Alrighty, Easter is upon us again, one of the few times we actually shut down for a day. Our hours this weekend are…..
Friday March 25 – 12 – 5
Saturday March 26 – 11 – 6
Sunday March 27 – CLOSED
Monday March 28 – 11 – 6
Also, this is Nora’s last couple of shifts so stop on in and say ‘See ya!’
And as I mentioned last week, WE ARE HIRING! This doesn’t happen very often so if you’v ever wanted to work here, this is your best chance! Please drop off a resume in person and include your top 10 albums of 2015 as well as of all time. Good luck!
…..picks of the week…..
Lifetones: For A Reason (Light in the Attic) LP
Political post-punk trio This Heat dissolved at a turbulent time in the UK. Margaret “The Iron Lady” Thatcher was in power, and her budget-cutting, ultra-conservative influence was felt strongly in–among many other places–the cultural melting pot of Brixton, South London, where This Heat had their origins. Dusting himself off after the collapse of the band in 1982, guitarist/vocalist Charles Bullen united with Julius Samuel to form Lifetones and embraced the sounds of the local West Indian community to fuse reggae flavor to the kind of propulsive, rhythmic, and experimental music made by This Heat. Deceit, This Heat’s 1981 album, had seen them work with David Cunningham, who had already helped mesh dub reggae with new wave pop on The Flying Lizards’ 1979 single, “Money (That’s What I Want Want).” Even so, For A Reason was a great leap, one that created a strange, unsettling mood as Bullen’s multi-tracked, chant-like vocals met dub beats and Krautrock-informed repetition. Where Deceit dealt with the nuclear threat, For A Reason was less reactionary, even quoting Bob Marley in its lyrics: “you love the life you live, you live the life you love.” Containing 6 songs in total, the album was recorded at Cold Storage studio and released on Bullen’s own Tone Of Life Records. It has become a sought-after collector’s item that changes hands for hundreds of dollars a time. As a solo artist, Bullen was not prolific–it was 15 years until, in 1998, he released Internal Clock under the name Circadian Rhythms–but like the rest of his band, he has enjoyed a long, enriching career in unending pursuit of new sounds. Even though This Heat had no commercial success to follow up on, For A Reason was an album created with no intention of hitting the charts. Reissued on Light In The Attic, Lifetones’ single album retains a timeless quality and perhaps–on tracks such as “Good Side”–a futuristic sound that nobody else ever caught up to.
File Under: Dub, Experimental, This Heat
Various: Rare Music from the Cometa Library Vaults (Pheon) LP
As most library music geeks know, some of the finest, oddest and most sought-after library music comes from Italy. But collecting it is an expensive business, and one full of risks – many library LPs are one trackers but will still set you back hundreds. The second Pheon Records LP release is a trip through the Cometa library music vaults. To buy the originals featured here would cost you thousands of pounds today. How mental is that! So, here we present a twelve tracker – twelve killer cues of library gold; jazz, abstracted oddness, killer percussion, amazing ideas, beautiful sound – and all for a bargain price. These cues were all recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and all come from possibly the most desirable library label of all, “SR”, a company originally set up by The Sermi Film Co. The original recordings are now mostly owned by Cometa, hence our album title. The composers are masters of the genre, the musicians faultless. It’s a superb comp, very limited, with no chance of a repress.
File Under: Library, Italian
Black Crowes: Amorica (American) LP
Released on Rick Rubin’s American Recordings in 1994, Amorica is the Black Crowes’ third full-length and follow-up to the band’s two breakout albums Shake Your Money Maker (1990) and The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992). Produced by Jack Joseph Puig, the 11-song set may not have the runaway hits of its predecessors, but it stands as one of the band’s best overall collections. The group’s jammy blues-rock sound, anchored by throwback frontman Chris Robinson and the killer guitar riffs from his brother Rich and Marc Ford, is as fully realized as ever, an ideal modern mix of their heart on sleeve ’70s influences.
