Well, if you made it out last weekend for our anniversary sale, THANK YOU. Many records were sold and good times were had by all! Even though it’s slowing down as far as new releases are concerned we’re still getting some really cool stuff in for you to stick in your ear.
….pick of the week…..
Mammatus: Heady Mental (Spiritual) LP
If you’ve seen mammatus clouds in person, you probably noticed the way those massive formations hang heavy like wilting and bulbous gray-blue sacs, bubbling from heaven towards us. Curiously, as monstrous as they look, these gentle giants are not portents of a storm; they cradle the sky, high above where they belong. How can something so heavy float? If you’ve seen Mammatus the band in concert, you probably noticed how visual their sound is. Guitarist Nicholas Emmert sports a one-piece full-body flight-suit, bassist Chris Freels dons a space cape, and drummer Aaron Emmert steers the ship, staring straight ahead with flashing laser eyewear. The homespun wizard-cum-trippy-dad-at-a-campfire look that they’ve adopted softens the blow of the heavy aural trickery afoot. Heady Mental is the perfect title for the third Mammatus album, for it rests heavily in the moldy caverns of heavy metal history, but doesn’t get too comfortable before revealing its true colors. This is music for flight, music for the sky, and music for the things that lie beyond. These men are searching for the source through sound. Repetitions of themes with variants spread over four separate songs that act as a whole. Heady Mental functions as a soundtrack to the Mammatus Brain: Heavy / Airy, Earth / Sky, Man / Creator, Complete and Grok’d. For the obligatory band reference, one could start by imaging what The Fucking Champs’ IV would have sounded like if they had been more into the McLaughlin / Santana LP Love, Devotion, Surrender instead of Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind.
File Under: Metal, Stoner, Prog
Sorry, no samples.
Acid Mothers Temple & Space Paranoid: Black Magic Satori (Safety Meeting) LP
What do you get when a trippy, spaced out communal psych rock outfit like Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple decides to do a cover of classic doom metal nugget “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath? An extra-psychedelic version appropriately retitled “Space Paranoid”, of course, which also is worked into the name of this iteration of the AMT collective, with their latest lp-only release being devoted entirely to slow and doomy jams, total stoner heaviness inspired by the Sabs. Sounds good? It is. And interestin’, considering that on several of AMT’s other recent efforts, we’d be hearing a lot of Led Zeppelin influence. Guess they decided to make it clear that Sabbath means a lot to ’em too. Though of course, AMT still sounds more like Hawkwind than either of those bands, with a heck of a lot more synth swirling around. “Space Paranoid” is but one of three tracks on this 32 minute platter, propelled by drummer Okano Futoshi, who we should note used to play in the great Subvert Blaze, probably the most Sabbathy band in Japan in the ’90s! Limited to 500 copies, includes digital download.
File Under: Stoner, Psych, Japanese
Greg Ashley: Death of a Ladies Man (Guitars and Bongos) LP
“Greg Ashley’s 4th album under his own name, his first since 2009’s Requiem Mass (Birdman), signals yet another change in direction for this multi-instrumentalist / producer / arranger / singer / songwriter / bandleader. Death of a Ladies’ Man is a reverential song-for-song treatment of Leonard Cohen’s least ‘reverential’ album: the 1977 Phil Spector-produced album of the same name. Greg’s cover photo replaces actual women with two mannequins, but in almost every other way Greg’s stripped down arrangements with a basic bar band lineup give the original animal more human warmth, making the album more accessible than it’s ever been behind that bloated fortress Phil built. Ultimately, Ashley’s Death of a Ladies’ Man pays tribute to the songwriting team of Cohen/Spector. Greg’s rock and roll background informs his Death of a Ladies’ Man, but the tenderness, and the mid-life crisis evident in Cohen’s lyrics is highlighted, and conveys the meaning of the songs in ways even Cohen might appreciate. Greg also brings the sensibility he honed in the Oakland bar circuit, and his country-tinged ‘One Thin Heroine/ Misery Again’ single (Mexican Summer), to make ‘Fingerprints’ a much more convincing country rocker than it does in Spector’s version.”—Chris Stroffolino, from the liner notes. Edition of 500 copies with download code.
File Under: Psych, Gris Gris, Phil Spector
Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue (Nonesuch) 2LP
Long Out of Print First Volume of Billy Bragg & Wilco’s Critically Acclaimed Woody Guthrie Project! When American folk legend Woody Guthrie died in 1967, at the age of 55, among his stored belongings were thousands of complete song lyrics for which he had not written out music or made recordings. Many of them had been written in the 1940s and ’50s, in the Guthrie family home on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The lyrics remained in boxes for decades, but once his daughter Nora found them in the 1990s, she knew they had to be shared. She approached English singer-songwriter and activist Billy Bragg to select some to set to music. The Chicago rock band Wilco came aboard soon after, with Jeff Tweedy writing music – along with his late bandmate Jay Bennett on some songs – and the band recording with both Tweedy and Bragg on vocals. Natalie Merchant joined the group to sing a duet with Bragg and two solo songs, and guitarist/singer Corey Harris, who wrote two songs and co-wrote one, performed on many tracks. In 1998, the first batch of songs, heard here, was released to critical acclaim as Mermaid Avenue, receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album. The second volume followed in 2000 and a third volume, issued in conjunction with the Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions set and comprised of 17 previously unreleased recordings from the original sessions, was unveiled in 2012. The original vinyl pressing of Billy Bragg And Wilco’s Mermaid Avenue, Vol. I has long been out of print and hard to find. This limited edition reissue brings the record back to vinyl on two 180 gram LPs housed in a gatefold double-pocket wrapped jacket, with original artwork.
