…..news letter #802 – smoke…..

Yow, the air sure is thick out there. Well, it’s a fairly light week around here as one would expect this time of year. Still, a few nice things in and we’re trying to make some headway though our backlog of used stuff in the back room. If you aren’t away this weekend, be sure to come in for a dig….

Oh, and unfortunately, we have to close up early today, so we’ll be closed at 6. But back to normal hours tomorrow. Sorry for any inconvenience.

…..picks of the week…..

conrad

Tony Conrad: Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow… Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain is the quintessential work of artist/filmmaker/composer Tony Conrad. Comprised of both film installation and minimalist score for amplified strings, Ten Years leaps across genre and medium to connect his revolutionary structural filmmaking with the experiments in long-duration sound that Conrad had begun in the 1960s as part of the Theatre of Eternal Music. “Ten Years began with image before sound,” writes Andrew Lampert, “a row of quadruple projections arranged side-by-side, all the shuffling stripes cascading into each other. Over the next two hours the music throbbed and the projectors incrementally shifted inwards, their beams gradually uniting to form one pulsating, overlapping picture.” For its 1972 premiere at New York’s The Kitchen, Ten Years included Conrad on violin as well as Rhys Chatham and Laurie Spiegel performing on instruments of the composer’s own making. Chatham played the Long String Drone – a 6-foot long strip of wood with bass strings, electric pickup, tuning keys, tape, rubber band and metal hardware – while Spiegel carried out an arrhythmic bass pulse throughout. Superior Viaduct is honored to present this previously unreleased recording of Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain’s breathtaking premier performance. As Chatham recounts in the liner notes, “When I first listened to this recording after not hearing it for over 40 years, it transported me back to the early Kitchen and the heyday of early minimalism, played outside the Dream Syndicate.”

File Under: Drone, Avant-Garde
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zamrock2Various: Welcome to Zamrock 2 (Now Again) LP/CD
In tomorrow… “By the mid-1970s, the Southern African nation known as the Republic of Zambia had fallen on hard times. Though the country’s first president Kenneth Kaunda had thrown off the yoke of British colonialism, the new federation found itself under his self-imposed, autocratic rule. Conflict loomed on all sides of this landlocked nation. Kaunda protected Zambia from war, but his country descended into isolation and poverty. This is the environment in which the ’70s rock revolution that has come to be known as Zamrock flourished. Fuzz guitars were commonplace, as were driving rhythms as influenced by James Brown’s funk as Jimi Hendrix’s rock predominated. Musical themes, mainly sung in the country’s constitutional language, English, were often bleak. In present day Zambia, Zamrock markers were few. Only a small number of the original Zamrock godfathers that remained in the country survived through the late ’90s. AIDS decimated this country, and uncontrollable inflation forced the Zambian rockers that could afford to flee into something resembling exile. This was not a likely scene to survive — but it did. Welcome To Zamrock!, presented in two volumes, is an overview of its most beloved ensembles, and a trace of its arc from its ascension, to its fall, to its resurgence. Explore Zambia’s liberation and its impact on the country’s rock revolution. The book, written by Eothen Alapatt and Leonard Koloko is the first investigation into the Zamrock scene, and is filled with original record artwork and rarely-seen photos of Zamrock’s best ensembles.”

File Under: Psych, Zamrock
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…..new arrivals…..

benni

Benni: I & II (Goner) LP
In tomorrow… Hailing from an H Class planet far across the cosmic highways, Bênní makes “hi-NRG New Age” music. A pivotal member of bands Wizzard Sleeve / Gary Wrong Group, Heavy Lids, Roman Gabriel Todd’s Beast Rising Up Out Of The Sea, and many more, Bênní was born from Benny Divine’s personal need for new music to listen to while driving his space craft long distances. Tired of Van Halen’s 5150 and Zebra’s self-titled album on his journeys, he began creating sci-fi landscapes and ethereal soundtracks of his own. Often times primitive, the music can go from Vangelis to John Carpenter, to ’80s dungeon electro band Warning and into vintage arcade game circuitry within the blink of an eye. “The thing to me that has always kinda set the Memphis / New Orleans punk scenes apart from other places is that music and musicianship always outweighs high concept or the typical sneering “fuck you” attitude of other places. Benny Divine is a musician with a capitol M and its no accident that within a year of his coming to New Orleans (from less than an hour up the Gulf), he began to influence the local landscape as much as any of us who had been here and doing it for decades. Benny is special, especially for a young dude. He never overplays; he always listens; he’s funky as a church lady; and his memory for parts and complicated song structure is unmatched in anyone I have ever worked with…. Plus he’s chill as fuck. There is a reason that he is in almost every good band in the entire city right now. So yeah… if any of you Memphis bitches get funny ideas about stealing him away from us, there will be a straight-up lazy drunken army riding up the river to forcibly take him back.”

