Holy moly! Thanks to everyone who came out last weekend for our big anniversary sale! What a bonkers weekend. Lots of wonderful folks dropped in, and lots of wonderful albums went out the door. BUT! Lots of wonderful albums have come in since, and lots of wonderful used records have been put out in the bins. You should check out our Instagram for a video of what went out this week, some choice rarities this week.
Also, NO ONE HAS CLAIMED THE REGA RP1 WE ARE GIVING AWAY!!! Check your tickets against the number posted on Monday on our website, Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram! Since, it’s Christmas, I am going to redraw on Monday if no one has claimed the turntable by then.
…..pick of the week…..
Supersilent: 13 (Smalltown Supersound) LP
You can’t accuse Supersilent of keeping the noise down. Ever since the ‘Big Crunch’ of 1997, when Norway’s finest free music outfit came together for the first time, their unpredictable noises and rapturous textures have been heard all around the world—and maybe somewhere outside the stratosphere too. Currently a trio featuring Helge Sten, Arve Henriksen and Stale Storlokken, Supersilent’s album number 13 marks a turning point in the group’s two-decade career. After a dozen recordings under the umbrella of the diverse Rune Grammofon label, Supersilent have now signed to Oslo based Smalltown Supersound, where they join the likes of Lindstrøm, DJ Harvey, Prins Thomas and Andre Bratten as labelmates. Supersilent is a platform for a highly physical improvised electronic music, made by a trio that’s a kind of supergroup of Norwegian players in their own right.
File Under: Electronic, Improv, Jazz, Ambient
Autechre: Amber (Warp) LP
1994’s Amber, the second full-length from Autechre, returns to vinyl after being out of print since 2001. Amber contains 11 tracks of sparse Ae minimalist machine modules that blur the boundaries between isolationist electronica and richly vivid techno soundscapes. Considered by many fans to be the most crucial recording from the group, it contains some of their most immersive soundscapes to date. Steering away from the post-hardcore dynamics that shone through on Incunabula, Amber moves further away from anything resembling ‘techno’ and more into territories of abstract ambience. These 11 crystal-like cubes of sound came together to produce some of the most mind-bendingly hypnotic sounds to be committed to wax during the 90’s. Placing Ae up in the ranks of legendary composers such as Steve Reich and Manuel Gottsching as well as their Artificial Intelligence contemporaries with whom they were crafting the building blocks of the future. There is something uniquely immersive about Amber, it’s almost as if as you are playing it the sounds are fading away before they even begin. When played from the start you can lose a lot of time within the endless gradients that adorn its cover, before the sounds just seemingly, disappear. Included with this release is a download of an original Autechre live set, previously only available in the Autechre webstore, with artwork by long time creative collaborators The Designers Republic.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
Autechre: Incunabula (Warp) LP
Incunabula, the debut full-length offering from Autechre is finally back on vinyl after being out of print since 2001. Having first emerged onto a post-acid house 1993, Incunabula was released as part 7 of the now legendary Artificial Intelligence series of albums and compilations from Warp. A series that gave us early records from artists who went on to sculpt the electronic landscape both in and out of the club. Incunabula set the tone for the following landmark albums from Ae, huge caustic dissections of sound that almost resemble vast mathematical equations more than they do club fodder (though tracks like the breakbeat whip crack of “Doctrine” and the acidic euphoria of “Maetl,” which when deployed by the right DJ will go off). For those just arriving at the edge of Ae’s world and are looking for an entry point into the sprawling discography of the group, or those of you looking to delve into the pre-MaxMSP archives, this is the record for you. This truly is a landmark album of UK electronica, a legendary recording that still even after 26 years still sounds like a future we are yet to arrive at. Included with this release is a download of an original Autechre live set, previously only available in the Autechre webstore, with artwork by long time creative collaborators The Designers Republic.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental
Autechre: Tri Repetae (Warp) LP
1995’s Tri Repetae, the third album from Autechre, returns to vinyl after being out of print since 2001. On reflection, Tri Repeate stands tall as one of the most out-there and boundary-pushing releases from Ae ever. Going back to the group’s roots as b-boy’s, Tri Repetae features ten variations on street sounds from hip-hop and techno to industrial and jungle. Released at a time when producers were ripe with ideas for cosmic breakbeat experimentation, the album mixed the glitchy twisted dynamics of EPs such as the criminal justice bill protest Anti and sculpted a long player that resembles some of the most ‘floor friendly’ Ae to ever grace a packed nightclub soundsystem. The ten tracks pulled influence from previous outings, from the glacial Amber chug of “Overand” to the Incunabula acid of “Leterel.” But the overall sound is one of mixing influence from the avant-garde of Iannis Xenakis, Edgard Varese and Tod Dockstar with the mid 90’s post-hardcore sound of jungle. For anyone looking to get to grips with Ae but wanting something that bridges the gap between the early analogue escapism and the latter deconstructionist stance of elseq, Tri Repetae is the perfect point to dive into. Mixing elements of groups such as Coil at their most industrial, the austere techno of the Downwards crew and the cold yet funky electro of Man Parrish, they composed an album that still, twenty one years since its release, has one of the most singular sounds for anything resembling electro techno, and what other group can you think of who have you can say have ever managed that? Included with this release is a download of an original Autechre live set, previously only available in the Autechre webstore, with artwork by long time creative collaborators The Designers Republic.
File Under: Experimental, Electronic
Baird Sisters: Until You Find Yourself (Ba Da Bing) LP
Considering they’ve collaborated ever since they were kids living under the same roof, The Baird Sisters arguably could have made an album like Until You Find Your Green years ago. They’ve released two live recordings (the first recorded by their dad) and made plenty of demos, but this marks the first time Laura and Meg Baird decided to write and record a full-length on their own terms. The songs, recorded in Laura’s house, have a familial intimacy joined by skillful depth, the ideal blend for a folk record, an equal mix of comfort and talent. Growing up surrounded by music, the sisters have traveled separate paths while remaining close. Laura studied piano and trombone in school and has collaborated with Glenn Jones on his recent releases. Meg has played in Espers, Watery Love, and currently drums/sings in Heron Oblivion. She’s also released a few solo albums on Drag City. Laura’s first solo record will be released by Ba Da Bing early next year. These recordings capture the complexity of seventies progressive folk rock, emphasizing acoustic instrumentation with a lack of self-consciousness that can only come from a private domestic environment. Meg plays guitar,Laura banjo, singing in harmony, and ornamenting their songs with flute, cello, fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, percussion and a cricket chorus. Until You Find Your Green’s songs seem traditional, but that’s deceptive, and they unfold in greater depths the deeper attention paid to them.
File Under: Folk
Beck: Guerro (Universal) LP
Since introducing himself to the world in 1994 with his genre-defying, multi-platinum debut, Mellow Gold, Beck has blazed a path into the future while simultaneously foraging through the past. Throughout his singular career he has utilized all manners and eras of music, blurring boundaries and shattering expectations with each album. From the world-tripping atmospherics of 1998’s Mutations and the florescent funk of 1999’s Midnite Vultures through the somber reflections of 2002’s Sea Change, 2005’s platinum tour de force Guero and 2006’s sprawling The Information, no Beck record has ever sounded like its predecessor. In the fall of 2016, UMe will begin to reissue Beck’s entire envelope-pushing DGC/Geffen/Interscope catalog on vinyl, beginning in October with the trifecta of his 1996 Grammy Award-winning game-changer, Odelay, 2002’s beautiful, brokenhearted, Sea Change, and 2005’s Guero, which saw Beck reunite with the Dust Brothers. Sea Change will be released as a double LP while Guero will be made available for the first time ever as a single LP. Mellow Gold, Mutations, Midnight Vultures, The Information and Modern Guilt will follow at a later date. Beck kept fans and critics guessing about how he’d follow up Sea Change and in 2005 released the genre-mashing Guero which shot to No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 – his highest charting album to date. Beck’s eighth album saw him reuniting with the Dust Brothers with an assist from producer Tony Hoffer (Midnite Vultures), for a tour de force of Latin rhythms, rhymes, guitars, beats, samples, 8-bit electronics, turntables and vocoder for a fun and freewheeling ride through rock, hip-hop, boss nova, country-blues and soul. Album opener and lead single, “E-Pro” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart, while “Girl,” “Hell Yes,” “Go It Alone” (featuring Jack White on bass) and more became instant fan favorites. The album was a hit with critics as well with New York magazine enthusing, “Beck integrates his personae into a fairly seamless whole, and his knack for synthesizing disparate musical elements (hip-hop, robot funk, blues, country, jazz, garage rock, etc.) extends beyond samples and individual tracks. The songs migrate smoothly from one to the next; there aren’t any throwaway numbers to sabotage the album’s momentum; the whole thing coheres,” while Rolling Stone dubbed it “his liveliest and jumpiest music in years.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Built To Spill: Ancient Melodies of the Future (1972) LP
Formed in 1992 in Boise, Idaho by guitarist and vocalist Doug Martsch, Built to Spill has since evolved radically, shed members, linked eras, and all the while endured as one of the most tuneful and rewarding acts of the lauded Northwest indie-rock tradition. The group signed to Warner Brothers in 1995, but Martsch was wise enough to retain control over production, and by 1999 he’d helmed the group towards commercial and critical success with Keep it Like a Secret. It was a touchstone album, and yet 2001’s Ancient Melodies Of The Future bested that career highlight with considerable grace and craft. Marsch’s studio proficiency is immediately evident in the alternately delicate and devastating mix of mellotron, keyboard, and inventive guitar overdubs that characterize Ancient Melodies Of The Future’s sonic palette. Melodic curlicues distinguish the minor hit “Strange,” while woozy grooves propel the mid-tempo ballad “Trimmed and Burning” through an incendiary solo section. As the album title suggests, Ancient Melodies Of The Future stands outside of history in a realm of its own.
