I must be making some progress on my reno, since this week I think i’ll be spending more time in the store than at home, yay! Anyway, Nora & James have been holding down the fort while I’ve been playing general contractor and lots of goodies have come in this week so get down here and grab some cool new tunes for your yard parties.
…..pick of the week….
OST: La Planete Sauvage (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow! Finally available again, don’t sleep on it this time! Animated sci-fi masterpiece La Planète Sauvage (a.k.a. Fantastic Planet), winner at Cannes Film Festival in 1973, is a bizarre and beautiful film. Towering blue-skinned figures, tiny humanoids in the midst of revolt, and drug-induced Tantric sex transport viewers to a truly magical setting. Composer Alain Goraguer creates an equally hypnotic score from a palette of effects-laden guitars, flutes, Fender Rhodes and strings. While the lush arrangements are reminiscent of Goraguer’s collaborations with Serge Gainsbourg in the 1960s, space-age synth flourishes suggest a more psychedelic era. Moody vignettes flow together in tense, slow-paced funk rhythms and Baroque textures. It comes as no surprise that La Planète Sauvage has been cited as an influence on contemporary artists such as French duo Air and American hip-hop producers J Dilla and Madlib. Gorgeous, interplanetary soundscapes resemble the surreal meeting point between Pink Floyd’s Obscured by Clouds and Broadcast’s Future Crayon. This long out-of-print vinyl release features the original soundtrack recording and newly designed artwork. Recommended for fans of Ennio Morricone, Basil Kirchin and David Axelrod.
File Under: OST, Sci-Fi, Animation, Breakz
Algiers: s/t (Matador) LP
The debut LP by Algiers is haunted by promises of the past: the rapturous call and response of millenarian gospel, the bellowing urgency of ’60s protest soul, the scene-searching intensity of DC hardcore and the smeared viscosity of post-punk and no wave. After all, as Marx once said: “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.” But rather than revel in a state of nostalgia, the band wields these burdened visions to charge headlong into the future. Over the album’s eleven tracks, these three émigrés of the American Deep South lay waste to appropriators, oppressors, revivalists and the cultural shock troops of capitalism. Vocalist Franklin James Fisher’s every shriek and incantation will take you from the sweaty fervor of Dennis Edwards-era Temptations through the righteous rebellion of Nina Simone to the solitary midnight howls of PJ Harvey. Shards of Lee Tesche’s guitar, along with Ryan Mahan’s bass pulses and synthesizer slashes, pierce through the processional, transforming neo-modernist hymns with explosions of foreboding and dread that evoke the vanguard of pop experimentation from Suicide to Roland S. Howard. In an era when political subjectivity and human connectivity have been smashed to pieces by the demands of finance capital, Algiers has taken its stance: to maintain fidelity to these subversive spirits and trudge toward the light. While they may never arrive at their destination – consigned to a life of wandering – they conjure the dead sound to life in frightening new directions. “This is revolutionary music in the truest sense of the word. It demands action. It requires penance. It destroys expectations.” – Stereogum “The Death Grips of gospel torching the South’s dark underbelly.” – Rolling Stone
File Under: Punk, Post-Punk
Areski & Brigitte Fontaine: Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow! Following their groundbreaking collaboration with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Comme à la Radio, Areski and Brigitte Fontaine began recording almost exclusively together as a duo. Originally released in 1973, Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme is their first record billed under both names. Deeply rooted in North African and European folk traditions, the album features evocative vignettes with breezy vocals and minimal accompaniment of classical guitar, strings and woodwinds. As always, there is a mercurial quality to their lyrics. The title track (translated as “I Do Not Know This Man”) suggests at once Apostle Peter’s denial and a poetic acknowledgement. On “C’est Normal” Fontaine playfully questions the status quo while Areski offers satirical answers. What makes Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme one of their best-loved albums, though, is its remarkable sense of intimacy—as if Areski and Fontaine beckon listeners into their strange and beautiful world. This first-time domestic release continues Superior Viaduct’s reissue campaign of Fontaine’s classic ’70s catalog.
