Hopefully you had your fill of turkey and pumpkin pie on the weekend… I could still use some more pie, but I’m sure I’ll remedy that this weekend, assuming I have time since on Sunday the shop will be closed and we’ll be down at the Edmonton Music Collectors Show. Come on down and dig though thousands upon thousands of records, and more OCD dudes than you’ve ever seen in one place all at once.
…..picks of the week…..
Shooting Guns: Brotherhood of the Ram (Easy Rider) LP
Shooting Guns are hard at work fortifying the heavy end of the psychedelic spectrum. Hailing from the subarctic wasteland of Saskatoon, SK, they haunt the foggy moor between Sabbath-styled doom riffery (Electric Wizard, Sleep) and heavy pulse-riding kraut-rock (Neu!, Circle, Wooden Shjips). Centered around elephantine riffs, these delay-soaked songs rumble and hiss with analog synth-conjured monstrosities which surge to devour frequency ranges beyond the upper and lower ranges available to even the heaviest doom outfits. The keystone of the Shooting Guns wall of sound is a savant sculpture of shifting timbres in wailing, layered delay. The sonic decadence is restrained only by structurally minimalist compositions ever driven by savage drumming and finely distilled, groove-locked bass. Dedicated, heavy, and simple hooks work to bring psychedelic rock music down to earth, dragged away from the breathless mountaintops of prog and down toward the fertile swamps of primordial heaviness. Hypnotic patterns evolve over time in mutating timbres and subtly shifted grooves, but the core of the songs remain dead simple, and the spinal cords of the audience nod in accordance. This pentacle of demon conjurers formed in 2008, a band of veteran collaborators in Saskatoon’s prolific music scene, each with over a decade of touring and music production experience. Their debut LP, Born To Deal in Magic: 1952-1976, was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in 2012 and also released two split 7”s (with Nottingham UK’s The Cult of Dom Keller and Edmonton’s Krang) that year. Having played alongside Bison B.C., The Pack A.D., Mares of Thrace, Quest for Fire, and Black Mastiff, as well as showcasing at the Halifax Pop Explosion, NXNE, and Sled Island Music Festivals, the band is pleasantly surprised to find that their spectacle is rapidly attracting a cult of barbarian metal-heads, indie hipsters, Neanderthals, and nerds.
File Under: Stoner, Metal, Psych, CanCon, Buds
Tim Hecker: Virgins (Kranky) LP/CD
Now in on CD, this album is killer! “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
Basia Bulat: Tall Tall Shadow (Secret City) LP
Tall Tall Shadow, the third album by Toronto singer-songwriter Basia Bulat, is the bravest album she has made. Raw and spectral, heartbroken, yet jubilant, these ten songs tell the story of a very hard year in the artist’s life and all the love that helped her through it. Whereas the singer’s past two LPs, including 2008’s Polaris-nominated Oh, My Darling, were made in Montreal’s all-analogue Hotel 2 Stango studio, Tall Tall Shadow is a more modern thing. This is a record with echo and reverb, electronic flutters and electric autoharp, voices that charge and incandesce around buzzing guitars, lonely piano and rattling percussion. To get to this place, Bulat co-produced the album with, Tim Kingsbury and Mark Lawson. Kingsbury, a member of Arcade Fire, “can play anything and everything,” she says. Lawson, who has worked on records with Akron/Family and Colin Stetson, and who won a Grammy for his work on Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, is a studio alchemist, someone who “hears things” hidden in songs, who is always keen to transform them. They started recording in Toronto, at a reverberating 60-year-old dance hall. Once again, Bulat put together a band: her brother, the punk-inclined drummer Bobby Bulat; Holly Coish on keys and backing vocals; Kingsbury and Ben Whiteley on guitars and bass. One song features Whiteley’s father, the folk legend Ken Whiteley, on gospel organ. But Tall Tall Shadow isn’t acoustic folk music: like Beck’s Sea Change or Buckingham Nicks, chord and strum are a launch-pad for wilder sounds.
File Under: Singer Song Writer, Indie, Folk, CanCon
The Clash: Combat Rock (Legacy) LP
Newly Remastered by The Clash from the Original Tapes! The 1970s punk movement gave birth to some important bands, but none were more important than The Clash. They pushed and broke musical boundaries, while fusing musical experimentation with a socio-political conscience and it’s hard to think of a band before or since that have exerted such universal influence. Their passionate, political agenda continues to inspire new fans and musicians alike. Indeed, the issues The Clash tackled are as relevant today as they were in the late ’70s/early ’80s. Dubbed “the only band that matters” in their heyday, the same could be said almost 40 years later. Originally conceived as a double album, 1982’s Combat Rock was edited down to a single together with legendary producer Glyn Johns. Recorded in New York, this album soaked up the atmosphere of the city’s vibrant hip-hop and graffiti art scenes, mixing funk, rock, hip-hop and reggae. Combat Rock featured a cameo from beat poet Allen Ginsberg and paid homage to the Scorsese film Taxi Driver. This record was the last to feature the classic Strummer-Jones-Simonon-Headon line-up. Newly remastered by The Clash from the original tapes and pressed on audiophile quality 180g vinyl. All artwork recreated from the original release including replicated fully printed inner sleeves with an exclusive Pennie Smith photo print.
