oi… with the busiest weekend of the year quickly approaching, things are getting a bit hectic around here, so as a throwback, i’ve gone back to the long descriptions this week… let me know if you prefer this much info. and with that, i’m going to get back to work. lots of stuff coming in for record store day next week as well as we’re going to have a bunch of nice used goodies for the record show the following day. so this might be a good time for you to sell that spare kidney you don’t use…
…..pick of the week…..
volcano the bear – golden rhythm/ink music – rune grammofon – lp
– in tomorrow. well it’s about time! finally a new album from this singular band! “rune grammofon presents the brand-new studio album from volcano the bear, a calculated, hysterical melting-pot of this heat, robert wyatt, faust and the residents, of musique concrète and ethno-folk, all seen through a prism of theatrical improvisations and unhinged set pieces. formed in 1995, and after several self-released tapes and cd-rs, vtb so excited nurse with wound’s steven stapleton, that he brought his united dairies label out of cold storage to release their first album proper, the inhazer decline, in 2000. since then they’ve released music on such labels as misra, beta lactam ring, textile, digitalis, pickled egg, alt vinyl as well as their own imprints volucan and volfurten with the exceptional classic erasmus fusion from 2006 being a possible highlight. on record, vtb offer stark and stunning absurdities in the most bizarrely beautiful way. recycling and re-contextualizing their material is an innate habit, and the variety of recording options they might choose (be it a highly-equipped professional studio or a second-hand dictaphone) allows their craft to be formed in a myriad of different ways. vtb have toured extensively throughout europe and north america and in concert they are the duo of daniel padden and aaron moore. absurd humor and eclectic ways of producing sounds are characteristic of their live performances and their extensive knowledge of the traditions of experimental and folk music makes the band difficult to categorize. the band record everything they play and will often use these recordings as raw material for their albums. vtb have released a number of records since the start, often mixing studio, live and home recordings. golden rhythm/ink music is their first more or less “proper” studio album since amidst the noise and twigs back in 2007. largely based on the sonic fault-line between aaron moore and daniel padden, it’s also the most focused and driven of vtb’s prolific output so far, showcasing the duo’s unique musicality and interplay, while retaining their trademark eccentricity and humor throughout. it presents “rock music” as seen through vtb’s skewed eye, featuring more of padden and moore’s drum/guitar combination than on previous albums. taking the bizarre energy of their live duo performances into a studio environment, and combining it with vtb’s eclectic instrumentation and clarence manuelo’s singular audio-work, gr/im shows vtb making their most vital work to date. includes mp3 download code.”
batida – s/t – soundway – lp/cd
– in tomorrow. the debut album from batida, the brainchild of angolan/portuguese dj mpula aka pedro coquenão. a distinctly modern and vibrant project with its feet firmly rooted in the past, batida combine samples from old 1970s angolan tracks with modern electronic dance music. music is the starting point but through dance, graphics, photography, radio and video, batida expands, taking in politics and social commentary but always bringing it back to the party. being the first of a string of brand new projects, this eponymous first album sees soundway taking a slightly different direction in 2012 and beyond. championed mostly for their work in un-earthing and re-releasing classic, rare and vintage tropical recordings, soundway have started signing new acts that have drawn on and been inspired by the kind of music found on the label’s groundbreaking compilations and re-issues. what originally started out as a radio show designed to promote new african music has slowly evolved into a collaborative project crossing continents. whereas nearly all of kuduro (angolan electronic music) has no links with its country’s musical heritage, it is deeply engrained in batida’s music. sampling tracks from 1970s angola, batida is a reinterpretation of angola’s musical past, bringing it firmly into the modern day. batida’s high energy live show features dancers, percussionists, djs, mcs alongside visuals and images (both archive and new) of angolan streets, war and fragments of tribal life.
