Yow! It would seem as soon as I finish receiving one shipment another arrives, every day this week! Making this one hefty list! I’m swamped, so come buy some of these records!
…..picks of the week…..
L. Voag: The Way Out (Superior Viaduct) LP
The first-time vinyl reissue of the 1979 solo debut from The Homosexuals bassist Jim Welton (a.k.a. L. Voag) includes a bonus 7-inch of the rare Move EP. The Way Out is recommended for fans of Desperate Bicycles, This Heat and Mark Perry. “The start of recording The Way Out crossed over with the last days of my involvement with the Homosexuals. Lovely as they were, the guys were demanding unswerving, vanilla rock ’n’ roll fealty from me—something I just couldn’t provide given my need to taste eight thousand musical ideas at once. “The gravity around which The Way Out took shape issued from a decidedly asinine idea: what if we lived in a world where the music of the avant-gardists (Stockhausen, Oliveros, Henry) provided the best-selling, chart-topping pabulum of the day, while pop music (as we know it) was an obscure, nigh impenetrable, elitist niche product? L. Voag is a fiction used to describe a character from the pop milieu who, desperate for a hit, attempts to knock out a crossover album combining both worlds. Not surprisingly, he fails miserably. “The Way Out was recorded at Surrey Sound Studios, founded in 1976 by brothers Nigel and Chris Grey. While Nigel (sensibly?) concentrated on music biz staples The Police and others, Chris—a visionary with at least one if not both feet planted in the future—opened up the studio to all manner of experiment, actively inviting mavericks and crazies to participate. Maniacs like the Homosexuals, Milk From Cheltenham, and L. Voag were granted access to gold standard, 24-track recording equipment, so long as it was during so-called dead time between 1:00 and 7:00 A.M. The brothers were unfailingly generous, even on the occasion when Lepke retuned Sting’s hand-turned lute to the obscure Mixolydian mode—by accident. “The middle of The Way Out sessions, which took just over six weeks to complete, were disrupted when L. Voag found himself arrested on trumped-up charges by the Special Patrol Group (SPG), London’s own out-of-control paramilitary police force. Held for two days, L. Voag was dragged by the SPG to his Bloomsbury squat, special guest of a proposed drugs raid. As they smashed the doors in, he burst into a famous rendition of his now forgotten masterwork, “The Police Are Raiding the Fucking House!” Halfway through the first verse, he discovered the boot of an SPG thug dancing up and down on his face and promptly stopped singing. Some days later in the slow dead hours before dawn, L. Voag sang again. If you listen carefully to The Way Out, you will hear the lisping special effect of twelve stitches applied to the lip. Beat that if you can, songbirds.” —L. Voag
File Under: Lo-Fi, Punk, Experimental
Armando Sciascia: Sea Fantasy (Pheon) LP
Pheon is a new label started by Jonny Trunk with James Pianta from Votary / Roundtable. Both have a love of obscure library music, film music and jazz. Using those musical fields as a starting point, the label will be issuing very limited, vinyl only short runs of desirable and obscure LPs, compilations and new old discoveries. The first Pheon Records LP release is a rare trip underwater, with one of the masters of Italian film music and library, Armando Sciascia. Famed for his mondo scores and experimental library music, Armando Sciascia reached a peak in 1972 with this experimental, modern classical, plugged-in dive down to the murky seabed. The twelve superb library cues, taken from the original master tapes move like a jellyfish from beautiful calm drifts to wild electronic tension and all points in between. Respected by many as the finest example of underwater conceptual composing, this has to be one of the greatest examples of not just library music but also the sub aquatic sounds. Think De Roubaix, Jacques Cousteau and bathtime. At last this amazing LP is available to mere mortals. But be quick.
File Under: Library, Italian, Underwater
Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm: Loon (Erased Tapes) 12″
‘Loon’ is a 5-track EP that was recorded in autumn 2014 across five days at Nils’s Durton Studio in Berlin, and continues with the ambient sounds of ‘Stare’ but with the addition of more percussive elements and dub influences. For ‘Loon’ they wired the Oberheim 4 Voice and a Korg PS3100 to the patch bay/mixing desk and performed live takes. With all four hands on its pots, all mixes were recorded straight onto 2-track ½-inch tape.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Beach House: Thank Your Lucky Stars (Sub Pop) LP
Thank Your Lucky Stars is the sixth full-length effort from Baltimore, Maryland dream pop duo Beach House (Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally) and second of 2015 alone following the August release of fifth album Depression Cherry. The band stated that Thank Your Luck Stars, “is an album being released the way we want. It’s not a companion to Depression Cherry or a surprise or b-sides.” Single-LP in tip-on gatefold jacket packaging with custom dust sleeve and MP3 coupon.
File Under: Indie Rock, Pop
John Carpenter: Lost Themes Remixed (Sacred Bones) LP
John Carpenter has inspired countless musicians since his earliest minimal, synth-based film scores. The themes to his features like Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, and Escape from New York have remained instantly recognizable since he penned them nearly four decades ago. In February 2015, Sacred Bones released his first solo record of non-soundtrack music, Lost Themes, to overwhelming critical success. The Horror Master proved that not only could he perfectly score his own films – he could also score the movies in your mind. Eight pivotal contemporary electronic artists were moved to reshape the original songs on Lost Themes in tribute to one the genre’s great pioneers. Several of the remixes were released as part of the digital deluxe edition of the album, but Lost Themes Remixed marks the first time any of the tracks have been on vinyl.
