…..news letter #647 – less?…..

I’m confused… At this point in the year, that being summer, usually the releases dwindle away into nothingness, yet this week, I could easily list 3 picks of the week! But I’m going to just try sticking to 2. So even though it’s not a pick of the week, I still highly recommend you check out/pick up the new Wolves In The Throne Room as well…. ya! Oh ya… I bought some awesome used stuff in the last week or so as well, by the by.

Oh ya, due to some anti-spam laws I should tell you, if you want to keep receiving this email, don’t do anything. If you don’t want to keep getting it, unsubscribe at the bottom.

…..picks of the week…..

lrd

Les Rallizes Denudes: Electric Pure Land (No Label) 2LP
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! Staggering ultra-limited out-of-nowhere double LP set of primo acid-drenched psych from the most legendary Japanese underground group of all time, the late Les Rallizes Denudes: reputedly sourced from the collection of an ‘insider’ Japanese underground musician and coming from the same source as the all-time epic France Demo Tapes LP, Electric Pure Land represents the second phase in this Dick’s Picks style on-going vinyl presentation of the hands-down greatest live moments of Mizutani’s mystery-cloaked outfit. Housed in a beautiful heavy gatefold sleeve with nada in terms of information but two enigmatic graphics-only inserts and pictures of a total eclipse of the sun, Electric Pure Land is in fact drawn from live 1974 material and comes pressed across three sides of moodily transparent vinyl. The set begins with a blank A side (!) then into a wild sidelong flamethrower take on “The Last One” that marries the kind of 80s Minor scene thud of groups like Kousokuya to the sound of pure amplifier worship, with cro-magnon nod-out bass and endlessly flanged/phased/devolved lead guitar coming over like “I Heard Her Call My Name” broadcast from the other side of the mirror. When Rallizes generate this kind of insane, form-destroying/higher minded six string euphoria it feels like they are the only group on the planet, taking the sound of the guitar as a conduit for electricity to its ultimate post-psych/noise ends. And that’s not all, over on the second LP we get a slew of classic Rallizes ballads and freaks, with Mizutani so caught up in endless soloing that there are moments when everyone stops playing and he just takes off on his own, riffing endlessly w/low slung mirror shades stylings and beams of pure white light, bulldozing “Enter The Mirror”, “Flames Of Ice” and  “Angel Of Guidance”.  If you ever wondered what all the fuss was about with Rallizes then this is the monster to nail to your turntable, endless black blues played with an end of the world ferocity that is uniquely keyed. File next to France Demo Tapes, Sweet Sister Ray, Call In Question, Clear To Higher Time, Stained Angel Morning, Pathetique and Monkey Pockie Boo in the section of your collection given over to drooling six string excess. Simply cannot recommend this mind-blowing side enough, has to be heard to be believed and certainly one of the most beautifully packaged Rallizes LPs to date, with the gatefold opening backwards, ala a Japanese book and with the ‘back’ cover featuring phonetic Japanese interpretations of English translations of the songs. Can’t even begin to comb through my entire Rallizes archive to make spot comparisons, but don’t think this insane material has made it out in any other format before, so dig in. Another future monster, highest possible recommendation!

File Under: Japanese, Psych, Blown Amps, Essential
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feedback

The Group: The Feed-Back (Schema) LP+CD
In tomorrow… HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! Just as the first “krautrock” lp’s were coming out in Germany, in Italy we had a surprisingly similar counterpart: this album. It consists of three long instrumental tracks, somewhere in between psych-rock, avantgarde jazz and funky jams. The sound is definitely experimental and ostentatiously “underground”. None of the instruments involved tries to be reassuring: the guitar is scratchy, the trumpet sounds choked, piano and keyboards are always dissonant and a background of “proto-industrial” noises is present all along the record. The music, anyway, is thrilling. The drum patterns, in particular, are extraordinary: regular, tight, groovy, and incredibly close to the “motorik” beat of Can and Neu!. “The Group” was not a band of young beatniks. As a matter of fact, it’s just a pseudonym for Gruppo d’Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, a project of renown soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone along with other important experimental musicians. The rock-focused attitude of the record is quite surprising for  such a team of classically-trained men already in their forties!