File Under: Electronic, New Age, Punk
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cosmic

Cosmic Dead: Eccie Bam Yas, E? (Monorail Music) LP
In tomorrow… Formed in 2010, The Cosmic Dead are a quartet from Glasgow, Scotland who share their music through good vibes and better vibrations. Known for their improvised, chaos-strewn, Buckfast-smashedagainst-the-wall take on space music, they have roamed from Roadburn to Las Vegas, Dundee to Bangalore. Each album is a document of the time and space the group find themselves in, a tangible artefact hewn from a psychedelic continuum orchestrated by The Cosmic Dead. Eccie Bam Yas, E? began life as a more meditative piece than the rocket-fuelled out-rock the band are more associated with. Spliced and reformed by the band, taken from jams and improvised sets taken from the Rainbowhead recordings in Kyle of Lochalsh, a small village in the North of Scotland near the Isle of Skye. In this remote setting the band recorded a myriad of improvised pieces inspired by their rural surroundings and the material has been scattered across three albums; Easterfaust (2014), Rainbowhead (2016) and Eccie Bam, Yas E? (2017). Beginning with an eldritch drift that roams the stereo field, phasing in an out from another realm, “Smash The Sash” melts into an electronic rock piece powered by keyboardist Lewis Cook’s analog synth sequence and drummer Julian Dicken’s pummelling drum work. The cumulative effect reminds the listener of early Krautrock experiments, like first line-up Tangerine Dream playing Tanzmusik with early, rock-band Kraftwerk while epic show-stealer “Fleein’ From The Polis” brings the stringed instruments centre stage, Bassist Omar Aborida duets with James MacKay’s warped guitar playing to create weaves of sound across a moody rhythm section. Side B opens with “Buckfast Aye,” a brooding exploration with stereo-panned guitars a-flutter before the band take the listener into a slow-paced burner that brings the group’s psychedelic craftsmanship into play. The set ends with a full on trip. “Lynx Africa” builds the group’s sound into a space-rock jam that reminds the listener of classic mid-70s Hawkwind or the more long-form music White Hills built their early career on. What’s without question on Eccie Bam Yas, E? is that the group are telepathic in their playing and psychopathic in their purpose. Monorail Music of Glasgow are proud to announce a new imprint with the intention of documenting our global community and the many forms it takes.

File Under: Psych
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une

Death in June: Symbols & Clouds (Ner) LP
In tomorrow… Finally re-assembled onto 1 single CD and a double LP, the best of 1992’s “But, What Ends When The Symbols Shatter?” and 1995’s “Rose Clouds Of Holocaust” albums plus 2 rare single tracks from the same period, which is generally considered one of the high points in Death In June’s career. (All these songs were previously available on the 2009 limited stone commemorative edition “Symbols And Clouds Euro Cross”.) The Double Vinyl LP comes in a foil-blocked gatefold sleeve and includes a double-sided poster, a choice of colours plus a DIJital download card.