File Under: Indie Rock
Kate Bush: Before the Dawn (Concord) 4LP
Before the Dawn was recorded during the incredible run of 22 sold-out shows performed by Kate Bush at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in 2014. In March 2014 Kate announced plans to perform 15 shows in London in August and September that year, her first live shows since 1979. The shows sold out so quickly that a further 7 were immediately added, with all shows selling out in 15 minutes. The first night of the shows prompted a complete media frenzy with the Evening Standard declaring that the show was “an extraordinary mix of magical ideas, stunning visuals, attention to detail and remarkable music – she was so obviously, so unambiguously brilliant, it made last night something to tell the grandchildren about.” Later that year the show won the special Editor’s award at the highly prestigious London Theatre Awards, the only contemporary music show to do so. The audio document of those mesmerizing, historic shows is now presented on the 4LP box set Before The Dawn. Produced by Bush herself, nothing on the 29-track program was re-recorded or overdubbed and the sound here is astonishing. Features modern takes on such beloved songs from her extraordinary catalog as “Running Up That Hill,” “Hounds of Love,” “And Dream of Sheep,” “Waking The Witch” and “Cloudbusting” among others.
File Under: Rock, Pop
Drakulas: Raw Wave (Dirtnap) LP
Drakulas present Raw Wave, a collection of songs told from the different points of view of various characters in a fictional metropolis in the not-too-distant past. A bustling city center not unlike Times Square in the ’70s filled with sin and sex is the backdrop where gangs, street preachers, sex addicts, pimps, prostitutes and pornographers live and work. People of this world describe the time period of these songs as the Raw Wave—a wave of new analog technology that hit the city, wiping away many of the mores and pretense of the past. Drakulas are from Austin, TX, and feature members of Riverboat Gamblers and Rise Against, amongst others. This is their debut LP, following a 7-inch on Red Scare. They pretty much nail the sound for which the Texas branch of the extended Dirtnap family is infamous—vibrant, high energy, and dangerously catchy. Raw Wave is tailor-made for fans of The Marked Men, The Dickies, and vintage-era Riverboat Gamblers / High Tension Wires. And then there are the lyrics: high-concept / low-brow weirdness that could only have come from the twisted mind of Gamblers frontman Mike Wiebe. Call it a super-group if you must, but don’t call it a side-project.
File Under: Punk
Eye: Other Sky (Ba Da Bing) LP
Other Sky is Eye’s masterpiece. Recorded 12 years after their initial formation, the Dunedin trio of Peter Stapleton (The Terminals, The Pin Group, Flies Inside The Sun), Peter Porteous (Empirical) and Jon Chapman (Double Leopards, Rory Storm and the Invaders) have never sounded more on target and immense. Not that their past releases are anything shabby! With this record, there’s a distinct communication going on between the players as they freely explore the dregs and corners of what is arguably still considered rock music. Recorded at The Anteroom, an old Masonic lodge in Port Chalmers, it took a steady three years to cobble together. The five tracks here alternately strike with intensity and drift with menace, with Eye casting new lines of cohering musical language into a sea of babble. Be prepared to transcend.
File Under: Rock
Feral Ohms: Live in San Francisco (Castle Face) LP
The white-hot set of Live In San Francisco not only features Feral Ohms’ shaggy guitar heroics captured directly to ferromagnetic medium for your grokking, but also happens to be their debut record. From zero to vertical from the get of the set, the ’Ohms muscle this one out fast and hot, featuring Ethan Miller of Howlin Rain, Comets On Fire and recent psych-folk breakouts Heron Oblivion. Miller gives free rein to his most pyro-psycho-technic guitar fancies, not to mention a full-throated demon-worthy wail, with Chris Johnson on drums (previously of Drunk Horse and currently of Andy Human and the Reptoids) full MC5 style with freight train pummel, with rides so heavy in the mix it sounds like early Damned. Josh Haynes (of the unGoogle-able Nudity) is a total forehead smacker on bass as he bi-amps a filthy sound while wearing some weirdo humility leather strap face harness—it’s just dirty. “Teenage God Born To Die” indeed. Expect great things from them and this concise set is just long enough to get a dander up for a proper full length, set for release on Ethan’s Silver Current label in 2017. In the meantime, keep an eye out for their live shows and don’t forget the ear plugs, they’ll singe your minge…
File Under: Psych, Garage
Flesh Eaters: Forever Came Today(Superior Viaduct) LP
In the wake of the star-filled A Minute To Pray A Second To Die, The Flesh Eaters’ frontman Chris D. assembled a leaner, meaner band to deliver his next unbound vision. Forever Came Today, the group’s third full-length album, was originally released on Ruby Records in 1982 and features Don Kirk on guitar, Robyn Jameson on bass, Chris Wahl on drums, Steve Berlin on sax and Chris D.’s unmistakable voice. “My Life To Live” and “Shallow Water” are masterfully wrought punk tunes, reverberating with heart-wrenching vocals that turn on a dime from desperate whispers to blood-curdling screams. “Drag My Name In Mud” dives deeper into full-throttle rock demonology, bluesy primeval swagger and obsessive imagery, inspired in equal parts by William S. Burroughs and Edgar Allan Poe. This first-time vinyl reissue has been carefully remastered and comes with lyric sheet. Forever Came Today is the perfect introduction to The Flesh Eaters’ dark sense of humor and positively bleak form of rock ’n’ roll.
File Under: Punk, Rock
Tilahun Gessesse: Sima! (Mississippi) LP
Great songs form one of Ethiopia’s most beloved singers – Talhoun Gessesse (English spelling varies). These recordings span from 1969 to 1975 and cover the range of Talhoun’s styles and moods. Some mystical modal songs, some straight up rockers, and some ballads. All totally killer songs from the golden age of Ethiopian Soul Music. Talhoun’s voice, alongside Mahmoud Ahmed’s, is one of the strongest in the land. Don’t miss out on this monstrously good LP.
File Under: Ethiopia, Jazz
Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Guebru: s/t (Mississippi) LP
At last! The second LP in our ongoing series of releases from Mariam – Tsege Gebru! More 1960’s recordings of her truly unique solo piano performances. Mariam – Tsege Gebru is a true original – her playing is somewhere between Erik Satie, Debussy, liturgical music of the Coptic Ethiopian Church, and Ethiopian traditional music. It is some of the most moving piano music you will ever hear! All original compositions available for the first time on vinyl beyond the original early 1960’s editions, which are completely impossible to find. Old school “tip on” cover with gold foil printing. A must have master piece for anyone who needs some spiritual comfort.
File Under: Ethiopia, Traditional, Piano
Roy Harper: Stormcock (Science Friction) LP
Stormcock was born in 1969 as Harper began to stretch his wings. He’d been there a few times before, but this time he gave himself the space to go deep and stay there. “Hors D’Oeuvres” is perhaps the lightweight in the collection, but after all, it’s the starter… The Same Old Rock records Harper’s opposition to continued dependence on the cheap opium of convenient mass religion. This year marks two important milestones for Roy Harper – his 75th birthday and 50 years of recording music. To celebrate, Roy will be performing four special concerts in September and releasing the first vinyl reissues of his classic albums, none of which have been available on vinyl for well over 20 years.