File Under: French Pop, Avant Garde
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Murder Ballads (Mute) LP
Toward the end of Bad Seed (Ian Johnston’s autobiography of Nick Cave), a fleeting clue is dropped about a new song Cave was in the process of writing at the time. With the working title of “Red Right Hand II,” it relates the tale of a father of three that murders his entire family – the very same scenario laid out in “Song of Joy,” the opening track of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds 1996 album Murder Ballads. The references to “his red right hand” and other Miltonian citations sprinkled throughout link the two songs; but the gory details in “Song of Joy” make it clear that Cave had left behind the baleful romantic brooding of Let Love In, and this was to be a more bloodthirsty successor. Reaching back to Birthday Party days, Cave’s lyrics never suffered for lack of violence. Proto-murder balladry weaves throughout Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ oeuvre in the form of both cover songs and originals; but the notion of a flagrantly slaughter-themed album had been on Cave’s mind for a while. “It actually started as a joke,” he explains. “The idea of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds dedicating an entire album to murder appealed to us in some way.” Despite the album’s appalling subject matter, Conway Savage points out, “It’s always been loosely referred to in the band as a ‘comedy’ record.” Not only is the album rife with dark humor, some tracks positively radiate an inappropriately joyful mood. A virtual open invitation was extended to sundry family and friends to drop by the studio during the recording of the album. Co-producer Tony Cohen recollects seeing “probably more than twenty people sitting around the floor, shaking things and banging things and having a laugh.” Mick Harvey remembers a brisk, unfussy attitude towards getting takes: “We just trundled through everything and listened to it two days later.” Cave observes that “We learned a lot from that record: that the recording experience can be playful.” Martyn Casey affirms, “It’s a party record.” Despite all that, Cave maintains that the underlying objective was “to make a record that would piss people off.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cave’s plan backfired, thanks at least in part to the cavalcade of guest stars invited to participate: Shane MacGowan, Anita Lane, PJ Harvey, and most notably, Kylie Minogue. Murder Ballads remains Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds biggest worldwide success to date. The single “Where Wild Roses Grow” reached number 11 in the UK Singles Chart, breaking the Top Ten in several European countries, and was certified Gold in Germany and Australia. MTV even nominated Nick Cave for their “Best Male Artist” award that year; but the nomination was withdrawn at Cave’s personal request.
File Under: Rock, Nick Cave!
Coachwhips: Bangers vs. Fuckers (Castle Face) LP
In tomorrow! Feeling listless? Falling asleep behind the wheel? Need a soundtrack for your backyard Fight Club (with the lucky possibility of a muddy mid-fight kiss)? We have just the thing: a fully re-spruced version of the Coachwhips’ classic LP, Bangers Vs. Fuckers. If you’re unfamiliar, this record may be the loudest thing ever put to tape. Weasel Walter’s mastering job is more of an act of terrorism than anything else but it perfectly captures the intensity of seeing them live in, say, your bathroom. This record right here is Coachwhips at their bloody-nosed best, way past in the red, shoving white-hot heart-attack anthems like “You Gonna Get It,” “Evil Son” and “Thee Alarm” straight through your reptilian brain and into the sweaty crowd behind you. Essential listening for anyone with a pulse and a chip on their shoulder. Remastered and recut at 45 RPM for maximum blunt force. We found the artwork all beat up but we nursed it back to health. It’s never been louder, clearer or more fun than this, and it’s out on Castle Face Records.