File Under: Wilco, Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie, Folk
Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue II (Nonesuch) 2LP
Second Volume of Billy Bragg & Wilco’s Critically Acclaimed Woody Guthrie Project Available on Vinyl for the Very First Time. This limited edition pressing of Billy Bragg And Wilco’s Mermaid Avenue, Vol II brings the album to vinyl for the very first time, on two 180 gram LPs housed in a double pocket wrapped gatefold jacket with original artwork.
File Under: Wilco, Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie, Folk
Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue III (Nonesuch) 2LP
Third Volume of Billy Bragg & Wilco’s Critically Acclaimed Woody Guthrie Project Available on Vinyl for the Very First Time. Featuring 17 Songs from the Original Sessions Issued in 2012 in Conjunction with the Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions Set. This limited edition pressing of Billy Bragg And Wilco’s Mermaid Ave, Vol III brings the 17 recently compiled songs issued in April of 2012 as part of Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions to vinyl for the first time, on two 180 gram LPs.
File Under: Wilco, Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie, Folk
Cosmic Dead: s/t (Cardinal Fuzz) LP
The self titled double album from Glasgow’s The Cosmic Dead. Tuned into the same interstellar pulse as Hawkwind, TAB–era Monster Magnet and Ash Ra Tempel, The Cosmic Dead bring four sides of intense, propulsive kraut/psych bliss. A full 80 minutes of motorik drive and galactic psych/kraut. The final track, “Fa-ther Sky, Mother Earth” stretches itself over two sides of a whole vinyl disc as it ascends to higher planes. UK import.
File Under: Psych, Kraut, Kosmische
Miles Davis: Jazz Track (Legacy) Mono LP
Jazz Track presents 10 improvised tracks that Miles Davis recorded in Paris with European musicians in 1957, for director Louis Malle’s film Ascenseur Pour L’échafaud (Elevator To the Gallows), combined with 3 tracks (original “Fran-Dance,” and standards, “On Green Dolphin Street” and “Stella by Starlight”) recorded by Miles’ own sextet in New York – featuring Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb – during their only other studio recordings of 1958, prior to the Kind Of Blue sessions in ’59. The two underrated Miles Davis sessions are collected here on one superior sounding mono LP. Side one is the Miles Davis Quintet’s soundtrack for the French film Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud while the three highlights from the Miles Davis Sextet’s session on May 26, 1958 (Davis’ 32nd birthday) with Columbia staff producer Cal Lampley adorn side two. An elusive and collectible piece of jazz history reissued on 180g mono vinyl by Legacy Recordings.
File Under: Jazz, Mono
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (Legacy) Mono LP
The top-selling jazz album of all time, the modality of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue found its way into classical, rock, and pop – becoming one of the most influential cultural touchstones of the last half of the 20th century and one of the most transcendent pieces of music ever recorded. Davis’ sublime trumpet playing is supported by what was a slightly revamped quintet (sextet) line-up at the time. Although the talents of John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Paul Chambers are retained, “Philly” Joe Jones is replaced by Jimmy Cobb on drums, and Red Garland is replaced on piano by Bill Evans (on “So What,” “Blue In Green,” “All Blues,” and “Flamenco Sketches”) and by Wynton Kelly (on “Freddie Freeloader”). The impact of Kind Of Blue, not only on jazz but on popular music in general, continues to reverberate. It is part of the Library Of Congress National Recording Registry, it is #12 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and it was even honored by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009, the album’s 50th anniversary. Miles would later sum up the sessions for Kind Of Blue this way, “That was my gift, having the ability to put certain guys together that would create a chemistry and then letting them go; letting them play what they knew, and above it.”
File Under: Jazz, Mono, Classic
Miles Davis: Miles & Monk at Newport (Legacy) Mono LP
Classic live recordings from jazz masters Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk on one LP. Though separated in time by five summers, the Newport Jazz Festival performances by Miles’ sextet in 1958 (Adderley, Coltrane, Evans, Chambers, Cobb), and Monk’s quartet in 1963, as heard on Miles And Monk At Newport, are remarkably seamless. Side one features four tracks (“Ah-Leu-Cha, “Straight, No Chaser,” “Fran-Dance,” and “Two Bass Hit”) of high energy bebop from the Miles Davis Sextet while side two includes two full numbers (“Nutty,” “Blue Monk”) from the Thelonious Monk Quartet with Pee Wee Russell. Mastering engineer Mark Wilder comments, “I originally assumed that this album was going to need the most work to capture the original mono sound. After all, the Davis cuts were recorded in 1958, Monk’s in 1963, and both were recorded outdoors. Surprisingly, though, the master tapes were exactly like the original LP pressing and needed no fine-tuning.”
