Some really killer slabs in this week. Who’d have thought there’d be a week where both the Silver Apples and Suicide would be reissued! And I swear we were just talking a couple of months ago how necessary some early Fall reissues were. And the major label Melvins LPs! Crazy days! If you aren’t in Calgary for Sled Island, then drop in and let us drain your wallet.
…..picks of the week…..
The Fall: Live at the Witch Trials (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow… The first full-length album of The Fall, Live At The Witch Trials, is not actually a live album. Emerging out of a two-day studio session at Camden Sound in North West London during a sickly December of 1978, Witch Trials amounts to the sinister foundation of the band’s diverse sound. Every song explores drastically different styles and wild terrain, leaving much to decipher over its eleven tracks. “Frightened” has magnetic attraction / repulsion that shifts between Martin Bramah’s skeletal guitar, Yvonne Pawlett’s plastic keyboards and the lurching rhythm section of Marc Riley and Karl Burns. Mark E. Smith’s mesmerizing bark and eerie lyrics warp the cosmic context with each repeated non-chorus. “Rebellious Jukebox” takes yet another turn and showcases the band’s more melodic leanings. One gets the sense that The Fall are in a time-travel hallucination (from 19th century witch trials to a scathing critique of the late-70s punk scene) where the band’s snot-nosed scrabble afflicts the shape of pop to come. As Smith dictates, “We are The Fall, northern white crap that talks back.” Superior Viaduct’s edition is the first time that Live At The Witch Trials has been available on vinyl domestically since its initial release in 1979. Liner notes by Brian Turner.
File Under: Punk
Melvins: Houdini (Third Man) LP
180 Gram, bonus track, analog tape masters, 6 tracks produced by Kurt Cobain, first time on vinyl since 1993, gatefold. Signed to Atlantic Records in the hubbub after Nirvana’s Nevermind exploded, the Melvins’ fifth album Houdini was a conscious attempt by the band to make a record that wouldn’t alienate their fans but that the band members themselves would also enjoy. Their best-selling release by a country-mile, this album crested at number 29 on on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Houdini would be most folks introduction to the band and songs like ”Honeybucket” received MTV airplay.
File Under: Metal, Stoner
BBC Radiophonic Workshop: 21 (Silva Screen) LP
In 1958 the BBC Radiophonic Workshop opened with the aim to enhance the main drama output on the Third Programme (now Radio 3) following the development of new electronic music techniques emanating from Europe. Their work expanded across the BBC to take in TV drama (especially sci-fi), schools programmes and themes. The latter being their most celebrated and well known work: Delia Derbyshire’s treatment of Ron Grainer’s theme for Doctor Who. This collection was originally released on vinyl by BBC Records in 1979 to celebrate 21 years of the workshop’s creative output. From The Goons (Bloodnock’s Stomach), to the Interval Signal, to Doctor Who and Great Zoos of the World, this is a fascinating chronicle of some of the most innovative music ever made. These ground-breaking compositions have provided a major influence on music from The Beatles and Pink Floyd and onwards into the contemporary world of Aphex Twin, Orbital and The Chemical Brothers.
File Under: Early Electronic, Library, OST
Case/Lang/Veirs: s/t (Anti) LP
case/lang/veirs, a true collaboration between three phenomenal, self-driven artists: avant-rock icon Neko Case, legendary musical nomad k.d. lang, and indie folk star Laura Veirs. The women wrote all 14 songs and shared lead vocals equally, sometimes even within the same track. Full of stunning harmonies and spellbinding rhythms, case/lang/veirs travels through aches and eras, torch songs and tributes to the undersung. They worked over two and a half years in Portland, Oregon, where lang and Veirs both live, sometimes in lang’s loft with a view of Mount St. Helens, others in Veirs’ dining room or backyard studio. The album was written from the ground up without any real plan beyond a desire to make music together and a faith that it would reveal itself. They produced the album with Tucker Martine, at his Portland studio in November 2015. “The combination of spirits, the combination of artistry, is very unique, because we have definite similarities, but we are very, very different, and it creates a really interesting thing,” says lang. “It’s a truly collaborative record where our individual essences are firmly in place.”
