Finally, a chance to breathe a little bit after all the huge releases that have been coming in lately. Despite this comparatively brief news letter, the store is packed with stuff right now. After you load up on candy tomorrow, head over on the weekend and get something to stick in your ears.
…..pick of the week…..
Various: Local Customs: Cavern Sound (Numero) LP/CD
Not quite hell, but close enough. Local Customs: Cavern Sounds covers six years lost in the deranging darkness of Independence, Missouri’s Pixley limestone mine, where a team of misfit engineers captured the reverberating echoes of Kansas City’s rock ‘n’ roll blasting cap. Taped in the subterranean studio headspace of Cavern between 1967 and 1973 are previously unissued recordings by Jaded, Larry Sands & the Sound Affair, Sheriff, Mulligan, Stone Wall, Morningstar, the Montaris, and the Dantes, alongside the most explosive tracks released on KC’s Pearce, Rock, and Cave labels by the likes of the Reactions, Burlington Express, the Classmen, Fraight, American Sound Ltd, Baxter’s Chat, 21st Century Sound Movement, Pretty, Tide, and A.J. Rowe.
File Under: Psych, Rock, Private Press
Baptists: Bloodmines (Southern Lord) LP
Vancouver’s BAPTISTS recently completed work on their second full-length album, the follow-up to their 2013 debut Bushcraft. Entitled Bloodmines, the new album (like the debut) was recorded at Godcity Studios in Salem, Massachusetts with with Kurt Ballou. Like its predecessor, Bloodmines is a fast, exhilarating album of rage, oozing with genuine raw emotion and punk rock fury. Shards of feedback make way for fast powerful riffs and savage vocals, whilst explosive drumming pumps blood around the band’s beating heart. On album tracks like “Vistas”, “Calling” and the title track, “Bloodmines”, the pace changes, revealing powerful, almost anthemic, jagged noise rock akin to influential San Diego post-hardcore band Drive Like Jehu and similar acts which go beyond the two minute mark. Discordant guitar melodies and abrasive vocal passages are elongated, still volatile but perhaps allowing for further contemplation of the band’s underlying message. BAPTISTS continually find new ways to express their rage and with Bloodmines they have created a memorable and commanding album.
File Under: Post-Hardcore, Metal, CanCon
Budos Band: Burnt Offering (Daptone) CD
VINYL NEXT WEEK! The Budos Band return with Burnt Offering; a wild, booze-fueled ride of hazy riffs, take-no-prisoners horn lines and relentless percussion that summons the occult – an evolved sound for this mighty 10-piece band sparked by their love of Black Sabbath and Pentagram. Burnt Offering was recorded live in the studio, engineered and produced by Thomas Brenneck, a founding member and guitarist in The Budos Band who runs Dunham Records and Studios. It was written at the band’s longtime Staten Island studio, where they’ve gathered for weekly rehearsals for over fifteen years. The haunting album cover was created by drummer Brian Profilio, a NYC public school art teacher. The new album is dripping with the psychedelic sounds of early heavy metal fused with the tight-knit propulsion of Fela Kuti. “The Sticks” kicks off with a snarling riff seamlessly.
File Under: Funk, Afro-Beat, Metal
Bulbous Creation: You Won’t Remember Dying (Numero) LP
In 1971, Bulbous Creation poured what little personal surplus they had into a full day of recording at Cavern Studios, tracking enough material for a full length album. The band wouldn’t stay together long enough to save up for a custom pressing on Rock. Singer/guitarist Paul Parkinson was deeply individualistic, and left to perform his songs as he thought they should be, as a solo act. He preferred coffee shops to concert halls, and would stick to his craft another 20 years before hanging it up. Drummer Horstmann followed suit. Jim ‘Bugs’ Wine and guitarist Alan Lewis soldiered on, shortening their name to the more sensible Creation and adding vocalist Wayne Austin, dynamic drummer Tommy Ward, and guitarist Roger Sewell. The Bulbous Creation LP was nearly doomed to oblivion, but for the efforts of Rich Haupt, who issued an unauthorized eight song LP in 1995 on his Rockadelic imprint. Lewis died in 1998 of esophageal cancer. When Paul Parkinson died of leukemia in 2001, a lone copy turned up amongst his possessions, with piece of mind that someone, somewhere, was listening.
