was the first release featuring current vocalist Mortuus (Funeral Mist, Triumphator) who played a pivotal role in Marduk’s reinvigoration after the departure of previous singer Legion. He brought a new level of vocal and lyrical intensity plus a frightening stage presence into the game catapulting the group to new heights. The latter is perfectly presented on the merciless live album Warschau, recorded in 2005, as well as on such monumental studio albums like Rom 5:12 (2007) and Wormwood (2009), which will also be returning to vinyl in 2018. Plague Angel is available for the first time on vinyl in the U.S. as a 180g LP with gatefold jacket packaging and an accompanying poster.

File Under: Black Metal
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MGMT: Little Dark Age (Sony) LP
Little Dark Age is the long awaited fourth album from MGMT and follow-up to their 2013 eponymous effort. The 10-track collection was produced by MGMT, Patrick Wimberly (Chairlift, Kelela, Blood Orange), and long-time collaborator Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Spoon, Tame Impala) and recorded at Tarbox Road Studios in Cassadaga, NY. Little Dark Age marks a triumphant return to early form and includes the previously released electronica and psychedelia-tinged title song, “When You Die” and “Hand It Over.” Ben Goldwasser proclaimed that, “It feels good to make music that’s fun.” LP version includes two 180-gram vinyl discs in a gatefold sleeve and a download insert.

File Under: Rock
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Portal: Ion (Profound Lore) LP
Ion is the fifth full-length album and first since 2013’s Vexovoid from enigmatic Australian avant-garde death metal surrealists Portal. The nine track collection is the band’s most intense and experimental release to date, an album not for the faint of heart or mind. “Where ‘Vexovoid’ was not only foreboding and haunted death worship but also the culmination of a specific kind of horror; ‘Ion’ is birth, creation, and power – a weapon to strike with malice,” the band explained to Bardo Methodology. “Speed and complexity with total ferocity intact throughout its entirety, electric shock and lightning spite.” Artwork and design by Zbigniew M. Beliak.

File Under: Metal
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Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht (Brain) LP
“Re-release of 1972 Klaus Schulze album Irrlicht. Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht has more connections to Musique concrete than with today’s electronics. I had not owned a synthesizer at the time. I had a damaged amplifier, a modified organ and a cassette recorder with a cheap microphone. I just went to a Colloquium Musica Orchestra rehearsal with it and recorded it. I just wanted to have the sound and played the tape backwards afterwards.”

File Under: Experimental, Krautrock, Electronic
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Klaus Schulze: Timewind (Brain) LP
“Re-release of the originally 1974 released Klaus Schulze classic album Timewind, includes generous bonus and a 16-page booklet. Evolving slowly but deliberately over the course of each album side, Timewind has been deemed an electronic version of an Indian raga. It resembles in many ways a longer variation of the third track from Tangerine Dream’s classic 1974 album Phaedra, ‘Movements of a Visionary’, but it remains a transitional work somewhere between the krautrock of Schulze’s earlier output and the Berlin School character of his following efforts. The intention of Timewind was to invoke a timeless state in the listener. Both track titles are references to the nineteenth-century composer Richard Wagner, Bayreuth is the Bavarian town where Wagner had an opera house built for the first performance of his massive Ring Cycle. Wahnfried is the name of Wagner’s home in Bayreuth in the grounds of which he was buried in 1883. It is also a pen-name used by Schulze himself.”

File Under: Electronic, Kosmische, Krautrock
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Klaus Schulze: Moondawn (Brain) LP
“Re-release of the classic Klaus Schulze album Moondawn, original released in 1976. ‘The album is a dynamic and sometimes explosive expression of the synthesized sound so recognizable as Klaus Schulze.’ (‘Trouser Press’/USA, November 1977). Without doubt Moondawn is one of Klaus Schulze’s cultic albums. Klaus was working with a ‘Big Moog’ for the very first time, which results into a special ‘fat’ sound. On ‘Moondawn’ Klaus Schulze was accompanied by Harald Grosskopf on drums. Klaus Schulze first attracted attention as a member of the German pioneers of electronic music, Tangerine Dream. Following the release of their debut LP, Electronic Meditation he departed for a solo career. Klaus’ recorded work typically features extended pieces sometimes filling an entire album built around computer-generated synthesizers and other specially programmed electronic effects. Klaus Schulze remains a cult figure in the whole world. He is widely considered an avant-garde mainstay as well as a founding father of both the new-age space music and electronica genres.”

File Under: Electronic, Kosmische, Krautrock
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Shins: Worms Heart (Columbia) LP
The Worm’s Heart is a complete re-work of The Shins’ critically acclaimed 2017 album Heartworms. The album offers new, reworked versions of the original album tracks with the sequence flipped. When James Mercer wrote, produced, and recorded the Heartworms album, he had this desire for an alternate version, an opposite version. The album’s slow songs would be flipped and re-recorded as fast songs, and vice versa. The reasoning was to showcase the versatility and strength of his songwriting, and the result is The Worm’s Heart. This ‘flipped’ collection was produced by Yuuki Matthews, Jon Sortland, and James Mercer and is a must for any fan of The Shins.

File Under: Indie Rock
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shudder to thinkShudder to Think: Ten-Spot (Dischord) LP
Originally released in 1990 and long out of print, Shudder To Think’s Ten Spot was the band’s second album and first record on Dischord. Formed in 1986, Shudder was part of a wave of younger punk bands making music that was inspired by, but also independent from, the established Dischord scene. Their music was theatrical, merging punk, progressive rock, and glam. The quartet would go on to release two more albums on Dischord (Funeral at the Movies and Get Your Goat) before moving to a major in the mid ’90s. At the time of this recording, Shudder to Think was Craig Wedren, Stuart Hill, Chris Matthews and Mike Russell. This pressing of Ten Spot has been remastered from the original tapes and has been pressed on colored vinyl. The artwork has been revised courtesy of Heather Hendrix Russell.

File Under: Punk
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superchunkSuperchunk: What a Time to Be Alive (Merge) LP
After the shocking, and for many, demoralizing result of the 2016 election, “I didn’t buy the silver lining some were promoting that ‘well, at least art and music will be great now!’,” says Superchunk co-founder and frontman Mac McCaughan. “Obviously, any sane person would gladly trade four to eight years of terrible music for not having our country dismantled to satisfy the whims of a vengeful child and his enablers.” That said, good music and art still have a lot to say, and the urgency of current events gave Mac, Laura, Jim, and Jon the momentum to make something new sooner than later. “It would be strange to be in a band, at least our band, and make a record that completely ignored the surrounding circumstances that we live in and that our kids are going to grow up in.” Enter What a Time to Be Alive, Superchunk’s first album in over four years. It’s a record, says Mac, “about a pretty dire and depressing situation but hopefully not a record that is dire and depressing to listen to.” Indeed, like so much of Superchunk’s music in the band’s nearly three decades together, the songs on What a Time to Be Alive meet rage and anxiety head-on with the catharsis and exhilaration of loud punk fire and vulnerable pop energy. Like 2013’s I Hate Music, which focused on death, loss, and the role of music in an aging life, the new record brings spirit to the frontlines of pain – it’s as defiant as it is despairing, as much a call to arms as a throwing up of hands. Written almost entirely between November 2016 and February 2017, What a Time to Be Alive was recorded and mixed by Beau Sorenson, who also worked on I Hate Music. “He’s possibly the first engineer we’ve worked with that I had to ask to turn down the guitars,” says Mac. “Not too much, though.” The record also features more guest backing vocalists than any previous Superchunk album, including Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit), Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Skylar Gudasz, and David Bazan. “Part of that was wanting a feeling of community,” says Mac. “I think that’s important to not be completely bummed out about everything all the time.” The title track charges in first and says it all. The record travels through the ensuing shock and chaos, from the pointed Fuck Yous (“Bad Choices,” “Cloud of Hate,” “All for You”) to the What Nows (“Lost My Brain,” “Break the Glass”). Merritt and Crutchfield join on “Erasure,” a resonant confrontation of the objective and consequences of fear and hatred.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Amon Duul II: Phallus Dei (SPV) LP
Jorge Ben: Ben E Samba Bom (Dol) LP
Blonde Redhead: Fake Can Be Just As Good (Touch & Go) LP
Blonde Redhead: In An Expression of the Inexpressible (Touch & Go) LP
Nick Cave: Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed) LP
El Michels Affair: Enter the 37th Chamber (Fat Beats) LP
El Michels Affair: Return to the 37th Chamber (Big Crown) LP
Funkadelic: s/t (Westbound) LP
La Dusseldorf: s/t (4 Men With Beards) LP
La Dusseldorf: Viva (4 Men With Beards) LP
The Nils: s/t (Label Obscura) LP
Pixies: Come on Pilgrim (4AD) LP
Radiohead: The Bends (XL) LP
Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL) LP
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (XL) LP
Ramones: s/t (Rhino) LP
Ramones: Leave Home (Rhino) LP
Ramones: Rocket to Russia (Rhino) LP
Sigur Ros: Valtari (XL) LP
Sunn o))): Kannon (Southern Lord) LP
Sza: CTRL (Sony) LP
XX: s/t (Young Turks) LP
Various: Brazil (Soul Jazz) LP

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…..news letter #828 – light…..

