I usually try and avoid having more than one pick of the week, but some weeks there are just too damn many totally awesome records that I just gotta pick 3. So I did. Deal with it. Holiday hours on Monday, 12 – 5. Uh, eat some turkey, yo.
…..picks of the week…..
Alvarius B: Fuck You and the Horse You Rode in On (Abduction) LP
The album title pretty much says it all. A brain-splattered document of pre-Sun City Girls weirdness by Alvarius B. (Alan Bishop) from 1981-1983, consisting of raw, live and unfiltered home recordings on acoustic and electric guitar with effects, vocals, flute, harmonica, and other miscellaneous odd instruments. Extremely limited one-time pressing of 400 LP copies.
File Under: Sun City Girls, Weird-folk, Experimental, Legends
Tim Hecker: Virgins (Kranky) LP
“Virgins was recorded during three periods in 2012, mostly in Reykjavik, Montreal and Seattle, using ensembles in live performance. The sound palette of this work is wider, almost ‘percussive’ and tighter sounding than previous works. While this album remains committed to a painterly form of musical abstraction, it is also a record of restrained composition recorded live primarily in intimate studio rooms. This record employs woodwinds, piano and synthesizers towards an effort at doing what digital music does not do naturally–making music that is out of time, out of tune and out of phase. This follow-up to his Juno-awarded Ravedeath, 1972 album exchanges gristled distortion and cavernous sound in favour of a close, airy, more defined palette. At times it points to the theological aspirations of early minimalist music. But it is not ‘fake church music’ for a secular age, rather something like an attempt at the sound of frankincense in slow-motion, or of a pulsing, flickering fluorescence in the grotto. Some pieces go off the rails before forming into anything, others eschew crescendo compositional structures or bombastic density while going sideways instead. It points to the ongoing development of Hecker’s work. It suggests illusory memories of drug- hazed jams or communal music performance that may have never been performed or been heard. These are mp3s that give confusing accounts either of sound’s glowing physicality or of its prismatic evasiveness. It is an offering of music into the void, a gift of digital filler between distractions. Yet hopefully it also stands as a document of the enduring faith in the narcotic, enigmatic function of music as long-form expression.”
File Under: Ambient, CanCon, Kranky
Arthur Russell: Another Thought (Arc Light Editions) 2LP
Originally released on CD in 1994 and reissued in 2006, this is the first time Arthur Russell’s Another Thought has been released on vinyl. Arthur Russell’s Another Thought was first released posthumously in 1994, two years after his death. The tracks date from between 1982 to around 1990, catalogued from over 800 tape reels by Mikel Rouse for Point Music, and produced by Don Christensen. While it is a collection of tracks in various stages of completion, often sparse and direct, it is perhaps the most sonically coherent album ever released of Russell’s material. Another Thought includes appearances by trombonist Peter Zummo, percussionist Mustafa Ahmed, additional vocals by composers Julius Eastman and Elodie Lauten, plus Joyce Bowden, Jennifer Warnes, and Steven Hall. Double vinyl in kraftliner sleeves printed in white litho, with art paper inners. Artwork by Jennifer Lucy Allan. This is the first release on Arc Light Editions, a label curated by Jennifer Allan in collaboration with Multiverse Music.
File Under: Ambient, Pop, Cello, Experimental, Legends
Steve Arrington & Dam Funk: Higher (Stones Throw) LP
The new collaborative album from acclaimed Stones Throw artist Dam Funk & legendary artist Steve Arrington (lead singer of Slave. Steve Arrington’s music has been sampled by the likes of Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Snoop, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, and N.W.A. His music also helped create the blueprint of 90’s west coast g-funk music along with Zapp and George Clinton. Known for his innovative vocals on such classics as “Watching You” and “Just A Touch of Love,” with Slave, as well as his solo work like “Weak at the Knees” and “Nobody Can Be You”. Steve Arrington’s music helped create the blueprint of 90’s west coast g-funk music along with Zapp and George Clinton. Lately, Dam-Funk reached out to Steve to propose collaborating on an album for Stones Throw Records. It only makes sense as Dam and Stones Throw creator PB Wolf originally met through Dam giving Wolf a rare bootleg DVD of a Slave live TV performance. With Dam on the tracks and Steve on the vocals and lyrics, something intergenerational has been born. While finishing touches on his LP with Dam-Funk, Steve is jumping into this full steam ahead, practicing hard with an all new band and starting to do spot dates around the US with artists like DJ Quik and Q Tip who are more than up for the idea of sharing the stage with someone who influenced and inspired their careers. New chapter is upon us.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Willis Earl Beal: Nobody Knows (XL) LP
Depending on what state of mind you find him in, Willis Earl Beal will tell you that Nobody Knows is his debut album or the natural follow up to Acousmatic Sorcery. While Acousmatic Sorcery was recorded on a karaoke machine, using found instruments, it worked as a raw, no-fi introduction to Beal’s life as a songwriter and true outsider artist from Chicago, IL, but did little to display the power and natural beauty of the voice he used onstage. Nobody Knows aims to deliver on the promise of his live show, combining soul baring vocals with sounds and arrangements rooted in everything from orchestral blues to ambient R&B, and gentle lullabies to pure cacophony. Recorded “everywhere and nowhere” and produced by Beal under the guise of “Nobody,” the album builds on an ideology that exists at the forefront of the album’s title and lyrics – I am nothing. Nothing is everything. Beal says, “I want to be a shadow, not the man casting it. That’s who ‘Nobody’ is.” Limited deluxe pressing with fold out bespoke packaging. Includes poster, poem and MP3 coupon.
