…..news letter #683 – dig, dug…..

It must be the calm before the RSD storm, as there isn’t a whole lot in this week. A few big releases though, and of course, our used bins are crammed full of awesomeness these days. Come down for a dig through the stacks.

As you may know…. Record Store Day is quickly approaching. The ‘official’ RSD list has been posted…. here. Please take a look at it and if there is something you’d like to be able to pick up on RSD here, please let us know ASAP. While we obviously order everything we thing our customers would be interested in, if you want to pick up that Dolly Parton LP as much as I do let us know so we can be sure to order enough so you and me aren’t fist fighting in the parking lot over it.

…..pick of the week…..


Eternal Tapestry: Wild Strawberries (Thrill Jockey) LP
Portland, Oregon’s sonic explorers Eternal Tapestry have always had a feeling of interplay between their impressionistic music and the dense forests that surround their hometown, but on their newest album, Wild Strawberries, they take that naturalistic inspiration to a new level. Wild Strawberries is a massive double album, which was recorded in a secluded cabin under the shadow of Mount Hood in Zigzag, OR. The Zigzag River flowed nearby, and the group spent time between takes learning about the area’s floral make up and relaxing under the stars. This idealistic lifestyle, however temporary, helped to chart the course of the recording process. Wild Strawberries’ artwork and song titles, which are named after plants specific to the region, both speak to the influence of that environment. The lush atmosphere combined with a week long sequestration from the outside world had a pronounced impact on the music, which unfolds in a panoramic slow burn. Wild Strawberries yields vast rewards for those who spend time in its aural forest. The contrast between the openness of the massive Oregon sky and the denseness of the trees is echoed in Wild Strawberries’ expansive guitar tones and looming organ drones. The album is thick with the lysergic leads that populated their earlier releases, but the airiness of the woods has seeped into Nick Bindeman’s guitar playing, refining it and opening it up to new modal possibilities. The album as a whole unfolds patiently, but not without purpose. Prior to the recording session drummer Jed Bindeman came across 700 Phish cassette bootlegs, and it was on these cassettes that the sessions for Wild Strawberries were taped, using an eight-track recorder. Thanks to the relaxed vibe of the cabin, the band was able indulge in extensive improvisational experiments, playing around with the limits of the tape machine. The wealth of material allowed them to select only the most successful of their many pieces.

File Under: Psych, Stoner Jams
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…..new arrivals…..


Dodos: Individ (Dine Alone) LP
For the Dodos “the best time to make a record is right after you’ve finished one” says vocalist and guitarist Meric Long. Having just wrapped up the sessions for their previous record Carrier, and fired up on the level of comfort achieved with brothers Jay and Ian Pellicci at Tiny Telephone studio, the duo immediately began laying to tape the batch of songs that would result in their latest and sixth record, entitled Individ. “There were things I didn’t want to forget, sounds that we had just scratched the surface of making that record that I wanted to capitalize on. Songs came together easily, there was not a lot of questioning, just moving ahead with the feeling that we were on the right track. We were freed up to do whatever came naturally” says Long. And for the Dodos, their natural inclination is to create music that sounds positively epic. “In a lot of ways making this record brought us back to making Visiter,” their 2008 critical and commercial breakthrough, “relying heavily on the movement that occurs between just two instruments, guitar and drums. From the first take of the first song we tracked, things sounded huge and that set the tone for the entire thing.” Individ’s first single “Competition” is a shining example of this proclivity, built on dueling guitar lines that overlap above and below a persistent drum beat as Long’s assured vocals soar above it all. At other points, “Goodbyes and Endings” infuses a similar up-tempo feel while changing time signatures every few bars. “Retriever” chugs along on one of the dirtiest guitar riffs the Dodos have ever set to tape, all the while accompanied by drums that are more akin to gunshots. As the album closes with “Pattern/Shadow” (a track that features vocals from Thee Oh Sees’ Brigid Dawson), Long sings “Your shadow remains / I cannot resist / The mirrored escape / Of your pattern.” It’s a moment that lyrically reinforces the record’s guiding force of acceptance, imparting a lesson to a band whose name inherently calls into question its future: resilience isn’t always about changing or adapting to a new environment, sometimes it’s about staying true to your instincts and asserting yourself in this ever changing atmosphere. Explains Long, “Carrier was about breaking habits, recognizing and imagining yourself away from the washing machine that has you trapped. That’s why the cover image was of someone watching a tornado go away from him. This record is about accepting what is natural for you or maybe even a part of you. Individ is what it sounds like inside the tornado.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Mark Kozelek: Live at Biko (Caldo Verde) LP
Mark Kozelek alienated a lot of people in 2014, from the War on Drugs to Meredith Graves to “fucking hillbillies.” Still, there are plenty of people who remain loyal to his work, so it will come as good news to many that the songwriter’s recent concert album Live at Biko will be getting a vinyl pressing. The album was recorded in the spring of 2014, and came out digitally and on CD in the summer through Calo Verde Records. While it’s billed under Kozelek’s own name, most of the material comes from his work as as Sun Kil Moon, with a number of tracks drawn from last year’s Benji LP.

