…..news letter #808 – drum machine edition?…..

Well, after the gong show (on going) of some of last week’s new arrivals. This week has gone off without a hitch. Probably cuz there’s next to nothing in this week. However, there is the long awaited new LCD Soundsystem, which ironically is in #808. Coincidence? Probably.

…..pick of week…..


Cosmic Jokers: Galactic Supermarket (Victory) LP
Victory present a reissue of The Cosmic Jokers’ Galactic Supermarket, originally released on Komische Musik in 1974. Julian Cope’s review of the album on Head Heritage: “Starting with a heavy piano-drums groove like John Cale and Terry Riley’s ‘The Protégé’ from their classic LP Church Of Anthrax, The Cosmic Jokers return to their trip with an un-cosmic dub beginning, melodicas and guitars spinning off all over the place. Gille Letmann says a couple of words before the breakdown into Clangerland, a place where goofy synthesizers call to each other over exquisite mellotrons and tinkling spacey grand piano. Again, it’s just two huge tracks — this time the ever shifting ‘Kinder Des Als’ and the title track ‘Galactic Supermarket’. The female voices take a while to assimilate after the austerity of the first Cosmic Jokers LP, and the opening track wanders around for a while before ascending to its righteous groove. The women scream ‘Schnell Schnell!’ and the helicopter drums of Harald Grosskopf propel us once more into a hectic frantic major-chord trance out. It’s the sheer unbalance that makes this record such a delight. At times, Klaus Schulze’s synthesizer is so loud that it swamps everything in its path. The title track ‘Galactic Supermarket’ begins like one of Van Der Graaf Generator’s greatest and most drawn out riffs. A slow 6/4 bass licks over ominous Pawn Hearts style shifting chords. Again, the piece is slow to begin, as though they are searching for harmony but each musician is confused and solitary. Manuel Göttsching freaks out in a fury of wah-guitar madness, forcing the others awake, but this really is a down-in-the-mouth scene and the whole Trip descends further and further until… an inevitable slow burning groove gets itself together and the scene whips itself up into a Shake Appeal Flip Out. The LP takes a little longer to get into than The Cosmic Jokers, but give it time and it’s in your head forever. Those piercingly loud Klaus Schulze synthesizers which sound so bizarre the first time… You’ll be waking up with them in your head, whistling them in the street, people will think you’ve lost your fucking mind. Right On.”

File Under: Krautrock, Kosmiche, Psych
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…..new arrivals…..


Olafur Arnalds: Eulogy for Evolution 2017 (Erased Tapes) LP
Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds reissues and revives his debut album in the form of a special remastered 10th Anniversary edition titled Eulogy For Evolution 2017. Following its initial release in 2007 and coinciding with Ólafur’s 30th birthday, label founder Robert Raths gifted the chance for this record to shine a second time. Eulogy For Evolution is a journey from birth to death, transporting the listener through life itself. Originally written as a teenager, the record has now been restored with the help of his friends, remixed by Ólafur himself and remastered by Nils Frahm. The cover art was redesigned and enhanced by Torsten Posselt at FELD using the original photographs taken by Stuart Bailes during a trip to Ólafur’s home in Iceland in 2007. To experience the record in the present day is not only to experience the past, but also the sheer timelessness and relevance of these compositions, and the ambition Ólafur has had from the very beginning. “Fast forward 10 years, our relationships and knowledge in sound have matured, but you can still hear this urgency in Óli’s songs that caught my ears to begin with,” states Raths. “This work by a highly emotional teenager has been revived, matured and, I hope you’ll agree, improved by some of my favourite people in this world,” adds Arnalds. “I’m grateful to see it get another chance to shine and I hope you will enjoy this journey to the past.”