File Under: Folk, Indie
CCR Headcleaner: Tear Down the Wall (In The Red) LP
In tomorrow… “I’d seen CCR Headcleaner several times before, usually an entertaining mess of fucked-up rock racket that emerged from the ashes of a Georgia band I liked called Long Legged Woman. But at their Hemlock show opening for Human Eye back in September, CCR somehow transmuted themselves from an unevenly good local band into a marauding gang of Scanners-style head-exploder telepaths and delivered a defining, transcendent, next-level performance. CCR’s hypnotic and malevolent psychedelia wasn’t faux-fun party-psych or disingenuously mellow Zen Center nature psych—it was more of a Jim Thompson’s Killer Inside Me psych with elective self-surgery K-hole romps and post-hate-fuck cuddle balladry. The band was possessed, the room was juiced, the audience transfixed. At points, CCR’s set was suffused with a prosaic evil vibe that reminded me of the Rembrandt Pussyhorse / Locust Abortion-era Butthole Surfers live shows. Musically, CCR are way different than the Buttholes—I’m referring more to the air of all-pervading cathartic menace. Shortly afterward, CCR went with Fuzz on a national tour (huge props to Fuzz for that act of public service) and I caught them a month later at Death By Audio in Brooklyn. They were in top road shape, which only underscored how special that show with Human Eye had been.” —Anthony Bedard, Bay Bridged
File Under: Psych Rock
Converge: You Fail Me Redux (Death Wish) LP
Includes bonus track “ Wolves At My Door” – first time on CD. You Fail Me from CONVERGE is the classic follow up to their landmark Jane Doe full length album. Originally released in 2004, the brute force and emotional power on You Fail Me is unparalleled. Solidifying their reign in the genre that they have defined for over two decades. Never quite content with the original mix, You Fail Me Redux was remixed by guitarist Kurt Ballou at his God City studios. The release was also remastered by Alan Douches (Motörhead, Mastodon), and repackaged by vocalist/artist Jacob Bannon.
File Under: Metal
Deerhoof: The Magic (Polyvinyl) LP
After all the accolades from press and peers, what’s a legendary band to do? Forget the recording studio, rent out an abandoned office space in the middle of the New Mexico desert, set up, plug in and play really loud. Starting with hardly a notion of the outcome, by seven days later Deerhoof had found (you guessed it) The Magic: a raw and refreshing 15-song wallop of an album about what happens when you leave your comfort zone. The version of Deerhoof you hear on The Magic is a most punch-drunk proposition. Everyone showed up in the mood to sing. Satomi Matsuzaki, John Dieterich, Ed Rodríguez and Greg Saunier dream up alchemies of punk, pop, glam, hair metal, doo-wop, hip hop, and R&B, late-night car rides, long days, attitude and spandex. Poetry into noise. Volume knob into gratification. Friendship into rock band. According to drummer Greg, the music on The Magic was lurking in the shadows of “what we liked when we were kids – when music was magic – before you knew about the industry and before there were rules. Sometimes hair metal is the right choice.” For singer/bassist Satomi The Magic is but the latest episode of an ongoing gamble: “I joined Deerhoof a week after I arrived in San Francisco from Japan. I hopped on a MUNI bus to have a first meeting but got off at a wrong stop. I was lost and confused. They found me on a dark street corner after I called for help from a pay phone. Since then my adventure expanded. Deerhoof is a vehicle with four powered wheels that takes me through forest, desert and buildings. My life is adventure!” The Magic is a mixtape imbued with Deerhoof’s sorcery – boldness, wonder, technical know-how, risk. It is a mixtape by the kid with the biggest music collection you’ve ever seen, who will take you camping and show you how to pull a rabbit out of a hat.
File Under: Indie Rock
Deux Filles: Silence & Wisdom/Double Happiness (Dark Entries) LP
The short, mysterious career of the female French duo Deux Filles is bookended by tragedy. Gemini Forque and Claudine Coule met as teenagers at a holiday pilgrimage to Lourdes, during which Coule’s mother died of an incurable lung disease and Forque’s mother was killed and her father paralyzed in an auto accident. The two teens bonded over their shared grief and worked through their bereavement with music. However, after recording two critically acclaimed albums and playing throughout Europe and North America, Forque and Coule disappeared without a trace in North Africa in 1984 during a trip to visit Algiers. The short and terribly unhappy lives of Forque and Coule are at the root of the small but fervent cult following the mysterious duo have gained since their disappearance, not least because the placid, largely instrumental music on the duo’s albums betrays no hint of the sorrow that framed their personal lives. This would be a terribly sad story if a word of it were true. In reality, Deux Filles were Simon Fisher Turner, former child star/teen idol and future soundtrack composer, and his mate Colin Lloyd Tucker. Turner and Tucker left an early incarnation of The The in 1981 to pursue another musical direction. Turner claims that the idea of Deux Filles came to him in a dream, and he and Tucker strictly maintained the fiction throughout the duo’s career. Not only did they pose in drag for the album covers, the duo once even played live without the audience realizing that the tragic French girls on-stage were actually a pair of blokes from south London. Deux Filles released two albums through Turner and Tucker’s Papier Mache label, 1982’s “Silence & Wisdom” and 1983’s “Double Happiness”. Both albums are included here and blend watery piano, occasionally ghostly vocals, sheets of synthesizers, heavily processed guitars and the barest minimum of percussion. Drifting and wistful, they’re a pair of lost ambient gems from a time when the genre had yet to mature, an excellent example of post-Eno, pre-Orb ambient music. All songs have been remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in gatefold sleeve with original front covers of both albums, and a centerfold of archive images and the original liner notes. Each LP includes a sticker of the Lino cuts by Adrian Gill that was included with the original pressing. “Like an early French film soundtrack with melodramatic overtones, the sound is jagged and disjointed but never harsh. Lilting guitars and ample use of echo smack of Vini Reilly, relying on the hypnotic qualities of the sound rather than abrasive noise” (Sounds, 03/1983)