File Under: Rock
Neko Case: The Tigers Have Spoken (Anti) LP
November 2015 marks the, limited edition vinyl re-issues of three Neko Case records that have been long out of print. Each title has been remastered from the original analog tapes and comes complete with a full album download card. Furnace Room Lullaby (2000), Blacklisted (2002), and The Tigers Have Spoken (2004) are highly sought after fan favorites that have been missing on wax for over 6 years. These stand-alone offerings come on the heels of her stunning vinyl box set, Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule and are available just in time for the holidays. Recorded live over seven nights and at three different venues in Chicago and Toronto in 2004, The Tigers Have Spoken finds Neko in incredible voice backed by a full band featuring The Sadies and steel guitar wizard Jon Rauhouse along with special guests Kelly Hogan, Carolyn Mark, Jim & Jennie and the Pinetops, Paul Morstad, and Brian Connelly. While The Tigers Have Spoken is a live album, it’s not your typical career retrospective – only two of the eleven songs are from Neko’s back catalog. In addition to two new original compositions, the songstress wraps her powerful pipes around a surprising collection of covers written by artists like Buffy Saint Marie, Loretta Lynn, the Shangri-La’s and Freakwater’s Catherine Irwin. The set closes with impassioned versions of the standards, “Wayfaring Stranger” and “This Little Light,” which Neko forever makes her own.
File Under: Alt-Country
Neko Case: Furnace Room Lullaby (Anti) LP
The limited edition, vinyl re-issue of three Neko Case records that have been long out of print. Each title has been remastered from their original analog tapes and come complete with full album download cards. Furnace Room Lullaby, Blacklisted, and The Tigers Have Spoken are sought after fan favorites that have been missing on wax for over 6 years. These stand-alone offerings come on the heels of her stunning vinyl box set, Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule, and are available on black and colored vinyl.
File Under: Alt Country
Causa Sui: Return to the Sky (El Paraiso) LP
Successor to 2013’s Euporie Tide, which consolidated the band as a crucial force in the European psych scene. Return To Sky is a condensed piece of acutely experimental, yet immensely engag-ing, instrumental rock. Each of the album’s five epics unfolds as a microcosm of the band’s genre-transcending psychedelia at large, yet adds something different to the whole. Heavy, detuned riffs are transformed into wide, pastoral soundscapes, and fluid minimalism warped into swirling cre-scendos and back again.
File Under: Psych
Cloudland Canyon: An Arabesque (Medical) LP
Cloudland Canyon’s third LP, An Arabesque, was spearheaded by founding member Kip Uhlhorn but fleshed out with contributions from Memphis rock royalty such as Ross Johnson (Panther Burns, Alex Chilton), Lesa Alridge (Big Star) and Jody Stephens (Big Star), alongside collaborative accents by Ezra Buchla, M. Geddes Gengras, Kliph Scurlock (ex-Flaming Lips), David Scott Stone (ex-LCD Soundsystem), and Pete Kember aka Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, Spectrum), who also co-produced the album. While past recordings on Holy Mountain and Kranky flirted with drone and krautrock modes, An Arabesque skews in a more rhythmic direction, with shades of naive disco and new age.