Welcome back to winter! Not a ton in this week, but I’ve been busy buying some cool used stuff and we’re workin’ away trying to get it out as quickly as possible. Good time for a dig.

…..pick of the week…..


Husker Du: Savage Young Du (Numero) 4LP Box
Experience the punishing sonic origins of a punk icon. Collected here for the first time, and skillfully remastered from original board tapes, demos, and session masters, this collection is an authoritative chronicling of the wellspring and maturation of Grant Hart, Greg Norton and Bob Mould—three St. Paul teenagers who’d go on to become the most heralded trio of the American punk underground. Follow the Hüskers to their earliest gigs in 1979, through extensive road dog touring, and to the start of their partnership with West Coast tastemaker SST in 1983 via a 108-page hardbound book crammed full of photos, flyers, and a sprawling essay with participation from the band. Spread across four LPs, 47 of the 69 songs compiled here are previously unissued, and includes In A Free Land, Everything Falls Apart , and an alternate Land Speed Record.

File Under: Punk
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…..new arrivals…..

LP Vinyl Outer Sleeve_3 mm Spine.indd

Belbury Circle: Outward Journeys (Ghost Box) LP
The first full length LP for this collaborative project between Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) and Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly). John Foxx features on vocals and synth on two tracks, Trees and Forgotten Towns, reprising his appearance on The Belbury Circle’s debut EP, Empty Avenues in 2013. Brooks and Jupp go back to their musical roots with this release, but there’s no weird children’s TV or haunted soundtracks here. It’s a joyfully re-imagined soundworld that draws heavily on late 70s and early 80s synth pop and library music. An exciting transitional era that first saw the pair taking up synths as kids. With interlocking analogue sequencers, driving rhythms, soaring lead lines, primitive sampling, and its themes of travel and return, the album evokes the eve of the digital era, when “Tomorrow’s World” was still an exciting possibility.

File Under: Electronic, Pseudo Library
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Tashi Dorji & Tyler Damon: Leave No Trace (Family Vineyard) LP
As live albums go, Tashi Dorji and Tyler Damon nail it down. No matter the crowd – head thrashers, Instagram zombies, shaken jazzniks – the shadow lines of feedback and bombastic percussive bombs are always at peak intensity. Through telepathic engagement the Bhutanese-born guitarist Dorji and Midwestern drummer Damon act with one-mind destruction as Leave No Trace: Live In St. Louis perfectly captures. It’s a pure sound for these disruptive, politically tumultuous times. Or Marc Master’s describes it as, a power lurching at you “in ways that feel dangerously uncontrolled, like someone playing with a plugged-in toaster over a filled-up bathtub.” Leave No Trace – a companion release to their hyper-acclaimed debut Both Will Escape – was recorded at Gaslight in St. Louis.

File Under: Jazz, Improv, Experimental

james hunter six

James Hunter Six: Whatever It Takes (Daptone) LP
A permanent fixture in the world of rhythm and soul, James Hunter follows up five critically acclaimed albums with his latest recording, Whatever It Takes, for New York City’s renowned label, Daptone Records. At the height of his famed recording career, Hunter and Daptone co-founder and producer Bosco Mann recorded an elegantly crafted collection of 10 originals that are evermore poignant and compelling than the singer’s previous works. The James Hunter Six and Mann recorded Whatever It Takes straight to tape at Daptone’s Penrose Studios in Riverside, CA. The needle drops on “I Don’t Wanna Be Without You” with saxophones grabbing your collar, pulling you close and moving you over the undulating curves of a rhumba. The mood and tempo then climb up into the swaggering backbeat of the title track. Drums then tear into the bottom of the groove with the full-throated rapture of “I Got Eyes.” Hunter is egged on by complicit background singers here and there. They ease in and out of Whatever It Takes, serving harmonies like tuxedoed waiters in an expensive restaurant, offering perfect pairings for each melodic course. “Mm-Hmm,” suddenly a tender mood hits. Verses of regret cascade in delicate shapes over dancing rhythms. A word-less chorus paints a painfully detailed picture of misfortune with an eloquently barren hum. Then, a bang. “Blisters,” an instrumental cigarette before you have to get up and turn the record over. Hunter’s guitar work is fearless like a buck knife carving initials into the knobby bark of a Freddy King shuffle. “I Should’ve Spoke Up” comes pitter-patting down a rain-soaked sidewalk, lost in sweet, soft, sentimental regret. Then come the talkings-to. “Show Her,” with ostinato bass, drums and organ scrawling “actions speak louder” dutifully on the chalkboard behind Hunter’s lessons. The frenetic tutorial of “Don’t Let Pride Take You for a Ride” practically tears itself apart in its final cautionary refrains. “How Long” is a yarn spun out on a porch with its gospel harmonies and foot stomping. And stepping out just as he stepped in, “It Was Gonna Be You,” an affectionate simplicity and sincerity that defies the quirkiness of the tim-tom clockwork over which it’s delivered.

File Under: Funk, Soul, RnB
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Laraaji: Vision Songs (Numero) LP
Vision Songs Vol. 1 is the Laraaji album like no other, located at the intersection of new age and gospel, his outlier and magnum opus, the feel-good DIY tape of the century. Casio synth jams recorded at spiritual retreat guest rooms and a tiny bedroom on the Upper West Side in 1984, lysergically-spectacular anthems for a continually arriving new moment. “Channeled from the sky,” humbly offered on vinyl for the first time, this is where this is going on, this is where this is taking place, this is how this is going on. Is this very clear?

 File Under: New Age, Ambient
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Efrim Manuel Menuck: Pissing Stars (Constellation) LP
Efrim Manuel Menuck returns with his second album Pissing Stars, the brilliantly intense follow-up to his 2011 solo debut Plays High Gospel and the first new material with Menuck as central songwriter and vocalist since 2014’s acclaimed Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything from his chamber-punk-rock band Thee Silver Mt. Zion. The legendary Montréal-based musician has much-deserved cult status among fans of political punk, post-rock and avant-noise songcraft alike. Menuck celebrates 25 years of unflinching and uncompromising sonic output with Pissing Stars, wherein he launches acerbic darts, impassioned salvos and fragile flowers into gusts of noise-battered song built around pulsing maximalist electronics and drone, shot through with alternately plaintive, chilling, often processed vocals. Pissing Stars is Menuck at his most vulnerable and his most adventurous – with a timely narrative framework that only he could conjure. Pissing Stars comes in a deluxe 180-gram vinyl edition with artworked inner dust sleeve and a killer 12″ x 18″ art poster designed by Menuck, all printed on uncoated papers and boards.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Rhye: Blood (Last Gang) LP
Blood is the much anticipated sophomore album from romantic soul-pop group Rhye following 2013’s acclaimed Woman. Themed around the aftermath of love, Blood alluringly pairs the band’s sultry, subtle, funky brand of soul music with the warm, powerful, and totally unique vocals and lyrics of frontman Mike Milosh. “We’ve spent the last few years on the road translating the ‘Woman’ album from a bedroom project into a full live experience. With ‘Blood’, it’s been the opposite process; the music and sounds were really born out of the live environment and are built for performance,” commented Milosh. “It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable in front of an audience night after night. I use the same courage on every song on this record.”

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Akira Sakata/Chikamorachi: Proton Pump (Family Vineyard) LP
Proton Pump is a milestone achievement in the winding career of alto saxophonist, gibberish shrieker and jazz legend Akira Sakata. It’s a lightning-fast, real-time cut-up of melody and bare-knuckle action that swings between the avant garde and hardcore be-bop. Sakata is backed by his famed rhythm crew Chikamorachi — drummer Chris Corsano and acoustic bassist Darin Gray — and joined by composer and pianist Masahiko Satoh. Sakata and Satoh emerged out of the late-1960s Tokyo jazz scene — Satoh already releasing albums and Sakata soon joining the famed The Yamashita Trio — and while they’ve since become uncompromising pillars of free music and vision this marks their first proper album together. On Proton Pump’s four pieces, Sakata is absolutely on top form on alto saxophone and clarinet — blowing bold melodies with unstoppable momentum and also injecting deep textural fields with his startling vocalizations. Satoh’s piano is hyperbolic throughout as he splatters counterpoints and brilliant tones at dizzying speed. Recorded before a jaw-dropped audience at Pit Inn, Tokyo in October 2015. LP limited to 500 copies worldwide, includes a full-color inner sleeve and download coupon.