File Under: Jazz, Mono
Flamin’ Groovies: Now (4 Men With Beards) LP
“Flamin’ Groovies Now: released in 1978 and produced by Dave Edmunds. It put the Groovies back on the map, as the band won fervent praise on both sides of the Atlantic for their follow up to Shake Some Action. They apply their fiery British Invasion-inspired sound to the Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black,’ the Byrds’ ‘Feel a Whole Lot Better,’ the Beatles’ ‘There’s a Place,’ and a bunch of original tunes. On 180 gram vinyl.”
File Under: Garage, Psych
Flamin’ Groovies: Shake Some Action (4 Men With Beards) LP
“Shake Some Action was the fifth released in 1976 by the San Francisco band Flamin’ Groovies. Recorded in Great Britain and produced by Dave Edmunds, Shake Some Action marked a departure for the group from the blues based/garage rock sound of the earlier records to a more power pop/ British invasion influenced direction. This was due to the departure of lead singer Roy Loney, the ascendance of guitarist Cyril Jordan, and the fact that the band moved to England in 1972 and was building a large following there. A true power pop classic now on 180 gram vinyl.”
File Under: Psych, Garage
Brigitte Fontaine: Est… Folle (Superior Viaduct) CD
French poet and chameleonic vocalist Brigitte Fontaine’s career spans over four decades. Only a few years before her 1968 debut, Brigitte Fontaine Est…Folle, she moved to Paris to become an actress and took her prodigiously mature voice into the studio. Rich in the drama she brought to theater, Fontaine synthesized chanson (French pop song) and world music, which eventually won her international acclaim as a performer and collaborator with a variety of artists from around the world (Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sonic Youth and Stereolab, to name just a few). On Est…Folle, Fontaine takes flight over conductor Jean Claude Vannier’s brilliant arrangements. Vannier, best known for his work on Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire De Melody Nelson, is in fine form, using what would become his trademark stylings: lush strings, taut rhythms culled from across the globe and a healthy dose of whimsy. “Il Pleut” swings from understatement to rapturous delight. “Une Fois Mais Pas Deux” is an infectious pop song that could have been culled from a French New Wave soundtrack. Fontaine is adventurous and multi-dimensional with sophisticated lyrics, poignant melodies and enthralling delivery. Such artful handling of meter and rhyme (or lack thereof) is rare in pop song. Far from the era’s yé-yé phenomenon, but never fully removed from its traditions, Est…Folle is an essential link in French pop music, exuberantly pushing the genre into more conceptual and experimental sounds. Vinyl soon!
File Under: French Pop, Psych, Vannier
Brigitte Fontaine: Comme A La Radio (Superior Viaduct) CD
Featuring Areski Belkacem and Art Ensemble of Chicago, Comme à la Radio is the sophomore album in Brigitte Fontaine’s prolific career. While her debut, Brigitte Fontaine Est…Folle, is a unique take on French chanson, here the Art Ensemble provides the perfect setting for Fontaine’s exploration of free-verse poetry. Often arrhythmic and spoken, her vocals command the same spontaneity and grace that her collaborators applied to their instruments. The album’s eight-minute title track sets the tone: a sparse bass line keeps time as Fontaine dances around stabs of flute and trumpet. On “Tanka II,” named for a form of concise Japanese poetry, Areski (who provides percussion throughout) plays hand-drums atop flurries of bass as Fontaine coos and whispers pensively, gradually uttering controversial phrases. “L’Été L’Été” centers around a repeated motif with individual lines of high-pitched melody on a bed of muted horns. Each track is its own world, with Fontaine’s incredible range, both in style and substance, acting as the glue between the immense talent involved. The overall effect is chilling, and it is no surprise that Comme à la Radio is often cited as Fontaine’s best known work.
