…..news letter #576 – short…..

howdy all,

       in classic fashion, the long weekend has thrown off shipping schedules so this short week has resulted in another short news letter, so to make up for it, i’ve left the descriptions long, more for less! either way, as usual some great stuff in… it’s like they aren’t making bad records anymore!

 …..pick of the week…..

*medusa – first step beyond – numero – lp

– a slow week allows for me to highlight this gem that came in a couple of weeks ago that much deserves more attention… “chicago’s reputation will forever be tainted by the horn-ravaged corniness of their eponymous band. medusa’s first step beyond could have forever altered the perception of chicago rock history had it managed to make the leap from tape to its destined vinyl pressing. instead, this mish-mash of sabbath, hawkwind, and amon duul II remained petrified in the corycian caverns, or rather the drummer’s basement. self produced on four track in 1975, the sole transmission from medusa’s repertoire appeared on the extremely mysterious pepperhead label, whose proprietor allegedly disappeared after a bad trip and has never been seen again. housed in cushy mock-velvet and screened in blood red and gold, and art directed from the band’s elaborate original stage props and artwork, we have positioned this unreleased opus to finally reach its destination: the turntables of pot-smoking teenagers, young and old.” 

…..new arrivals…..

atoms for peace – amok – xl – dlx lp/dlx cd
– atoms for peace, the new band featuring thom yorke, nigel godrich, mauro refosco, joey waronker, and flea, came together in 2009 by playing in support of thom’s grammy nominated album, “the eraser”. they got a big buzz from those shows and discovered a shared energy in transforming the music from electronic to live, so they carried on for a few days in the studio and decided to make it a loose, on-going thing since everyone has a day job as well. fast-forward to 2013, and the debut album “amok” will is released.
*black twig pickers – rough carpenters – thrill jockey – lp
– “the black twig pickers are a group defined by their forward thinking approach to a type of music most often associated with times gone by. over the course of eight full-length records, including collaborative releases with jack rose and charlie parr, a split lp with glenn jones, and numerous eps and singles, the group has established itself as a collection of dedicated practitioners of old time music re-cast and shaped by their appreciation of modern improvisation, drone, and punk. while not at odds with the experimental scene that has fostered them or the old time circles they travel in, the black twig pickers thrive in the in-betweenness of those two worlds, proving that the exploration of the outmost bounds of sound and the exploration of decades old tradition and community aren’t as different as one might think.”
darkstar – new from nowhere – warp – lp
– starting off in 2007 as the duo of james young and aiden whalley, darkstar took on james buttery as a vocalist for their 2010 debut lp, north. taking the sound design of contemporary uk electronic music and infusing it with more traditional song structures and a synth-pop feel, north signalled a more open-ended music policy for hyperdub and makes their recent signing to warp a logical next step. the group wrote its follow-up in the west yorkshire countryside and finished it at producer richard formby’s analog-centric studio in leeds. according to the band, news from nowhere is a different beast from north: “it’s somewhat brighter in mood, but deeper in feeling and intention.. it’s much more rhythmic and fluid. it moves quicker.”
julie doiron & the wooden stars – s/t – jagjaguwar – lp
– available for the first time on vinyl, julie doiron and the wooden stars is the canadian singer/songwriter’s most critically acclaimed album, going so far as to win the 2000 juno award, for best independently released album of the year. recorded and released in 1999 by tree records/sappy records (reissued by jagjaguwar in 2002), the album finds the ottawa-based quartet the wooden stars playing doiron’s back-up band, helping her step out of the solitary, introspective robe she’d been wearing and venture into a more urgent and upbeat, albeit still fundamentally spartan direction. combining elements of rock and jazz a la joni mitchell’s early ’70s work, julie and the wooden stars somehow translated the coldness of the canadian winter into one of the warmest and most tender records to be produced in the eastern province in years. includes digital download of the entire album.
elephant stone – s/t – reverberation – lp
– montreal’s elephant stone is led by sitarist/bassist rishi dhir. as a highly sought out sitar player in the psychedelic rock scene, he has recorded and toured with the black angels, brian jonestown massacre, the horrors, the soundtrack of our lives, and many more. thier new self titled lp is a follow up to their debut album, the seven seas, which long-listed for the 2009 polaris music prize. the album finds elephant stone combining 60s pop with heavy psycehdelic raga, showcasing of dhir’s ability to write concise pop songs as well as the band’s ability to kick out sprawling jams. artful lyrics and rishi’s considerable sitar talents make this a modern psych classic.
hayden – us alone – arts & crafts – lp
– having spent nearly two decades creating uniquely affecting music defined by folk and rock flourishes, personal sentiment and a voice that channels neil young’s falsetto highs and the wavering, raspy lows of leonard cohen, hayden now signs to arts & crafts for the release of his seventh full length. us alone is a subtle, emotional and sonically warm journey written and performed by one of canada’s most consistent artists. a welcome addition to a brilliant career.
iceage – you’re nothing – matador – lp/cd
– beggars group are excited to announce that the second longplayer from copenhagen’s iceage will be released via matador (& escho in denmark). “you’re nothing”, the follow-up to their much heralded debut, “new brigade”, is the sound of a band pushing their singular mix of punk, goth, hardcore, and postpunk to even further extremes. it’s overwhelming how many ways iceage have found to write the short aggressive rock song. just out of their teens, it seems the band have only added to the anxiety and tension that made their debut album so compelling. but now, they’re challenging their raging emotions instead of simply expressing them. when you see iceage live you get the feeling the songs are just about to fall apart before miraculously recovering, always rewarding you with a climax. this menacing energy is more forceful on “you’re nothing”. it is a more epic sound, like a rough sea.
