Well, the unforeseen advantage/disadvantage of going out of town and skipping a news letter is that it makes for a monster list this week. If you’ve been in in the last week you may have seen some of this stuff in here already, but some of it is also showing up tomorrow morning so, there. Anyway, I’m out of practice and this has taken way too long to put together, sorry about that.
…..pick of the week…..
Sonic Youth: Evol (Goofin) LP
The third studio album by Sonic Youth, originally released in May 1986 on SST Records, shows the first signs that the band was ready to transform their no wave past into a greater alternative rock sensibility. “EVOL … mark[s] the true departure point of Sonic Youth’s musical evolution,” says Pitchfork, who place the album in the #31 slot of their Top 100 Albums of The 1980s. “In measured increments, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo … bring form to the formless, tune to the tuneless, and with the help of Steve Shelley’s drums…, [impose] melody and composition on their trademark dissonance.” Stereogum likewise praises the album as one that is “full of suspense…, the cornerstone [of] the Sonic Youth sound…, ground zero for the combination of chiming guitars and atonal skronk… [and] muggy delirium…. The virile ‘Tom Violence’ sounds less written than coaxed from a cauldron, the sort of song that fogs windows. The off-kilter [droning love song] ‘Starpower’ … is sung [by Kim Gordon] in a frosty [Nico-evoking] monotone. ‘In The Kingdom #19,’ featuring Mike Watt on bass and … vocals [by Ranaldo]…, is a harrowing story of a highway wreck over a suitably edgy instrumental backing punctuated by … live firecrackers into the vocal booth.” “EVOL slithers into the unconscious,” notes Popstache. “Once the [detuned melodies and haunting riffs and] final whispers of feedback [of ‘Expressway to Yr. Skull’] depart from the speakers…, the music [leaves] a faded footprint, forever reeling the listener back for another strange trip.”
File Under: Experimental, Indie Rock, Essential Grooves
Ryan Adams: Live at Carnegie Hall (Blue Note) 6LP Box
This limited edition 180g 6LP box set edition of Ryan Adams’ Live At Carnegie Hall spans 42-songs and is comprised of two full sets the esteemed singer/songwriter performed and recorded over two nights at the historic New York venue near the tail end of 2014. The first 3LPs feature the Saturday, November 15th concert while the remaining 3LPs feature the Monday, November 17th concert. The career-spanning box set includes takes on many of Adams’ classic songs as well as new songs from his most recent Grammy nominated eponymous release, which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard Top 200. Live At Carnegie Hall was recorded and mixed by Charlie Stavish at The Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. “When you look up into the crowd at Carnegie Hall there is a feeling of reverence. I know what the seats feel like. I know the angle of the stage from the seats…so I sort of have an idea of what is happening…Strangely my only thought ever up there is to make the people feel relaxed and like there is no pressure. I love diffusing it. I cannot explain why but once diffused it can build to an even deeper place. Once you destroy the 4th wall you can rebuild. I like to rebuild the emotional space with the audience. It feels like the best thing. It feels real.” – Ryan Adams
File Under: Folk, SSW, Live
Barry Adamson: Moss Side Story (Mute) LP
Barry Adamson’s work as a bassist for Magazine and Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds gave little indication of the complex, cinematic works he has composed as a solo artist. After leaving the Bad Seeds in 1987, Adamson decided to follow the path of film composers like John Barry, Ennio Morricone, and Bernard Herrmann, whose work had intrigued him since childhood. His first full-length album, 1989’s Moss Side Story, is a tour de force, blending post-punk, industrial, spy guitar, and various classic movie composer quotes into a seamless 54-minute soundtrack to an ominous film noir that didn’t exist.” This recording led to Adamson’s work on soundtracks for actual films in the early ‘90s, including Delusion, Gas Food Lodging, and Shuttle Cock. Now, Barry Adamson’s evocative debut solo album, Moss Side Story is being reissued back on vinyl for the first time since it’s original release in 1989 courtesy of Mute Records.
File Under: Pseudosoundtracks, Noir, Nick Cave
Barry Adamson: Oedipus Schomedipus (Mute) LP
Barry Adamson’s work as a bassist for Magazine and Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds gave little indication of the complex, cinematic works he has composed as a solo artist. After leaving the Bad Seeds in 1987, Adamson decided to follow the path of film composers like John Barry, Ennio Morricone, and Bernard Herrmann, whose work had intrigued him since childhood. After some releases with more of a beat-heavy pop feel, Adamson moved back into the land of noirish soundtrack with the release of 1996’s Oedipus Schmoedipus. Nick Cave adds a guest vocal to (and co-writes) “The Sweetest Embrace”; Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker can be heard on the co-written “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Pelvis.” Adamson’s skill in layering and devising unusual sound textures still qualifies him as one of experimental rock’s more imaginative composers and producers. With this reissue, Oedipus Schmoedipus is being released on vinyl for the first time in North America.
File Under: Pseudosoundtrack, Noir, Nick Cave
Alceu Valenca: Molhado De Suor (Sol Re Sol) LP
“I am the fruit of the culture of my country, Violas, the singers, the guitar players, the Lusitanian pastoris, the frevo and blocks, maracatu, black, and the Moorish thing.” —Alceu Valença Brazil in the early 1970s had one of the vibrant music scenes in the world. Tropicalia was going strong, a challenge to both the music establishment and the state. Música Popular Brasileira (or MPB) was firmly established. Up in the northeastern corner of Brazil, centered in Recife, was another exciting strain of Brazilian culture called Udigrudi. Lula Cortes, Ze Ramalho and Satwa were a few artists from the movement; but none is more celebrated than Alceu Valença. Valença grew up with the expectation of being a lawyer. He did go to law school, but he ditched the legal life for his first passion: music. In 1970, he played with Ave Sangria. Soon after he made a couple records with his friend, the artist and musician Geraldo Azevedo. However, his first solo album Molhado De Suor is what truly caused people to take notice. While other Udigrudi musicians melded traditional northeastern Brazilian music and rhythms with folk rock and psychedelia, it was Molhado De Suor that set the mark high. Aided by Lola Cortes and Geraldo Azevedo, Valença’s rich vocals combine with driving guitar work, moody arrangements and unusual trips. Molhado De Suor is a record Slipcue calls innovative, insistent and vital. It is considered a Brazilian classic, often landing in Brazilian “Best of All Time” lists and sought after by collectors. Valença followed its release with many albums, each one establishing him as not only superstar, but the one artist who most successfully integrated the sounds of his native region, Pernambuco, with pop and rock. He’s collaborated with filmmaker Sérgio Ricardo, acted in film and on stage, played Montreux Jazz Festival and countless other festivals, and has received or been nominated for numerous awards including a Latin Grammy. And what is probably the biggest honor of all, in Brazil he is known by one name, Alceu. Molhado De Suor was originally released in 1974 on the Som Livre label and has never been reissued. Sol Re Sol is proud to bring this important album back in print.