File Under: Not OST, Electronic, RMX
The City: Now That Everything’s Been Said (Light In The Attic) LP
We all know the Carole King who wrote some of the biggest hits of the ‘60s, from “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” to “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” via “The Locomotion” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” We also know the singer-songwriter behind Tapestry, the album that launched King as a solo singer in her own right. But in between–and not nearly as well known–is King’s band, The City, and their album, Now That Everything’s Been Said. By the mid-‘60s, King’s marriage to Gerry Goffin, with whom she’d written many of those wonderful hits, had hit the rocks. A divorce loomed, and King all but retired to raise their two daughters. She headed west to Laurel Canyon in ‘67, taking the children with her, and made the previously unlikely move of joining a progressive folk-rock band. King formed The City with future husband Charles Larkey on bass and Danny Kortchmar on guitar and vocals. With King on piano and vocals, they created a folk rock sound that pre-empted the singer-songwriter boom of the ‘70s. Produced by Lou Adler and featuring Jimmy Gordon on drums, The City’s sound is deep and soulful, imperfect but passionate. And the songs, with King writing or co-writing all but one, are as exceptional as you’d expect and as widely covered as her factory work. “Now That Everything’s Been Said” was a hit for American Spring, “A Man Without A Dream” was tackled by The Monkees, and “Hi-De-Ho (That Old Sweet Roll)” was a hit for Blood, Sweat & Tears. Central to the album’s appeal is King’s own stirring reading of her track “Wasn’t Born To Follow,” covered masterfully by The Byrds for the Easy Rider soundtrack. King had been used to a life on the sidelines, and her stage fright left the trio unable to tour the LP which adversely affected their fortunes. That, plus some behind-the-scenes distribution problems, meant the album was quickly deleted, and it remained so for the next thirty years–partly at King’s request. Even so, its failure was a surprise to those concerned. “I was 26 when Now That Everything’s Been Said was released in 1968,” King says of the album. “[We] expected it to zoom to the top of the charts within, at most, a few weeks. Individually and together, we optimistically imagined the album’s success as if it had already happened. Danny and Charlie kept telling each other, ’It’s a great album. The City is gonna be Number 1 with a bullet!’” Listening now, you can feel the threads that lead to Tapestry and to the hugely successful performing career that followed. It’s not so much an oddity in King’s work as the missing link between her two lives. Reissued here in deluxe vinyl, this is, at long last, a chance to own this lost album.
File Under: Folk Rock
Cuntz: Force The Zone (Homeless) LP
Third album for Melbourne’s Cuntz. With Alex MacFarlane (Boomgates, Constant Mongrel, The Stevens) behind the desk again, Cuntz offer an even more bitter pill to swallow this time around in Force The Zone. Always polarizing critics, mainly due to the band’s chosen moniker, those that didn’t get the sardonic humor present missed out on fully enjoying Aloha and Solid Mates, although one commenter nailed it when stating “…the informed listener can choose to either get it or be put off by the irreverence. Cuntz are dedicated to the hoon, and dedicated to supporting each other in their own respective hoons, and they don’t give a fuck about what anyone thinks about that.” Includes download.
File Under: Punk
Dead Ghosts: Love And Death And All The Rest (Burger) LP
Vancouver-based garage rockers Dead Ghosts recently reissued their 2010 self-titled debut through Burger Records, but now they’re looking ahead with a brand new full-length. It will be the band’s third album and follows 2013’s Can’t Get No. Love and Death and All the Rest hears the band taking a refreshing DIY approach to recording, eschewing a standard studio in favour of a dilapidated barn on the outskirts of Vancouver. According to a press release, the self-produced album features a slightly more restrained feel, opting for a “fuller, less abrasive sound” than heard on previous releases. The first sampling of that can be heard on the new single “Drink It Dry,” which has been given an accompanying video. The clip features grainy footage of the band on a walk through a cemetery, though things get a little weird upon a meeting with a mysterious spiritual leader. The song itself is a charming blend of bluesy riffs and psychedelic pop.
File Under: Garage, Psych, CanCon
The Deep: Psychedelic Moods of The Deep (Lion) LP
Expanded deluxe edition of The Deep’s one and only album, originally released in 1966 and now well-established as a psychedelic classic. One night in a darkened Philadelphia studio, the Deep (Rusty Evans, songwriting partner and producer Mark Barkan, the legendary David Bromberg, whose credits include playing with Bob Dylan and many others, plus a bevy of talented musicians) laid down tempestuous garage punkers, sweetly-twisted ballads and ambiguous weirdness, all rife with hyper-psychedelic lyrical flashes of a rolling midnight expressway through the subconscious mind. A perfect representation of the psychedelic sound: free-form poetry, infectious drum beats, fuzzed out guitar, and playfully plucked bass (and vibes and tympani and so on), swirl together, coalescing into some of the most impressive psychedelic rock you’ll hear. Cuts like ‘Your Choice To Choose,’ sound very Seeds-like or proto-Velvet Underground, Lou Reed snarl and all; others like ‘Shadows On The Wall’ and ‘Wake Up and Find Me’ are haunting acid ballads: the whole point of the album was to thoroughly explore the hallucinatory agony and ecstasy of a 12-hour Technicolor dream… although the end result is more amphetamine edgy than acid-soaked trippy. The Deep “Psychedelic Moods” pre-dates its closest kindred sprit in sound and energy (albeit not subject matter): “The Velvet Underground and Nico” came along five months later, and the world of music shifted on its axis—but too late for the Deep. This 3xLP release of “Psychedelic Moods” is taken from the original four-track master tapes. In addition to the superlative master takes, there are three sides of out-takes and alternates from the Deep original four-track session tapes. This set also marks the vinyl debut of all known recordings by Inner Sanctum (aka Hydro Pyro), another LSD trip project produced by Mark Barkan in 1966. Tip-on gatefold art has liner notes detailing the mysterious rise and fall of this New York City band. Made with full co-operation of original Deep producers, Mark Barkan and Rusty Evans. A definitive example of the psychedelic sound.