File Under: Free Jazz, Italian Library, Holy Grail, Improv, Funk, Psych, Morricone, Essential
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…..new arrivals…..

braen

The Braen Machine: Underground (Schema) LP+CD
In tomorrow… “During the ’70s, work days at Umiliani’s Sound Workshop Studios were hectic; thousands of sessions were held in order to keep up with a very busy Italian movie industry: Hundreds of soundtracks alongside with music library were recorded and released on vinyl in very limited quantities for TV and film production use only. Those LPs are now proper collectors’ items, extremely hard to find. Filled with hypnotic bass lines, heavy drums and screaming fuzz guitars “Underground”, the first LP of the fictitious group known as Braen’s Machine, is one of the rarest and the most expensive of them all, always “reaching” sky high prices throughout the second hand vinyl market. A fast-beat jam with hammond scales and a twin lead guitar theme (“Flying”) opens the A Side soon followed by “Imphormal”, a classic funk-beat-meets fender- rhodes-and-psychedelic-guitar number. The music then switch to “thriller territories” with “Murder” which is based on prepared piano swells and a deeply hypnotic walking bass, reminiscent of the best Morricone’s soundtracks for Dario Argento’s movies. Two highly percussive songs complete the A Side: “Gap” is an improvised song with guitar and keyboards dwelling over an infectious drum rhythm while a marching snare and a vibraslap effect are the special features on “Militar Police”. The mood relaxes slightly on the opening of the B Side with a lazy jazz groove on “New Experience” but the rock influences are soon brought back on the following track “Fall Out”. “Obstinacy” is all about keyboards with syncopated rhodes themes and distorted hammond sustained notes whilst the fuzz guitar is back again screaming through the left channel on the last song of the album, “Description”. We could happily say that that was the golden age of the Italian music library. But who’s behind the name “Braen’s Machine”? On the original cover the songs are credited to the composers Braen and Gisteri. Braen was a pseudonym often used by Alessandro Alessandroni, an extremely skilled and versatile musician, and one of Umiliani’s closest collaborators. He could write, conduct and arrange, he could sing (ever heard “Mah Na Mah Na”?), he could whistle (ever heard Morricone’s “For a fistful of dollars”?) and he could play almost anything: guitar, bass tuba, accordion, sitar and the list grows….. His first album “Alessandro Alessandroni e il suo complesso” (Sermi, 1969), had transformed the Italian library music from orchestral sound beds into the psychedelia we all love; the extremely fuzzy guitars are very “present” on “Underground” too. For a long time Gisteri’s real identity was rather mysterious; often wrongly attributed to Umiliani. Gisteri was the pseudonym of Oronzo De Filippi, art name of Rino De Filippi, music supervisor to the Italian public broadcast company (RAI) between the ’60s and the ’70s. De Filippi composed other notable pieces such as “Riflessi” (Edipan, 1975) and “Nel mondo del lavoro” (Sermi, 1972).”

File Under: Italian Library, Funk, Jazz, OST, Raerz
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bitches

Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Mobile Fidelity) LP
Monumental 1970 Double Album is Signpost for Jazz Fusion: Psychedelic Record Still Sounds Ahead of Its Time More Than 40 Years Later. Otherworldly Sonics: Mobile Fidelity Delivers the Consummate Pressing of the Uncompromising Work Ranked by Rolling Stone as Among the Greatest 100 Albums of All Time. Grammy Award-Winning Set Ignores Convention, Pursues Funk and Rock Directions Via Innovative Rhythms and Groundbreaking Ensemble Configurations. “Listen to This.” As the original working title for Bitches Brew, the instruction and invitation resonates to this day as the best way to approach a record that shattered conventions, altered music history, and, more than 40 years later, still sounds far ahead of its time. The aural Mount Rushmore of jazz fusion, Bitches Brew is rightly ranked by virtually every significant press outlet among the 100 greatest albums ever made in any genre. Sewn together with vibrant colors, voodoo textures, and ethereal moods, the 1970 landmark emerges with supreme detail and nonpareil feeling on Mobile Fidelity’s definitive 180g 33RPM 2LP set. Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on 180g vinyl at RTI, this collectable audiophile 33RPM version of Bitches Brew joins the ranks of eleven other essential Miles Davis sets given supreme sonic and packaging treatment by Mobile Fidelity. Having established new possibilities for studio-recording techniques, the record can now be experienced to maximum degree by way of this analog edition that widens and deepens the soundstage, opens up separation between instruments, and broadens the dynamic range. If ever a jazz album can be said to have gone to outer space and back, this is it. Davis conceived Bitches Brew by having the musicians stand in a semi-circle, where he pointed at them with vague directions for tempo, solos, and cues. The collective improvisation and interplay spawned a galaxy of melodies and grooves that were later spliced together by producer Ted Macero. Here, these distinct creations take shape with utmost realism. Mobile Fidelity’s version envelops you in expansive warm tonal blankets. Compositions stretch across jet-black backgrounds and paint abstract canvasses on par with those of Axis: Bold As Love and Abraxas. Juxtaposed percussion, loose jams, and melodic segues explode with impressionistic verve. Gathering a Hall of Fame-worthy lineup of musicians and tweaking it according to his desires, Davis follows through on his idea to “put together the greatest rock and roll band you ever heard” on Bitches Brew. Central to his proposition is the presence of two (and sometimes three) drummers and two bassists, a tactical move that thrusts rhythms into a central focus. Akin to the futuristic album cover art, the drum-driven suites head toward distant universes and uncharted territories—at once hypnotizing and grooving, charting maverick adventures with quixotic rock, funk, and R&B elements. Conceptually, Davis described Bitches Brew as “a novel without words” and “an incredible journey of pain, joy, sorrow, hate, passion, and love.” The vast psychedelic expanses of warped echoes, liquid reverb, and tape loops confirm such ambitious contrasts of light and dark, fear and hope. Yet the most absolute characteristic of this watershed effort lies in how it resists definitive interpretation and encourages free thought—the very principles with which Davis conceived the everlasting beauty and fascination that is Bitches Brew. All the composer would else likely want for open-minded listeners is for them to hear it at its full potential, a dream realized by Mobile Fidelity.

File Under: Jazz, Fusion, Classics, MOFI
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hex

Earth: Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method (Southern Lord) LP
Repress of the 2005 classic return album from Earth. Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method is the fourth full-length studio album by Earth. This album was the first new material released by Earth after a nine-year break. Earth visionary/founder Dylan Carlson said: “There’s an arc to each song and an arc to the album, rather than just a collection of songs. There’s silence and a sense of space to the music”. The subtitle is from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. This version of Hex comes packaged in a Stoughton gatefold jacket.

File Under: Metal, Drone, Doom
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earth1Earth: The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull (Southern Lord) LP
The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull is the fifth full-length studio album by the band Earth. Bill Frisell is a guest on the album, playing guitar on tracks one, four, and five. The title is a reference to Judges 14:8 in the Bible. It tells the story of Samson, who tore apart a lion and when he returned, noticed a swarm of bees and some honey on the lion’s carcass. The album continues the trend of Earth songs being named, at least in part, after phrases from the Cormac McCarthy book Blood Meridian (for example, ‘Hung from the Moon’ and ‘Engine of Ruin’). This version of The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull comes packaged in a faux leather cover that emulates a old bible. Inside this book is another Stoughton gatefold jacket.

File Under: Metal, Drone, Doom
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flesh1

The Flesh Eaters: A Minute To Pray A Second To Die (Superior Viaduct) LP
The Flesh Eaters is the name behind one Chris Desjardins a.k.a. Chris D. Taking his stage name from a 1964 cult film, Chris D. wrote for legendary fanzine Slash in the late ’70s and assembled the first of many Flesh Eaters lineups from heavyweights in the burgeoning L.A. punk scene. After releasing a ravenous EP and heart-ripping debut album, The Flesh Eaters unleashed their era-defining statement, A Minute to Pray A Second to Die. Originally released in 1981, A Minute to Pray brings together the greatest band in American rock history: Dave Alvin (Blasters) on guitar, John Doe (X) on bass, Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) on sax, along with Bill Batemen (Blasters) and DJ Bonebrake (X) providing the album’s trademark percussive backbone. Chris D. leads the group like a man possessed. Through a series of grotesque vignettes, his lyrical prowess and indelible growl stand toe-to-toe with the music’s powerful shifts. From opener ‘Digging My Grave’ (resembling a dieselcharged Magic Band) to the gothic groove of ‘Divine Horsemen’, each song is its own hairy beast. Inspired by African tribal music, ’60s garage-rock churn and Funhouseera Stooges swing, A Minute to Pray remains (according to author / archivist Byron Coley) “the best rock record ever recorded.” This first-time vinyl reissue and long out-of-print CD release has been carefully remastered and features liner notes by Coley. Without a doubt, The Flesh Eaters will hypnotize a new flock of listeners in this millennium.