File Under: Folk
Roy Harper: Lifemask (Science Friction) LP
Lifemask was made at the height of the ‘flower power’ expression/boom. The songs catalog spontaneous interpretations of how we are interacting with the planet. It was never aimed at mass market and is just a poem for friends and kindred spirits. The poem was inspired by a collage of Geronimo in an eighteenth century English landscape drawing given to Harper by his friend and artist James Edgar whilst he was in the mind altering substances period of his life. Jimmy Page plays throughout. The rest of the album is more conventional in structure, with two songs that are still regularly featured in Harper’s live set list. As a live song Highway Blues is a different song now than the song David Bowie once tried to record. And ‘South Africa’ is a dream come true. A love song to calm the fears and wash away the horror and stain of apartheid. Some of the songs comprised the soundtrack for the movie ‘Made’ which was on general release at the time in which Harper co-starred with Carol White. This year marks two important milestones for Roy Harper – his 75th birthday and 50 years of recording music. To celebrate, Roy will be performing four special concerts in September and releasing the first vinyl reissues of his classic albums, none of which have been available on vinyl for well over 20 years.
File Under: Folk
Roy Harper: Flat Baroque and Berserk (Science Friction) LP
Flat Baroque and Berserk was the first record of Harper’s to go into the charts. Peter Jenner was assigned by EMI Records to produce the recording – the two have been good friends ever since. EMI Studios, Abbey Road was at that time the most advanced studio in Europe, and over the next ten years Harper was to record in near-perfect conditions. Over those years, the studio buzzed with four separate Beatles, some Stones, The Pink Floyd, Cliff and the Shadows, Gracie Fields, three of four musical knights, Kate Bush, Olivier Newton-John, The Hollies, Yehudi Menuin, Stefan Grapelli, The Plastic Ono Band, Eric Clapton; you name them, they were all there. It was a creative hotbed where the technical staff, headed by Ken Townsend, were second to none. The song that Harper was best known for in those days, ‘I Hate the White Man,’ was recorded live for this album, and still stands as a testament to my lifelong devotion to espousing equal rights for all humans. Harper has long since wondered about the wisdom of stating that you have the capacity to hate your own race for it’s misdemeanours, but as a polemic it has been both an effective tool and somewhere of a place for a humble humanitarian to stand. This year marks two important milestones for Roy Harper – his 75th birthday and 50 years of recording music. To celebrate, Roy will be performing four special concerts in September and releasing the first vinyl reissues of his classic albums, none of which have been available on vinyl for well over 20 years.
File Under: Folk
Lee Hazlewood: Cowboy in Sweden (Light in the Attic) LP
Lee Hazlewood spent a good part of the late 1960s traveling the globe, cutting records and inking business deals. A string of hits with Nancy Sinatra enabled Lee to build a mini media empire Lee Hazlewood Industries and afforded him nearly unlimited resources…for a time. By the end of the decade LHI Records had burned piles of cash, gone through a half dozen distributors and failed to achieve the kind of chart success “Boots” had promised. Fortunately for Lee there was a land where he was still on the top of the charts, a place where women flowed like Brannvin…Sweden was calling. While on an LHI promotional tour in Stockholm, Lee crossed paths with Swedish director Torbjörn Axelman. “I met Lee through my script girl, in Stockholm in 1969,” remembers Axelman. “We noticed we had very many similarities, interests, and the same backgrounds. It led to many productions during our 38 years of close partnership and friendship.” The partnership showed Lee the way forward and allowed him an easy exit strategy from the LHI house of cards that was crumbling in Los Angeles. Light In The Attic Records is proud to continue its Lee Hazlewood Archival Series with this expanded reissue of Cowboy in Sweden. Released as the last LHI LP, Cowboy in Sweden was a soundtrack to the 1970 cult classic film of the same name starring Lee Hazlewood. The film was a surreal psychedelic account of Lee’s journey to his new homeland, while the soundtrack was a perfect compilation of Hazlewood’s strongest songs recorded over a prolific globe trotting three year period. The production scope of the album was the most ambitious of his career, recorded in Paris, London, Los Angeles and Stockholm with a slew of talented session musicians, producers and arrangers. Cowboy in Sweden is quite possibly the purest distillation of the Hazlewood sound; lush melancholy country pop with a pinch of humor (“Pray Them Bars Away”), a dash of bummer (“Cold Hard Times”), some beautiful ladies to sing with (“Leather & Lace” & “Hey Cowboy”) and even a couple anti-war protest songs to be topical (”No Train to Stockholm” & “For A Day Like Today”). The David “Bitter Sweet Symphony” Whitaker arranged orchestral pop of “What’s More I Don’t Need Her” and the stone cold Hazlewood classic “The Night Before” cement the album as Lee’s peak on LHI Records and ironically the label’s swan song.
File Under: Country
Iggy & The Stooges: Telluric Chaos (Skydog) LP
Iggy & The Stooges practically invented punk rock. They split up in 1974. 30 years later, The Stooges reformed, and first released a live album documenting the reunion performing in Japan – appropriately on Skydog Records who released their infamous final gig album ‘Metallic K.O.’ in 1976. Recorded in Tokyo in 2004, the album features 17 tracks over 70+ minutes, including the old Stooges classics plus new songs. A documentary film on The Stooges, Gimme Danger directed by Jim Jarmusch, is being promoted by Amazon Studios and following film festival showings is released in USA on 28th October and in the UK 18th November.
File Under: Punk, Rawk
Bert Jansch: It Don’t Bother Me (Superior Viaduct) LP
Bert Jansch recorded his second album in 1965, just after his self-titled debut earlier that same year. The sessions were a step-up from the intimate, field-recording setting of his first album, although still not labored over too much in the studio. “I figured that the faster I put down the tracks, the faster I could get out of the place,” Jansch told NME, “so I just ordered about a dozen bottles of wine, put the microphone in front of me and off I went, for three hours.” The lyrics of It Don’t Bother Me shift vividly between pure poetic imagery and the hollow resonance of pain. The LP’s underrated title song stands as a manifesto for the way Jansch lived at the time. “My Lover,” featuring guitarist John Renbourn, has almost sitar-like drones, while “Lucky Thirteen” is a captivating, melancholy instrumental that shimmers with brilliant fingerpicking. This first-time domestic release is remastered from the original tapes and features liner notes by Richie Unterberger. Bert Jansch’s It Don’t Bother Me remains another essential British folk LP that belongs next to Nick Drake, Roy Harper and John Martyn in every record collection.
File Under: Folk
Damien Jurado/Richard Swift: Other People’s Songs (Secretly Canadian) LP
Over the weekend of August 21-22, 2010, not long after Damien Jurado and Richard Swift first collaborated to produce Damien’s 2010 record, Saint Bartlett, the pair hunkered down with a 4-track recorder and one Coles 4038 ribbon microphone to record a collection of cover songs that run the gamut from John Denver to Chubby Checker to Kraftwerk. The timing was perfect. On Other People’s Songs Vol 1, we can see the scaffolding of what would become a creative turning point for the pair – later seen with the release of Jurado’s Maraqopa, the first record in his Maraqopa trilogy – less than 2 years later. The opening drum hits of “Be Not So Fearful,” the falsetto vocals of “Sweetness,” and the Spaghetti-Western swing of “Radioactivity” are, by now, hallmarks of the Jurado/Swift sound, but Other People’s Songs Vol 1 is a transitional fossil, a marking of the pair’s collaborative evolution.
File Under: Indie Rock
Khemmis: Hunted (20 Buck Spin) LP
Khemmis’s first album, Absolution, was released by 20 Buck Spin in July 2015 and steamrolled all that came in contact with its unforgettable heaviness and classic melodicism. Virtually unknown outside Denver at the time, by year’s end they had landed in the #9 spot on Decibel’s annual top 40 albums of the year. Hunted reveals a Khemmis fortified in its purpose and vision, forging an unrivaled synthesis between immense doom riffs and Maiden-esque harmony. Overall song length has increased, yielding expansive arrangements and dramatic storms of elegance and melancholy. Not content to plod through a sea of tears, and always a rock band first, they approach a High On Fire-like pace with the pummeling “Three Gates.” The lauded singing of vocalist Philip Pendergast reaches ascendent new heights on tracks like “Candlelight” and “Beyond The Door,” while the tasteful use of harsh vocals remains, providing a dark, foreboding contrast. The thirteen-minute title track closes the album with an epic stunner. Hunted will solidify Khemmis’s place at the vanguard of doom’s most notable modernmanifestations, in large part because they transcend the label itself.
