…..new letters #813 – landing…..

Not a lot in this week, but we will be getting a whole stack of Metz tomorrow. And there are some other sweet ones in this week too. Stands to be a lovely weekend to come down for a dig.

…..pick of the week…..

horowtizRichard Horowitz: Eros in Arabia (Freedom To Spend) LP
This vibration is cast into new dimensions. Liberating Eros, it circles the globe, backwards and forwards, flowing to and through us. It is said the artist has a gift— suited for the erotic life of property. On Eros in Arabia, Richard Horowitz channels this vibration and bends bandit sounds by pairing the ancient ney cane flute with the Prophet-5 synthesizer. Interspersed with other instruments and ideas, like echo delayed Moroccan drumming and self-made magic, these elements deal in duality like the ever-shifting characteristics of the composer: the Hollywood Horowitz who scores films like The Sheltering Sky and Any Given Sunday, and the Morocco Horowitz who founded the Gnaoua Festival in Mogador, attended by 500,000 people every year. Working in natural succession from end to beginning, “Elephant Dance” demonstrates the central synth and ney node to explore energetic sound patterns Horowitz imagined to be played in the 16th century on the island of Java, around the time Sufi’s may have arrived in Indonesia. Delicately trampling the twenty minute mark, the piece offers an immersive climate of microtones that might, with the primordial matter of love, alter DNA. “Baby Elephant Magic” is “Elephant Dance” but sped up— producing digital baubles that sound less like an Indonesian forest, more like an urban hive of mechanical insect interaction. The piano on “23/8 for Conlon Nancarrow,” with John Cage technique at play, is played “as fast as possible by a human.” The sounds are driven to derail from the space time continuum. On “Never Tech No Foreign Answer,” a cheap cassette recorder microphone captures the Prophet-5 left to the devices of its master’s inner clock, taking on a frenzied sound form that vibrates in place before bouncing off the tape case walls. Chaos is concentric. “Queen of Saba” incorporates the vocals of long-time collaborator, Sussan Deyhim. Described as one of Iran’s most potent voices in exile, Deyhim’s work is in both the tradition of Sufis and the late feminist poet, Forough Farrokhzad. Recently Deyhim and Horowitz worked together on a multi-media performance based upon Forrokhzad’s Iranian New Wave film, The House Is Black. Here Deyhim performs a taḥrīr where vocals go low to high without any semantically meaningful words. Horowitz’s associations with great cultural icons of the Middle East, like these women, soften (in)appropriations. Less aggressive than its predecessors, “Eros Never Stops Dreaming” introduces the bendir frame drum, the feathery wind of the ney floating above its bowing rhythm with effortless mathematics. “Bandit Nrah Master of Rajasthan” begins where the album ends, an ode to Shakuhachi flute players known to indulge in both trance-inducing circular breathing and espionage. Horowitz is linked with the worldly sound seeking circles of minimalist and avant-garde New York City musicians, especially Lou Harrison and La Monte Young, with whom Horowitz shared Shandar as a record label momentarily. He recorded and toured with Jon Hassell and collaborated with David Byrne and Brian Eno, Jean-Philippe Rykie, and Bill Laswell. Along his travels he befriended Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles, the latter whom mentored Horowitz over decades of correspondence, some of which documents the making of Eros and comes quite literally with this edition. A record of physical and intellectual love for Arabia, FTS extends this flowing forward and backward – a shimmer that reverses the backward spelling of Ztiworoh. Eros is presented in the ever present. To borrow from a song title, Horowitz remains gainfully employed as an “inter-dimensional travel agent.”

File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Fourth World
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…..new arrivals…..

antibalas

Antibalas: Where The Gods Are In Peace (Daptone) LP
Antibalas’ new studio album, Where The Gods Are In Peace, is an epic Afro-Western Trilogy searching for solace from American political opportunism, greed and vengeance. Through its battle cry of resistance against exploitation and displacement, Antibalas’ long-form compositions investigate oppression in 1800s America that eerily mirror the current state of the country. Three explosive original arrangements cultivate an urgent call to heal a broken system. Ultimately, the sonic excursion lands on an island where love is our first instinct. A new ideology is born opening our hearts to the possibilities of living as one unified people, where all gods are equal and together we prevail. True to traditional form, Where The Gods Are In Peace pays respect to the forefathers of Afrobeat with compositions spanning nine to fifteen minutes in length. With a blessing from the Fela Kuti legacy early in the band’s career, Antibalas has long been revered for re-popularizing the classic Afrobeat sound while adding their distinct New York City grit to the mix. Influences of punk rock, free jazz, and hip-hop seep into their expansive works to define a truly 21st century translation of the Afrobeat genre and beyond. Vinyl comes complete with accompanying download code.