File Under: Punk, Classics
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fumanchu

Fu Manchu: Gigantoid (At The Dojo) LP
Southern California hard rock mainstays Fu Manchu are releasing their new album, on the band’s own At The Dojo Records. After almost 25 years together, and following last year’s Scion A/V Club split 7″ with friends MOAB and 2009’s “Signs of Infinite Power,” Scott Hill and company return with their first full-length album in close to five years. Recorded with Andrew Giacumakis, singer / guitarist for he aforementioned MOAB at his studio in Simi Valley, CA, the album features a slightly more primitive, raw and ultra fuzzed-out sound than previous releases. “We wrote 17 new songs for this record and got our favorite 9 songs out of that together,” says Hill. “We were planning on releasing a ‘part 2’ record later this year but have plans for some of the other songs to appear in early 2015 to line up with our upcoming 25-year anniversary.”

File Under: Stoner Rock
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dicky

Dicky Oliver: s/t (Schema) LP
In tomorrow… An accurate reissue of this rare album originally released on RCA Italy in 1969. “Dicky Oliver” is a super funky 10 track LP with furious Hammond and great horn sections. Among the tracks, “The Chicken” is a floor-killer James Brown cover, fuelled by a powerful groove. Little is known about the artist. This album, recorded and produced in 1968 at RCA Studios in Rome, includes other two great James Brown covers: “Let Yourself Go” and “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag”. Covers of Hugh Masekela (“Grazing In The Grass”), Jimmy McGriff (“South West”), Cannonball Adderley (“Cannon Ball’s Theme”) and two original tracks written by Richard “Dicky” Oliver complete the tracklist.

File Under: Funk
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pudduAlex Puddu: Registrazioni Al Buio (Schema) LP
In tomorrow… This album is an amazing journey into the world of soundtracks and library music of the 70s. In French they would call it “Music pour l’image” and this term gives you the exact idea of the deeply evocative potential of this sequence of notes does have. “Registrazioni al Buio” is indeed a fresh and charming recording by a talented musician and gifted producer who brings new life to old sounds by restyling, merging, and mixing old and new musical intuitions. The result is somehow familiar if you loved the works of Lesiman, Bacalov, Pisano or the infinite genius of the maestro Morricone and his old time friend Alessandroni, but at the same time it sounds new, with echoes of ‘No wave’ intuitions

File Under: Italian, Funk, Jazz, Library, OST
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danish1Alex Puddu: The Golden Age of Danish Pornography Vol. 1 (Schema) LP
In tomorrow… After a show at Copenhagen Jazzhouse with my band, Alex Puddu and The Butterfly Collectors, I came to meet an old face from the underground music business, Jan Schmidt, who I knew but not as much as I came to know in later years. He used to own a few brilliant indie labels such as Pingo, Cloudland and April Records, back when some of the coolest bands from the Danish indie scene were around. I recall that after that gig, Jan and I had a hell of a lot to share with each other: Food, music, Italian giallo and horror movies from the 60s and the 70s. In fact, just about everything! Later that year I was signed to do 2 albums with Alex Puddu and The Butterfly Collectors, ‘Chasing the Scorpion’s Tail’ followed by ‘The Silcence of the Sun and The Rhythm of the Rain’, by April Records, and even if the records did not sell so well we had a wonderful time recording them and we built up a great relationship between us. I must admit that my music tastes have always been affected by the visions and the movies that I saw back in the days when I was a teenager growing up in Italy to the Dario Argento score of “Profondo Rosso” or “The Warriors”. I probably got much more into it with time and at that point I just had to do something about it, and that is when I started to record my first solo albums after the break-up with Puddu Varano under the pseudonym of Alex Puddu and the Butterfly Collectors. This was very cinematically inspired and believe it or not I have always known from the start how to compose and produce a track from the very beginning to the very end with a perfect vision and artwork. Last year Jan told me that he was going to release some vintage collection Danish porn films on DVD and he needed to have some music done. I immediately thought of myself and believed that I was that right person for the job. I knew this was going to be something special for me. Creating a score for a vintage porn movie has been my dream for many years and the thought that I was going to write and perform something original for those pictures made me really happy and proud, especially after so many years of waiting. I remembered when I used to go out and rent old vintage porno movies at the local video store because I just appreciated the old soundtracks so much. Can you believe that now it was going to be my turn? Well, it took me a couple of months of writing and producing for the soundtracks and I wrote the whole score and most of the tracks while sitting on the couch in my living room with a glass of red wine and a funky bass line. And do you know what? I am a pretty cool bass player when it comes to porno music, do you know what I mean? Some of the songs like “Naughty Girls at the Wild Party” or “Black Triangle” are built up from cool and freaky fuzz guitar riffs and I also have to say that beats production is awesome. This was easy for me since I have been a drummer for many years and I just love this king of music so I did not have any trouble in the recording session and I got exactly what I wanted! But you cannot forget that this album would not have been possible without the help of some of my wonderful music ‘mates’…