File Under: Punk, Garage, Oh Sees
Crocodiles: Boys (Zoo Music) LP
In tomorrow! Crocodiles have always traveled their own particular road of excess; playing, recording, dreaming and scheming in various far-flung corners of the globe. For their fifth album Boys, the boys decamped to Mexico City where producer Martin Thulin captured this psych-pop masterpiece. Trashy in some places and beautiful in others, this colorful album sees the band revisiting familiar Crocodilian themes that have earned them worldwide acclaim while also cooking with many new flavors.Take the salsa-punk of tracks like “Crybaby Demon” or “Kool TV”; noisy guitars mesh with Latin rhythms to create a new sound that can only be described as “muy chingón!” Beautifully lush soundscapes on “The Boy Is a Tramp,” “Don’t Look Up” and “Blue” are sure to seduce the listener. “Foolin’ Around” is a bonkers car-crash of influences, something the punks can do The Hustle to. Crocodiles’ bizarro-pop craftsmanship shines brightly on “Peroxide Hearts,” “Transylvania” and “Hard.”Boys is an album for boys and for girls and for boy-girls and mutants, back-alley poets, thieves, space cadets and alien babes, righteous tricksters, sonic deviants, and everything in between. But most of all, Boys is an album for you.
File Under: Rock, Pop, Psych
Deviants: Ptooff! (Cleopatra) LP
In tomorrow! Special limited edition reissue of the seminal debut LP from UK underground garage rock heroes The Deviants. Founded by legendary counterculture figure Mick Farren and Russell Hunter and inspired by The Fugs, the Deviants were the first of the anarchic groups to emerge from the Ladbroke Grove area of London. Two years before Hawkwind burst on to the underground scene, the Deviants were preaching revolution and creating their own form of musical anarchy. Ptooff! was the band’s classic debut, originally released in 1967. Only available by mail order from the pages of International Times, Ptooff! was truly one of the first independent British rock albums. Presented on colored 180 gram vinyl sequentially numbered with original 12-panel foldout poster courtesy of Cleopatra Records.
File Under: Garage
Django Django: Born Under Saturn (Ribbon) LP
In tomorrow! Born Under Saturn is the sophomore album from Ribbon Music recording artist Django Django. This new collection of songs is the work of a confident and experienced band pushing beyond their DIY roots; it expands on the slippery, indefinable nature of their self-titled debut, applying all of its giddy art-rock imagination only across a much larger canvas. Django Django – producer/drummer Dave Maclean, bassist Jim Dixon, guitarist Vinnie Neff and keyboardist Tommy Grace – met at art school. They took their time evolving a unique open-minded sound in which every influence is welcome yet remains clutter free. Like before, Django Django are oblivious to genre rules. You’ll find Beach Boys harmonies and Link Wray riffs crisscrossing with house music pianos, classical keyboard flourishes with Jamaican and African rhythms, and all of it flows. Truly, Born Under Saturn finds magic in the unexplored spaces between genres. Underneath it all lies an undeniable knack for a hook, but as pop music this collection of songs is keenly intelligent. Tracks like the radio-friendly “Shake & Tremble” ripple muscular guitar riffs before dissolving into harmonic choral bliss. Standout, “Reflections,” builds pulsing piano house before surprising with a knockout clarinet solo – something you won’t hear on any other rock record this year. The album fascinates with ambition, and pulls it off with pop aplomb. Double heavyweight LP housed in gatefold jacket with full color printed inner-sleeves and download code.
File Under: Electronic, Rock
Germs: Forming (Superior Viaduct) 7″
In tomorrow! The Germs’ debut 45 is often cited as the first true Los Angeles punk record. “Forming,” the first song written by Darby Crash and crudely recorded in guitarist Pat Smear’s parents’ garage, captures the band’s cultish allure and crushing lack of musicianship. The B-side track, “Sex Boy,” was recorded live on the set of Cheech & Chong’s Up In Smoke. As Claude Bessy gushes in Slash magazine in 1977, The Germs are “beyond music … mind-boggling … inexplicably brilliant in bringing monotony to new heights.” This reissue comes with original sleeve design and lyric sheet. Limited edition green vinyl.