File Under: Jazz

ty segall

Ty Segall: Freedom’s Goblin (Drag City) LP
Freedom’s Goblin is the new Ty Segall album: 19 tracks strong, filling four sides of vinyl nonstop, with an unrestricted sense of coming together to make an album. It wants you to get your head straight—but first, the process will make your head spin! Back in the Twins days, we talked about the schizophrenia of Ty’s outlook; today, it’s super-dual, with loads of realities all folding back on each other. On any given side, we’re tracking five or six full-blown personalities, unconcerned with convention or continuity. So drop the needle—who can say what it’ll sound like where it lands? This is Freedom’s Goblin—one track engendering, the next one oppressing, violence up in the mix—a look at everything around that Ty used to make the songs. The songs came in the flow of the year: days of vomit and days of ecstasy and escape too, and days between. The rulebook may have been tossed, but Freedom’s Goblin is thick with deep songwriting resources, be it stomper, weeper, ballad, screamer, banger or funker-upper, all diverted into new Tydentities—each one marking a different impasse, like a flag whirling into a knot, exploding and burning on contact, in the name of love and loathing. Freedom’s Goblin wears a twisted production coat: tracks were cut all around, from L.A. to Chicago to Memphis, whether chilling at home or touring with the Freedom Band. Five studios were required to get all the sounds down, engineered by Steve Albini, F. Bermudez, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and of course, Ty himself. The goal was getting free, embracing any approach necessary to communicate new heights and depths, new places for the fuzz to land among octaving harmonies, dancefloor grooves, synths, saxes and horns, jams, post-Nicky-Hopkins r’n’b electric piano vibes, children-of-the-corn psycho-rebellions, old country waltzes and down-by-the-river shuffles. Basically, the free-est pop songs Ty’s ever put on tape. And one about his dog, too!

File Under: Rock, Punk, Garage, Psych
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Sheepdogs: Changing Colours (Warner) LP
Two years on from delivering Future Nostalgia LP, the Sheepdogs have lifted the curtain on a follow-up full-length. Titled Changing Colours, the band’s sixth studio effort will arrive February 2 through Warner. The record runs 17 tracks in length, with the band sharing first single “I’ve Got a Hole Where My Heart Should Be” alongside the announcement. It also marks the first album to feature guitarist Jim Bowskill, who joined the group in 2015. “This album has a much wider range of sounds on it: trombone, clarinet, Latin percussion, pedal steel, fiddle and banjo all make an appearance,” the band said in a statement. “The title Changing Colours really lends itself to these different sounds on the record… We were also lucky to work with newcomer Jim Bowskill whose guitar wizardry is almost outshone by his fine mandolin playing and singing.”

File Under: Rock
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softmoonSoft Moon: Criminal (Sacred Bones) LP
Criminal, The Soft Moon’s fourth studio album, is a confessional work. Through the stark lens of shame and guilt that has followed Luis Vasquez since a violent childhood growing up within the humming ambient sprawl of ’80s Mojave Desert, here he documents the gut-wrenching sound of going to war with himself. Battling with his own sanity, self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement and grappling with the risk of these things transforming him into a person he despises, Vasquez has laid his feelings bare with this: his confession and most self-reflective work to date. “Guilt is my biggest demon and has been following me since childhood. Everything I do strengthens the narrative that I am guilty,” Vasquez reflects. “The concept of Criminal is a desperate attempt to find relief by both confessing to my wrongdoings and by blaming others for their wrongdoings that have affected me.” Criminal marks a striking and important chapter in his self-exploration, both artistically and emotionally. As a young musician living in Oakland, Vasquez began to try and process the narrative of his difficult upbringing veiled through musical exploration. Working with producer Maurizio Baggio at La Distilleria in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy, Criminal sees Vasquez putting his lyrics at the forefront and letting his raw emotions flow. The album begins with a confrontation with his true self through the torrid bass lines and searing vocals of “Burn,” a song evoking a loss of control akin to demonic possession, stating: “Eyes, reflecting the person that I am, and it burns”. In this track, Vasquez’s guilt bores deeper and deeper into a condemnation that ultimately is: “Fire, hell is where I’ll go to live, so I burn. The album is Vasquez’s way of holding himself accountable and seeking redemption for the abuse he inflicts on himself, and acknowledges roots in the abuse which, inflicted upon him as a child, broke him.

File Under: Post-Punk, Industrial
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mika-ryoji-nicolaiMika Vainio/Ryoji Ikeda/Alva Noto: Live 2002 (Noton) LP
LIVE 2002 captures an inspired performance at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle by three revered, influential and like-minded pioneers; Ryoji Ikeda, Alva Noto, and the late, great Mika Vainio. This recording marks the only ever concert by the trio and its release serves as a tribute to the much-loved Vainio. “Mika was not only a friend and collaborator, but also an inspiration for my work as an artist. This is a celebration of his contribution to our work”, says Carsten Nicolai, AKA Alva Noto. Minimal but highly effective, the performance builds throughout with deep sub bass, sleek, spacious sound design and high voltage, inorganic ambience. The inherent noise floor in studio equipment is pushed-up to take center stage. This is sound of electricity, the hum of the engine room and of technology operating almost independently, only gently coerced with artistic finesse by expert human hands. At points static is used decoratively with an ornate, delicate intricacy. At points it becomes rhythmic, like the innate repetition found in machinery. The sonic spectrum later opens up, evoking a rush with laser-like beams of audio light and a barrage of colossal, synthesized waves.

File Under: Electronic
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Jorge Ben: Samba Esquema Novo (Dol) LP
Big Black: Atomizer (Touch & Go) LP
Cluster: Zuckerzeit (Lilith) LP
El Michels Affair: Enter the 37th Chamber (Fatbeats) LP
Fever Ray: s/t (Mute) LP
Robert Fripp/Brian Eno: No Pussyfooting (Pangyric) LP
Funkadelic: Cosmic Slop (Westbound) LP
Laurel Halo: Dust (Hyperdub) LP
Henry Cow: In Praise of Learning (Recommended) LP
Hot Snakes: Audit in Progress (Sub Pop) LP/CS
Hot Snakes: Automatic Midnight (Sub Pop) LP/CS
Hot Snakes: Suicide Invoice (Sub Pop) LP/CS
Johan Johannsson: Arrival OST (Deutsche Grammofon) LP
The Knife: Silent Shout (Mute) LP
Medusa: First Step Beyond (Numero) LP
Os Mutantes: s/t (Lilith) LP
Porches: The House (Domino) LP
Protomartyr: Agent Intellect (Hardly Art) LP
Tom Rogerson/Brian Eno: Finding Shore (Dead Oceans) LP
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Syrinx: Tumblers from the Vault (ReRVNG) LP
Unwound: New Plastic Ideas (Numero) LP
Various: Buttons: Starter Kit (Numero) LP
Various: Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago (Numero) LP
Various: Dancehall – The Rise of Jamaican Dancehall Culture (Soul Jazz) LP
Various: WTNG 89.9FM – Solid Bronze (Numero) LP

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…..new letters #827 – table…..

YEEEEESSSSSSSS! Some killer slabs this week, including the much anticipated High Rise reissue, and an out of nowhere Dean McPhee. Some other great reissues and new stuff as well. And already delays on other stuff… Either way, wonderful things to stick in your ear.

RIP Mark E. Smith.

…..picks of the week…..


Dean McPhee: Four Stones (Hood Faire) LP
Four Stones is solo electric guitarist Dean McPhee’s third full-length album, a collection of free-flowing instrumentals which combines fluid fingerpicked melodies with atmospheric drones and trance-inducing loops. Four Stones brings together remastered versions of three tracks that were only previously available on a limited edition tape compilations on the Folklore Tapes label (2016) along with two new pieces, “Danse Macabre” and the epic 14-minute “Four Stones” which find Dean using a new kick drum pedal to add a percussive undercurrent to his music. The Folklore Tapes tracks “The Blood Of St. John” — from Calendar Customs Vol IV: Crown of Light (2016) –, “Rule Of Threes” — from Lancashire Folklore Tapes Vol 1: Pendle, 1612 (2012) –, and “The Devil’s Knell” — from Folklore Tapes Calendar Customs Vol III: Midwinter Rites and Revelries (2015). Four Stones was mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering. The album cover features a photo by Robin Zahler of The Great Stone of Four Stones in North Yorkshire. The album was recorded live with no overdubs. 180 gram vinyl. Edition of 500.

File Under: Ambient, Guitar Soli
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High Rise: II (Black Editions) LP
Black Editions present a reissue of High Rise’s II, originally released in 1986. High Rise exploded onto Tokyo’s underground music scene with the roar and reckless abandon of a motorcycle accelerating headlong into a dead man’s curve. Born from the explosive chemistry of bassist/vocalist Asahito Nanjo and frenetic guitarist Munehiro Narita, the band blazed a wild new stream of psychedelic guitar music. Their second album is a defining document of the band and unquestionably one of the greatest albums to emerge from 20th century underground Japan and beyond. With Nanjo’s distorted thunder bass and Narita’s wildly narrative lead guitar playing, II is a non-stop tour de force of improvised rock music. Combining elements of garage rock, punk, and no wave, the band pushed all levels fully in-the-red and transcended the limits of rock and psychedelia to create a raw, unique expansion of the music. Black Editions present High Rise’s II, newly mixed and mastered by Asahito Nanjo in what the band states is the definitive version of their most quintessential recording. This new edition restores the original vinyl version’s textured black and silver artwork. Housed in heavy Stoughton tip-on jacket. Pressed onto high quality vinyl by RTI.