File Under: Rock, Brazilian, Prog
Leon Bridges: Coming Home (Columbia) LP
Leon Bridges is the ‘out of almost nowhere’ story that only comes along once in a while. Awareness of Bridges and his unique craft continues to grow authentically and consistently. It was only last summer that Leon was singing open mics in his hometown of Fort Worth, TX. One of those open mics was attended by Austin Jenkins and Josh Block of the notable indie band White Denim who were absolutely floored by Leon’s voice, songs, and creative vision. They soon after set-up shop in a makeshift studio and recorded the throwback rhythm and blues album’s title cut “Coming Home” completely live to tape. This first take is exactly what you hear opening the record. The remaining 9 songs including previously released tracks “Better Man” and “Lisa Sawyer” followed in a burst of creativity and inspiration. “Recorded live at Jenkins and Block’s Niles City Sound studio, using only vintage equipment, “Coming Home” explores the reasons why gospel meeting soul worked so magically at the dawn of the 1960s: the swing, the intimate relationship between background and lead vocals, the way the descending organ line works a pirouette around the triplets Bridges sings. This kind of perfection is always relevant.” – Ann Powers, NPR
File Under: Funk, Soul, Rhythm & Blues
Richard Buckner: The Hill (Merge) LP
On the 100th anniversary of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, Merge is reissuing the epic it inspired: Richard Buckner’s The Hill. The Hill started in 1996 in The Ranch Olancha Motel, a dusty place near the mouth of Death Valley, California. Buckner, who was en route to Tucson, Arizona, to record what would become Devotion & Doubt, stayed a week in a room with no phone, no television, carrying his guitar, a four-track recorder, and a copy of Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. He tinkered with a few of the book’s poems, put them on a cassette, and forgot about it until an acquaintance discovered it in his truck four years later. Beset with writer’s block and looking for a distraction, Buckner would find in the tape the spur he needed. Recorded in Edmonton, Alberta, and Tucson, The Hill converts Spoon River poems to music. Each page of Spoon River Anthology reads as a final, postmortem dictum of a different deceased resident—more than 250 of them now passed—in the fictional Midwestern town of Spoon River. The epitaphs are important for Buckner because, in death, these people strip the breathing city of its dishonesty. Each one, from Reuben Pantier to Elizabeth Childers to Oscar Hummel, is no longer concerned with whispers and pointed fingers that are often the consequence of a life laid bare for all to see. They’re unleashing themselves, without fallacy or attachment. Buckner chooses 18 of these confessions, each given a unique rendering. Backed by Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino and surveyed with Buckner’s unflagging vocal desperation, Spoon River’s residents come back to life. Like so much of his career, Buckner disappeared into Spoon River and returns to us with its story.
File Under: Folk, Alt. Country
Evan Caminiti: Meridian (Thrill Jockey) LP
Evan Caminiti’s slow but steady progression towards electronic music from sand-swept guitar drone mirrors the pace of the music he makes. It has been measured, each move well-considered and clearly intentional. Caminiti has immersed himself in electronic production on Meridian, creating organic sounds through his machines, patching sounds that recall the brassy resonance of horns and hazy choral clusters. Synthesizers hiss and crackle under layers of reverb and fog. Sounds undulate and implode in upon themselves, with bursts of noise dropping in and out to create shadows of rhythm. Caminiti’s electronic systems do not run autonomously – the sounds heard on Meridian required real-time human interaction to bring them to life, and that human touch is essential to the mysterious atmosphere he produces on this new album. On Meridian, Caminiti expands upon the themes he began developing on two of his previous solo works, Dreamless Sleep and Night Dust, and with his other project, Barn Owl. Barn Owl’s most recent album, V, incorporated more electronic textures and layers than their previous works, hinting at the direction that Caminiti takes on Meridian. While Dreamless Sleep and Night Dust were centered around Caminiti’s guitar and his manipulations of the instrument, Meridian highlights Caminiti’s dextrous synthesizer work and production skills. Chiming tones float above monstrous swells of sub-bass, creating the illusion of a massive spacial divide. Caminiti adds rhythms and dynamic swells to abstract sonic textures and field recordings taken over the course of two years, grounding the album in specific times and places, however obscured from the listener. The album takes its name from the concept of energy flowing throughout the body along different paths called meridians. The pieces on Meridian were developed through live performance and made with the intention of being played at full volume, causing the sounds to course through the veins and along the meridional paths. The tracks pulsate and flow, from the throbbing beat of “Collapse” to the orchestral sounds of “Wire,” all connected by the foggy, atmospheric framework established on album opener “Overtaken.” Meridian was recorded and mixed in San Francisco and New York between 2013 and 2015. Caminiti plans to do some rare solo touring around the release.
File Under: Ambient, Drone, Electronic
Carlton Melton: Out To Sea (Agitated) LP
The voyage is long, the voyage is joyous. Out to Sea is the most focused of all Carlton Melton’s recordings to date. Leaving their geodesic dome behind, they hitched their magick karpet to San Francisco’s El Studio for a fried weekend in July 2014 with The Fucking Champs / Trans Am’s Phil Manley at the production helm (and occasionally contributing to the furor—Manley plays guitar on “Similarities” and synth on “Peaking Duck”). Out to Sea sees Carlton Melton expand the psychedelia and free outrock sound of their previous output to its furthest horizons. Huge rhythms, outta space riffage, sparkling synths, pastoral passages, searing shards of molten guitar, smothered ambience and gentle guitar-picking all flow together into waves of sound to lap at the shores of your senses. We’re gonna need a bigger boat.
File Under: Psych, Space Rock
Chromatics: Running From The Sun (Italians Do It Better) LP
A collection of unreleased material from Chromatics’ Kill For Love sessions. “After hours of tracking at the studio in Montreal, we’d clear the channels on the mixer, open a bottle of wine, and feel around in the dark, working our way through the atmospheric elements and peeling back layers of rhythm. Throwing the songs into the abstract pile and playing them while driving home in the snow.”—Johnny Jewel
File Under: Electro, Synth Pop, Italo
Cocteau Twins: The Pink Opaque (4AD) LP
Long out of print, early-80s compilation, The Pink Opaque is back as 180 Gram UK import LP with download. In 1986, The Pink Opaque brought together the best of the Cocteau Twins’ early works to become their first official release in the US. Already a cult band on college radio, some classics like “Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops” and “Aikea-Guinea” were given new mixes for this release, while it also featured “Millimillenary,” the first run out for incoming band member Simon Raymonde. To this day, it remains a great entry point to a wonderful band. “Wax and Wane” is re-mixed from the album Garlands, recorded in spring 1982, when Cocteau Twins comprised Robin Guthrie, Elizabeth Fraser, and Will Heggie. By the summer of 1983 Will Heggie had departed and material was produced for the subsequent release Sunburst and Snowblind, from which “Hitherto” and “From the Flagstones” are taken. Simon Raymonde joined Cocteau Twins in late 1983 and new material included “The Spangle Maker,” “Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops,” and “Pepper-Tree,” which were released as a 12″ EP, and the song “Millimillenary,” which appeared on an NME compilation tape. “Lorelei” was recorded in the summer of 1984 for the album Treasure, and “Aikea-Guinea” produced for 7″ and 12″ EP release in early 1985. All songs produced by Cocteau Twins except “Wax and Wane,” Cocteau Twins/Ivo. “Millimillenary” was performed live during 1984/85.
File Under: Indie Rock, Ethereal
Cocteau Twins: Tiny Dynamite/Echoes in a Shallow Bay (4AD) LP
When they first emerged in the early 80s, the Cocteau Twins were compared most often to Siouxsie & The Banshees, but in truth they never sounded like anyone – or anything – else. Taken together, their nine albums, and sixteen EPs/singles, sound less like a band and more like an element of nature. Which was very 4AD. Ivo Watts-Russell has always claimed that his aim was to unearth music that was timeless, free of any trend, movement or era and even in their earliest incarnation, the Cocteau Twins were true to that remit, firmly charting their own course. Following 2014’s represses of Cocteau Twins’ Blue Bell Knoll and Heaven or Las Vegas come the combined EPs of Tiny Dynamine / Echoes In A Shallow Bay and long out of print, early-80s compilation, The Pink Opaque. Using new masters created from high definition files transferred from the original analogue tapes, both albums will receive 180g vinyl pressings in July 2015 (also coming with download codes). With a history of releasing singles between albums, the two EPs of Tiny Dynamine and Echoes In A Shallow Bay were originally released two weeks apart back in November 1985. Seen as companion pieces, they both acted as a precursor to their fourth studio album, Victorialand. 30 years later, they’re now being married together on to one piece of vinyl, completed with reformatted artwork.
