…..news letter #656 – minipops…..

Another week with a relatively short list, however once again, filled to the brim with killer titles. And if that isn’t enough, there’s even more en route for next week, which is going to be another killer list….

…..pick of the week…..


Goat: Commune (Sub Pop) LP/CD
There is no direct association between mysterious Swedish psychedelicists Goat and Argentinian master of magical realism, Jorge Luis Borges. Yet their mission appears to be the same. Borges generated his ideas from historical curiosities across the globe – knife duels on the South American plains, Middle Eastern heresiarchs, Chinese pirates – and twisted them into fictions that blurred the lines between footnotes and outright fantasy. Goat’s sound is the sonic embodiment of this principle, working heavy psych-rock, Nigerian afrobeat, German krautrock, Anatolian funk, and a host of other micro-niches into a hallucinatory celebration of rock’s diverse manifestations. Despite the success of Goat’s critically-acclaimed 2012 debut, World Music, the individual identities involved remain shrouded in mystery: Goat performs in masks, and spokespersons maintain that the group is simply an ongoing multi-generational collective of musicians from the isolated, Swedish locality of Korpilombolo, a junction of native Sami people, Scandinavian settlers, and the rare wayfaring outsiders. Beyond that, Goat divulges very little. It’s as if Goat are taking cues from Borges’ short story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” wherein a clandestine enclave of intellectuals attempt to create a new reality by inserting articles on a fictitious, puzzling state into modern encyclopedias. Borges’ secret society wanted their heretical ideologies to infiltrate common thought through an invented past; Goat wants to revitalize the communal experience of rock music by creating an alternate origin story. Ultimately, it is Goat’s music that speaks the most about them, and on Commune they deliver a heavy dose of acidic grooves, hypnotic incantations, and serpentine guitar lines, building on the much-lauded sound of World Music to explore new territories. Starting with the layered percussive groove, Eastern guitar flourishes, and convoking vocals of “Talk To God,” Commune re-establishes the trance-inducing rhythms and exotic blaze of guitar that characterized World Music. From there, the album launches into darker and more propulsive territories, occasionally emerging for breaths of transcendental ‘60s psych-pop and driving proto-metal fuzz. “Goat is mainly a symbol of sacrifice. To sacrifice the individual for the collective good. To become one with the rest of humanity and universe,” said an unnamed Goat conspirator in a rare correspondence. With that philosophy, Goat is propagating their crossbred music and mysticism by sharing Commune with the world. And, while we’ll never see Goat’s faces on the cover of a glossy magazine, their intoxicating conjurations are poised to infiltrate our collective psyche with the subversive magical allure of a Borgesian fable.

File Under: Psych, World, Fuzz
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…..new arrivals…..


Allah-Las: Worship the Sun (Innovative Leisure) LP
Allah-Las met while working at Amoeba Music, a key destination for music lovers in Los Angeles. While this experience helped shape their sensibility, their sound was forged in an underground basement where they came together as a band. They began gigging in LA in 2008, refining their live performance, and finally released their first 7″ single “Catamaran” / “Long Journey” in 2011. In 2012, they began their relationship with Innovative Leisure, releasing their first self-titled album, Allah-Las, anchored by their second single “Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind)” / “Sacred Sands.” The release was met with critical acclaim and the band toured extensively in the States and abroad before going back into the studio to record their follow-up. Allah-Las’ second album, Worship The Sun, expands on the sound establishment by their maiden effort, honing their fusion of West Coast garage rock and roll, Latin percussion and electric folk. As richly textured and timeless as a Southern California beach break, the songs are evocative of Los Angeles’ storied past, Beatniks, artists, surfers, nomads, Remnants of a bygone Sunset Strip, Golden tans and cosmic sunsets. One can feel the warmth of the sun, but the band deftly avoids the kitsch so often indulged by lovers of these things. Hints of Byrds, Love, Felt and those who follow are threaded into the tapestry. LA’s seminal Ferus Gallery – the home of Wallace Berman, Ed Kienholz, Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston – is paid homage in an eponymous instrumental, broadening the scope beyond mere sea, surf, and sand. The lyrics reveal a new maturity; reflections of a band that has grown together through experiences on the road and in the studio. Worship The Sun is at once the perfect soundtrack for the greatest surf film never made and for a golden hour drive through Topanga Canyon. Yet, while grounded in the Southern California experience, the appeal of the album is not limited by locale. It is a teenage symphony to the sun, for all those who know its grace.

