We are heading into the home stretch for new releases for the year, but there’s still some great stuff left coming out before everyone starts making their year end lists. Lots of great stuff in this week to make your Thanksgiving weekend a bumpin’ time.
Note we will be open 12-5 on Monday.
…..pick of the week…..
Goat: Requiem (Sub Pop) LP
Western exports may have dominated the consciousness of international rock fans for the entirety of the 20th century, but our increasing global awareness has unearthed a treasure trove of transcendental grooves and spellbinding riffage from exotic and remote corners of the planet. Goat’s previous albums World Music and Commune were perfect testaments to this heightened awareness, with Silk Road psychedelia, desert blues, and Third World pop all serving as governing forces within the band’s sound. But Goat’s strange amalgam isn’t some cheap game of cultural appropriation – it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact origins of the elusive group’s sound. The fact that they pledge allegiance to a spot on the periphery of our maps bolsters the nomadic quality of their sonic explorations. With Requiem, Goat continue to rock and writhe to a beat beholden to no nation, no state. Goat’s only outright declaration for Requiem is that it is their “folk” album, and the album is focused more on their subdued bucolic ritualism than psilocybin freakouts. But Goat hasn’t completely foregone their fiery charms – tracks like “All-Seeing Eye” and “Goatfuzz” conjure the sultry heathen pulsations that ensnared us on their previous albums. Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of Requiem comes with the closing track “Ubuntu.” The song is little more than a melodic delay-driven electric piano line, until we hear the refrain from “Diarabi” – the first song on their first album – sneak into the mix. It creates a kind of musical ouroboros – an infinite cycle of reflection and rejuvenation, death and rebirth. Rather than offering explanations for their strange trajectories, Goat create a world where the line between truth and fiction is so obscured that all you can do is bask in their cryptic genius.
File Under: Psych, Folk
Lucio Battisti: Amore E Non Amore (Light in the Attic) LP
“If Lucio Battisti was Italy’s answer to France’s Serge Gainsbourg, then Amore E Non Amore is his own Histoire De Melody Nelson, a concept album that’s widely regarded as a formative artistic achievement (if far from the most hit packed album) of his respective career. Both albums were released in 1971. For Battisti, the concept came from that dichotomous title: there’s a rocky ‘non-love’ side of the album, which has songs about obsession and adultery, and a ‘love’ side of dreamy, prog-rock instrumentals. The album saw Battisti working with lyricist Giulio ‘Mogol’ Rapetti, with whom he’d collaborated closely since 1965, enjoying huge hits with the likes of ’29 Settembre’ and ‘Sognando La California,’ an Italian version of ‘California Dreamin”. It was Mogol who first convinced Battisti to perform his own songs, and who conceived the idea for this record. Mogol supplied the inspiration, the title and the titles of its songs, many of them evocative sentences that flesh out the visual picture where lyrics are absent. Take, for example, ‘Davanti Ad Un Distributore Automatico Di Fiori Dell’aereoporto Di Bruxelles Anch’io Chiuso In Una Bolla Di Vetro,’ which translates as ‘In Front Of A Flowers Vending Machine In Brussels Airport I Am Closed In A Glass Bowl Too’. In an incredibly rare English language interview accompanying this lavish reissue, Mogol speaks of the album’s conception. ‘I had an understanding that Lucio was a great musician, a great composer,’ he says, ‘And in my opinion, I felt bad that he was limited exclusively to a pop genre. I wanted him to become a musician; I was really hoping, I had said to him, that he would become an orchestra conductor, a star who would make his own songs, and so I tried to convince him to make songs without lyrics.’ Amore E Non Amore was to be a watershed moment for Battisti. His label considered it to be too experimental and advanced for the Italian audience, and refused to release it. They were wrong: it instead set Battisti on a liberating course of artistic freedom and widespread success, and gifted the world one of Italy’s greatest musical exports. Officially licensed reissue. Remastered from the original tapes. Liner notes interviewing lyricist Giulio ‘Mogol’ Rapetti. Deluxe gatefold ‘tip-on’ Stoughton jacket. 180-gram vinyl.”