File Under: Psych, Garage
Deerhunter: Fading Frontier (4AD) LP
“Fading Frontier” is the new studio album from Deerhunter. The record was made by founding members Bradford Cox, Lockett Pundt, Moses Archuleta, and bassist Josh McKay. Written in their hometown of Atlanta, GA, production duties were shared by the band and Ben H. Allen III, continuing a collaboration that began with 2010’s “Halcyon Digest”. Following the death-rattle garage catharsis of “Monomania”, the group have shifted towards something strikingly balanced, focused on melody and texture. The songs are brighter; if not in content, then in the album’s production. Starkness plays against clutter in what is the band’s most complex yet accessible work to date. Cox and Pundt share lead vocal duties (a first for the band) on the enthralling ‘Breaker’, while the darker ‘Take Care’ (featuring Broadcast’s James Cargill on synthesizers and tape manipulation) and ‘Leather and Wood’ – a strange hybrid of J.G. Ballard’s dystopian grey-skied science fiction, and the most spartan Motown downer imaginable – paint a varied spectral landscape. Elsewhere, the likes of ‘Snakeskin’ showcase a sinister flirtation with minimalist funk, whilst Pundt makes a typically masterful statement with the synth-diffused ‘Ad Astra’, which culminates in one of the album’s most transcendent moments. Fading Frontier shows that a decade in, Deerhunter has lost none of its intensity. As the group matures, so they have grown into the most consistent purveyors of art-rock of their generation.
File Under: Indie Rock
Departmentstore Santas: At the Medieval Castle (Superior Viaduct) LP
The Departmentstore Santas’ LP is a underground rock classic of the highest order—from its carnivalesque front cover to the sixteen home-schooled tracks contained inside. Information about this mysterious band has been as scarce as original copies of their self-released album, yet purveyors of lo-fi pop esoterica have whispered about the Santas’ raison d’etre for the better part of the past three decades. Recorded in the early ’80s in La Mesa, California, At the Medieval Castle Nineteen 100-Year Lifetimes Since features quirky sing-alongs, wide-eyed lyrics, echoey instrumentals and outsider folk-punk à la Daniel Johnston. While bandleader Joseph D’Angelo’s unique charm may not fit comfortably in any one style, his preternatural world is united by the warmth and grit of these bedroom recordings. Out of step with other music of its era, Departmentstore Santas uncannily anticipated the 4-track movement of the ’90s. This first-time reissue is recommended for fans of Television Personalities, Guided By Voices and Cleaners From Venus.
File Under: Lo-Fi, Alternative
Diat: Positive Energy (Iron Lung) LP
The long awaited debut full length has finally arrived. And the wait was well worth it. DIAT have worked, worked and reworked these 8 songs until they were perfect. Who is this band you ask? Let us introduce you: “Brought together by a shared enthusiasm for bleak UK punk and a history of playing in hardcore bands, Berlin based DIÄT have created a sound that they have described, perhaps not entirely seriously, as ‘tough new wave’. Fans of Crisis, Killing Joke and The Mob (UK) should be pleased by the band’s unlikely synthesis of depressive drift and cranked, accelerated energy. ‘Positive Energy was recorded last Winter while huddled in a practice space overlooking the industrial landscape of frozen East Berlin, the album finds Diät reining in the threads of malignant enthusiasm still peppered throughout their earlier recordings (both 7″s previously released on this fine imprint) to focus on the cynicism and dejectedness that binds them as a band.” Packaged in a high quality reverse board jacket with a 12-page lyric booklet only available in this version of the LP. All copies on black vinyl. The download comes with the “Hurricane” video as well.
File Under: Punk
Disclosure: Caracal (Capitol) LP
Disclosure is Guy and Howard Lawrence, two brothers from the UK making house/future music. The duo’s long awaited second studio album, Caracal, home to the previously released hit singles “Holding On,” feat. Gregory Porter “Omen,” feat. Sam Smith and “Jaded,” has finally arrived! Its name refers to a desert lynx, playing on the notion of being “completely unique” with no comparison to the everyday crowd. Caracal is a muscular and nuanced record, with a depth to it that will pin it to the canon of dance music history. It’s crunchy and gets under your skin. A proper album album, you might say. “We feel like a band now, instead of just releasing tracks for the club. We wanted to really step out with a solid body of work and tour for two years. We’re very much an album band,” says Howard. However, Disclosure is still doing what they do best – taking house and giving it a massive injection of musicality – but there’s a renewed depth and skill to this latest work. It’s not just musicality. It’s songwriting in its classic form. The pace across Caracal is generally slowed down. “With dance and electronica, your genre is defined by a BPM. As Disclosure we want to be known sonically, for our sound. We want to go through a variety of speeds and even genres and focus on mix and production,” adds Guy.
File Under: Electronic
Esmerine: Lost Voices (Constellation) LP
Montréal chamber rock ensemble Esmerine return with Lost Voices, the most dynamic and incendiary record of the group’s career, following its acclaimed and Juno award winning 2013 release Dalmak. Led by co-founders Bruce Cawdron (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on mallet instruments and Rebecca Foon (Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Saltland) on cello, Esmerine also includes drummer Jamie Thompson (The Unicorns, Islands, Little Scream) and multi-instrumentalist Brian Sanderson. Lost Voices is the result of multiple recording sessions led by Vid Cousins (Kid Koala, Amon Tobin, Colin Stetson) and was mixed/produced by Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes) at his Breakglass Studio in Montréal. The album features several tracks that are hands down among the band’s most rocking, making newfound use of electric guitars (courtesy a variety of guest players) alongside the group’s nucleus of marimba, strings and percussion. Esmerine also welcomes bassist Jeremi Roy (who began touring with the group in 2013) as an official member; his contrabass work adds potent low-end to the heavier jams on the new album. Lost Voices is equally notable for the appearance of Godspeed/Mt. Zion violinist Sophie Trudeau as a featured guest; her intense, incomparable string sounds/styles elevate the potency of the record’s most soaring and high-octane pieces, particularly on opener “The Neighbourhoods Rise,” “19/14” and “Hakanting.” Thompson’s drumming comes to the fore on these pieces too, and on the rock-steady minimalism of “A River Runs Through This City,” which harkens back to the likes of Tied & Tickled Trio, June Of 44, Shipping News and Lungfish. Lost Voices can fairly be called Esmerine’s ‘rock’ album, expanding upon the band’s celebrated prowess at deploying structure and dynamic, balancing melodic expression against methodical restraint through a diversity of stylistic touchstones (minimalism, post-rock, math-rock, desert rock) while allowing for explosive crescendos of exuberant density and maximalism that most notably distinguish this record from previous work. The album nonetheless includes several instances of more spacious, searching and/or tender compositions – not only in some of the opening sections of the rock songs, but in stand-alone marimba-and-string-led pieces like “Pas Trop Pas Tropes” and “My Mamma Pinned A Rose On Me” and in the two piano-and-string minuets that close each side of the record. Lost Voices is a deeply satisfying and evocative journey and another brilliant iteration of Esmerine’s distinctive instrumental chamber rock: cerebral and visceral, controlled and volatile – and wholly cinematic in scope throughout. Includes art print and download coupon.