File Under: Funk, Soul, R&B
Big Joe: Keep Rocking & Swinging (Striker Lee) LP
The Big Joe LP is the next album in a series of re-releases of rare and hard-to-find 1970s roots vocal, DJ, and instrumental albums produced and arranged by Bunny “Striker” Lee. This release features Big Joe (Joseph Spaulding). The LP was originally released on the UK Live & Love label in 1977. All 12 tracks are in the same track running order as the original release and are the original mixes. The album was recorded and mixed in Kingston, Jamaica. The album features many popular Bunny “Striker” Lee-produced mid-1970s rhythms. Featured musicians: drums: Sly Dunbar, Carlton “Santa” Davis, bass: Robbie Shakespeare, Lloyd Parks, lead guitar: Earl “Chinna” Smith, rhythm guitar: Booffa, Tony Chinn, organ: Ansel Collins, Bernard “Touter” Harvey, piano: Aussie “Nogo” Herbert, Tarzan (alias Cripple),Johnnie Clarke, percussion: Barnabas and Skullie. Album features original mixes and revised original artwork. All rhythms by Aggrovators & Revolutionaries. Recorded at Channel One (JA), Randy’s (JA) and King Tubby’s Studio (JA). Mixed at Channel One (JA). Produced by Bunny “Striker” Lee. LP-only, limited initial press, 180 gram vinyl in a heavy card picture sleeve.
File Under: Reggae, Roots
Chirco: The Visitation (Out-Sider) LP
US 72 private psychedelic- progressive conceptual album: two long suites featuring fuzzed out guitars, spacey vocals, effects , complex vocal harmonies and heavy organs. Top level recording and musicianship with Barry Tashian from The Remains assisting and writing one of the tracks. Newly remastered sound, repro of the original insert with newly added liner notes.
File Under: Psych, Fuzz
Current 93: Like Swallowing Eclipses (Dreamt By Andrew Liles) (Dirter) 6LP
Originally released in 2010. For the first time on vinyl, the complete, highly-acclaimed Andrew Liles remixes of the first five classic Current 93 albums. Andrew Liles has re-imagined Nature Unveiled (1984), Dogs Blood Rising (1984), In Menstrual Night (1986), Dawn (1987) and Live at Bar Maldoror (1985). Also exclusive to this set is a sixth LP, Haunt Invocation (Apadno), which is a remixed version of Faust (2000) and A Special Plan(2000). These influential albums by Current 93 are regarded by many as ground-breaking and innovative — building upon this, Andrew Liles has re-dreamt and re-imagined these pieces with the flare and vision that he is renowned and respected for. All the records in this 6LP set come in individual covers in a beautiful spot-varnished box and are adorned with astounding artwork by David Tibet and photographs by Simona Dalla Valle.
File Under: Experimental, Folk, Electronic, Avant Garde
Darkside: Psychic (Matador) LP/CD
Darkside is the collaborative duo of guitarist/composer Dave Harrington and electronic producer Nicolas Jaar. Darkside summon a hybrid of electronic music, psychedelic rock, and dancefloor techno with the sort of artistic depth and breadth for which the term “progressive” was coined. Darkside’s first full-length album – released on Nico’s own Other People label in conjunction with Matador Records – is called Psychic. Darkside’s Psychic is a watershed moment for the duo, a quantum leap forward from their 3-song debut, 2011’s Darkside EP. At any given moment, Psychic encompasses the ritualistic structures and methodologies of krautrock, the cosmic exploration of classic space-rock, and the immersive, body-moving transcendence of 21st century house and techno – but, working with the finishing each-others’ sentences fluidity of kindred spirits, Dave and Nico synthesize it all into a living, breathing whole. Darkside are deep listeners and creators of both who see little need for distinction between their favorite sounds. The result is Psychic, an album of uncompromising creative vision from two artists working at the peak of their powers. “On listening to Nicolas Jaar’s new bluesy electronica project with his guitarist Dave Harrington, Darkside, it’s rather too easy to forget that he’s just 21. This is seriously ambitious music, with the emphasis on serious.” – Resident Advisor “Nocturnal, cerebral, sensuous, paradoxical, and intuitive.” – Pitchfork
File Under: Electronic, Techno, Psych
Deltron 3030: Event 2 (Bulk) LP
Long-Awaited Follow-Up to the Hip-Hop Supergroup’s 2000 Self-Titled Debut. Featuring Damon Albarn, David Cross, Jamie Cullum, Zack De La Rocha, The Lonely Island & Awolnation. Deltron 3030 is composed of a trinity of alt-rap all-stars: master lyricist Del The Funky Homosapien, virtuoso turntablist DJ Kid Koala and super producer Dan “The Automator” Nakamura. “This time, the album has a specific story,” says Del. “The Deltron world has gone too far with technology. Everything’s destroyed, and you just see the remnants of our technology. The streets are run by criminals, the police are outnumbered and outgunned, and we’re like pirates, running rogue, doing what we do to survive. That’s the scene of it. We’re trying to be as literary as possible while dealing with a musical format. I don’t know if you could even categorize this as a hip hop album – it’s more like a rock opera, but using rap.” He notes that the words, music and narrative have been deliberately chosen to put listeners into a specific emotional state. “This record took 13 years, and the whole time fans are telling us we better come out with Deltron right now – quit teasing me,” laughs Del. “Well, this is beyond a regular album. Because I would say, me, Dan and Koala, we aren’t limited by what other rap groups do – we’re musicians first. I studied music theory for ten years. Dan and Koala been learning music since they were kids. We’re bringing it all together here, everything, and the fans, the critics, they all going to be surprised by what we got. You’ll see.”
File Under: Hip Hop, Rap, Kid Koala, Del, Dan ‘The Automator’
Do Make Say Think: s/t (Constellation) 2LP
Do Make Say Think self-released this debut album in Toronto in 1997, and we heard it the following spring. The band’s infectious spacerock-cum-swing approach to sweeping instrumentals, and their brilliant realisation of the potentials of 8-track recording, hooked us instantly. Rhythm syncopation, reverb-soaked guitar, the occasional horn, and some of the finest saturated synth tones we’ve ever heard – this record conjures up rainy streets and wet cigarettes with the best of them. A classic modern lounge album that also shreds, with widescreen breakbeat blissouts driven by punk-rock guitars. An exuberant debut, containing all the building blocks DMST has been transforming into sublime music architectures ever since.