File Under: SSW, Folk, Indie, Sun Kil Moon
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marlingLaura Marling: Short Movie (Ribbon) LP
Laura Marling returns with her fifth studio album in seven years Short Movie. The album, a follow up to 2013’s Mercury Prize nominated Once I Was An Eagle, marks a new chapter in her sound and development as an artist. Marling produced the album, which was recorded at Urchin Studios in London and aided by her long time drummer Matt Ingram and studio engineer Dan Cox. Short Movie sees Marling moving into new musical territory and may surprise fans with it’s prevalence of electric guitar. This apparent shift in sound can be attributed to her extended period of reflection and a conscious attempt to change her routine. The songs portray a striking new confidence in their mood, sound, and temperament. “I realized that I hadn’t been in one place for longer than two or three weeks since I was 16” she explains, “I thought I wonder what would happen if I try and root myself somewhere?” Short Movie is what happened – an album freer and looser sounding than anything she has done before. Recording since the age of 17, Laura Marling’s flawless output has established her as one of the most respected artists of her generation. Her career so far includes two Brit Award nominations (winning in 2011), three Mercury Prize nominations, as well as an NME Award for Best Solo Artist. “It’s the first to feature Marling moving from acoustic to electric guitars, and that shift has added a heft to her exquisitely crafted and performed songs.” – Los Angeles Times

File Under: SSW, Indie
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modest mouse

Modest Mouse: Strangers to Ourselves (Epic) LP/CD
Strangers To Ourselves marks the first album in eight years from Pacific Northwest luminaries Modest Mouse and the long awaited follow-up to their platinum 2007 release We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Their sixtth full-length recording overall, the 15-track offering is preceded by the well received lead single “Lampshades on Fire.” We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, featuring The Smith’s Johnny Marr, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and was released to rave reviews. In 2009, the band issued a collection of unreleased songs and b-sides entitled No One’s First And You’re Next, and, in 2012, they premiered a 45-minute documentary on the making of 1997 masterpiece The Lonesome Crowded West. Since playing Coachella in 2013, the group headlined Fun Fun Fun Fest and re-released their critically-acclaimed albums This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About, and The Lonesome Crowded West, on Glacial Pace. Both earned “Best New Reissue” ratings from Pitchfork, with The Lonesome Crowded West earning a perfect 10/10 score.