 File Under: Industrial, Neofolk
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fall

The Fall: Perverted By Language (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow… The Fall returned to Rough Trade in 1983 to release a pair of singles (“The Man Whose Head Expanded” and “Kicker Conspiracy”) and Perverted By Language, their sixth proper studio album. Perverted By Language hints at the band’s shift towards a distinctly pop approach, one that they would perfect via their Beggars Banquet output that immediately followed. Yet again, the force and panic of their initial Rough Trade recordings remains the foundation for much of the album. A transitional recording in the absolute best sense, Perverted By Language is The Fall both as they were and as they would become. The emergence of Brix Smith is often cited as the impetus for The Fall’s move toward outward pop, and she first makes her first appearance with the band on Perverted By Language. Nowhere is her presence felt more than on “Hotel Blöedel,” where she handles lead vocal duties alongside Mark E. Smith whose mangled violin accompaniment roots the song’s cold romanticism in his unmistakable brand of strange. “Garden” provides a new take on The Fall’s stretched-out tendencies—using ringing, clean guitars to build a nearly 10-minute epic more subtly than ever before. The opener, “Eat Y’self Fitter,” is wholly classic Fall: a playfully circular bass line drives the album’s strongest vocal spout, complete with emphatic breaks where Mark E. Smith issues the song’s spiteful decree with equal parts glee and scorn. Superior Viaduct’s edition is the first time that Perverted By Language has been available on vinyl domestically.

File Under: Punk
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focus

The Focus Group: Stop Motion Happening (Ghost Box) LP
The Focus Group return with a dreamlike kaleidoscope. Like the zonked soundtrack to a disorientating Saturday morning kid’s show with strange animations, fun facts, your poetry and all the latest pop-psych sounds. The Focus Group is the work of Ghost Box co-founder Julian House. His graphic design has graced sleeve art by Broadcast, Stereolab, Oasis, Primal Scream, Can and many others. House’s music reflects his collaged design work; it’s woven together from fragments of electronics, heavily processed samples and exotic instrumentation. It’s an uncanny and atmospheric sound that invokes memories of British psychedelia, Italian horror movies and Eastern European animation. The lavish CD and LP packaging is designed by Julian House. The 180gm LP includes a free download card. “…the spirit of a certain experimental, baroque psychedelia is alive in every one of these tunes.” The Quietus “…this is an archaeology of emotion, a philosophically motivated exploration of the power of not just one’s childhood memories, but of the collective unconscious.” The Wire

File Under: Electronic, Pseudo Library
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helio

Heliocentrics: Sunshine Makers OST (Soundway) LP
From the makers of the academy award winning “Searching for Sugarman”. Two warriors for peace, a vat of chemicals and an LSD cookbook. What could possibly go wrong?  Original score by The Heliocentrics, including bonus tracks that were not included in the documentary itself. The Heliocentrics are a group for which genres are meaningless and boundaries invisible. Since first appearing on DJ Shadow’s 2006 album The Outsider the group have gone on to release a string of records that float through jazz, hip-hop, psych, krautrock, and musique concrete whilst collaborating with numerous genre heavyweights from Mulatu Astake to Gaslamp Killer and picking up prestigious fans along the way, such as Madlib and the recently departed David Axelrod.

File Under: Funk, OST
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gaby

Gaby Hernandez: Spirit Reflection (Mr. Bongo) LP
‘Spirit Reflection’ is the third album LP from Los Angeles singer-songwriter Gaby Hernandez. Blissful layers of instrumentation, electronics, vocal harmonies and folkloric percussion intertwine with west coast feel to create a unique, beautiful and multi-layered album. The album features a stellar line-up of LA talent; jazz star Kamasi Washington, Stuart Howard (AKA Lapalux), Kelis and Gaslamp killer collaborator Dexter Story, plus Ninja Tune, Plug Research and Soul Jazz artist Carlos Niño, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker all accompany Gaby, with stunning results. Even before Spirit Reflection had been finished, the demo mixes caught the ear and gained support from Gilles Peterson, Lefto, Toshio Matsuura (U.F.O.) and JRocc (Beat Junkies). Born, raised and based in Los Angeles and of Chilean descent, Gaby Hernandez has been writing and recording since 2001. She was a founding member of the ‘creative music ensemble’ Build An Ark alongside others including Carlos Niño, Dexter Story and Dwight Trible. Gaby was the only vocalist on Teebs’ debut Brainfeeder release Ardour. She made major contributions to AmmonContact’s Ninja Tune releases New Birth and With Voices, plus The Life Force Trio’s Plug Research album Living Room. She was also the vocalist on Dimlite’s Outernational Duet – released as part of his highly acclaimed Sonar Kollektiv longplayer This Is Embracing. Hernandez was invited by Mia Doi Todd to sing on the Jonathan Wilson produced song Canto de Iemanja, which was included on Todd’s City Zen record Cosmic Ocean Ship and the Red Hot + Rio 2 compilation, which also featured Beck, Seu Jorge, Aloe Blacc, David Byrne and Madlib. Among her main musical comrades is the prolific multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Dexter Story, for whom Hernandez sang on the track Water Bearer from his LP Seasons, on Kindred Spirits. David and Graham from Mr Bongo met Gaby and Carlos Nino at the end of their hugely successful Arthur Verocai album launch and rare record sale at the RAPPCATS venue in LA. “Gaby and Carlos passed us a copy of ‘Spirit Reflection’.and we put it on the deck. It immediately grabbed us and we couldn’t stop listening to it. When we got back to the UK we got in contact straight away and signed the album. We’re very proud to be releasing it”… “…this is a future classic, an ‘album’ in the truest sense of the word. Brilliant.” says Graham.