File Under: CanCon, Post-Rock, Reissue
Drumcell: Sleep Complex (CLR) 3LP
The debut album from Drumcell is an emotionally-profound, open-minded approach to current techno with a variety of influences and a complete disregard for any limitations musical genres could possibly represent. Drumcell was still just young Moe Espinosa, a local East L.A. kid who was heavily into listening and playing rock and industrial music, when he coincidentally found some of the heroic synthesizers of the first hour of techno in the closet of a recording studio where he had been hired for a job. From this very minute on, things just gelled. If you imagine a technology geek/science-fiction-movies-loving teenage-outsider with a yearning, punk rock soul, together with a TR-909, a TR-808, and a TB-303 in the back room of an old Latin house label in Hollywood, then you are pretty much imagining the humble beginnings of the man who started calling himself Drumcell around the year 2000 and who has dedicated his life to the search and creation of mind-expanding, glorious sounds. On the one hand, Sleep Complex pays respect to the root-element of techno, the raw, dirty and hypnotic vibe that goes back to early Detroit techno; on the other hand, it almost has some kind of a rock attitude, especially when it comes to the beats, making it stylistically independent and impossible to pigeon-hole. It also makes very little sense to talk separately about individual tracks on the album, as each single piece of music is a sophisticated, complex sonic landscape, which is interconnected with the others and ultimately forms part of a bigger entity. As it was meant to be a bass-heavy record, and he thought that no one could treat a bass like Chris Liebing, his dear Frankfurt-based friend eventually had the great pleasure to do the final mixes, giving the tracks a beautifully-shaped bass sound and incredible presence and clarity. The album is an experimentation with analog modular synthesizers and a variety of digital tools. By working within the limitations of an individual instrument, it inspired each single song to have its own unique feeling or sound.
File Under: Ambient, Techno
Four Tet: Beautiful Rewind (Text) LP/CD
Kieran Hebden looks to classic pirate radio and the spirit of early ’90s rave for inspiration on his 8th album proper. ‘Beautiful Rewind’ draws on the ‘ardcore continuum and regression in modernist music as only Four Tet can, offering a pop-wise view of jungle, garage and grime which tempers that febrile rufige with compositional stategies. Even the fact that its eleven tracks are pressed on one slab tells us that its not about visceral weight or impact: he’s appropriating and reworking the sounds’ signifiers to alter their original purpose, dosing their mania with a wider appeal for those who want to rave but without all the nasty bits. With opener ‘Gong’ he augments OG ’93 breakbeat science with gamelan timbres and Burial-esque vocals and continues to retweak a kaleidoscopic spectrum of (mostly pre-mass internet) styles for up-to-date tastes, from the skipping bleep swagger of his Zomby-esque ‘Our Navigation’ thru the chill-out room head massage of ‘Ba Teachers Yoga’ and his stop/start spesh, ‘Kool FM’, across to a strange flux of jazz mannerisms, grimy pirate radio samples and post-dinner Ethiopiques wiggle. Good stuff.
File Under: Electronic
Glasser: Interiors (True Panther) LP
Interiors, Cameron Mesirow’s second full-length release as Glasser, is a more considered, confident, and much more sharply personal album than its predecessor. It’s central themes are love and anxiety and the spatial constraints of both in the landscape of one’s life. In the three years since Cameron released her breakout debut Ring, she toured around the world (with Jónsi of Sigur Rós, The XX, Delorean) and left her California home for New York. Along the way, she discovered a new partner in producer Van Rivers (Fever Ray, Blonde Redhead) whose background in techno production added expansive spatial elements to her music that reflect both the looming, condensed architecture of Glasser’s new adopted home as well as the intricate internal worlds she conjures in on her own. The tension between interior and exterior space fills the album. The instrumentation of the album is a mixture of synthetic and organic sounds, real strings, reeds and drums combined with programmed ones, a purposeful coupling of natural enemies. As on Ring there are sounds used for unlikely purposes; vocals used as percussive accents, or melodic themes assembled from environmental sounds. The Glasser we find on Interiors is smoother and smokier, more confident and defined against an increasingly stoic electronic music backdrop. The effect is a paragon of sonic architecture – a soundspace that’s packed tight but never feels crowded.
File Under: Synth Pop, Downtempo
Magic: Enclosed (Out-Sider) LP
Hideously rare 1969 album by U.S. band Magic. Psychedelic and bluesy West Coast sound with ripping fuzz guitar much in the vein of Crazy Horse,Quicksilver, Vindicator-era Arthur Lee and the likes. The 12-minute long “I’ll Just Play” is full of endless dual guitar attacks and effects, and is the ultimate acid-rock jam. Mastertape sound, insert with liner notes.
File Under: Psych, Fuzz
Melvins: Live at Third Man Records (Third Man) LP
Recorded Direct-To-Acetate by the double-drummer quartet on May 30th, 2013 in our Blue Room, this show shook pictures off the walls of Third Man headquarters and had the crowd begging for two things: earplugs, and for the night to never end. Side One : 1. Charmicarmicat // Side Two : 1. It’s Shoved / 2. Anaconda / 3. At The Stake / 4. Queen / 5. Cow / 6. Your Blessend
File Under: Metal, Live, Third Man
Merkin: Music from Merkin Manor (Out-Sider) LP
Fabulous and ultra-rare U.S. West Coast psychedelic album from Merkin. Released in 1973 on Windy Records (same label as Creation Of Sunlight) but sounding more 1967-1968 with fuzzed-out/jangly guitars and melodic, floating harmony vocals. Newly remastered sound, including an insert with liner-notes.
File Under: Psych, Fuzz
Jackie Mittoo & The Aggrovators: In Cold Blood (Striker Lee) LP
This album by Jackie Mittoo & The Aggrovators is the next in a series of re-releases of rare and hard-to-find original release format 1970s roots vocal, DJ and instrumental albums produced and arranged by Bunny “Striker” Lee. This instrumental release features the legendary and acclaimed “Keyboard King,” Jackie Mittoo, best known for his works at Studio One, Jamaica for C.S. Dodd. The LP was originally released on the UK Third World label in 1977. All 10 tracks are in the same track running order as the original release and are the original mixes. The album was recorded and mixed in Kingston, Jamaica. The album features many popular Bunny “Striker Lee”-produced Jamaican mid-1970s rhythms. Featured musicians: drums: Sly Dunbar, bass:Robbie Shakespeare, organ: Jackie Mittoo and Winston Wright, piano: Jackie Mittoo & Keith Sterling, strings machine: Jackie Mittoo, lead guitar: Earl “Chinna” Smith, rhythm guitar: Carl Harvey, Geoffrey Chung, horns: Tommy McCook and Bobby Ellis, percussion: Skullie. Album features original mixes and revised original and new artwork. All rhythms by The Aggrovators. Recorded at Channel One, Jamaica. Mixed at King Tubby’s Studio (JA) by King Tubby. Produced by Bunny “Striker” Lee. LP-only in a limited initial press, 180 gram vinyl LP in a heavy card picture sleeve.