File Under: Metal
Fela Kuti: Afrodisiac (Knitting Factory) LP
The four (lengthy, as usual) songs occupying this album were originally recorded in Nigeria as 45 rpm releases. Afrodisiac consists of re-recordings of these, done in London in the early ’70s. While it’s true that Fela Kuti’s albums from this period are pretty similar to each other, in their favor they’re not boring. These four workouts, all sung in Nigerian, are propulsive mixtures of funk and African music, avoiding the homogeneity of a lot of funk and African records of later vintage, done with nonstop high energy. The interplay between horns, electric keyboards, drums, and Kuti’s exuberant vocals gives this a jazz character without sacrificing the earthiness that makes it danceable as well. “Jeun Ko Ku (Chop’n Quench)” became Kuti’s first big hit in Nigeria, selling 200,000 copies in its first six months in its initial version.
File Under: Afrobeat
Fela Kuti: Gentleman (Knitting Factory) LP
Fela Kuti’s rich discography stretches from the mid 1960s with Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers, to the early 1990s with Egypt 80, and there are masterpieces all along the way. But the 1970s, with Africa 70 and then Afrika 70, was the decade during which Fela’s Afrobeat went through its most dramatic changes – musically and politically. It begins with 1971’s Shakara and ends with 1980’s I.T.T. (International Thief Thief). It also includes London Scene (1972), Afrodisiac and Gentleman (both 1973) and Upside Down (1976). The penultimate selection is 1976’s Zombie, which was a huge hit in Nigeria. The title track of this excellent album has often been hailed as Fela’s masterpiece. Musically innovative, melodically addictive, Fela got it all right in this politically scathing song in which he opposes Westernization and those who imitate Western ways. “I’m no be gentleman at all,” Fela sings, and then goes on to detail the ways in which he’s a “true African original” – and therefore superior to those who wear three-piece suits and hold tight to their colonial mentality. Fela follows this track with “Fefe Naa Efe,” which derives its name from an Ashanti proverb describing the beauty of a woman holding her breasts as she runs. Fela, who had many Ghanaian fans (and more than a few Ghanaian wives and girlfriends), sings this lush track as a tribute to Ghana. Finally, “Igbe” again shows the artist breaking cultural taboos by singing literally and figuratively about “shit”, as the word translates to, attaching the word to those friends who may betray you.
File Under: Afrobeat
Fela Kuti: London Scene (Knitting Factory) LP
Fela Kuti’s rich discography stretches from the mid 1960s with Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers, to the early 1990s with Egypt 80, and there are masterpieces all along the way. But the 1970s, with Africa 70 and then Afrika 70, was the decade during which Fela’s Afrobeat went through its most dramatic changes – musically and politically. It begins with 1971’s Shakara and ends with 1980’s I.T.T. (International Thief Thief). It also includes London Scene (1972), Afrodisiac and Gentleman (both 1973) and Upside Down (1976). The penultimate selection is 1976’s Zombie, which was a huge hit in Nigeria. Fela’s London Scene, released in 1972, is a top-notch affair, made with a smaller band but one that punches above its weight. There is no tenor guitarist and no call-and-response choir, though sing-along vocals are a feature of “Egbe Mi O” (“please carry me”). Throughout, Fela’s electric piano is gymripped and razor sharp, and Igo Chico turns in three stirring tenor solos. “Buy Africa,” written in 1970, was one of Fela’s first politically-informed songs. The lyric was written in support of a government campaign to encourage local industry. “J’Ehin J’Ehin” (“eat teeth eat teeth”) is along similar lyric lines as “Shakara.” This time Fela is lampooning people who are so greedy that they eat their own teeth. In “Who’re You,” Fela channels James Brown’s vocal style over an angular funk groove. “Fight To Finish” draws on Yoruba folklore to offer advice: once you have started something, be prepared to finish it.
File Under: Afrobeat
Fela Kuti: I.T.T. (Knitting Factory) LP
Fela Kuti’s rich discography stretches from the mid 1960s with Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers, to the early 1990s with Egypt 80, and there are masterpieces all along the way. But the 1970s, with Africa 70 and then Afrika 70, was the decade during which Fela’s Afrobeat went through its most dramatic changes – musically and politically. It begins with 1971’s Shakara and ends with 1980’s I.T.T. (International Thief Thief). It also includes London Scene (1972), Afrodisiac and Gentleman (both 1973) and Upside Down (1976). The penultimate selection is 1976’s Zombie, which was a huge hit in Nigeria. At the time of its release, the name of this album (and the eponymous title track) would have been recognized by any Nigerian as the acronym for “International Telephone and Telegraph,” Nigeria’s biggest telecommunications conglomerate. In this track, however, Fela satirically used the acronym to mean “International Thief-Thief.” The song is a 24-minute direct attack on multinational’s CEO, Moshood Abiola, who also happened to own Decca, the label Fela was signed to at the time, and with whom Fela was in full battle mode based on the label’s refusal to release his albums. Fela takes this opportunity to publicly disgrace Abiola for, in Fela’s eyes, becoming a stooge for the white man through his general colonial mentality, and specifically for his collusion in the CIA-led effort to dislocate Chile’s democratically elected Marxist president Allende. The lyrics also include a pointed history lesson outlining the way, in the days of slavery, the white man would find a willing African who would sell his own people into slavery.
File Under: Afrobeat
Fela Kuti: Shakara (Knitting Factory) LP
Fela Kuti’s rich discography stretches from the mid 1960s with Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers, to the early 1990s with Egypt 80, and there are masterpieces all along the way. But the 1970s, with Africa 70 and then Afrika 70, was the decade during which Fela’s Afrobeat went through its most dramatic changes – musically and politically. It begins with 1971’s Shakara and ends with 1980’s I.T.T. (International Thief Thief). It also includes London Scene (1972), Afrodisiac and Gentleman (both 1973) and Upside Down (1976). The penultimate selection is 1976’s Zombie, which was a huge hit in Nigeria. Shakara is one of a clutch of early-70s albums, on which Fela’s Afrobeat transitioned from foetal stage to something approaching full-grown form. Shakara is a two-track release of 13-minute songs that showcase Fela’s satirical side. “Lady,” perhaps one of Fela’s most popular tracks, criticizes westernized African women who he felt had been corrupted by their embrace of the new feminist movement of the time. And “Shakara” is another lyrically lambasting track that takes on braggarts and blowhards who boast false claims about their personal power and influence.
File Under: Afrobeat
Fela Kuti: Upside Down (Knitting Factory) LP
Fela Kuti’s rich discography stretches from the mid 1960s with Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers, to the early 1990s with Egypt 80, and there are masterpieces all along the way. But the 1970s, with Africa 70 and then Afrika 70, was the decade during which Fela’s Afrobeat went through its most dramatic changes – musically and politically. It begins with 1971’s Shakara and ends with 1980’s I.T.T. (International Thief Thief). It also includes London Scene (1972), Afrodisiac and Gentleman (both 1973) and Upside Down (1976). The penultimate selection is 1976’s Zombie, which was a huge hit in Nigeria. Upside Down and Zombie, both released in 1976, were made at the mid-point of an extraordinary three-year period during which Fela recorded 24 albums of new material. Upside Down – meaning back home in Africa everything is totally disorganized – is unusual in that it includes a second lead vocalist, Fela’s American friend Sandra Izsadore, who he’d known since touring the US in 1969. Izsadore, a black rights activist, introduced him to the writings of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael, Huey Newton and other revolutionary thinkers.”Go Slow” was one of several songs Fela recorded which critiqued the consequences of over-rapid urbanization – in this case, traffic jams – using them as a metaphor to describe deeper social breakdowns.
File Under: Afrobeat
Fela Kuti: Zombie (Knitting Factory) LP
Fela Kuti’s rich discography stretches from the mid 1960s with Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers, to the early 1990s with Egypt 80, and there are masterpieces all along the way. But the 1970s, with Africa 70 and then Afrika 70, was the decade during which Fela’s Afrobeat went through its most dramatic changes – musically and politically. It begins with 1971’s Shakara and ends with 1980’s I.T.T. (International Thief Thief). It also includes London Scene (1972), Afrodisiac and Gentleman (both 1973) and Upside Down (1976). The penultimate selection is 1976’s Zombie, which was a huge hit in Nigeria. On the title track of 1976’s Zombie, Fela and the backup singers ridicule the mindset of men in uniform over an urgent, quick-march accompaniment from Afrika 70. “Attention! Quick march! Slow march! Salute!” sings Fela, “Fall in! Fall out! Fall down! Go and kill! Go and die! Go and quench!” Each phrase is followed by the women singers’ taunting response, “Zombie!” Fela paid a big price for this bold condemnation of the military institution. One thousand members of the Nigerian army attacked and burnt down his house after the release of the record. The tribunal set up to investigate the cause of the attack as a result of the public out-cry against the army, heard, as part of the evidence presented, an example of the Zombie album cover with the military uniform and boots displayed boldly. The army justification of the attack was that Fela treated the military institution with levity.