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
DJ Shadow: The Mountain Will Fall (Mass Appeal) LP
DJ Shadow, widely acknowledged as a crucial figure in the development of experimental, instrumental hip-hop, returns in 2016 with The Mountain Will Fall, his first full length release since 2011. The 12-track album finds DJ Shadow exploring new realms in addition to the deep samples and kinetic soundscapes that helped to launch his career 25 years ago. On The Mountain Will Fall he’s shifted further toward original composition, a vast experimentation of beats and textures, synthesizers and live instruments including horns and woodwinds. The album features Run The Jewels, Nils Frahm, Matthew Halsall, Ernie Fresh and more. The seeds for the The Mountain Will Fall were planted after two years of touring and DJ Shadow’s last full length and retrospective box set releases. While taking some time to recalibrate, he was invited by the Low End Theory to do a DJ set, something he hadn’t done in over a decade. It led to festival DJ sets, performing with Diplo, listening deeply to several subgenres of electronic music, doing remixes and the exploration of Ableton Live software – a new way for this profoundly original voice to compose and create. DJ Shadow also launched his own label for the release of his work and other artists, called Liquid Amber. The title track and album opener is smoldering – an opening salvo of sounds, beats and pitches that shift, phase, shimmer and implode. A falling cascade of picked guitar notes opens “Nobody Speak,” a blazing statement-maker featuring Run The Jewels. The warped, jazz-tinted “Ashes To Oceans” features Matthew Halsall, and “The Sideshow” is Shadow’s unbridled scratch track/old school hip hop send up with MC Ernie Fresh. The album artwork was designed by UK street artist Paul Insect, who also designed the art for Shadow’s 2006 album Outsider.
File Under: Hip Hop
The Fall: Dragnet (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow… Dragnet is arguably The Fall’s best-known album. With the departure of Martin Bramah after Live At The Witch Trials, the band underwent yet another lineup shift in late 1979. Marc Riley switched to guitar and Steve Hanley joined on bass; the latter’s signature basslines would become a major part of The Fall for the next two decades. Opening track “Psykick Dancehall” strikes like an elusive, working-class anthem with its bouncy tempo changes and Mark E. Smith’s unfiltered vocals raining down on the dance-floor. “Dice Man” takes its direction from disheveled beats, stuttering lyrics and asymmetrical phrasing. Somehow Dragnet manages to be even more lo-fi than The Fall’s debut, yet reveals a cohesive sound and fierce songs that would further build the band’s cult following. Superior Viaduct’s edition is the first time that Dragnet has been available on vinyl domestically since its initial release in 1979. Liner notes by Brian Turner.
File Under: Punk
Bert Jansch: From the Outside (Earth) LP
Recalling the elegant simplicity of Jansch’s early works, ‘From The Outside’ sees Jansch return to the uncomplicated yet supremely effective sound of his eponymous debut. This is Bert laid bare – eschewing the more intricate arrangements of his surrounding works for the holy trinity of guitar, banjo and voice, perhaps reflective of his state of mind at the time. Stand-out tracks include ‘River Running’ and ‘Blackbird In The Morning’ which were both (amazingly) omitted from the original vinyl release. One of Bert’s rarest releases, this 1985 LP was originally issued as an edition of just 500 copies on the small Belgian label, Konexion. This issue unites the varied track listing of previous versions – both LP and CD, with many cuts appearing here on vinyl for the first time. Remastered from original tapes by Brian Pyle.
File Under: Folk
Laraaji & Sun Araw: Professional Sunflow (W.25th) LP
In tomorrow… Professional Sunflow is the first-time collaboration between Laraaji & Sun Araw, two colossal forces in contemporary electronic music. Laraaji’s musical radiance has continued to shine brightly over four decades since being discovered by Brian Eno in New York’s Washington Square Park in 1979. Sun Araw emerged out of Los Angeles’ experimental scene in 2008 with transformative releases on a variety of trend-setting labels (Not Not Fun, Drag City and more). The live performances on this double LP – recorded in Germany and Switzerland – combine prewritten elements and improvisation. Laraaji’s soulful vocals and signature instrument, zither, blend beautifully with the free-floating rhythms of Sun Araw’s Cameron Stallones (guitar / keyboards) and Alex Gray (computer synthesis) to shape Professional Sunflow’s unique sound: dreamy layers of percussion, ambient textures and vibrant melodies. W.25TH is proud to present Professional Sunflow as our inaugural release. As a sub-label of Superior Viaduct, W.25TH will focus on inventive sounds from current artists. Forthcoming releases include Nazoranai (Keiji Haino, Stephen O’Malley and Oren Ambarchi) and the (as yet unnamed) collaboration between Richard Pinhas, William Winant, and Comets On Fire’s Noel Von Harmonson and Utrillo Kushner.
File Under: Psych, Drone, Improv
Lungfish: Sound in Time (Dischord) LP
In tomorrow… A reissue Lungfish’s fourth full-length, Sound in Time, on LP. Originally released in 1996, the album was recorded at Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, Virginia by Don Zientara. Long out of print, this version has been remastered for vinyl by TJ Lipple. From their inception in 1988 until their hiatus in 2006, Baltimore’s Lungfish music band released 11 full-length albums and played concerts across the United States and in Europe. At the time of this recording, Lungfish was Daniel Higgs, Asa Osborne, Sean Meadows and Mitchell Feldstein.