File Under: Reggae
Thurston Moore/Mats Gustafsson: Vi Ar Alla Guds Slavar (Otoroku) LP
“Vi Ar Alla Guds Slavar is the latest missive from the long-running duo pairing of Mats Gustafsson (The Thing, Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet, etc) and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth, Chelsea Light Moving, Dream/Aktion Unit, etc). The recordings presented here are continuous excerpts taken from the heavyweight, high volume duo sets that topped off each night of their two day residency at Cafe OTO in September 2012. Mats mostly plays a selection of amplified table-top electronics as well as some knotty soprano saxophone at the beginning of the second side whilst Thurston offers a fine example of the kind of liminal intensity he is capable of generating from his guitar complete with the low frequency/octave doubling dive-bombs that have had us replace the speakers in our fender twin twice since he relocated to London last year. The title Vi Ar Alla Guds Slavar translates as ‘We Are All Slaves Under God’ and is taken from the painting by Edward Jarvis that also serves as the three colour screenprint for the LP sleeve. Printing by Patrick Wells at Heavyrock on archival quality card stock. Mixed by Robert Harder. Mastered by Andreas ‘LUPO’ Lubich @ Calyx. Pressed on high quality 180 gram vinyl at Record Industry in The Netherlands. First pressing of 1000.”
File Under: Jazz, Sonic Youth, The Thing, Skronk
Mountain Bus: Sundance (Out-Sider) LP
U.S. 1971 West Coast/psychedelic monster with long, flowing guitar jams and melodic vocals. Listen to Mountain Bus’ 10-minute cover of “I Know You Rider” or the acid guitar spacey-jam of “Hexaedron” and prepare to melt away. Highly recommended to fans of Grateful Dead, Quicksilver, and Mighty Baby. Mastertape sound, including an insert with liner-notes.
File Under: Psych, Space Jams
Mu: s/t (Guerssen) LP
West Coast psychedelia/bluesy acid-rock by this true hippie band led by the legendary Merrell Fankhauser (Fapardokly, HMS Bounty) and genius guitar player Jeff Cotton (Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band). This is their classic and sought-after first album from 1971. Remastered sound, insert with lyrics, photos and extensive liner notes by Patrick Lundborg. “The mix of bluesy urban L.A. exhaust fume vibes and tribal desert mystique is as archetypal an early 1970s SoCal trip as you can find. With strong songwriting and a pro-level recording, the album is given a clear musical identity via the excellent slide guitar, harmony vocals, and occasional sax.” –Patrick Lundborg (Acid Archives)
File Under: Psych, Blues Acid Rock, Beefheart
Nicodemus: Toxic Crunch (Orion Read) LP
Recently departed, Nicodemus was Detroit’s web-spinning madman of wisdom and space, and a subcultural Renaissance Man. He and his brother Matchez recorded, singularly and collectively, over 50 albums for Zedikiah Records, the record label Nicodemus started in 1970. He published 14 books of poetry, prose and fiction. He has sired three sons by as many wives and presided over the infamous Satan’s Last Revenge Motor Club. He studied for 11 years the healing ways of the Mescalero Apache and was known as Whitecrow in Native American circles, proudly displaying the symbol of a healer over his left eye. He is a surrealist painter of some renown who signs his work “Chongo”. Nicodemus and Matchez’ recordings have long been held sacred by a worldwide cult of fanatics of esoteric music. Their sound was eclectic and unpredictable, ranging from future folk to heavy rock and even acid house. A fitting epitaph for the undisputed master of biker-synth-folk-psych, Toxic Crunch is perhaps the definitive Nicodemus LP. Recorded from 1986-1999 with his brother Kid Matchez and released on cassette on his own Zedikiah label in ’99, the legendary outlaw biker and cosmonaut Nicodemus is in fine form, with his gravelly pipes rivaling Dr. John and Beefheart on funky fucked odes to livin’ free, escaping the electric chair and the joys of morning wood. 100% REQUIRED LISTENING!
File Under: Biker, Folk, Psych, Lo-fi, Cult Legends
No Neck Blues Band: Gitanjal (Ri Be Xibalba) 10”
“Long delayed, this 10″ is one of two vinyl releases from recording sessions at the Chummery late in 2006. The Chummery was the Seattle home to Sun City Girls, Sublime Frequencies, Abduction, and The Sea Donkeys. In fact it was the last residence of Charles Gocher who passed away in there only a few months after this session. Making full use of the Girls’ diverse collection of instruments, including an upright piano and Alan Bishop’s gamelan, NNCK improvised throughout one day and night, with all proceedings being documented by a custom 16 channel mobile unit assembled by Ri Bi Xibalba. Together with live concerts in Vancouver, BC and Seattle the previous evenings, the recordings total over five hours. Distilled from this are the best of the Chummery recordings split onto two separate releases. The first is this 10″, mastered at 45 RPM for the best fidelity, and pressed on 110 gram of vinyl. Using sundry stringed instruments from SCG’s world travels as well as their own traveling set of instruments, the music has an air of delicate yet mysterious Javanese court music – a contrast to what SCG did with many of those same instruments. Of particular prominence on this record are the plaintive sounds of the erhu gliding through. Made up of seven members, NNCK’s sound is never crowded and comes off like a well-oiled machine moving with one group mind. When they put aside their individual selves and enter the music, the result switches over into organic creation.”