File Under: Hard Rock, Acid Rock
Dope Body: Lifer (Drag City) LP
Dope Body has built their name in the underground with intense live performances of their Also intense studio recordings. On the back of their second album, 2012’s Natural History, they embarked on a rigorous nineteen months of almost nonstop touring, bringing their individual performance stomp to every bar, basement and backyard that asked for it. It’s easy to picture the members of Dope Body emerging from their distant and hidden cave of rock with a new wave of grimey, Sabbath-refracted mayhem in order to torch America/Earth once again – but they’re actually a group of trained players and fine artists with vision. On Lifer, Dope Body redefines the aural yawp they have been venting for some time, honing wild windmills into surgical strikes, their gut-busting repulsion-sound continuing to expand without losing any of the feral energy that made a crazed reputation in the already-insane Baltimore music and arts underground. Zachary Utz’s metalloid guitar fingerprints are as uniquely rough and scabrous as ever, but with a few new refinements added to his barrage. Andrew Laumann’s vocal bellow continues to incite a riot of excitement with each additional chorus. David Jacober’s power-and-precision drumming continues to grow in might and scope, driving the songs whether at peaks of volume or the depths of introspection. Plus, bassist John Jones, who joined following the recording of Natural History, contributes to the weird math of Dope Body’s nu-power trio with lines that perfectly expand the bounds for the band. When Dope Body converge to conceive of the next thing, the storm brews, songs are rocked out and written, and we’re propelled into another sweaty go-round. This is a controlled demolition, planned but with room to take down additional structures.
File Under: Punk, Noise Rock
George-Edwards Group: Chapter III (Drag City) LP
Chapter III of The George-Edwards Group archives draws from deep in the pockets of their sporadic later embodiment. With their grand 70s dreams of Hollywood stardom fading, Edward Balian and Ray George continued to track their winsome muse, perhaps a bit more aggro and with a bit more dolor than they had back in the 38:38 days. Although late-60s Detroit was the seedbed for The George-Edwards Group, they had more in common with Silver Apples than the Amboy Dukes. Enamored of keyboard effects and sonic tomfoolery, they developed their sound away from the scene, slowly developing a spacily elegant pop music as the 70s passed by outside their basement lair. Scoring their melancholic melodies with bells, pianos and synthesizer led to something you might almost call ba-roque n roll (if someone hadn’t already said it about The Left Banke!), or perhaps like demos for Big Star’s Third. In 1977, they laid down enough tracks to produce a white-label LP pressing that they dubbed 38:38; however, a trip to the Sunset Strip to drum up record-label enthusiasm was a complete bust. But without that pressing of 100 copies, where would the legend of George-Edwards be? Instead, based on oft-told tales, Galactic Zoo Disks located the music, and the band brought this wayward classic to Drag City. 38:38 received a first official release in 2009, to great fanfare. The 21st century discovery of The George-Edwards was also accompanied by a show or two (still in the deep underground, of course), along with, naturally, the recovery of more tapes. The 2011 GZD/DC release, titled Archives, brought to the light a few fuzz-heavy rock cuts and deep synth dirges to add to the ethereal G-E signature.
File Under: Electronic, Psych, Private Press
Grouper: Ruins (Kranky) LP/CD
“Ruins was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a residency set up by Galeria Zé dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother’s house in 2004. Iʼm still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time Iʼd sat still for a few years; processed a lot of political anger and emotional garbage. Recorded pretty simply, with a portable 4-track, Sony stereo mic and an upright piano. When I wasnʼt recording songs I was hiking several miles to the beach. The path wound through the ruins of several old estates and a small village. The album is a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love. I left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.”—Liz Harris
File Under: Ambient, Ethereal, Drone
Kayo Dot: Coffins On Lo (Flenser) LP