File Under: Porno, OST, Danish, Fuzz, Funk, Ego
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danish 2Alex Puddu: The Golden Age of Danish Pornography Vol. 2 (Schema) LP
In tomorrow… In 2009 we started up Pink Flamingo Entertainment as a sub label of Another World Entertainment. It’s aim was to release vintage and quality porn on DVD and VOD, as a counterpart to the cold and mechanical commercial porn of the mainstream. The first release was Ole Ege’s ‘Pornografi’ (1971), which we put out in 2009. Ole Ege was one of the pioneers of Danish porn, working from the period leading up to the legalization of pornography in Denmark in 1969 and up until a few years after that. ‘Pornografi’ had previously been released on VHS and appears as a feature film, but it is in fact a collection of short films that Ole Ege had made for the blooming 8mm market at the time. The films are from the period 1964 to 1971, which means that some of the films are from before the legalization of pornography and hence were sold under the counter. Shortly after releasing ‘Pornografi’, I received a phone call from an elderly gentleman, who had been given my number by Ole Ege. He was a former business partner of the late Freddy Weiss, and held the copyright for and had a large collection of negatives for Freddy Weiss’s films, that had been released on super8 on the early ’70s. Freddy had been a photographer for Ole Edge in the early years but had later gone his own way. I told him that this all sounded very interesting and that I’d like to have a look at it. The next day a silver-grey Mercedes rolled into the courtyard of our office. The trunk was loaded with film spools. During the course of the following days I started gathering an overview of what the collection consisted of, which wasn’t easy, as it was all negatives. So I couldn’t just view them. Besides many of the spools were damaged by moisture and mold and the information on them was extremely sparse. Most of them were in a can or bag with a tiny note thrown in stating titles such as ‘Anal Sensation’, ‘Black Triangle’ etc. We selected some of them and sent them off for scanning so we could get a better idea of what we were dealing with. Most of what came back from the lab turned out to be a great quality and of high cultural value. But they had no sound and if we were to release them on DVD we had to find a soundtrack to make the viewing experience more  entertaining. I did not for a single moment doubt that my good friend Alex Puddu was the right man for the job. I have a former career in the music business, where I got to know Alex in the early ’90s, while distributing the music of his first band, Excess Bleeding Heart. In 2004 I put out Alex Puddu’s debut solo album ‘Chasing the Scorpion’s Tail’ and the year after that his second one, ‘The Silence of the Sun and the Rhythm of the Rain’. Both on my record label April Records. I then left the music business in 2006 to dedicate myself fully to the film industry. Working with Alex Puddu had led to a close friendship between the two of us. We shared a love for the era of the late ’60s to early ’70s and would often meet up for good food (Alex is an incredible cook!) and listen to soundtrack records and watch films. Especially Italian Giallo and poliziottesco films from the ’70s. We also live out our mutual interest of the old soundtracks and the funky music of the era through our DJ’ing activities, in a club concepts such as ‘Club Frenzy’ and ‘Orgasmo’, together with our dear friend Anders Arentoft (a.k.a. DJ Curious). So I knew that Alex would instantly understand which direction I wanted the soundtrack to go in for the first collection of Freddy Weiss’s short films, ‘The Golden Age Of Danish Pornography’. And the end results of his work was nothing less than mind-blowing. It simply suited the films perfectly. Alex self-released the soundtrack as an ultra limited vinyl pressing of only 250 copies and that record got him signed to the acclaimed Italian record label Schema Records. Both the DVD and the soundtrack were well received worldwide and on selected occasions Alex Puddu and his band have performed his groovy ’70s style porn soundtrack live to Freddy Weiss’s sleazy films in cinemas.  Now that I am standing here with ‘The Golden Age Of Danish Pornography Vol. 2’ I can’t help but smile. Another great collection of films has been put together and Alex… well, he’s done it again! That man is definitely the uncrowned king of groovy porn soundtracks… I love it! Thanks my friend! Jan Schmidt