File Under: Electronic, Space Rock
Dillinger Escape Plan: Option Paralysis (Season of Mist) LP
At first glance, Option Paralysis (2010) seems like a highly inappropriate title to describe the constantly evolving output of The Dillinger Escape Plan. But once you’re faced with the cumulative power and vision of guitarist Ben Weinman, vocalist Greg Puciato, bassist Liam Wilson, guitarist Jeff Tuttle and drummer Billy Rymer, you’ll wonder-right after you pick yourself up off the floor – why more bands don’t achieve similar force-of-nature status. “The title Option Paralysis represents being in a situation where you have so many choices you can’t decide, and end up being frozen,” says founding member Weinman about the mindset permeating the band’s fourth full-length album. “Back in the early days when I started to discover music, go to shows and find out about new bands, there were ‘filters’ from various circumstances – geography, economic status, etc – which deeply affected how a band sounded and what they stood for.” He adds, “Now, everyone is going through the same filter-namely computers and the internet-and everyone has the same circumstances: Everybody’s seeing the same thing for the first time at the very same time, simultaneously all over the world. That very system is negatively affecting art and has created a situation where everything is influencing itself and art is not based on struggle, personal scarcity or unique and personal inspiration. This cultural revolutions is a big part of what determines our mission. We’re not listening to any of the bands around us for some kind of input as to what we should sound like. At this point, we’re using our own accomplishments as a measurement of what we need to do next.” Produced by Steve Evetts, Dillinger’s music is positively abundant with possibilities. New drummer Billy Rymer began to occupy the engine room that powers the band here. Frontman, Puciato has always had a knack with a bellow that could make reciting a grocery list seem like an exhortation to open the mouth of Hell. But feeling some of the lyrics on Option Paralysis, you can’t positively determine if the singer is handing down indictments (“Farewell, Mona Lisa”) or feeling emotionally wounded. “This record is concept driven but there is still a very emotional and personal aspect to his lyrics,” explains Weinman. “He’s going through transitional stages in his life right now.” Nothing so eloquently supports that statement than the six and-a-half-minute “Widower,” where the band are joined by veteran David Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson for an aural excursion that incorporates piano-trio jazz, tender balladry and anthemic power. While there’s no shortage of DEP plasma-balls on Option Paralysis (“Room Full Of Eyes,” “Good Neighbor”), the band keep things fresh with the math-rock/free-jazz convergence of “I Wouldn’t If You Didn’t,” the electro-tweaked “Chinese Whispers” and the closing “Parasitic Twins.” The latter track sports lead vocals courtesy of guitarist Tuttle, as well as Beach Boys-styled harmonies and a major-key Weinman solo that’s more Clapton (ca. Derek And The Dominos) than calculus crush. Clearly, this is not your older brother’s Dillinger Escape Plan.
File Under: Metal
Noel Ellis: s/t (Light in the Attic) LP
Noel Ellis features six dub-loved, heavy yet ethereal tracks, with contributions from OG reggae maestros Jackie Mittoo, Willi Williams, and Johnny Osbourne. The eponymous classic lost full-length includes the hugely influential “Rocking Universally”, whose rhythmic influence was Willi Williams’ “Armagideon Time” (covered by The Clash). The poignantly autobiographical “Memories” (about Noel’s upbringing in Jamaica) is a highpoint as well. “Stop Your Fighting” was a universal anti-materialism/war plea that we should still heed today, while “Marcus Garvey” was delivered in Noel’s playful style, despite a solemn rallying cry of “Africa it must be free…” Noel Ellis evoked a transcendent majesty, and the album’s economical performances were a blessing compared to certain overproduced recordings of the era. Tasteful keys, varied percussion, essential echo, conquering dub changeovers, and Noel’s impeccable mic control gave an otherworldly twist to Summer’s remarkable drum and bass sound. It was an end-to-end burner for midnight tokers and cool rulers alike.
File Under: Reggae
Julien Grycan: Post Atom (Strawberry Rain) LP
French acid folk with stoned vocals, Julien Grycan’s privately released album was made for a French car lot as a way to attract customers. Never distributed, this reverb laden, emotion filled album was originally limited to 200 copies, but many were disposed making it a rare artifact. Influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and the psychedelic years of Herve Cristiani whom Julien befriended. Having been a cartoonist at the time, the artwork was originally done by Julien himself, however due to financial constraints he wasn’t able to print in color. This release offers the artwork in full color for the first time, as was originally intended. For fans of Beautiful Losers, the 1st Manset, Denis, Celebration (Old Green Village) etc..
File Under: Acid Folk
Domingo Justus: Juju Music In Niegria (Asherah) LP
The music of Domingo Justus is some of the earliest known recorded in the African folk tradition. Quite interestingly, however, the music was recorded in the city of London, and Justus himself was not believed to be a resident of the African continent at the time. Such transplant culture was a significant component of the immigrant experience, particularly during the United Kingdom’s colonial era. In his time, specifically circa 1925-1927, Justus recorded several original and traditional songs inspired by his experiences as part of the African Diaspora, mixing his Lagosian and Yoruba folk song roots within the context of his day-to-day existence in his adopted home.