File Under: Indie Rock, Ethereal
Alice Coltrane: Universal Consciousness (Superior Viaduct) LP
Originally released on Impulse! in 1971, Universal Consciousness is a major turning point in Alice Coltrane’s momentous career. While her previous albums pushed the limits of spiritual free-jazz and featured much of her late husband’s band, Universal Consciousness expands the harpist / pianist’s compositional palette with organ and strings (working with Ornette Coleman). “Oh Allah” is the finest example of Coltrane’s new direction: tense violins dissolve into sublime organ solos and exquisite brushwork from long-time Miles Davis collaborator Jack DeJohnette. While the title track undulates with a fierce clamor, “Hare Krishna” showcases Coltrane’s uncanny ability for transcendent and slow-paced arrangements. In The Wire’s “100 Records That Set the World on Fire,” David Toop writes, “[Universal Consciousness] clearly connects to other dyspeptic jazz traditions—the organ trio, the soloists with strings—yet volleys them into outer space, ancient Egypt, the Ganges, the great beyond. The production is astounding, the quality of improvisation is riveting, the string arrangements are apocalyptic rather than saccharine, the balance of turbulence and calm a genuine dialectic that later mystic / exotic post-jazz copped out of pursuing. Her lack of constraint was dimly regarded by adherents of ’70s jazz and its masculine orthodoxies, yet Alice deserved better credit for virtuosity, originality, and the sheer will power needed to realize her vision.” This first-time vinyl reissue has been carefully remastered from the original master tapes.
File Under: Free Jazz, Spiritual
Desaparecidos: Payola (Epitaph) LP
More than a decade after putting out their first album, Desaparecidos return with a follow-up that breathes new life into their brutal fusion of protest music and punk. Though the band never truly parted ways, vocalist/guitarist Conor Oberst, guitarist Denver Dalley, keyboardist Ian McElroy, bassist/vocalist Landon Hedges, and drummer Matt Baum have spent much of the past 13 years pursuing other ambitions (including Oberst’s work as a solo artist and Bright Eyes frontman). Fueling their Epitaph Records debut Payola with the same spirit of unrest that propelled 2002’s Read Music/Speak Spanish, Desaparecidos now match that passion with a fuller, more furious sound and gut-punching commentary on everything from immigration reform and the healthcare debate to gun control and Wall Street bailouts. With its title capturing what McElroy calls “these endless examples of what’s wrong with the whole money culture happening in America today,” Payola was co-produced by the band and their longtime collaborator Mike Mogis (First Aid Kit, The Faint, Man Man). Recorded in several bursts over the past few years at ARC Studios in Omaha, the album’s 14 tracks pack a barrage of outcry and insight into each sharply crafted lyric while storming forward with a ferocious energy. And in their implausibly melodic blend of blistering riffs, lead-heavy rhythms, and savage vocal work, Desaparecidos reveal a bottled-up intensity that suggests a band whose chemistry’s stronger than ever before. “It wasn’t like we were trying to recapture some former glory,” says Oberst of Desaparecidos’ long-planned reunion in the studio. “It was like we had to do this, and we had to do it now.” Limited Edition (2000) deluxe colored LP features a diecut cover that continues the tradition begun with Read Music/Speak Spanish for exceptional packaging and design from this band.
File Under: Punk, Rock, Bright Eyes
Flying Saucer Attack: Instrumentals (Drag City) LP
Something thought lost forever re-enters your life. How do you respond? How do you even begin to negotiate the vortex of mixed emotions whipped up by such a reappearance? The world shifts sideways. Logic is confounded. The uncanny takes a hold. West Country feedback outfit Flying Saucer Attack are a case in point. In recent years it’s become clear that the Bristol based group were prescient to a considerable degree. The amplified pastoralism of the group and its various offshoots might have seemed out of step with the times during its initial emergence at the height of Britpop, but the rural has since emerged as a rich source of inspiration for numerous artists in the fields of experimental rock and electronic music. Enter Instrumentals 2015. Comprised of 15 fresh Dave Pearce solo performances recorded in characteristically lo-fi manner on tape and CD-R, Instrumentals 2015 is an album that will appeal both to FSA diehards and those wholly unfamiliar with the outfit’s recorded output. The 15 tracks present an impressionistic narrative which transports the listener through the excoriating dronescapes and rueful introspection of the album’s early pieces to the more redemptive cadences of its closing half. Given its sense of momentum, maintained through Pearce’s thoughtful sequencing, this is an album that should be experienced in its entirety, the better to appreciate its deliberate emotional arc.
File Under: Ambient, Space Rock
High on Fire: Luminiferous (E1) LP
World-renowned power trio High On Fire will release its highly-anticipated new album, Luminiferous, in June 2015 via eOne Music. Recorded at Salem, Massachusetts’ GodCity Studios with producer Kurt Ballou, the record is the follow-up to the group’s 2012 release, De Vermis Mysteriis, an album hailed as “not for the faint of heart ” by The New Yorker and “a fantastically constructed bloodbath” by Entertainment Weekly. Universally recognized as one of the most potent acts in music today, High On Fire creates molten heavy metal that merges primal fury and aggression, blackened bombast and hall of fame heaviness. The group’s seventh studio album, Luminiferous, is a supersonic exercise in conquest by volume, delivering calculated catharsis as a volcano of revolving riffs and hailstorm of thundering drums combine to beam a blazing spotlight towards the future of modern metal music. “We’re doing our part to expose The Elite and the fingers they have in religion, media, governments and financial world downfall and their relationship to all of our extraterrestrial connections in the race to control this world,” comments vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike. “Wake up, it’s happening. All while we stare at a socially engineered lie we think of as normalcy. Unless we wake from the dream, there will come true doom.” After nearly two decades of trailblazing new passageways to heaviness, High On Fire’s strong, stunning archetype continues to both sharpen and evolve; the trio’s vision has never been clearer. The riff, as always, is king! “High On Fire are Gods to a generation of bikers, barbarians and beardos, and Luminiferous is one of their finest hours.” – Rolling Stone
File Under: Metal, Stoner, Doom
Joy Division: Substance (Rhino) LP
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” in June 2015, Rhino Records is pleased to announce the re-issue of four iconic Joy Division releases on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl. The studio albums Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980) will be available in June and will be followed in July by Still (1981) and an expanded version of Substance (1988), both available as double-LP sets. Each design replicates the original in painstaking detail, including the gatefold covers used for Still and Substance. The music heard on the albums was remastered in 2007 when Rhino introduced expanded versions of the albums. The lone exception is Substance, which features audio remastered in 2010 for the +- singles box and for the first time on vinyl, the expanded tracklist from the original CD release, plus two additional songs: “As You Said” and the Pennine version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Joy Division recorded two albums before singer Ian Curtis tragically took his own life in 1980. But what the Manchester quartet lacked in longevity, it more than made up for in quality. The band’s only two studio albums were groundbreaking and helped shape the sound and mood of the alternative music that followed in the band’s wake. Curtis (guitar/vocals), Bernard Sumner (keyboard), Peter Hook (bass), and Stephen Morris (drums) released their debut, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979. By the end of the year, the album’s atmospheric sound had won over fans and critics with tracks like “She’s Lost Control” and “Day of the Lords.” Closer, the group’s second album, arrived the following year and its dark and melancholy tones continued to earn rave reviews for songs like “Isolation” and “Heart and Soul.” The compilations Still and Substance fill in the missing pieces of the band’s history with non-album singles (“Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”), unreleased studio tracks (“Something Must Break” and “Ice Age”), and choice live recordings (“Disorder” and the only performance of “Ceremony”).