syl johnson – total explosion – fat possum – lp
– during his eight-year stint with hi records, (syl) johnson was in the shadows of both al green and ann peebles. by 1975, johnson’s partnership with hi records started to yield even more success. as this album’s predecessors had johnson vacillating between being a romantic and a wretch, total explosion explores his unrepentant side with good results. ‘i only have love for you’ is a classic memphis shuffle and finds johnson all but boasting about his lack of financial savvy, as he sings, ‘all i got to give is me.’ with all of the ill will and venom spewed on total explosion, the innocent ‘star bright, star lite’ just still doesn’t ring true. johnson comes back to his senses on ‘steppin’ out.’ the dramatic, hard-edged track is all anger and domestic unrest as he sings, ‘excuse me, excuse me while i get dressed’; you get the feeling he won’t be back anytime soon. the album’s biggest single was johnson’s slowed-down take on green’s ‘take me to the river.’ although the religious/sexual imagery is lost in the translation, johnson does a good job with it. the best track, the brilliantly arranged ‘watch what you do to me’ has johnson playing the role of cuckold, and as he sings ‘i carry my piece, everywhere i go,’ it certainly made him more a menace than romantic balladeer. total explosion was johnson’s most successful album at hi records and was one of the best in the label’s catalog.”
led zeppelin – celebration day – atlantic – 3lp
– on december 10, 2007, led zeppelin took the stage at london’s o2 arena to headline a tribute concert for dear friend and atlantic records founder ahmet ertegun. what followed was a two-hour-plus tour de force of the band’s signature blues-infused rock ’n’ roll that instantly became part of the legend of led zeppelin. founding members john paul jones, jimmy page and robert plant are joined by jason bonham, the son of their late drummer john bonham and perform 16 songs from their celebrated catalog including landmark tracks “whole lotta love,” “rock and roll,” “kashmir,” and “stairway to heaven.” this 180g 3lp pressing from atlantic records features incredibly dynamic sound. you’ve waited nearly three decades. don’t wait another second. it’s time to rock and roll!
jamie lidell – s/t – warp – lp
– sonic innovator jamie lidell is back with his highly-anticipated fifth full-length album, to be released on warp records. the self-titled record represents a distillation of lidell’s sonic foundations, with the collaborations of 2010’s compass replaced with an approach that is pure and wholly lidell – eleven tracks further proving his ability to upend expectations of the ways man and machine can make music together. known for bringing together disparate musical influences, jamie lidell cites mtume, cameo, new jack swing, bobby brown and george clinton as inspirations for the new release saying “i referenced a lot of the analogue synth tones of the records i really love.” the self-produced album was committed to tape and mixed at lidell’s newly built studio in his new home in nashville, tn, the latest stop on a restless journey that has seen him move from his birthplace in the heart of england, through the musical hotbeds of berlin and new york.
matmos – the marriage of true minds – thrill jockey – lp
– “the marriage of true minds is the first new matmos full-length album in five years. matmos are known for making toe-tapping rhythmic pop out of odd and unusual sound sources. they have always worn genre loosely, but it’s safe to say that this is the first electronic album to start with tap dancing and end with doom metal. comprising stomping techno, eerie synth jams, musique concrete, latin rhythms, and ethiopian music, at once at home in the academy, the art gallery, the nightclub and the noise warehouse, the dizzyingly diverse assemblage which is the marriage of true minds is driven by a tightly unified conceptual agenda: telepathy.”
palma violets – 180 – rough trade – cd
– palma violets are a manchester based rock/psych rock band who signed with rough trade records and released their debut single, “best of friends”, this past october. now the band are set to release their premiere full length called “180”. named after the number of the lambeth st. house that the four-piece have become known for throwing parties and impromptu gigs in, 180 was recorded in london at rak studios (produced by pulp’s steve mackey), and also at the lightship (produced by rory attwell). the album artwork features the band outside the building. starting 2013 with their 2nd cover of nme, the band have kept a decidedly low profile until recently, they wowed fans and critics alike on their co-headline uk tour with savages before hooking up with alabama shakes for further dates, eventually landing a bbc sound of 2013 nomination as the ones to watch in the new year. a thrilling rock’n’roll four piece channelling the clash, the mysterians, and the bad seeds, from september 2011 they were holed-up at 180 lambeth writing songs “their friends could dance to” and occasionally putting on ecstatic parties about which word quickly spread.
*tomahawk – oddfellows – ipecac – lp/cd
–  new release from mike patton’s experimental hard-rock super-group!! tomahawk is back! where were they? what were they doing? is this a reunion? who are they now? what’s next? tomahawk took a break to discover the many truths of the universe. they also uncovered several non truths. they were primarily holed up in a special place similar to the many caves in the mountains of appalachia. they found time to create the new tunes that make up their new record ‘oddfellows’. this is not a reunion.(unless that means they will make more money.) tomahawk is duane denison (the jesus lizard, unsemble, etc), mike patton (faith no more, fantômas, etc) & john stanier (helmet, battles, etc) and this time around joined by trevor ‘field mouse’ dunn (mr. bungle, fantômas, etc). the band released their self titled debut in 2001, followed by ‘mit gas’ in 2003 and ‘anonymous’ in 2007. they released a limited edition vinyl box set ‘eponymous to anonymous’ (cheeky, huh?) in early 2012. they camped out at dan auerbach’s easy eye studios in nashville with collin dupuis and left with ‘oddfellows’ to show for it. to kick off the frenzy that is sure to follow they will release a one-sided 7 inch single ‘stone letter’ in nov of 2012. the b-side is an etching by reknowned cartoonist and comics scholar, ivan brunetti who was also kind enough to design the album package.