Led by founding member Toby Driver (Secret Chiefs 3), Kayo Dot emerged in 2002 from the ashes of Boston, MA, metal group Maudlin of the Well. Since then, Driver has led Kayo Dot through lineup changes and stylistic shifts: from traditional metal, to atmospheric, avant-garde metal; and now with their new album Coffins on Io, to the bats-in-your-belfry hard rock of Sisters of Mercy intersecting with Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, Scritti Politti and early Roxy Music. In 2013, Kayo Dot released their critically acclaimed conceptual double-album Hubardo. Undeniably experimental, but largely unclassifiable, it received rave reviews: SputnikMusic ranked it among the best of 2013, and Cvlt Nation called it, “mesmerizing avant-garde blackened doom”, and a “towering achievement”. But Kayo Dot’s evolution is governed by an inscrutable inner-logic. Accessible songwriting on Coffins on Io and an emphasis on vocal melody and electronic percussion makes the record’s darkness and intensity familiar and relatable. For example: the dark wave of ‘Offramp Cycle, Pattern 22’ might be unrecognizable to Kayo Dot’s metal fans. “The sound is kind of like a sexy combination of Type O Negative, Peter Gabriel, Sisters of Mercy,” Driver says. But the track also encompasses the brooding menace of classic Bauhaus as well as current dark wavers Cold Cave and Crystal Stilts: artists young and old who live and die in those unknowable corners where heaviness meets delicacy and sincerity meets theatricality. Driver’s penchant for prog rock surfaces in the ethereal ‘Spirit Photography’, complete with a saxophone melody line – strikingly gentle when compared to the group’s brutal back catalog. ‘Longtime Disturbance on the Miracle Mile’ could be a Bryan Ferry-era Roxy Music cut, and ‘The Mortality of Doves’ could be Eno-produced David Bowie. Driver says there’s also an element of sexuality in Coffins on Io.”Basically the vibe that we’re going for here is inspired by ’80s retro-future noir…Blade Runner,” Driver explains. “I wanted to make a good record to put on while you drive across the desert at night under a toxic, post-apocalyptic atmosphere,” he says, adding, “There’s a weird underlying theme of murder, shame and death.”
File Under: Prog, Dark Wave
Led Zeppelin: IV (Warner) LP/2LP/DLX Box
John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant came together in 1968 as Led Zeppelin. Over the next decade, the band would become one of the most influential, innovative and successful groups in modern music, selling more than 300 million albums worldwide. Their songs are some of the most celebrated in rock ‘n’ roll history that, to this day, resonate with fans young and old around the globe. Still, no matter how many times you may have listened to their music, you’ve never heard Led Zeppelin like this before. Painstakingly remastered from the original master tapes by guitarist Jimmy Page, and pressed at Pallas (Europe’s best plant), this 180g LP of Led Zeppelin IV sounds utterly amazing. Page spent years on this project with one goal in mind: Making these reissues the end-all-be-all definitive editions of his iconic band’s records. He has succeeded, and then some. In addition to the reference-caliber audio, each LP features packaging that fully replicates the look of the first pressing of the original album. You won’t believe how these records sound, look, and feel. The ultimate Zeppelin, this Super Deluxe Edition box set of Led Zeppelin IV contains both the 180g LP and CD of the remastered album, the previously unreleased companion audio on 180g LP and CD, a hardbound album-sized 80-page book with rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia, a high-quality print of the original album cover, and a high-def audio download card of the musical content at 24-bit/96k (live tracks are 24-bit/48k). This is what all deluxe reissues should aspire to be. The companion audio for Led Zeppelin IV: Super Deluxe Edition gives fans the first peek into the band’s recording sessions, with different mixes of every song on the album, not the least of which is “Black Dog” with guitar overdubs, a mandolin/guitar mix of “Going to California,” and an alternate mix of “Rock and Roll.” Nobody outside of Zeppelin’s inner circle has ever heard these until now. Released in November 1971, the album (which is officially untitled) defined the sound of rock music for a generation with ubiquitous anthems such as “Stairway To Heaven,” “Rock And Roll,” “Black Dog,” and “When The Levee Breaks.” The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and has been certified 23x platinum by the RIAA. It’s arguably the most popular and widely known album in rock history.
File Under: Classic Rock
Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy (Warner) LP/2LP/DLX Box
John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant came together in 1968 as Led Zeppelin. Over the next decade, the band would become one of the most influential, innovative and successful groups in modern music, selling more than 300 million albums worldwide. Their songs are some of the most celebrated in rock ‘n’ roll history that, to this day, resonate with fans young and old around the globe. Still, no matter how many times you may have listened to their music, you’ve never heard Led Zeppelin like this before. Painstakingly remastered from the original master tapes by guitarist Jimmy Page, and pressed at Pallas (Europe’s best plant), this 180g LP of Houses of Holy sounds utterly amazing. Page spent years on this project with one goal in mind: Making these reissues the end-all-be-all definitive editions of his iconic band’s records. He has succeeded, and then some. In addition to the reference-caliber audio, each LP features packaging that fully replicates the look of the first pressing of the original album. You won’t believe how these records sound, look, and feel.