File Under: Psych, Japanese, Freakout
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…..new arrivals…..


The Body & Thou: Released from Love/You, Whom I Have Always Hated (Thrill Jockey) LP
Both collaborative albums from The Body and Thou are finally available together on vinyl for the first time! Featuring brand new and expanded artwork Released From Love and You, Whom I Have Always Hated are presented in a gatefold jacket with flooded black pockets, black paper inner sleeves and a deluxe 12 page 11″ x 11″ booklet and download card of all tracks. The Body and Thou are bands with Southern roots that have been pushing the boundaries of heavy metal for over a decade. Both have maintained relentless touring schedules, a dedication to DIY ethics and aesthetics, and a commitment to push their respective brands of extreme music into previously unexplored territories. On their two collaborative releases they showcase their unique ability to create music that is emotionally effecting and unrelenting. On You, Whom I Have Always Hated, each band’s distinctive elements shine through and combine to create something more visceral than the sum of their parts. While the groups have different approaches to live performance and stylistic nuances, they share general creative ideas and have a history subsumed in themes of alienation, melancholy, and despair. They describe this collaboration as “a twilight dungeon crawl exploring the winding, ruined halls of Mad King Duro’s Castle, best friends at your side, enemies crushed beneath your heels, mysteries solved, and treasures found.” In keeping with Thou’s tradition of 90s worship and The Body’s knack for ingenuity, the release includes versions of “Terrible Lie” by Nine inch Nails and “Coward” by Vic Chesnutt. The remainder was written collaboratively in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and then further refined on their 2014 tour together.

File Under: Metal
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Cadence Weapon: s/t (eOne) LP
In tomorrow… An emotive rapper and a particularly thoughtful lyricist, Cadence Weapon is truly fired up on this dynamically produced artistic rebirth. Switching flows up within the same songs, he marries his youthful, wild exuberance with a nuanced maturity, asserting himself by exhibiting complete control over his domain. The Edmonton poet-laureate has said he truly found himself while living in Montreal; the nightlife there inspired and demolished him. He met Kaytranada at a DJ night they shared when Kaytra was still on the come-up, and he was also exposed to all sorts of groundbreaking electronic music. But a night like that could also lead to debauchery. Speaking with peers, he realized there was an insidious racist and sexist undercurrent within the power dynamic of their partying community and that loss of innocence shifted things within Cadence Weapon. Now in Toronto, Montreal still looms large for him, as a formative personal and creative force. Working off cool, contemporary beats from the likes of Kaytranada, FrancisGotHeat, Jacques Green and Harrison, and vocals and production from Deradoorian, Blue Hawaii, Brendan Phillip and Casey MQ, Cadence Weapon dives deep into his psyche here. It’s reflective of the five years since the downcast Hope in Dirt City, and his mind, which has changed for the better. Via his witty rhymes, Cadence Weapon captures his desire for success, a penchant for proving himself as a rapper (he does), and an eagle-eyed perspective on the revolt that is fuelling our call-out cultural moment. It’s also his most provocative and well-executed album and a high water mark for hip-hop on this continent.

File Under: Hip Hop
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Calexico: The Thread that Keeps Us (Anti) LP
Over the past two decades, a strong sense of place has shaped the music of Calexico, infusing their albums with a stylistic unpredictability and richness of texture. While 2015’s Edge of the Sun brought the Tucson-bred band to the Mexico City borough of Coyoacán, their new full-length The Thread That Keeps Us mostly came to life in a house studio near the Northern California coast nicknamed “The Phantom Ship” by Calexico vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino. Like “End of the World with You,” much of The Thread That Keeps Us captures the anxieties and unease of living in tumultuous times. While the album draws a kinetic energy from all that uncertainty, its lyrics unfold with a literary nuance and sense of setting and character. “Instead of writing straight-up protest songs, I want to tell stories,” Burns says. Largely inspired by his wanderings around Northern California during the album’s production, the narratives embedded in The Thread That Keeps Us reflect on displacement, transitory existence, and—in Burns’s words—“returning to your home after being gone for some time and seeing how things have changed, and maybe not in the best way.”

File Under: Alt-Country, Tex-Mex
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Holly Cook: Vessel of Love (Merge) LP
Limited edition, indie-only deluxe on translucent pink vinyl w/ download. Hollie Cook combines her unique vocal talent and charisma to craft a dynamic strand of lovers rock with enduring tropical vibes, weaving a path from her West London roots to an arena of diverse collaborations, critically acclaimed records, and iconic live appearances around the world. Cook’s ability to surprise, delight, and progress solidifies her position as one of the most exciting voices in reggae, and this is clear on her third full-length and Merge debut, Vessel of Love. Cook’s music career commenced at age 19, when family friend and punk trailblazer Ari Up asked Cook to join the raucous ’70s post-punk outfit The Slits for their reformation in 2006. Thrown into the deep end she thrived, and quickly cut her teeth with four years of back-to-back shows around the globe. Acclaimed legendary producer Martin “Youth” Glover (Killing Joke) lends his venerable production expertise to Vessel of Love. Hollie Cook sits in good company on Glover’s impressive production list, joining Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, The Verve, Primal Scream, Pink Floyd, and Depeche Mode. Glover describes Cook’s songs as “sharp lyrical observations and clever word play combined with an exquisite and informed pop sensibility.” Hollie Cook’s vibrant, spirited take on lovers rock radiates positivity, and with Vessel of Love, expect to see her on top of the tropical throne of pop in 2018!

 File Under: Rock, Reggae
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Edmondo Giuliani: Il Mare: Musica Con Strumenti Elettronici (Sonor Music) LP
In tomorrow… Sonor Music Editions present a reissue of Edmondo Giuliani’s Il Mare: Musica Con Strumenti Elettronici, originally released in 1972 on the micro-label Dischi Egede. A mega-rare italian electronic underwater music library production recorded for an obscure documentary on sea from the early ’70s. Infectious and trippy abstract experimental music that plumbs in the sea depths with abyssal echoes, sound iridescences, and marine electronic themes. Addictive record out for Sonor Music Editions’ underwater library triptych, released alongside Mare Romantico and Bruno Zambrini’s Racconti Di Mare. Another great vinyl obscurity is filed and published on our label with amazing renewed artwork. 180 gram vinyl; Edition of 500

File Under: Library, OST, Italian
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Guided By Voices: Mag Earwhig (Matador) LP
1997’s Mag Earwhig! served as the first Guided By Voices album released after the dissolution of their classic line-up and finds Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout backed by Cobra Verde. It’s a conceptual rock opera inspired by the Who’s Tommy, the Pretty Things’ S.F. Sorrow, Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and the Edgar Broughton Band’s Wasa Wasa. Pollard is the main character in this sprawling narrative, an insectile cartoon figure named the Magnificent Earwhig, who interacts with a wild cast of characters in songs evoking nostalgiac memories of an Ohio boyhood, starting one’s first band, and inhaling American roadside pop culture. Despite the progressive conceptual 70’s mindset, the record is still a collection of beautifully twisted pop songs and can be listened to as either an opera or just a series of rock arias.

File Under: Indie Rock
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heldon box

Heldon: 1976-1979 (Souffle Continu) 3LP+7″ Box
In tomorrow… 1976-1979: four years of intensive creativity for Heldon, following on from them leaving the home-studio on the Île Saint-Louis for Davout also in Paris, where a Moog 3, purchased from the Beatles, was ready in a space reserved for the leader of the group, Richard Pinhas. From here on, a trilogy was created which compares favorably with King Crimson of the period from Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (1973) to Red (1974), the French band breaking new ground with the electronics used in their music, and the numerous influences they quote, including Fripp and Eno, Philip K. Dick, and Gilles Deleuze. A totally vertiginous experience, the ensemble consisting of Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale (1976), Interface (1977), and Stand By (1979) can be seen as the sonic climax to Heldon’s oeuvre, even its climax, the violence coming from the machines. This Everest of electronic music is completed by a rare single released on RCA at the same period, making this a must-have box set for any self-respecting collector. High quality mastering from Richard Pinhas’s original masters. Each LP comes in exclusive vinyl color for the boxset: Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale comes on clear yellow vinyl; Heldon . 6 . Interface comes on coke bottle green vinyl; and Stand By comes on electric blue vinyl. Limited box set comes with the rare Richard Dunn 7″, originally released in 1978. Includes 20-page booklet with rare photos and an essay by Philippe Robert. Edition of 300.