File Under: Indie Rock
Marijata: Pat Thomas Introduces (Academy) LP
Born in 1951 in Kumasi, Ghana, the highlife vocalist, Pat Thomas, made his name with his band the Sweet Beans. He began his career in 1969 with the Broadway Dance Band, leaving a year later to join the Uhuru Dance Band. Then he played with Ebo Taylor’s Blue Monks and finally formed the Sweet Beans in 1973. They released ‘False Lover’ in 1974, then split and-reformed as Marijata, releasing ‘Marijata’ and ‘Pat Thomas Introduces Marijata’. What a story – to sum it up this rare and famous album that can be sold at more than one thousand dollars… (Source : orogod.blogspot.com) Here’s what Voodoo Funk says on his blog: “I know I’ve been promising this one for years but now. Academy Lps and Voodoo Funk will release this record as their first joined release of 2015. We have managed to secure the licensing from band member Kofi ‘Elecric’ Addison who also provided us with some mind bending band pictures. Stay tuned for one of the most anticipated Afro Funk releases ever.”
File Under: Afrobeat, Highlife, Funk
Melvins: Stoner Witch (Third Man) LP
180 Gram, analog tape masters, gatefold. The stellar seventh studio album by the Melvins is one of the most cohesive and beloved in the band’s catalog. With fan favorites like ”Revolve” and ”Queen” balanced with the impressive sound explorations of ”Lividity” and ”Shevil,” the result is one of the most praised albums of the band’s 30+ year career. First time on vinyl since 1994!
File Under: Metal, Stoner
Melvins: Stag (Third Man) LP
180 Gram, first time on double vinyl, analog tape masters, gatefold. The final album in the Melvins’ major label span, Stag finds the band fully spreading their wings (and budget) to create what is arguably their most wide-ranging and diverse album among the nearly two-dozen full-length studio albums the band has released since 1987.
File Under: Metal, Stoner
Nite Jewel: Liquid Cool (Gloriette) LP
Internationally lauded chillwave originator and indie darling Ramona Gonzalez aka Nite Jewel returns in 2016 with her first album in four years following her critically acclaimed 2012 effort One Second Of Love. Performed and produced entirely on her own, the album is intimate yet danceable, DIY yet radio ready. Imagine if Janet Jackson was produced by Kraftwerk. Liquid Cool will be issued in June 2016 via Gloriette records, Nite Jewel’s own imprint. Free from the constraints of corporate backing, Liquid Cool is poised to cut through the din of 2016 and move listeners in incisive and deeply personal ways.
File Under: Electronic, Pop
Thee Oh Sees: Live in San Francisco (Castle Face) LP
In tomorrow… Perched in the belfry of The Chapel we caught thee mighty Oh Sees, alive and in their natural element, with our shutters aflutter and our tapes on a roll. After a short incubation period, the beast has reached full maturity and it is hideous. Over three nights they pummeled, and we’ve culled some great photographs, a wicked recording, and even a little live video action. Castle Face is happy to announce the first double LP in the Live in San Francisco series, presented on two discs, in a handsome double gatefold jacket, with live video shot by Brian Lee Hughes and his crew of merry gentlemen on an included DVD. Finally you depraved Oh Sees freaks have something to take home with you when you lose your shoes and your girlfriend at the show. Put it on at home and pretend to wait in line for the bathroom and it’s like you’re really there. The thrash, the throb, the mob is all present and pushed to the front. Dual drummers synced in each ear, Tim Hellman rounding out the bottom and Castle Face’s own John Dwyer up front on guitar, lasering young brains off and fomenting the crowd to a froth—it’s a great band, in a great room, with a great crowd and it’s cooked to perfection… Take a little bit of it with you this time.
File Under: Punk, Garage, Psych
OST: My Bloody Valentine (Waxwork) LP
Waxwork Records is proud to announce the new double LP release of My Bloody Valetine (1981). Praised by director Quentin Tarantino as his favorite slasher movie of all time, My Bloody Valentine (1981) tells the story of a small mining town and it’s residents that fall victim to a vengeful, homicidal maniac on Valentine’s Day. The film has garnered a cult following and has also sparked a major-studio remake in 2009. By working directly with composer Paul Zaza (Prom Night, Curtains, Porky’s), Waxwork was allowed to work directly from the original master tapes to source the complete, haunting score. This release marks the very first time the score to the 1981 slasher-horror classic has been released in any format. The foreboding score by Paul Zaza is a mix of both minimal synth and orchestral compositions intertwined with bluegrass and country soundtrack cues. Expertly mastered by Thomas DiMuzio at Gench Mastering, the complete score clocks in at over one hour and spans two 180 Gram opaque blood red vinyl records.
