800 of these things! That means every Thursday for the last 15+ years I’ve been sitting here putting these lists together! Crazy! Thankfully this one is a short one as this heat has made me lazy today. So enjoy!
…..pick of the week…..
Ben Frost: Threshold of Faith (Mute) 12″
Not a whole lot of info on this new Ben Frost 12″ (I can’t even find you a track!) but it’s 7 new tracks and it’s awesome, so you should buy it! Frost, a native Australian currently living in Reykjavik, Iceland was chosen in 2010 by Brian Eno as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé program for a year of collaboration. Frost regularly collaborates with other musicians, artists, and choreographers and directors to produce original scores, including recent work on Richard Mosse’s The Enclave. These various collaborations and alliances underline Frost’s continuing fascination with finding ways of juxtaposing music, rhythm, technology, the body, performance, text, art, beauty and violence. Ben Frost is highly critically acclaimed as a sound experimentalist – his music sits both within and without the electronic, ambient, drone, noise, minimalist, avant-garde and post-rock genres.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Black Lips: Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? (Vice) LP
Atlanta, GA flower punk pioneers Black Lips return with their first album in three years, Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? Produced by Sean Lennon at his studio compound in upstate New York throughout 2016, the album is the group’s most musically evolved to date, while still staying true to their original blistering take on fuzzy, dirty rock n’ roll. During the recording the band isolated themselves from the outside world, infusing the album with a focused liveliness similar to the spirit that brought them together in the first place. On Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? founding members Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley teamed with former guitarist Jack Hines (who played in the group from 2002-2004) and recent additions Oakley Munson on drums and Zumi Rosow on saxophone. The album also features contributions by Saul Adamczewski of Fat White Family and guest vocals by Yoko Ono. Black Lips were born of DIY ethic, working their way from sweaty basement shows in Georgia to huge crowds at international music festivals (including a performance at Fun Fun Fun Fest that appears in Terrence Malick’s forthcoming film Song to Song) to tours in such far flung locales as India, Jordan, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan, the United Arab Emirates, and many more. Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? vindicates Black Lips for sticking it out through many years of shifting trends and buzz bands; a sonically captivating document that is as creatively unhinged as it is precisely executed, one of the rawest and most expansive albums in the band’s storied history.
File Under: Punk, Garage
Broken Social Scene: Hug of Thunder (Arts & Crafts) LP
Hug Of Thunder marks the fifth studio album from Canadian alt-rock supergroup Broken Social Scene, their first in seven years. Founded in ‘99 by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, the new album features 15 players including original members Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw of Metric, Amy Millan and Evan Cranley of Stars, Charles Spearin and Ohad Benchetrit of Do Make Say Think, and Grammy-nominated Leslie Feist. Hug Of Thunder is everything BSS fans love from the Canadian collective and then some, an album overflowing with glorious open chords, multi-voice harmonies, spacious psychedelia-tinted breakdowns, and more. It is a panoramic, expansive album that manages to be both epic and intimate; and like all things BSS, in troubled times, it offers a serotonin rush of positivity. Since their inception in the early Aughts, BSS have always pushed sonic boundaries while remaining reverent of a perfect chorus; almost twenty years down the line, Hug Of Thunder sharpens that balance and then some. The record’s twelve songs refract the band’s varying emotions, methods, and techniques in ways that not only reference their other albums, but surpass them. Hug Of Thunder is righteous but warm, angry but loving, melodic but uncompromising. And if you’ve ever fallen in love with Broken Social Scene – as many of us have – it is a perfect return that was truly worth the wait.
File Under: Indie Rock, CanCon
The Cure: Greatest Hits (Elektra) LP
Originally a postpunk outfit with gothic leanings, The Cure evolved into one of the most visionary, creatively satisfying and influential groups to come of age in the 1980’s. From dreamy pop to moody expressionism, their signature sound is adventurous, hypnotic, and rich with texture. Curated and remastered by Robert Smith and now available on vinyl for the first time, this 2001 Greatest Hits package collects 16 of the band’s finest from their then 25-year history like “Just Like Heaven,” “Love Song,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” and “Friday I’m In Love” plus the two new tracks “Cut Here” and “Just Say Yes.”