File Under: Indie Rock
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2112Rush: 2112 (Mercury) LP
In tomorrow! In 2014 UMe/Mercury reissued Rush’s self-titled debut on heavy-weight vinyl in celebration of the album’s 40th anniversary. Now in 2015, let the Rush 40 celebration continue with ’12 Months of Rush’ reissues – in chronological order – starting with 1975’s Fly By Night on LP. During the ’12 Months of Rush’ campaign all 14 of the band’s Mercury albums will be remastered on 200-gram heavy-weight vinyl at legendary Abbey Road, all from original analogue masters. All LPs will also include a digital download code for a 320kbps MP4 vinyl ripped Digital Audio album download. Rush’s fourth album, 2112, originally issued in 1976, proved a breakthrough, highlighted by its seven-part title suite written by Lee and Lifeson, with lyrics by Peart, recounting a dystopian story set in the year 2112. It comes in at #2 on Rolling Stone’s list of “Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time” and most Rush fans consider it the band’s definitive recording. 2112 has sold in excess of 3 million copies in the U.S. alone and is certified triple-platinum. “Their influence is undeniable…and their legacy is that of a band that stayed true to themselves no matter how uncool they may have seemed to anyone. I think it’s safe to say that Rush are indeed a band that has balls…and they’ve always been cool.” – Dave Grohl inducting Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

File Under: Prog, CanCon
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rush allRush: All The World’s A Stage (Mercury) LP
In tomorrow! In 2014 UMe/Mercury reissued Rush’s self-titled debut on heavy-weight vinyl in celebration of the album’s 40th anniversary. Now in 2015, let the Rush 40 celebration continue with ’12 Months of Rush’ reissues – in chronological order – starting with 1975’s Fly By Night on LP. During the ’12 Months of Rush’ campaign all 14 of the band’s Mercury albums will be remastered on 200-gram heavy-weight vinyl at legendary Abbey Road, all from original analogue masters. All LPs will also include a digital download code for a 320kbps MP4 vinyl ripped Digital Audio album download. Rush’s 1976 double-live album, All The World’s A Stage was co-produced with Terry Brown and recorded at Toronto’s Massey Hall on June 11-13, during the band’s 2112 tour. Named after the William Shakespeare play As You Like It, the record climbed to #40 on the U.S. Billboard chart and is certified platinum in both the States and Canada. The band explained that, “This album to us, signifies the end of the beginning, a milestone to mark the close of chapter one, in the annals of Rush.” “Their influence is undeniable…and their legacy is that of a band that stayed true to themselves no matter how uncool they may have seemed to anyone. I think it’s safe to say that Rush are indeed a band that has balls…and they’ve always been cool.” – Dave Grohl inducting Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

File Under: Prog, CanCon
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Spelljammer: Vol II (Riding Easy) LP
Stockholm’s Spelljammer VOL. II is like a herd of bison running off a cliff. Not for the faint of heart, this is one of the best doom albums of the last 10 years. If you like your music heavy and slow, there is nothing that quite satisfies the itch the way that Spelljammer does. Out previously on a very limited run of vinyl that has fetched $100 and more, this record is now made available to the masses via RidingEasy Records on LP and CD (for the first time ever). For fans of MONOLORD, Conan, Sleep & Electric Wizard.

File Under: Metal, Stoner
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Twin-Shadow-Eclipse-Cover-Art-Final-608x608Twin Shadow: Eclipse (Warner) LP
In tomorrow! George Lewis Jr.’s Twin Shadow project exists in a careful balance between style and substance, with ’80s pop and R&B tropes and tones punctuated by sharp hooks and his crooning vocals. At the centre of Twin Shadow though, is Lewis himself, a popstar trapped in indie music’s anti-star world. So it comes as no surprise that Lewis made the jump to a major label to realize his grand musical ambitions. Yet Eclipse, the first product of this new partnership, puts this delicate balancing act out of whack. On the one hand, tracks like “To the Top” and “Old Love/New Love” find the musician working at the peak of his powers, as both songs expertly build to a sublime catharsis. But many of these tracks lack the musical subtleties that make Twin Shadow records such a joy to revisit. The production on Eclipse — the most contemporary-sounding of his career — is more Bastille than Morris Day. It grabs listeners on first listen, yet it lacks the idiosyncratic charm of Lewis’s previous work. What’s most surprising of all, though, is how Lewis himself fades into the background on his own record. Rather than constructing this new, contemporary sound around his Twin Shadow persona, Eclipse finds the singer shoehorning himself into an awkward space between the Weeknd and any number of faceless pop-rock groups like One Republic or Maroon 5. Home to both some of Twin Shadow’s best and worst moments, Eclipse suggests Lewis is at a crossroads between his popstar ambitions and his affinity for paving his own sonic path. There are moments here where he manages both in one fell swoop, but on his third time out, he can’t sustain the momentum for an entire album.  (Warner)