File Under: OST
OST: Naked Lunch (Mondo) LP
In collaboration with Howe Records, we’re excited to announce celebrating the 25th anniversary for the score to Naked Lunch. Composed by three-time Oscar-winner Howard Shore collaborating with both jazz legend Ornette Coleman and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The soundtrack is a dazzling mix of a traditional Hollywood Orchestral score with incredible free jazz flourishes from Coleman , here he works with the London Philharmonic creating incredible textures over Shore’s beautiful , edgy and moody orchestrations that recall Bernard Herrmann’s work on Taxi Driver and occasionally lets loose without them (Bugpowder, Interzone Suite) backed only by his son Denardo on drums, these tracks are thrilling and offer a perfect counterbalance to the more measured tracks with the Orchestra, showcasing the incredible and fearless free jazz stylings that made him a legend.
File Under: OST
OST: The Ninth Gate (Silva Screen) LP
Making its debut on vinyl, Wojciech Kilar’s haunting soundtrack to Polanski’s disturbing film The Ninth Gate (1999) features at its core the vocals of Korean born soprano, Sumi Jo. Kilar established himself as a horror score composer with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and his work here on Polanski’s film achieves a creeping sense of menace worthy of Polanski’s dark tale of Satanic worship. “If menacingly haunting horror music is your delight, then The Ninth Gate is not a score to miss.”
File Under: OST
OST: Prometheus (Mondo) LP
Mondo is pleased to present the premiere vinyl soundtrack release to Ridley Scott’s 2012 film Prometheus. Picking up the reigns of the franchise he created, Prometheus tells a genesis tale, setting the stage for events to come in the Alien franchise – exploring the origins of the Space Jockey, and the Xenomorph – while simultaneously telling a fractured tale of the perils of meeting ones creator. Composed by Scott’s longtime collaborator Marc Streitenfeld, the music of Prometheus is as haunting as it is meditative and triumphant: a fresh approach to scoring a familiar universe – keeping with the trend of bringing a new sound to each successive Alien film, this one sounding like it was written to be heard blasting from the speakers of an IMAX theater. Streitenfeld takes advantage of the locales, writing music for lush landscapes and barren caves, occasionally writing compositions backwards, reversing them in post to produce a sense of uneasiness inherent with exploring the unfamiliar. Prometheus is a unique listening experience that fits perfectly side-by-side with the sagas other films.
File Under: OST
OST: The Witch (Milan) LP
Any great horror film has an equally impressive composer. The Witch is no different. Mark Korven has created a one-of-a-kind spectral affair that draws the listener into the misty world of the family’s farm as horror permeates throughout. Now available as an LP, The Witch is pressed on stunning 180 gram black and silver starburst vinyl and packaged handsomely in new artwork based on 16th century woodcuttings.
File Under: OST, Horror
Silver Apples: s/t (Jackpot) LP
Highly Recommended! Formed in 1967 as a psychedelic electronic duo featuring Dan Taylor on drums and Simeon on a homemade synthesizer consisting of 12 oscillators (and an assortment of sound filters, telegraph keys, radio parts, lab gear and a variety of second hand electronic junk), Silver Apples quickly gained a reputations New York’s leading underground musical expression. Their pulsating rhythmic beats with the use of electronics laid the groundwork for what would become “Krautrock” Silver Apples was released in 1968 and still remains an innovative and revolutionary album. Their highly influential sound has influenced countless bands from Stereolab, Beastie Boys, Blur and more. The first remarkable trait of Lazy Smoke’s sound is the lead vocal’s similarity to John Lennon. Upon digging just a little deeper below the surface, we instead find a darker tone and a patient, eerie feeling resonating through the songs. While bands like The Beatles and Love were singing about love, lament and hallucinated travel experiences, the songs on Corridor of Faces get sincerely dark right away. Even the seemingly-light teenage love-themed “Sarah Saturday” shares an undercurrent of on-the-edge uncertainty. It’s this undercurrent that calls to mind comparisons to Forever Changes era Love. Originally privately pressed in MA in an edition of only 500 copies in 1968. Now repressed again in 2016 on Blue Sky Colored Vinyl.