The ultimate Zeppelin, this Super Deluxe Edition box set of Houses of the Holy contains both the 180g LP and CD of the remastered album, the previously unreleased companion audio on 180g LP and CD, a hardbound album-sized 80-page book with rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia, a high-quality print of the original album cover, and a high-def audio download card of the musical content at 24-bit/96k (live tracks are 24-bit/48k). This is what all deluxe reissues should aspire to be. The companion audio for Houses of the Holy gives fans the first peek into the band’s recording sessions, with different mixes of seven tracks. They include rough and working mixes for “The Ocean” and “Dancing Days” that reveal a deeper look inside the recording sessions of these classics. Other standout recordings include the guitar-mix backing track for “Over The Hills And Far Away” and a version of “The Rain Song” without piano. Nobody outside of Zeppelin’s inner circle has ever heard these until now. Led Zeppelin topped the charts again in 1973 with Houses Of The Holy, which features legendary tracks such as “The Song Remains The Same” and “No Quarter” while also showcasing the continuing evolution of the band’s signature sound with the reggae-tinged “D’yer Mak’er” and the funk jam “The Crunge.” The album has been certified diamond by the RIAA for sales of over 11 million copies.
File Under: Classic Rock
Modest Mouse: Lonesome Crowded West (Glacial Pace) LP
Out on Tuesday! REISSUED!!! Subject to its own Pitchfork documentary, listed in numerous prestigious Best Albums of the 90s lists, and destined to be re-discovered by continuous generations, The Lonesome Crowded West stands as the defacto Northwest indie-rock record. Originally released in 1997, it not only helped shape the sound that came to be associated with the American Pacific Northwest, but across these sprawling, wide-open 15 songs, Modest Mouse helped redefine what was possible for guitar music. As such, The Lonesome Crowded West has often been mimicked, but it’s awesome open-hearted existentialism and manic ambition has rarely been matched. A modern classic that demands reappraisal. Pressed on 180-gram double vinyl.
File Under: Indie Rock
Rocket From The Crypt: Group Sounds (Vagrant) LP
More patented, catchy rock ‘n’ roll with just enough of a punk edge to keep things raw and furious. Mario Rubacalba’s (ex-Clikatat Ikatowi and 411) first foray into the RFTC world. Now available again on colored vinyl.
File Under: Punk, Rock ‘n’ Roll
Rodion G.A.: The Lost Album (Strut) LP
The album has never been released before; People thought the music had been lost; The music is innovative and timeless; Rodion has influenced a generation of European musicians, especially electronic musicians; There’s been a resurgence of interest in Rodion G.A.’s music; a younger audience are discovering Rodion G.A.’s music (he lectured at the prestigious Red Bull Academy). Rodion G.A.’s music’s popularity is at an all time high. He’s been playing around Europe. A new generation of musicians have been discovering Rodion G.A’s music. Rodion is recording a new album. Music lovers will be fascinated to hear what Rodion’s music is like thirty years after the music on Behind The Curtain-The Lost Albums was recorded. The music on Behind The Curtain-The Lost Albums was recorded whilst Romania was a Communist country. Musicians and artists had to play “cat and mouse” with the censor. So, all the time Rodion G.A. was making music, he was fearing a knock on the door from the censor.
File Under: Electronic, Prog, Psych
Slim Twig: A Hound At The Hem (DFA) LP
Slim Twig is the name of a man, not of a band – though he has performed in many a group, some under his own moniker. Boasting a catalogue several under-the-radar releases deep, the Toronto native lays claim to a tremendously original work with his orchestrally inflected, art rock album, A Hound At The Hem. Self produced in the fall, 2010, Hound is a suite of narrative songs thematically inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. DFA is privileged to reissue this album in advance of the release of Twig’s newest works. Upon completing AHATH in 2010, Twig struggled to find wide release for it due to its uncompromising textural onslaught and disregard for genre. This course of events set the stage for the composition and release of Sof’ Sike, a somewhat more conventional set of pop songs released on Paper Bag Records, in 2012. The title of that work refers to Twig’s own conception of Hound as the hard- psych flipside to his work of that period. Recorded on Toronto Island in collaboration with fellow Torontonian, Louis Percival, the album features string arrangements by Owen Pallett, and other collaborators including Meg Remy (U.S. Girls), Carl Didur (Zacht Automaat), and the St. Kitts Quartet. As a concept album exploring the troubling and the taboo and themes like the transformative power of lust, AHATH can be interpreted as an echo like response to Serge Gainsbourg and Jean Claude Vannier’s Histoire De Melody Nelson. Most of all, AHATH poses the question; where next for Slim Twig, this promising and original auteur? First time available on CD, comes in a custom gatefold mini-jacket with a lyrics poster. Deluxe gatefold reissue with full album lyrics, first pressing on coloured vinyl, limited to 500 copies. Vinyl cut by Joe Lambert (Darkside, Animal Collective, Black Dice, Deerhunter) LP comes with a download.