File Under: Latin, Funk, Soul
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echo

Lord Echo: Harmonies (Soundway) LP
Harmonies is the new long player from underground super-producer Lord Echo. Hotly anticipated for the last few years by his growing entourage of fans, many were frustrated by his descent into obscurity in the industrial backwaters of New Zealand where he lived alone and went completely insane trying to complete the record. But those frustrations are finally at an end, and the wait was worth it – for fans at least. The new album solidifies his already distinctive mutations of reggae and rock steady with disco, African soul, techno and spiritual jazz. In other words, the Lord has returned from the wilderness with a bounty for his followers. Eat of the bread of life and enjoy access to his crazy World of Sound.

File Under: Jazz, Electronic, Funk
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lowe

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe: Two Orb Reel (More Than Human) LP
Brand new full-length by modular synth experimenter Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Kranky/DDS/Type/Holy Mountain), with this one revolving around the concept of a soundtrack for African science-fiction. It’s an alien trek of a record, soundtracking emotions of wonder, fear and transcendence. “Lowe has made some of the most transcendent music of recent times (‘cerebral music in the best sense of the word’)” – Music & Literature. Vinyl limited to 500 copies and packaged in a gatefold sleeve with an insert of original artwork by Robert Lowe.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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nance

David Nance: Negative Boogie (Ba Da Bing) LP
In tomorrow… David Nance, Omaha veteran of warble and hiss, returns with Negative Boogie, his new concoction of chug, throb and greasy swagger. On this album, Nance trades in his beaten up Tascam 488 for the bullet-proof, glass walls of A.R.C. Studios. What exactly is the negative boogie? Well, it’s a bit like Canned Heat but with Pere Ubu’s queasy rhythms and someone playing five finger fillet with Swell Maps. Ensconced in his ivory tower and soundproof rooms, Nance reached for unlikely weapons to tear down his own lofty experiment. He had his pick of rare guitars, cowbells, steel drums, vintage amps, Crazy Horse microphones, mellotron, and the restless but indefatigable rhythm section of Kevin Donahue and Tom May. They started at sunrise and recorded fifteen songs by midnight. Maybe it’s his Midwestern work ethic, maybe he’s a sonic cheapskate. Maybe it’s just the sound of negative boogie. These songs stab and flow into one other like a perfectly orchestrated classic. They are drenched with Nance’s most biting and comic lyrics to date, peaking on “D.L.A.T.U.M.F. Blues (Don’t Look At This Ugly Mother Fucker Blues)”. And ripping through the entire thing is the cracked power he yanks out of the guitar, a veritable The Good, The Bad And The Ugly of riffage. This is a departure for Nance. It’s bigger and grander but it’s far from easy music. It’s his Plastic Ono Band, his For Your Pleasure, his fever dream of Rocket from the Tombs. But this of course is only a press release, written by a team of robots using words programmed to seduce you. Did it work?