File Under: Garage, Surf, Psych
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Andrew Bird: Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of (Wegawam) LP
Things are Really Great Here, Sort Of …. is the latest self release by Andrew Bird, consisting of his versions of songs by a band he has loved for many years, The Handsome Family. The Handsome Family is husband and wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks, who have collaborated as a couple for more than 20 years. Bird, who has long been a fan and first covered their track “Don’t Be Scared” in 2003, toured with the band last fall and was inspired to begin working on this collection. Things are Really Great Here, Sort Of… includes an updated rendition of fan favorite “Don’t Be Scared,” along with “Far From Any Road,” the main title theme song for the HBO series True Detective. Along with his band, The Hands of Glory (featuring Tift Merritt, Alan Hampton, and Eric Heywood), Andrew recorded these songs in May 2014 and released them a mere month later.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Christian Bland & The Revelators: Unseen Green Obscene (Reverberation) LP
The musical mind of Christian Bland seems to overflow with colors. The lyrics and even titles of his output with his primary project (the psychedelic mothership, The Black Angels) drip with kaleidoscopic imagery. ‘Indigo Meadow’, ‘Black Grease’, ‘You In Color’, ”Yellow Elevator #2′. His side project, Christian Bland & The Revelators has followed a similar path, and has released a red album, 2010’s The Lost Album, and 2012’s Pig Boat Blues. Unseen Green Obscene, records the third solo flight from Bland and his band, The Revelators. Like all his work, it’s richly detailed with references to Bland’s musical and artistic influences. Revered touchstones Bo Diddley, Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson are honored here, each with their own track. The label that Bland co-founded with the other producers of Austin Psych Fest, ‘The Reverberation Appreciation Society’ gets it’s own theme song, complete with thunderous gong. His motorcycle gets a sendup too, in ‘CB160’. The thread that runs through all of Bland’s work – whether it’s his visual artwork, music with The Black Angels, and the myriad projects of The Reverberation Appreciation Society – Austin Psych Fest and it’s offshoots, the record label, and now an East Austin record store – is a timeless spirit of rock and roll, and in particular the psychedelic kind, circa 1968. He champions it. Lives and breathes it.

File Under: Rock, Psych, Black Angels
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Can: Monster Movie (Mute) LP
Can was founded in 1968 by Irmin Schmidt, Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli and Jaki Liebezeit who formed a group which would utilize and transcend all boundaries of ethnic, electronic experimental and modern classical music. Throughout the changing eras of the band, they enlisted the talents of different powerful singers like Malcom Mooney and Damo Suzuki and collaborators such as Reebob Kwaku and Rosko Gee. Can’s wide-reaching influence has never diminished, and their indelible mark is apparent in subsequent acts who freely acknowledge their importance – from Portishead, James Murphy, New Order, Factory Floor, Public Image Ltd, Mogwai, Kanye West and Radiohead to John Lydon, The Fall, Ariel Pink, Fuck Buttons, Sonic Youth, Factory Floor and Queens Of The Stone Age. Can’s 1969 debut Monster Movie is regarded as one of the forebearers of the Krautrock movement and the band’s only full-length to feature the free-from stylings of original vocalist Malcolm Mooney. Played and recorded spontaneously and driven by repetitive rhythms, the album was recorded directly onto a 2-track machine and then extensively edited. The album encapsulates many of the band’s trademarks from the Velvet Underground-esque “Father Cannot Yell” to the hypnotic 20-minute second side epic “Yoo Doo Right” while truly remaining unique in their vast and revered catalog.

File Under: Krautrock, Classics
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Can: Soundtracks (Mute) LP
Can was founded in 1968 by Irmin Schmidt, Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli and Jaki Liebezeit who formed a group which would utilize and transcend all boundaries of ethnic, electronic experimental and modern classical music. Throughout the changing eras of the band, they enlisted the talents of different powerful singers like Malcom Mooney and Damo Suzuki and collaborators such as Reebob Kwaku and Rosko Gee. Can’s wide-reaching influence has never diminished, and their indelible mark is apparent in subsequent acts who freely acknowledge their importance – from Portishead, James Murphy, New Order, Factory Floor, Public Image Ltd, Mogwai, Kanye West and Radiohead to John Lydon, The Fall, Ariel Pink, Fuck Buttons, Sonic Youth, Factory Floor and Queens Of The Stone Age. Originally issued in 1970, Can’s second official album, Soundtracks, offers up an excellent collection of title songs and soundtracks for which the band wrote the music including material from Cream, Deadlock, Bottom, Deep End and Madchen mit Gewalt. The 7-song set features contributions from both the band’s original singer Malcolm Mooney and Kenji “Damo” Suzuki who would take up the mantle on Can’s next three albums Tago Mago (1971), Ege Bamyasi (1972) and Future Days (1973).