File Under: Nigeria, Highlife
Khun Narin Electric Phin Band: II (Innovative Leisure) LP
It all started a couple years ago with the caption “MINDBLOWING PSYCHEDELIA FROM THAILAND” – the Youtube video that accompanied this headline on the Dangerous Minds Blog was exactly that. Here was a group of Thai musicians being filmed parading through a remote village hundreds of miles away from Bangkok playing some of the heaviest Psych known to mankind out of a crazy homemade soundsystem. Who were these men and how on earth was this not some unearthed archived footage from the ’60s or ’70s?! The Youtube clip quickly made its rounds amongst music enthusiasts leaving many in the Western hemisphere to question who this group of contemporary Thai villagers (loosely named Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band) was. Six months after that first encounter with Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band, a Los Angeles music producer named Josh Marcy used Facebook and some unlikely interpreters at his local Thai restaurant to get in contact with the group’s leader and namesake Khun Narin (also known simply as “Rin”). Rin eventually warmed to the idea of having Marcy come visit and record the group in their small village outside the city of Lom Sak, in the valley of mountains that form a rough border between Thailand’s North and Northeast. The result of that initial encounter was 2014’s eponymous LP, 40 minutes of hypnotizing psychedelia filled with heavy drum breaks that sounds like something RZA would sample for a Quentin Tarantino film. The music they play is called phin prayuk. The first word refers to the lead instrument, a 3-stringed lute known as the phin. The phin player, uses a string of Boss effects pedals, including a phaser, distortion and digital delay to get his sound. He also builds his own instruments, installing Fender pickups into hand-carved hardwood bodies, with elaborate mythical serpents adorning the headstock. The band takes pride in their custom PA system, as well as an imposing tower of 8 loudspeaker horns atop a huge bass cabinet. Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band’s membership is always in rotation and spans several generations, from high school kids to men well into their 60s. A standard engagement has the band setting up at the hosting household during the morning rituals, playing several low-key sets from the comfort of plastic lawn chairs occasionally working in a cover version of a foreign classic (The Cranberries ‘Zombie’ is a favorite) while the beer and whiskey flow freely. After a mid-day banquet, they start up the generator and lead a parade through the community to the local temple, picking up more and more partiers along the way. While the music was the first thing that engaged Marcy, this casual yet participatory playing environment connected him further with the band – so much so that he decided to travel back to Lom Sak in early 2015 to record more. As the band members rotate, the follow up to 2014’s LP (simply titled II) introduces some new players including new phin players Aob and Bas, while retaining some members of the old guard. The thing that remains consistent with Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band is the authenticity of sound, which Marcy was able to capture again in LP2.
File Under: Psych
Kumasi Trio: Fanti Guitar In West Africa 1928 (Asherah) LP
These rare recordings are some of the first ever featuring traditional African music played on western instruments. This cultural exchange led to completely new genres in music, most importantly, Highlife. Kumasi is a Gold Coast city in Ghana, West Africa, that, at the time, did not feature much more than an open air market and one of the first British department stores in the continent. The Trio is made up of H.E. Biney on guitar, Kwah Kanta on percussion, and Jacob Sam on guitar, with all three contributing on vocals. The trio was brought to London to record these tracks in the Summer of 1928.
File Under: Africa, Highlife
Liima: II (4AD) LP
Liima is Tatu Rönkkö, Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg. Translated from Finnish as ‘glue’, Liima is an autonomous unit where boundaries are blurred and roles are fluid. Their debut release ii, will be released on 4AD in March 2016. The idea for Liima began in July 2014 when Brauer, Clausen and Stolberg (founding members of Danish act Efterklang) were invited to be artists-in-resident at Our Festival, Finland. Joined by Finnish native Rönkkö, the group were tasked with creating new material to be performed at the end of a 10-day residency. Naturally drawn to the possibilities an informal electronic live set-up could deliver, the four found the spontaneity of songwriting and performing in a limited time frame hugely liberating. With hours of music created and performed live, the band returned to Berlin to record 10 songs over four days at Voxton studio with producer Jonas Verwijnen.