File Under: NNCK, SCGs, Experimental
Parquet Courts: Tally All The Things That you Broke (What’s Your Rupture) 12”
Tally is far more than a stopgap in between full-lengths; it’s the sound of Parquet Courts stretching out. Opener ‘You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now’, with its melodic drive and persistent Flutophone running alongside the melody, balances the manic tendencies of ‘Descend (The Way)’, which would have fit on Light Up Gold, and extended rager ‘The More It Works’, which would fit in a live set between Tyvek and Eddy Current Suppression Ring. ‘Fall On Yr Face’ presents a classic desert trawler, lopsided and tuneful, the sound of the end of a long day. But the day is just beginning for the protagonist of ‘He’s Seein’ Paths’, junkyard drum loops and doorbell samples framing Andrew Savage’s eight-minute stream-of-consciousness rap about the trials and tribulations of a marijuana delivery service representative, zipping around the city on his bike. Simultaneously the link between Parquet Courts and Ween, or Parquet Courts and Beck, it frames the band coming from a new place, and is a post-millennial NYC anthem, quintessential sounds for anyone who’s ever waited in anticipation of dialing that number, or anyone who’s put on their game face and rode from point A to point B in the snarl of vicious traffic.
File Under: Indie Rock, Punk
Pleasure: Glide: The Essential Selection 1975-1982 (Decision) 3LP
“Pleasure originated from the ashes of two local Portland, Oregon bands – The Soul Masters and Franchise – to become veritable monsters of funk, soul, and jazz. Their sound is often compared to Earth, Wind and Fire or Kool and the Gang. They had an inspired run of seven albums, six for Fantasy Records and one for RCA, from 1975 through 1982. The group was discovered by Grover Washington Jr.; he passed their demos on to Wayne Henderson of The Crusaders who signed them to his production company, At Home Productions. Tracks from all seven Pleasure albums are featured on this multi-LP set, Glide: The Essential Collection 1975-1982, many of which have never been reissued on LP before, including an extended disco/dance remix of ‘Foxy Lady’ which was lost in tape vaults for 35 years. Rounding out this deluxe package are many rarely seen group photos, along with extensive liner notes featuring newly-commissioned interviews with original band members by veteran Urban music critic and historian A. Scott Galloway.”
File Under: Funk, Soul
Pugsley Munion: Just Like You (Out-Side) LP
U.S. private pressing from 1970. Pugsley Munion was a bluesy hard-rock/psychedelic power trio in the Cream and Mountain vein. Raw, in-your-face sound with crude guitar/organ battles and some drifting, mellow moments. First-ever vinyl reissue. Remastered sound, including an insert with liner-notes. “Excellent local power-trio sound with a ballsy Cream vibe, psych residuals, good guitar-playing.” –Patrick Lundborg (Acid Archives)
File Under: Psych, Hard Rock
Elaine Radigue: Adnos I-III (Important) 3CD
“Eliane Radigue’s Adnos trilogy was composed between 1973 and 1980 and is among her finest compositions. Adnos is a deeply meditative work of infinite depth and sensitivity; one of the high points of modern minimal electronic composition. Packaged in a heavy duty 3CD jacket much like the recent Eleh releases and containing extensive archival materials.
File Under: Drone, Avant Garde, Early Electronic
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: Folklore Venom (Hospital Productions) LP
Now available on vinyl for the first time, following on from an excellent LP for Blackest Ever Black and a 12″ for Bed Of Nails. The project has become one of Dominick Fernow’s most intriguing, offering an artificial, unnerving take on both ambient and more propulsive electronic music, in turns reminding us of everything from Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. II to John Carpenter, Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack, Leyland Kirby, classic Chain Reaction, Demdike Stare and, of course, Fernow’s own myriad productions under various aliases (Prurient, Vatican Shadow, etc.). For the most part, the project has been an experiment in tonal dread and dankest atmospheres, but on Folklore Venom rhythms play a more prominent role, pacing anxiously below the dense murk of “Upside Down Left Eye,” or as a stodgy techno bedrock to the inclement conditions of “The Spirit Wore the Shoes of the Boy,” or a sputtering, diesel-powered chug to the noxious vibes of “Black Magic Originated in Nature.” Factor the petrifying gloom of “Spirit Companion Sick-Bed” and the unheimlich, exotic sonic ciphers of “Malaysia Yellow Herbs,” and you have one of the strongest releases on Hospital Productions yet.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Techno, Prurient
Rainforest Spiritual Entrapment: Plant with Many Faces (Hospital Productions) LP
Now available on vinyl for the first time, following on from an excellent LP for Blackest Ever Black and a 12″ for Bed of Nails. The project has become one of Dominick Fernow’s most intriguing, offering an artificial, unnerving take on both ambient and more propulsive electronic music, in turns reminding us of everything from Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. II to John Carpenter, Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack, Leyland Kirby, classic Chain Reaction, Demdike Stare and, of course, Fernow’s own myriad productions under various aliases (Prurient, Vatican Shadow, etc.). Spread across 40 minutes, The Plant With Many Faces develops from Carpenter/Frizzi-esque bass arpeggios and abandoned cabin vibes on “Abaxial Masks…,” to the petrifying Killer Bob themes in “Out of the Mess…” and the gloaming drones of “Complex Rituals…,” finally brought to a close with the miasmatic clamminess of “Poisonous Spirit Species.”