File Under: Indie Rock
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nilsson

Molly Nilsson: Imaginations (Night School) LP
In tomorrow… That we live in a world changed is beyond question. Since 2015’s Zenith, Berlin-based songwriter Molly Nilsson has surrendered to the world, traveling from Mexico to Glasgow, observing the changing socio-political landscape and imagining something better. For an artist who has so successfully created her own environment and gradually let in others, her eighth studio album Imaginations directly engages with her surroundings, engendering change and allowing love in. This album dreams big, recasting storming, stadium-sized pop into the internal language of the solo auteur. It’s not escapism, it’s a kaleidoscope and an alternative view, an agent of change. Nilsson’s vision is perhaps more forceful than the emotionally fragile moments of her previous album, exemplified on “Memory Foam,” a bright, driving pop song that belies themes of nostalgia and the past, reminding us that Nilsson alone can make one feel so welcome in loneliness. If there’s overt anger in songs like “Money Never Sleeps,” an anthem for a post-capitalist utopia, seams of optimism are also sewn into the album’s genetic code. Any revolutionary will tell you that anger alone achieves nothing— Nilsson’s mission is to offer some alternatives we can hold close. For example, “Not Today Satan” is a song about accepting love as the agent of change: “Don’t be sad, but do get mad at all the small men who act so tall, in the end they always fall; there ain’t no sin in giving into love, that’s just how we’re winning the fight.” Love can be visceral, a weapon with which to fight the power. Recasting her interior monologue as a prism through which to see the world, Nilsson imagines a means to live differently and to reject the status quo. This is an optimism about the future when one needs it the most. “New boys, new girls… give me your smile and I’ll give you mine.” Clearly, the world is living through a transformation but with alchemists like Molly Nilsson, no one is alone in the process.

File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop
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phoenix

Phoenix: Ti Amo (Glassnote) LP
In tomorrow… Ti Amo is Grammy-winning French act Phoenix’s first album since 2013’s critically lauded Bankrupt! Produced by the band and recorded at La Gaîté Lyrique (Paris) with the help of long time collaborator Pierrick Devin, the band describes Ti Amo as “an album about simple pure emotions: love, desire, lust and innocence, it’s also a record about our European, Latin roots, a fantasized version of Italy: a lost paradise made of eternal Roman summers (hyper-light, hyper-clarity, pistachio gelato), juke-boxes on the beach, Monica Vitti and Marcello Mastroiani, fearless desire and Antique marble statues.” The New York Times calls Ti Amo “the band’s most unabashedly romantic record yet” and it’s ushered in by lead single “J-Boy,” a brilliant, shimmering explosion.

File Under: Indie Rock
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radiohead

Radiohead – Ok Computer OKNOTOK (XL) DLX Box
Rescued from defunct formats, prized from dark cupboards and brought to light after two decades in cold storage… OK Computer: the original twelve track album, three unreleased tracks and eight B-sides, all newly remastered from the original analogue tapes. Inside a black box emblazoned with a dark image of a burned copy of OK Computer are three heavyweight 180 gram black 12″ vinyl records and a hardcover book containing more than 30 artworks, many of which have never been seen before, and full lyrics to all the tracks except the ones that haven’t really got any lyrics. Under this weighty tome are yet more surprises: a notebook containing 104 pages from Thom Yorke’s library of scrawled notes of the time, a sketchbook containing 48 pages of Donwood and Tchock’s ‘preparatory work’ and a C90 cassette mix tape taken from OK Computer session archives and demo tapes.

File Under: Rock, Electronic
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sheer mag