File Under: Indie Rock, CanCon
Ellen Fullman: The Long String Instrument (Superior Viaduct) LP
Ellen Fullman began developing her installation The Long String Instrument in 1981, in search of tonalities that could not be achieved with traditional instruments. This large-scale work consists of 70-foot-long metallic wires, anchored by a wooden resonator, across which the performer moves backwards and forwards with rosin-covered fingers. The overall effect has been rightfully compared to the experience of standing inside an enormous grand piano. Recorded during Fullman’s 1985 residency at Het Apollohuis in Eindhoven, Holland, The Long String Instrument album is the first document of her acoustic explorations. “Woven Processional,” which features Fullman alongside artist Arnold Dreyblatt, conjures an enchanting drone from the elongated strings and dissolves into organ-like overtones and otherworldly textures. Several tracks bring to life another Fullman invention, The Water Drip Drum, constructed from water dripping into an amplified aluminum pan and manipulated by foot pedal. Thirty years since its initial release, Ellen Fullman’s debut LP remains a major contribution to the histories of sound sculpture and minimalist composition. This first-time reissue is mastered from the original analog tapes and recommended for fans of Pauline Oliveros, Charlemagne Palestine and Harry Bertoia.
File Under: Drone, Avant Garde
Fuzz: II (In The Red) LP
Fuzz has abandonment issues. Abandoning expectation. Abandoning reservation, consummation, resignation and trite dictation. Instinct is all there is when it comes to the divination of harsh salvation. Segall, Moothart and Ubovich are exploring all the blank-ations of what will be, or has always been, Fuzz II. Tried and true methods mixed with tongue-twisting, teeth-shattering, seizure-inducing stabs at the norm. Who knows… maybe that’s wrong. Maybe it’s all done. Played out. Maybe it’s not for want of new but for lack of old. But probably not. Bathe in the heat wave that is Fuzz, and regret nothing in the time freeze. Necessity is the mother of creation; and devolution stakes its claim in the past as it continues to bind itself to the future. San Francisco, Los Angeles, heaven, hell, lunar fields, subterranean hallucinations, traffic jams, sleepless days, hazy nights, recollection or blind reflection. It is all there and so should be you. 2015 and 2016 will bring a new surge of slime, fuzz and otherwise bittersweet concoctions of earthly lettering. It will be heavy, chaotically controlled, softly serpentine and blindingly barbaric. To translate the auditory from ethereal to saliva-soaked semantics is to shatter a promise as it’s made. In the meantime, Ty, Charles and Chad walk on. It is what it is. Just like everything else. And if you don’t know, now you know. This message brought to you by In The Red Educational Services… as it was before and is it will be again.
File Under: Garage, Psych
Bruce Haack: Haackula (Telephone Explosion) LP
“Telephone Explosion reissues for the first time on vinyl ever Bruce Haack’s cult masterpiece Haackula. The releases feature the full Haackula album along with Russell Simmons (RUN DMC) co-produced electro banger ‘Party Machine.’ Limited to 1,000 copies… essential in every minimal synth, experimental, outsider, electro collection.”
File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Weirdo
Intelligence: Vintage Future (In The Red) LP
Fittingly born at the dawn of the 21st Century, The Intelligence’s brand of art-smarm surf has become a touchstone for with-it rock ’n’ roll of the era. Perhaps a surprising assertion, especially considering their primitive and personal origins, but one cemented by the dedication and continual reinvention fostered by main-brain Lars Aldric Finberg. For all their longevity and prolificacy, The Intelligence is a restless, ever-evolving vehicle for Finberg, showcasing his presumably patented knack for sharp pop songwriting that rides waves from both the past and heretofore unknown. Hence the emergence of Vintage Future, the band’s latest album. Finberg has always playfully flashed fangs with The Intelligence, but the hard targeting here makes Vintage Future the most thematically biting offering thus far. Across the record, Finberg combs over relationships, ambitions and his own values for trouble spots and indignities, highlighting his findings and skewering as needed. Jabs at the absurdities of band life have been a focus since The Intelligence’s inception, but tunes like “Nocturnal Admissions,” “Refuse to Pay the Dues” (a sure-fire cornerstone of any Greatest Hits package assembled) and “Platinum Janitor” confront living in rock ’n’ roll with an honesty bordering on the sadistic. Songs like “Sex” and “Whip My Valet” (the band’s most singularly aggressive and punk moment ever) manage to be intensely personal ruminations, nervously humorous and all-out rockers simultaneously, all with a wink. It’s precisely that charm coupled with intensity that makes The Intelligence so crave-worthy. Well, that and the copious panic-stabs of guitar. Vintage Future thankfully shows The Intelligence continuing to move in whatever goddamn direction they want, keeping it permanently casual in this inhuman Business That We Call Show. Is there any better way?