francis bebey – african electronic music 1975-1982 – born bad – 2lp
– in tomorrow. cameroonian musician francis bebey is truly one of a kind. He entered the music scene with his african compositions for classical guitar. he gave recitals while pursuing a career in journalism and then as an international civil servant. the same creative impulse also led him to write pop songs, some of which (based on novels he had written) became big hits in africa and in the french-speaking world. but few people know that in the ’70s, francis bebey delved into electronic music. the first electronic keyboards, organs and drum machines offered him new possibilities of totally controlling his compositions. he embraced the technique of “sound on sound” recording (recording several tracks, sequentially juxtaposed on the same tape). this new stage in his musical career included the production of several records (savannah georgia, new track, haiti), rarities both for their creative explorations as well as their manifestations on vinyl. this was a particularly rich period for him, as he tested the limitless possibilities of the medium, and made use of surprising and novel instruments. incredible sounds — in the literal sense of the word — would soon appear on the planet bebey. full-color printed innersleeves with notes in english and french.
bola – volume 7 – awesome tapes from africa – lp
– in tomorrow. “bola’s music aggressively melds sheer force of spirit with a sound not often heard by ears outside the remote upper east region of ghana. his bold fury stems from the kologo–a two-stringed lute with a calabash gourd resonator–and frafra-language vocals, emitted in raspy bursts. this is some of the most distinct and dynamic music to come out of ghana since the emergence of hiplife music in the mid-90s. volume 7, which came out in 2008, is just one entry in a brilliant series of recordings bola has released on cd and cassette. although he employs a traditional instrument and the age-old mode of griot story-telling, bola embraces elements of modern mainstream ghanaian music–drum machines, synths, bone-shaking bass. inspired by pioneering kologo greats like king ayisoba, bola has taken a dynamic instrument used by traditional healers and herbalists to sing to god in search of advice and taken it to futuristic heights.”
henning christiansen – kreuzmusik fluxid behandlung op 189 – kye – lp
– in tomorrow. “kye is proud to present in association with penultimate press the fully authorized reissue of henning christiansen’s kreuzmusik fluxid behandlung op 189. kreuzmusik fluxid behandlung op 189 was commissioned by the bonner kunstverein gallery, kunstfond, germany in august 1989, for inclusion in their taking fluxus around for a drive happening, (also featuring performances by dieter daniels, george maciunas, allan kaprow, al hansen, joe jones and others) and originally issued on cassette in 1990 by neue bildende kunst in an edition of 100 copies. kreuzmusik fluxid behandlung op 189 arrives in a full color high gloss sleeve, with original score reproduction insert, mastered from the original tapes by jason lescalleet at glistening labs, in an edition of 500 copies.”
gene clark – no other – 4 men with beards – lp
– in tomorrow. “no other is an absolutely incredible record, and the album that clark himself thought of as his masterpiece. despite being a critical and commercial failure at the time of its release in 1974, the years have been kind to no other and it is now thought of as a classic solo album from one of the founding members of the byrds. written in the quiet sobriety of his mendocino family home, yet recorded in the cocaine excess of hollywood, no other is a perfect blending of those two poles. a stunning and important folk-rock record. comes with a reproduction of the original poster insert.” on 180 gram vinyl.
en – already gone – students of decay – lp
– in tomorrow. “already gone is the second full length album from west coast dream-drone unit en, the duo of maxwell august croy and james devane, following their well-received debut album the absent coast (released in 2010 on root strata, which croy runs alongside jefre cantu-ledesma). for their sophomore release, the pair has opened up their tonal palette considerably. while the comparisons that critics made of their first album to the work of tim hecker and stars of the lid still hold true, already gone finds croy and devane mining even richer sonic climes. here, the duo pull back the curtain on some of their source material, a move that allows the diversity of their instrumentation to resonate. on the sea saw swell, croy’s acoustic koto pings across the stereo spectrum as a looping guitar figure from devane evaporates from the haze of a beautiful, slowly shifting drone. the side-long closer elysia is likely the duo’s defining recording to date, an epic slow-burner that reaches heights both angelic and cacophonous. ultimately, it is the harmonious marriage of the organic and the obscured that recurs throughout the album that proves its defining trait, and it is precisely what makes en stand out in the ever-growing field of contemporary drone/ambient music.”