File Under: Indie, CanCon
Today is the Day: Animal Mother (Southern Lord) LP
Southern Lord Recordings is beyond stoked to broadcast that influential, visionary metal act, Today Is The Day, has joined with the label’s roster for the release of their massively anticipated tenth studio album. Early this year, Today Is The Day’s newest lineup was announced, as the foundation of the then unnamed album was taking shape. Guitarist/vocalist Steve Austin welcomed Sean Conkling (Regression, Burn Your Halo, Sprawl) on bass as well as returning member Jeff Lohrber (Enabler, ex-Harlots), Lohrber having previously handled touring drum duties for TITD many times in the past. Conkling and Lohrber tracked most of their sessions in December and January at the founding frontman’s own Recording and Mastering Studio in Maine. “Sometimes things just dial-in and align perfectly,” Steve Austin stated on signing with Southern Lord for the release of Animal Mother. “Myself and Today Is The Day are extremely excited about working with Southern Lord Records and Greg Anderson. To me they have the right idea about the kind of music they release; heavy, real, experimental, integrity-driven music is what the label represents to me. Today Is The Day’s Animal Mother LP on Southern Lord in 2014… I don’t think I could ask for anything more!” Early this year the frontman warned the public that the album is “a fifteen-song rampage of bloody carnage fueled by hate, love and vile, raw emotion,” continuing, “I feel it is my finest work to this date. It is the most complex and HEAVY record we have ever made. This is real — no bullshit Protools crap; just pure violent energy and real band songwriting in the middle of the woods in Maine. It lies somewhere between Temple of The Morning Star and In The Eyes of God, and Jeff’s playing is beyond incredible. I was determined to push the limits in complexity, musicianship, and creativity as far as we could and I feel we have put together a record that narrates the horror and pain that we have been living through.”
File Under: Metal
Arcade Fire: Neon Bible (Merge) LP
Erykah Badu: Mama’s Gun (Music on Vinyl) LP
Baptists: Bushcraft (Southern Lord) LP
Black Keys: Brothers (Nonesuch LP
Black Keys: El Camino (Nonesuch) LP
Black Sabbath: Paranoid (Rhino) LP
Blanck Mass: s/t (Rock Action) LP
James Brown: Payback (Universal) LP
James Brown: In The Jungle Groove (Universal) LP
Can: Tago Mago (Mute) LP
Daft Punk: Discovery (EMI) LP
Daft Punk: Homework (EMI) LP
Daft Punk: Human After All (EMI) LP
Death From Above 1979: Physical World (Last Gang) LP
Death From Above 1979: You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine (Last Gang) LP
DJ Shadow: Preemptive Strike (Mo Wax) LP
Nick Drake: Pink Moon (Island) LP
Nick Drake: Bryter Layter (Island) LP
Electric Citizen: Sateen (Riding Easy) LP
Daniel Johnston: Hi, How Are You (Eternal Yup) LP
Kindness: Otherness (Female Energy) LP
King Crimson: In the Court… (Pangyric) LP
Kyuss: And the Circus Leaves Town (Elektra) LP
Kyuss: Welcome to Sky Valley (Elektra) LP
Neu!: Neu! (Gronland) LP
Oasis: What’s The Story Morning Glory (Big Brother) LP
Pearl Jam: Vitalogy (Epic) LP
Pearl Jam: VS (Epic) LP
Royal Blood: s/t (Warner) LP
Ty Segall: Twins (Drag City) LP
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet: Dim The Lights… (Cargo) CS
Salem’s Pot: Lurar Ut Dig Pa Prarien (Riding Easy) LP
SNFU: Last of the Big Time Suspenders (Cargo) CS
Tame Impala: Lonerism (Modular) LP
Tops: Picture You Staring (Arbutus) LP
Lucinda Williams: Down Where The Spirit… (Thirty Tigers) LP
Various: New Orleans Soul (Soul Jazz) LP