File Under: Prog, Psych, Electronic
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Heldon: Heldon .6. Interface (Souffle Continu) LP
In tomorrow… Souffle Continu Records present a reissue of Heldon’s Heldon . 6 . Interface, originally released in 1977. The idea in the mind of Richard Pinhas, the driving force behind Heldon, was to produce music “as cold as a huge block of ice” a vertiginous experience, of course influenced by the King Crimson trilogy, from Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (1973) to Red (1974), except that Heldon represents an electrified version, leading to a perfect rapport between thought and emotion, perhaps going even further. It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (1975), the appropriately-named third album, is in its own way — already — a turning point in Heldon’s oeuvre, witness the acid and corrosive “Zind Destruction (Bouillie Blues)”. Once the next one was released (Agneta Nilsson, 1976), just after Disjuncta, the first French independent label, had been sold to Urus by Richard Pinhas in order to buy the aforementioned Moog 3 from the Beatles, the music became even more uncompromising. The group delved, like King Crimson, into a kind of trilogy, the middle of which was Interface in 1977, a year after Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale which was, thus, the first part. At this period the group’s music, as Gérard N’Guyen wrote in the fanzine Atem, was like “a guided tour through the ruins of a civilisation.” In the middle of the punk wave, the universe of Heldon indeed became more threatening and heavy, echoing the novel by Norman Spinrad from which the group took their name, The Iron Dream (1972). This was also the point at which Heldon became a genuine group, centered around Patrick Gauthier (synthesizers), Didier Batard (bass), and François Auger (drums), which allowed Richard Pinhas to focus on the real motivation behind this audacious undertaking. Like its predecessor Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale, and then 1979’s Stand By which followed, Interface, the second album of the “trilogy” recorded at studios Davout, represents a sonic culmination, even a climax, its violence coming from the machines and delving into notions of repetition and scansion, prefiguring a lot of the music that was to follow, whether it be electro and industrial or post-rock and noise. It goes without saying: seminal and always innovative! High quality mastering from Richard Pinhas’s original masters; Licensed from Richard Pinhas. Obi strip; matte printing. Swamp green vinyl; Edition of 700.

File Under: Prog, Psych, Electronic
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heldon reve

Heldon: Un Reve Sans Consequence Speciale (Souffle Continu) LP
In tomorrow… Souffle Continu Records present a reissue of Heldon’s Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale, originally released on Cobra in 1976. In Heldon, nobody particularly likes liner notes. However, although the group’s albums have none, they abound, from the very beginning, with clues and often cryptic references. The name of the group, obviously, comes from a science fiction novel by Norman Spinrad, but perhaps it is less well known that the title of the album Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale is taken from a pirate recording of King Crimson made in 1974, an elegant way to state the possible lineage between guitarist (and synthesizer player) Richard Pinhas and Robert Fripp, his peer in the British band. Likewise, Richard Pinhas values the philosophers Lyotard, Nietzsche, and Deleuze, and the cover of Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale quotes theology specialist Pierre Klossowski, according to whom all creators owe it themselves to provoke a “state of insecurity straying from the oppressive regime of mediocrity”. Having been a precursor of the home studio, Richard Pinhas came to the Davout studios to record the fifth Heldon album Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale. He had a special space reserved for him, where there was a Moog 3 which had belonged to Paul McCartney. Intense, violent, bitter, abrasive, uncompromising: the first on-site recording is in keeping with the four predecessors, prefiguring both industrial- and post-rock, showing once again that the early references to “guerrilla electronics” (and to William S. Burroughs) were not in vain. The newcomers to this universe, bassist Didier Batard (Coeur Magique, Triptyque), on one track, and drummer François Auger (heard on the fifth album by Gérard Manset) finally transform Heldon into a fiery power trio for the inspired “MVC II”. Without forgetting that the faithful Patrick Gauthier is also on board, as is Jannick Top (Magma), each on one track. Listening to the result it is easy to understand why Merzbow, Wolf Eyes, and Oren Ambarchi, in the 2000s wanted to record with Richard Pinhas. It must also be noted that the often-made comparison between Heldon/Richard Pinhas and King Crimson/Robert Fripp, while still pertinent, if insufficient, as Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale breaks much new ground beyond those horizons. High quality mastering from Richard Pinhas’s original masters; Licensed from Richard Pinhas. Obi strip; matte printing. Clear purple vinyl; Edition of 700.

File Under: Psych, Prog, Electronic
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heldon standbyHeldon: Stand By (Souffle Continu) LP
In tomorrow… Souffle Continu Records present a reissue of Heldon’s Stand By, originally released in 1979. Richard Pinhas began by absorbing Jimi Hendrix as an adolescent, leaving that behind at the beginning of the 1970s, after having heard what Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock were doing with synthesizers, and then discovering the seminal duo Fripp and Eno. It was one year on from this epiphany that the first album by Heldon was released (1974). The main idea was to rock and roll on electronic machines. Richard Pinhas was of course playing electric guitar, but was also interested in the A.R.P. and VCS 3, to the point of purchasing the Moog 3 owned by the Beatles. In order to do so, he had to sell of the Disjuncta label — the first totally independent French label — he had created in order to release Schizo (1972), Alain Renaud and Heldon. This was the beginning of the 1970s. Heldon had already released four key albums and left their home studio for Davout, beginning a trilogy starting with the sound of 1976’s Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale, continuing with 1977’s Interface (FFL 035LP), and concluding with Stand By. When Stand By was released, the press had already labeled Heldon as the first electric punk group. There is nothing silly in that, Heldon having quickly moved away from the spacey German influences which were not to Richard Pinhas’s taste. This can be heard on Stand By, the lynchpin of which is the twenty minutes of sound and fury of “Boléro”, something of a high-point from the group which owes much to the sequencers of the “technician” Didier Badez. As on the two previous releases, the ever-faithful Patrick Gauthier, François Auger, and Didier Batard were present. For one track, Klaus Blasquiz sings and highlights the underlying links between Heldon, Magma, and Weidorje, but also a shared past experience in Blues Convention with Richard Pinhas. After two solo albums, East West (1980) and L’Éthique (1982), Richard Pinhas dropped everything, through fear of repeating himself, even selling off some of his equipment, before coming back to center-stage with DWW (1992), following a sabbatical decade centered on philosophy, skiing, and paragliding. Thus, Stand By can be seen as the end of an era for Heldon. High quality mastering from Richard Pinhas’s original masters; Licensed from Richard Pinhas. Obi strip; matte printing. Sea blue vinyl; Edition of 700.

File Under: Psych, Prog, Electronic
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khruangbinKhruanghin: Con Todo El Mundo (Dead Oceans) LP
Formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums; globetrotting Texan trio Khruangbin present their second album Con Todo El Mundo. Whereas their 2015 debut The Universe Smiles Upon You was influenced by ’60s and ’70s Thai cassettes and compilations of southeast Asian pop, rock and funk, Con Todo El Mundo hops east over India to take inspiration in similarly under discovered funk and soul sounds of the Middle-East, particularly from Iran. Laura Lee explains the album’s title: “My grandpa would always ask me ‘Como me quieres?’ (‘how much do you love me’?), and he’d only ever accept one response. ‘Con todo el mundo’ (With all the world).” Throughout Con Todo El Mundo, Laura Lee’s melodic low-end theory, Mark’s lyrical, free-role guitar lines, and DJ’s ever-steady, ever-ready backbeat form something greater than their parts. A vibe-synchronous soul-unit travelling the planet, honing their craft, absorbing the sights, sounds and feels from cultures across the globe, processing them through the Khruangbin filter and gifting the result…with all the world.