File Under: Punk, Classics
Elvis Costello & The Roots: Wise Up Ghost (Blue Note) LP
Elvis Costello and The Roots have teamed up for the collaborative album entitled Wise Up Ghost to be exclusively released by Blue Note Records. Most of the sessions took place in secret at Feliz Habitat Studios in the dead of night, while others were in plain sight at Costello’s Hookery Crookery Studios. Elvis described the record as “the shortest distance between here and there” and containing “both rhythm and what is read.” Questlove adds, “It’s a moody, brooding affair, cathartic rhythms and dissonant lullabies. I went stark and dark on the music, Elvis went HAM on some ole Ezra Pound shit.” It promises to be one of the most unexpected and surprising releases of 2013. In addition to the fabulous Roots crew and friends, the record features a guest vocal appearance on “Cinco Minutos Con Vos” from La Marisoul, lead singer of the Los Angeles group, La Santa Cecilia. The album was produced by longtime Roots associate, Steven Mandel together with Elvis Costello and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson.
File Under: Hip Hop, Rock, Collabs
Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left (Island) Box
Nick Drake Five Leaves Left: Deluxe Edition on Limited Edition 180g LP Box Set + Posters + Handwritten Set List + Download Card. Remastered from the Near-Original Master Tapes by the Album’s Original Engineer, John Wood at Abbey Road Studios. With every passing year, it becomes a little less accurate to say that Nick Drake has a cult following. Cults, by their very nature, tend to exist on the margins, the subject of their admiration unknown or even unloved by the vast majority of people. Mention Nick Drake to a certain generation of music fan and chances are you won’t have to explain yourself. Latterly, Drake’s name has become a byword for a certain kind of acoustic music. Gentility, melancholia and a seemingly casual mastery of the fretboard – in the minds of many listeners, any combination of these traits warrants comparison to Nick Drake. As a result, Drake is perpetually referenced across the reviews sections of every music title. That quite often the records in question bear no meaningful resemblance to Drake’s music speaks volumes. His legacy may, in one sense, be huge. But there’s painfully little of it: just three complete albums – Five Leaves Left (1969), Bryter Layter (1970), Pink Moon (1972) and a number of songs recorded shortly before his death. As his relevance increases, so does an insatiable communal yearning for their source to yield more. Somehow we cannot quite accept the fact that this was all he left behind. Nick Drake’s stunning 1969 debut album encapsulates a marriage between folk music and the singer-songwriter genre. Part Donovan, part Jim Webb, he articulated an aching romanticism at a time when progressive rock ran rampant. Beautiful melodies and fragrant accompaniment, in particular Robert Kirby’s stunning string arrangements, enhance the artist’s sense of longing in which warm, but understated, vocals accentuate the album’s passive mystery. An aura of existential cool envelops the proceedings, accentuated by Danny Thompson’s sonorous bass lines and Drake’s poetic imagery. The result is a shimmering, autumnal collection that is reflective and eternally rewarding. This deluxe reissue of Nick Drake’s debut Five Leaves Left is pressed on audiophile 180g virgin vinyl remastered from the near-original master tapes by the album’s original engineer, John Wood. Although the original tapes were unusable, John Wood had made a safety copy of the album in 1969 and those reels were used for this latest session. The album comes in a box containing the original shop poster, a smaller “live” poster and reprint of Nick’s handwritten set list used for his live appearances, together with reproductions of the master tape and box lids. The LP is housed in a single-pocket, textured sleeve just as the original release would have been with an Island Records card inner bag.