File Under: Afrobeat, Funk
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moonlanding

k.burwash: Moonlanding (Pseudo Laboratories) CS
In tomorrow… “Moonlanding was realized on a Kilpatrick Audio Phenol synthesizer with outboard effects. Like the Buchla, it echews a keyboard in favor of patch cords and rotary controls. Like the Buchla, it is very difficult to create responsible music with. In its length, Moonlanding introduces six composed movements. From a simple melody with simple undertones, it winds through satisfying patterns into complex, moody situations with a bleak gauze, revealing dangerous loose ends. By the fifth movement, long sustained notes with a heavy shifting bottom end welcome well paced rhythmic passages with the odd bomb dropped, revealing an echoing chorus of softer tones. The final music is well introduced and proves a perfect denouement. An excellent and rewarding experience. For further information, watch Stalker.” – Owen Stutt

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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daf

DAF: Das Ist DAF (Gronland) BOX
Many things have been said about this band…they’ve been called the “godfathers of techno,” the pioneers of EBM and the forefathers of electropunk. Yet they only laugh coolly and remain tight-lipped in the face of any attempt to historicize them. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – better known as DAF – is a myth. This compilation will allow you to experience the music of DAF; the darkest and hardest driving musical imperative ever to come out of Germany. The Das ist DAF box set gathers their classic four records: Die Kleinen Und Die Bösen, Alles Ist Gut, Gold Und Liebe and Fuer Immer as well as a Reworks LP with remixes by Giorgio Moroder, Westbam and Boys Noize among others, plus a 7-inch containing two brand new, previously unreleased DAF tracks. Plus extras: a lush 36 page booklet including previously unreleased photography documenting the history of DAF, the original DAF autograph card, a slipmat with the DAF logo and a download code for all of the songs in the box set.

 File Under: Electronic, Techno, Industrial
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isotope

Isotope 217: The Unstable Molecule (Thrill Jockey) LP
Short lived Chicago-based eclectic avant funk ensemble Isotope 217 consisted of Dan Bitney (drums, percussion), John Herndon (drums, percussion), Jeff Parker (guitar), Rob Mazurek (cornet), Matt Lux (bass) and Sara P. Smith (trombone). Their music is as complex and varied as the influences and pedigrees of its members. In celebration of Thrill Jockey’s 25th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of the band’s 1997 debut, The Unstable Molecule is being re-issued on vinyl for the first time since its original release. The LP comes pressed on virgin vinyl and is packaged with an accompanying download coupon. The Unstable Molecule is a best seller from Thrill Jockey’s early days and is finally back on vinyl for a whole new generation to experience.

File Under: Post Rock, Jazz, Funk
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METZ_StrangePeace_COVER

Metz: Strange Peace (Royal Mountain) LP
In tomorrow… Since releasing their self-titled debut record in 2012, which The New Yorker called, “One of the year’s best albums…a punishing, noisy, exhilarating thing,” the Toronto-based 3-piece METZ have garnered international acclaim as one of the most electrifying and forceful live acts, touring widely and extensively, playing hundreds of shows each year around the world. Now, Alex Edkins (guitar, vocals), along with Hayden Menzies (drums), and Chris Slorach (bass) are set to unleash their highly-anticipated third full-length album, Strange Peace, an emphatic but artful hammer swing to the status quo. “The best punk isn’t an assault as much as it’s a challenge — to what’s normal, to what’s comfortable, or simply to what’s expected. Teetering on the edge of perpetual implosion,” NPR wrote in their glowing review of METZ’s 2015 second album, II. Strange Peace was recorded in Chicago, live off the floor to tape with Steve Albini. The result is a distinct artistic maturation into new and alarming territory, frantically pushing past where the band has gone before, while capturing the notorious intensity of their live show. The trio continued to assemble the album (including home recordings, additional instrumentation) in their hometown, adding the finishing touches with longtime collaborator, engineer and mixer, Graham Walsh. Strange Peace isn’t merely a collection of eleven uninhibited and urgent songs. It’s also a kind of sonic venting, a truculent social commentary that bludgeons and provokes, excites and unsettles. With all the pleasurable tension and anxiety of a fever dream, Strange Peace is equal parts- challenging and accessible. It is this implausible balancing act, moving from one end of the musical spectrum to the other, that only a band of METZ’s power and capacity can maintain: discordant and melodic, powerful and controlled, meticulous and instinctive, subtle and complex, precise and reckless, wholehearted and merciless, brutal and optimistic, terrifying and fun. “Their whiplash of distortion is made with precision, a contained chaos. But you would never talk about them like that. Because METZ are not something you study or analyze,” wrote Liisa Ladouceur in Exclaim! “They are something you feel: a transfer of energy, pure and simple.” In other words: to feel something, fiercely and intensely, but together, not alone.