File Under: Funk, Soul, Middle-East
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avitAmi Shavit: Neural Oscillations & Alpha Rhythms (Dead-Cert) LP
In tomorrow… Dead-Cert dip their dusty digits back in Ami Shavit’s precious archive for another hemispheric harmonization of biofeedback techniques and hypnotic synth sonics following Finders Keepers ‘ reissue of 1977’s In Alpha Mood back in 2015. With an enviable private collection of synthesizers first started in 1972 during his travels to the US and shipped home to Tel Aviv, as an established kinetic artist, as well as a professor of both philosophy an art, Ami’s main focus was art that involved technology; in particular being able to give something mechanical an emotive angle. As such he sought to combine his love of electronic music acts such as Tangerine Dream and Philip Glass and this new synthesizer technology with his interest in the relatively new technique of biofeedback — a process in which technology is used to relay information about the body’s functions enabling a change of physiological activity in order to manipulate them. Combined with his understanding of alpha brainwave, Ami embarked on an experiment with what he called “Alpha Mood” — a state in which the brain is working in relaxation and in which he used music as a means of helping induce his own meditative state. With practically no formal musical training and working in complete isolation of the Tel Aviv music scene — with the exception of allowing cult prog nearly men Zingale and a handful of close friends to use his private studio — over the course of two years he recorded hours of experimental improvised music, or “sounds” as he prefers to call it. The fruit of that experimentation came in the form of a single privately pressed LP aptly titled In Alpha Mood. Part outsider electronic album; part physiological experiment; part work of art, it was limited to only 500 copies and distributed exclusively by a longtime friend, agent, and owner of a small local record shop in Tel Aviv. Five 1/4-inch tapes (including the In Alpha Mood master tape) represent the only remaining artifacts of Ami’s experiments — the rest having been either lost, given to friends, or simply thrown away. Undated and unannotated, these raw studio recordings provide a rare glimpse of Ami at work in his attempts to perfect his technique and reach the plane of “Alpha Mood”. RIYL: Tangerine Dream, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Cluster. Artwork by Andy Votel. Cut at Dubplates & Mastering. Edition of 500.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Kosmische
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tuneyardsTune-Yards: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life (4AD) LP
I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life is the new magnum opus and fourth full-length overall from Tune-Yards. Thematically, the twelve new songs tackle race, politics, intersectional feminism and environmental prophecies head on. But in the billows of intense subject matter, the album arrives as Tune-Yards’ most immediate and upbeat music yet – this is music to dance to. On I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life, Tune-Yards is officially a duo as Merrill Garbus is joined by longtime collaborator Nate Brenner who produced and wrote the album together with lyrics by Garbus. Much of the album was recorded at John Vanderslice’s new studio, Tiny Telephone Oakland, in Oakland, CA and mastered in Harlem, NY by Dave Kutch (Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper). Mikaelin “Blue” Bluespruce (Solange, Skepta, Kendrick Lamar) handled the mix. Garbus on lead trakck “Look at Your Hands”: “Yes, the world is a mess, but I’ve been attempting to look more and more inward: how do all of these “isms” that we live in manifest in me, in my daily activities, interactions? Some of the ’80s throwback production came from wanting the vocals to sound robotic, maybe to counter the sincerity of the lyrics. I started sampling my vocals in an MPC which I’ve wanted to do for years, and there was something that felt really right about my voice being trapped in a machine.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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whiteJack White: Connected By Love (Third Man) 7″
Jack White’s first new music since 2014’s Lazaretto is pressed now and available immediately for fulfillment and retail sale. Both sides of the 7″, “Connected By Love” and “Respect Commander”, are tracks featured on forthcoming Jack White full-length album Boarding House Reach, with more details to come. “Connected by Love” was produced by White and recorded at Sear Sound in New York City, Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, and Third Man Studio in Nashville – marking the first time that White has recorded an album in NYC and LA. The track features White on vocals, synthesizer, and acoustic guitar, backed by a remarkable new lineup of musicians that includes drummer Louis Cato (Beyoncé, Q-Tip, John Legend), bassist Charlotte Kemp Muhl (The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger), synthesizer player DJ Harrison, keyboardist Neal Evans (Soulive, Talib Kweli, John Scofield), percussionist Bobby Allende (David Byrne), and backing vocalists Ann & Regina McCrary of Nashville’s beloved gospel trio, The McCrary Sisters.

File Under: Rock
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zambriniBruno Zambrini: Racconti Di Mare (Sonor Music) LP
In tomorrow… Sonor Music Editions present a reissue of Bruno Zambrini’s Racconti Di Mare, originally released in 1970. Maestro Bruno Zambrini’s soundtrack masterpiece originally recorded for the TV series Racconti Di Mare in 1970, directed by Nestore Ungaro. Mental vintage underwater score — one of the best from library/soundtrack music production. The music is a total trip with insane psychedelic and underground beats to die for, killer drum breaks, aquatic lounge and bossa themes, and huge underwater drama moods. The lounge atmospheres are reminiscent of nostalgic sea trips with the flowing sweet scat vocals broken by the spaced-out underwater marine vibes. Unmissable Italian OST! Hard cardboard quality sleeve replica. 180 gram vinyl. Includes CD with the complete stereo recording session, plus the full unreleased Mono RCA version. Edition of 500.

File Under: Italian, Library, OST
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zazoiZazou/Bikaye/CY1: Noir et Blanc (Crammed) LP
Vinyl reissue of one of the biggest cult albums in the history of Crammed Discs, Noir et Blanc was a studio encounter between Congolese singer Bony Bikaye, Algerian-born French composer Hector Zazou and mad scientists CY1, it’s traditional Central African vocals and uncompromising analog electronics was unanticipated at the time and remains sonically relevant to this day. This 1983 LP is constantly being (re)discovered by generations of fans, musicians and DJs, who hail it as an unsurpassed Afro/electronic milestone. Remastered from original analogue tapes, with 5 previously unreleased original demos available on DL card and new liner notes by Andy Beta. “One of the most innovative LPs of the year… in the same class as Byrne and Eno’s “Bush Of Ghosts”… resembles the startling outcome of an imaginary collaboration between DAF and Fela Kuti” (Melody Maker, UK, ’83)

File Under: Post Punk, Afrobeat, Funk, Electronic
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mareVarious: Mare Romantico (Sonor Music) LP
In tomorrow… Sonor Music Editions present a reissue of Mare Romantico, originally released in 1974. Amazing Italian library electronic and underwater gem originally released in 1974, which has remained totally obscure and absolutely impossible to find. A bewitching underwater music trip made through analog synthesizers and sophisticated electronic lounge mood music recorded for TV sea documentaries. Delicate marine themes alternate with hypnotic and abyssal vibes with droning effects, elegance reflected in crystal clear waves. A little jewel for fans of early electronic music and library junkies; one of the finest examples of Italian underwater library music. Features Montedoro, Tommasi, Atmo, Jarrell, Piccioni, and Santucci. Renewed artwork by painter Stefania Casagrande. Back sleeve liner notes by music journalist Marco Ferretti. 180 gram vinyl; Edition of 500.

File Under: Italian, Library, OST

pantsulaVarious: Pantsula! (Rush Hour) LP
In tomorrow… Late ’80s South African dancefloor winners only! Selected by DJ Okapi and Antal, the Pantsula! compilation holds tracks by Jivaro, The Hard Workers, Ayobayo Band, S.Y.B., and many more. The 12 tracks selected for Pantsula! come from a very unique, very different time and place. They represent the birth of electronic dance music in South Africa, through the songs of one particular independent label from the time: Music Team. The sound represents the culmination of the bubblegum era, when South Africa’s disco artists outgrew their American influences and forged an increasingly electronic and “local” pop sound. Evolving over time since long before the ’80s, the distinctly South African subculture of pantsula is more closely associated with an attitude, a style, and a signature dance, rather than any specific sound. In the late 1980s and early ’90s, Pantsula was also the name given to a new type of dance music taking over the streets of South Africa, influenced by earlier bubblegum and the rise of shangaan disco, but with a far broader appeal and a harder, purely electronic sound. This is the sharp electronic music that fueled the local Pantsula dances during the ’80s and ’90s. A must have for fans of bubblegum and kwaito music. Also features The Equals, Jivaro, Scotch Band, Kakappa, Spirro, Rush, Linda Ziqubu, Chaka, and La Viva.

File Under: Africa, Dance, Disco, Shangaan
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13th Floor Elevators: Psychedelic Sounds of (Snapper) LP
13th Floor Elevators: Bull of the Woods (Snapper) LP
Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society: Simultonality (Eremite)LP
Cannonball Adderley: Something Else (Blue Note) LP
Arcade Fire: Put Your Money on Me (Sony) LP
Baby Huey: Living Legend (Curtom) LP
Badbadnotgood: III (Arts & Crafts) LP
Badbadnotgood: IV (Arts & Crafts) LP
Badbadnotgood: Late Night Tales (Late Night Tales) LP
Derek Bailey: Solo Guitar Volume 1 (Honest Jons) LP
Derek Bailey/Anthony Braxton: Royal (Honest Jons) LP
Derek Bailey/Han Bennink: s/t (Honest Jons) LP
Julien Baker: Sprained Ankle (6131) LP
Caterina Barbieri: Patterns of Consciousness (Important) LP
Beck: Colors (Universal) LP
Beck: Morning Phase (Universal) LP
Art Blakey: Moanin’ (Blue Note) LP
Buena Vista Social Club: s/t (World Circuit) LP
Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City) LP
Childish Gambino: Awaken My Love (Glassnote) LP
Alice Coltrane: World Spirituality Classics (Luaka Bop) LP
John Coltrane: Blue Train (Blue Note) LP
Cluster: Sowiesoso (Bureau B) LP
Cluster & Eno: s/t (Bureau B) LP
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Manifesto) LP
Depeche Mode: Violator (Rhino) LP
Eric Dolphy & Booker Ervin: Far Cry (Original Jazz Classics) LP
El Michels Affair: Return to the 37th Chamber (Big Crown) LP
Robert Fripp/Brian Eno: No Pussyfooting (Pangyric) LP
Robert Fripp/Brian Eno: Evening Star (Pangyric) LP
Dexter Gordon: GO (Blue Note) LP
Dexter Gordon: Our Man in Paris (Blue Note) LP
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (Westbound) LP
Tim Hecker: Mirage (Kranky) LP
Here Lies Man: s/t (Riding Easy) LP
Jlin: Black Origami (Planet Mu) LP
Sharon Jones: Soul of a Woman (Daptone) LP
Fela Kuti: Vinyl Box 4 (Knitting Factory) BOX
Melvins: Houdini (Third Man) LP
Maria Monti: Il Bestiario (Holidays) LP
Nine Inch Nails: Downward Spiral (Nothing) LP
OST: Blade Runner (Rhino) LP
Pallbearer: Heartless (Profound Lore) LP
Rural Alberta Advantage: Wild (Paper Bag) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: Villains (Matador) LP
Slowdive: s/t (Dead Oceans) LP
Stars of the Lid: Tired Sounds of (Kranky) LP
Midori Takada: Through the Looking Glass (WRWTFWW) LP
Telaio Magnetico: Live 75 (Black Sweat) LP
White Zombie: La Sexorcisto (Music on Vinyl) LP
Various: Tokyo Flashback (Black Editions) LP

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…..news letter #826 – melt…..