File Under: Italian, Psych
Bear vs. Shark: Right Now You’re In The Best of Hands/Terrorhawk (Equal Vision) LP
Bear Vs Shark, the Detroit mainstays who disbanded in 2005 after two tremendous albums, have announced a remastered limited double vinyl re-issue of both of those LP’s – Right Now, You’re in the Best of Hands and Terrorhawk – via their original label home Equal Vision Records. With new cover art by BVS singer Marc Paffi the 2LP reissue will arrive in September 2016 on colored 180g vinyl with a gatefold jacket. Bear Vs Shark hit the primal sweet spot for a lot of listeners. Not too pissed. Not too anthemic. Not too nostalgic and not too instrumentally self-indulgent. The adrenaline-pumping, aerodynamic rock tunes of BVS feel like a secret formula of sorts because it was something heavy, something intense, something fast, that never wore you down. It was acrobatic and, at times, aerobic, but never tired you out. It was contemplative and blunt but never exhausted your emotional core.
File Under: Punk, Hardcore
James Blake: Colour in Everything (Republic) LP
In tomorrow… Grammy Award-nominated artist James Blake returns with his anxiously awaited third full-length album, The Colour In Anything. Among its seventeen soulful tracks are the previously unveiled numbers “Modern Soul,” “Timeless,” “I Need a Forest Fire” feat. Bon Iver and “Radio Silence.” In addition to the Bon Iver feature, Frank Ocean and Rick Rubin also contributed to The Colour In Anything as co-writer and co-producer, respectively. James Blake’s impact can be felt throughout the modern music landscape. He lent his inimitable voice and production to “Forward” on Beyoncé’s chart-dominating #1 blockbuster Lemonade. In addition, he co-wrote the opener “Pray You Catch Me.” Following the release of 2013’s Overgrown, Blake garnered a “Best New Artist” nomination at the 2014 Grammy Awards, and he received a nod for “British Male Solo Artist” at the 2014 BRIT Awards.
File Under: Electronic, Soul
Body of Light: Let Me Go (Dais) LP
Formed roughly 5 years ago in the wasted sands of Tempe, Arizona, electronic dance faction Body of Light have proven to be a teeming creative force within the present-day electronic landscape. From the archaic drones and abstract measurements of their earliest collections, to their prodigious cinematic pop ballads and darkwave compositions, the two brothers, Alex and Andrew Jarson, are no strangers when it comes to blurring the compositional lines that confine underground music. Having worked together and separately over the years within the folds of the co-founded Ascetic House collective, both Alex and Andrew have given life to a variety of projects such as Otro Mundo, Blue Krishna, Somali Extract and Memorymann, whilst unveiling over a dozen visual, audio, and written works under a variety of monikers in a shortened period of time. Body of Light is simply another extension of that exercised method of immediate and natural experimentation. Let Me Go frames the band as a project that has run the circle of practiced ideas to a fully-realized vision of synth pop sensibility and erotic aesthetics. Previous releases on Chondritic Sound and Ascetic House show both members grappling with sound and art as both a tool of mechanical reproduction and lawless spiritual hedonism. But after half a decade has marched on under the Body of Light banner, the project has solidified itself in its current mature state as one of the most transcendent dance music mediums today. Hesitant to define themselves strictly as a “synth-pop” collaboration, the brothers incorporate a wide variety of commodities as they attempt to formulate a direction, unique with decaying, warped tape loops, aging VHS home-movie sound samples from their childhood, primitive waveforms, and processed vocals tinged with harmonic means.
File Under: Synthpop
Don Cherry Complete Communion: Live at the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, May 12 1966 (Modern Silence) LP
The legendary Don Cherry with his great 1966 quintet featuring Gato Barbieri on tenor sax, Karl Berger on piano, Bo Stief on bass and Aldo Romano on drums. This quintet can also be heard on three releases on ESP-Disk, three volumes titled Live at Café Monmartre 1966 and with the New York Total Music Company in 1968. This recording is taken from an excellent radio broadcast, presented here for the first time in a glorious vinyl release.