File Under: Punk
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protomartyr

Protomartyr: Relatives in Descent (Domino) LP
After a year of extensive touring in support of 2015’s The Agent Intellect, Protomartyr returned to their practice space in a former optician’s office in Southwest Detroit. Guitarist Greg Ahee – inspired by The Raincoats’ Odyshape, Mica Levi’s orchestral compositions, and Protomartyr’s recent collaboration with post-punk legends The Pop Group, for Rough Trade’s 40th anniversary – began writing new music that artfully expanded on everything they’d recorded up until that point. The result is Relatives in Descent, their fourth full-length and Domino debut. Though not a concept album, it presents twelve variations on a theme: the unknowable nature of truth, and the existential dread that often accompanies that unknowing. This, at a moment when disinformation and garbled newspeak have become a daily reality.

File Under: Post Punk
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seacake

Sea & Cake: s/t (Thrill Jockey) LP
The Sea and Cake was formed in the early-to-mid ’90s by Sam Prekop and Eric Claridge formerly of Shrimp Boat, Archer Prewitt of the Cocktails and John McEntire, ex-Bastro and current Tortoise. Their self-titled 1994 debut offers a mix of jazzy rhythms and laid-back grooves perfect for slow days. Recorded by Brad Wood and Casey Rice in September of 1993 at Idful Studios, this record is the band’s most immediate and straight forward…guaranteed to put you in a good spirits. Back in print on vinyl, The Sea And The Cake comes pressed on colored vinyl for the first time and is packaged with a free download card.

File Under: Indie Rock
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nassau

Sea & Cake: Nassau (Thrill Jockey) LP
Recorded by John McEntire at Idful Studios in Chicago, 1995’s Nassau finds The Sea And Cake distancing themselves from the more immediate pop leanings of their self-titled debut and experimenting as a band in production and songwriting. Nassau was featured on many 1995 year end lists, moving the band into the spotlight and out of the shadows. The album not only lived up to the promise of their debut but raised the bar for things to come. Back in print on vinyl, Nassau comes pressed on colored double vinyl for the first time and is packaged with a double sided insert and free download card.

File Under: Indie Rock
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biz

Sea & Cake: The Biz (Thrill Jockey) LP
Following the band’s self-titled debut and second effort Nassau, 1995’s The Biz served as The Sea and Cake’s third record in just over one calendar year. It was recorded at John McEntire’s own Soma Studios with the instruments mostly recorded live in only three days and the vocals recorded by Sam Prekop alone in five. On Nassau the band experimented heavily with signal processing and on The Biz they continued that experimentation using less common forms of processing, more sparingly. They used a Roland Space Echo, EML-101, and ARP 2600 as both instruments as well as manipulators. The Biz continued to showcase the band’s ability to mesh together their unusual blend of pop, soul and jazz into one seamless output. Back in print on vinyl, The Biz comes pressed on colored vinyl for the first time and is packaged with an artworked inner sleeve and free download card.