File Under: Post Rock, Neo-Classical
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Downtown Boys: Cost Of Living (Sub Pop) LP
Downtown Boys began by combining revolutionary ideals with boundless energy and contagious, inclusive fun, and their resolve has only strengthened as their sound and audience have grown. Cost of Living is their third full-length, following a self-released 2012 debut and 2015’s Full Communism on Don Giovanni Records. They recorded it with Guy Picciotto (Fugazi; producer of Blonde Redhead, The Gossip), one of indie-rock’s most mythological figures, in the producer’s chair. Picciotto fostered the band’s improvisational urges while pulling the root of their music to the forefront: unflinching choruses, fearlessly confrontational vocals, and the sense that each song will incite the room into action, sending bodies into motion that were previously thought to have atrophied. Downtown Boys are keenly aware of the increased visibility and credibility that comes with signing to a corporate-media conglomerate such as Sub Pop. They’re using this platform as a megaphone for their protest music, amplifying and centering Chicana, queer, and Latino voices in the far-too-whitewashed world of rock. In just one example, album-opener “A Wall” rides the feel-good power that drove so many tunes by The Clash and Wire as it calls out the idea that a wall could ever succeed in snuffing the humanity and spirit of those it’s designed to crush. Compared to previous efforts, Downtown Boys have shifted from a once-meaty brass section to the subtler melodic accompaniment of keyboards and a saxophone, coloring their anthems with warm, bright tones while singer/lyricist Victoria Ruiz spits out her frustrations and passions. Some might say it shows a sense of maturity, as Downtown Boys have undoubtedly smoothed down some of their earlier edges, but there is no compromise to their righteous assault and captivating presence. Like socially conscious groups of years past, from Public Enemy to Rage Against the Machine, Downtown Boys harness powerful sloganeering, repetitive grooves, and earworm hooks to create one of the most necessary musical statements of the day. We should all do well to take notice!

 File Under: Punk
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LCD Soundsystem: American Dream (Columbia) LP
New York dance-punk icons LCD Soundsystem return with their long awaited fourth studio effort American Dream and first since 2010’s This Is Happening. The James Murphy-fronted collective reunited for a string of live dates in 2016 after over a half a decade disbandment following their farewell show, The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden. “Call the Police” and “American Dream,” were released as a single in May 2017 with Pitchfork raving that the songs “couldn’t sound timelier” and that “Murphy and company have never sounded so invigorated.” The New York Times hailed “Call the Police” as “a quietly ambitious protest song..except that instead of searing, it motors,” and Noiseyembraced “American Dream” like “a warm blanket.”

File Under: Electronic, Rock
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Medusa 1975: Rising from the Ashes (Svart) LP
Medusa 1975 has been around for a long time, although they’ve undergone several member changes as is indicative of many bands from that era. Gary and Donna Brown, the two original guitarists from the earliest creation of the early 70’s band then known as Medusa, are still rocking harder and heavier than ever before. Joined by Randy Bobzien on vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, Phoenix Johnson on bass and Dean McCall on drums, they have transformed into a one of rock’s heaviest and hard-hitting, yet least known, legendary-melt-your-face-off-forces to be reckoned with. Rising From The Ashes is their latest creation, a combination of the original proto-metal style that defines their sound and a more modernistic mix of straight ahead rock and prog. Peter Basaraba, Medusa’s original singer-songwriter, even wrote some lyrics for the album including “Nine Circles of Hell,” based on Dante’s Inferno and added a few lines to, “Into The Night,” recounting their meteoric musical journey from the ashes of virtual obscurity into the world’s spotlight, reclaiming notoriety they were denied in their inception. If you dug their monumental debut album, First Step Beyond released in 2013, then you won’t want to miss this mighty follow-up!

File Under: Metal
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Monster Magnet: Tab (Napalm) LP
In the psychedelic rock scene 1991’s Tab is easily the hardest to find out of print EP by Monster Magnet. Over the course of their career, the band has never again explored their experimental boundaries as much as on these four mammoth songs. With the mighty title track opener “Tab,” the journey begins for an epic 56 minute-long space rock thrill ride, which even Lemmy Kilmister during his Hawkwind days would have been proud of. Tab serves as the epic starting point of one of the greatest pioneers in modern psychedelic rock and is finally back on vinyl after over 25 years!

File Under: Stoner, Space Rock
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Monster Magnet: Spine of God (Napalm) LP
Long awaited vinyl reissue of modern psychedelic rock pioneers Monster Magnet’s first studio effort, Spine Of God, a milestone album in the stoner rock genre. Originally released in 1991, the monumental 10-track slab was completely written and produced by singer/band mastermind Dave Wyndorf, and proves to be the perfect reincarnation of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Hawkwind. An absolute must-have for any stoner/psychedelic rock fan!

File Under: Stoner, Psych, Space Rock
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Father John Misty: Pure Comedy (Sub Pop) LP
Nils Frahm: Solo (Erased Tapes) LP
Magnolia Electric Co.: Fading Trails (Secretly Canadian) LP
Magnolia Electric Co.: What Comes After the Blues (Secretly Canadian) LP
Mike & Rich: Expert Knob Twiddlers (Planet Mu) 3LP
Jason Molina: Pyramid Electric Co (Secretly Canadian) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: Villains (Matador) LP
Daniel Romano: Sleeps Beneath the Willow (You’ve Changed) LP
Songs: Ohia: Ghost Tropic (Secretly Canadian) LP
Songs: Ohia: s/t (Secretly Canadian) LP
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) LP

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