File Under: Jazz
Clutch: La Curandera (Weathermaker) LP
Standard vinyl reissue of Clutch’s compilation album La Curandera which collects eight deep tracks culled from the Maryland rocker’s vast catalog themed around characters that can only be described as formidable female protagonists (“Cyborg Bette,” “Night Hag,” “Isabella,” “The Dragonfly”). Originally released on pink vinyl for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2015, the cover artwork is by world-renowned illustrator Becky Cloonan, who has worked for DC, Marvel, and Image.
File Under: Metal
Eluvium: False Readings On (Temporary Residence) LP
False Readings On is the new album from renowned experimental composer, Eluvium. Its creation was originally inspired by themes of cognitive dissonance in modern society. By its conclusion it had become a mirror rather than a magnifying glass, evolving into an hour-long meditation on self-doubt, anxiety, and separation from one’s self. There is an emotional lucidity and melodic ingenuity to Eluvium’s music that has made him increasingly stand out from the sea of ambient artists that his earlier albums no doubt helped inspire. Sounding like an orchestra ceaselessly performing even as it sinks beneath an ocean of distortions and tape noise – with the occasional operatic voice piercing the surface – False Readings On is assuredly the most daring, dynamic, and distinct album of his luminous career.
File Under: Ambient, Classical
Ex-Cult: Negative Growth (In The Red) LP
“In the year of the snitch, there are forces beyond your control that keep you up at night. Ghost notions that swirl around your room while you sleep. Your own pillow laughing right in your face while you fight for an hour of rest. Voices whisper from the corner, telling you everything you never wanted to hear. Negative Growth, our third album, is dedicated to fear and deception. “This collection of songs was conceived in Memphis and finalized in Los Angeles, with the help of our family doctor Ty Segall. It was created in February 2016, when we traded Memphis misery for a week of California sunshine. Negative Growth is a nine-track nightmare, a death trip in the crystal ship. The institution known as In The Red Records will do the honors. The Hollywood Heat Seeker takes ten years off your life.”
—Chris Shaw of Ex-Cult
File Under: Rock
Forma: Physicalist (Kranky) LP
Physicalist is the third album from New York City synthesis trio Forma. Since their acclaimed sel-ftitled debut in 2011, Forma have been perfecting a distinctive style of improvised kosmische and minimalism that blends swirling arpeggios, ambient soundscapes, and driving motorik beats. Physicalist is a sprawling, double LP journey featuring new member and multi-instrumentalist John Also Bennett, who replaced Sophie Lam in 2014. The first Forma album to include acoustic instrumentation, Physicalist owes more to American composers like Harold Budd or Terry Riley than Klaus Schulze and other Krautrock visionaries. The album was recorded during marathon sessions at Brooklyn’s Gary’s Electric studio, and is packaged in a gatefold jacket with original artwork by Robert Beatty and a liner notes essay by writer and critic Michael Barron. Physicalist was mastered by Bob Weston.
File Under: Electronic, Kosmische
Geddes Gengras: Interior Architecture (Intercoastal Artists) LP
“The work of prolific Los Angeles producer M. Geddes Gengras is often discussed in terms of ‘vibes.’ This is fair enough, given the wandering modular synth experiments for which he’s known (not to mention his warmer forays into dub alongside Sun Araw and his stated late-blooming appreciation for the Dead). Lest such language imply a relaxed sort of grooviness, however, his latest full-length—a double LP comprising four barely-discrete compositions, each around 18 minutes—extends into more anxious territory. Composed and recorded over the last six years, Interior Architecture is so expansive that it can be hard for the listener to find her footing. What’s rewarding, in addition to the lush and liquid sound of Gengras’ indulgent approach, is that very experience of instability. It’s more pronounced than in his previous releases, and here takes on a psychological dimension.”—Pitchfork
File Under: Electronic, Synth
Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch (Sacred Bones) LP
Norwegian artist and writer Jenny Hval has developed her distinct take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. For her last two solo albums, 2013’s Innocence Is Kinky and 2015’s Apocalypse, Girl, Hval’s debut for Sacred Bones, she has received thoughtful and widespread international acclaim for her fascinating voice, singular delivery and markedly non-traditional arrangements which incorporate elements of poetry, prose writing, performance art, and film. The New York Times defines her writing as “taking a scalpel to the subjects of gender politics and sexuality.” Hval has eloquently brought to light issues of both male and female gaze, which for years had been swept under the rug and/or denied all together. Apocalypse, Girl landed on numerous year-end lists with leading compelling writers everywhere to grapple with the age-old, yet previously unspoken, question: What is Soft Dick Rock? After touring for a year and earning her second Nordic Prize nomination, as any perfectionist would, Hval immediately went back into the studio to continue her work with acumen noise producer Lasse Marhaug, with whom she co-produces here on Blood Bitch. Her new effort is in many respects a complete 180° from her last in subject matter, execution and production. It is her most focused, but the lens is filtered through a gaze which the viewer least expects.
