…..news letter #663 – so clean…..

Another light week, although it should have been a bit bigger, but it would seem not one, but two shipments that should have been here this week didn’t even leave as of yesterday. So I guess next week, despite being a short week will have one hell of a list, so brace yourselves. Until then…..

…..pick of the week…..

north of

North of America: Elements of an Incomplete Map (NoYes) LP
North North Records and Noyes Records have joined forces to reissue one of Canada’s seminal indie rock records. Seeing its first ever vinyl release on 4 November 2014 is “Elements of an Incomplete Map” by Halifax’s North of America. This collection, which was originally released in 1998, has been remastered for vinyl by band member and acclaimed mastering engineer J. LaPointe. The original artwork has also been reinterpreted by Yo Rodeo. The original 10 track album has been pressed on classic 180 gram black vinyl. To complete the full reissue treatment, the package also includes recently unearthed demos.

File Under: Math Rock, Indie Rock, CanCon, Street Cents
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…..new arrivals…..


Afghan Whigs: Gentlemen (Elektra) LP
IN TOMORROW… If there is one album fully deserving of a coming of age celebration, it is The Afghan Whigs Gentlemen. Since its original release in October of 1993, Gentlemen’s lore has grown in stature as fans new and old continue to embrace the album. 33 1/3 published a book about the album in 2008 and Stereogum proclaimed, “From its bombastic opening to its understated end, Gentlemen remains a fine example of what exactly independent rock music is capable of accomplishing.” The blistering 11-track set has retained its visceral connection with fans over the last 21 years from the deeply dark and confessional lyrical content to the no-frills production qualities and of course Greg Dulli’s soul-baring vocal performances. Recorded in Memphis at Ardent Studios and originally released by Elektra Records on October 5th 1993, the album was the band’s major label debut after recording two full-length albums for Sub Pop. In the original 1993 biography for the album, Dulli commented: “It was a bad year for me and some of my friends, in terms of relationships and dealing with some of my own little ghosts. A year of just some kinds of remembrances and stuff that I guess I will never be able to forget, especially since I wrote it all down and made a record out of it.” 21 years later, we’re still all glad he did.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Anjou: s/t (Kranky) LP
“The culmination of four years writing and editing, Anjou marks the first collaboration between Labradford’s Robert Donne and Mark Nelson since the release of that group’s fixed:context LP. Combining modular synthesis, Max/MSP programming and live instrumentation, Anjou deftly weaves noise with gentle ambience and melody with texture. Guitar, bass and Steven Hess’ (Locrian, Fennesz, Pan American) live percussion give the eight pieces an immediacy and create a framework for the more abstract sounds of digital and analog synth programming. The product of twenty plus years of friendship, Anjou is refined and challenging. An extension of the Labradford sound-world but no mere victory lap, Anjou represents Donne and Nelson stepping out and forward, their eyes firmly focusing on the future.”

File Under: Ambient(ish), Electronic, Labradford
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black moth

Black Moth Super Rainbow: Eating Us (Graveface) LP
Limited edition Repress! Grey Colored Vinyl, download, gatefold. Now issued after a long delay. Eating Us, promises to up the ante on the fidelity and melodies that BMSR have become known for. Here, the merry cryptic band has added some new flavors to their already well-established rainbow of sounds, with even more dense layers of lushly complex orchestration, intensely rhythmic drumming from a live, human drummer, vocoder vocals that are anything but robotic, and thick, undulating bass tones. Recorded at Tarbox Road Studios, Eating Us marks the first time BMSR has ventured into a modern recording studio. Production and partial tracking were handled by Dave Friedmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Weezer) whose hands and ears were the only ones trusted to keep the freaked out wiggles and hairy candies fully in-tact, while also expanding them in a more realistic space.