File Under: French Pop, Art Ensemble
Gist: Embrace The Herd (1972) LP
Though lesser-known than Young Marble Giants’ output, the sole LP from Stuart Moxham’s The Gist is an essential entry in the great canon of English post-punk. As the principle composer in Young Marble Giants, Moxham honed minimal songwriting to maximal effect with the help of early electronic experimentation. He formed The Gist shortly before Young Marble Giants’ dissolution to realize experiments in sound outside his primary group’s mold and feature friends from such bands as Essential Logic and Swell Maps. The Gist yielded several singles and Embrace the Herd, originally released in 1982 on Rough Trade and featuring fellow Giants Alison Statton and Phillip Moxham along with Epic Soundtracks. Recorded at home by Moxham, Embrace the Herd is a venerable instance of post-punk liberation to indulge every stylistic whim. With a four-track reel-to-reel, tape echo machine and menagerie of instruments, he veers from the beautifully understated and evocative “Love at First Sight” (with a timeless, quasi-R&B chorus) and the gleaming pop progression on “This Is Love” to instrumentals like “Far Concern” and “Fretting Away,” the latter evoking Young Marble Giants’ sparse but evocative work on Colossal Youth. Moxham sometimes dons a prominently mixed baritone, coos soulfully elsewhere and defers to Statton’s inimitable voice on “Clean Bridges.” The fragmented and disparate ideas of Embrace the Herd expose the anatomy of bedroom DIY song-craft for listeners to revel in. Moxham’s liner notes express humble amazement at fans’ continued interest in this body of work, but even a casual listen explains why Embrace the Herd perseveres.
File Under: DIY, Post-Punk, Young Marble Giants
Glaxo Babies: Nine Months to the Disco (Superior Viaduct) LP
After the abrupt departure of singer Rob Chapman, Bristol’s Glaxo Babies moved into more improvised and electronic-based territory. Their early demos (as compiled on Put Me on the Guest List, also available from Superior Viaduct) only hinted at such exotic sounds. Other bands from Manchester and New York were spiking post-punk with dance beats, yet Glaxo Babies were brimming with fun and spontaneity, spearheading England’s death disco movement in the process. Reportedly recorded in a single day, Nine Months to the Disco originally appeared on Heartbeat Records in 1980. Glaxo Babies’ sole proper album veers between wiry electro à la Liquid Liquid (“Free Dem Cells”), piano-based free jazz burners (“Seven Days”) and progressive post-Krautrock jams that would make even This Heat blush, culminating in the mutant funk masterpiece “Shake (The Foundations)” (which was regularly covered by The Pop Group in their live set). Nine Months to the Disco is a monster statement, equal parts ballroom bangers and dancefloor clearers. Released domestically for the first time ever, the album is available on vinyl and CD with liner notes by The Pop Group founder Mark Stewart and band members Dan Catsis and Charlie Llewellin.
File Under: Post-Punk, Death Disco
Illustration Sonore: Undisciplined Strips of Emotion (Medical) LP
Medical Records presents it’s first contemporary artist with the Paris-based Illustration Sonore. The duo, consisting of Dasz and Christina, expertly craft dark and atmospheric songs laced with unbridled passion in the context of synth-laden melodies, dominant percussion and pensive vocals. Best described as synth-gaze, dark-wave, or no-future pop, I/S recorded this full length LP in 2013. The opening track “Ulysses,” sets the mood with uncompromising intensity and passion with serious low frequency tones and catchy synth drenched hooks. For fans of EBM/synth-heavy industrial crossover, lovers of Cabaret Voltaire, Chris and Cosey, modern synth-wave and the like, these tracks will not disappoint. I/S has no fetishism for the old nor obsessions for the new, and they draw their inspiration in synth pop and surrealism.
File Under: EBM, Synth-Wave
Imperial Tiger Orchestra: Wax (Moi J’Connais) LP
After two albums and a short but well-documented history, Imperial Tiger Orchestra (aka the Tigers) strike back with a mighty new album comprising ten killer tracks of tight funk and free-spirited trance wrapped in luscious arrangements. Still inspired by African masters – but not necessarily those you might think – The Tigers have this time delved into the traditional azmari repertoire to uncover astonishing nuggets of synth and horn-heavy grooviness. Get ready for a journey into the heart of Ethiopia.
File Under: Ethio Funk, African
Eiko Ishibashi: Imitation of Life (Drag City) LP
Drag City presents the first domestic release of any kind from the Japanese singer-songwriter Eiko Ishibashi – and the first vinyl release of any kind on this already-accomplished performer. And what a release! Imitation of Life isn’t just another pop record from another part of the world – it’s got a sci-fi theme and is produced by none other than Drag City’s old friend, Jim O’Rourke! But before we get into that, who is Eiko Ishibashi? She’s a singer-songwriter, producer and session musician, focused on piano, but adept on drums, flute and vibraphone as well. Since 2006, she has released four pop albums and a solo piano album, all of which have been highly rated by the Japanese press. She plays at least a hundred gigs a year, including big rock festivals and European tours. So this is music that people like when they hear it! But this isn’t just fun-time sweet-and simple music. Check out this list of the artists Eiko has played with: Keiji Haino, Akira Sakata, Charlemagne Palestine, Seiichi Yamamoto, Gasper Claus, Oren Ambarchi, Glenn Kotche, Darin Gray and Merzbow. She is also a member of the current Jim O’Rourke band and recently formed an improv group called Kafka’s Ibiki, with O’Rourke and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. If you are collaborating with people like this, chances are you’ve got interesting and different ways of looking at things like music. After her third album Carapace (2011), Eiko decided to do something new, which was when she started Eiko Ishibashi To Mou Shinda Hitotachi. The members of this group (Jim O’Rourke, Toshiaki Sudo, Tatsuhisa Yamamoto, Atsuko Hatano) became the band for Imitation of Life, which featured production, like Carapace before it, by Jim O’Rourke. For fans of O’Rourke’s distinctive sonic obsessions, this record is gonna be a cream-dream! In addition to the band, the guest musicians play an important role with their unique colors as well. Prepare to be blown away by the performance of jazz master Akira Sakata on the title track. Tomoo Gokita provided the ideal cover graphics for Imitation of Life (he previously provided the cover image for Loose Fur’s Born Again In the USA). Dreaming about the previous music geniuses, Eiko Ishibashi takes the challenge of creating new music. Suffused with iconic sounds melded into new shapes of pop music, Imitation of Life is her most powerful work so far – and for many of us, the first of Eiko’s music they will hear. But not, we expect, the last. Life is just beginning!