File Under: Indie Rock
Bert Jansch: s/t (Superior Viaduct) LP
Scottish singer-songwriter Bert Jansch recorded his first album in producer Bill Leader’s London flat with a borrowed guitar, sitting on the edge of the bed and singing into a portable tape recorder. As author Richie Unterberger writes in the liner notes, “When Bert Jansch’s self-titled debut LP was issued in April 1965, he was already a major figure on the British folk scene. His synthesis of traditional British folk with blues and a bit of jazz was at the vanguard of a new generation of UK folk performers, well-versed in past forms but unafraid to venture into new territory. His virtuosic guitar was complemented by a plaintive rough-hewn voice that didn’t just document the on-the-road experience, but lived it.” Bert Jansch contains all original material, except a shattered cover of Davy Graham’s “Angie” that Jansch makes all his own. “Needle of Death,” one of the first folk songs to address the consequences of heroin use, yields to a restraint uncommon for Jansch, yet beautifully encapsulates the album’s tone of heartfelt conviction. Superior Viaduct is honored to present the first-time domestic release of Bert Jansch’s debut, remastered from the original master tapes. For those interested in a unique strand of music that would become a major influence on everyone from Jimmy Page, Nick Drake, Donovan, Neil Young and more – there is no better place to start than here.
File Under: Folk, SSW
Kandodo/McBain: Lost Chants/Last Chance (Rooster) LP
A meeting of like minds surfing the sonic highways to tonal oblivion. These four castaways on Sonic Island (this may be too much) have delivered an album that evokes the long lost and revered genre “Drug-Rock” a true mind melt of acid abandonment! Tab-era Monster Magnet, Sessions Era-The Heads—purely visceral and pummelling workouts of a krautrock and pschedelische (surely the most overused term of now—but finally in its right place) from these masters of the art. Lets not beat about the burning bush here, this is an original Monster Magnet member and three of the Heads—this is pedigree not to be overlooked. Tune in, Turn on, droned out! Mutually appreciated riffs, drones and tones floated across the oceans (via the internet). Conceived by Simon Price, Wayne Maskell, and Hugo Morgan and their US conspirator John McBain. They’ve created a modern masterpiece, straight from the off, the album feels like it has been hurled from riff valley, laden with trips aplenty.. catch a sonic wave here fellow psychonauts!!! (Liquid aural lava, it will encase your brain with a sike glazed crust.) Mastered by John Mcbain for full sonic immersion, and cut at 45rpm to enable a further immersion into the molassess when sped down to 33rpm—this works so well, that the CD comes as a double with CD one a 45rpm (normal) master and CD 2 the treacle trap murk of it slowed to 33rpm. The come down stretched further—a psychedelic morass, all encased in a sike glazed crust of quality packaging. Wig out and get your oblivion set, strap this on and soar into space.