File Under: Electronic, Space Rock
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dean blunt

Dean Blunt: Black Metal (Rough Trade) LP/CD
In its review of Dean Blunt’s The Redeemer – which they later named their top album of 2013 – FACT called Blunt “the premier art prankster of our time,” while acknowledging his earnestness; Tiny Mix Tapes, who would give the album the #2 spot in their best of the year rankings, praise the work for its liberating “short-circuiting of the boundaries of taste and instilled critical response,” while speaking to the album’s near-paradoxical emotional depth. Blunt’s newest odyssey, Black Metal, rides this tension between critical detachment and mainlined human feeling, and in fact he climbs ever-steeper theoretical heights just as his emotionally stark songs become, at times, startlingly intimate. A true multi-media vanguard, Blunt employs original instrumentation along with elements of pastiche and his unique vocal performances to create songs and recordings that are not only beautiful, but also tie into his larger project that incorporates music, visual art, and the written word to play with identity, cultural signifiers, and artistic agency. But Black Metal is above all a brilliant, majestic collection of songs, encompassing everything from hypnotic long-form experiments to ballads almost disarming in their sweet simplicity, swirling equally with fascinating sounds and fascinating ideas. Blunt’s influences are wide-ranging, from rock’s underground pioneers (he quotes Sonic Youth in interviews; the album leads with a Big Star sample), to neo-classical composers, to early indie pop (another track samples The Pastels), to classic rock, hip-hop, and R&B. But rather than coldly compiling them, Blunt brings the works and genres he draws from into a new musical and cultural conversation. With his newest, most accomplished, and most vexing album, Black Metal, Dean Blunt invites us to draw our own conclusions in his expansive and fascinating world.

File Under: Electronic, Experimental
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Boards of Canada: Hi Scores (Skam) LP/CD
Skam Records are very proud to announce the re-release of Boards Of Canada’s Hi Scores. Originally released in 1996, Hi Scores constitutes Boards Of Canada’s second official release after 1995’s Twoism. This follows the reissue of their other seminal records by Warp in 2013. The new edition has been re-recorded and re-mastered from the original DAT tapes. The CD is housed in a Digi-Pak sleeve with some extra art. The original image on the back of the sleeve is now in color. Spot varnish finish on the images & text alongside the usual Skam Braille sticker gives the whole package new depth and a refreshing look and feel.

File Under: Electronic, Downtempo
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Deerhoof:  La Isla Bonita (Polyvinyl) LP
Blame it on the Ramones. After Deerhoof finished recording demos for La Isla Bonita this past February, they began rehearsing for an upcoming tour. Halfway through a run-through of a long-time Deerhoof live favorite, their cover of the Ramones classic “Pinhead,” someone offhandedly asked, “Why don’t we ever write a song like this?” So Greg quickly dashed off a song on a scrap of paper, showed it to the band, and they recorded the breakneck stomper “Exit Only” in one take. “And we suddenly realized,” Greg says, “this is the whole thing, this is what the whole record is about!” La Isla Bonita was recorded in guitarist Ed Rodriguez’s basement. Situated next to a parking garage, it was perfect for making noise till the wee hours. They recorded live, DIY style, “a weeklong sleepover arguing over whether to try and sound like Joan Jett or Janet Jackson, cracking each other up, one guitarist whose name starts with J always putting too much red chile into the rations,” says Greg. But more than that La Isla Bonita is about the eclectic worldwide community that has supported them. You’ll hear them pay musical tributes to their improbable list of heroes-turned-fans: David Bowie, Ric Ocasek, The Roots, Lou Reed, David Byrne, Sonic Youth, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Beck. Of course their intent is never reverence, but provocation. They are always on the hunt for that perfect union of the hilarious and the terrifying that one hears in other bands of their generation like Bikini Kill and Lightning Bolt. 2014 has been a killer year for young, aggressive female-fronted bands (St. Vincent, Tune-Yards, Perfect Pussy, Karen O, Speedy Ortiz) and La Isla Bonita is also partly a discourse with them.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Drums: Encyclopedia (Minor) LP
There were two wildly successful full-lengths (The Drums and Portamento), there were hits (“Let’s Go Surfing,” “Best Friend,” “Money,” and more), and for a moment, there was even the possibility of happiness. Then, managers left, band members departed, and The Drums nearly disbanded. Yet, Pierce worked through his bitterness with the kind of revelation only an artist truly in harmony with melancholy could contrive: they were better off broken than stuck in a rut. The two carried on, in their original form, the band of Jonny and Jacob. That decision is Encyclopedia. For the band’s third full-length, Jonny and Jacob first had to reconcile their opposing impulses. Pierce had no-wave on his mind (“I wanted to make a garage record!”), while Jacob was wondering what might happen if they blended “The Sound of Music with obscure Japanese synthesizer pioneers.” In traditional The Drums fashion, the band decided to try… all of it. They holed up in a fittingly bleak rehearsal space and spent the next year composing and recording their most sophisticated and cohesive album yet. A dark miracle, really.