File Under: Indie Rock
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shigeto

Shigeto: The New Monday (Ghostly) LP
It’s been four years since Zach Saginaw, aka Shigeto, returned home to Michigan from a stint in Brooklyn, NY, and since then, the multi-faceted musician has become a part of the fabric of Detroit’s music scene. While always having a personal approach to his projects, Saginaw’s influences for his third album, The New Monday are more about the community of Detroit than anything else. Named after a weekly DJ event called Monday is the New Monday that Saginaw does at the unassuming Motor City Wine with a group of friends, The New Monday is the result of Saginaw diving into the city’s deep record culture, where the legacy of artists of the past help Saginaw embrace his own contributions. “It’s focused on a couple things and they all kind of come together to represent different things,” explains Saginaw. “My time back in Detroit, back living in Michigan and spending time with a lot of kind of original people who have always been here, learning from them, hearing stories from them, being influenced by them, and inspired by them.” While, in the past, projects like Lineage or No Better Time Than Now were rooted in strong personal messages, family and relationships respectively, The New Monday represents a communal effort where solidarity is the key. Going for a simplified approach of just trying to make good tracks, The New Monday is diverse in its styles leaning more into a dance music direction – new ground for a Shigeto project. A new air of confidence in Saginaw has expanded his horizons since his return to Detroit, but traces of his past work will continue to be present. “I don’t want people to think I’m leaving anything,” says Saginaw. “I’m still me. It’s a result of me being immersed in the culture, and inevitably making music that is influenced by that culture whether it be house, techno, jazz, rap. It doesn’t matter. It’s all coming from what I love about Michigan.” While The New Monday still features the jazz textures long associated with Shigeto projects, the varied elements that make up the album cohesively come together to show the distinct inspiration that Saginaw has drew from since his return home to Detroit. Like on “Barry White”, which features Detroit hip-hop artist ZelooperZ (a member of Danny Brown’s Bruiser Brigade crew who Saginaw also has a side project with called ZGTO), Saginaw captures everything he’s been doing all on one track. As much as it’s hip-hop influenced, it’s a mutant that encompasses elements of dance music, jazz, and ambient sounds. Throughout The New Monday, Saginaw poignantly references the musical influences that have either always been with him or newly discovered. It is Saginaw’s interpretation of Detroit’s rich culture of innovative artistry, but done so with respect for the history and to contribute, not disrupt. “I think over the past four years, I can confidently say that I found my place here,” describes Saginaw. “I’m happy here and I feel that I have the respect from the people I need respect from, that I want respect from. It’s all of the result of embracing it and embracing, not Detroit, but embracing community, embracing family, being closer to my parents, being closer to my oldest friends.”

File Under: Electronic, Downtempo
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kid

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: The Kid (Western Vinyl) LP
In 2017, the musical term “electronic” is nearly obsolete given the ubiquity of computerized processes in producing music. Even so, the prevailing assumption is that musicians working under this broad umbrella must be inspired by concepts equally as electrified as their equipment. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has demonstrated in her still-blooming discography that this notion couldn’t be further from the truth, and that more often than not, rich worlds of synthesized sound are born from deep reverence of the natural world. Smith (who by no coincidence, cites naturalist David Attenborough as a contemporary muse) has embodied such an appreciation on The Kid in as direct and sincere a way as possible by sonically charting the phases of life itself. The album, which punctually follows up her 2016 breakthrough EARS, chronicles four defining cognitive and emotional stages of the human lifespan across four sides of a double LP. The first side takes us through the confused astonishment of a newborn, unaware of itself, existing in an unwitting nirvana. Smith’s music has always woven a youthful thread befitting of the aforementioned subject. Here she articulates it in signature fashion on the track “An Intention,” which serves not only as a soaring spire on The Kid, but on her entire output. There is playfulness here, but it’s elevated by an undertone of gravity into something compelling and majestic that is fast becoming Smith’s watermark. The emotional focus of side two is the vital but underreported moment in early youth when we cross the threshold into self awareness. The subject is profound enough to fill an entire album, but rarely makes its way into a single track, indicating Smith’s ambition to broach subtler and deeper subjects than the average composer. This side offers up another highlight in the form of “In The World But Not Of The World” which serves its subject well with epiphanic, climbing strings and decidedly noisy textures over a near-Bollywood low end pulse. Side three emphasizes a feeling of being confirmed enough in one’s own identity to begin giving back to the formative forces of one’s upbringing, which is arguably the duty that all great artists aim to fulfill. This side ends with the exploratory album cut “Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am” recorded in a single take without overdubs on the rare EMS Synthi 100 synthesizer. This humble piece of sound design serves as a contrast to side four’s verdant orchestral moments, all written and arranged for the EU-based Stargaze quartet by Smith herself. This final side represents a return to pure being, the kind of wisdom and peace that eludes most of us until the autumn of life. On “To Feel Your Best” this concept is voiced in the bittersweet refrain “one day I’ll wake up and you won’t be there” which Smith intended to be a grateful acknowledgement of life rather than a melancholy resentment of loss. The song has both effects depending on the mood of the listener, and both interpretations are equally moving. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith belongs to an ilk of modern musicians who are defined by their commitment to creating experiential albums despite the singles-oriented habits of modern listeners, and here she represents her kind proudly. The subjects on The Kid are not simple to convey, and yet through both emotional tone and lyrical content, Smith does just that. There is a similar gravity to both birth and death, and rarely is that correlation as accurately and enthusiastically mapped as it is here. Alan Watts, another logical inspiration of Smith’s, once expounded that people record themselves to confirm their own existence, and as such, echoes and resonance are reminders that we are alive. “You’re not there unless you’re recorded,” Watts muses, “if you shout, and it doesn’t come back and echo, it didn’t happen.” The Kid speaks to this idea directly. As Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith explores her existence through music, she guides us in gleefully contemplating our own.