File Under: Porno OST, OST, Funk, Fuzz
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revelationsThe Revelations: s/t (Schema) LP
In tomorrow… The story of “The Revelations” is part of a fruitful and unique period of Italian Discography. A moment of great creativity and innovation, when the boundaries between music, cinema and television were uncertain. A story of great orchestras, film directors and inspired composers which were endlessly producing in a country getting back on its feet after the Second World War. “The Revelations”, released in 1970, is a gem that emerged from this period. A record amongst many that although relatively unknown, remains highly sought after by record collectors world over. Adventurous is probably the most appropriate word to describe those fantastic years that we fondly remember for famous film scores and the birth of the Italian pop scene. Help!, the Rome based record label which released “The Revelations”, was the first music business run by the young producer Gianni dell’Orso. Hailing from an academic music background, Dell’Orso had the chance to collaborate with maestros such as Piero Piccioni, Luis Bacalov, Ennio Morricone and the recently deceased Armando Trovajoli. At the same time, he worked at RAI (Italian state television) as assistant to the famous maestro Bruno Canfora. Canfora himself was an icon of the period and known for composing Pop hits such as “Brava” for Mina, and “Fortissimo” for Rita Pavone, as well as his own virtuosity as a director and arranger of TV orchestras. Those were times in which a combination of talent, creativity and technical expertise resulted in incredibly prolific music production. Help! was focused on Progressive Rock, an admirable phenomenon but a novelty within the Italian music scene. The catalogue was also enriched by licensing records from German artists such as The Rattles or Soulful Dynamics with hits like “Mademoiselle Ninette”. RCA Italy, a true giant in the music industry at the time, believed in the commercial value of this musical genre and undertook distribution of Help!. RCA wasn’t only a pioneering label who discovered and launched Italian pop stars like Rita Pavone, Gianni Morandi, Gino Paoli, Lucio Dalla, but was also a great platform with studios at the cutting edge of recording technology where experienced session men worked on Pop hits and film scores. “The Revelations” LP was recorded at these studios. RCA Studios gave birth to the season of great Italian songwriters: Rino Gaetano, Francesco De Gregori and Antonello Venditti to name but a few. Conceived by Dell’Orso, appearing here under his alter ego Proluton, and his brother Giacomo, “The Revelations” LP was produced as Library Music for television and manufactured in a very limited number of copies. The LP blends diverse inspirations and heterogeneous moods, since its aim was to offer many options to television producers. Giacomo Dell’Orso, musician, composer and orchestra director, signed most of the tracks under the moniker Oscar Lindok. His music takes the listener into a journey through cinematic atmospheres and funk influences with a beat background – a world of moving melodies and strong grooves. Giacomo’s life is an example of dedicating one’s existence to music for we can’t avoid the underlying connection of his private life, music and cinema without also remembering his marriage to Edda Sabbatini – better known as Edda Dell’Orso, Ennio Morricone’s favourite singer. The musicians featured on this record are great session men with glorious careers: Silvano Chimenti, Giovanni Tommaso, Enzo Restuccia and Mario Scotti – all famous for their work on film scores and as featured musicians who enjoyed great Italian Pop success as well.

File Under: Italian Library, OST
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spiritualized

Spiritualized: Royal Albert Hall October 10, 1997 Live (Plain) LP
Recorded during a stop at the Royal Albert Hall on the 1997 UK tour in support of “Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space” this double album features the band at their peak as a performing unit and the recording captures all the intense power and epic majesty of J. Spaceman and company live. The group is joined by a horn section, a string quartet and a gospel choir on the second half of the concert. Reissued on 180 gram vinyl with custom fluorescent Euro inner sleeves in a wide spine jacket with holographic rainbow foil. Limited edition of 3,000.