File Under: Psych, Electronic
Sleeping Beauties: s/t (In The Red) LP
In tomorrow… Spawned in the same creepy corner of the Pacific Northwest, from the remains of the fantastically under-appreciated The Hunches, Eat Skull and The Hospitals, are the Sleeping Beauties. Big basement rock opens up “Bobby and Suzie” with its gluey, flypaper tempo changes bringing to mind Alex Chilton’s “Like Flies on Sherbert” and the Electric Eels mashed into a ball. Rhythm piano played with an icepick is next on “Meth” and though it may be a tale of warning, the track adds allure to having “got a weekend sack and it’s Saturday / Sunday my life is crumbling.” Under the moss-covered tremolo glam of “Wheeler” is a map to one of the catchiest choruses of the record. The smell of bleach in the bathroom leads to “Potter’s Daughter” with an invitation to relax and go “swimming in tampons” but in the last minute Rod Meyer’s and Rob Enbom’s scraping guitars peel back the skull again. Sounding poppy, primal and carsick at once, drug mules and biblical references tiptoe sweetly onto the bus on “Merchants of Glue.” The windows steam up in the Rocket from the Tombs-eque “Slumber Party” as the garbage boogie slides into an early Butthole-Surfers-like stream of unconsciousness. “Hands Across America” continues to showcase singer Hart Gledhill as one of the most distressing throats since Captain Beefheart while competing with guitar solos louder than Teengenerate. These burns are soothed on “Southie,” evoking some kind of 13th Floor Elevators groove followed by the sad, warped, almost country-tinged “Addicted to Drugs.” This respite is short lived, however; the terrific push-pull / future-primitive rhythm section kicks in on “50’s Haircut / Gold Shoes.” After a while, the gutter puzzles start to make sense, like a schizophrenic does if you actually sit down and listen. When the last sands gently, mercifully slide through the hourglass on “South Eugene,” it’s over too soon. It is exciting to see a new band in 2016 sing about their unique pain and pleasure, not hidden by delay pedals and not seeming to care if you like it or not. This record probably makes you smarter for listening to it, and the only problem is it erases your mind as well. —Lars Finberg, 2016
File Under: Psych, Rock
Sonic Youth: Spinhead Sessions (Goofin) LP
In tomorrow… The slow-burn sounds of Sonic Youth’s 1986 rehearsals to score Ken Friedman’s spooky highway film Made In USA are yet another mile marker in the band’s long and varied existence, now being issued as Spinhead Sessions (named for the North Hollywood studio used by SST label acts like Black Flag and Painted Willie). These jams were later built upon for a full-on (and quite different) soundtrack production, but the rough sketches here find the band taking time with truly new and introspective sound worlds. It was basically a brand new way of working for Sonic Youth, albeit a challenging one, under the auspices of major Hollywood film production overlords, routing their way into the world of soundtrack scoring. And it all comes at a key time and place. It’s no secret that 1986 was a transformative year for the band in many ways. The gravitation to the beloved SST stable, in addition to Steve Shelley, now drumming, certainly gave Sonic Youth a renewed vigor and vocabulary. They were already an international touring machine, and gaining considerable steam with critics (even spinning the heads of detractors who had dismissed their arty downtown boho sensibilities prior to ’86’s EVOL). Their cultdom with fans had concrete roots by this point, and the influences that were swarming in the band’s orbit marked an exciting time, where almost any trajectory seemed possible, and they were going for it. Friedman’s film worked on a relatively darker frame for a mainstream Hollywood flick; characters played by stars Chris Penn and Adrian Pasdar made a cross-country journey that started out in Centralia, Pennsylvania, a real-life, anthracite coal producing town that had to relocate all its residents due to a decades-long, inextinguishable underground fire. The Sonics passed through this haunted-looking locale on their next tour after the sessions, and are pictured on the sleeve standing amidst smoldering embers. For the sounds they made at Spinhead, this image seems a fitting mental picture. Guitar harmonics billow like smoke, heavily reverbed drumming and shimmering cymbals echo from what sounds like the bottom of a deep mine. This newly born Spinhead Sessions release once again defines Sonic Youth in a raw and engaging state of discovery at a terrific time. Is it a missing link between the complex, crafted cavernosity of EVOL and the frayed-electric powerline sizzle of Sister? Yes and no. It’s an entirely unique animal, a meditative album where you can soak in the template of tapping overtones, sedate explorations of new chords, even sounding at times like AMM trying to play the VU’s Sweet Sister Ray bootleg or something similar. It’s trademark Sonic Youth at the core, and in an unfettered, dreamy state and time, there and gone like smoke.
—Brian Turner, WFMU Music Director
File Under: Indie Rock
Suicide: s/t (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow… Highly Recommended! Suicide’s landmark self-titled LP was originally released in 1977, seven years after the group’s initial conception as part of the performance art scene on the Lower East Side. It is hard to overstate the importance of the seven tracks on Suicide, which paved the way for punk, industrial, hip hop, noise and beyond. “Ghost Rider” accelerates with brutal anguish and desire for everything rock ‘n’ roll. Martin Rev’s utterly singular “instrument” pounds out a synthetic soundscape, while Alan Vega’s oversaturated vocals obsess over motorcycle getaways. “Rocket U.S.A.” distills the duo’s dynamic power down to a ghostly pulse, while the psycho-drama of “Frankie Teardrop” (Bruce Springsteen’s all-time favorite song) delves even further into cinematic storytelling and, at the same time, clears the room at the end of the night. Superior Viaduct is honored to present Suicide – restored from the original mixes, fully sanctioned by the band and with liner notes by Thurston Moore. If there can be a quintessential New York band, it is without a doubt Suicide.
File Under: Electronic, Punk
Truth & Janey: No Rest for the Wicked (Lion) LP
Limited edition, high quality vinyl reissue of this underground hard rock monster from 1976, by this legendary power trio led by guitarist Billy Lee Janey. Since the release of “No Rest for the Wicked’s” in 1976, it’s stature among collectors of 60’s and 70’s hard rock and psychedelia has grown steadily over the years, with original copies now fetching a large sum in the collector’s market. It has often been lauded as perhaps the best independent U.S. heavy rock release of the entire 1970’s.