File Under: Garage, Indie Rock
Jawbox: s/t (Desoto) LP
Jawbox was formed in Washington, DC in 1989 by guitarist/vocalist J. Robbins, bassist Kim Coletta, and drummer Adam Wade. The trio released their debut 7” in 1990 as a split between Dischord Records and their own label, DeSoto. Over the next three years, Jawbox put out two albums and three 7” singles. Grippe, released in ’91, was the band’s first full-length. Second guitarist/singer Bill Barbot joined the line-up in time to record ’92’s Novelty. Both albums were released on Dischord. Zach Barocas took over drumming duties that same year, performing on For Your Own Special Sweetheart, which was released in 1994 on Atlantic Records. Recorded in Hoboken, NJ with John Agnello in winter of 1995, Jawbox was the band’s fourth and final album. If Sweetheart presented the band’s music in a straightforward and unembellished state, Jawbox found the group more open to experimentation. Arrangement-wise, it contains some of the band’s densest compositions (“Chinese Fork Tie”), but also some of its most concise and tuneful songwriting (“Excandescent”). While the basic tracks were recorded more or less live, the songs were later augmented with sounds—toy drum kit, Hammond B3 organ, and saxophone—that were outside of the band’s established palate. Long out of print, Jawbox has been remastered on LP by Dan Coutant at Sunroom Audio and is reissued by Dischord and DeSoto Records.
File Under: Punk, Indie Rock
Egisto Macchi: Bioritmi (Roma) LP
“Genius meld of avant orchestrations, brooding modular composition and electronically processed percussion. Extended and fastidiously sculpted pieces that range from spacious abstractions to tantalizingly ominous melodic interludes and intense propulsive arrangements. Mimicking the pulmonary and cardiovascular actions of the human body, the microscopic landscape of bacteria and the urban heartbeat of bustling cities and electronics, Macchi intriguingly charts rhythm, pulse and biosphere. Moondog in the bloodstream, Phil Glass meets “Fantastic Voyage” – Alvin Lucia
File Under: Library, Italian, Avant Garde
Milk From Cheltenham: Triptych of Poisoners (Superior Viaduct) LP
The first-time vinyl reissue of the sole album from UK DIY legends Milk From Cheltenham, originally released in 1983 on famed It’s War Boys imprint, is recommended for fans of Swell Maps, The Faust Tapes and LAFMS. “Flashback to no-when (1978) in a musty cellar beneath a record store in Brixton, later to become the humble 8-track recording studio of It’s War Boys. Milk From Cheltenham would regularly jam and invite friends / enemies to participate with whatever weapons / instruments they chose to deploy, making live recordings on an odd triple microphone input cassette player. By the time of the recordings at Surrey Sound in 1981-82, we had reduced in size from a hive of toxicity to a triptych of poisoners: Victorr Lounge, Salamander and myself. “Like rabid quantum monkeys with broken typewriters, we were allowed to run loose in the studio, under the supervision of tonmeister Chris Grey and head zookeeper L. Voag. There was always a cornucopia of exotic instruments including kettle drums, synthesizers and electric sitar. To make some of the basement tapes sound bigger, Chris would play them through vast speakers and re-record the results. The footsteps you hear is our mate strolling around in cowboy boots on top of one of the speakers. “Milk were hot—like a triplet mega-brain generously juiced on creative steroids—and this was before our special splice-and-be-damned bricolage of the tapes, interpolating into the jams a pastiche of Morricone lock grooves, early Sparks, radio fragments, a JFK speech and samples from our most cherished record, Christmas Carols With Breezy (a creepy singing rabbit). One track mined a session at Cold Storage (home studio of This Heat) where everyone played in different parts of the building, separated according to instruments and without much idea of what anyone else would be doing. “I remember scrawling a dead cow on a napkin in a café. The albums, all printed by hand, took longer to make than the recording because the screens would often disintegrate. The back cover art was printed at Recommended Records and spray glued—poor ozone layer! Almost half the song titles were borrowed from Le Corbusier’s book The Radiant City. The record was released to spectacular indifference and just 500 copies made their way into an unsuspecting world.” —Lepke B
File Under: Punk, DIY, Art Rock
Ennio Morricone: The Big Gundown (Mondo) LP
Music Composed & Conducted by Ennio Morricone. Continuing our relationship with the one and only Grindhouse Releasing Mondo are pleased to bring you a re-issue of the soundtrack to The Big Gundown. Undoubtedly one of the finest Spaghetti scores recorded, we are thrilled to present you with this brand new remaster with 25 tracks split across 2 heavyweight 45rpm records. The icing on the cake for this release has to be the insert that features an interview with Morricone, conducted especially for us. Wrapped in a beautiful gatefold sleeve by the legendary Geof Darrow.