File Under: Afrobeat
Harvey Mandel: Snake Pit (Tompkins Square) LP
Harvey Mandel is among the most innovative guitarists to emerge from the Chicago blues scene of the late 1960s. His career began at Twist City and other local hotspots, sharing stages with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy. He came up in that scene alongside Charlie Musselwhite, Mike Bloomfield, Barry Goldberg and Steve Miller, leading to an invitation from Bill Graham to open for Cream at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium in August 1967. Mandel was a member of Canned Heat, appearing with them at Woodstock. He played on numerous John Mayall albums, and on the Rolling Stones’ 1975 LP Black and Blue (“Hot Stuff”, “Memory Motel”), having auditioned for Mick Taylor’s job, which ultimately went to Ron Wood. Known for his “tapping” technique and sinewy, sustain-driven phrasing (thus his nickname, “The Snake”), Mandel’s solo albums such as Cristo Redentor, Baby Batter and Righteous have been sampled and drooled over by guitar geeks, DJ’s, and fans of funky, soulful, otherworldly composition. Harvey’s fifteenth studio LP and his first widely distributed album in 20 years, Snake Pit was recorded in two days at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. Harvey teamed with fellow Chicago-based musicians Ben Boye (keys), Ryan Jewell (drums), Brian Sulpizio (guitar), and Anton Hatwich (bass), who have all played with singer/songwriter Ryley Walker, among their many other musical pursuits. Harvey and the band had not met previously, nor had they rehearsed. He played snippets of song ideas for the band on his iPhone, and then they would lay down a track in one or two takes. Hard to believe when you hear the album, but that’s exactly how it went down. Minimal overdubs with strings and percussion were added, but mostly what you hear is what happened spontaneously in the studio. The album contains six new original compositions by Mandel and two revisited songs : “Baby Batter” from his 1971 Janus LP of the same name, and “Before Six” by Larry Frazier, which appears on his first album, Cristo Redentor. Snake Pit marks a spirited return in a career that now spans six decades — all the more intense and poignant given Harvey’s recent battle with cancer.
File Under: Blues, Rock
Bruno Mars: 24k Magic (Warner) LP
Multi-Grammy-winning megastar Bruno Mars returns with his highly-anticipated third studio album, 24K Magic, his first piece of solo music in nearly four years. Written and produced by Shampoo Press & Curl, lead single “24K Magic” sees Bruno bringing back his signature bounce with the singer proclaiming, “You can call it my first single, but I call it the invitation to the party.” The critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, producer, and musician scored his first five “Hot 100” No. 1’s faster than any male since Elvis Presley. Mars most recently dominated the charts with hit single “Uptown Funk.” The worldwide smash is the longest-leading Billboard Hot 100 single of the 2010s, and is only the tenth single in the Hot 100’s 57-year history to spend at least 14 weeks at No. 1. “Uptown Funk” took home 3 Grammy Awards this past year, including the coveted Record of the Year award.
File Under: Pop, Soul
Roy Montgomery: R: Tropic of Anodyne
Roy Montgomery: M: Darkmotif Dancehall
Roy Montgomery: H: Bender
Roy Montgomery: Q: Transient Global
It’s been over a decade since Roy Montgomery’s last album, and R M H Q is a hell of a return. H: Bender harkens back to his nineties work, where guitar riffs ensconced themselves in dynamism. Montgomery’s trademark reverb-laden guitar offers a fluidity like pulsing blood, coloring in each motif’s corners and rewarding every deeper listen with heightened profundity. Montgomery was in his rock band period in the eighties, when the dark, minimalist post-punk of The Pin Group lead into the gloriously open-ended freedoms of Dadamah. After a quiet spell, he returned in the late nineties, producing towering spires of guitar lines that exposed fragility between the strums. With his solo releases and in collaboration with Flying Saucer Attack, Bardo Pond (Hash Jar Tempo), and Chris Heaphy (Dissolve), his focus shifted from the truth-mining of rock music to epic celestialism. His ambitious yet humble tracks outstrip their origins, and Montgomery toured the world sitting cross-legged on the floor, playing twenty-plus-minute compositions. A long period of silence followed, marked only with a split album with Grouper (who lists Montgomery as a primary influence), involvement in Torlesse Super Group, and a couple thematic variations serving as soundtracks for films. Instead, he focused on his personal and professional commitments. Unfortunately, two horrific events preceded his return: the Christchurch earthquakes of 2011 condemned Montgomery’s entire neighborhood save for his home, stripping his street of a community; and, as a volunteer firefighter, he saw first-hand the destruction and loss of life in the city center. Additionally, since 2014, illness in the family has dominated his life. Self-expression once again demanded an outlet. R M H Q is four albums conceived and recorded over a very short period, each of them carrying a distinct focus and mood.
File Under: Rock, Experimental
Moon Pool & Dead Band: Humanizer (Midwich) LP
The duo of Nate young (Wolf Eyes, Regression) & David Shettler (Viands, SSM) return with their highly-anticipated full-length follow-up to MEQ 2LP remixes, released by Midwich in 2015. Humanizer is sonically diverse featuring varied modes of production throughout. Humanizer jettisons with their live staple ‘New British Blues,’ the 10-minute track recalling Shettler’s long-form work in Viands, putting synthesizers in space, as live drums invigorate the track with an earthbound brashness. ‘Cycloid’ is the album’s most concise, bracing and dare-we-say catchy number–a real ear-worm. ‘Sea Dust’ is a blasting electronic collage also featuring live drums (we think). The title track ‘Humanizer’ is classic MOON POOL, creepy and menacing with an off-kilter bass thump. ‘A Gray Glow’ continues in classic mode with thumping bass and queasy synths. ‘Hospital Quiet’ features pleasing, sunward-facing ambience to reassure listeners that all is good. MOON POOL AND DEAD BAND have been a Detroit cult techno favorite since Shettler and Young joined forces in 2011. Uninitiated listeners are caught off-guard by the funkiness of the group, shaking assumptions about the group’s perceived roots. We’ve all heard bad noise-techno records–this isn’t one of them. The danceable style is one that grows organically from the duo’s life experience. Moon Pool and Dead Band approach the music with respect, knowledge and humor. Humanizer is a party-starter that could have only come from Detroit.
File Under: Electronic, Techno, Wolf Eyes
The Morning Dew: s/t (Lion) LP
Morning Dew have been psych collector faves for ages. Their sole release, “At Last” (much like the Morgan album) becomes more obviously crucial with each passing year. After recording their legendary album for Roulette in 1969, Morning Dew headed back to Topeka feeling good about their prospects. But Roulette had problems. They did finally release “At Last” late in 1970… and marketed it so well it became a psychedelic rarity and a cult favorite. Even so, Morning Dew’s producer at Roulette urged the band to record a demo of songs for a second album. They went to a local studio in August 1970 and blasted out eight songs, bolstered by new recruit Ferdy Baumgart’s Hammond B3. Band leader Mal Robinson also made acoustic two-track recordings in his basement: new songs, plus others from the Morning Dew repertoire—just vocal and guitar. The band gigged while Roulette and it’s honcho Morris Levy withered under scrutiny by law enforcement. A second album came to nothing. Still under contract with Roulette and still dealing with broken promises, burnt out and broke, Morning Dew disbanded in June, 1971. But those demos… they need to be heard. That’s where we come in. Two records, chock full of your new favorite Morning Dew songs, plus solo acoustic versions of band classics like the monumental ’Crusader’s Smile,’ alternates, and more, most of which is previously unreleased. One more thing: all of this material is making its vinyl debut.
File Under: Psych
MV & EE: Root/Void (Woodsist) LP
“MV & EE take their homespun hypnotics and cosmic country sounds to new levels on Root / Void. I love this album— it trips hard and hauntingly—a gift for languid golden afternoons or late night moonlight powwows. Anthem-worthy tape edits on some cuts crack open surreal and cinematic vistas. While joined by fellow travelers here and there, this album remains in essence a fecund duet from two entwined souls, updating and re-defining their unique pool of sound. Intrepid audio bathers: get thee immersed!” —Lee Ranaldo, Italy, July 2016
File Under: Psych, Blues
Oh Sees: An Odd Entrance (Castle Face) LP
From the same misty mountaintop tape spool as August’s A Weird Exits, Thee Oh Sees bring the companion album An Odd Entrances. Delving more towards the contemplative than the face-skinning aspects of its predecessor, this sister album is a cosmic exercise en plein aire with John Dwyer and company double-drum shuffling, lounging with cellos, following a flute around the groove, and spooling a few Grimm-dark lullabies along the way. Lurking in the grass are a snake or two, like the celestial facing instrumental buzz of “Unwrap The Fiend Pt. 1.”… But for the most part this is a relatively hushed affair, a morning rather than evening listen. The band plans on donating half their profits from the first pressing to Elizabeth House, a local charity in Pasadena that specifically helps homeless women with children get back on their feet.