File Under: Punk
Hayden: Hey Love (Arts & Crafts) LP
In tomorrow! On Hey Love, Hayden’s eighth full-length record, the Toronto musician and songwriter writes the most intimate passage yet in his decades-deep story. The follow-up to 2013’s Us Alone, his sonically warm and emotive debut record on Arts & Crafts, is a heartrending love letter of hope and disarray, the album’s thirteen songs among Hayden Desser’s most affective, tactile, rousing yet restrained work to date. On Hey Love’s first single “Nowhere We Cannot Go,” triumphant piano mingles with tattered synthesizer and electric guitar, conjuring resilience from the throes of personal reckoning. Both familiar and new, “Nowhere We Cannot Go” places us on the rickety frontier of Hayden’s home studio, where the certainty of pain and reward both figure prominently on the horizon.From the arresting low register of his 1996 arrival, Everything I Long For, through the enigmatic Skyscraper National Park (2001), and the steadfastly fragile Elk-Lake Serenade (2004), Hayden has woven one of the most consistent through-lines of musical narratives imaginable, leading his audience through a scrapbook of downtimes fought and resolved, love lost and love solved. Hey Love is a snapshot of this relationship: Hayden at his most prolific, and perhaps Hayden at his most celebrated. Hey Love was performed and produced almost entirely by Hayden at his Toronto home studio, Skyscraper National Park. Additional recordings took place at Revolution Studio in Toronto with contributions from his live band featuring Jay McCarrol, Taylor Knox, and JJ Ipsen.
File Under: Indie Rock, SSW, CanCon
Jaimie XX: In Colour (Young Turks) LP/3LP
In Colour is the Young Turks/XL Recordings debut album from Jaimie xx. The eleven track LP includes previous releases “Girl” and “Sleep Sound” as well as forthcoming single “Loud Places,” which features vocals from Romy Madley Croft. The release of In Colour comes on the back of an incredible six year creative period, which has seen him alternate effortlessly between his role as founding member and producer of The xx, and creator of more electronic and club orientated music as Jamie xx. A string of acclaimed productions in recent years including debut solo single “Far Nearer,” remixes for the likes of Adele, Radiohead and Florence & The Machine, production work for Drake and Alicia Keys plus We’re New Here – Jamie’s seminal reworking of Gil Scott-Heron’s final studio album – hinted at what was to come. With In Colour – a bold, celebratory, emotional record that features collaborations with The xx band mates Romy Madley Croft (“Seesaw” and “Loud Places”) and Oliver Sim (“Stranger In A Room”), Young Thug and Popcaan (“Good Times”) and Four Tet (“Seesaw”) – Jamie delivers his definitive artistic statement. “In Colour doesn’t feel like my first album because it’s the end of six years’ work. It’s about all of the music I’ve been inspired by in that time; the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been. I’ve gone from being a fan of electronic music, admiring great artists and producers, to feeling like I’m a part of their world. In Colour is about transition and transformation – going away, coming home, going away again, coming home again – and how that journey changes me every time. I love touring, and the places I’ve visited, but when I’m on my laptop I’m always thinking about home or music. I love being in a band, being a producer, being a DJ. This album is about all of that. In Colour isn’t the end of an era, it’s the start of what’s next.” – Jaimie xx
File Under: Electronic, House, UK Garage, Pop
Spider John Koerner: Some Old American Folk Songs… (Nero’s Neptune) LP
In tomorrow! After moving to Denmark in 1972 and abandoning music for a spell, the legendary Spider John Koerner returned to the U.S. in 1974 to record an LP for Dave Ray s Sweet Jane label. The resulting record is one of the finest of his 50-plus year career. As its title implies, the album displays a conscious move away from the folk blues stylings of earlier recordings and towards an embracement of traditional American folk music. The enduring quality of its songs is evidenced by their continued inclusion on Koerner s set lists 40 years later. This is our fourth release by Spider John on Nero s Neptune. Available in a limited artist s edition, the record is mastered from remarkably well-preserved first generation reel-to-reel tapes. The lacquers were cut by Ralph Karston at Atma-sphere, and the LP pressed at RTI. There is no digital technology used anywhere in the process. Not only is the sound better than on the original 1974 release, but the beautiful, hand printed covers feature new and improved artwork from a woodblock designed by Nero s Neptune art director and recording artist Paul Metzger. Edition of 300 copies.