File Under: Indie Rock, Efterklang
Gimmer Nicholson: Christopher Idyllis (Light in the Attic) LP
Upon first glance, one could be forgiven for wondering which is the artist and which is the title of this album. Memphis’ Larry “Gimmer” Nicholson still remains a great unknown today, despite his having orbited the periphery of the city’s music scene since the early ‘60s, playing with artists ranging from Furry Lewis to William Eggleston and influencing a young Chris Bell (Big Star). Fusing classical and folk music, the sound Gimmer created for Christopher Idylls was evocative and unusual, its chiming guitars recalling the music of centuries past while also–when recorded in 1968–being quite desperately ahead of its time. The album was recorded with Terry Manning (Big Star, Led Zeppelin), who describes its creator as “one of the world’s most enigmatic people. I don’t know how many people really knew him because he was such a private person, a ‘full of love’ person, who had a dark side as well.” The six compositions that comprise Christopher Idylls were composed out west, Manning believes, while overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They were laid down in 1968 in four weeks of intimate sessions at Ardent Studios that saw Gimmer experiment by feeding acoustic guitars through delay pedals, layering and layering the sound live–one of the first examples of electronic repeat being used as part of the music. The album was supposed to be the first full-length LP release on Ardent Records, but there were understandable concerns about the size of audience that might be waiting for a curious instrumental album such as this. Meanwhile, Gimmer put blocks in the road himself: he didn’t like the original mixes or the sleeve and eventually decided he didn’t want the album released at all. He got his way but, Manning argues, the influence of those chiming guitars can be heard in the sounds floating out of Memphis in the decades that followed–especially in Big Star. Having personally played it to luminaries including Jimmy Page, Manning was frustrated he couldn’t get the album to a wider audience. “It was one of the best things I’ve been associated with–and it still is,” he says. It was Manning who finally convinced Nicholson to release the album on CD in 1994 and who was talking about recording more with him when Gimmer passed away at just 54 years old in 2000. Now available on vinyl, it’s Gimmer’s time to chime–and shine–again.
File Under: Folk
Novak: Dumb Records (Orion Read) LP
The Bay Area punk scene really started to energize in early ’77, when bands like Crime, the Nuns, the Mutants, and the Avengers started drawing rabid fans to legendary venue Mabuhay Gardens. Novak was a Mills College grad student with a background in avant garde composition—he’d worked with Robert Moog and John Cage as an undergrad—and access to a 12 track recording studio. He started making his own version of garage inspired punk rock. By the end of ’77, he’d formed a band, played Mabuhay Gardens five times, started his own label—Dumb Records, and released his first 7”, “RU21.” He did all the engineering and production himself, glued the 500 covers by hand, and went around on foot to San Francisco record stores trying to get people to listen. Novak met the Nuns’ Alejandro Escovedo at Mabuhay when the Nuns opened up for the Ramones, and ended up recording a three song demo for the band. Shortly after, Novak produced Crime’s second single, “Frustration”/”Murder by Guitar.” Gathering momentum, Novak put out a second 7”, “Oh Farrah!,” later that year. He went on to put out two more Novak singles, and also—returning to his avant garde roots—a more experimental project called the Survivors, two savage drone tracks that incorporate eerie vocal samples of cult leader Jim Jones. Into the early ’80s Novak broadened the Dumb Records catalog, issuing releases by local bands BOB and Ixna. One part glam, one part dumb is smart, one part riff rock ’n’ roll, Novak’s music is raw, arty punk rock. The fourteen tracks on this LP preserve the legacy of the Novak project by collecting the four Novak 45s and the Survivors 45.