File Under: Post-Punk, Goth, Pop, Rock
The Cure: Acoustic Hits (Elektra) LP
Originally a postpunk outfit with gothic leanings, The Cure evolved into one of the most visionary, creatively satisfying and influential groups to come of age in the 1980’s. From dreamy pop to moody expressionism, their signature sound is adventurous, hypnotic, and rich with texture. Curated and remastered by Robert Smith and now available on vinyl for the first time, Acoustic Hits was issued in 2001 as the second disc of the Greatest Hits 2CD edition and features stripped-down versions of all the of the band’s finest from their then 25-year history like “Just Like Heaven,” “Love Song,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” and “Friday I’m In Love” plus the two new tracks “Cut Here” and “Just Say Yes.” “We wanted to do it to make the ‘hits’ package more special,” explained Smith. “This collection contains the songs that are sung with a smile – the Cure’s ‘lighter side.”
File Under: Post-Punk, Goth, Pop, Rock
Laurel Halo: Dust (Hyperdub) LP
Laurel Halo returns to Hyperdub for her third LP with a fresh approach and a new sound. Routed out of the electronic abstraction of 2015’s In Situ – but with clear reference to 2012’s sleeper-hit Quarantine – Dust is an album revolving around loose and languid songs; warped, sun-filled, melted and at times, heavy-hearted and obscure. Recorded over a period of two years, the writing process began at EMPAC in upstate New York in January 2015. With access to microphones, percussion, keys and a wide range of routings, Laurel spent days alone in the cavernous space, later inviting musicians Eli Keszler and Lafawndah to join her there. Those sessions would eventually become this album: a collection of breezy, broken songs, based on woody instrumentation, sub bass and restless, intricate electronics. Earnest songwriting meets with modal cut-up strategies, improvisational playing with higrade digital dust. Tactile and fibrous throughout the record, the vocals and percussion coalesce and breathe life into each other. Swung grooves eddy and collapse; acoustic drums are warped into sensual, febrile melodies. The lyrics are themselves bricolage, without a specific narrator or place in time. In line with the album’s sound, Dust is ‘Laurel Halo’ as a flexible cast of characters. Filled with dialogue, the album helms an interchangeable ensemble of vocalists and musicians, featuring vocals from Klein, Lafawndah, and Michael Salu, as well as musicians such as Eli Keszler, Craig Clouse ($hit and $hine), Julia Holter, Max D, Michael Beharie and Diamond Terrifier. Laurel’s omnivorous influences play out in mutated fashion – coalesced, unfettered and inclusive – a broad musical palette free from entrenched modes, catalysed by digital production that could only happen in 2017.
File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop
Hawkeyes/Radiation Flowers: split (Cardinal Fuzz/Sunmask) LP
Hawkeyes are a 6 piece instrumental heavy psychedelic space rock band from Kitchener Ontario. Their claustrophobic wall of sound flows from heavy, dark, and monolithic rock towards more spacious soundscapes and textured ambience that always worships at the altar of Pompeii. The band formed out of sheer boredom in 2012 after several previous bands stopped making music. The debut full length ‘Poison Slows You Down’ was recorded and initially self-released on cassette in 2013 and was picked up and given a vinyl release on Helmet Lady Records in 2015. Several compilation appearances followed and a split 12″ with like-minded friends Shooting Guns was released a few months later. And now on the new shared split LP from Sunmask and Cardinal Fuzz, Hawkeyes rock out, space out and pound away with nods to classic acid rock, krautrock, ambient and beyond. Saskatoons The Radiation Flowers revisit classic shoegaze and 4AD sound with a heavier guitar driven edge. Dark, smoky ambience with floating vocals play off against analog fuzz guitars and a solid low end. Since releasing their 2015 self-titled album they have toured across Canada and played several festivals with Canadian tour dates this summer. They have recorded and released a split-7” with Swedish band The Orange Revival and also have a new full length LP out on Sunmask/Cardinal Fuzz out in July. Three new tracks with a driving space rock instrumental, some beautiful, spacious psychedelic shoegaze and a cover of the always perfect psychrock band Sun Dial. 350 copies on eco colour vinyl with full colour printed inner sleeve. Limited CDr release in vinyl replica jacket.
File Under: Psych, Rock, Cancon
Kraftwerk: 3-D: The Catalog (Parlophone) LP
Released to coincide with Kraftwerk’s June 2017 tour – their first UK dates since the breathtaking shows witnessed at the Tate Modern in 2013 – is Kraftwerk 3-D The Catalogue. This is the ground-breaking 3-D Kraftwerk Concert brought thrillingly to life, developed using high definition 3-D visuals, with Dolby Atmos surround sound and presented to the technological and audio standards one would associate and indeed come to expect from the pioneering Germans led by founder Ralf Hütter. For the very first time, every Kraftwerk fan can now experience a “Gesamtkunstwerk – a total work of art” in the comfort of their own home. 3-D The Catalogue features new recordings of Kraftwerk’s 8 classic albums performed/filmed at various locations around the world between 2012-2016 and mixed at the band’s own state-of-the-art, Kling Klang Studio, Düsseldorf. 3-D The Catalogue is released across a number of formats including this 77 minute (abridged) version of the full-length release containing music from all 8 albums on double heavyweight 180g vinyl plus download card. The abridged version is culled from the 8 albums Autobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991) and Tour De France (2003).