File Under: Psych, Hard Rock
Umberto: Alienation (Not Not Fun) LP
In tomorrow… The origin story behind Matt Hill’s perplexingly stark and melancholic new full-length is suitably cryptic: “I had a vision of a man experiencing a series of alienating situations.” Whatever the impetus, Alienation stands as the most fascinatingly atypical Umberto album to date: downcast, subdued, haunted, ethereal. In the wake of several extensive international tours and a string of high-profile collaborations with Antoni Maiovvi for the Death Waltz imprint—including a harrowing live score of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—Hill began expanding his palette, exploring divergences from his classic Giallo-paranoia mode. The record’s nine tracks flow between winter garden ambience (“Elimination,” “Lost Night”), lofty insomniac reverie (“White Night,” “Passage”), and shivering dirge (“Black Sea”), only two of which echo the pulsing synthesizer night-stalks for which he’s best known (“Drifters,” “Dawn of Mirrors”). Hill also commissioned vocalists Victoria Gokun and Edward Tonoyan to weight certain songs with heavier emotion, using lyrics inspired by condemned Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. The combined effect feels out of time, intertwining currents of memory, delusion and beauty, an unplaceable soundtrack for untraceable sorrow. Alienation was recorded and mixed in 2015 by Hill in Los Angeles, and mastered in 2016 by Alex Nagle in Philadelphia. The expressionist cover painting is Geoffrey Sexton, the metallic gold-foil layout was designed by Tim Goodwillie.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Units: Animals They Dream About (Futurismo) LP
In 2015 Futurismo brought you the first ever reissue of Units 1980 electronic cult classic Digital Stimulation. This year Futurismo bring you something by the Units never ever released before!! Coming to turntables for the first time – Units unreleased 2nd album Animals They Dream About, co-produced by legendary musician/producer Bill Nelson, also of Be-Bop Deluxe fame. Shelved since 1982 due to label issues at the time, Units unreleased sophomore LP Animals They Dream About finally sees the light of day for all to hear. Whilst Digital Stimulation forged a sound now known as synthpunk, this time San Francisco’s Units take things in a slightly more synthpop/new wave direction. At this point a four piece, Units still employed the live components and arch observation that were a key to their contemporary punk tinged electro sound, whilst embracing a greater sense of mood and melody. As the Eighties progressed some of the synth textures present on Animals They Dream About would become commonplace, but the UNITS were doing it way back in 1981 for the recording of this lost synth gem, making their 2nd LP something of a testament to what could have been, had it not been for the cruel mistress that is the ‘music biz’. Coming Spring 2016 for a Worldwide release Futurismo present this rare unreleased LP on 180g limited edition coloured vinyl, as well as a digipak CD version. Salvaged and Remastered, this release also contains new artwork, unseen images, a huge poster, liner notes and hidden musical extras…this is your chance to grab a piece of electronic history that was almost lost forever.
File Under: Electronic, New Wave
White Stripes: Complete Peel Sessions (Third Man) LP
2LP, Red & White Vinyl, download, old-school tip-on gatefold, first-ever official release, limited. Capturing Jack and Meg at the precipice of international renown in the hubbub of ”White Blood Cells”, their two live sessions with famed BBC DJ John Peel are arguably the best document of the White Stripes at that time. Having been widely bootlegged since their initial broadcast in 2001, these recordings are enjoying their first official and authorized release in celebration of their 15 year anniversary. The standard black vinyl version of this release will be available later this year.
File Under: Indie Rock
Various: Coxsone’s Music 2 (Soul Jazz) LP
Coxsone’s Music is a stunning new two volume vinyl collection featuring over two and half hours of early Jamaican proto-ska, rhythm and blues, jazz, rastafari and gospel music – charting the earliest recordings produced by Clement Dodd, in the years before he launched the mighty Studio One Records, brought together here for the first time ever! Dodd’s Sir Coxsone The Downbeat Soundsystem ruled Kingston’s dancehalls during this era and these recordings strongly reflect the influences of American rhythm and blues and jump jazz on Jamaican music fans. By the time the new record company formed in Brentford Road, Kingston in 1963, the young Clement had already managed to release an incredible wealth of recordings by the talented musicians and artists on the island of Jamaica and this collection reflects just that: Featuring Don Drummond, Roland Alphonso, Derrick Harriott, Owen Gray, Clancy Eccles, Count Ossie, Monty Alexander, The Blues Busters, Ernest Ranglin, Rico Rodriguez and many, many more all captured here in their formative early years. Before Studio One, Clement Dodd released this music on a variety of his early record labels such as Worldisc, All Stars, Coxsone, D Darling (named after Coxsone’s mother, who received a production credit on the label), Muzik City (named after Dodd’s record store on East Queen’s Street), Port O Jam, Supreme and Sensational. Sleevenotes to this collection are by Studio One authority Rob Chapman, author of the Never Grow Old and Downbeat Special books cataloging the many recordings of the label.