File Under: Psych, Stoner
Mark Lanegan: The Winding Sheet (Sub Pop) LP
The Winding Sheet is Lanegan’s first solo work and showcases his adept skills as a lyricist and his deep, soulful voice. Highlights include “Mockingbirds,” “Ugly Sunday” and the haunting “Wild Flowers.” The late Kurt Cobain lends vocals to “Down in the Dark,” and for the folk classic “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” Cobain contributes guitar and vocals and Krist Novoselic plays bass. Nirvana would later also cover “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” on their Unplugged album. The album was produced by Jack Endino, Lanegan, and Johnson. With extra tracks “I Love You Little Girl.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Mark Lanegan: Whiskey for the Holy Ghost (Sub Pop) LP
Pacific Northwest icon Mark Lanegan is well known for his work with Screaming Trees, Gutter Twins, Mad Season, Queens of the Stone Age, Isobel Campbell, and more. As a solo artist, he’s also built a devoted following, slowly releasing records that highlight his love for singer/songwriters, and American folk and blues. Constructed with producer/instrumentalist Mike Johnson, 1994’s Whiskey for the Holy Ghost is Langegan’s second solo effort and finds his distinct bourbon baritone and dark tales of the human experience bathed in compelling country blues arrangements making undated standouts like “Borracho,” “House a Home” and “Pendulum” some of the most unique exponents of the grunge explosion of the early-90s.
File Under: Indie Rock
Laraaji: Om Namah Shivaya (Leaving) LP
This original 1984 cassette home recording from Laraaji was inspired by request for a personal long play soundtrack to accompany a delivery room child birth in Florida. It was intended to welcome a newborn child with love, ecstatic joy and high positivism. Inspirational vocal art music, Casiotone M70 electric keyboards and chant singing coalesce while in prepared vision trance, C Major.
File Under: Ambient, Synthpop, New Age
Meshuggah: The Violent Sleep of Reason (Nuclear Blast) LP
The Violent Sleep of Reason, the band’s eighth full-length studio album, finds Meshuggah building upon their legacy for fearless metal sculpting within the context of extreme metal, but also recapturing some of the magic and excitement specifically within the aspect of performance, finding flow and groove that would be a challenge for any lesser band to locate, given such technical geometric madness at mischievous hand. At the lyrical end, highlights include the title track, which, set to a massively heavy arch-djent rhythm, speaks of “the violent outcome of not dealing with what is going on, the violent implications of being asleep.” A second highlight is strident opener and longest song on the album, “Clockworks,” which is strafed by a typically super-human drum performance from Tomas Haake. Listen to tracks like the vertigo-inducing “Nostrum” and the slower if equally circular and note-dense “By the Ton,” and it’s easy to understand why it’s been four years since a Meshuggah album.
File Under: Metal
MF Doom: Unexpected Guests (Metal Face) LP
From his early days as Zev Love X to his reinvention as a masked supervillain leading the indie hip-hop revolution, lyrical savant MF Doom has remained one of the most interesting figures in the rap universe. While most fans already worship classic albums like Operation Doomsday, Mm…Food, and Madvillainy, Doom’s output also includes a number of guest appearances, non-album singles, promo tracks, and other rarities that never made it onto an official release. Now, those tracks are finally available on Unexpected Guests, a limited-edition vinyl collection showcasing rare MF Doom material. Included are collaborations with the likes of Talib Kweli, J Dilla, Ghostface Killah, Sean Price, Count Bass D, Vast Aire, Masta Killa, and more. Many of these tracks have never been available on vinyl before, making Unexpected Guests an essential addition to Doom’s already illustrious catalog.
File Under: Hip Hop
Monarch: Two Isles (El Paraiso) LP
Transparent splatter vinyl. No other band channels the color, warmth and energy of the coastal SoCal scenery as well as San Diego’s Monarch. Their debut album Two Isles was recorded and produced by local glitterati Brian Ellis. It’s full of breezy Allman Brothers guitar leads gliding effortlessly on top of gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, prog-rock structures. With supreme musicianship, they somehow connect the dots between classic California rock, prog, pastoral pop and the vivid, expansiveness of early 1990s British shoegaze. Indeed these guys have created something that transcends sounding like a time capsule. While psychedelia might be the prism that everything is projected through, Two Isles reveals the fact that this is a group of people who grew up on a wide range of sounds available in the diverse San Diego scene: ambient, indie, math, jazz and whatever else was available to experience.