File Under: Electronic, Krautrock
Radiation Flowers: Summer Loop (Cardinal Fuzz/Sunmask) LP
Since releasing their 2015 self-titled album, Saskatoon space-rock dreamers The Radiation Flowers have toured across Canada (with shows from Vancouver to Ottawa, and festival dates at Levitation Vancouver and Sled Island in Calgary), they have recorded and released a split-7” with Swedish band The Orange Revival, and have recorded an EP entitled Summer Loop, set to be released on July 7, 2017. After mixing the mastering the album for a run of promo CDs, the band teamed up with Canadian analog label Sunmask and venerable UK label Cardinal Fuzz to get Summer Loop remixed and remastered for vinyl, shaking up the track listing and adding bonus track, “Colours.” Continuing with the softly heavy, brightly dark sounds they’ve come to be known for, Summer Loop takes on a noisier, guitar-ier edge. With the departure of their keyboardist after the release of their self-titled album, the full and textured guitar sounds of Shelby Gaudet and Christopher Laramee took an even more prominent role in band’s sound, with drummer Amber Ross and bassist Jay Allen continuing to provide the rhythm and backbeat of the band. New keyboardist Lucas Goetz added some Hammond organ to songs “Just Go Away” and “Walking Down The Street” just in time for the vinyl release of Summer Loop.
File Under: Psych, CanCon
Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (BPG) LP
A compilation of Gil Scott-Heron’s best-known works for the Flying Dutchman label on CD and LP. Originally released to capitalise on the success of Scott-Heron’s then-current hit ‘The Bottle’ and his subsequent signing to Arista, this 1974 compilation has since become the definitive distillation of his early work. Contained within the original 11-track selection were the title track, ‘Whitey On The Moon’, ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’ plus eight more. . Replicating the original 11-track running order and packaged in a heavy duty sleeve, the vinyl reissue features the original LP’s inner gatefold artwork on the inner bag.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Shakey Graves: And The Horse He Rode In On (Dualtone) LP
After years of fan requests, Shakey Graves will officially release two EPs from his collection of rarities and early home recordings – Nobody’s Fool and Donor Blues as the gatefold colored 180g 2LP package Shakey Graves and the Horse He Road In On courtesy of Dualtone Records. Donor Blues is currently available digitally only via Bandcamp and Nobody’s Fool is even harder to find, passed around as an online bootleg by fans. The vinyl also comes with a download card for the entire double-album.
File Under: Folk, Country
Swans: The Great Annihilator (Young God) LP
The Great Annihilator, originally released in 1995, will be released on double vinyl – the album’s first release on vinyl for decades – and as a 2CD set. Both the vinyl (in the form of a download code) and CD will feature Drainland, Michael Gira’s debut solo album recorded at the same time as The Great Annihilator. “I have long been uneasy with the sound of the mastered version of The Great Annihilator (and it’s companion, contemporaneous solo album, Drainland, included here in this new release). For whatever reason things drifted out of hand at the time, and there was never enough time or money to untangle the sonic knots created by the original unsatisfactory mastering that took place until now. It was with the utmost alacrity that I received the news recently from my friend Bill Rieflin that he had discovered the original (after much digging), unmastered mixes for both albums in his archives. We were able to proceed now with lovingly mastering both Great Annihilator and Drainland from these virgin sources, with our right hand mastering man Doug Henderson in Berlin, Germany. I have to say I’m rather pleased with the result. It’s one of those instances where it’s like hearing the thing for the first time again. I hope you enjoy the experience. – Drainland is a 1995 obscure solo album by me, co-produced by the lovely Bill Rieflin and myself, with musical contributions from Bill and Jarboe. Mostly featuring spare arrangements, it was recorded in Bill’s living room. Some of this is pretty damn good. Some of it isn’t! In all modesty, I think the good outweighs the bad. It was recorded immediately after the recording of GA. ” – M. Gira 2017
File Under: Rock, Industrial
Toro Y Moi: Boo Boo (Carpark) LP
Limited edition (indie-store-only) blue and white marble-colored vinyl. Includes download. “By the time I felt ready to begin working on a new record, I knew that this idea of space within music would be something that propelled my new work forward. The artists that were influencing what I was making included everyone from Travis Scott to Daft Punk, Frank Ocean to Oneohtrix Point Never, Kashif and Gigi Masin. I recognized that the common thread between these artists was their attention to a feeling of space, or lack thereof. I decided that I wanted to make a Pop record with these ideas in mind. That idea for a record is what eventually became Boo Boo.”