File Under: New Wave, Rock
Joy Division: Still (Rhino) LP
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” in June 2015, Rhino Records is pleased to announce the re-issue of four iconic Joy Division releases on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl. The studio albums Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980) will be available in June and will be followed in July by Still (1981) and an expanded version of Substance (1988), both available as double-LP sets. Each design replicates the original in painstaking detail, including the gatefold covers used for Still and Substance. The music heard on the albums was remastered in 2007 when Rhino introduced expanded versions of the albums. The lone exception is Substance, which features audio remastered in 2010 for the +- singles box and for the first time on vinyl, the expanded tracklist from the original CD release, plus two additional songs: “As You Said” and the Pennine version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Joy Division recorded two albums before singer Ian Curtis tragically took his own life in 1980. But what the Manchester quartet lacked in longevity, it more than made up for in quality. The band’s only two studio albums were groundbreaking and helped shape the sound and mood of the alternative music that followed in the band’s wake. Curtis (guitar/vocals), Bernard Sumner (keyboard), Peter Hook (bass), and Stephen Morris (drums) released their debut, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979. By the end of the year, the album’s atmospheric sound had won over fans and critics with tracks like “She’s Lost Control” and “Day of the Lords.” Closer, the group’s second album, arrived the following year and its dark and melancholy tones continued to earn rave reviews for songs like “Isolation” and “Heart and Soul.” The compilations Still and Substance fill in the missing pieces of the band’s history with non-album singles (“Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”), unreleased studio tracks (“Something Must Break” and “Ice Age”), and choice live recordings (“Disorder” and the only performance of “Ceremony.”)
File Under: New Wave, Rock
SK Kakraba: Yonye (Sun Ark) LP
SK Kakraba Lobi is a Master Xylophonist from Ghana, the nephew of Master Xylophonist Kakraba Lobi. SK is a Master of the Gyil, which means that he is both an instrument maker and a virtuoso performer. The Gyil is the Ghanian Xylophone, and the primary instrument of the Lobi, Sisala, and Dagara people of Northern Ghana. It is constructed of 14 wooden slats suspended over calabash gourds that have been fitted with resonators. SK was an instructor of the gyil at the International Centre for African Music and Dance at the University of Ghana, but has recently moved to Los Angeles, CA. SK has performed at festivals in Europe and the Middle East, and he has toured West Africa and America.
File Under: Ghana, World
Calvin Love: Super Future (Arts & Crafts) LP
Only once with every blue moon comes an artist that seems so familiar yet out of space as Calvin Love. On Super Future, his first album for Arts & Crafts, the young charmer from Edmonton, Alberta, steeps songs of psychedelic wisdom in celestial sensuality. Calvin Love arrives an enigma, a strutting, crooning contradiction: as menacing as he is magnetic, like sex and murder wrapped together in a trench coat. With coolness that defies contrivance, Love links sounds and images of science-fiction vintage with an auspicious version of the future. “Automaton” plays late summer knight-rider funk like a factory machine, while soul-drenched bass and electric guitars chase each other in flirtatious dialogue. Love’s reedy tenor phases in the same atmospheric register as age-old synthesizers, singing: “Now off in the distance, her machine calls out ‘I wish you were my robot’ so I wouldn’t feel left out’.” The music drips with crystal aura, blending obsession with the beauty of artifice and the inner systems of real and natural things. It’s this infallible match of the authentic to the inventive that makes Calvin Love’s Super Future so strange and inviting.
File Under: Pop, Indie Rock, CanCon
Kawabata Makoto: Astro Love & Infinite Kisses (VHF) LP
Kawabata Makoto emerges from a period of relative quiet with his first widely available solo release in several years, the blockbuster Krautrock-flavored Astro Love & Infinite Kisses. This lovely and impressionistic record showcases the other side of Makoto’s outrageous works with Acid Mothers Temple. Taking cues from classics of the genre like Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra and Steve Hillage’s Rainbow Dome Musick, “Dos Nurages” is the album’s centerpiece, a 41-minute hypnotic epic, with echoplex’d guitar anchoring a stream of expertly done glissando. The title track is a darker drone in the tradition of Kawabata’s Inui series of releases for VHF. “Woman From Dream Island” closes the record with a thick buzz of tamboura overlaid with trippy backwards guitar, before giving way to a gentle, finger-picked acoustic coda.
File Under: Kosmische, Psych, Acid Mothers Temple
Sidney Miller: Linguas De Fogo (Sol Re Sol) LP
Sol Re Sol Records is happy to announce the reissue of Sidney Miller’s lost classic Linguas De Fogo. Originally released in 1974, Miller’s third album is one of the best Brazilian records of its time. A seamless mesh of Brazilian pop, psychedelia and Bossa Nova, Linguas De Fogo could almost be mistaken as Tropicalia—if Miller hadn’t distanced himself from the genre. Of Linguas De Fogo, Flabbergated Vibes writes, “The record is dreamy, hazy, psychedlicized, progressive MPB that evokes early Lô Borges, or Beto Guedes, or the first Nelson Angelo / Joyce album…. The arrangements are all great, balancing his relaxed, almost sedated vocal lines against taught, double-tracked flute harmonies or funky electric piano or keyboards or fuzzy electric guitars that sometimes sound like it was plugged straight into the mixing board and using the input as an overdrive…. This album is very deserving of that tag of ‘lost masterpiece’ that gets thrown around a little too freely these days.” Miller first received notice in 1967 when Nara Leão recorded five of his songs (along with four by Chico Buraque, to whom Miller was compared). This was soon followed by his own album and recordings of his songs by Quarteto em Cy. He then contributed music to film (many for his friend director Paulo Thiago) and plays (one of which he collaborated on with Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil). While his songs were recorded by Veloso, Leão, Quarteto em Cy, MPB-4, Alaíde Costa and Gal Costa, Miller released only two more albums in his lifetime, Linguas De Fogo being his last. That he did not receive the acclaim his peers did was not due to his lack of talent. Miller was incredibly shy; he loathed to take the stage and masked his shyness with drugs and drink. He passed away young, at age 30 in 1980. How he died is disputed. Though Linguas De Fogo is highly regarded among diehard Brazilain music fanatics and the original vinyl pressing is much coveted, Miller has been a secret pleasure yet undiscovered by the general public. However, recently he has been rediscovered by a new crop of Brazilian artists, and hopefully this release will further push interest in his music.
File Under: Brazilian, Psych, Pop, Bossa Nova
Mdou Moctar: Akounak Tedalat Taha (Sahel Sounds) LP
Rocking soundtrack recording from Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it, a revolutionary story of guitars, motorcycles, cellphones—and the music of a new generation. Original compositions from Mdou Moctar from the film about his rise to fame in the city of Agadez. From the raucous heavy psychedelic to the beautiful pentatonic sublime. Includes original compositions and reverb-heavy intermission film score.
File Under: African, Tuareg, Desert Blues
Giorgio Moroder: Déjà vu DLX (RCA) LP
Deja Vu is the first solo album in over 30 years from disco founder and electronic music trailblazer Giorgio Moroder. The long awaited 12-track offering features a superstar line up of collaborators including Britney Spears, Sia, Charli XCX, Kylie Minogue, Mikky Ekko, Foxes, Kelis, Marlene and Matthew Koma. Comments Moroder: “So excited to release my first album in 30 years; it took quite some time. Who would have known adding the ‘click’ to the 24 track would spawn a musical revolution and inspire generations. As I sit back readily approaching my 75th birthday, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m incredibly happy that I got to work with so many great and talented artists on this new record. This is dance music, it’s disco, it’s electronic, it’s here for you. Once you listen…you’ll feel it…déjà vu.” Music icon Giorgio Moroder made his mark as an influential Italian producer, songwriter, performer and DJ. At 74 years-old, Moroder still has his hands in the center of EDM culture, swinging back into the spotlight as a guest collaborator on the Grammy Award-winning Daft Punk album Random Access Memories (“Album Of the Year”), remixing Lady Gaga’s and Tony Bennett’s “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,” Coldplay’s “Magic,” along with remixes for Donna Summer, Haim and his Scarface motion picture soundtrack. He has a newfound station as a live DJ which included major festival slots in Japan, Sweden, Mexico, Germany, the HARD’s Day Of The Dead in Los Angeles, and at the Pitchfork Music Festival earlier this year. Over the course of his career, Moroder has worked with some of the most famous names in music including Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Donna Summer, Cher, Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, Freddie Mercury, Blondie, and David Bowie to name a few. He is heavily noted for being the key player in the Queen of Disco Donna Summer‘s rise to fame throughout the 1970s, collaborating with her on her biggest hits including “Love To Love You Baby,” “Hot Stuff” and “I Feel Love.” In 1997, Moroder and Summer won the Grammy Award for “Best Dance Recording” for the song “Carry On.” He recently teamed with Verve records to honor Summer with Love To Love You Donna, a collection of her most notable hits remixed by Afrojack, Hot Chip, Laidback Luke, Masters at Work, and others. Moroder’s music charted success everywhere the disco craze touched down but he is also responsible for some of the most classic film scores to date including Scarface and Midnight Express, as well as timeless soundtrack numbers like “Take My Breath Away” (Top Gun), Irene Cara’s “Flashdance,” Blondie’s “Call Me” (American Gigolo), as well as compositions on films such as The Never Ending Story, Superman III, Rambo III and Beverly Hills Cop II. From these, Moroder has accumulated three Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, four Grammys and more than 100 gold and platinum records. Giorgio Moroder was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2004.