File Under: OST, Mondo
Ennio Morricone: Controfase (Roma) LP
“Controfase is an unknown (and almost lost) masterpiece. A shadowed giant of compositional skill and deft application – a moment when all the stars and their cycles align – unique, harmonious, undeniably perfect. From Walter Branchi’s skeletal web of processed VCS3 duetting with mournful violin, to Egisto Macchi’s demonstrative percussion jousting Edda Dell’Orso’s breathless siren’s call, Morricone and Nicolai have crafted a radiant, forbidden jewel.” – Alvin Lucia
File Under: Library, Italian, Avant Garde
Joanna Newsom: Divers (Drag City) LP
“Good heavens—five years go by—what can one do? Dive, listener, knowing that your next hour will be filled with diversions aplenty: a wheeling circuit of sci-fi sea-shanties and cavalier ballads, narrated from parts unknown; a family of polysemic song-sets; a paranomasaic Liederkreis of harmonic sympathies and knotted hierarchies; a fanfare of brazen puns and martial lullabies, blazing in sorrow and horseplay and love, in turns symphonic and spare, joined by Mellotrons and Marxophones and Moogs, clavichords and celestas—and of course the harp, thrumming its threnodies of circadian invasions and avian irruptions and strange loops of Shepard-toned resonant-frequencies and something called goddamned Simulacreage. The music of Divers is a wonder of considered arrangements—a taut line, threaded with the pearls of passed and passing times… a round, a chant, an incantation… a ray of light diverted eleven ways, into eleven songs that striate, in chromatic collusion, their simultaneous arc… a span that takes in lifetimes, but is immaculately sequenced for telescoped brevity. The music speeds with dissociative dread over montaged cityscapes; it hoofs with delight among the collaged quotations and sepia-toned codices of Popular Song…”
File Under: Indie Rock, Harp
Spooner Oldham: Pot Luck (Light In The Attic) LP
Legendary ivory-tickler Spooner Oldham is synonymous with the Muscle Shoals sound. The southern soul pioneer famously backed the likes of Etta James, Jimmy Hughes, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, and many more, but his lone solo album, Pot Luck, finds Spooner in a rare role: front and center. Oldham moved west in the late ‘60s when the patronage of bands like The Stones and The Flying Burrito Brothers made southern soul the in-demand sound. He joined the house band at Hollywood’s Producer’s Workshop and was soon playing for The Lettermen and Liberace. While recording the latter, it was suggested that Oldham make his own album. “I don’t really think I wanted it so much,” Oldham says now. “I think it was shoved on me. We’d got all this stuff set up, and now what do we do?” Pot Luck is very much a record of two halves; Side A is an amalgamation of rarities penned with the likes of Dan Penn and Freddy Weller, while the B-side is a conceptual, seven-song medley covering some of the biggest hits Oldham played on, including “Cry Like A Baby,” “Respect,” and gospel standard “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.” The sessions were largely unplanned. “We just went in,” says collaborator Emory Gordy. “That’s the best way Spooner works.” In 1972, the album was released and quickly sank. Before long, the Producer’s Workshop disbanded, too. Oldham carried on regardless, performing with The Everly Brothers, Bobby Womack, Gene Clark, Neil Young and–well, you name it. With this deluxe reissue of his solo LP, it’s time for Oldham to get his own dues. “I don’t think anybody, anywhere, at any time, has ever heard it,” he says. “I’m just happy someone wants to hear it now.”
File Under: Piano, Funk, Soul
Pronto: s/t (Slovenly) LP
Slovenly Recordings presents a new black jewel in the rough from Australia: Melbourne scuzz squad Pronto, and their self-titled LP will steal your purse n’ pills before kicking holes in your speakers! Pronto hits hard from the gate with a rare breed of aggression that mercilessly attacks your better senses with scraping vocal chords, three or less guitar chords and brash, unrelenting rhythmic fuckery. This decroded piece of plastic devolves from hammering rock’n’roll into psyched-out meltdowns, never neglecting the breed of anthemic choruses that were perfected during the first wave of UK punk in a twisted post-punk application. Pronto is making good with ruthless threats of thuggish damage. They’re knocking at your door, and you need the hurt.
File Under: Punk
Secret Chiefs 3/Ishraqiyun: Perichoresis (Web of Mimicry) LP
Ishraqiyun has been characterized as the “neo-Pythagorean electro-folk” side of Secret Chiefs 3, and followers of the band’s live shows in the last decade will recognize it as the most familiar and dominant aspect of the band. For many years, the Ishraqiyun repertoire of mysterious, catchy, original tunes—composed in ratio-based rhythms for non-Western tunings and instruments (saz, sarangi, esraj, etc.)—has been blasted out at inordinately high volume to many adventurous ears. Now, after persistently touring and playing this music in more than 40 countries during the last few years, Secret Chiefs 3 unveil the first proper set of studio recordings of Ishraqiyun material. As a bonus, they have included a healthy dose of new, previously unheard tunes (actually half the album). The diverse musicians on Perichoresis are drawn from several configurations of the band over the years and include Eyvind Kang (viola), Ches Smith (drums, percussion), Rich Doucette (sarangi, esraj), Peijman Kouretchian (drums), Mike Dillon (tabla), Shahzad Ismaily (bass), Timba Harris (violin), Jai Young Kim (keyboards) and many more, all led by composer / producer / bandleader / multi-intrumentalist Trey Spruance. Though concert-goers will welcome definitive editions of some of their favorite live songs, none of what is presented on Perichoresis has ever appeared on any previous Secret Chiefs 3 album. Never content to rest on the familiar, SC3 pushes Ishraqiyun into uncharted terrain, stretching the envelope most particularly on the mega-opus title track “Perichoresis.” This is the first recorded composition to introduce Spruance’s evolving system of musical ideas patterned upon the specific geometrical relationships found in certain polyhedra and the tesselating patterns from which they are derived. These kinds of techniques could result in lifeless and cerebral art, but Spruance’s approach is more akin to martial arts than nerd rock. It’s not about “math,” it’s all about being moved (or moving with) the mysterious power of forgotten fundamentals. It’s music for the antiquarian and barbarian alike, and the cacophonous banquet halls up there on the modernist Olympus are about to be pelted with this golden apple.
File Under: Rock, Experimental, Electronic
Space Lady/Burnt Ones: Split (Castle Face) LP
Announcing a totally far-out split release from unexpected corners: fave Hoosier-via-SF tripper transplants Burnt Ones sweet-talked the one and only Space Lady into a sharing an album, and the results are magical. In her inimitable style The Space Lady sparkles through “Across the Universe,” “Starman,” a brand-new original called “The Next Right Thing” and an achingly elegaic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” These beautiful tunes are wonderful additions to her lovely repertoire. For their half, Burnt Ones mellow down their sound, crafting a warm cocoon on two kaliedoscopic creepers, peaking just a little with a floweringly spaced-out version of the Space Lady’s greatest hit, “Synthesize Me,” and closing with another druggy lullaby. It’s sweet and mellow ride through both sides and it’s out on Castle Face Records.