File Under: Reggae, RnB, Ska
Various: Heartworn Highways (Light in the Attic) LP
Sometimes, a documentary maker is present at precisely the right moment to capture lightning in a bottle. It happened with essential punk doc The Decline of Western Civilization, it happened with Dylan’s Don’t Look Back and Chet Baker’s Let’s Get Lost, and it happened with 1976’s Heartworn Highways. The iconic performance documentary saw filmmaker James Szalapski travel to Texas and Tennessee to capture the radical country artists reclaiming the genre via an appreciation for its heritage in folk and bluegrass and a rejection of the mainstream Nashville machine. Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Young, David Allan Coe, Steve Earle and many others appeared on both screen and soundtrack, where musical highlights include Clark’s brilliant “Desperados Waiting For A Train”, Young’s stirring “Alabama Highways” and Van Zandt’s emotional “Waiting Around To Die”. The hard living – and hard partying – lifestyles of outlaw country’s figureheads are played out on screen as we visit Van Zandt’s Austin trailer, see Coe play in Tennessee State Prison, join the gang in Nashville’s notorious Wig Wam Tavern and witness a liquor-fuelled Christmas at Clark’s house. No wonder the film’s original tagline read: “The best music and the best whiskey come from the same part of the country”. Outside of a couple festival screenings, the movie remained unreleased for five years after its completion, finally hitting screens in 1981 and finding a cult audience ever since.
File Under: Country
Various: Hillbillies in Hell Volume 2 (Iron Mountain) LP
We travel further and deeper to bring you more unknown and unheralded Hillbillies, Rockabillies and Hayseeds, as they joust with the Infernal Infinite. Often cut on microscopic or private-press labels and distributed in minuscule amounts, these Tortured Balladeers sing of Satan, suicide, murder, infernal visitations, demonic locomotives, corrupt visions and hard-scrabble redemption – all in one convenient LP package. Years in the making – ‘Hillbillies In Hell’ (Volume Two) presents a further 16 timeless testaments of troubles, sins and El Diablo’s whims. Originally issued on forgotten 45s, some of these sides are indescribably rare and are reissued here for the very first time. All for your prurient listening pleasure.
File Under: Country
Various: Venezuela 70 (Soul Jazz) LP
Soul Jazz Records’ new Venezuela 70 compilation is the first ever album of its kind to take a look at the groundbreaking experimental rock music made in Venezuela in the 1970s, during a time when the country was both a modern cultural and economic powerhouse in Latin America on account of wealth from its vast oil supplies. Venezuela lies at the northern part of South America, with neighboring Colombia to its west and Brazil to its south. The north coast borders the Caribbean. Whilst much of ’60s Venezuelan rock music emulated British and USA styles, the ’70s saw the evolution of a new generation of creative artists such as Vytas Brenner, Angel Rada, Pablo Schneider and Miguel Angel Fuster, who all explored the possibilities of mixing together rock with elements of electronica, funk, jazz and Latin rhythms simultaneously exploring their links with Venezuelan roots music. These Venezuelan artists looked to the future while exploring their country’s own musical heritage to create a new cultural identity. Similarities can be drawn with then contemporary movements around the world, such as the Trópicalia and post-Trópicalia 1970s scene in Brazil of Os Mutantes, Novos Baianos, and Secos e Molhados. A similar parallel can be made in Europe with the experimental German groups of the ’70s like Can, Amon Duul, Harmonia, and Neu who deconstructed and reconstructed the links between rock music and electronics to define a new German cultural identity. Most of the artists featured on Venezuela 70 remain practically unknown outside of Venezuela’s borders and yet their progressive, forward-thinking music is some of the most sophisticated in the world – a stunning ‘melting pot’ mix of underground rock, synthetic electronics, funk, jazz and Latin American rhythms, all of which explored new sounds and broke down musical boundaries to create a distinct and unique Venezuelan music and cultural identity.
File Under: Psych, Rock, Experimental
Angry Angles: s/t (In The Red) LP
Beirut: Gulag Orkestar (Ba Da Bing) LP
Beirut: Flying Club Cup (Ba Da Bing) LP
John Bender: I Don’t Remember Now (Superior Viaduct) LP
Black Keys: Chulahoma (Fat Possum) LP
Black Keys: Rubber Factory (Fat Possum) LP
Black Keys: Thickfreakness (Fat Possum) LP
Electric Citizen: Higher Time (Riding Easy) LP
Fever Ray: s/t (Mute) LP
Fucked Up: Hidden World (Deranged) LP
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (Westbound) LP
France Gall: Double Best of (Back in Black) LP
Steve Gunn: Eyes on the Line (Matador) LP
Lemonheads: It’s A Shame About Ray (Plain) LP
Monoshock: Walk To The Fire (S-S) LP
Joanna Newsom: Milk-Eyed Mender (Drag City) LP
Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts i-iv (Halo) LP
Oh Sees: Castlemania (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Help (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Master’s Bedroom (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Putrifiers II (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Warm Slime (In The Red) LP
Parquet Courts: American Specialties LP
Pig Destroyer: Painter of Dead Girls (Robotic Empire) LP
Ty Segall: Melted (Goner) LP
Smog: Julius Caesar (Drag City) LP
Various: Wayfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles (Numero) LP