arcade fire – funeral – merge – lp
baroness – the blue record – relapse – lp
*beak> – >> – invada – lp
beatles – white album – emi – lp
*charles bradley – no time for dreaming – daptone – lp
city & colour – sometimes – dine alone – lp
john coltrane – a love supreme – impulse – lp
dinosaur jr – i bet on sky – jagjaguwar – lp
*drive ost – invada – lp
ducktails – the flower lane – domino – lp
feist – metals – arts & crafts – lp
feist – let it die – arts & crafts – lp
flying lotus – cosmogramma – warp – lp
grinderman – s/t – anti – lp
*hawkwind – space ritual part 1 – rock classics – lp
*lightnin’ hopkins – first meetin’ of blues giants – doxy – lp
husker du – zen arcade – sst – lp
iron maiden – somewhere in time – emi – lp
j dilla – donuts – stones throw – lp
etta james – second time around – doxy – lp
*leadbelly – black betty – notnow – lp
m83 – hurry up we’re dreaming – mute – lp
misfits – earth a.d. – plan 9 – lp
*mississippi sheiks – complete recorded works vol 1 – third man – lp
*night marchers – allez allez – swami – lp
radiohead – in rainbows – tbd – lp
radiohead – ok computer – emi – lp
radiohead – the bends – emi – lp
*django reinhardt – legendary django – doxy – lp
smashing pumpkins – siamese dream – emi – lp
smashing pumpkins – melon collie & the infinite sadness – emi – 4lp
*talk talk – spirit of eden – emi – lp
weakerthans – left & leaving – epitaph – lp
weakerthans – fallow – epitaph – lp
*x-tg – desertshore/final report – industrial – lp
neil young – live in san francisco – vinyl passion – lp
zombies – odessey & oracle – big beat – lp

thanks for listening…

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