File Under: Indie, R&B
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Wu-Tang Clan: A Better Tomorrow (Warner) LP
Emerging in 1993, when Dr. Dre’s G-funk had overtaken the hip-hop world, the Staten Island, NY-based Wu-Tang Clan proved to be the most revolutionary rap group of the mid-90s – and only partially because of their music. Turning the standard concept of a hip-hop crew inside out, the Wu-Tang Clan were assembled as a loose congregation of nine MCs, almost as a support group. Instead of releasing one album after another, the Clan was designed to overtake the record industry in as profitable a fashion as possible – the idea was to establish the Wu-Tang as a force with their debut album and then spin off into as many side projects as possible. Surprisingly, the plan worked. All of the various Wu-Tang solo projects elaborated on the theme the group laid out on their 1993 debut, the spare, menacing Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Taking their group name from an powerful, mythical kung fu sword wielded by an invincible congregation of warriors, the crew is a loose collective of nine MCs. All nine members work under a number of pseudonyms, but they are best known as RZA , GZA/Genius, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (RIP), Method Man, Raekwon the Chef, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa and Cappadonna. The vision of the Wu-Tang Clan is undoubtedly due to the musical skills of RZA. Under his direction, the group – through its own efforts and the solo projects, all of which he produced or co-produced – created a hazy, surreal, and menacing soundscape out of hardcore beats, eerie piano riffs, and minimal samples. Over these surrealistic backing tracks, the MCs rapped hard, updating the old-school attack with vicious violence, martial arts imagery, and a welcome warped humor. The collective has issued five acclaimed full-length albums including Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993), Wu-Tang Forever (1997), The W (2000), Iron Flag (2001) and 8 Diagrams (2007). Warner Bros. Records has signed a global recording contract with the legendary group which now includes RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and Cappadonna. As a group, Wu-Tang has sold over 6.5 million records in the US, while they’ve sold nearly 40 million records worldwide, including individual members’ album sales as well as group sales collectively. The group’s first release on the label will be the highly-anticipated 20th anniversary album, A Better Tomorrow, which serves as Wu-Tang Clan’s first release in 7 years. RZA on the album to Billboard: “It’s a record to me that merges the way music was made in the classic essence, in an analog way. As well as merging what’s going down the digital way. All the entire 10 Clan members are on it. All the [living] members, which is a beautiful thing. And the album has a small concept in a sense, musically it travels from a guy who is going through difficulties, tries to find himself, gets involved with some violence, some troubles, but then realizes that it’s best sometimes to walk away from the past and all the bad times and maybe work on making his life better, and making a better tomorrow.”