File Under: Punk, Garage
OST: Golden Axe 1 & 2 (Data Discs) LP
For Data Discs’ seventh release in partnership with SEGA of Japan, they are delighted to bring together the complete music from the classic Mega Drive games, Golden Axe (1989) and Golden Axe II (1991), in one special package. This release features the unforgettable artwork from both games, supplied on two thick lithographic prints, with the record itself pressed on heavyweight translucent gold or classic black vinyl. The outer sleeve features rare artwork from the 1989 Japanese edition, sourced from the SEGA archives and presented on 425gsm cardstock with gold flood printing. As always, the audio has been carefully restored and mastered using the original console as the source, ensuring these memorable soundtracks are preserved for many quests to come!
File Under: OST, Videogames
OST: The Lost Highway (Music on Vinyl) LP
Lost Highway is the 1997 French-American neo-noir-horror mystery film written and directed by David Lynch. It stars Bill Pullman as a man convicted of murdering his wife (Patricia Arquette), after which he inexplicably morphs into a young mechanic and begins a new life. The film’s score was composed by Angelo Badalamenti, with additional music by Barry Adamson, however Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails was responsible for assembling the soundtrack. David Bowie’s “I’m Deranged”, Rammstein’s “Heirate Mich”, Lou Reed’s “This Magic Moment”, Marilyn Manson’s “Apple Of Sodom” plus more tracks from Trent Reznor, The Smashing Pumpkins all appear on the double album to accompany the Angelo Badalamenti and Barry Adamson theme music. Lost Highway premiered in 1997 in the United States on a limited theatrical release and has developed a cult following. Director David Lynch received three Academy Awards nominations, a Golden Lion award from the Venice Film Festival for lifetime achievements as well as a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Wild At Heart in 1990.
File Under: OST
OST: Maniac (Death Waltz) LP
Death Waltz Recording Co. is proud to present a re-issue of Jay Chattaway’s soundtrack to the 1980 classic Maniac. An absolutely phenomenal, sleazy synth score from Jay Chattaway, perfectly capturing the unease and grime of Times Square in its pre-Disney clean up era. Its minimal synth lines, full to the brim with dark brooding menace, exaggerated ring modulations and discordant strings manage to echo the utter despare of Joe Spinell’s character on screen. This stands head and shoulders above similar 80’s synth scores which often riffed on John Carpenter’s Halloween score a little too much. Maniac sees Chattaway going wild, adding layers of noise & dialogue into the mix, giving the score an utterly claustrophobic feel that manages to be both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. This is a genuinely uncomfortable listen and it is easy to see why it has become such a classic amongst synth-heads and horror fans alike.
File Under: OST
OST: Twin Peaks (Death Waltz) LP
Twin Peaks – Original Score LP. Music by Angelo Badalamenti. Artwork by Sam Smith, full package design by Jay Shaw. Pressed on 180 Gram vinyl. One of the greatest scores ever recorded is finally back in print for the first time in 25 years! Death Waltz went back to the Warner archives, where engineer Tal Miller cut brand new vinyl masters. They then worked with Dave Cheppa at Plush Vinyl to cut new lacquers. Finally they asked Rainbo to press the record on 180g vinyl for the best possible sound quality. The record comes housed inside a 425gsm gatefold sleeve featuring lyrics and liner notes by composer Angelo Badalamenti; the cover image by Sam Smith comes approved by David Lynch himself! The gatefold sleeve is then housed within a bespoke die cut outer jacket designed by Jay Shaw featuring super subtle white spot varnish text. The whole affair is finished with a top loading obi strip. “I’m glad that after 25 years, Death Waltz Recording Company has re-released the original soundtrack for Twin Peaks for a new audience to enjoy. This is my defining work as a composer and I’m happy it will get a fresh listen” – Angelo Badalamenti, 2016
File Under: OST
Rachels: Systems/Layers (Quarterstick) LP
Louisville-based avant-garde chamber group Rachel’s present the vinyl debut of their 2003 full-length album Systems/Layers. This double LP album release also includes the vinyl debut of Rachel’s 2005 EP, Technology Is Killing Music. Numerous recording sessions make up systems/layers, home recordings, field recordings, and several large ensemble sessions with members of the Louisville Orchestra. Preliminary work for Systems/Layers began in 1997, when Rachel’s took to the streets of NYC armed with a DAT recorded in search of interesting sounds. This project, intended to address the issues of modern urban life, was set aside while other projects kept the band’s attention. However, when Rachel’s started working with the innovative New York based SITI theatre group in 2000, these recordings were given an environment to be completed. Included on the last side of this 2LP release, Technology Is Killing Music is an ideal companion to Systems/Layers. Assembled in the same cut up style, this 20-minute EP is a long-form suite comprised of material sourced from studio sessions, live performances and field recordings.
File Under: Chamber, Neo-Classical
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: A Little Something More From (Stax) LP
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ new 8-track EP, A Little Something More From, serves as a companion to the band’s critically acclaimed 2015 self-titled debut. The release features new studio recordings of live favorites including “Parlor,” “Out On The Weekend,” and “I Did It,” original album B-sides including the soulful ballad “What I Need,” “How To Make Friends” and a live version of “Wasting Time” recorded at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, TN. This collection follows what has been a phenomenal 18 months for Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. The band, along with their loyal hometown fans, just celebrated the one-year anniversary of their debut album with a sold-out headlining show at Denver’s renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The breakthrough year has also included a number of important milestones – their hit single “S.O.B.” blasted the nation’s airwaves for months as did follow-up tracks “I Need Never Get Old” and “Look It Here.” Their latest single, “Wasting Time,” is finding similar success as well. Additionally, their eponymous debut has now sold over 650,000 copies worldwide.
File Under: Funk Soul
Sparks: s/t (1972) LP
Sparks’ eponymous 1971 debut presents the singular compositional, lyrical and singing voices of Ron and Russell Mael fully formed. Originally released under the moniker Halfnelson, Sparks’ prescient debut prefigures Queen, power pop, and especially Southern California’s late ’70s skinny-tie explosion. It’s a landmark of Todd Rungren’s early production career, and clearly the backing band of brothers Earle and Jim Mankey brought Sparks’ pop idiosyncrasies to their later work with The Dickies, The Quick and 20 / 20. Infectious, daring, and delightfully flaunting camp theatricality throughout, Sparks is the first installment in an unparalleled series of some of the decade’s most classic albums. Careening melodies soar through space-detritus electronics on the strikingly original “Roger,” which evokes the early solo work of Brian Eno, but the deranged art-rock closing track “(No More) Mr. Nice Guys” is the unequivocal classic of Sparks’ early career and a staple of the band’s live set ever since. Rundgren’s restrained production wisely sets the Mael brothers at the fore of Sparks. With just subtly treated cymbal flourishes keeping the pace, album opener “Wonder Girl” is pared down and mixed to showcase two things: Ron’s twinkling piano trill and Russell’s fluttering high-register. As Rundgren perceived, and a multi-decade career confirms since, their fraternal chemistry is a consummate force.