File Under: Psych, Prog
Natural Child: Okey Dokey (Natural Child) LP
Okey Dokey is the latest full-length from Natural Child. The band’s first new music in over two years is also the debut release on their new label, Natural Child Records and Tapes. Natural Child started recording the album in Memphis, TN and completed it in Chicago, IL where they worked alongside Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas). With Okey Dokey, Natural Child says come on in – give us your tired, your weak, your poor; give us your rockers and rollers and grimy punks and suburban cowboys. Get down how you wanna get down. “Natural Child play rock ‘n’ roll music, have for a while now, and are good at it. ‘Now and Then’ drops you right into their stellar LP, Okey Dokey, a record that’ll make you wanna sway, scream, serenade and stumble.” – Aquarium Drunkard
File Under: Rock
Neurosis: Fires Within Fires (Neurot) LP
Of all that humankind has inherited through our ancestry, no single language has transcended every age as powerfully as music. For those few who channel that inheritance of sound today, none wield its command and authority like Neurosis. Showing their discontent with convention from the very beginning, Neurosis revealed what would become an instinct for transformation in sound and scope. With each release, the sound became interchangeable with vision. A vision of the conscious and unconscious coexisting in an audial spectrum that challenged not only the constraints of what listeners expected but of the listeners themselves as beings. Over the collective’s past ten albums, Neurosis have invited listeners to join them on the path their music carved. Going beyond the remarkable, they became unforgettable. Throughout the last 30 years, the band has relished the unpredictable and embraced the unknown possibility of where the music was capable of taking them. Neurosis takes their most dominant step yet with their eleventh full-length, Fires Within Fires. Three decades in the making, striking their signature balance between light and dark, beauty and repulsion, this latest album gives due to its predecessors while progressing forward into the unfamiliar and formidable. Featuring exquisite album artwork from the renowned Thomas Hooper and the stellar recording work of the group’s longstanding engineer Steve Albini, Fires Within Fires is at once a beautiful and forbidding work of mastery. For members Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, Jason Roeder, Noah Landis, and Dave Edwardson, the album is a welcome companion to what’s now been a 30-year-long trek into the infiniteness of sound and sight coalescing into consciousness. An all-encompassing reminder that transfiguration in sound remains their most commanding and inimitable strength, this is the next powerful step toward a destination that has long been and continues to be the very heart of “becoming” for the mighty Neurosis.
File Under: Metal
Renderers: A Dream of the Sea (Tinsel Ears) LP
Amidst their stellar discography, The Renderers are best known for their album A Dream Of The Sea, released in the mid-nineties by Siltbreeze, and now issued for the first time ever on vinyl in a gatefold jacket on the band’s own label. Various forces were at work – a revered label, increased attention towards New Zealand artists – but the greatest achievements were within the band itself. Maryrose and Brian Crook reached a new level of insight and honesty with their lyrics, forming a wave of insight and metaphor that is as forceful today as when first written. Songs draw from ghostly sea tales and personal demons, where the specters as much rise from the waters as emerge from within oneself. The forceful songs are propelled by tornados of guitar play, always rumbling and screeching underneath the singing. There’s a connection to be heard between The Renderers and Dead Moon, both bands dedicated wholly to the music they create, a fact clear in every note they play. When Buzzfeed gets around to making a list for it, A Dream Of The Sea will inevitably be listed amongst the greatest New Zealand rock albums of all time.