File Under: Rock, Indie Rock
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Mark Lanegan: Phantom Radio (Vagrant) LP
Phantom Radio is the brand new full length from the Mark Lanegan Band which will be issued through Flooded Soil/Vagrant Records. Phantom Radio, produced by Alain Johannes, is Lanegan’s ninth release under his own name, his 20th if you include his collaborations, and close to his 50th if you include his guest appearances. Lanegan’s chief compositional tool on Phantom Radio was his phone – specifically an app called Funk Box. “I didn’t bother to hook up my 909 and 808 this time,” he says, “because the app had ’em. I’d write drum parts with it then add music with the synthesizer or the guitar.” The album grew organically from these synthetic roots, taking in Mark’s ongoing love of Krautrock and also an ’80s new wave show on Sirius satellite radio, his favored aural companion as he drives around Los Angeles. “They have a few good shows but the ‘80s one in particular I like,” he adds. “That’s the music that was happening when I started making music. And although the Trees drew on Nuggets psychedelia, 13th Floor Elevators and Love, we were actually listening to Echo And The Bunnymen, Rain Parade, the Gun Club. A lot of British post-punk. We loved that stuff. I just waited until I was in my late forties before I started ripping it off.” British guitarist Duke Garwood assisted with “I Am The Wolf,” violinist Sietse van Gorkom co-wrote “The Killing Season,” and Lanegan’s girlfriend Shelley Brien added vocals to the set’s “Floor of the Ocean.”

File Under: Rock
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lanoisDaniel Lanois: Flesh & Machine (Anti) LP
Daniel Lanois is one of the most influential record producers of the modern era: the man who brought Bob Dylan back; longtime collaborator with Brian Eno, soundsculpting a series of mammoth releases for U2; and producer of breakthrough late-career albums by Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris. But before all that, Lanois was an experimental musician, recording his unique guitar voicings for groundbreaking albums with guys like Brian Eno and Jon Hassell, along the way helping to invent a genre called ambient music. What is lost in the wild success of his production career is Lanois’ musical life at the edge, which is where Flesh and Machine, his new album on ANTI-, comes full circle. A wildly ambitious, diverse exploration of modern sonics, Flesh and Machine careens from the huge guitar skronk of “The End” to the haunted landscapes of “Iceland.” But perhaps for the first time, Lanois’ new album highlights the strange parallel evolution that has taken place in Daniel’s music; alongside the developments in IDM that launched from the same 70s avante-intrumental roots as Eno and company, Lanois’ music has developed a rhythmic complexity heard in the most adventurous music by Autechre or Matmos. Only for Lanois, nothing is digital. Dense, visceral music that combines the primitive stomach-pounding volume of rock with the heartbreaking found sonics of early electronic music, Flesh and Machine reminds us that we are bodies in a mechanized world, and that in the midst of our digital noise we must not forget to breathe. LP also contains a CD of the full album.

File Under: Electronic, Rock, Ambient
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matching moleMatching Mole: s/t (Esoteric) LP
Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of a limited 180 Gram Vinyl LP edition of Matching Mole’s self-titled debut album. Formed in 1971, Matching Mole featured former Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt, former Caravan keyboard player Dave Sinclair, guitarist Phil Miller, bassist Bill McCormick with guest keyboard player Dave MacRae. Recorded between December 1971 and February 1972, ‘Matching Mole’ was a wonderful debut that included tracks such as ‘O Caroline’, ‘Signed Curtain’ and ‘Part of the Dance’. This Esoteric Recordings limited LP edition is a facsimile of the original 1972 vinyl release and has been re-mastered from the original CBS master tapes and includes an inner bag with an essay by Sid Smith.