faces – first step – 4 men with beards – lp
– in tomorrow. “first step is the debut solo album from the legendary faces, originally released in 1970. featuring a post-jeff-beck-group rod stewart, along with ronnie lane, ronnie wood, ian mclagan, and kenney jones, first step includes the now classic ‘three button hand me down’ and ‘flying.'” gatefold sleeve; on 180 gram vinyl.
grouper – a i a – kranky – 2cd
– in tomorrow. “this is the first cd issue of grouper’s 2011 self released two part album subtitled ‘dream loss’ and ‘alien observer,’ comprised of songs written and recorded over the last four years. a chronological order informs the thematic trajectory of the dual release. ‘dream loss’ is the first album and is a collection of older songs, while ‘alien observer’ is mostly made of newer songs. each is meant to stand solidly on its own, and also as a satellite in the other’s system, subjects on either side of the water’s surface, on either side of a trick mirror; at times reflecting one back to the other, at times looking straight through to the other. enough has been written about grouper in the past few years that there is no need to wax poetic here. suffice it to say that liz harris has created an exquisite sonic universe where she is the sole inhabitant, and we should consider it a privilege to listen in.”
inscir transit express – missa est – mellotron – lp
– in tomorrow. “rare french private release from 1978 on the kiosk d’orphee label, same as dandelion. despite being recorded out of time, this is a very nice psychedelic progressive album, with some parts in west coast psychedelic jam session style. english lyrics, with repro of the original insert as well.”
mops – exit – phoenix – lp/cd
– in tomorrow. one of the innumerable bands to emerge from the post-beatles japanese tour of 1966 with fab four pretentions. the mops were a tokyo quintet led by drummer mikiharu suzuki who had cut his musical teeth in a ventures-style combo in the previous spring. the line-up was augmented by the arrival of suzuki’s older brother, hiromitu, a lead vocalist with an eric burdon obsession who added hugely to the band’s fuzzy garage soul sound. not just a merseyside homage turn, the mops were a dedicated family whose love of garage rock and the nascent psychedelia would help them to create some of the most urgently deranged and musically disruptive music of the entire group sounds-era. exit, a live recording, features in its entirety the band’s 1974 last concert at nakano san plaza. features the original lp artwork and includes the original japanese insert. digitally remastered.
orcas – s/t – morr – lp
– in tomorrow. the courtship of ambient music and traditional songform has been a long and tenuous one, almost to the point that their differences seem irreconcilable. spanning decades with only a few points of obscure intersections, the occasions on which the two styles have met and crossed into the pop culture lexicon have often yielded a contrary, oil-and-water form. the abstract nature of the “ambient” genre and instant gratification of the “pop” song require deft hands for successful cohabitation, thus it is little wonder that there are so few practitioners of its delicate equilibrium. orcas — comprised of haze-pop auteur benoît pioulard and post-minimalist composer rafael anton irisarri — is an imaginative return to that narrative. theirs is a style deeply rooted in personal variations on songform and ambient craft, and as a duo they bridge the furthest outlying aspects of their previous solo work published on kranky, touch, miasmah, room40, and ghostly international. here, song and abstraction become one entity, condensing the spaces between to generate an arching trajectory. this co-mingling of contrasts is even coded into their moniker; pioulard and irisarri have chosen an iconic symbol of the american pacific northwest, a methodical sea hunter that is also a totem of the open oceans’ expanse. the so-called “wolf of the seas” that evokes a quiet, stately, yet powerful nature. appropriately, their music is a careful balance of chiaroscuro elements, where pop hook and spatial ambience converge. In its environs, lyricism flows as a time-distended dynamic, rising and falling, proceeding almost antithetically to pop’s typical gratification ethos. orcas has taken an immersive, fluid vector for their passions; a resonant call, like sonar from the depths. Includes a free mp3 download, including two previously-unreleased bonus tracks.