File Under: Rock, Psych
Chris Walla: Tape Loops (Trans) LP
Chris Walla has said little publicly about his 2014 departure from Death Cab for Cutie, a band that he co- founded and called home for 17 years. He begins to break his silence with Tape Loops, a full-length album that doesn’t so much provide answers or explanations, but invites the listener into the instrumental landscapes of his inner world. Sidestepping the specificity of narrative songwriting in favor of immersive aural topographies, Chris Walla’s Tape Loops offers up a quietly dynamic listen that is as beautiful as it is masterful. Leaning into the constraints of analog loop-based recording, Walla’s virtuosity as a composer and producer shines. The album’s richly layered arrangements reveal their powerful “I can’t change a closed, physical tape loop with a mouse-click or a keystroke, and that’s precisely the point,” Walla explains. “Digital recording and editing often feels like working in a spreadsheet—it’s not always a place for dreams.”Chris Walla is a writer, musician and record producer. Tape Loops is his first solo album since Field Manual (2008). A founding member of Death Cab for Cutie, he was the guitarist, producer and co-writer from 1997 to 2014.
File Under: Ambient, Death Cab
Wilco: Star Wars (Anti) LP
The Chicago band Wilco has digitally released a new album, Star Wars, through its own dBpm Records. The album was made available the day after Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy revealed news of its existence during a live interview with Pitchfork at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Wilco headlined the 2015 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago and started out their set by playing the album in its entirety. Star Wars will be available on 180g vinyl in August 2015. Star Wars is the Grammy-award winning band’s ninth studio album and its first since 2011’s The Whole Love. Wilco has been a pioneer of pre-releasing albums and making its music available for free since 2001 when the band streamed its breakthrough release Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The decision to make Star Wars available quickly and for free continues to see the band exploring new ways to release its music and reach its fans, while keeping the album release process fun and interesting to its members. “Why release an album this way and why make it free? Well, the biggest reason, and I’m not sure we even need any others, is that it felt like it would be fun,” Tweedy said. “What’s more fun than a surprise? Enough of this 20th anniversary already, here’s something fresh.” The new album was recorded at the band’s Chicago loft and features 11 original Wilco-penned tunes. Wilco is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, and its label dBpm has recently released two anniversary-related collections: Alpha Mike Foxtrot, a box set of rarities and What’s Your 20?, a compilation of studio tracks from the band’s first eight albums. “We’ve been feeling very fortunate lately being reminded of how long we’ve been able to do this,” Tweedy said. “We believe one of the primary reasons for our good fortune has been our audiences reaction to our impulse to be heard and our habit of erring on the side of that desire to override financial ambition. Not that we don’t enjoy getting paid. We do. But this is a recommitment to the idea that music is more important to our lives. Art is more worthy of our striving. And fun is more sustaining than cash. It’s not intended to be a comment on the music business, just one band’s wish to give our fans a jolt of joy: a fun surprise. In that spirit we hope you will accept this gift and if not, well, maybe next time.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators: Happiness in Every Style (Timmon) LP
Nicole Willis returns with her third album accompanied by the Finland-based Soul Investigators since 2005: Happiness In Every Style. As the name suggests, the new release—her fifth solo outing since 2000—offers plenty of variety and lands on a sunnier side of the street, following her darker, acclaimed 2013 release, Tortured Soul. Nicole and the Soul Investigators offer upbeat modern soul and embrace sophisticated melodies alongside their highly evolved raw funk sound, whose wares share vinyl shelf space with fans of Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley. To get a taste of the new album’s strength and appeal, one has only to put on the first single, “Paint Me In A Corner,” “Let’s Communicate” or the ebullient “One In a Million” to hear the vocalist’s energy and skill, honed by decades in the music game. From minor key ballads such as “Thief In The Night” to the unapologetically poppy “Angel,” the new album is a perfect showcase not only for her sweet, evocative, powerful voice, but also excellent songwriting by Willis and the group.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (Matador) LP
Yo La Tengo began life as one among hundreds of Velvet Underground-inspired bands, banging out dark, skittish tunes that displayed guitarist/vocalist Ira Kaplan’s affection for Lou Reed as well as the band’s commitment to creating a gently subversive groove. Over the years, the group, which also features Kaplan’s wife Georgia Hubley on drums and vocals, has gone through more identity changes than David Bowie, from acoustic folk-rock to wailing, Sonic Youth-like guitarchitecture. On their 1997 fan favorite I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, YLT consolidates their sound as they expand it, incorporating bossa nova, electronica and ’60s pop into a gorgeous shimmering whole that is something more than the sum of its parts. The laconic-but-expressive vocals of Kaplan and Hubley provide the songs with just the right combination of detachment and naivete, and the trio (which also includes bassist James McNew) sounds like one person with six arms, three brains and one big heart.
File Under: Indie Rock
Young Rival: Interior Light (Paper Bag) LP
Working with producer Graham Walsh – whose work the band admired on records by Viet Cong, Metz and Alvvays – Young Rival never stopped ripping at the seams of these songs, as though figuring out what really made them tick. Interior Light, their debut on Paper Bag Records and first new music since 2012’s Stay Young, doesn’t sound like the culmination of ten years worth of hard work. Instead, it sounds like a new start and a springboard for further experimentation and exploration. “We listened to a lot of Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers, stuff like that,” says the band’s Aron D’Alesio. “We brought in some psych elements as well. So ‘croon psych’ became a term we were throwing around at each other in the studio, like Sinatra dropping acid with Deerhunter.”