File Under: Folk
L7: Bricks Are Heavy (Plain) LP
In tomorrow! Bricks Are Heavy was the third album by L7 originally released in 1992. Produced by Butch Vig, Bricks Are Heavy is somewhat poppier with more focused songwriting than their previous LPs and was the bands breakthrough album fueled by the success of the single “Pretend We’re Dead.” L7 was often associated with the then raging grunge movement (even though they were from L.A.) and it’s not hard to see why as the album features abrasive, sledgehammer guitar riffs and plenty of heavy rockers with the songs “Wargasm,” “Slide,” and “Everglade.” The group emphasized their feminist and Riot Grrrl side with “This Ain’t Pleasure” and “Diet Pill.” First domestic release on vinyl for this early ‘90s alternative classic.
File Under: 90s, Riot Grrrl, Grunge
Little Wings: Explains (Woodsist) LP
In tomorrow! “Kyle Field, professionally known as Little Wings, is a living legend. He is the modern embodiment of the traveling bard and the singing troubadour. Kyle’s discography is vast and impressive, full of tunes that are plucked from the lexicon of great American songwriting. On his latest effort, Explains, he crafts melodies so haunting and familiar; it’s as if he’s not composing them at all. He is tapping into something greater, acting as a vessel for the collective unconscious that is folk music. This is an album that is immediately accessible and also unfolds slowly, revealing greater depth with each listen. Kyle’s lyrics are direct yet poetic, funny yet sad. Explains is a fantastic record that celebrates the enduring spirit of a great artist. Its release on Woodsist is all too fitting – a label whose very foundation seems based on lasting creative integrity.” – Alex Bleeker
File Under: Folk, SSW
Mastery: Valis (Flenser) LP
In tomorrow! Valis is the first proper Mastery full-length and the most extreme record The Flenser has ever released. As its name and sigil demands, Mastery is a vessel to ascend the partial mind; one impulsive and chaotic, the other of collected illumination. A meditation unto the will subconscious. The solo black metal entity is the product of mastermind Ephemeral Domignostika (Pale Chalice, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis, Horn of Dagoth). Once a follower in the tradition of fellow Bay Area acts Leviathan, Crebain and Weakling, Mastery has evolved into something more. Valis is like a form of free jazz black metal—twisted and complex, with upwards of 100 riffs per song. Eschewing traditional songwriting and conceptual forms, Domignostika creates through spontaneous composition, cut ups and free performance. His extremely unique guitar style, polyrhythmic drum patterns and urgent vocal delivery bely the fact that Valis is the work of one person playing everything with the utmost intentionality. Mastery has previously released five extremely limited (and long sold out) demos since 2004, a collection on the tUMULt label in 2011 titled Barbaric Usurpation of the Hypereonic Black Metal Throne, and split albums with with Skullflower and Palace of Worms. “One can only assume that Mastery mastermind Ephemeral Domignostika is an extremely dangerous career sociopath after being subjected to this spastic sonic evisceration; either that or a deeply disturbed black metal savant.” —That’s How Kids Die “Mastery is total berzerker black metal, rooted in the tradition of true grim blackness, but filtered through Mastery’s cracked perception, transforming this into something beyond true; a droned out and damaged, outsider blackness, that sounds pretty much unlike almost any other black metal.” —Aquarius
File Under: Metal, Black Metal
Thee Oh Sees: Mutilator Defeated at Last (Castle Face) LP
In Tomorrow! Here we have a new batch from Thee Oh Sees for your absorption—nine muscular tunes primed to pummel. Last year’s Drop was more schizophrenic, ranging from heavy to whimsical and back; Mutilator Defeated at Last has more in common with the monolithic hugeness of Floating Coffin. With only two brief reprieves from its onslaught, this record is made to be played loudly and demands bodily sacrifice. Despite the plutonium heavy feel, Thee Oh Sees continue to be omnivorous. Synths and acoustic guitars wind throughout the album like veins of gold through granite. Any and all that stands in its way will be devoured and assimilated. This is the sound of a band doing what they do best.