rob – make it fast – soundways – lp/cd
– in tomorrow. soundway re-issue rob’s second album for the first time outside ghana. rob was an enigmatic recording artist from ghana who cut two albums for the legendary essiebons label in 1977. neither of these were big domestic hits at the time and have since become prized amongst collectors in recent years. the title track from this lp was always one of the most popular on the first soundway release ghana soundz, and over the years, the label has been asked many times to re-issue the lp in its entirety. a stranger, slower offering than his more dancefloor funk-laden and spartan first lp, this record sees rob in similar territory but with the tempo switched down and the introspection turned up. rob’s trademark horns dominate and are supplied by the mag-2, an army band founded by leader amponsah rockson, who named it after the army unit the band played for — the “magnificent” second battalion. in 1977, rob traveled to the coastal town of takoradi in search of mag-2, which had an entire section of its line-up dedicated to horns, with the intention of laying out his proposal to them. luckily for rob, the band took him up on it. with religious overtones and a broody, slightly off-key atmosphere at points, it’s certainly one of the stranger afro-funk records to come out of west africa but with tracks like “loose up yourself” and “make it fast, make it slow,” he nails it for sure.
*akos rozmann – 12 stations vi – idealogical organ – 2lp
– in tomorrow. “akos rózmann (1939-2005) studied at the bártók conservatory in budapest and took diplomas in both composition and organ playing at the liszt academy. in 1971, he was given a scholarship to study electronic music in stockholm. his encounter with the electronic tools was a revolutionary experience for him and was to give a whole new direction to his work. soon he abandoned composition for acoustic instruments and was later to claim that instrumental music ‘had no future.’ for several years, he earned his living as an organist at st. eric’s catholic cathedral in stockholm, often using recordings of organ sounds made in the dead of the night as a source for his electronic works. rózmann often preferred monumental forms and several of his most prominent works, such as ’12 stationer’ (trans. ’12 stations’) and ‘mässa’ (trans. ‘mass’), grew side-by-side over a long period of time. with a few rare exceptions, the conflict between good and evil was the basic theme in his works. the fight went on continuously in arenas and within power relations that would suddenly change. in rózmann’s imagined world, no room was given to chance. big powers, luminous or dark, would lie behind the most trivial everyday events. a large portion of tibetan buddhism gradually infiltrated his catholic weltanschauung, and ’12 stationer,’ composed between 1978 and 2001, is a musical interpretation of the tibetan wheel of life. the last part of the 12 stations, ‘old age and death,’ is called ‘the celebrators’ in rózmann’s version (completed in 2001). when asked what sort of celebration he meant he replied: ‘the merriment you hear is false, it is not genuine, it is empty.’ ‘dörr med tårar’ (trans. ‘door with tears’) from 1988-1989 is unmistakeably an homage to pierre henry and the title alludes to ‘variations for a door and a sigh.’ during one of my last encounters with rózmann, he told me in depth about how henry’s influence was significant in leading him to choose electronic music. he regarded ‘le voyage’ from the tibetan book of the dead to be the most important pioneering piece in the history of electronic music. akos rózmann showed particular devotion to his work during more than thirty active years. during his lifetime he never sought, nor did he win any mentionable recognition. as a true modernist, he didn’t compose with an audience or the critics in mind. his mission was to compose for the future. it was his conviction that the mystical energy for compositional work should derive straight from god. it is a truly great thing to witness the publication of this album.” –mats lindström, stockholm, february 2012; iona maros (soprano), miklós maros, viveca servatius (voices), akos rózmann (piano and voice). composed at ems elektronmusikstudion, stockholm, by akos rózmann. vinyl cut by rashad becker at dubplates & mastering, berlin may 2011. ideologic organ curation and art direction by stephen o’malley.