File Under: Dance Pop, Electronic
Of Monsters And Men: Beneath the Skin (Republik) LP
Beneath The Skin is the long awaited second full-length album from the critically acclaimed multiplatinum Icelandic quintet Of Monsters And Men. The group spent the past year working on Beneath The Skin with co-producer Rich Costey (Muse, Death Cab for Cutie, Foster The People, Interpol) between studios in Iceland and Los Angeles. Propelled by gargantuan drums, resounding acoustic guitars, an orchestral hum, and a massive refrain, first single, “Crystals” leads the charge and is a treasure in its own right. Of Monsters And Men have come a long way from their native Iceland. They quickly became a phenomenon in 2011 with the quadruple-platinum “Little Talks” and their chart-topping debut, My Head Is An Animal, which has since moved 2 million copies worldwide.
File Under: Iceland, Indie Folk
OST: Bronson (Milan) LP
Before Nicolas Winding Refn made a worldwide impact in 2011 with his Ryan Gosling starring hit Drive, the maverick filmmaker directed Bronson. The 2008 film, starring Tom Hardy, tells the story of Charles Bronson, a young man who was sentenced to seven years in prison for robbing a post office and eventually ends up spending three decades in solitary confinement. He has become the most notorious inmate in England. Bronson is home to many elements that we’ve come to associate with Winding Refn’s films including its pumping soundtrack. A modern day Clockwork Orange, Bronson features unforgettable music with the recurring electro-pop “Digital Versicolor” by Glass Candy, the menacing “The Electrician” by The Walker Brothers and additional evocative material from the likes of New Order and Pet Shop Boys. Balancing this modern act, the film includes beautiful classical compositions by Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner and more. Surprisingly this exceptional original motion picture soundtrack has never been available to a wide audience – except for a quick CD release in the UK. Milan Records continues its blossoming relationship with the director by releasing the complete soundtrack to Bronson here on double LP for the very first time!
File Under: OST, Refn, Drive
OST: Castlevania (Moonshake) LP
Vinyl release containing tracks from Castlevania I, II, II and IV. Of dubious origin, but you still probably need this in your life… don’t you?
File Under: OST, Video Games
OST: Ex-Machina (Invada) LP
Invada Records is proud to announce to the release of the score to Alex Garland’s 2015 Sci-fi film Ex Machina, by Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow on double CD and double vinyl. Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow join forces for a second time since their creation of Drokk, their unused score for 2012 motion picture Dredd, to create the dark, synth heavy score for Ex Machina.
File Under: OST, Sci-Fi, Portishead
OST: NES Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Moonshake) LP
Another dubious video game collection featuring tracks from Contra, Bionic Commando, Bubble Bobble, Double Dragon, Mother, Final Fantasy, Punch Out, Tetris, Wizards & Warriors, River City Ransom and many more.
File Under: OST, Videogames
Paper Dollhouse: Aeonflower (Night School) LP/CS
An exploration of warped, dream-like atmosphere and taught, noise-ingrained electronics, Paper Dollhouse has evolved from the solo work of Astrud Steehouder into an expansive, cinematic project now involving visual artist Nina Bosnic. Recorded with a stronger focus on electronic processes and with a deeper, light-starved aesthetic, Aeonflower’s emboldened use of crushed-noise dynamics takes the London-based group’s debut A Box Painted Black frame into darker, murkier and more thrilling territory. Aeonflower is the slow decent of a newly-discorporated spirit into a fogged, neon-lagoon, a drowned world still-lit. If the first LP was a box of raw secrets with hints of obscured folk roots, Aeonflower is the endless rain of expression, experience and change. On this outing both artists’ vocals are expressive, forgoing complex lyrical concerns for minimal text invested with emotive power. Opener “Oracle” bleeds into Stand, the first of Steehouder’s haunted vocals, a fragile minimalism augmented with barren guitar. “Helios” sees a drum-machine kick + ride cymbal pin down an dark, enveloping vocal duet until “Psyche” obliterates it all with billowing noise, a thrilling shock to the system. The swirling synths and suppressed emotion of “Your Heart” peak in the centerpiece “Diane,” a shadowy piece highlighting Steehouder’s minimalist approach. Side 2 acts as a mini-suite, with Diamanda Galas-inspired vocal abstractions and walls of sound coming down with stand out ambient track “Black Flowers.” Dark and light interplay beautifully on album closer “Siren,” a turbulent if ambiguous build-up of harmony and noise. A cinematic portrayal of an internal hinterland, Aeonflower is a complete, encompassing world.
File Under: Darkwave, Experimental
Arvo Part: Passio (Ajna Offensive) LP
Comprised mostly of Arvo Part’s signature hypnotic tintinnabuli, performed by Anthony Pitt and Tonus Peregrinus, Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem is a slow-moving liturgical piece that offers a vastness, solemnity and intimacy which allows for contemplation of the mysteries and suffering of the canonical text taken from the Gospel of John, chapters 18 and 19. Winner of the Cannes Classical Award.
File Under: Classical
Peacers: s/t (Drag City) LP/CS
Sliding up from out from under, from the old heart of the Bay Area…from out of nowhere even—it’s a special new band. Hands up for the sweet and sour popsicles of Peacer! Pop music in the new century—what’s it all about? In the hands of Peacers, it is BAKED—a vanillan cake with sweet sooty icing. Shades of the Bratish invision: compressions and crushes, bone-shakes and glutinous thinks, a wisp of the blues, ardor and romance scraping like the ceiling at your back. Carrying on like rock and roll never happened already, Peacers unpack a century’s-worth of progress in fresh tunage, capering to classic beats such as ‘jetset,’ ‘showtunes,’ ‘British psych (blues),’ ‘D.I.Y.,’ ‘subterranean homesic,’ ‘EMI (pistols)’ and the rest. Peacers’ debut is a max dash through the gutted and the gutter, all of which is written home about with a gleeful cock of the skull and twinkle in eye. The perspex of the songs and production both is saddled and well-traveled, but fresh under the glass —unmistakably out the poison-nib(well) of Mike Donovan whose hits with Sic Alps will live forever, like candy wrappers glittering up from the sewer. And who’s producing you, Peacers? Mike D’s ole SF cohort himself, Ty Segall, whose rhythm sections and arrangement-commendations re-cast most of the tunes on the rec with copacetic co-ness!