File Under: Punk, Garage
OST: It Follows (Milan) LP
Back in stock! The acclaimed score to It Follows by Disasterpeace is receiving the vinyl treatment. This release, limited to 1,000 units, is pressed on color 180g vinyl and features original artwork by Midnight Marauder and a digital download card. Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, It Follows has been a highly praised film on the festival circuit. The horror/thriller tells the story of 19-year old Jay who, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, or something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her teenage friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind. Video game composer, Disasterpeace, composed the synth heavy and pulsating score. The electro, 80’s influenced score is a character itself in the film and has been praised wherever the film has been screening.
File Under: OST, Horror
Red Red Meat: Bunny Gets Paid (Jealous Butcher) LP
In tomorrow! “At the time, I felt like we’d made a classic rock record,” Red Red Meat main-man Tim Rutilli (Califone) says. “I was like, ‘This is our Astral Weeks.'” But listening back 20 years later, Rutilli recognizes the band’s ambition, a desire to break songs down to their barest, most primitive elements to “see what survives.” Arguably the band’s most complete album, the record pairs Stones-indebted blues-rock roots with beautiful songs, sounding miles removed from the era’s grunge and radio-friendly alternative rock tropes. Released for the first time on vinyl in 20 years, originally released by Sub Pop in 1995, comes with download, and includes 8 additional tracks.
File Under: Indie Rock
Soak: Before We Forgot How to Dream (Rough Trade) LP
Early on, much was made of the young age of Bridie Monds-Watson – who performs as Soak – but as her accomplished, wise-beyond-her-years songs and breathtakingly lovely voice reached more new listeners, the pixie-ish, tattooed skateboarder’s appeal has transcended her youth. Before We Forgot How To Dream is a beautifully-wrought album, full of musical turns that showcase Watson’s uniquely sweet and haunting voice, as well as lyrics that marry a sunny and romantic sense of nostalgia with frank treatments of human failings, hopes, and – yes – dreams. Before We Forgot How to Dream is a stunning snapshot of Soak’s formative years growing up in Northern Ireland, touching variously on the themes of isolation, family and what to do with your future. Already compared with the likes of Laura Marling and Beach House, Bridie has been a rising star in her hometown of Derry since the age of 14. Soak’s debut album traces her extraordinary journey to this point, and marks Bridie’s graduation from raw talent to a significant songwriter for the years ahead. Already a household name in the UK, with “Sea Creatures” in BBC Radio 1 A-list rotation and prominent festival bookings throughout the season, Soak’s debut appearances in NYC and SXSW in March 2015 found her playing before capacity crowds – “the only performer to stun the crowd into silence,” noted Consequence of Sound. US press heavyweights like NPR and the New York Times anointed her one of SXSW 2015’s breakout performers. The stage is set for Soak to win the hearts of US audiences, and we know she’ll win yours, too, once you listen.