 File Under: Krautrock, Classics
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Aby Ngana Diop: Liital (Awesome Tapes From Africa) LP
Aby Ngana Diop was the most famous taasukat in Dakar, Senegal in the 1980s and 1990s. Taasu is a Wolof-language poetic style, usually performed by women griots over frenetic drum patterns, with an aggressive verbal flow thought to presage rap. Her only album Liital was groundbreaking in the history of Senegalese music because it was the first commercial recording to feature a traditional female taasukat performing to the modern accompaniment of mbalax, Senegal’s quintessential pop genre. The distinctive style is captured in all its ear-popping, left-field glory on the recording, which was massively popular upon its release. Diop’s powerful chants and incantations above urgent female chorus, cross-rhythmic blasts of the sabar and tama drums, as well as synthesizers, drum machines, hand claps, tambourine jingles and horse and train engine samples. When Aby Ngana Diop died unexpectedly on July 4, 1997, the country mourned her passing, but continued to celebrate her music. Although this cassette has caught the attention of some African music aficianados who have stumbled upon it in recent years, it remains largely unknown to the wider world. Hopefully this re-release from Awesome Tapes From Africa will change that.

File Under: West Africa, Senegal, Taasu
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equitorialFripp & Eno: Equatorial Stars (Pangea) LP 
Few contemporary albums can claim as much lasting influence as No Pussyfooting by Robert Fripp & Brian Eno. When initially recorded in late 1973, Eno had recently left Roxy Music, while Fripp was in the midst of one of the defining periods with the then current King Crimson lineup. Electronic music was barely understood, rarely heard, the very thought of it ever becoming a popular or mainstream form must have seemed the wildest of pipedreams. Yet thanks to the popularity of both individuals and an inexpensive launch price to attract the curious, the album quietly built an avid following. Its reputation enhanced by word of mouth, it went on to have an effect that seeped slowly into every corner and facet of mainstream popular music over the next 40 some years. It’s safe to say that for the vast majority of buyers at the time this was their first exposure to that area of music. It’s equally safe to say it wasn’t their last. The equipment used was, by modern standards, primitive. The ideas expressed were, by any standards, enormous. Many went on to have careers based on the possibilities suggested by the album. Fripp & Eno, to their eternal credit, were too busy working as musicians to ever “milk it” in that sense. One further full album, Evening Star, was issued in 1975. There were occasional collaborations. But no further recordings under the Fripp & Eno banner until the emergence of The Equatorial Stars in late 2004 as a limited edition release initially available only via the artists websites. Over 40 years later things are very different. Electronic music has become not just popular but omnipresent. The equipment necessary to produce electronic music is cheap and accessible, the avenues for releasing such music wildly expanded. Not that greater availability is necessarily an indicator of an equal amount of quality, but the music is there in everything from soundtracks to ringtones. Paradoxically, this makes the need for electronic music of substance perhaps even greater than at the time of No Pussyfooting. The Equatorial Stars consists of a series of seven soundscapes. As with previous recordings made individually and in collaboration by Fripp & Eno, it is the evident care taken in the construction & presentation of the sound world that makes the totality of the work so convincing. The textures and atmospheres forming the heart of each track manage to subtly change and alter, while leaving ample space for Robert’s guitar solos and sounds to emerge from the center. Put simply, the album allows Fripp & Eno the opportunity to redefine an area of music they helped to launch into the mainstream in the first instance. One other key difference between the release of The Equatorial Stars and No Pussyfooting, this time there’s an audience ready and waiting.