File Under: San Fran, Psych, Sic Alps, Ty Segall
Radioactivity: Silent Kill (Dirtnap) LP
Seems pretty safe to assume that almost no one doubted Radioactivity’s ability to follow up their 2013 Dirtnap debut with something equally stunning. Frontman and chief songwriter Jeff Burke (The Marked Men, The Reds, The Potential Johns) has certainly done more than enough to earn that kind of expectation and pressure. But Silent Kill, which finds Burke backed by Marked Men compatriot Mark Ryan and two-thirds of Bad Sports (Daniel Fried and Gregory Rutherford), does more than merely match the virtues of its self-titled predecessor. Radioactivity’s first LP was rightly hailed as a sort of sequel to The Marked Men’s remarkable run through the first decade of the millennium, and while Silent Kill bears the unmistakable hallmarks of that band’s tightly wound “Denton sound,” Radioactivity can now lay claim to a sonic territory of their very own. Burke’s distinctive hooks dig as deep as ever, but the scope of his vision has expanded, and now that the Burke/Ryan/Fried/Rutherford all-star team has had some time to cohere, Radioactivity can do all sorts of damage in less than thirty minutes. Although the twelve songs on Silent Kill abide one strict rule–providing garage punk pleasure at all costs–Radioactivity bend that mandate in myriad ways. Breathless ragers like “Battered” and “No Alarm” are as fleet and raw as anything in the combined canon of Radioactivity’s members, while mid-tempo heartbreakers “Way Out,” “Connection” and “Where I Come From” find Burke and company opening up their sound to let in a little tenderness. And then there are songs like “Not Here” or “With You,” which enact perfect unions of melody and kinetic energy. Admirers of Burke’s legacy will be not only satisfied, but pleasantly surprised.
File Under: Punk, Marked Men
Ratatat: Magnifique (XL) LP
In July 2015 Ratatat releases its fifth full-length album, Magnifique, on XL Recordings, a solid five years after Mike Stroud and Evan Mast’s last release, LP4 from 2010. Following up on the experimental sounds of LP3 and LP4, Ratatat return to their core guitar-driven sound on Magnifique. “I feel like it’s our strongest record,” Evan says. “We did it in spurts. We made a few trips to different locations where we’d set up a studio and work.” Mike and Evan spent time in Port Antonio, Jamaica, upstate New York (at the same studio where LP3 and LP4 were recorded), Long Island, New York and at their own studio in Brooklyn. Combining the bedrock beats and primordial riffs from their first two albums with the sonic experimentation and production prowess of LP3 and LP4, Mike and Evan arrived at a new plateau with Magnifique. “We used to nearly always start tracks with a beat, but with this album we were often starting with melodies and adding beats and percussion after the fact,” Mike says. “We were all about getting strong melodies.” With more time, tools and experiences to work with, Evan and Mike created their most fully-realized album with proper “Intro” and “Outro” tracks and palette-cleansing interludes made to sound like someone tuning in music from an alternate world, often creating stark juxtapositions between lo and hi-fi sounds. “There’s something cool about having those two types of sound right next to each other,” Evan says, talking about their new song, “Abrasive,” which, “starts off a bit grimy and shitty sounding and then slowly builds into this ultra hi-fi construction of layered guitars and keyboards. Some of the guitars were recorded an octave lower and then sped up to give them an unnatural gloss, it almost sounds like guitars on steroids. I like having that intensity and then getting down to tape hiss, where you can hear the amp that’s dying as you’re playing the guitar.” The secret weapon on Magnifique’s slower tracks is the pedal steel guitar, an instrument most commonly heard in country music, “but it’s a really futuristic sounding instrument,” Evan explains. While Mike and Evan have long been fans of mid-century instrumental duo Santo & Johnny who famously employed the pedal steel on their timeless hit, “Sleepwalking,” they dove much deeper into the world of pedal steel on slower songs like, “Drift,” “Supreme” and their first ever cover tune, “I Will Return,” originally recorded in 1972 by a one-man-band called Springwater. “We were watching clips from the Lawrence Welk show because he used to have these slide guitar players doing instrumentals live on the show,” Evan says. “And some of the guys he had on were just unbelievable, their level of skill is unreal.” “Ever since we started working on this record we’ve been talking about how we wanted to bring the focus back to guitars,” Stroud says. Debuting moments after Ratatat closed out the Sahara Tent at Coachella, the album’s lead single, “Cream on Chrome” builds on a pocket 4/4 beat and walking bass line with a hypnotic guitar figure before getting crushed under wave after wave of guitars and synth washes. “We learned so much about song writing doing the last two records,” Evan says. “Once we knew what we knew having recorded LP3 and LP4, we wanted to go back to our old sounds and we what we could do with that same palate. We wanted to do some more aggressive stuff too, songs that would be really fun to play live.”
File Under: Electro, Rock, Funk
Refused: Freedom (Epitaph) LP
Refused came to an end in front of 50 kids at a basement show in a Virginia college town in 1998, just as their release of the same year, The Shape of Punk to Come, was taking its first steps toward becoming an acknowledged classic and a massive influence on a generation of bands. Refused Are Fucking Dead! became the slogan, as kids discovered Shape and its breakout track “New Noise” only to find their new heroes disbanded. Refused Are Fucking Alive! After a 2012 invitation to reform for the Coachella festival, Refused followed its first shows in 15 years with a triumphant tour, as every kid who had discovered them after death came out to see them reborn. Now comes Freedom, the first album in almost 20 years, on Epitaph, the label that released The Shape of Punk to Come all those years ago. Freedom explodes out of the speakers with opening track “Elektra,” as frontman Dennis Lyxzen’s throat-shredding declaration that “nothing has changed” catapults Refused into the 21st century. If Shape blasted apart the constraints of the punk and hardcore worlds with which Refused had long been associated, Freedom goes a step further by incorporating the wide-ranging influences that have shaped each band members’ personal tastes. Produced by Nick Launay (Gang Of Four, Public Image Ltd., Nick Cave, Arcade Fire) with additional work by fellow Swede and longtime Refused fan Shellback, Freedom is not just a follow-up to Shape, but a living breathing snapshot of a band, alive, now!
File Under: Punk
Martin Rev: Clouds of Glory (Permanent) LP
Martin Rev’s (Suicide) second long layer finally back in print for the first time in 30 years. Haunting second album of minimalist analogue synth experimentation from Suicide’s Martin Rev. Never before pressed to vinyl in the States. Previously available as an import on French label New Rose. A killer follow-up to his debut LP reissued in 2013 by Superior Viaduct. Edition of 350 copies on black vinyl.
File Under: Minimalism, Synth, Experimental
Eden Sela: Purgatory (Thin Wrist) LP
Composed and recorded for the most part alone in her bedroom over a span of four years, Eden Sela’s debut album, with its haunting voice and distinctive sense of folk and dark gospel lull, leads her audience somnambulant, floating hand-in-hand, through delusions, desires, dreams and fantasy. 180-gram vinyl. Includes digital download.
File Under: Blues, Gospel, Soul
Smokey: How Far Will You Go? (Chapter Music) LP
“Chapter Music presents the first ever collection of recordings by wild and outlandish 1970s LA pre-punk icons Smokey. Featuring cameos from James Williamson of The Stooges, Randy Rhoads (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne), members of The Motels, King Crimson, Tin Machine, Suburban Lawns, and many others, the Smokey story has to be heard to be believed. In 1973, two wide-eyed young music fans made their way to Los Angeles and were introduced by a notoriously touchy-feely road manager for The Doors. John ‘Smokey’ Condon was a bewitchingly beautiful Baltimore transplant, himself no angel after spending his teenage years partying with the John Waters crowd. EJ Emmons was a budding record producer from New Jersey, already starting to work in small studios around Hollywood. Condon had marched in New York the night after the Stonewall Riots in 1969, and so by the time he and EJ created Smokey, they weren’t about to hold back. Released in 1974, debut single ‘Leather / Miss Ray’ wasn’t just openly gay, it was exultantly, unapologetically gay, examining front-on the newly-liberated leather and drag scenes thriving in America’s urban centers. The single was shopped around to labels using Emmons’s industry contacts, but doors were regularly slammed on the duo. ‘We can’t put this out, it’s a fucking gay record, what’s the matter with you,’ said one record exec, while adding, ‘it’s really good though.’ Undeterred, they self-released five singles that span pre-punk, stoner jams, disco, synth-punk, and more, all stamped with Smokey’s fearless candor. 1976 single and compilation title-track ‘How Far Will You Go…? features guitar from EJ’s studio buddy James Williamson, fresh from his adventures recording Raw Power with Iggy and The Stooges in London with David Bowie. Smokey even remembers a few mid ’70s jams with Williamson, with a vague view towards replacing the rehab-bound Iggy as The Stooges’ frontman! The live band played almost weekly at Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, with a band featuring 14-year-old future Quiet Riot-ers Randy Rhoads and KELLY GARNI. Restored by Emmons from original master tapes; mastered for vinyl by Emmons with his own cutting lathe. With extensive liner notes and photos, How Far Will You Go? tells the story of America’s greatest ’70s should-have-beens, a band so amazing that the only reason you haven’t heard of them is because they were faggots, and they didn’t give a shit.”