File Under: Indie, SSW, Pop
Surfer Blood: 1000 Palms (Joyful Noise) LP
1000 Palms marks a return to Surfer Blood’s DIY ethos. Abandoning the big time studio, the band decided to head back home to self-record and self-produce their third full-length album. Free of major-label-influence, Surfer Blood has delivered a uniquely compelling album, unlike anything in their catalog. The story of 1000 Palms began on January 1st 2014, after playing a New Year’s show in Portland, OR. The band decided to stick around for the rest of the month, renting a practice space and sorting through a backlog of ideas. By February, as their lease ran out, Surfer Blood had recorded demos for most of the tracks that are now featured on the follow-up to 2010’s Astro Coast and 2013’s Pythons. After a frustrating time at their previous home, Warner Bros., the quartet was beyond ready to return to a more DIY recording process, completely void of the middlemen scrutinizing every bar of their previous LP. With the band self-recording, it was in the glamorous setting of an attic studio above a doctor’s office where drums were committed to tape. Of the work, frontman John Paul Pitts states “fortunately none of us are strangers to DIY recording, so this seemed like the kind of challenge well-suited to our band.” The making of 1000 Palms also owes a lot to the kindness of friends and family, with the remaining instrument sessions taking place at the home of drummer Tyler Schwartz’s parents, while they were on vacation. Following a few days of very little sleep and after the band pooled resources and called in favors, they managed to craft everything you now hear on 1000 Palms.
File Under: Indie Rock
Tragically Hip: s/t (Music on Vinyl) LP
The Tragically Hip is the self-titled debut album of Canadian rockers The Tragically Hip in 1987. The album is interesting because it harnesses their music in its rawest and earliest stages. At the time of The Tragically Hip, the band was still playing extremely small venues, so its appeal lies within its freshman sound and its link to what the band later become. The first outings comes through tracks like “I’m A Werewolf, Baby”. The track “Last American Exit” sounds like it could have come from their accomplished Road Apples album. The album includes the bonus track “All Canadian Surf Club”.
File Under: Rock, CanCon
Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love (Jagjaguwar) LP
The threads of our past never unravel, they hover like invisible webs, occasionally glistening due to a sly angle of the sun. On Multi-Love, Unknown Mortal Orchestra frontman and multi-instrumentalist Ruban Nielson reflects on relationships: airy, humid longing, loss, the geometry of desire that occurs when three people align. Where Nielson addressed the pain of being alone on II, Multi-Love takes on the complications of being together. Multi-Love adds dimensions to the band’s already kaleidoscopic approach, with Nielson exploring a newfound appreciation for synthesizers. The new songs channel with the spirit of psych innovators without ignoring the last 40 years of music, forming a flowing, cohesive whole that reflects restless creativity. Cosmic escapes and disco rhythms speak to developing new vocabulary, while Nielson’s vocals reach powerful new heights. “It felt good to be rebelling against the typical view of what an artists is today, a curator,” he says. “It’s more about being someone who makes things happen in concrete ways. Building old synthesizers and bringing them back to life, creating sounds that aren’t quite like anyone else’s. I think that’s much more subversive.” While legions of artists show fidelity to the roots of psychedelia, Unknown Mortal Orchestra shares the rare quality that makes the genre’s touchstones so vital, constant exploration. “A genre-smashing blend of off-kilter funk and new wave romanticism.” – Consequence of Sound
File Under: Rock, Indie, Psych
White Eyes: s/t (Numero) LP
Hailing from the Show-Me State, White Eyes lugged their heavy psych and harmony-clad ballads across the Midwest, honing their live set wherever audiences were abundant. Whether it be the famed Cowtown Ballroom in Kansas City or the nearest American Legion, the quintet of long-haired bohemians loaded a double bass drum set, a wall of Marshall amplifiers, and a array of acoustic guitars into their 1953 Cadillac hearse to deliver their impeccable stage show across the plains. Despite years of relentless gigging, White Eyes never caught their break. This previously issued LP, recorded between the fall of 1969 and 1970, was originally intended as a demo for talent buyers and industry prospectors. Well-crafted arrangements and pro-sounding production make this an exceptional piece of lost psychedelic pop.