File Under: Japanese Pop, Jim O’Rourke
Paul Nelson: Vortex (Medical) LP
Vortex is the one and only release by Portland’s Paul Nelson. Vortex was released in 1981 on Paul’s own Optiman Systems Inc imprint. 1000 copies were originally pressed and self-distributed by Paul. The opening track “Automated Man” is a slab of genuine electro greatness with it’s sharp synth hooks and vocoder vocals. The LP takes many twists and turns with many tracks of sequenced pulsations, electronic drums, and rhythms reminiscent of the Sci-fi soundtracks mixed with a healthy dose of almost proggy space/cosmic disco crossed with latter-day Tangerine Dream. The rest of the album takes us on a deep-synth journey referencing everything from Carpenter at his most upbeat to a magnificent build-up of ambient soundscapes that morph into a slow cosmic burn and fade out again into darkness to close the LP.
File Under: Space Disco, Cosmic Disco
Phill Niblock: Nothin to Look at Just a Record (Superior Viaduct) LP
Phill Niblock has pushed the boundaries of sound and visual art for over 40 years. While dutifully producing experimental films and curating multi-media loft performances in New York’s 1960s avant-garde circles, Niblock developed a composition technique informed by American minimalists such as Tony Conrad and La Monte Young. His music consists of long instrumental tones, closely pitched together to create beat patterns and multi-tracked into dense layers. Nothin to Look At Just a Record, originally released on esteemed 20th century / jazz label India Navigation in 1982, is Niblock’s recording debut and often cited as his masterpiece. “A Trombone Piece,” the first of two side-long tracks, was recorded by Richard Lainhart and Richard Kelly (both music innovators in their own right) at SUNY Albany in the mid-’70s. Breathing pauses from instrumentalist James Fulkerson’s trombone were spliced out to unravel the drones spatially, rather than according to metered rhythm. The overall effect is mesmerizing and beautifully envelops the listener with each tonal subtlety. To celebrate Niblock’s 80th birthday, Superior Viaduct is honored to present the first-time vinyl reissue of Nothin to Look At Just a Record, a high-water mark in 20th century music and listed as #5 on Alan Licht’s Minimal Top Ten.
File Under: Drone, Minimalism, Avant Garde
Thee Oh Sees: Singles Collection 3 (Castle Face) LP
It’s no secret that John Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees put out a ton of stuff. Not just full-lengths—of which there are many—but singles, split releases, compilations and even books. The dude cooks in many kitchens, but the sauce is always tasty. Castle Face is proud to continue their tradition of occasionally corralling these rarer gems onto the convenient LP format. For even the most insane Oh Sees collectors, the inclusion of an unreleased, mutated live version of “Block of Ice” makes this a must-have. To sweeten the deal, the tunes have been gussied up ever-so-slightly to knock you nightly, and the incredible tritone artwork by Shalo P is printed on blinding silver-foil jackets.
File Under: Punk, Garage, Psych
OST: A Field in England (Death Waltz) CS
Soundtrack to the Ben Wheatley film, A Field In England, which has been confounding audiences with its psychedelic blend of English Civil War imagery and macabre grindhouse themes since it’s release earlier this year. Veteran British composer Jim Williams handled the score itself (no doubt brought in again after handling the soundtrack to Wheatley’s acclaimed Kill List), and the record also features the track “Chernobyl” by Blanck Mass (Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin Power) and “Metallic Fields” which was put together by Wheatley and the film’s sound designer Martin Pavey.
File Under: OSTs, Ambient
OST: Assault on Precinct 13 (Death Waltz) CS
Death Waltz Recording Company are very proud to be releasing one of the most seminal electronic scores in film history. Recorded in just one day, this minimal electro masterpiece by Director/Composer John Carpenter has been sampled by Afrika Bammbaataa and Tricky and covered countless times. This newly remastered version has been approved by director John Carpenter himself who has also supplied brand new and exclusive sleevenotes.