File Under: Punk
The O’Jays: Back Stabbers (Real Gone) LP
Deemed by many to be the pinnacle of the Philly Sound as perfected by legendary producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, 1972’s Back Stabbers scored no less than two Top Five Pop and three Top Five R&B smashes with the songs “Love Train,” “Time to Get Down,” and the title track. Honed by a decade of woodshedding, the vocal arrangements are simply sublime, and when married to Gamble & Huff’s polished backing tracks, they create an album that is a masterpiece through and through – one that brought both the O’Jays and Gamble and Huff to national attention, but it’s never been reissued on vinyl in the “modern” era.
File Under: Soul, R&B
OST: Home Alone (Mondo) LP
Mondo is proud to present the 25th anniversary release of the soundtrack to Home Alone. Featuring original music by John Williams, and including such classic Christmas songs such as “White Christmas,” “I’ll be Home For Christmas,” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
File Under: OST
OST: The Bloodstained Shadow (Death Waltz) LP
Death Waltz Recording Company is proud to release into the wild another classic giallo score, this time a momentous collaboration between two giants of the film scoring world with a soundtrack to Antonio Bido’s Solemente Nero aka The Bloodstained Shadow aka Only Darkness. Composed by Stelvio Cipriani and performed by Goblin, it’s an unsettling mix of eerie melodies with electronic effects that is guaranteed to keep out even the most boastful hardcore fan.
File Under: OST, Goblin
Replacements: The Sire Years (Rhino) 4LP
Along with Prince and Hüsker Dü, The Replacements put Minneapolis on the rock map in the 1980s. Among America’s greatest alternative acts of the last two decades, the ‘Mats rose from chaotic noise-makers to polished craftsmen, leaving at least three unqualified masterpieces in their wake. In a perfect world, Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased To Meet Me would have all gone platinum – but then again, endearing imperfection was always a hallmark of this band’s music. The Replacements formed in the wake of the punk explosion of the late-70s. Their anarchic stage shows had earned them considerable notoriety in local clubs. Indie label Twin/Tone took note and signed the quartet for their first four releases, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (1981), Stink EP (1982), Hootenanny (1983) and Let It Be (1984) which earned The Replacements a place on the roster at Sire Records. It was there that the ‘Mats released their final four albums – Tim (1985), Pleased to Meet Me (1987), Don’t Tell A Soul (1989) and All Shook Down (1990) – collected here in the new limited edition 4LP box set The Sire Years. Tim was the last album to feature the band’s legendary original lineup. A departure from the raw, punk-rock aesthetic that dominated their Twin/Tone releases, Tim showcases Westerberg’s gift for songcraft with the uptempo rock anthems “Bastards Of Young” and “Left Of The Dial,” the poignant ballad “Here Comes A Regular,” and the clever lyricism of “Little Mascara.” Follow-up Pleased To Meet Me was recorded in Memphis, TN with producer Jim Dickinson whose association with Big Star attracted the band. Memorable tracks include “Alex Chilton,” “The Ledge,” “I Don’t Know,” “Red Red Wine” and “Can’t Hardly Wait.” For Don’t Tell A Soul, the screaming, yelling and falling to pieces drunken brothers added sleepy melancholy, violins, and waves of layered guitar, something that sounded like a “real” recording and a bit if not a lot of personal vulnerability to the mix. Songs like “Achin’ to Be,” the haunted “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghost,” the sweetly self-mythologizing “Talent Show,” and “I’ll Be You,” are among the best of their era. Produced with Scott Litt, All Shook Down started out as a Westerberg solo album, but was eventually released as the Replacements seventh and final album. That also explains the album’s many guest artists which include John Cale, Benmont Tench, Terry Reid and Johnette Napolitano.