File Under: Art Rock, Pop
Telefon Tel Aviv: Fahrenheit Fair Enough (Ghostly) LP
The late 1990s was a fertile time in the American electronic underground. A growing body of artists, spread around the nation, were engaging in the latest round of a decades-long transatlantic musical conversation. At the convergence of hip-hop, electronic, and soul music, these artists sought to carve out their own lane. In September 2001, New Orleans’ Telefon Tel Aviv, high school friends Joshua Eustis and the late Charles Cooper, joined the conversation with their debut album, Fahrenheit Fair Enough, released by Hefty Records. A labor of love, Fahrenheit… was an attempt by the pair “to contribute something meaningful” Eustis says today, “something definitely American, and kinda southern too.” On the 15th anniversary of its release, Ghostly International is reissuing Fahrenheit Fair Enough on double vinyl with an accompanying download featuring bonus material. Living in New Orleans in the late 1990s, Eustis and Cooper were in the thrall of two musical orbits: black America – New Orleans’ bounce, Detroit’s techno, Chicago’s house – and British electronica – Autechre, Aphex Twin, Jega. Recorded over the course of a year in Eustis’ childhood bedroom in the Riverbend neighborhood of New Orleans, Fahrenheit… mapped out a potential for American electronic music in a time of hope. The music features delicate Rhodes and guitar instrumentation wrapped in a southern bounce shell, smothered in R&B, and cut up by digital rhythm programming. The tracks were meant to be “constantly, evolving sculptures.” Fascinated by IDM, the pair sought to inject “some swagger into it, loosen it up a little but also make it hyper romantic.” Eustis and Cooper had imagined making a “hard club record,” but instead Fahrenheit… came to be seen as a delicate slice of electronica by fans and critics who misconstrued its stylistics roots. This was, perhaps, hardly surprising. Telefon Tel Aviv arrived at a time when there was no roadmap for an American electronic music scene comparable to what the UK had produced in the ’90s. They were the latest artists to find themselves in a strange middle ground between hip-hop and electronic music that had yet to be understood. The music sounds all the more relevant in 2016 because the roadmap Eustis and Cooper desired then exists today. And because today everyone listens to what the South has to say.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, IDM
Twenty One Pilots: Blurryface Live (Fueled By Ramen) 3LP
Twenty One Pilots landed at the top of the Billboard Charts in 2015 with their triumphant sophomore studio album Blurryface and its hit singles “Fairly Local,” “Tear My Heart Out” and “Stressed Out.” The record took the band’s explosive mix of hip-hop, indie rock and punk to the next level, with soaring pop melodies and eclectic sonic landscapes. Billboard stated that Blurryface, “…serves as evidence that one of pop’s most daring duos isn’t about to slow down,” while Alternative Press proclaimed that Twenty One Pilots, “ramped up everything, from new influences to the number of producers (four) to the metric ton of uncertainties and fears multiplying in frontman/songwriter Tyler Joseph’s cranium. And it’s wonderful.” Blurryface: Live is an awesome new document of the songs from the album performed in concert at The Fox Theater in Oakland, CA, presented on stunning tri-gatefold triple picture disc vinyl adorned with stylized shots of the band.
File Under: Rock, Pop
Tyvek: Origin of What (In The Red) LP
Tyvek have long stood as one of the more steadfast and dependable punk institutions of the last decade. Each record has been great and has improved on the one before it without struggling to reinvent or overwrite their past. Line-ups and life events shift but the energy always comes through as new and raw as it did on the first single. Origin of What, their fourth album, is something of a departure, if a cryptic one—all the familiar elements are in place and yet a pervasive darkness that these strangely disjointed songs. Working again with Fred Thomas who recorded their most recent album, 2012 burner On Triple Beams, band members from the earliest incarnations to its most recent showed up for various recording sessions, with initial tracks captured quickly. Later, far more extensive editing, mixing and overdubbing ensued, resulting in a fragmented production style that slowly disintegrates the standard punk fare until it starts to resemble dub experimentation before decaying even further. Tyvek’s future, like its origin, is up for grabs.
File Under: Punk
Ween: Godweensatan Live (ATO) LP
Uncertain whether or not to cancel their re-release party for GodWeenSatan: The Oneness on Sept. 14, 2001, just days after the tragic events of 9/11, Ween took the stage at their local bar, John & Peter’s, in New Hope, PA. What unfolded was pure catharsis for both the band and the packed crowd. Ween ran through the album in its entirety and captured the show on 24-track tape. This release, the band’s first since 2008, is that never-before-heard recording. GodWeenSatan: Live was mixed from the multitrack recording and mastered by Tom Ruff. This 2LP set is pressed onto 180g colored vinyl and includes a free MP3 download of the album.
File Under: Rock
Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie: Salero (Erased Tapes) LP
Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie, the creative force behind A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Stars Of The Lid, presents his score for the motion picture Salero on vinyl courtesy of Erased Tapes. With Salero Wiltzie weaves some of his finest work to date and delivers an expertly distilled accompaniment to director Mike Plunkett’s sprawling, uncompromising visuals. Set in Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, the narrative follows the region’s Saleros – those who have for generations gathered salt and earned enough to somehow carve out an existence in such a barren landscape. It’s with the discovery of huge Lithium reserves – a mineral used frequently throughout the tech industry – under the scorched earth that acts as a catalyst for exploitation of the environment and its people; holding a microscope to the drastic effect industrialization has on local culture and tradition. “I have always said that composing music is infinitely easier when you have beautiful images to be inspired by,” Wiltzie explains. “It was a pleasure to write a score over this captivating place of endless, glimmering salt before its impending demise. I was fascinated by this mythical space and its ability to define the identities of the people who live in its vicinity, where this vast salt flat itself would be a central character.”
File Under: OST, Ambient, Stars of the Lid
Bobby Womack: Fly Me to the Moon (Premium Cool) LP
1968’s Fly Me To The Moon was Boby Womack’s first solo long-player, after a decade of forging a singular path as R&B morphed into soul music, first with the Sam Cooke-sponsored VALENTINOS, and subsequently as a songwriter and guitarist for the likes of Wilson Pickett. Indeed, the album features Womack’s version of Pickett’s ‘Midnight Mover,’ along with very groovy interpretations of ‘California Dreamin” (a small hit at the time),’ ‘Moonlight In Vermont,’ and the title cut. But it is the singers own superlative material—’What Is This,’ ‘Somebody Special,’ ‘Take Me’—that shines best on this fantastic debut, produced by the estimable CHIPS MOMAN at his American Studios facility in Memphis, utilizing one of the finest session crews in southern soul.
File Under: R&B, Soul
Bobby Womack: My Prescription (Premium Cool) LP
Bobby Womack returned to American in 1969 to cut My Prescription, also produced by Chips Moman, at a time that the venue was becoming exceptionally hot with visits from the likes of Elvis, Dusty Springfield, Neil Diamond and others. Womack’s sophomore album may however well be one of the most demonstrative showcases of studio and session crew, incandescent on a finely-honed program of classy and soulful performances, with the singer in full control. Tracks like ‘How I Miss You Baby,’ ‘Arkansas State Prison’ and ‘I Can’t Take It Like A Man’ stand as some of Womack’s greatest moments, and taken as a whole, My Prescription stands not only the man’s first truly great solo album, but also a timeless slice of sophisticated southern soul-making.
File Under: R&B, Soul
Bobby Womack: The Womack ‘Live’ (Premium Cool) LP
In 1970 Bobby Womack and manager Ed Wright decided to capitalize on his new-found solo visibility by capturing an in-person performance at a Los Angeles nightclub. The Womack “Live” was the result, a compelling, cathartic session where, as the original liner notes attest, Womack “held church,” agonizing, pleading, exhorting and testifying to a crowd fully in rapture to him. As well as extended jams on album material like ‘How I Miss You Baby,’ the playlist featured killer versions of ‘Something’ and ‘Everybody’s Talkin” and some outrageous stage patter. All in all, it’s an incredible recital capturing Bobby Womack in his prime, and even comes with an uncredited appearance from Percy Mayfield.
File Under: R&B, Soul
Neil Young: Official Release Series 8.5-12 (Reprise) 5LP Box
Neil Young’s “Official Release Series” continues with the Discs 8.5-12 limited edition 180g 6LP box set, the next collection of chronological titles which includes: 1976’s Long May You Run (The Stills-Young Band); 1977’s American Stars ‘N Bars; 1978’s Comes A Time; 1979’s Rust Never Sleeps (Neil Young & Crazy Horse); and 1979’s Live Rust (Neil Young & Crazy Horse). Discs 8.5-12 checks in after 1975’s Zuma and follows Discs 1-4 which were issued in 2009 and Discs 5-8 which were issued in 2014. Long May You Run served as the lone release from the short lived Stills-Young Band, featuring Neil and his old Buffalo Springfield cohort Stephen Stills splitting the songwriting duties with backing from Stills’ polished session musician fitted band. Roots rock affair American Stars ‘N Bars offers a mixed bag of the many styles Young had explored on previous efforts. There’s beautiful country-rock material (“The Old Country Waltz,” “Star of Bethlehem”), introspective acoustic solo numbers (“Will to Love”), and extended ragers (“Like a Hurricane”) plus guest appearances by Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Nicolette Larson and Crazy Horse. Comes A Time finds Young largely returning to his lush acoustic-based Harvest sound with uplifting harmony vocals from Nicolette Larson. Tender and inspired in all the right places, it became his first Top Ten album in over half a decade. Rust Never Sleeps features new material recorded live during Young’s 1978 tour with Crazy Horse and it’s split into compelling acoustic material and powerful electric numbers. The set kicks things off with the state of rock ‘n’ roll anthem “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue),” before offering up a lovely “Pocahontas,” scathing epic “Powderfinger” and closing with a rowdy reprise of “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).” 1978 concert recording Live Rust featuring an on fire Crazy Horse on select tracks – issued months after its spiritual guide Rust Never Sleeps – was captured at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA and finds Young wearing his folksinger and bandleader hats and mixing early classics and then newer material in what adds up to be one hell of a show.