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Techno, Prurient
Lee Ranaldo & The Dust: Last Night on Earth (Matador) CD
Inspired by time spent trapped in his apartment during Hurricane Sandy last fall, Lee Ranaldo’s new album with his band The Dust tackles themes of despair, rage and societal shift. The songs on the new album are darker, longer and more intense than those of its predecessor. In particular, the intertwining guitar play between Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) and Alan Licht (Love Child, Run On, acclaimed solo work) enlivens these beautiful, scary songs. The Dust also features the incredible drumming of Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and bass work of Tim Lüntzel (who has worked with artists from Van Dyke Parks to Norah Jones). The rock-solid rhythm section grounds the exploratory, inviting music. “Every time I wait for the revolution to come,” Ranaldo sings on “Home Chds.” “Every night I think it’s here and then it’s gone.” “A solo record works best when you feel like you’re opening a window into somebody’s life, experiencing the things they’re going through or thinking about, places they’re seeing, through their eyes. At its best, you find a universality in it.” – Lee Ranaldo “At times sounding like Hendrix operating a theremin, and elsewhere resembling the mournful cries of lonesome satellites.” – Filter “It’s great to hear the third voice in Sonic Youth stretching out… a reminder of their irreplaceable magic.” – Rolling Stone
File Under: Indie Rock, Sonic Youth
Susanna & Ensemble neoN: The Forester (Susannasonata) LP
Barely one year after the Rune Grammofon-release of critically-acclaimed Wild Dog, Susanna returns with a new album, released on her own label SusannaSonata. Susanna is known for both her own songwriting, with songs such as “Believer” and her huge range of highly personal interpretations of other people’s songs. She is an intensely arresting performer; holding audiences captive with her hypnotizing vocal timbre and the powerful, all-consuming sound of her band, her concerts are truly magical. Active for more than a decade, through eight albums so far as Susanna And The Magical Orchestra/Susanna/Susanna Wallumrød, the Oslo-based artist has recently been taking great steps towards greater independence and autonomy, while increasing the range of her considerable talents as a songwriter, vocal interpreter and producer. Combining the antique notes of the Baroque theorbo, woodwinds and strings, and Susanna’s sparse piano, The Forester — a co-production with the Norwegian Ensemble neoN — features Susanna’s strongest songwriting to date.The Forester began to take shape when composers Julian Skar andJan Martin Smørdal requested some material from her to arrange for the Norwegian contemporary music group Ensemble neoN. Picking from new tracks and several already released songs, the composers made new arrangements suited to the eight-piece group, and extended the title-track into a 15-minute, three-part suite in which dark woods shroud a wanderer in a symbolic landscape of searching and loss. Being lost, or deliberately straying from the chosen path, are recurring themes on The Forester, whose subject matter ranges from disturbing natural environments to alien visitors, painted on an eerily exquisite canvas that recalls Mark Hollis, Tim Buckley, Kate Bush and Claude Debussy, while remaining uniquely Susanna’s soundworld. Recorded entirely live in one single, emotionally-intense day at Oslo’s legendary Rainbow Studio, produced by Deathprod and Susanna and engineered by Jan Erik Kongshaug.
File Under: SSW, Female Vocal, Deathprod
Senking: Capsize Recovery (Raster-Noton) CD
Capsize Recovery takes the listener on a ride through a very dark universe of gloomy sounds and atmospheres. The eight rather longish tracks of the album are characterized by Senking’s epic signature sounds — creepy hovering bass lines, clean and slowed-down drums, paired with oscillating and sometimes fierce synth melodies and shots. With his extremely deep and dubby arrangements that explore the depths and abysses of bass heavy music, he again is able to create soundscapes that convey a subtle sense of unease or even fear, as if they were the soundtrack to a mysterious and disturbing film. Already the opener “Chainsawfish” reflects this perfectly. A minimalistic composition of droning basses and synth pad sounds is decorated by scary voice snippets that seem to be taken from a horror movie, which eventually evokes the uncanny feeling of being haunted. The track “Tiefenstop” — a truly telling title — is a continuation of this theme and can be seen as the lowest point of the journey where the bass is reaching ever deeper spheres. Again, voice snippets are used that intensify the hectic and stressful impression of the track, but here they are juxtaposed with rather positive and balancing melody lines. Besides the omnipresent mysterious atmosphere, the overall sound of Jens Massel’s new record is organic and possesses a certain live character that can also be discovered in the last track. Senking, by the way, is also one of the few artists who creates his music without the use of a computer. “Enduro Bones” starts with a monotone beat to which single elements like echoes, synth sounds, and fragments of melodies are added. By means of repetitions and extensions, the track gradually becomes more dense and complex, and therefore it seems to be a song that is being created at this very moment. Senking’s new record is an excursion into the depths of the human psyche. It’s like the record is reflecting a difficult situation one can get into, as well as the struggle of getting out of it again — hence the title Capsize Recovery.
File Under: Electronic, Raster, Minimal
Shindig! #35 Mag
“Beatleisms: How the Fab Four cast a shadow over the 1970s; Paul McCartney: Ramming It Home In The Early 1970s: Depression, paranoia and creative rebirth; Nilsson: The theme to Midnight Cowboy, a madcap film about an LSD-fuelled prison break and an animated feature led him into a new era. Neil Innes: Bonzo, Rutle, Python. A genius speaks; Stackridge: West Country art-pop boffins tell their story; Klaatu: So good that people thought they were The Beatles!”
Skullflower/Mastery: Split (Cold Spring) LP
Skullflower presents a trinity of sombre meditations evoking Europe after the rain, drowned ruins, sunken dreams: spiders run across harpsichords in deserted schlosses and chateaux, doors slam and phantom demon choirs are summoned at séances by Blavatskian crones, whose impenetrable china blue doll’s eyes open onto Tibetan vistas, terrible, ancient, and remote.Mastery is improvised one-man cosm(ag)ick. Total berzerker black metal, rooted in the tradition of true grim blackness, but filtered through Mastery’s cracked perception, transforming this into something beyond true; a droned-out and damaged, outsider blackness that sounds pretty much unlike almost any other black metal.