You know, the last few years we’ve seen a few big releases right away in January, but this year, NOTHING. Finally some new releases are starting to trickle in, but not a ton. Loads of big stuff getting announced lately though, don’t worry, your wallet will be crying soon enough.

…..pick of the week.….


OST: Blade Runner (Rhino) LP
This iconic score is available again! Don’t miss out this time!!!! “The Blade Runner soundtrack was composed by Vangelis for Ridley Scott’s 1982 film, considered one of the finest sci-fi movies ever made. It is mostly a dark, melodic combination of classical compositions and synthesizers which mirrors the futuristic film noir envisioned by Scott. The soundtrack holds legendary status and at the time was well-received by fans and critics including Best Original Score nominations for a BAFTA and Golden Globe yet, except for a few cuts, it was not released until 1994. The movie remains a classic film with a long list of popular movie stars including Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos, most of whom appear on this record in movie dialog samples mixed into the 12 tracks of nearly one hour of music. Vangelis makes each track flow into one another. The soundtrack features vocal contributions from Demis Roussos and the sax solo by Dick Morrissey on “Love Theme.” The gatefold jacket includes many colorful stills from the film. Blade Runner is a timeless classic on film.”

File Under: OST, Ambient, Sci Fi
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…..new arrivals…..

bahamasBahamas: Earthtones (Universal) LP
In tomorrow… Afie Jurvanen isn’t from the Bahamas. He’s a Finnish-Canadian from Barrie – a working class town in rural Ontario. But his chosen epithet is fitting. Since 2009 he’s been making music under the name Bahamas – writing songs about sunsets, love affairs, and making out with crooked smiles. Through simple arrangements, he charts an escape route from the snow belt to the coral reefs. “I wasn’t feeling too inspired in 2016,” explains Jurvanen. “I’d been in a seemingly unbroken cycle of recording and touring for 6 years. I know, you’re saying to yourself “that’s so cliché̇, all musicians complain about being tired…” But wait, there’s more! Not knowing exactly what type of album to make, I was feeling pretty low. But at that very moment, my longtime manager and confidante Robbie Lackritz called and said “dude, you should make an album with D’Angelo’s rhythm section.” And just like that, the juices were flowing and the songs started coming. I wrote songs about having success, having kids, and having depression. I wrote songs about going on tour, going back in time and going in circles. I wrote songs about my other worldly wife, my jerk dad and my garbage relationship with my brother. Crazy right?! “In September of 2016 I flew to Los Angeles and spent three days in the studio with the bass boss Pino Palladinoand the titan of time keeping, Mr. James Gadson. No rehearsals, no charts, no rules. We worked fast and came away with 10 songs that sounded fresh and strange and warm and free of any genre. The results were so inspiring to me that I quickly pulled my road band (Felicity Williams, Christine Bougie, Darcy Yates, Jason Tait, Don Kerr) into a Prague studio to record a few more songs. And here’s the best part…the whole thing is produced by my longtime producer and confidante Robbie Lackritz, so you know the sound is correct, totally modern and completely familiar at the same time.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Big Star: Live at Lafayette’s Music Room (Omnivore) LP
It is well known that Big Star played a one-off promotional show for the Memphis Rock Writer’s Convention at Lafayette’s Music Room in Memphis in May of 1973. It cemented them into legendary status due to the writers who witnessed it and carried the message of Big Star out in their writing, even though the band had only released one album, #1 Record, and were unsure of recording a second after the departure of co-founder Chris Bell. What may not be so widely known is that the trio played the same venue four months earlier with the same power and passion opening shows for the Houston R&B band, Archie Bell & The Drells. First issued as Disc 4 of the Grammy Award-winning Keep An Eye On The Sky boxed set, Live At Lafayette’s Music Room sees new light as a stand-alone release, available on double LP. The performance has never sounded better thanks to new mastering and restoration from the Grammy-winning engineer, Michael Graves with supervision from fellow Grammy-winning producer, Cheryl Pawelski. The 20-track set features material from their debut, #1 Record, songs that would appear on the (not yet recorded) follow-up, Radio City, and choice covers from The Kinks, Todd Rundgren, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and T-Rex. As an added bonus, all formats include a download of a previously unissued 1972 interview with Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel from the summer of 1971 with Jon Scott on FM 100. Packaging features new liner notes from Bud Scoppa, who was friends with the band, and in attendance at the 1973 Rock Writer’s show. His most recent work for Omnivore was an integral part of the acclaimed Big Star boxed set Complete Third. Experience the only known document of Big Star at this pivotal point in their short, but massively influential career!

File Under: Rock
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Brian Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets (Astralwerks) LP
In tomorrow… The hybrid of glam, prog and art rock on Brian Eno’s 1974 debut Here Come The Warm Jets continued in a vein similar to his previous albums with Roxy Music, but further upped the experimental ante. In developing the album’s words and music, Eno used unusual methods, including dancing for his band members – having them play accordingly, and singing nonsense syllables to himself, then forming those into actual words, phrases and meaning – a technique revisited on later albums. The lyrics on Here Come The Warm Jets are macabre with an underlying sense of humor. They are mostly free-associative and have no particular meaning – another recurring method. Eno enlisted sixteen guest musicians to play on the album, including Robert Fripp and John Wetton of King Crimson, Simon King from Hawkwind, Bill MacCormick of Matching Mole and Quiet Sun, Paul Rudolph of Pink Fairies, Phil Manzanera and Andy MacKay from Roxy Music and Chris Spedding. Eno selected them on the basis that he thought they were incompatible with each other musically. He stated that he “got them together merely because I wanted to see what happens when you combine different identities with the knowledge that there might be accidents, accidents which will be more interesting than what I had intended.”

File Under: Rock
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Hot Snakes: Automatic Midnight (Sub Pop) LP
In tomorrow…San Diego’s influential post-hardcore all-stars Hot Snakes – boasting members of Pitchfork, Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Earthless, Obits, Burning Brides, OFF!, The Delta 72, and more – released three of Sub Pop’s favorite rock records of the past 20 years: Automatic Midnight, Suicide Invoice, and Audit in Progress. All three were originally issued on Swami Records, with art by singer/guitarist and visual artist Rick Froberg. As we await the somewhat-later-in-2018 release of their first new album since 2004, the label is pleased to reissue this trio of classics back on vinyl. 2000’s Automatic Midnight is Hot Snakes’ sinister and swaggering debut blast of fierce and turbulent rock ‘n’ roll. Guitars attack, drums pound and vocals destroy. The band’s sound here represented a return to the unrealized past of its members: direct, undraped rock ‘n’ roll with some edge.

 File Under: Rock, Punk
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Hot Snakes: Suicide Invoice (Sub Pop) LP
In tomorrow…San Diego’s influential post-hardcore all-stars Hot Snakes – boasting members of Pitchfork, Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Earthless, Obits, Burning Brides, OFF!, The Delta 72, and more – released three of Sub Pop’s favorite rock records of the past 20 years: Automatic Midnight, Suicide Invoice, and Audit in Progress. All three were originally issued on Swami Records, with art by singer/guitarist and visual artist Rick Froberg. As we await the somewhat-later-in-2018 release of their first new album since 2004, the label is pleased to reissue this trio of classics back on vinyl. Hot Snakes’ highly anticipated sophomore effort, 2002’s Suicide Invoice, features a more varied assault and larger mood palate than their debut, but with the same guitar attack, drum pound, vocal destroy style that we’ve come to know and love.

File Under: Rock, Punk
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Hot Snakes: Audit in Progress (Sub Pop) LP
In tomorrow… San Diego’s influential post-hardcore all-stars Hot Snakes – boasting members of Pitchfork, Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Earthless, Obits, Burning Brides, OFF!, The Delta 72, and more – released three of Sub Pop’s favorite rock records of the past 20 years: Automatic Midnight, Suicide Invoice, and Audit in Progress. All three were originally issued on Swami Records, with art by singer/guitarist and visual artist Rick Froberg. As we await the somewhat-later-in-2018 release of their first new album since 2004, the label is pleased to reissue this trio of classics back on vinyl. Audit in Progress is Hot Snakes’ third studio album and last to date, originally released in 2004. It finds the band doing what they do best, churning out fast and explosive songs with understated dynamics and plenty of character. By 2005 Hot Snakes was no more, however, they would reconvene in 2011 for some live dates.