File Under: Soul, Funk, Synth Pop
Arthur Verocai: Encore (Far Out) LP
Far Out Recordings present the ten-year anniversary of Arthur Verocai’s Encore, originally released in 2007. Encore features 11 original compositions from Arthur Verocai with guest musicians including Azymuth, Ivan Lins, and a nine-piece string section. The highly anticipated follow-up to Arthur’s eponymous debut album from 1972, Encore saw Arthur joining the dots over 35 years to create a modern classic of Brazilian music that, like his debut, combines Brazilian influences with his take on American soul and cinematic experimentation, and shows that Arthur’s sound is as poignant as it ever was. In the mid-2000s, following on from Marcos Valle, Joyce, and of course Azymuth, Arthur Verocai joined the long-line of Brazilian musicians whose music was to be introduced to a whole new legion of fans by Far Out Recordings. The story of Encore begins with Joe Davis, Far Out Recordings’ head honcho who stumbled upon Arthur’s debut in a dusty record store in downtown Rio in the late ’80s. At the time of its release in 1972, critics panned Arthur’s debut and both the album and artist subsequently vanished into obscurity. Fast forward to winter 2004 and Joe’s at the studio of Far Out Recording artists Harmonic 313 — aka production duo Mark “Troubleman” Pritchard and Dave Brinkworth — playing them some of his favorite Brazilian albums. Dave recalls the moment Joe put on Arthur’s debut, “As soon as the needle hit the record and we heard the fantastic arrangements, songs and sounds, Arthur completely blew our minds.” Three months later and Dave was in Brazil with Arthur Verocai, and the plans for what was to become Encore were being laid down. Produced by Dave, Encore sees Arthur on incredible form, the 35 plus years between the recording of his debut and this the follow-up just melting away as Arthur picked up the (conductor’s) baton once again to create 11 epic tracks of stirring samba-soul and experimental cinematic movements that sees him creating a record to rival his debut.
File Under: Brazil, Bossanova, Soul, Funk
Various: Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht (Numero) LP
The Numero Group’s dive into the deep end of America’s private press continues. Having battled the witches and wizards of Darkscorch, the outlaws of Cosmic Americana, and traveled alongside Ladies From the Canyon and their Lonesome Heroes, it’s time to take it easy. With pop music’s volume knob adjusted for deflation in the early ‘70s, softness begat smoothness. Crewmen arrived from the worlds of jazz, folk, rock, and soul, all peddling a product that was sincere, leisurely, and lofty. A sound that was buoyant, crisp, defined. Sometimes classified as West Coast—and, later, Yacht Rock—the compass points of our Private Yacht expedition are the blue-eyed harmonies of Hall and Oates, the cocaine-dusted Fender Rhodes of Michael McDonald, and the combover strums of James Taylor. Here, at the glassy apex of rock’s softer side, 20 strong swimmers are gathered together. An album for both relaxation and reflection, where listeners can enjoy the present, a cool breeze, and a taste of the good life.
File Under: Yacht Rock
Aphex Twin: Syro (Warp) LP
Avalanches: Since I Left You (Astralwerks) LP
David Bowie: Hunky Dory (RCA) LP
Vic Chesnut: Silver Lake (New West) LP
Sam Cooke: Night Beat (Music on Vinyl) LP
Danzig: Skeletons (Sony) LP
J Dilla: Donut (Stones Throw) LP
El Michel’s Affair: Return to the 37th Chamber (Big Crown) LP
Full Of Hell: Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home (A389) LP
Full Of Hell: Trumpting Ecstasy (Profound Lore) LP
Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath) LP
Nirvana: Unplugged in New York (Geffen) LP
Nirvana: Nevermind (Geffen) LP
Sam & Dave: Soul Men (Rhino) LP
Seeds: s/t (GNP) 2LP
Slayer: Reign in Blood (Universal) LP
Slayer: Seasons in the Abyss (Universal) LP
Talking Heads: Speaking in Tongues (Rhino) LP