File Under: Psych, Noise Rock, New Zealand
Red Horse, White Mule
Part of a collaboration with Jack Rose’s estate and Three Lobed Records to restore all of his LPs to print, VHF presents new vinyl editions of the celebrated guitarist’s first three solo albums, newly cut by John Golden Mastering from the original source material. Originally issued on LP by Eclipse Records between 2002-04, these releases chart an eclectic, more experimental approach left behind as his technique and compositions became more refined and deliberate on later works like Kensington Blues. Recorded and originally released in 2003, Opium Musick is an eclectic collection with pieces for 12-string (the percussive and dark “Black Pearls”), 6-string, and lap guitar. The lovely raga-ish “Yaman Blues” features Mike Gangloff (Pelt, Black Twig Pickers) on tanpura, and echoes the extended modal work on Pelt’s contemporaneous Pearls From The River. The near-ragtime of “Linden Ave Stomp” showcases Glenn Jones on his vintage Gibson in a jumping duet with Rose’s lap steel. “Linden Ave” charted a path that Rose would determinedly pursue—short ragtime and old-time influenced pieces (originals and classics), with all phrasing worked out to a perfectionist standard. The lovely “Mountaintop Lamento” was memorably used in Catherine Pancake’s film about coal mining in Appalachia, Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal and the Fight for Coalfield Justice. “In the year and half between Red Horse, White Mule and Opium Musick Mr. Rose spent the majority of his time honing his Ragtime and Jass skills. He met Dr. Chattanooga Red soon after recording his first LP and he revealed the secrets of Ragtime and Jass to Jack in ancient ceremony. Red came down with the jake in Philadelphia and died shortly after their tour. On his deathbed he told Jack not to let the ragtime die and to bring it into the 21st century. And now we have Opium Musick as a result of Jack’s studies and travels, a lovely tribute to Jack’s beloved teacher.” —Joe R. Sack, blues scholar, on Red Horse, White Mule
File Under: Blues, American, Guitar Soli
S U R V I V E: RR7349 (Relapse) LP
Austin, TX experimental synth quartet Survive’s sophomore full-length and Relapse debut, RR7349, is a dark, sweeping exercise in analog synth mastery. The pulsating, 9-song instrumental release showcases immense diversity between tracks – RR7349’s compositions range from grim tom-tom thunder to space-age epics, pairing tense plodding grooves with meditative ambience and driving, rhythmic beats. Inspired by IDM and horror scores alike, RR7349 is simultaneously ominous and hopeful; tense and relaxed; percussive and melodic. A unique addition to the Relapse discography, and unquestionably Survive’s best work to date.
File Under: Electronic, Synth
Tamam Shud: Evolution (Anthology) LP
The first ever reissue of Evolution, the debut album by Australian progressive heavy rock fiends Tamam Shud. Evolution presents a blazing backdrop of charged-up fuzz and guitar expression exquisitely matching the wild, inspirational, and groundbreaking visuals of Witzig’s incredible 1969 surf film of the same name. Includes a booklet with liner notes by Aussie surf historian Stephan McParland and other-wordly ephemera.
File Under: Prog, Fuzz
Thor & Friends: s/t (L.M.) LP
Thor & Friends is the eponymous full length debut from the avant-chamber ensemble formed by polymath percussionist Thor Harris. It was recorded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and produced by Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost from A Hawk & A Hacksaw and Deerhoof’s John Dieterich. The three core members of the band are Peggy Ghorbani on marimba, Sarah “Goat” Gautier on marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, organ, voice, mellotron and piano, and Harris on sundry percussion and wind instruments including some of his own devising. They are joined Jeremy Barnes on accordion, drum, and mellotron; Heather Trost on violin, voice & marimba; John Dieterich on guitar, bass, castanets and special effects; and Raven on bone flute, and electronic sounds. The band was inaugurated after Harris toured for five years as the percussionist of iconic avant-rock ensemble Swans. As a vehicle for experimentation with American Minimalism with a rotating cast of Austin-based musicians, Harris draws on composers including Terry Riley and Steve Reich, but also such diverse influences as Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog and The Necks; the album centers around a polyrhythmic core of mallet-struck instruments—primarily marimba, xylophone and vibraphone. Circling these core motifs are shifting streams of everything from processed pedal steel and analog synthesizer to violin, viola, stand-up bass, clarinet, duduk and oboe. By rooting their art in both improvisation and the involvement of neighbors and friends in their process, Thor & Friends embody utopian optimism, making use of what and whom is around at any given moment to make music with.