File Under: Yacht Rock, Almost Disco
Michael Sena: Bali High OST (Anthology) LP
As part of our ongoing Anthology Surf Archive series, Anthology Recordings is recognizing the classic 1981 underground film, Bali High, directed by filmmaker Stephen Spaulding. Bali was still an untapped resource of waves in 1977 and Spaulding was struck by its uncrowded tubes, towering volcanoes and rich Hindu culture. He would spend the next three years chasing waves from Indonesia to Kauai, filming now legendary surfers Rick Rasmussen, Peter McCabe, Tommy Carroll, and Larry Blair. The end result was Bali High, a preservation of this era of travel and adventure. Most surf film soundtracks were bootlegged straight from the director’s record collection without much thought given to licensing rights or fees. Spaulding’s original soundtrack featured favorites from The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, and Santana, but as the subculture grew commercial traction Spaulding had to rethink how to legally sell the film without paying for song rights. For the 1984 re-release Spaulding sought out the help of Kauai based musician and producer MICHAEL SENA to compose an original score that could match the action and vibe of his previous soundtrack. Sena wrote, produced, and recorded the entire album himself in just three months. The resulting 26 tracks lend the film its signature flavor and cover an impressive variation of genres, featuring moments of folk, dubby rock, synthesized disco, tropicalia, jazz fusion, and hyper-tempo power rock.
File Under: OST, Surfers
Araw ‘Trio’ XI: Gazebo Effect (Sun Ark) LP
Araw “Trio” XI is a new configuration of the Sun Araw Band, the live-action collaborative branch of Sun Araw. Over the course of several studio dates in Hollywood, California, “Trio” players Cameron Stallones, Alex Gray and Mitchell Brown successfully planted a garden of “non-dimensional” objects, not only spontaneously generating these objects but also mastering their nurture and cultivation. Gazebo Effect is a 2xLP nocturnal stroll into the depths of the garden, its upper lawns and outbuildings.
File Under: Rock, Experimental
Tame Impala: Currents (Modular) LP/CD
We were massively shorted on our initial order on this, but we’ll have another stack in about 10 days so, if you miss out on this batch don’t worry! Much has changed since Tame Impala first emerged with an EP of dusty home recordings in 2008. By and large Kevin Parker’s approach to recording has not, though the sound coming out of his home studio has vastly expanded, as has the number of people anticipating the fruits of his labor. Tame Impala’s third album is titled Currents, and on it Parker addresses a blindingly colorful panorama of transition in the most audacious, adventurous fashion he’s yet to capture on record. Dense with heady lyrical introspection, musically the most playful, bold and varied Tame Impala record to date, Currents is Parker putting down his weapons and embracing change as the only constant – sonically, thematically, and personally. Musically, Currents sounds like the work of a player on top of his game and having a blast, Parker indulging his whims and unafraid to dive down the rabbit hole after an idea. Again operating as a one man studio band, Parker’s resultant record calls to mind contemporary hip hop production, Thriller, fried ’70s funk, the irreverent playground Daft Punk presented on Discovery, swathes of future pop and emotional ’80s balladry, all filtered through a thoroughly modern psychedelic third eye. A genre-bending soundscape fueled equally by curiosity as it is consciousness, it’s exhilarating new territory for Tame Impala. Lyrically the record finds Parker in a very different place in 2015 to where he was seven years ago. Transitions in life, relationships, perspectives, mindsets – Currents maps Parker’s evolution through these and finds him a brand new person. In parts of both 2010’s Innerspeaker and 2012’s Lonerism Tame Impala sounded like a guy on the outer wanting in, now that he’s found himself on the inside Parker’s turned the spotlight in on himself. Stopping to reflect on the road behind, where he finds himself currently, and the road ahead, Currents spans a tumultuous time. The first track from the record to be unveiled, “Let It Happen,” is a perfectly encapsulating preview of what lies ahead. Coming in just short of eight minutes, “Let It Happen” traverses a swag of sonic terrain in its duration. The drums and Parker’s vocal introduction lull the listener with a sense of familiarity, until it all sweeps up into a cosmos once populated only by French robots, with insistent melody, broken machine loops, synthetic orchestration, surfing vocoder and a shredding guitar outro. Typically, initial Tame Impala recordings saw Parker’s vocal hidden beneath a layer of psychedelic fuzz, drenched in reverb, lyrics ambiguous. Currents finds his voice front and center, so no bones are made about his intent. Sketched out in planes, cars, hotels and homes since the completion of Lonerism in 2012, pieced together over the later part of 2014 and early 2015 at home in Fremantle, Western Australia, Currents was written, performed, recorded, produced and mixed by Kevin Parker. Tame Impala presents Currents, a soundtrack to life’s turbulent flow.
File Under: Rock
Unicorn: Playing With Light (Fabrica) LP
Issued a decade ago as a CD on Housepig, Unicorn’s beautiful and sinister album Playing With Light is re-introduced to listeners as a rearranged and remastered LP. Unicorn is WT Nelson, known previously as party to ’90s avant-hardcore outfit Man is the Bastard and its spawn, the prolific Bastard Noise. Playing With Light features three tracks originally prepared to accompany short films by Stephanie Miller, and, interspersed with standalone compositions, work cohesively to limn a world where the alien oscilloscapes of Bastard Noise merge with earthy synths and electric mandocello. The album opens with a transfixing music box motif that wouldn’t be out of place ushering in the opening credits of a vintage thriller. In “Spots,” the ten-minute centerpiece track, a mostly unaccompanied synth melody uses syncopation to create the impression of stumbling through darkness. “Clay & Fire” threatens to burst into full-bore power electronics territory but doesn’t; the narration we hear is not a transgressive confession but instead a factory worker’s discovery of pottery as a respite from his labor. From there the record offers an electronic crescendo before resolving in the almost-comforting “Far Away; Close To You,” which trails off in Morse code blips clearly transmitted but only possibly received. Playing With Light is unique in Nelson’s discography and is entirely deserving of this vinyl reincarnation. “Rhodes, Electric Mandocello, Various Trogotronic Electronic / Electro Acoustics Prototypes & Field Recordings.” Mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk (Grouper, Mississippi Records, Sublime Frequencies).
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Steve Von Till: A Life Unto Itself (Neurot) LP
A Life Unto Itself is as much the name of Steve Von Till’s fourth solo album as it is a perfect description for the 25-plus years he’s spent forging, with his brothers, the incomparable musical force that is Neurosis—not to mention the numerous sonic tapestries he’s woven with Tribes of Neurot and under his alter ego Harvestman. One can hear that deep musical history, and all the life experience that goes with it, on A Life Unto Itself. As with his previous solo works, Von Till’s weathered, distinctive voice and sparse acoustic guitar provides the foundation. Quiet and subdued for the most part, these songs still evoke vast emotional power as Von Till’s raspy whisper dives deeply inward and speaks of visions, memories and self-reflection in a way both seasoned and exposed. While his last couple albums took on a more traditional approach with respectful nods toward Americana and Celtic ballads, A Life Unto Itself ventures into a wider variety of sonic landscapes, often borrowing from the rural psychedelia of Harvestman, weaving in strains of vintage synth and electric guitars. Von Till was assisted in creating the album’s myriad textures by viola master Eyvind Kang, pedal steel wizard J. Kardong and percussionist Pat Schowe, all under the supervision of engineer and producer Randall Dunn, with whom he recorded and mixed the album at Avast! Recording Co. in Seattle. Von Till and his fellow travelers take the listener on a pilgrimage through hidden inner worlds, occasionally surfacing for brief sojourns through the American West (“In Your Wings”), Old World Europe (“A Language of Blood”) and more modern points unknown (“Night of the Moon”).