Sheer Mag: Need to Feel Your Love (Wilsuns RC) LP
In tomorrow… A tear in the firmament. Beyond the noxious haze of our national nightmare—as structures of social justice and global progress topple in our midst—there lies a faint but undeniable glow in the distance. What is it? Like so many before us we are drawn to the beacon. But only by the bootstraps of our indignation do we go so boldly into the dark to find it. And so SHEER MAG has let the sparks fly since their outset, with an axe to grind against all that clouds the way. A caustic war cry, seething in solidarity with all those that suffer the brunt of ignorance and injustice in an imbalanced system. Both brazen and discrete, loud yet precise, familiar but never quite like this—SHEER MAG crept up from Philadelphia cloaked in bold insignia to channel our social and political moment with grit and groove. Cautious but full of purpose. What is it? By making a music both painfully urgent and spiritually timeworn, SHEER MAG speak to a modern pain: to a people that too feel their flame on the verge of being extinguished, yet choose to burn a bit brighter in spite of that threat. With their debut LP, the cloak has been lifted. It is time to reclaim something that has been taken from us. Here the band rolls up their sleeves, takes to the streets, and demands recompense for a tradition of inequity that’s poisoned our world. However, it is in our ability to love—our primal human right to give and receive love – that the damage of such toxicity is newly explored. Love is a choice we make. We ought not obscure, neglect, or deny that choice. Through the tumult and the pain, the camaraderie and the cause, the band continues to burn a path into that great beyond. But where are we headed? On Need To Feel Your Love, they make their first full-length declaration of light seen just beyond our darkness. Spoken plainly, without shame: It is love.

File Under: Punk
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torske

Bjorn Torske & Prins Thomas: Square One (Smalltown Supersound) LP
In tomorrow… Norway’s cosmic house forefather Bjorn Torske collaborates with Prins Thomas, a disciple from Torske’s long lineage of inspired Nordic producers, on their first full-length together, Square One.

File Under: Electronic
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waxahatchee

Waxahatchee: Out in the Storm (Merge) LP
Out in the Storm is the blazing result of a woman reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date, Out in the Storm is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both Katie Cruchfield’s songwriting and her life. The album tells the story of taking control of a volatile situation, embracing flaws, and exploring a new sonic freedom. The album was tracked at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia with John Agnello, known for working with some of the most iconic musicians of the last 25 years, including Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Agnello and Crutchfield worked together for most of December 2016, along with the band: sister Allison Crutchfield on keyboards and percussion, Katherine Simonetti on bass, and Ashley Arnwine on drums; Katie Harkin, touring guitarist with Sleater-Kinney, also contributed lead guitar. At Agnello’s suggestion, the group recorded most of the music live to enhance their unity in a way that gives the album a fuller sound compared to past releases, resulting in one of Waxahatchee’s most guitar-driven releases to date. Crutchfield’s voice oscillates between effortless grace and commanding righteousness, taking the listener with her on an explicitly personal journey. CD packaged in 4-panel uncoated digipak with foil stamp and printed insert. Regular LP version in uncoated jackets with foil stamp, black dust sleeve, a poster and download. Deluxe LP version in uncoated gatefold jackets with silver foil detail, black dust sleeve, full fold-out poster, downlaod and a bonus ten track disc pressed on white vinyl.

File Under: Indie Rock
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…..Restocks…..

Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO) LP
Captain Beefheart: Safe As Milk (Buddha) LP
Death: For the Whole World to See (Drag City) LP
Jacques Dutronc: L’opportuniste (Sony) LP
Bill Evans Trio: Waltz for Debby (Original Jazz Classics) LP
Bill Evans: Undercurrents (Waxtime) LP
Full of Hell: Rudiments of Mutilation (A389) LP
Herbie Hancock: Empyrean Isles (Blue Note) LP
Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage (Blue Note) LP
Herbie Hancock: Speak Like a Child (Blue Note) LP
Herbie Hancock: Thrust (Music on vinyl) LP
Fela Kuti: Zombie (Knitting Factory) LP
Kyuss: And the Circus Leaves Town (Elektra) LP
MF Doom: Mmm.. Food (Rhymesayers) LP
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry: Return of the Super Ape (VP) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: …Like Clockwork (Matador) LP
Run DMC: Raising Hell (Get on Down) LP
Raymond Scott: Soothing Sounds for Baby (Music on Vinyl) 3LP
Sigur Ros: ( ) (Krunk) LP
Snoop Doggy Dogg: Doggy Style (Death Row) LP
Television: Marquee Moon (
White Zombie: La Sexorcisto (Music on Vinyl) LP
White Zombie: Astro-Creep 2000 (Music on Vinyl) LP

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