File Under: John Carpenter, OST
Radioactivity: s/t (Dirtnap) LP
Radioactivity is a continuation of The Novice, Jeff Burke’s band while living in Japan. Jeff has since moved back to Texas, and out of respect to the Japanese lineup of the band, has changed the name to Radioactivity. Some of these songs are re-purposed Novice tracks, while others are brand new. Jeff is one of the most distinctive songwriters in the punk rock underground, and these songs will sound instantly familiar to any fans of The Marked Men or Potential Johns. Band members include Jeff Burke, Mark Ryan and Gregory Rutherford, whose credits read like an all-star lineup of Texas punk and garage rock royalty, including members of The Marked Men, Mind Spiders, Bad Sports, Wax Museums, The Reds, Video and The Novice.
File Under: Punk, Garage
Slow Walkers: s/t (Peak Oil) LP
‘Slow Walkers is a project by Lawrence English and Liz Harris (Grouper). This is their self-titled first release, born from a mutual fascination with horrific depictions of the human present and future. Pressed in an edition of 400 copies. Archival gold-foiled cover, silk screened back and gold block printed labels.
File Under: Ambient, Experimental, Drone
Space Lady: The Space Lady’s Greatest (Night School) LP
Unexpected gem this week… The Space Lady began her odyssey on the streets of San Francisco in the late ‘70s, playing versions of contemporary pop music an accordion and dressed flamboyantly, transmitting messages of peace and harmony. Following the theft of her accordion, The Space Lady invested in a then-new Casio keyboard, birthing an otherworldly new dimension to popular song that has captured the imaginations of the underground and its lead exponents ever since, with the likes of John Maus, Erol Alkan and Kutmah being devotees. Of her early street sets, only one recording was made, self-released originally on cassette and then transferred to a home-made CD. The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits (LSSN021) features the best of these recordings—mostly covers but with some originals—pressed on vinyl for the first time and features archival photographs and liner notes from The Space Lady herself. Greatest Hits contains The Space Lady’s personal favourites; her haunting take on The Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night),” a frantic “Ballroom Blitz” amidst other reconstructed pop music. Included are also four originals that easily match for the Pop canon. Following the release of this archive, The Space Lady will be issuing new material and travelling the world to present her message outside the United States for the first time. In the mid ‘90s The Space Lady packed away her Casio synth and silenced her distinctive voice, retiring from the streets of San Francisco. Now, more than 30 years after her initial forays on Haight Ashbury, she has surfaced with the first ever official release of her timeless, startling music and, even more remarkably, has re-started her live career. Now in Colorado, The Space Lady continues to spread her message of peace, harmony and love.
File Under: Lo-Fi, Psychedelic, Outsider
Stereolab: Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night (1972) LP
Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night is Stereolab’s sixth studio album and a return to the poppier tendencies the band had left behind on their previous full-length, Dots and Loops. Where that album was an amalgam of often chilled, abstract electronica, prog and jazz, this work’s exotic pop features warm Moog textures, bursting horns and lush, layered vocals. Co-producers John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake) and Jim O’Rourke (Sonic Youth, Gastr del Sol) add new wrinkles to Stereolab’s sound and deliver rich and expansive mixes. Their contributions to the album’s sonic deconstructions and analog keyboard textures present a radical model of pop-rock song architecture. Harmony and cacophony coexist throughout, wrapped up in the group’s familiar, mellow ’60s bossa-groove. The arrangements incorporate Chicago post-rock, Sun Ra-styled free-form jazz and classic British acid-psych styles, while the songs return to the core melodic instincts of the band’s classic albums. Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night ended a decade in which Stereolab constructed a singular vision of popular music. It completed a journey from the lo-fi fuzz of their early ’90s singles to the sophisticated and complex soundscapes of their more mature second phase. The result is an alluring collage of ’60s jazz, French pop and shimmery, ambient guitars, and an underrated piece of Stereolab’s oeuvre.
File Under: French Pop, Library, Retro
Stereolab: Sound-Dust (1972) LP
Released in late 2001, Sound-Dust found Stereolab firmly in the midst of their second phase. After taking a two-year break, the band returned with a strong melodic focus and a highly evolved, sophisticated style of writing that further displayed their growing talents. Many fans and critics consider the album to be among the group’s finest. Producers Jim O’Rourke (Sonic Youth, Gastr del Sol) and John McEntire (Tortoise, Sea and the Cake) returned to further Stereolab’s continuing evolution. The group brings a lighter, almost orchestral touch to the set of songs with unpredictable shifts in tempo and melody; this new approach is especially apparent on the lead single “Captain Easychord” and its warped, country-tinged feel. The avant-garde and lounge textures still remain, but are balanced by sun-kissed harmonies and breezy Tropicalia. Sound-Dust is another example of a pioneering band moving forward creatively. It’s a full-color collage of sound bursting with catchy refrains and exuberant rhythms. Always a band to add new twists to their sound, this album returns Stereolab to its most playful and otherwordly.