File Under: Psych Pop
Wire: s/t (Pink Flag) LP
Wire’s 13th studio album – simply titled Wire – comprises material that was written with an album in mind, but toured extensively first, as well as songs that singer and guitarist Colin Newman introduced to the group in the studio just prior to recording. The idea was to get the most spontaneous reaction possible from the musicians, and far from the rough and ready results one might expect from such a tack, Wire is full of swooning pop melodies with a ’60s tinge and an irresistible, near motorik rhythmic momentum. One can recognize certain melodic inflections, guitar and bass motifs, and drum rhythms from Wire’s idiosyncratic vocabulary but it has a remarkable freshness. The basic tracks were recorded at Rockfield Studios near Monmouth, with overdubs added at Brighton Electric last December following the group’s Drill: Brighton Festival. The 11 tracks selected for release were the ones that came together most naturally. From the outset Wire was an alliance between four very different characters and continues today with the addition, in 2012, of It Hugs Back guitarist Matthew Simms, who is around thirty years younger than the other group members. “With Matt there was a really new dynamic that had appeared in the group’s sound and that was something we wanted to capture, utilise and be creative with,” says Lewis. Wire is the first album where Simms has been involved in formulating the material from the ground up, but when the group’s particular chemistry starts working he is now very much part of the process. “With ‘Sleepwalking’, I don’t think we even ran all the way through it before we recorded it.” Newman says. “Wire do this thing so well and there’s instant atmosphere. There’s my rhythm guitar, Matt playing lap steel, Graham (Lewis) playing bass with effects – there’s as much effects as bass – and Rob’s tolling drumming. It was already almost sustainable for six minutes with just that.” Lewis also provides most of the lyrics for the album, their subject matter encompassing love songs, cryptic narratives and coded messages. One time, Newman asked Lewis to send over some unfinished, unformatted text so he wouldn’t be bound by what to use for the chorus. This material spawned two songs written on the same day, “Split Your Ends” and the droll “In Manchester.” The latter has one of the album’s loveliest melodies, but it’s no coded paean to the city in its Baggy heyday. Instead this process led to the disorientating and rather absurd situation of having “In Manchester” as a soaring chorus, when the song is not about Manchester beyond a single line in the lyric. As the album progresses, some of the sunlit pop tunes become more shadowy and it ultimately plunges into the musical black hole of “Harpooned,” eight churning minutes of the group’s darkest, most abrasive music to date, and a favorite in live performances since 2013.
File Under: Punk
ZNR: Barricade 3 (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow! ZNR was the French duo of Hector Zazou and Joseph Racaille (hence, Zazou ’n’ Racaille) active in the mid to late ’70s. Their 1976 debut, Barricade 3, is an anti-pop masterpiece that truly defies categorization; it makes perfect sense that ZNR appears on the infamous Nurse With Wound list. Featuring an array of seemingly dichotomous instruments (piano, synthesizers, woodwinds, electric guitar and more) as well as genuinely bizarre vocals, the album is composed of fifteen odd experiments using a loose framework of analog electronics, avant-garde rock, jazz influences, and post-structuralist études. As The Shadow Ring’s Graham Lambkin writes, “The debut ZNR LP has long remained one of my all-time faves. A collision of eccentric Satie-esque miniatures, strange keyboard / synth explorations and the occasional song, delivered in a mixture of French and Spanish tongues. I always think of the creepy, over-ripe vocals on ‘Seynete’ as one of the LP’s most memorable moments, but there are many.” Despite its schizophrenic mystique, Barricade 3 is very witty and surprisingly accessible with hints of Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and Perrey-Kingsley. This long out-of-print vinyl reissue reproduces the original gatefold design including illustration by Don Van Vliet.
File Under: Experimental, Electronic, Abstract
Various: Saved & Sanctified: Songs of the Jade Label (Numero) LP
The rawest, DIY gospel ever resurrected. The West Side of Chicago was just an annex of the deep rural South for Gene Autry Cash and his flock of recent Old Dominion transplants looking to cut their fiery, unadorned sounds indelibly to plastic. His Jade label absorbed those God-fearing artists: family bands with wailing kids and barely amateur groups sourced from local parishes, infused with reverberations of country and western and deep soul. Glinting authenticity shines from every track like a diamond in the unpolished rough—each group completely convinced that salvation comes through song.
File Under: Gospel
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