File Under: Folk, Rock, Neurosis
Bry Webb & the Providers: Live at Massey Hall (Idee Fixe) LP
On May 31, 2014, Bry Webb graced the stage of Massey Hall. The timing couldn’t have been better, a mere 11 days after the release of his second solo album Free Will. The invitation to participate in a special concert series designed to revitalize the perception of the storied venue by attracting a younger audience was a dream come true. Having performed with Rich Burnett as his only backing musician at Massey in late 2011while opening for Feist on her Metals tour, this was now a chance to bring a full band to the stage. The resulting recording, Bry Webb and the Providers Live at Massey Hall, is very much a band album. The rhythm section of Nathan Lawr on kit, Anna Ruddick on bass and Thom Hammerton on keys masterfully created the wide dynamic of the night’s proceedings. At opposite sides of the stage sat Richard Burnett and Aaron Goldstein whose lap steel/pedal steel combination created the signature Provider sound. The record opens with Undertaker – big muffed steel guitars and wavering keys stand in for the original’s horn arrangement, all supporting Webb’s voice reverberating through the famous hall. The band immediately shift gears into a scorching version of Lowlife which stands in complete contrast to the cut as it appears on Bry’s first solo album Provider. The song, replete with wide swing, sits waaaaaaay back as the band weaves in an out before coming together for a glorious vamp admittedly “lifted straight from the dead”. Similarly, Fletcher, Big Smoke and Asa are reinterpreted for the big stage revealing their celebratory nature. The Providers really open up on album closer Receive Me, filling the hall with the song’s insistent bass and trademark distorted steels. Recorded to multitrack for broadcast by SiriusXM, the night was also captured by director Mitch Fillion of Southern Souls fame in a multi camera shoot which has become a part of the Live at Massey Hall film series. When we first saw and heard what Massey had put together we immediately knew it was the perfect release to pay tribute to the band who would cross Canada more than a few times during the remainder of 2014. On May 26, 2015, Idée Fixe will release Bry Webb and the Providers Live at Massey Hall in a limited red vinyl edition. The LP’s artwork was created by Halifax natives Yorodeo and is an example of their recent work using anaglyphic (red/cyan) 3D glasses. Yorodeo’s front and back cover artwork showcase the famous venue by bringing you on stage and in the audience with the first 3D photographs ever taken inside Massey. Conveniently, the packaging will include a set of 3D glasses to view the images. To celebrate the release Bry Webb and various configurations of the Providers are heading out on tour this summer and fall starting at Sled Island in Calgary on June 25.
File Under: Folk, SSW, CanCon, Constantines
Renny Wilson: Punk Explosion/Extension (Mint) LP
Punk Explosion / Extension, or Punk Ex for short, is the latest musical detour from the loins of Canadian avant-pop artist Renny Wilson. Recorded between 2007 and 2014, Punk Ex follows Wilson’s natural progression from the breakup of his high school garage punk band The Subatomics to his present-day life in Montréal. Originally available in an extremely limited, abridged cassette version simply titled Punk Explosion, the album was a collection of Wilson’s more abrasive recordings from the past seven years. Adding a handful of previously unreleased songs recorded at his home studio in Park Ex, Montréal, in late 2014, Punk Explosion / Extension sees the original recordings back and bulkier than ever. Recalling snotty ’70s punk, cornball classic rock and scratchy ’90s garage punk, the album makes more than subtle hints at the past while painting a clear picture of the future. From the lighter fare of “Youngsters” and “Clean” to the cheeky cock-rock of “Stiffed” and the guttural, cartoonish power-pop of “Escaping Alive,” Punk Ex offers a variety of leather-jacket-bound jams, as one would expect from an album made over so many years. Setbacks and stylistic evolutions aside, Wilson’s own personal Chinese Democracy is available to the public at last!
File Under: Punk, CanCon
Chelsea Wolfe: Live At Roadburn (Outer Battery) LP
First time available in North America! This is an extremely limited edition repress of Chelsea Wolfe’s Live at Roadburn LP. Featuring eight tracks from LA’s enigmatic folk doom-weaver, Chelsea Wolfe’s appearance at Roadburn was the buzzed about set of the festival. With original copies of this LP selling for well over $100, don’t miss your chance this time around! Limited edition pressing on blue vinyl.
File Under: Folk, Doom, Goth
13th Floor Elevators: Psychedelic Sounds of (Snapper) LP
Acid Mothers Temple: La Novia (Prophase) LP
Courtney Barnett: Double EP (Mom & Pop) LP
Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think (Mom & Pop) LP
Black Keys: Thickfreakness (Fat Possum) LP
Black Sabbath: s/t (Rhino) LP
Black Sabbath: Paranoid (Rhino) LP
Butthole Surfers: Psychic.. Powerless… (Latino Buggerville) LP
Chromatics: Kill For Love (Italians Do It Better) LP
Chromatics: Night Drive (Italians Do It Better) LP
Cluster: Zuckerzeit (Lilith) LP
Desire: II (Italians Do It Better) LP
Django Django: Born Under Saturn (Because) LP
Elder: Lore (Armageddon Shop) LP
Faith Healer: Cosmic Troubles (Mint) LP
Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul (4 Men With Beards) LP
Follakzoid: II (Sacred Bones) LP
Follakzoid: III (Sacred Bones) LP
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (4 Men With Beards) LP
B.C. Gilbert: 3r4 (Superior Viaduct) LP
Tim Hecker: Dropped Pianos (Kranky) LP
Tim Hecker: Harmony in Ultraviolet (Kranky) LP
Tim Hecker: Ravedeath, 1972 (Kranky) LP
Mark Hollis: s/t (Ba Da Bing) LP
King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King (Panegyric) LP
King Khan & BBQ Show: s/t (In The Red) LP
The Knife: Shaking the Habitual (Mute) LP
LCD Soundsystem: The Long Goodbye (DFA) 5LP Box
Led Zeppelin: I (Warner) LP
Magma: Merci (Jazz Village) LP
Mammatus: Heady Mental (Spiritual Pajamas) LP
Mammatus: The Coast Explodes (Holy Mountain) LP
Metallica: Master of Puppets (Blackened) LP
Lee Morgan: Cooker (Blue Note) LP
Nirvana: Unplugged (Geffen) LP
Nirvana: Nevermind (Geffen) LP
Thee Oh Sees: Drop (Castle Face) LP
Thee Oh Sees: Floating Coffin (Castle Face) LP
Thee Oh Sees: Help (In The Red) LP
Thee Oh Sees: Warm Slime (In The Red) LP
OST: Deep Throat Anthology 2 (Light in the Attic) LP
Reatards: Teenage Hate/Fuck Elvis (Goner) LP
Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (Polydor) LP
Ty Segall: Lemons (Goner) LP
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (Goofin) LP
Television: Marquee Moon (Rhino) LP
Todd Terje: It’s Album Time (Olsen) LP
Timber Timbre: Creep On Creepin’ On (Arts & Crafts) LP
Torres: Sprinter (Arts & Crafts) LP
Chelsea Wolfe: Apokalypsis (Sargent House) LP
Various: After Dark (Italians Do It Better) LP
Various: After Dark 2 (Italians Do It Better) LP
Various: Princess Nicotine (Sublime Frequencies) LP