File Under: Indie Rock, CanCon
Zombi: Shape Shift (Relapse) LP
After the lengthy break that followed their beloved last album Escape Velocity, 2015 sees Zombi ready to reclaim their rightful role as space-rock overlords with their sixth full-length Shape Shift. The album was self-produced by the band and recorded at Machine Age Studios in Pittsburgh, PA and Steve Moore’s private studio in central New York. Darker, heavier and more dynamic than their more recent works, Shape Shift finds the duo in “live band” mode, a fitting return to their roots after their successful North American tour with the legendary Goblin in 2013 and a triumphant headlining appearance at the prestigious Roadburn Festival in April 2015. Whether you’re an adventurous listener or die-hard fan, delving into the latest chapter of Zombi’s expansive and ever-progressive oeuvre will not disappoint!
File Under: Metal, Electronic, Prog
Various: Greater Manchester Punk 1977-81 (Vinyl Revival) LP
Fourteen rare and previously unreleased punk and post punk tracks from the more obscure original Manchester bands of the time. The majority supported established acts such as the Buzzcocks and Joy Division and some went on to form legendary bands in later eras (Mike Joyce, The Hoax). In the spirit of the DIY ethos of the punk era, most were recorded in small studios and released in limited pressings and have become a must have for the discerning punk collector. Features tracks from V2, The Reporters, Elti-Fits, Pure Product, The Panik, The Enigma, Steroid Kiddies, The Hoax, The Critics, The Change, Armed Force, The StillL, Fast Cars, and The Things.
File Under: Punk
Various: Small Town Country Vol 1 (Orion Read) LP
The songs that make up this unprecedented album were gathered and compiled by Austin based musician and record collector JASON CHRONIS. He visited countless small towns across Texas and beyond, in search of anything and everything that might be etched on vinyl. From mountains of material, he chose these fourteen forgotten odes and put them in an order that tells a story. Like Harry Smith’s visionary anthology of folk music, this selection of private press country music captures the joys and the sorrows of people who sang for themselves. These songs speak directly to the concerns of real people, our experiences and dreams, and the gap between them. Of course, these musicians had also hoped to score on the charts, a desire that almost defines country music, but it didn’t happen that way. Now, 30, 40, 50 years after these records were handed to friends and mailed to local radio stations, perhaps country music is in for some definition expansion. More than half of these raw and intimate songs came out of Texas, where there has always been a strong regional music tradition. As history recedes and country music shakes off the commercial dominance of the Nashville hit machine, Texas country music, with its straightforward, ‘take it or leave it’ sentiment and rugged, stripped down sound, will be known for its influence on all types of musicians and songwriters. And perhaps the unknown country musicians that made the music on this LP were right when they pooled resources, asked favors, and poured their hearts out onto 45s…thinking they had a hit on their hands!
File Under: Country, Folk
Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works (Apollo) LP
Aphex Twin: I Care Because You Do (1972) LP
Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (Merge) LP
Belle & Sebastian: Tigermilk (Matador) LP
Beta Band: Champion Versions (Rhino) LP
Beta Band: Los Amigos Del Beta Bandidos (Rhino) LP
Beta Band: Patty Patty Sound (Rhino) LP
Black Keys: Rubber Factory (Fat Possum) LP
Black Sabbath: s/t (Rhino) LP
Carlton Melton: Out To Sea (Agitate) LP
D’Angelo: Voodoo (Modern Classics) LP
Karen Dalton: In My Own Time (Light in the Attic) LP
John Fahey: Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death (4 Men With Beards) LP
Funkadelic: Free Your Mind (4 Men With Beards) LP
Funkadelic: Standing On The Verge of Getting It On (4 Men With Beards) LP
Glass Candy: Beat Box (Italians Do It Better) LP
Al Green: Get’s Next To You (Fat Possum) LP
Al Green: Greatest Hits (Fat Possum) LP
Al Green: I’m Still In Love With You (Fat Possum) LP
Al Green: Let’s Stay Together (Fat Possum) LP
Jesus & The Mary Chain: Stoned & Dethroned (Plain) LP
King Khan & BBQ Show: s/t (In The Red) LP
King Khan & BBQ Show: Invisible Girl (In The Red) LP
Kraftwerk: Man-Machine (EMI) LP
Kraftwerk: Radio-Acivity (EMI) LP
Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (EMI) LP
Karin Krog: Don’t Just Sing (Light in the Attic) LP
Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid M.A.A.D. City (Aftermath) LP
Liquid Liquid: Optimo (Superior Viaduct) LP
Liquid Liquid: s/t (Superior Viaduct) LP
Mariah: Utakata No Hibi (Palto Flats) LP
Monolord: Empress Rising (Riding Easy) LP
Olivia Tremor Control: Black Foliage (Chunklet) LP
OST: Hannibal (Mondo) LP
Pack: s/t (Ugly Pop) LP
Ann Peebles: Greatest Hits (Fat Possum) LP
Ann Peebles: Straight From The Heart (Fat Possum) LP
Quasimoto: The Unseen (Stones Throw) LP
Real Estate: s/t (Woodsist) LP
Rodriguez: Cold Fact (Light in the Attic) LP/CS
Rolling Stones: Their Satanic Majesties’ Request (Abkco) LP
Silver Jews: Natural Bridge (Drag City) LP
Silver Jews: American Water (Drag City) LP
Sonic Youth: A Thousand Leaves (Goofin) LP
Sonic Youth: Evol (Goofin) LP
Jim Sullivan: UFO (Light in the Attic) LP
Sumac: The Deal (Sige) LP
Supergrass: I Should Coco (Parlophone) LP
Swans: My Father Will Guide Me (Young God) LP
Tool: Lateralus (Zoo) LP
U.S. Girls: Half Free (4AD) LP
Wipers: Is This Real? (Jackpot) LP
Wipers: Over The Edge (Jackpot) LP
Wipers: Youth of America (Jackpot) LP