File Under: Hip Hop, Rap
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Young Guv: Ripe 4 Luv (Slumberland) LP
In tomorrow! Who’s @youngguv? He’s still underground, but everyone will know him soon. Right now, he only has 1500 followers, so we need to get this kid a checkmark as soon as possible. Here’s the rundown: He’s a white boy in a backwards snapback with fake Emoji neck tattoos. He’s a ripped bald kid fronting one of the most important and successful hardcore bands in Toronto history. He’s a ghostwriter eating pasta as he pens al dente tunes for the likes of Sum 41, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, a few Canadian Idols, Snow, a slew of hardcore bands, Maroon 5 and one or two OVO affiliates. He’s a tortured artist turning down Katy Perry’s edits to his tunes because she didn’t like his babies as they were. Do I need to go on? @youngguv is Ben Cook, and he’s putting out an album, Ripe 4 Luv, on one of the greatest labels ever, Slumberland Records. Having been around for a minute, Guv has decided to put together a set of pop tunes that shows off his range as a performer, singer, songwriter, style icon and retweet-worthy pop star. Guv got it right the first time with his band No Warning, one of the only Canadian hardcore acts to achieve recognition from major labels in the U.S. He parlayed this experience into a successful career as the creeper peaking through the curtain as better-looking people sing his songs to an appreciative audience. In addition to writing for pop royalty and no-name punk acts, Young Guv has spent the last 7 years playing guitar in fellow Toronto legends Fucked Up, selling 10’s of 1000’s of singles recorded in various bedrooms, and helping put the East End back on the GTA’s music map with his Bad Actors imprint. Guv has been around for a while, and now he’s helping new, young talent get around and release classic records. How could you not like this guy? He’s got the bone structure to go viral at any moment. Ripe 4 Luv is a beautiful album for beautiful people. Plus, it really shows off his range. There’s only one way to describe this record: Guv sings like Prince into expensive audio-nerd mics over power pop backing tracks that evoke Big Star after they got some nookie but before they became depressed about their failure to appeal to the right audience. If that’s not good enough for you, then it sounds like Cheap Trick produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Or how about Drake’s producer 40 manning the boards for a Hall & Oates session? Any of those will help sell this record to the blogs, just pick one and run with it.

File Under: Indie Rock, Fucked Up, Cancon
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A Tribe Called Red: Nation II Nation (Sony) LP
Band: Last Waltz (Warner) LP
Daft Punk: Discovery (EMI) LP
Daphni: Jiaolong (Merge) LP
Dead Kennedys: Bedtime For Democracy (Manifesto) LP
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Manifesto) LP
Descendants: Milo Goes To College (SST) LP
Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde (Sundazed) LP
Bob Dylan: Bringing It All Back Home (Sundazed) LP
Bob Dylan: Freewheelin’ (Sundazed) LP
Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited (Sundazed) LP
Bob Dylan: Nashville Skyline (Sundazed) LP
Bob Dylan: Times They Are A Changin’ (Sundazed) LP
Bruce Haack: Electric Lucifer II (Telephone Explosion) LP
Husker Du: Zen Arcade (SST) LP
J Dilla: Donuts (Stones Throw) LP
Kraftwerk: Radioactivity (EMI) LP
Kraftwerk: Tour De France (EMI) LP
Kraftwerk: Trans Europa Express (EMI) LP
Lucero: That Much Further West (Sabot) LP
Madvillian: Madvilliany (Stones Throw) LP
Melvins: Ozma/Bullhead (Boner) LP
Melvins: Eggnog/Lice-All (Boner) LP
Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66: Look Around (Music on Vinyl) LP
Modest Mouse: The Moon & Antarctica (Epic) LP
Mos Def: Black On Both Sides (Universal) LP
Nas- Ill-Matic (Def Jam) LP
Nirvana: Unplugged (Geffen) LP
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (EMI) LP
Pink Floyd: The Wall (EMI) LP
Jessica Pratt: On Your Own Love Again (Drag City) LP
Royal Blood: s/t (Warner) LP
Nina Simone: Forbidden Fruit (Dol) LP
Nina Simone: At The Village Gate (Dol) LP
Strokes: Is This It? (RCA) LP
Swans: My Father Will Guide Me… (Young God) LP
Weezer: Pinkerton (Geffen) LP
White Stripes: Elephant (Third Man) LP
Wu-Tang Clan: Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (BMG) LP
John Zorn: Song Project (Tzadik) 6LP

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