File Under: French Pop, Library, Retro Lounge
Tycho: Past is Prologue (Ghostly) LP
Tycho’s Past Is Prologue has a storied history. The tracks began as Sunrise Projector, Tycho’s 2004 full-length debut on Gammaphone records; the record was then expanded and reissued in 2006 as Past Is Prologue on Merck records; and now, Ghostly International is reissuing Tycho’s original masterwork, re-introducing graphic designer/producer Scott Hansen’s musical universe: a lush, expansive imaginary landscape of sepia-toned keyboards, warm downtempo beats, and mile after mile of sun-dappled beauty. Scott Hansen’s alter-ego is as graphic designer ISO50, and his visual work and musical creations share a similar aesthetic: saturated, faintly nostalgic tones, artfully arranged compositions, with a complex internal rhythm and color-outside-the-lines joy that’s both easy on the eyes/ears and tremendously addictive. Past Is Prologue is an ideal point of entry into Tycho’s world: “Dictaphone’s Lament” is an anthemic rush of melody and rhythm with cross-panned, dueling basslines and a gauzy, late-afternoon feel; “Send and Receive” sounds like a music box designed by Brian Eno, a fine mesh of melodic plips and plops and brisk, skittering hi-hats. The title track is a low-level stunner, splitting the difference between Rhodes-heavy ambient and drum ‘n bass – both laid-back and frantic. Past Is Prologue also includes remixes from Dusty Brown, Chachi Jones, and Nautilis, as well as a new remix of “From Home” by Mux Mool, in which the Brooklyn producer expands the modest ambient swell of the original into a bass-heavy beat symphony. As its title implies, Past Is Prologue is only the beginning. In the years since its initial release, Scott Hansen has been refining his approach, woodshedding new material and buffing it until it shines like polished brass. For Tycho, the Past Is Prologue to a limitless future. Available for the ﬁrst time on vinyl. Deluxe packaging with gatefold tip-on matte jacket with inner art sleeves.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Synth
Violent Femmes: Hallowed Ground (4 Men With Beards) LP
“The second record from the Violent Femmes was a departure from their highly acclaimed debut album.Hallowed Ground features more of their folk/punk hybrid that made them so unique from the start but with even more maniacal energy than they had previously displayed. Lead singer and songwriter Gordon Gano explores his love/hate relationship with religion with the same glee he did exploring the teenage/young adult drama of their debut. An under-valued classic brought to you by 4 Men with Beards on 180 gram vinyl.”
File Under: Folk Punk,
Peter Walker: Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms? (Delmore) LP
Peter Walker is an American original, as eclectic and enigmatic as the songs he writes. The legendary 75 year old raga/psychedelic/folk acoustic guitarist, who was schooled by masters such as Ravi Shankar, and Ali Akbar Khan, has been described by Larry Coryell as “One of the most original practitioners of contemporary music” and proclaimed by the Beatles’ press agent Derek Taylor as “Perhaps the greatest guitarist in the world.” His music, celebrated by the late Jack Rose, James Blackshaw, and Thurston Moore all contributed original compositions to the 2006 tribute album, A Raga For Peter Walker. In the mid-’60s, while musical director to Timothy Leary’s LSD explorations, Walker released the classic Rainy Day Raga LP in 1966, and 1968’s influential Second Poem to Karmela or Gypsies Are Important, both on Vanguard Records. Following that, Peter Walker disappeared from recording for almost forty years, but never stopped practicing, learning, and reaching. Now, Delmore Recording Society is proud to announce the release of a lost studio session from 1970. Recorded at Mercury Studios, NYC Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms? is Peter Walker’s manifesto. A solo guitar/vocal album, all one take, no overdubs, that could have been Peter’s classic third album had it been released at the time (Peter had been storing the reels in a converted bread truck for decades). While his previous two records are incredible collaborative efforts, this album is 100 proof Walker. A requiem to the 1960s, chronicling lovers on the run, anti-war movement adventures, and living off the grid in Mexico, California, Detroit, and NYC, the album begins gently, with love and war songs, before going on the rough and urgent ride of “Fifty Miles,” and culminating with “Wonder,” a song where Peter summons all the elements into one long journey, bringing us back down at the end as if we were at one of Timothy Leary’s “celebrations.” Peter’s wondrous guitar playing and otherworldly vocals create the effect of a record encoded with some deeper wisdom being channeled directly to your ears.
File Under: Americana, Folk, Psychedelic
Various: Electroconvulsive Therapy 1 (Medical) LP
Medical Records is proud to release it’s first compilation LP, in association with Crispy Nuggets blog. Here we have a carefully curated collection of extremely rare and sought-after singles and tracks. This compilation includes 5 complete A + B sides as well as 2 other tracks that only appeared on obscure compilations in the early 80s. The first 2 tracks are by the UK’s The Electronic Circus, featuring Chris Payne, who played synth on Gary Numan’s Pleasure Principle album. The second featured artist is Boston’s Psychic Youth who released one lone 7″ in 1982. One of the members, Perry Geyer, was also a founding member of the industrial outfit Manufacture. Another highlight is the final single here, and solo outing by Claude Arto from Mathematiques Modernes. Released in 1981 on Celluloid France, the 2 tracks drip synthetic bloops and blips while being propelled by rhythmic electro sequences. This collection will certainly appeal to fans of the rare minimal synth culture, early stripped down synth pop, or anybody who has wanted even one of these tracks on wax as they are all quite rare.