File Under: Rock, Psych, Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt
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OST: Gravity (Mondo) LP
Steven Price’s score for the lost-in-space epic Gravity, which took the Oscar for Best Original Score, will finally make its way onto vinyl. After rumours swirled around the web, an LP release of the film’s music is officially on the way. Pop culture purveyors Mondo have been tasked with launching the LP into the world, and the label has once again teamed up with James Plotkin to remaster the soundtrack for vinyl. The limited-edition double-LP will be pressed on black vinyl and randomly inserted variant colorway vinyl. The cover art for the release, is taken from a Mondo-released poster designed by Kevin Tong.

File Under: OST, George Clooney
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Z aka Szajner Bernard: Visions of Dune (In Fine) LP
About Visions Of Dune: A rare synth classic lovingly reissued. French electronic pioneer Bernard Szajner’s 1979 concept album based around Frank Herbert’s cult Dune Trilogy. Dystopian sci-fi drones and otherworldly melodies drift across the stereo spectrum, creating a multi-layered, deeply immersive listening experience. Remastered from the original tapes by Rashad Becker in Berlin, and with a new sleeve reimagined by acclaimed Barcelona-based designer Arnau Pi (Young Turks, Hivern Discs, DJ Kicks). Includes two lost pieces from the original sessions and never before heard, left off because Pathé Marconi EMI considered them to be “too futuristic”! After years spent in relative obscurity, it is time for the best-kept secret of the French underground to leave its protective shadow and finally appear in the full light of day. Fittingly, the release of this alternative soundtrack to Dune coincides with the cinema release of award-winning Documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune about the failed attempt in the mid-70s by the Chilean director of psychedelic cinema classics El Topo and Holy Mountain to film Herbert’s novel.

File Under: Electronic, French Prog, Synth
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A Winged Victory For The Sullen: Atomos (Kranky) LP
Arcade Fire: Funeral (Merge) LP
Arcade Fire: Suburbs (Merge) LP
Beastie Boys: Check Your Head (Capitol) LP
Beastie Boys: Hello Nasty (Capitol) LP
Belle & Sebastian: Dear Catastrophe Waitress (Matador) LP
Belle & Sebastian: If You’re Feeling Sinister (Matador) LP
Belle & Sebastian: Tigermilk (Matador) LP
Belle & Sebastian: Fold Your Hand Child (Matador) LP
Christian Bland: The Unseen Green (Reverberation) LP
Captain Beefheart: Trout Mask Replica (Reprise) LP
Nick Cave: Nocturama (Anti) LP
Coil: Megalithomania (Threshold House) LP
Descendents: Somery (SST) LP
Nick Drake: Pink Moon (Island) LP
Esben & The Witch: A New Nature (Nostromo) LP
Brigitte Fontaine: 13 Chansons… (Because) LP
Brigitte Fontaine & JacquesHigelin: Chansons D’Avant Le Deluge (Because) LP
Fu Manchu: In Search Of (Cobraside) LP
Grouper: Ruins (Kranky) LP
Interpol: El Pintor (Matador) LP
King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King (Pangyria) LP
MF Doom: Special Herbs 1 & 2 (Nature Sounds) LP
MF Doom: Special Herbs 3 & 4 (Nature Sounds) LP
Modest Mouse: Moon & Antarctica (Epic) LP
Modest Mouse: Good News For… (Epic) LP
Ennio Morricone: Veruschka (Dagored) LP
Ennio Morricone: Le Foto Proibite Di Una… (Dagored) LP
Mr. Bungle: s/t (Music on Vinyl) LP
Pavement: Crooked Rain (Matador) LP
Perfume Genius: Too Bright (Matador) LP
SBTRKT: Wonder Where We Land (Young Turks) LP
Ty Segall: Manipulator (Drag City) LP
Ty Segall: Slaughterhouse (In the Red) LP
Shovels & Rope: Swimmin’ Time (Dine Alone) LP
Nina Simone: At the Village Vanguard (Doxy) LP
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (Goofin) LP
Sonic Youth: Goo (Goofin) 4LP
Piero Umiliani/Chet Baker: Smog (Doxy) LP
Vampire Weekend: s/t (XL) LP
Kurt Vile: Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze (Matador) LP
White Stripes: Icky Thump (Third Man) LP
Jack White: Blunderbus (Third Man) LP
XX: Coexist (Young Turks) LP

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