File Under: Rock, Punk
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Fela Kuti: Box Set 4 (Knitting Factory) 7LP Box
In tomorrow…Knitting Factory Records presents the next installment of the long-awaited vinyl reissues from the Fela Kuti catalog. The inimitable Erykah Badu personally selected the seven albums featured in this fourth box set, which have been remastered from their original vinyl pressings. The artwork for each album has been meticulously recreated from original album artwork, alongside vintage vinyl label artwork. The 7LPs include Yellow Fever (1976), No Agreement (1977), JJD (1977), VIP (1979), Coffin for Head of State (1980), Army Arrangement (1984), and Underground System (1992). The package is rounded out with a 20-page full-color booklet featuring seven personal essays written by Erykah Badu; seven in-depth commentaries by veteran music journalist and Afrobeat historian Chris May; song lyrics; never before published photos of Fela Kuti; and a 16 x 24″ poster designed by Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu, the creative force behind 26 of Fela Kuti‘s album covers.

File Under: Afro Beat, Funk
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Mudhoney: LiE (Sub Pop) LP
In tomorrow… Recorded live during their 2016 European tour at shows in Germany, Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Norway, and Slovenia LiE is the first unlimited-edition, non-bootleg live Mudhoney album to date. 2018 marks Mudhoney’s 30th anniversary, and this release is a fitting start to a year that will also see the release of a new Mudhoney full-length. Includes ten tracks spanning the band’s storied career plus their live cover of Roxy Music’s “Editions of You.”

File Under: Rock, Grunge
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Porches: The House (Domino) LP
In tomorrow… Porches’ third record The House is a conscious effort in minimalism and honesty. “Making Pool” – the band’s 2016 breakthrough record, and Domino debut – “I learned how valuable the spirit of the demos are,” says singer Aaron Maine. “So this time I made a point of capturing a song the day it was conceived.” Because of this desire to document immediate sensations, the record’s fourteen tracks offer a series of diaristic vignettes. There are moments of emerging from fear of ego death (“Leave the House,” “By My Side,” “Now The Water”), escaping the corporeal (“Now The Water,” “Swimmer”), the terrifying thrill of young love (“Country,” “W Longing”), and parting with the past (“Wobble,” “Goodbye”). While these themes possibly paint The House in a dark light, the record is marked by an excitement at the prospect of self-discovery, and commitment to the process of getting there. Though Aaron largely composes on his own, The House features contributions by Alexander Giannascoli ((Sandy) Alex G), Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Maya Laner (True Blue, Porches), Kaya Wilkins (Okay Kaya), Bryndon Cook (Starchild & the New Romantic), Cameron Wisch (Cende, Porches), Jason Arce, Bea1991, and his own father, Peter Maine. As with Pool, Aaron brought his recorded work to Chris Coady (Beach House, Slowdive, TV on the Radio), who then mixed The House at his Sunset Sound studio.

File Under: Indie Rock
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wallColter Wall: Imaginary Appalachia (Thirty Tigers) LP
In tomorrow… A native of Swift Current, Saskatchewan Canada, Colter Wall’s sound is comprised of resonate and raw baritone vocals, folk and bluegrass style guitar and banjo picking, steady kick-drum stomping, and visually provoking, story telling lyrics. Since debuting in 2015 with the release of his Jason Plumb-produced EP, Imaginary Appalachia, Wall has received overwhelming acclaim – Steve Earle declares, “Colter Wall is bar-none the best young singer-songwriter I’ve seen in twenty years,” while Rick Rubin, who signed Wall to his American Songs publishing company, proclaims, “Colter sings and writes songs in ways seemingly lost in time. There is an agelessness about him so unusual in someone so young.” The standout Imaginary Appalachia track “Sleeping On The Backtop,” was featured on the soundtrack of the Oscar-nominated film, Hell or High Water.

File Under: Country
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neil youngNeil Young: The Visitor (Reprise) LP
Neil Young + Promise Of The Real pair up once again for the new studio album The Visitor. When Young entered Shangri La Studio with Promise Of The Real in the Fall of 2017, there were a lot of images and feelings careening around his soul. The country was heading in a direction Young had never seen, even though up until then he thought he’d seen it all. But something different was happening, and it had gotten inside his music. “I’m a Canadian by the way and I love the USA,” he sings on the first song “Already Great.” The ethos of The Visitor can be summed up in the refrain of “Already Great” where Young insists, “Already great, you’re already great. You’re the promise land, the helping hand. No wall. No hate. No fascist USA. Whose Street? Our Street.” From those words, Young was ready to take a musical journey like he had never taken before. It was one where he’d even surprise himself, always the mark of a creative leap. By the end of the recording sessions, he knew he’d made his most diverse album going all the way back to Harvest in 1972, when America was also in the throes of becoming unhinged. Neil didn’t blink then, and he is not blinking now. The Visitor is an intriguing and always exciting peek into the mind and heart of one of rock & roll’s true seekers. His new songs, whether it’s a mashup of spoken word and rock & roll on “Fly By Night” or the heart-stopping beauty of “Forever,” once again ask listeners to stay open and ready for whatever comes through the open channels of the man and his unstoppable band. Listening to an album like The Visitor is not unlike taking off on a cross-country trip without a map. There is no way to tell where the destination will lead or what will be encountered. At one moment the savage rock of “Stand Tall” leads into Caribbean and Latin musical strains rising through on “Carnival,” only to turn around to embrace the blues on “Digging a Hole.” There is also the modern funk-rock of “When Bad Got Good,” the anthemic “Children of Destiny” and the spirit-tugging strength of “Change of Heart” to ensure the musical travels remain full of wonder. With the unlimited ability of Promise of the Real, featuring Lukas and Michah Nelson along with Corey McCormick, Anthony Logerfo and Tato Melgar, the passionate power of their playing pushes the songs to maximum expression. There are very few rock bands now who can go to as many places as this outfit and always deliver their own distinct identity. The closing song on The Visitor feels like a prayer for today and tomorrow. In “Forever,” Young sings “Earth is like a church without a preacher, the people have to pray for themselves.” These lines, and everything else on this landmark release point to the future in a way that sounds the alarm for troubled times but at the same time offers hope that, once again, music can help lead the way to understanding and hopefully a better place.

File Under: Rock
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Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO) LP
Aphex Twin: Come to Daddy (Warp) 12”
Aphex Twin: Window Licker (Warp) 12”
Arcade Fire: Funeral (Merge) LP
Arcade Fire: Reflektor (Sonovox) LP
Beastie Boys: In Sound From Way Out (Universal) LP
Beck: Colors (Universal) LP
Beck: Morning Phase (Universal) LP
Boards of Canada: Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp) LP
Alice Coltrane: Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse) LP
Alice Coltrane: World Spirituality Classics (Luaka Bop) LP
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (Columbia) LP
Dio: Holy Diver (Rhino) LP
Dio: Last in Line (Rhino) LP
Gord Downie: Battle of the Nudes (Arts & Crafts) LP
Gord Downie: Coke Machine Glow (Arts & Crafts) LP
Nick Drake: Pink Moon (Island) LP
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma (Warp) LP
Flying Lotus: Until The Quiet Comes (Warp) LP
Aretha Franklin: A Brand New Me (Rhino) LP
Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul (Rhino) LP
Frightnrs: Nothing More to Say (Daptone) LP
Charlotte Gainsbourg: Rest (Warner) LP
Golden Smog: Weird Tales (Rhino) LP
Herbie Hancock: Headhunters (Legacy) LP
Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage (Blue Note) LP
Jlin: Black Origami (Planet Mu) LP
Knife: Shaking the Habitual (Mute) LP
Kendrick Lamar: Damn (Aftermath) LP
Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid M.A.A.D. City (Aftermath) LP
Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly (Aftermath) LP
Led Zeppelin: II (Warner) LP
Love: s/t (Rhino) LP
Hank Mobley: Soul Station (Blue Note) LP
Thelonious Monk: Monks Dream (Wax Time) LP
Thelonious Monk: Underground (Universal) LP
Lee Morgan: Search for a New Land (Blue Note) LP
Mount Kimbie: Love What Survives (Warp) LP
Oasis: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory (Big Brother) LP
Tom Petty: Highway Companion (Universal) LP
Portishead: Dummy (Universal) LP
Otis Redding: Live In Europe (Rhino) LP
R.E.M.: Automatic for the People (Universal) LP
Daniel Romano: Modern Pressure (You’ve Changed) LP
Daniel Romano: Sleeps Beneath the Willow (You’ve Changed) LP
Richard & Linda Thompson: Shoot Out the Lights (Rhino) LP
Tragically Hip: Fully Completely (Universal) LP
Tragically Hip: Road Apples (Universal) LP
ZZ Top: Tres Hombres (Rhino) LP
ZZ Top: Rio Grande Mud (Rhino) LP

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