File Under: Synth Wave, Minimal Wave
Various: Mountains of Tongues (L.M. Dupli-cation) LP
Because of its unique geography—situated at the borders of Europe and Asia, between the Caspian and Black seas—the Caucasus has been at the crossroads of multiple empires as well as home to an exceptionally diverse population, resulting in a rich mosaic of history, culture, religion and language. Early Arab travelers referred to the region as the “Mountains of Tongues,” a term that reflected both the geographic and linguistic variety. An incredible number of languages and traditions still exist, but many have yet to be thoroughly documented and are close to disappearing completely. Since the fall of the Soviet Union the majority of attention the Caucasus has received from the outside world has been as a result of wars in Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The countries of this region have also struggled to forge national identities, a process that has often resulted in the exclusion of smaller folk cultures (ethnic Azeris from Georgia, Kurds from Tbilisi, Avars and Lezgis from Azerbaijan, or Molokans in the South Caucasus, all groups that don’t fit the category of “national” folk music). Mountains of Tongues: Musical Dialects from the Caucasus includes recordings of songs in languages that have rarely been caught on tape (Lezgi and Batsbi), instruments that only exist in extremely small numbers (the Tushetian chianuri, of which there are only two, and the agach komuz from the remote territory of Dagestan) and performances from a variety of underrepresented ethnic minority communities. These musicians, whether they recognize it or not, are guardians of the distinct musical cultures of the Caucasus, a region whose many traditions are still relatively unknown to the rest of the world. The Sayat Nova Project is a non-profit group with the goal of preserving and promoting the musical dialects of the Caucasus. The recordings on this album were made between September 2012 and June 2013 in villages, towns and cities across the South Caucasus. Members of the project recorded more than 50 musicians playing a wide variety of instruments and singing in ten different languages. Mountains of Tongues presents the music of the Caucasus without regard to political borders. Through the inclusion of recordings by Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Chechens and many others ethnicities, it represents this region’s unique traditions and shared histories and emphasize the diversity that exists within these “mountains of music.”
File Under: Folk, Ethnic, Caucasus, Armenian
Aphex Twin: Richard D. James Album (1972) LP
Eduard Artemiev: Solaris (Superior Viaduct) LP
Bobby Beausoleil: Lucifer Rising Suite (Ajna) 4LP
Black Mountain: In The Future (Jagjaguwar) LP
Beirut: Gulag Orkestar (Ba Da Bing) LP
Beirut: The Flying Club Cup (Ba Da Bing) LP
Beirut: The Rip Tide (Pompeii) LP
Bill Callahan: Dream River (Drag City) LP
Caribou: Milk of Human Kindness (Leaf) LP
Caribou: Start Breaking My Heart (Leaf) LP
Caribou: Up in Flames (Leaf) LP
Chromatics: Kill for Love (Italians Do It Better) LP
Chromatics: Night Drive (Italians Do It Better) LP
Patrick Cowley: Cosmic Dead (Dark Entries) LP
Do Make Say Think: s/t (Constellation) LP
Molly Drake: s/t (Squirrel Thing) LP
John Fahey: America (4 Men With Beards) LP
Fugazi: End Hits (Dischord) LP
Fugazi: In On The Killtaker (Dishord) LP
Fugazi: Red Medicine (Dischord) LP
Fugazi: Repeater (Dischord) LP
Fugazi: Steady Diet of Nothing (Dischord) LP
Fugazi: The Argument (Dischord) LP
Galaxie 500: On Fire (20/20/20) LP
Hot Snakes: Automatic Midnight (Swami) LP
Hot Snakes: Suicide Invoice (Swami) LP
King Khan & BBQ Show: Invisible Girl (In The Red) LP
King Khan & BBQ Show: What’s For Dinner (In The Red) LP
LCD Soundsystem: s/t (DFA) LP
Natural Snow Buildings: Daughter of Darkness (Ba Da Bing) 6CD
Om: Advaitic Songs (Drag City) LP
Om: Conference of the Birds (Holy Mountain) LP
Om: God is Good (Drag City) LP
Om: Variations on a Theme (Holy Mountain) LP
Ty Segall Band: Slaughterhouse (In The Red) 2×10″
Sensations’ Fix: Fragments of Light (Superior Viaduct) LP
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (Goofin’) 4LP
Symmetry: Themes For An Imaginary Film (Italians Do It Better) LP
Urinals: Negative Capability (In The Red) LP
Various: After Dark 2 (Italians Do It Better) LP