File Under: Folk, SSW, Legends
Faith No More: The Real Thing (Music on Vinyl) LP
180g reissue on green/yellow marbled vinyl. First 2,500 copies numbered/Limited. Starting with the careening “From Out of Nowhere,” driven by Bottum’s doomy, energetic keyboards, Faith No More rebounded excellently on The Real Thing after Mosley’s firing. Given that the band had nearly finished recording the music and Patton was a last minute recruit, he adjusts to the proceedings well. His insane, wide-ranging musical interests would have to wait for the next album for their proper integration, but the band already showed enough of that to make it an inspired combination. Bottum, in particular, remains the wild card, coloring Martin’s nuclear-strength riffs and the Gould/Bordin rhythm slams with everything from quirky hooks to pristine synth sheen. It’s not quite early Brian Eno joins Led Zeppelin and Funkadelic, but it’s closer than might be thought, based on the nutty lounge vibes of “Edge of the World” and the Arabic melodies and feedback of “Woodpeckers From Mars.” “Falling to Pieces,” a fractured anthem with a delicious delivery from Patton, should have been a bigger single that it was, while “Surprise! You’re Dead!” and the title track stuff riffs down the listener’s throat. The best-known song remains the appropriately titled “Epic,” which lives up to its name from the bombastic opening to the concluding piano and the crunching, stomping funk metal in between. — All Music Guide.
File Under: Rock, Classics, 90s
Carol Kleyn: Return of the Silkie (Drag City) LP
Return of the Silkie, 1983’s third chapter in the as-yet unfinished saga of the nomadic West Coast harpist, Carol Kleyn, offers a slice of the wild and free utopian dream that changed so many lives in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Pure and simple, harp and vocals, accompanied only by scattings of harbor seals and sea lions, this loosely woven concept album includes gentle reminders that life is short—take it in while you can—and, along the way, try to preserve the magnificence of this world for the next generation. Sentiments and music as hauntingly true today as the day they were first sung and recorded. Carol’s lyrics close with: “there’s a storm over paradise and it’s we who decide… just how long we shall live… or when we shall die…”. The instrumental that follows, and closes this album, reiterates that message with the cries of sea lions in the background, as the “Silkie” returns, perhaps by choice, to her underwater origins. Thirty years later, Carol resides on an island in Puget Sound, where she walks amongst the eagles and the sea lions, and is guided by the beauty and the changes she observes along that beach, in the sky and on a distant Mt. Rainier. Her children now grown, Carol’s focus—her music and her performance—return to issues regarding global warming, pollution and the politics interconnected to those perils. Of greatest concern to her today, is that the heat wave we’re now experiencing has only just begun. That being said, there will be, without a doubt, new songs and recordings to follow. This 2013 reissue marks the debut of Carol’s third album, Return of the Silkie in the digital format, along with newly released photos in the CD booklet and LP insert. The vinyl format is represented by a remastered, newly-pressed LP, packaged in the original album jackets and recently signed, with love, from Carol to you. As George Winston once wrote to her: “I enjoy the new album. I like it the best, just you and harp.”
File Under: Folk, Harp, Bobby Brown
Moby: Innocents (Arts & Crafts) LP
Moby is one of the most innovative and individual forces in electronic and popular music today. He has sold over 20 million albums, headlined Glastonbury, and is back with arguably one of the best albums of his career, Innocents. Moby chose to make this record with a stellar cast. For the first time in his career he worked with an outside producer, friend Mark Spike Stent, whose résumé includes Madonna, U2, Muse, Björk, and Massive Attack. The list of eminent collaborators on Innocents includes Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips), alt-rock legend Mark Lanegan, Cold Specks, Skylar Grey best known for co-writing and performing on Eminem and Rihanna s Love The Way You Lie; indie-folk singer Damien Jurado, and Inyang Bassey who was the vocalist on The Right Thing from Destroyed. He has named them the Innocents.
File Under: Electronic, Downtempo
Nirvana: In Utero (Geffen) 3LP
Nirvana In Utero: 20th Anniversary Edition on Limited Edition 180g 45RPM 2LP + 180g 33RPM LP + Download Card. Features the Original Album Remastered at Abbey Road Studios on 2LPs and for the First Time Available at High Fidelity 45 RPM. Plus a 33 1/3 RPM LP of Remastered B-sides, Never-Before-Heard Mixes & Bonus Tracks from the Original Album Release. To say that Nirvana’s third and ultimately final studio album In Utero was 1993’s most polarizing record would be the understatement of a decade. The unadorned sonic rawness of Steve Albini’s recording laid bare every primal nuance of the most confrontational yet vulnerable material Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl would ever record. And with its 1991 predecessor Nevermind having sold some 30 million copies, single-handedly returning honest rock ’n’ roll to the top of the pop charts, In Utero was essentially the first record Nirvana would make with any expectations from the public. So from the opening quasi-shamble melodics of “Serve The Servants” through the bittersweet closing strains of “All Apologies,”In Utero was the sound of the most incredible yet conflicted rock ‘n’ roll band of the era at the peak of its powers coming to terms with a generational spokes-band mantle they’d never seen coming – and ultimately surmounting these struggles to make the record they needed to make. As Rolling Stone’s David Fricke said in his review at the time, “In Utero is a lot of things – brilliant, corrosive, enraged and thoughtful, most of them all at once. But more than anything, it’s a triumph of the will.” Universal Music Enterprises will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the unwitting swansong of the single most influential artist of the 1990s with this 3LP edition which features the original album remastered at Abbey Road Studios on 2LPsand for the first time available at high fidelity 45 RPM, plus a 33 1/3 RPM LP of all the remastered B-sides, never-before-heard mixes and bonus tracks from the original album release. All 3LPs are pressed on 180 gram vinyl and are housed in a tri-fold jacket with expanded artwork and unreleased photos.