mike shiflet – merciless – type – lp
– in tomorrow. type follow up mike shiflet’s sufferers with a further exposition of his individual and far-reaching sound palette. a member of c spencer yeh’s revolving burning star core unit, and a prolific collaborator with the likes of daniel menche, chris corsano, pete swanson and many others, shiflet has honed an intensely visceral feel for tone and texture which makes his records so intriguing to lovers of experimental composition and music-making. with some production/audio mastering assists from fellow columbus, ohio-based musician joe panzner, on merciless shiflet engages with corrosive textures from the off, enticing us in with fractured small sounds on “feeble breaths” before weaving a lattice of quick-drying fiberglass strands over your cochlea, which become infested with scuttling, insipid rhythms and abstract noise abrasions designed by panzner on the lloopp software for max/msp. this induction, by contrast, makes the second half piece of evolving horror drones in “exodus and exile” that much more affective, while the second side plays through as one longer, queasy composition veering from cacophonous noise to wheezing drone and chilly isolation with the contribution of cassette manipulation by jason zeh, cello by marina peterson and violin from c spencer yeh. cut at dubplates & mastering, berlin. limited vinyl pressing of 500 copies only.
sparklehorse – it’s a wonderful life – plain – lp
– in tomorrow. “the third album from the late mark linkous’ sparklehorse, it’s a wonderful life, was the first to be recorded in a commercial studio with a full band. recorded and released in 2001, after linkous’ near-fatal overdose in a london hotel room, the album is a beautiful and fragile exploration of somber themes. featuring guest appearances from pj harvey, tom waits, and vic chesnutt, it’s a wonderful life is a singer-songwriter classic. includes download card of the entire album.”
sparklehorse – dreamt for light years in the belly of a mountain – plain – lp
– in tomorrow. “dreamt for light years in the belly of a mountain is the fourth and final album from mark linkous’ sparklehorse. recorded over a span of five years, and produced by danger mouse, the album is probably linkous’ least cohesive efforts but, at the same time, contains some of his finest songs ever. a fitting swan song for a brilliant but troubled songwriter. includes download card of the entire album.” 180 gram vinyl.
*sylvester anfang ii – perzische tapijten – great pop suppliment – lp
– the epic new full length from legendary flemish kraut/psych jam masters sylvester anfang II. “perzische tapijten” (“persian rugs”) features 6 super heavy, densely extended jams, deliciously tribal, quasi religious, utterly whacked out pieces that eternally build and pound at the senses. high on lush drones, pounding shamanic rhythms and eastern tinged instrumentation with flittering moogs adding to the “middle of the woods” textures throughout… recorded on an old farm in sint-pauwels (between gent and antwerp), in one take with no overdubs, the band strived for a more eastern vibe and approach than previous releases, which partially explains the album’s title. following several sold out releases across a number of great labels (eclipse, k-raa-k, aurora borealis, blackest rainbow and under their own “funeral folk” imprint) the lp isn’t expected to hang around long. everything previously from both artist and label is sold out so expect the same here… beautiful pro-printed psych sleeves.
alan toussaint – life, love, and faith – 4 men with beards – lp
– in tomorrow. “1972’s life, love and faith was toussaint’s first album for reprise. while a soul record through and through, this effort from the multi-talented new orleans native shares some of the singer/songwriter vibe of his contemporary labelmates, such as randy newman, joni mitchell, lowell george and little feat. stand out tracks include ‘soul sister,’ ‘victims of the darkness’ and ‘on your way down.'” on 180 gram vinyl.
m. ward – a wasteland companion – merge – lp/cd
– told ya…. inspired by his increasingly itinerant lifestyle, ward set forth to create something of a musical travelogue on the highly anticipated sixth solo album. ward’s honey-soaked vocals, deft finger-picking, innate sense of melody and beguiling lyrics have already cemented his reputation as one of america’s true musical treasures and ‘a wasteland companion’ features some of the finest songwriting and most striking delivery of his career.
*yonin bayashi – ishoku-sokuhatsu – phoenix – lp/cd
– in tomorrow. originally released in 1974. “somewhere between the doors and santana, the fuzzy soul of 3 + 3 period isley brothers and the poppy english prog rock of pete banks-period early yes and the least we can do is wave to each other-period van der graaf generator, is this romantic, soul-influenced album ishoku-sokuhatsu (trans. “dangerous situation”). this album is progressive pop music similar to that of solo todd rundgren or even the zombies’ experimental lp odessey & oracle.” –julian cope, japrocksampler; “yonin bayashi was originally formed in 1970 with kasutoshi morizono (guitar and vocals), kazuo nakamura (bass) and daiji okai (drums). they introduced themselves as ‘the san-nin’ (three-piece band) at that time. in early 1971, keyboard player hidemi sakashita joined and they became ‘yonin-bayashi’ meaning ‘four-piece band’ in japanese. ishoku-sokuhatsu is their legendary first album and is a true japanese hard psychedelic/progressive masterpiece.” –wayside music; features the original lp artwork, including the original japanese insert.