File Under: Rock
Various: Bobo YeYe: Belle Epoque in Upper Volta (Numero) Box
From his studio in central Bobo-Dioulasso, photographer Sory Sanlé documented a nation’s transformation from colonial foothold to cosmopolitan oasis. Bobo Yeye: Belle Epoque in Upper Volta provides an intimate look into the landlocked nation’s pop culture explosion of the 1970s. A melange of community elders and emboldened youth spill from the brightly lit confines of Sanlé’s Volta Photo into the dimly lit nightclubs of Upper Volta’s cultural capital. Accompanying this hardbound monograph are dozens of rare and evocative recordings spread over three discs by Bobo-Dioulasso’s musical titans: Volta Jazz, Dafra Star, Echo Del Africa, and Les Imbattables Léopards.
File Under: African, Latin, Jazz, Funk, R&B
Various: All Night Long: Northern Soul Floor Fillers (J&D Records) LP
Whilst not the first UK dance scene – the mods had that covered – northern soul is the longest running. Those northern clubbers who eschewed late 60s psychedelic fripperies for obscure old soul records with the requisite beat, couldn’t have known what they started. After using up all the UK released sides they began digging in the United States and after nearly 50 years the northern soul scene has probably unearthed more great music than any other. All Night Long is our tribute to those pioneers and includes current in-demanders such as The Sensations ‘Demanding Man’, classics by The Chandlers and Ernest Mosley and a host of other dancefloor friendly masterpieces. On the 14th October 2016 J&D Records release three exceptional compilations that look at vintage African-American music through the prism of UK club culture. All Night Long, Can You Feel That Beat and Extra Added Soul will be available on CD & double vinyl and are compiled by DJ and award winning compiler Dean Rudland, with stunning artwork from his long-time collaborators The Unknown. Across the three volumes there are 60 tracks of soul, funk and boogie.
File Under: Northern Soul
Various: Can You Feel that Beat: Funk 45s & Other Rare Grooves (J&D Records) LP
Funk was the syncopated groove that emerged in the mid-sixties through hits from James Brown and Dyke and The Blazers. It was a natural development out of rhythm and blues. Thousands of local bands tried to emulate Brown’s success, and in the process created a plethora of rare and sought after 45s and album cuts that have been mined by DJs and producers to fill floors or provide breakbeats. Whilst the 20 tracks on this compilation would cost you thousands of pounds to own on their original issue, that isn’t really the point. Instead you get to listen to magnificent grooves such as Mickey & The Soul Generations explosive ‘Iron Leg’, Andrew Brown’s blues tinged ‘You Made Me Suffer’ or the message music of 24 Carat Black. On the 14th October 2016 J&D Records release three exceptional compilations that look at vintage African-American music through the prism of UK club culture. All Night Long, Can You Feel That Beat and Extra Added Soul will be available on CD & double vinyl and are compiled by DJ and award winning compiler Dean Rudland, with stunning artwork from his long-time collaborators The Unknown. Across the three volumes there are 60 tracks of soul, funk and boogie.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Various: Extra Added Soul: Crossover, Modern & Funky Soul (J&D Records) LP
There is a lot of confusion with regards to the modern soul scene. An off-shoot of northern soul, it initially mixed new release independent soul, with post late-60s soul that didn’t fit with the northern scene. They championed a lot of great records, but this was the mid-80s and it now seems odd to describe nearly 50 year old records as modern soul – but somehow the name has stuck. Extra Added Soul luxuriates in this contradiction, as it allows us to mix up the boogie like ‘Love Explosion’ by Donnell Pittman, with two-step Chicago classics by Elvin Bishop or El Anthony, or the danceable sweet soul of Dyson’s Faces with Gil Scott-Heron alike ‘Patience’ by Rokk. Amongst the twenty tracks there is also room for a touch of Prince on 94 East’s exceptional ‘If You See Me’ and the cosmic soul of Karriem’s super rarity ‘I Love You’. On the 14th October 2016 J&D Records release three exceptional compilations that look at vintage African-American music through the prism of UK club culture. All Night Long, Can You Feel That Beat and Extra Added Soul will be available on CD & double vinyl and are compiled by DJ and award winning compiler Dean Rudland, with stunning artwork from his long-time collaborators The Unknown. Across the three volumes there are 60 tracks of soul, funk and boogie.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Various: Lagniappe Session 1 (Light in the Attic) LP
Founded in Los Angeles, CA by Georgia transplant Justin Gage, the Aquarium Drunkard blog has long served as a haven for discerning and adventurous listeners since 2005. Digging globally, AD offers an eclectic array of features, interviews, mixtapes, and reviews spanning vintage garage, psych, folk, country, soul, funk, R&B and beyond. The scope is wide, but the motto is simple: Only the good shit. Pardon the blue language, but it tracks. Release dates and hype aren’t driving forces at AD; the material featured on the site is there because Gage and the staff dig what they’re writing about. In 2011, Gage launched the Lagniappe Sessions, a regular recording series on the website and the weekly Aquarium Drunkard Show on Sirius/XMU featuring freeform selections, songs culled from artist’s record collections and inspirations. This co-release between Light In The Attic Records and Aquarium Drunkard Recordings documents the first five years of the series, collecting on vinyl for the first time a diverse lineup of obscure gems and familiar tunes refashioned into surprising and unexpected things. Psychedelic Swedes Dungen cover electronic pioneer Aphex Twin; of Montreal tap into the classic folk ballad “All My Sorrows”; troubadour Kevin Morby configures the blistering hardcore of the Germs into something more mystical. Some of the most familiar songs on Vol. 1 are the farthest out in terms of reinterpretation — White Fence reimagines the Gin Blossoms as a Paisley Underground outfit; guitarist William Tyler draws lines connecting the ragas of Sandy Bull to the progressive rock of Blue Oyster Cult. “Songs like this play on long after the record is done and become more like truths to me,” songwriter Jennifer Castle wrote for AD regarding her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Walkin’ Down the Line”. The songs of Lagniappe Sessions Vol. 1 share that quality equally.
File Under: Indie Rock
Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls (ATO) LP
Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO) LP
Tori Amos: Boys For Pele (Warner) LP
Arcade Fire: Reflektor (Sonovox) LP
Black Sabbath: Vol 4 (Rhino) LP
Boards of Canada: Music Has the Right to Children (Warp) LP
Boards of Canada: Geogaddi (Warp) LP
David Bowie: Hunky Dory (RCA) LP
David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust (RCA) LP
Danny Brown: Atrocity Exhibition (Warp) LP
Can: Future Days (Spoon) LP
Cat Power: You Are Free (Matador) LP
Nick Cave: Abattoir Blues (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: Murder Ballads (Mute) LP
City & Colour: Sometimes (Dine Alone) LP
Daft Punk: Homework (EMI) LP
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (Columbia) LP
Drive By Truckers: American Band (ATO) LP
Flaming Lips: Soft Bulletin (Warner) LP
Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner) LP
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma (Warp) LP
Flying Lotus: Los Angeles (Warp) LP
Flying Lotus: You’re Dead (Warp) LP
Fucked Up: Chemistry of Common Life (Matador) LP
Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On (Universal) LP
Marvin Gaye: Let’s Get It On (Universal) LP
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Asunder… (Constellation) LP
Jamie XX: In Color (Young Turk) LP
Sharon Jones: 100 Days, 100 Nights (Daptone) LP
Sharon Jones: Soul Time! (Daptone) LP
Lemon Twigs: Do Hollywood (4AD) LP
Tim Maia: Nobody Can Live Forever (Luaka Bop) LP
The National: High Violet (4AD) LP
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (XL) LP
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (XL) DLX LP
Rural Alberta Advantage: Hometowns (Paperbag) LP
Schoolboy Q: Blank Face (Universal) LP
Stone Roses: Sally Cinnamon (Universal) LP
Stooges: s/t (Rhino) LP
Taylor Swift: 1989 (Universal) LP
Talk Talk: Laughing Stock (Universal) LP
Cecil Taylor: Conquistador (Blue Note) LP