File Under: Punk, Rock
Tariverdiev: Film Music (Earth) 3LP
In 2011, Stephen Coates of the band The Real Tuesday Weld found himself sheltering from the cold in a cafe in Moscow with a friend. Fascinated by the music that was playing, he asked the waitress and was told ‘it was something from the old times’. It turned out to be the soundtrack for the Sixties cult Soviet film ‘Goodbye Boys’ composed by Mikael Tariverdiev. Compiled by his wife Vera Tariverdieva together with Stephen (in association with his publishing company Antique Beat), ‘Film Music’ includes a selection of the composer’s greatest tracks, including many previously unreleased versions. All were made with new transfers from original tapes and his own reel-to-reel machine. They are thematically programmed around Vera’s intimate knowledge of her husband’s music. It is with her blessing and dedication to see his legacy live on that we are able to bring his music to new audiences. ‘Film Music’ unveils the extraordinary life of an unusual composer who was acutely aware of the political environment although it was not central to his work. The 3LP boxset is beautifully packaged within hard outer slipcase and comes with a 24 page booklet bursting with unseen documents and materials from the Tariverdiev home. The rare photographs come from Mikael’s personal collection including stills from the film sets he was working on, his and Vera’s apartment and images of his studio images.
File Under: OST, Russia
Thesda: Spaced Out (Left Ear) LP
Thesda – Spaced Out was originally pressed in 1979 in a run of just 100 LPs. The original LPs were only distributed among friends and family and as a result they are extremely sort after. Spaced Out is a cosmic journey blending jazz funk soul and disco is a into one of the most unique private press releases of its time. This killer jazz funk album is fully licenced and reissued for the very first time by Left Ear Records.
File Under: Jazz, Funk
Various: Aloha Got Soul (Strut) LP
New on Strut for February 2016, Aloha Got Soul encompasses a vibrant era of contemporary music made in Hawaii during the 1970s to the mid-1980s as jazz, rock, funk, disco and R&B co-existed alongside Hawaiian folk music. Hawaii’s identity had undergone huge change: statehood into America in ‘59 and the Vietnam War were the backdrop as Hawaii’s youth found inspiration in a new wave of international music led initially by The Beatles and Stones and, later, by US R&B bands like Earth Wind & Fire and Tower Of Power. Garage bands flourished during the ‘60s and, by the ‘70s, live music was at its peak. Waikīkī was filled with clubs: The Point After, Infinity’s, Hawaiian Hut, Spats and more. For the ‘70s generation of artists, some came through the talent contest ‘Home Grown’ and its accompanying compilation LP. Singer Nohelani Cypriano won it with her instant radio hit, “Lihue.” Other winning songs, like Marvin Franklin’s soul surfer jam “Kona Winds,” burned more slowly but have endured with DJs today. Many records also packed a powerful message. In 1978, Hawaiian was made the official state language and a huge movement arose to revive hula and traditional music. Steve & Teresa’s “Kaho’olawe Song” longs for an island long gone: the US military had used Kaho’olawe as a bombing range since Pearl Harbor. Nohelani Cypriano sang about the once sleepy town of Kailua, now a popular tourist destination: “Kailua needs no high-rise with her blue skies, not for our eyes. Can you realize?” Leading Hawaiian artists like Aura, Mike Lundy and keyboardist Kirk Thompson’s Lemuria took time in high quality facilities like Broad Recording Studio to make albums. Others grabbed studio time when they could: Tender Leaf’s Murray Compoc worked for the city bus by day and recorded an album during night sessions. Other albums were spontaneous. In 1983, Steve Maii & Teresa Bright recorded an acoustic set in just 3 hours after being invited to a studio following a gig. For the artists of the ‘70s, the climate for music changed rapidly during the mid- ‘80s as DJ culture grew and live venues shut down. Hawaii’s R&B era shone brightly and relatively briefly but, despite brilliant musicians, regular gigs and LP releases, most of the music barely made it to the mainland. Thanks largely to Aloha Got Soul’s Roger Bong, a new interest in this fertile era of Hawaiian music has grown, culminating in this new compilation of overlooked gems. Aloha Got Soul is compiled and annotated by Bong and features rare photos and original artwork.
File Under: Soul, Disco
Various: Hawai’i Authentic (Asherah) LP
Hawai’ian music is oft relegated to the confinements of Exotica, Easy Listening, or background “vacation music”. In reality, the archipelago’s recorded legacy is as rich, dense and emotionally complex as any other nation with developed musical sensibility. The Hawai’ian approach to the guitar and the advent of the ukulele not only changed the music on the islands, but swept across the Americas. This collection attempts to document this music in it’s original form, before it was co-opted for more urbane Continental tastes.