File Under: Ambient, Eno, King Crimson
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Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band: s/t (Innovative Leisure) LP
It all started over a year ago with the caption “MINDBLOWING PSYCHEDELIA FROM THAILAND” – the Youtube video that accompanied this headline on the Dangerous Minds Blog was exactly that. Here was a group of Thai musicians being filmed parading through a remote village hundreds of miles away from Bangkok playing some of the heaviest Psych known to mankind out of a crazy homemade soundsystem. Who were these men and how on earth was this not some unearthed archived footage from the ‘60s or ‘70s?! The Youtube clip quickly made its rounds amongst music enthusiasts leaving many in the Western hemisphere to question who this group of contemporary Thai villagers (loosely named Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band) was. Six months after that first encounter with Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band, a Los Angeles music producer named Josh Marcy used Facebook and some unlikely interpreters at his local Thai restaurant to get in contact with the band and inquire whether they’d be interested in having him travel to their town to record their music for a global audience. At first the band was naturally suspicious, but through subsequent interactions the group’s leader and namesake Khun Narin (also known simply as “Rin”) warmed to the idea of having Marcy come visit. And so began the journey of uncovering who these mysterious men from an obscure blog post actually were. To capture the essence of the group and their sound, Marcy recorded them in their natural environment by doing a proper field recording, literally in a field outside the city of Lom Sak, in the valley of mountains that form a rough border between Thailand’s North and Northeast. The result was 40 minutes of hypnotizing psychedelia filled with heavy drum breaks that sounds like something RZA would sample for a Quentin Tarantino film.

File Under: Psych, Thai
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king tuff

King Tuff: Black Moon Spell (Sub Pop) LP
King Tuff’s new record is called Black Moon Spell. It was produced and recorded by Bobby Harlow at Studio B in Los Angeles, California, in the hot winter of 2014. No one involved was prepared to make a record, but an invisible hand pushed them to do it. Perhaps it was God or that special someone we all know and love called The Devil. God and The Devil actually have very similar interests. They both love electric guitars and they both want you to listen to Black Moon Spell and freak the fuck out. There were many strange occurrences during the recording session- Dracula landlords, flashes of mysterious light, haunted microphones, songs that mixed themselves, demonic vortexes swirling in coffee cups, etc. Under the Black Moon Spell you may experience euphoria, demented visions, wet dreams, bouts of backwards laughter, and dazed confusion resulting in primordial dancing. Fire played a very important role in the making of this album. King Tuff loves fire. For some reason, no one can really explain how the Black Moon Spell came to be. It just appeared one day and demanded heavy rock music and meatball subs. Backwards messages may be found on this record. Los Angeles, full of its screaming coyotes and creeping helicopters, surely slathered its sexy, twisted, hairy, polluted spirit all over Black Moon Spell. The Sunset Strip shat itself when it heard all these guitar solos. A lot of people always ask King Tuff when he’s gonna put out a new record. The answer is September 2014. Punks, squares, skaters, farmers, bartenders, grandparents, stoners, carpenters, hobos, heshers, babes, babies, plumbers, strippers, art teachers, teenagers, townies, moms, dads, truck drivers, and witches will all love this record. Listen to Black Moon Spell and give your ears what they’ve been begging for all year; a heavily weird, heavenly dark, hysterically magical Rock & Roll sexperience.

File Under: Indie Rock, Garage, Power Pop
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Nachtmystium: World We Left Behind (Century Media) LP
Nachtmystium have existed since 2000. Formed by Blake Judd and Pat ‘Noctis’ McCormick, they started off as a primitive 4-tracker black metal band. Over the years, they’ve progressed through many lineup changes and the sound has constantly matured, stepping away from the typical black metal thematics and embracing different influences with the sound, while maintaining a raw and harsh edge that’s unique to the black metal genre. The incorporation of other influences have helped the band create a sound that is unique to them specifically, and they have worked as an ever-expanding unit with the ultimate goal to create metal music that pushes boundaries and walks into uncharted territories. The World We Left Behind is Nachtmystium’s swansong, the final chapter in a tumultuous, controversial and always provoking history. Founder and mainman Blake Judd has faced his demons and written an album full of desperation and gloom that oozes depravity. Though they have previously toured with Opeth, Cradle of Filth, 1349, Boris, Goatwhore, Sunn o))), Watain and countless others, this is truly the end. No tours. No fanfare. No bullshit. This is the final Nachtmystium record and a full-circle fuck you before they ride off into the black night.

File Under: Metal
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OST: Terminator 2 (Silva Screen) LP
A ONE-OFF EXCLUSIVE PRESSING!! – (THEY WON’T BE BACK!!!) A limited edition of just 750 copies WORLDWIDE – Gatefold sleeve double album on 180g Vinyl ! One of the finest action movie soundtracks ever written, Brad Fiedel’s iconic Terminator 2 soundtrack will be released on vinyl for the first time. The claustrophobic layering of electronic sounds and orchestral instruments create a tense sonic landscape which has become synonymous with the film’s theme of the battle between man and machine.