File Under: Metal, Doom, Black Metal
Super Mama Djombo: Festival (Kindred Spirits) LP
Hailing from a Boy Scout camp deep in the jungle of late 1960s Guiné-Bissau, Super Mama Djombo’s founding musicians have come a long way to display their wonderful music to the world. Drummer Zé, singer Herculano, and original guitar players Gonçalo and Taborda picked the name Mama Djombo as an homage to a local goddess revered by independence fighters. In the early 1970s, the Mama Djombo underground orchestra played mostly for secret political rallies supporting the PAIGC, the major Independence Movement for Guiné and Cabo Verde. Adriano Atchutchi became the bandleader after independence, bringing a book full of his songs. Atchutchi recruited singer Dulce Neves, adding Creole sweetness to its already heady mix of juvenile enthusiasm, candid melodies and touches of Luso-tropicalism. Some of their early songs were roughly recorded when the band played live over Guiné Bissau’s national radio, after the country won independence in 1975. Without a proper recording studio in Bissau, the orchestra took off for Lisbon in January 1979. For less than a month, Super Mama Djombo recorded hours of music from their vast repertoire at Valentim de Carvalho studios. The production gave the band new horizons to their music, if not for the use of the Echoplex effects on the drums which added width to the production. Following the first release Na Cambança, the Festival album stands as a tribute to that large Cuban event from 1978. On the 10-minute title-track, Super Mama Djombo despises imperialism of any kind. It praises Amilcar Cabral and Che Guevara while keeping the beat alive with an almost spacey echo. In the same vein, “Sociedade de malandros” condemns nepotism and a “thieves’ society.” Made from the same mould, “Mortos nega” showcases the collective talents of the orchestra and its exceptional players. Keeping an infectious beat, the hypnotic “Tamanco” is another winner. More laid back, “Alma beafada” displays the softer side of the orchestra, showcasing the vocal talents of Chico Karuca, backed by a strong sense of collectiveness. Super Mama Djombo’s saudade is highlighted on “Julia,” written by guitar player Miguelinho. Tundu’s eerie playing, dreamy electric guitars, hints of a frail tape loop echo and Miguelinho’s mellow singing, let alone the haunting melody, make this song one the band’s masterpieces. Three more albums would follow before the demise of the band in the early 1980s, due to lack of political support. The new military power in Bissau deposed president Luis Cabral, who was a strong advocate of the orchestra. Now reunited, Super Mama Djombo make up for the lost time and stand as one of West Africa’s greatest orchestras. Listening to Festival is truly the best way to enjoy the music of Guiné-Bissau’s musical heroes. This deluxe collector’s edition comes with a heavy tip-on sleeve and is pressed on 180 gram vinyl. Limited to 500 copies.
File Under: World, Ethnic, African
T Kail: Somewhere, Sometime (Out-Sider) LP
First-ever vinyl reissue of this lost-in-time U.S. private press album from 1980. Male-female vocals, fuzz guitar, and synths. Echoes of the ’60s San Francisco sound (Tripsichord, Airplane, orQuicksilver) mix with FM pop-rock and even jazz-funk. Considered by many collectors the best USA ’80s psych LP along with Bobb Trimble. Unbeatable 24-bit remastered sound, insert with detailed liner notes by Aaron Milenski and unseen pictures. “There aren’t very many private press records that show off so much legitimate vocal and instrumental talent, not to mention such lyrical intelligence, and this fine album should be celebrated for everything it is.” –Aaron Milenski (Acid Archives); “They sound like a cross between Anonymous and Titus Oates” –Patrick Lundborg (Lysergia.com)
File Under: Psych, Fuzz, Private Press
Tangerine: The Peeling of Tangerine (Out-Sider) LP
The great long-lost album from U.S. hard psychedelic ’60s band Tangerine, released in 1971. Musically in the style of Iron Butterfly or Banchee, with great fuzzed-out guitars, booming bass and screaming vocals, including “My Main Woman,” a 14-minute long spaced-out track. Remastered sound from the original tapes.
File Under: Psych, Hard Psych, Fuzz
John Tilbury/Oren Ambarchi: The Just Reproach (Black Truffle) LP
The Just Reproach documents the second concert given by John Tilbury and Oren Ambarchi as a duo. When they first performed together in Reykjavik, Iceland in March 2012, the aptness of the pairing was evident. When they reprised the duo at London’s Cafe OTO in September the same year in the concert presented here, the city was in the midst of a heatwave. With the air-conditioning turned off to accommodate the low volume of the performance, the uncomfortable squirming of the audience members in their sweaty chairs becomes, alongside the occasional dropped glass and cough, an additional sonic element in the duo’s performance, providing a randomized accompaniment to the duo’s careful exploration of tonal and textural minutiae. As always, Tilbury displays a remarkable sensitivity and inquisitiveness, investigating the unique character of specific harmonic intervals through iteration and slight variation in a way that displays the same remarkable care for the individual sonic event that he found many years ago in Webern’s Variations for piano. In Webern, Tilbury found a freedom from harmonic context that allowed normally jarring dissonances to appear “warm, even sensuous” because they were transformed into timbres, into pure sounds rather than relational harmonic values. This same concentration on every individual sound allows Tilbury to breathe new life into a tap on the piano’s strings, a simple sequence of descending notes or even a commonplace consonance. Indeed, there are moments of simple beauty in The Just Reproach that remind us that, in addition to his devotion to the work of Morton Feldman, Tilbury is also the major interpreter of the piano music of Howard Skepton, with its reduced folk-forms and static airs. Ambarchi’s guitar does not simply provide the steady backdrop for Tilbury’s articulations that we might expect, but rather engages in a more complex interaction. Gentle swells of tones, sometimes supporting Tilbury’s iterations, at other times complicating them, alternate with occasional bursts of abstract electricity. Ambarchi constantly moves his sounds around between multiple amplifiers and a Leslie cabinet to produce a subtle yet environmental whole, interacting both with Tilbury and the sound of the room, edging forwards into a clear sonic presence before dispersing back into silence. Despite the hushed nature of the performance, Ambarchi’s signature sub-bass tones are not absent, but in fact form an essential part of the texture woven by the two musicians, taking on an ominous quality like the distant rumblings of a helicopter through the night sky. Far from a simple exercise in reductionism, the reduced volume of the duo’s performance acts like a microscope focusing the audience on an incredibly rich palette of sonic details. As in the late works of Morton Feldman, a seeming homogeneity to the proceedings reveals itself on closer inspection to be a ceaseless investigation and reconfiguration of sonic events, allowing the listener to move freely between the lushness and warmth of the sounds themselves and the questioning, non-linear forms Tilbury and Ambarchi spontaneously construct from them. Deluxe limited edition vinyl designed by Stephen O’Malley with stunning artwork by Shunichiro Okada.
File Under: Avant Garde, AMM, Improv
Wakefield: The Lost Warthog Tapes (Out-Sider) LP
For the first time edited in vinyl these unreleased recordings of this group from Colorado, 1970-1971. A surprising mix of hard rock, psychedelia, blues and acid-rock with good guitar, organ, Latin percussion, melodic and bluesy voice … If you liked Leslie’s Motel, do not miss this! Sound Masters, insert with rare photos and notes.