File Under: Exotica, Guitar
Various: Punk 45 – Chaos in the City of Angels & Devils (Soul Jazz) LP
‘Chaos in the City of Angels and Devils’ is the new instalment of Soul Jazz Records’ Punk 45 series featuring an array of first generation Los Angeles punk bands including X, The Germs, The Zeros, The Urinals, The Weirdos through to second generation hardcore groups like The Circle Jerks, Adolescents and T.S.O.L. Unlike the other major cities of New York and London, Punk in Los Angeles was pretty much ignored by the major record industry. As bands sprang up, Los Angeles punk gave rise to a wide range of its own DIY independent records with labels like Dangerhouse, Bomp!, What? And Upsetter documenting the nascent emerging scene. Original Los Angeles punk came in two distinct phases. The first punk groups (c.77-79) all centred around The Masque club in Hollywood, and the birth of the first ever hardcore groups who emerged in the surrounding Los Angeles suburb and beach areas (c.1979-81), mixing punk, skate and surfer ideologies. This album includes music from both periods. ‘Chaos in the City of Angels and Devils’ documents this in detail. The 64-page outsize CD booklet features extensive notes, exclusive photography from celebrated original photographers Jenny Lens, Melanie Nissen (Slash magazine) and Edward Colver, original cover art as well as interviews and features on bands and labels (including The Urinals, Flesh Eaters, Dangerhouse, Posh Boy, Frontier, Upsetter and more!). The deluxe double vinyl comes in gatefold sleeve, inner sleeves, insert + free download (+ full sleevenotes and photography). This is the sixth Punk 45 release on Soul Jazz Records and follows on from the earlier releases covering punk from Cleveland, Akron, UK, USA and proto-punk, as well as the book Punk 45 – Cover Art of Punk written in collaboration with Jon Savage.
File Under: Punk
Various: Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music (Numero) LP
As progenitor and contemptuous poster boy for the music that came to be Cosmic American, Gram Parsons found himself mired in a recording career spent mostly in scouting the perimeters of chart success. “He hated country-rock,” Parsons collaborator Emmylou Harris would later reflect. “He thought that bands like the Eagles were pretty much missing the point.” Parsons had been orbiting the idea of Cosmic American Music for some time. In ‘68, he’d parted ways with the Byrds and was looking to take air with a new project. “It’s basically a Southern soul group playing country and gospel-oriented music with a steel guitar” he told Melody Maker, on the subject of The Flying Burrito Brothers. So it was that when A&M’s Burrito Brothers debut The Gilded Palace of Sin made it to shelves in February of 1969, early adherents to the Cosmic American gospel were already echoing its message from areas flanking Gram Parsons’ Southern California hills and canyons. There was F.J. McMahon in coastal Santa Barbara, Mistress Mary further inland in Hacienda Heights, and Plain Jane of Albuquerque, New Mexico, each responding by committing their own private readings to tape before for day one of the 1970s. Parsons himself might’ve disdained them, had he even been aware of such minor ripples, shimmering at the edges of his desert oasis. But these were true believers all the same, given over fully to his roots music concept, each filling vinyl grooves with non-rock instrumentation like fiddle, banjo, and pedal steel guitar, the last undoubtedly Cosmic American Music’s most distinguishing stringed signifier. Only too predictably, big labels did the grunt work of confining and defining the movement, as ABC, United Artists, RCA, and more played catch-up with Asylum’s raptor rock juggernaut, via backwoods crossover also-rans with names like Gladstone, American Flyer, and Silverado. Twang reigned, the shitkickers kicked shit, and the vaguely western-sounding guitar records piled up. Country-rock became “the dominant American rock style of the 1970s,” as Peter Doggett’s comprehensive Are You Ready for the Country put it much later. Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music picks up and dusts off golden ingots from the dollar-bin detritus of that domination, to reconstruct events as seen from the genre’s real Wild West – America’s one-off private press label substructure.
File Under: Cosmic American, Country
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