File Under: Grunge, 90s, Reissue
Listen Here (James’ Fav!)
Quasimoto: Yessir Whatever (Stones Throw) LP
Every now and then, Madlib raps over his own beats as his alter ego Quasimoto. It’s been eight years since he came out with The Further Adventures of Lord Quas, and now, Quasimoto is getting his own compilation. Yessir Whatever is out June 18 via Stones Throw, and it collects material spanning the full history of the project. The LP comes with a bonus 45 featuring “Hittin Hooks” and “Microphone Mathematics Remix”. The comp features 12 tracks of rare, out-of-print, and previously unreleased material. The cover also peels back to reveal a different set of artwork (or “Quasimoto’s guts”)
File Under: Hip Hop, Rap, Madlib
Robert Wyatt: 68 (Cuneform) LP/CD
In September of 1968, the UK’s Soft Machine had just finished their second, exhaustive tour of the US supporting the Jimi Hendrix Experience. At the conclusion of the tour, vocalist/drummer/multi-instrumentalist Robert Wyatt stayed, working on recordings in Hollywood and New York City. Upon Wyatt’s return to England to re-start the Soft Machine in December of 1968, these documents lay forgotten. Two of them were eventually found and issued, but half of these recordings were unreleased and thought lost forever. Now, for the first time, all four of the recordings Wyatt made in ‘68 are collected together on one release fully authorized by the artist himself. The bulk of the material – the two long suites – were later re-recorded by the Soft Machine; “Rivmic Melodies” later became the basis of side one on Volume II (1969) and “Moon In June” showed up as Wyatt’s showcase on Third (1970). These tracks serve as a template for the post-psychedelic Soft Machine’s career as founders of European jazz/rock and the entire release is a precursor to Wyatt’s post-band, solo career.
File Under: Soft Machine, Post-Psych, Hendrix
13th Floor Elevators: Easter Everywhere (Snapper) LP
At The Drive In: Relationship of Command (Dine Alone) LP
Beastie Boys: Paul’s Boutique (EMI) LP
Beastie Boys: Check Your Head (EMI) LP
Nick Cave: Boatman’s Call (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: No More Shall We Part (Mute) 2LP
Nick Cave: Murder Ballads (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: The Good Son (Mute) LP
John Coltrane: Giant Steps (Rhino) LP
Danger Mouse/Jay Z: Grey Album (Fanclub) LP
Daphni: Jiaolong (Merge) LP
Dead Kennedys: Give Me Convenience… (Manifesto) LP
Desert Sessions: 1 & 2 (Fanclub) LP
Desert Sessions: 3 & 4 (Fanclub) LP
Desert Sessions: 7 & 8 (Fanclub) LP
Brian Eno: Ambient 1: Music for Airports (Editions EG) CD
Brian Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (Editions EG) CD
Brian Eno/Robert Fripp: No Pussyfooting (Opal) 2CD
Flying Lotus: Los Angeles (Warp) LP
Flying Lotus: Until The Quiet Comes (Warp) LP
Jackson C. Frank: s/t (4 Men with Beards) LP
King Khan: Idle No More (Merge) LP
Mark Lanegan: Imitations (Vagrant) LP
Mad Season: Above (Legacy) LP
New Order: Brotherhood (Rhino) LP
Nirvana: Outcesticide V (Fanclub) LP
Nirvana: Outcesticide IV (Fanclub) LP
NWA: Straight Outta Compton (Priority) LP
Phish: Junta (Jemp) 3LP
Pink Floyd: Animals (CBS) LP
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (EMI) LP
Porcupine Tree: Recordings (Kscope) LP
Smiths: Meat is Murder (Rhino) LP
Smiths: Queen is Dead (Rhinio) LP
Sonic Youth: Evol (Blast First) LP
Swans: Filth (Neutral) LP
Tragically Hip: Up To Here (Music on Vinyl) LP
Throbbing Gristle: 20 Jazz Funk Greats (Industrial) LP
Turbonegro: Apocalypse Dudes (Sympathy For The Record Insdustry) LP
Witch: We Intend to Cause Havoc (Now Again) 4CD
Neil Young: On The Beach (Reprise) LP
Neil Young: Harvest Moon (Reprise) LP
Neil Young: El Dorado (Reprise) LP