File Under: Psych, Blues Rock
Various: Classroom Projects (Trunk) LP/CD
Trunk presents a beautiful compilation of rare and brilliant music made by children in schools. The album features some incredible sounds — from charming folk songs to full blown avant-garde experiments. Many of these recordings are exceptionally scarce (some selling for close to £1000 these days) and it’s unlikely anyone will have heard any of these since they were first recorded. Recordings made by British children are hardly ever heard. Over the last few decades some schools went to the trouble of privately pressing their own LPs for plays, concerts or celebration — and with very mixed results. Jonny Trunk has collected these scarce UK recordings and compiled the very best ones for Classroom Projects, the first collection of its kind, presenting recordings made between 1959 and 1981. As well as excellent small group versions of traditional songs, there are specially written instrumentals, covers of Italian composer Scarlatti and even songs about drunk driving. Also, we have work encouraged by John Paynter, a free-thinker, educator and true maverick. Part of the University Of York music department, he not only believed that music lessons at school were of the upmost importance, but he also introduced pupils to the modern composers of the post-war period (such as Stockhausen). So instead of music lessons with a group of pupils all blowing the same basic tune on recorders, he encouraged experimentation with tape machines, haiku and creative thought. As a result, some of the recordings on this album sound like conceptual music from Paris in the late ’50s, and not from secondary schools in Bedford in 1969. Overall the compilation brings together some inspired musical moments, some unexpected oddness as well as a warm rush of nostalgia as the small choir from St. Brandon’s School (now closed) sing “Bright Eyes.” The CD comes with extensive notes and images of the original albums in an 8-page full-color booklet.
File Under: Trunk, Folk, Avante Garde, Child Musicians
Various: Kiss of the Damned OST (Soraya) LP
“Xan Cassavetes’ acclaimed erotic Euro style vampire tale Kiss of the Damned, features one of the most talked about soundtracks in recent years. With its French female vampires, timeless mansions, and dirty clubs, KOTD provides the ultimate framework for an amazing, eclectic soundtrack. Dominating the film’s sound are original compositions by guitar virtuoso Steven Hufsteter (Repo Man, Machete), with lush Morricone infused love themes giving way to dark intense synth odysseys breaking into gorgeous baroque pieces, and ripping guitar showdowns, all fit for the most hardcore vampire and soundtrack lovers. Hufsteter’s waves of decadent, sonic tracks are complimented by a few of KOTD’s handpicked needle drops, courtesy of KOTD Music Supervisor Dina Juntila, including the Wicca-tastic sounds of psychedelic French high priestess Brigitte Fontaine and London’s dark contemporary chanteuse Jane Weaver. Add the sting of German punk rock heroes Der Fluch and a sensuous and epic borrowed track from Jean Rollin’s Shiver of a Vampire, by Acanthus and you have a collective audial experience that will surely become a cult classic.”
File Under: Horror OST, Vampire Flicks, French Chanteuse
Various: Various (Ostgut Ton) 2xLP
After the critically-acclaimed five-year anniversary compilation Fünf in 2011, influential Berlin-based electronic label Ostgut Ton presents a collection of exclusive tracks. With Various Ostgut Ton offers a space for the artists to release tracks a little off-center from their known production styles. The result is a double 12 inch release on which eight different Ostgut Ton artists create a journey through ambient electro styles to mellow techno grooves. The carefully compiled Various all comes together with mastering that creates a unified whole, spread over 4 sides of vinyl, and housed in a luscious gatefold sleeve. Barker & Baumecker make the start with “Meiose,” a paradoxically fast ambient track that breaks all the rules, with a slow diving sub bass to boost. Picking up the heavy bass theme is Berghain resident Fiedel (of MMM), “Grunewald2” is wrapped in sweet melodies reminiscent of early Rephlex. Turning into darker alleys is Tobias. with “Dark & Troubling Things,” a deep, cinematic soundworld, at once disturbing and comforting, but overall uniquely Tobias. Veteran producer Rolando reaches into much more experimental territories, as the brooding atmospheres of “Neglected” build slowly into a shuffling rhythm, only to break down again inside the track’s twilight zone. As DIN, Marcel Fengler and Efdemin pick up the beat with “You Are,” a minimal tech beast covered in abstract sound architecture. After a critically-acclaimed debut 12″ for the label,Virginia extends the groove, sounding genuinely classic inside deep techno territory that lifts the spirits with the sweetest acid line. It remains to be seen who records under the secret moniker Crushed Soul, although you might hazard a rough guess, but the electro-jacked bass line complemented by a lush string arrangement on “Shades” is yet another welcome branching out towards an updated, almost lost, yet classic sound as yet unheard in this form on Ostgut Ton. The last track on the compilation mirrors this extended EP like a résumé with its slow building melodies, atmospheres and final kick attack. Functionputs you in the mood, builds up your desire and gives you exactly what you want, complemented by the beautiful vocals of Stefanie Parnow.
File Under: Electronic, Techno
Biosphere: Substrata (Biophon) LP
Bill Callahan: Dream River (Drag City) LP
Marcel Dettmann: II (Ostgut Ton) LP
El-P & Killer Mike: Run the Jewels (Fools Gold) LP
Emeralds: Does It Look Like I’m Here? (Editions Mego) LP
Fuzz: s/t (In The Red) LP
Francoise Hardy: Tous Les Garcons Et…. (Vinyl Passion) LP
Tim Hecker: Harmony In Ultraviolet (Kranky) LP
*Marginal Consort: Instal (Pan) 4LP
*Om: God is Good (Drag City) LP
*Parson Sound: s/t (Subliminal Sound) 3LP
Max Richter: Recomposed (Deutche Grammophone) LP
Ty Segall: Twins (Drag City) LP
*Silent Servant: Negative Fasination (Hospital Productions) LP
Smog: A River Ain’t Too Much To Love (Drag City) LP
*Taj Mahal Travellers: July 15, 1972 (Bamboo) LP
Tragically Hip: Up to Here (Music on Vinyl) LP
*Scott Walker: Scott (4 Men With Beards) LP
*Various: Psych Funk 101 (World Psych Funk Classics) LP
*Various: Pictures of Sound (Dust to Digital) Cds+Book
*Various: Longing for the Past (Dust to Digital) 4CD Box