File Under: OST, Skynet
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Vessel: Punish, Honey (Tri Angle) LP
Punish, Honey the follow up to Vessel’s critically acclaimed debut album Order of Noise finds the always unpredictable Bristol based producer continuing to challenge himself and listeners alike. Wishing to move away from working with archetypal electronic sounds, with Punish, Honey Vessel sought to create something that felt more organic even if the sounds themselves didn’t always feel inherently organic. That lessening interest in electronic sounds was concurrent with a burgeoning interest in natural sounds, in particular, how the physical body has a direct effect on the nature of the sound, whether it be harsh or pure, messy, violent, seductive, or strange. Using sheets of metal as percussion, sawing up bikes to make flutes and creating harmonic guitars all by his own hand, Vessel created his own set of crude instrumentation exclusively for this record. Combined with an interest in notions of national identity, Vessel asking himself the question “What does Englishness in music really mean?” Punish, Honey is an uncompromising and dizzying experience. Traversing the queasy glam stomp of “Red Sex,” the chugging, cinematic soundscapes of “Anima” and the medieval industrial tones of “Euoi,” Punish, Honey is the by-product of an artist striving to create his own unique lane.

File Under: Electronic, Techno
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Wire: Document & Eyewitness (Pink Flag) LP
For those unfamiliar with Document and Eyewitness, it really doesn’t do it justice to describe it simply as a collection of live recordings from three turn-of-the-80s Wire gigs. What makes it more than that is the unorthodox nature of the main performance and the way it was presented on record. The centrepiece of the original vinyl release was a recording of the final gig of Wire’s ’70s phase. Wire’s set was composed of largely new (and often under-rehearsed) work, accompanied by a series of artistic actions and interventions. The evening was memorable for the unusually hostile reaction from sections of the audience, which has perhaps elevated it beyond a simple passing moment. If the crowd was expecting a standard gig, the level of outrage, expressed in vociferous abuse suggested that the band’s intentions were lost on those in attendance, who were instead confounded by the apparent artistic pretensions on display. The approach was to couple selected live tracks with a spoken commentary on the proceedings by long-term Wire fans Adrian Garston and Russell Mills. Hence the title, Document and Eyewitness. For the album, the Electric Ballroom material was supplemented with recordings from a July 1979 show at the Notre Dame Hall (a straightforward band performance), along with one track from a 1979 gig in Montreux. Packaged in a gatefold sleeve. LP1 is the same as the original vinyl, albeit remastered and re-edited. LP2 features the original selection from the Notre Dame Hall show on side one and the two singles and B-sides on side two.

File Under: Punk
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A Tribe Called Quest: Low End Theory (Jive Time) LP
Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Atlantic) LP
Beatles: Mono Box
Black Flag: Damaged (SST) LP
Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas (4AD) LP
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (Columbia) LP
Dark: Round the Edges (Machu Picchu) LP
Descendents: Somery (SST) LP
Ned Doheny: Separate Oceans (Numero) LP
Electric Citizen: Sateen (Riding Easy) LP
ENo + Hyde: High Life (Warp) LP
FKA Twigs: LP2 (Young Turks) LP
Gorillaz: s/t (EMI) LP
Mark Hollis: s/t (Ba Da Bing) LP
Daniel Johnston: 1990/Artistic Vice (High Wire) LP
Kyuss: Welcome to Sky Valley (Elektra) LP
Lambchop: Live at XX Merge (Merge) LP
LCD Soundsystem: s/t (DFA) LP
Charles Mingus: Eastcoasting (Wax Time) LP
Charles Mingus: Blues & Roots (Wax Time) LP
Mr. Bungle: Disco Volante (Music On Vinyl) LP
The National: High Violet (4AD) LP
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (EMI) LP
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here (EMI) LP
Propagandhi: Potemkin City (Fat) LP
Radiohead: In Rainbows (TBD) LP
Radiohead: The Bends (EMI) LP
Shellac: At Action Park (Touch & Go) LP
Shellac: Dude Incredible (Touch & Go) LP
Shovels & Rope: Swimming Time (Dine Alone) LP
Spoon: They Want My Soul (Republic) LP
Stereolab: Sound-Dust (1972) LP
Temple of the Dog: s/t (Music on Vinyl) LP
Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City (XL) LP
Chelsea Wolfe: The Grime & The Glow (Sargent House) LP
Various: Eccentric Soul: Outskirts of Deep City (Numero) LP

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