File Under: Rock, Experimental
John Zorn: Naked City (1972) LP
Regularly hailed as one the most important composers of the late 20th century, John Zorn is comfortable at the helm of an ensemble, as improviser on an array of instruments, and as a bold theorist of collaboration. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New York artist and operator of the esteemed Tzadik label became known for assembling hardcore-inflected jazz ensembles and for devising “game systems,” or intricate musical conditions intended to force players into new territory. Partnering with Nonesuch in mid-1980s, he released The Big Gundown, which radically reimagines Ennio Morricone scores; and Spillane, which fuses improv and Zorn’s “file-card” system. Such titles brought Zorn critical accolades and the reputation of a provocateur, but none of them prepared audiences for the cataclysm of Naked City. Released in 1990 on Nonesuch, Naked City bears a stark cover photograph by Weegee—noted for his unsparing images of New York crime scenes—and features one of the more staggering “rock” lineups ever assembled: Zorn on alto saxophone, guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Fred Frith, drummer Joey Baron, keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, and vocalist Yamatsuka Eye. Naked City is a maelstrom of styles, veering recklessly between country, noise, New Orleans R&B, polka, and grindcore, with overtures from detective shows and film noir. In other words, it’s a daring maelstrom of American musical vernacular. It also explodes the rock format’s supposed limitation and retains a wildly intersectional listenership: devotees of punk, free jazz, and harsh noise celebrate Naked City. In short, as one writer put it, Naked City remains a “pinnacle of avant coolness.”
File Under: Free Jazz, Thrash, Noise
Various: Musique Concrete (Modern Silence) LP
Le Groupe de Recherches Musicales (The Group of Musical Research) of the O.R.T.F. (Office of the French Radio-Television) is known in the world principally as the promoter of an original technique of realization as well as reflection: Musique concrète. For more than fifty years, Le Groupe de Recherches Musicales has founded its experience, its methods of research and particular techniques, upon a confrontation between the musical act, reflection upon its elements, experimentation on sound sources, and the electro-acoustical means. Grouped around Pierre Schaeffer and François Bayle, composers and researchers try to give new direction to musical activity through the conjugated action of a program of “Fundamental Research” on the languages of music (concrete, electronic, but also instrumental and oriental) and a program of “Expression”, resulting in original compositions as well as essays for the ballet, theater, cinema, or television. In this LP, there are some great examples of the incredible production of many of the most celebrated composers of the movement: Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bernard Parmegiani, Ernst Krenek, Luc Ferrari and Ivo Malec along with Pierre Schaeffer and François Bayle.
File Under: Avant Garde
AC/DC: Powerage (Sony) LP
Blues Pills: Lady in Gold (Nuclear Blast) LP
Can: Ege Bamyasi (Mute) LP
Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio (Superior Viaduct) LP
Ian Willam Craig: Centers (Fat Cat) LP
Dead C: Twelfth Spectacle (Grapefruit) 4LP
Deux Filles: Silence & Wisdom (Dark Entries) LP
Exploding Heart: Guitar Romantic (Dirtnap) LP
The Fall: Dragnet (Superior Viaduct) LP
Fleetwood Mac: s/t (Rhino) LP
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma (Warp) LP
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (Westbound) LP
Henryk Gorecki: Symphony 3 (Nonesuch) LP
Jawbox: For Your Own Special (Dischord) LP
Jawbox: Grippe (Dischord) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinity (ATO) LP
Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate (Interscope) LP
Madrugada: Industrial Silence (Music on Vinyl) LP
Curtis Mayfield: Superfly (Curtom) LP
Angel Olsen: Halfway Home (Bathetic) LP
Angel Olsen: Strange Cacti (Bathetic) LP
Parliament: Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (Universal) LP
Parliament: Motorbooty Affair (Casablanca) LP
Parliament: Trombipulation (Casablanca) LP
Pink Floyd: The Division Bell (Sony) LP
Otis Redding: Blue (Sundazed) LP
Shannon & The Clams: Sleep Talk (1-2-3-4 Go!) LP
Silkworm: Lifestyle (Touch & Go) LP
Slint: Spiderland (Touch & Go) LP
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith/Suzanne Ciana: Sunergy (RVNG) LP
Sun Ra: Space Is The Place (Sutro Park) LP
Timber Timbre: s/t (Arts & Crafts) LP
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats: Mind Control (Rise Above) LP