File Under: Rock, Live
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vietcong

Viet Cong: Cassette EP (Mexican Summer) 12″
Viet Cong is a new project made up of four distinct voices. Matt Flegel and Scott Munro (respective former members of beloved Calgary band Women, and Chad VanGaalen’s band) spent much of 2013 in their basement studio with a mess of old and run-down equipment to build a set of fresh material. Joined by bandmates Daniel Christiansen and Michael Wallace, the band completed work on a debut cassette. What emerged from the studio was a mixture of sharply-angled rhythmic workouts and euphoric ‘60s garage pop melodies, balanced with a penchant for drone-y, VU-styled downer moments. Opening track “Throw It Away” is tightly wound guitar pop, recalling the nervous urgency of The Feelies with its wiry guitar lines and ever-changing drum patterns, both of which are played with a dexterous sense of glee. “Oxygen Feed” is another stand-out, a gloriously sloppy sing-a-long couched with warm harmonies, and a charmingly ramshackle rhythm section befitting of its basement origins. Elsewhere, the band edge into harmony-laden, sublime pop heights (“Static Wall”), and Gothy post-punk (“Dark Entries”, “Select Your Drone”). As noted by Pitchfork in a recent “Rising” feature: “Viet Cong do many things, and they do it all very well”. Simply titled ‘Cassette’, the former tour-only release retains its format-aware title for a vinyl and remastered digital release on Mexican Summer.

File Under: Indie Rock, CanCon
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wolves

Wolves in the Throne Room: Celestite (Artemisia) LP/CD
Since 2002, over the course of four studio albums and hundreds of live performances, Wolves in the Throne Room have refracted the transcendent and mythic aspects of black metal through their own idiosyncratic Cascadian prism, creating music intimately linked to the wild lands of the Pacific Northwest. Celestite embarks on a deeper excursion into the crystalline, synthesizerdriven domains that have long intrigued the band. With the aid of producer Randall Dunn (Earth, SUNNO))), Master Musicians of Bukkake), the band unearths a hidden soundscape only loosely tethered to their familiar sound, yet still unmistakably the work of Wolves in the Throne Room. As the album unfolds, an ocean-deep psychedelic soundscape coalesces, and a portal opens to the hidden world of magic only accessble through dreams, visions and music. Celestite came to fruition at Avast Studios in Seattle and the group’s own Olympia-based Owl Lodge, where they employed a mammoth arsenal of crumbling vintage synths and effects, a wind ensemble and the classic API and Neve mixing consoles. From the band themselves: “To make Celestite we delved into the subterranean sonics that are buried in the mix of Celestial Lineage. We isolated them, processed them and took this unearthed soundscape as our starting point. Upon this base we recorded an entirely new album. Some melodies from Celestial Lineage are recognizable, but these familiar sounds appear as ghosts, barely tethered to the original compositions. This new album is an unorthodox foray; a fully instrumental, experimental companion record to Celestial Lineage. We left some work undone with Celestial Lineage. The recording of that album in the Winter of 2011 was a monumental project for us personally, and the creative fire from those recording sessions was still burning. This recording process was an opportunity to journey into our own inner universe to complete that which needed to be completed.” Celestite is the inaugural release on Wolves in the Throne Room’s new label, Artemisia Records.

File Under: Metal, Synth, Ambient, Dark Ambient
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wayout

Various: Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label (Numero) 3LP/2CD
Available as both 2CD & 3LP. Fueled by the financial drippings of number runners and boosted by Hall-of-Fame running back Jim Brown, Cleveland, Ohio’s Way Out Records offered asylum for a rising crop of rogue soul men, rust-belt vocal ensembles, and trial-by-fire producers. Helmed by a friendly consortium of hustlers, police officers, and gridiron giants, pet project beget obsession as Motown arrangers, gospel choirs, and the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra were all beckoned to the wrong side of the tracks to mint masterpieces for the Sensations, Volcanic Eruption, the Exceptional Three, and Bobby Wade, all beneath the mindful gaze of a wall-mounted shotgun. Reaching their peak in the late ’60s, Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label gathers the brightest moments from the quirky operation’s eleven year bid. The 3LP configuration boasts a double gatefold with beautiful photos and ephemera from the label’s low-flying promotional department. The 2CD version boasts images unique to this format, plus the same great liner notes, clocking in at 7,000 words. For fans of group harmony, sweet soul, orchestral feats and lo-fi oddities, The Way Out Label is an excellent addition to our already popular and powerful Eccentric Soul series.

File Under: Soul
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