zammuto – s/t – temporary residence – lp
– “sprouting from the same mind that created the books–one of the most acclaimed and innovative groups of the past decade– zammuto marks a deep reinvention of the highly detailed, genre-defying spirit that made seminal albums such as the lemon of pink and the way out possible. given the books’ success as an experimental collage-pop project, founder and namesake nick zammuto could have comfortably extended that thread. instead he has given us a record that is progressive and forward-looking, intense and driven, with hugely varied rhythms and melodies. the whispered, folksy vocals that became a trademark of the books are for the most part shed in favor of an uncharacteristically confident, soaring delivery, often fueled by a wide array of vocal effects. the result is a man-machine sensitivity that ultimately enhances the songs’ emotional intensity. with dense and beautiful string arrangements by gene back (the books) and brain-warping drum performances by sean dixon, the radical and varied sound of zammuto leaps out of speakers with a searing directness.”
various – soul cal: funky disco & modern soul 1971-1982 – now again – 2lp+book
– in tomorrow. “a decade in the making, soul cal is the definitive survey of america’s best, independent, ’70s soul-ensembles. profiled within this album and book are the bands that transitioned from funk to disco; the bands that kept up the backbeat as rhythm moved to the backseat. against the odds, they left recorded artifacts for we at now-again to dig out, dust off and restore. collected here for the first time are the musical dreams of dozens, dreams that were deferred but were never discarded. soul cal features some well-known figures from the various ‘soul’ scenes that paved the way for their resurgence. the northern soul, modern soul and deep disco and funk circles have all obsessed over the likes of luther davis, rhythm machine, mixed sugar and record player. but these and soul cal’s other bands — many of whom managed only to release a solitary 7′ single in their heyday – will be unknown to most. their obscurity notwithstanding, the music made by these bands is sure to strike a chord within the soul of any person taken by black american music from the latter half of the 20th century. in his long-running investigation into this flux-period in black american music, compiler and key researcher eothen ‘egon’ alapatt sought not only licenses, records and master tapes – but the stories and backdrops of these majestic soul songs and the ensembles that created them. it is due to the immense research that his investigation demanded — and the trove of information and music he unearthed — that we at now-again decided to present soul cal as an album and a book at the same time. soul cal’s music is too good to be anonymously relaunched and a cd or lp booklet can only hold so much information. simply telling the stories of these bands without unleashing their largely unheard music just seemed unfair. thus, soul cal offers the enthused a chance to listen to, read about and reflect on this great burst of black american creativity in the decade after funk, the decade before hip-hop.”
*kevin ayers – joy of a toy – vinilisssmo – lp
bon iver – for emma, forever ago – jagjaguwar – lp
daft punk – homework – virgin – lp
decemberists – the king is dead – emi – lp
dj shadow – endtroducing – mo wax – lp
*thonghuad faited – diew sor isan – em – lp
lee fields – faithful man – truth & soul – lp/cd
fleet foxes – helplessness blues – sub pop – lp
herbie hancock – the blow up – 4 men with beards – lp
julia holter – ekstasis – rvng – lp
kraftwerk – autobahn – emi – lp
kraftwerk – man machine – emi – lp
kraftwerk – trans europe express – emi – lp
david lynch – crazy clown time – piasa – lp
stephen malkmus – real emotional trash – matador – lp
portishead – third – mercury – lp
theesatisfaction – awe naturale – sub pop – lp
chad van gaalen – infiniheart – flemish eye – lp
women – public strain – flemish eye – lp
various – minimal wave tapes 2 – stones throw – lp
thanks for listening…..
10443a – 124 street