File Under: Electronic, Pop
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unblonde

Un Blonde: Good Will Come To You (Flemish Eye) LP
Un Blonde is the solo project of Montreal-based musician, producer, and composer Jean-Sebastian Audet. Over the course of a steady stream of self-produced albums and EPs, Audet has laid down the framework for a constantly mutating series of musical environments, which forge highly unique connections between hints of contemporary r&b, cubist avant-funk, low-key soul, indie pop, and confessional songwriting. This heady mixture spilled over into Good Will Come To You, a brilliant, 21-song widescreen presentation of Audet’s concepts, which landed him a spot on the Long List for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and further cemented his growing reputation as one of the most compellingly original new artists to emerge in recent years. Flemish Eye could not be more thrilled to announce that we will be working with Montreal-based Un Blonde, beginning with the re-release of his brilliant latest album Good Will Come To You. Un Blonde’s acclaimed album was originally issued in a very limited cassette-only run (on Montreal’s Egg Paper Factory)  and sold out immediately. Now newly remixed and remastered, the album will get a full release worldwide digitally and be available everywhere for the first time on vinyl on September 22nd.Un Blonde is the solo project of Montreal-based musician, producer, and composer Jean-Sebastian Audet. Over the course of a steady stream of self-produced albums and EPs, he laid down the framework for a constantly mutating series of musical environments, which forge highly unique connections between hints of contemporary r&b, cubist avant-funk, low-key soul, indie pop, and confessional songwriting. This heady mixture spilled over into Good Will Come To You, a brilliant, 21-song widescreen presentation of Audet’s concepts, which landed him a spot on the Long List for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and further cemented his growing reputation as one of the most compellingly original new artists to emerge in recent years. Upon the album’s initial ultra-limited release, The Fader opined that “Jean-Sebastian Audet’s layered vocal harmonies are transcendent … they seem to guide him from an apartment and into the streets of Montreal, where he finds his own rhythm in the music, as he has always done.” The album artwork – an important facet of Audet’s overarching artistic vision – has been reworked for the LP / CD formats and looks better than ever. And, as a bonus for purchasers of the LP version, we are thrilled to include a bonus download-only album of extra material from the “Good Will Come To You” sessions, including B-sides and alternate versions of album tracks.

File Under: Indie Rock
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weather

The Weather Station: s/t (Outside) LP
The Weather Station is the fourth—and most forthright—album by The Weather Station, the project of Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman. Her most fully realized statement to date, it is a work of profound urgency, artistic generosity, and joy. Self-titled and self-produced, the album unearths a vital new energy from Lindeman’s acclaimed songwriting practice, marrying it to a bold new sense of confidence. “I wanted to make a rock and roll record,” Lindeman explains, “but one that sounded how I wanted it to sound, which of course is nothing like rock and roll.” The result is a spirited, frequently topical tour de force that declares its understated feminist politics, and its ambitious new sonic directions, from its first moments. On past records, Lindeman has been a master of economy. Here her precisely detailed prose-poem narratives remain as exquisitely wrought as ever, but they inhabit an idiosyncratic, sometimes disorderly, and often daring album that feels, and reads, like a collection of obliquely gut-punching short stories. Her previous album Loyalty was recorded at La Frette Studios in France in the winter of 2014 with Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas) and Robbie Lackritz (Feist). Nominated for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize, it earned praise from The Guardian, Pitchfork, NPR Music, Uncut, and MOJO, among many others, who celebrated its delicate, carefully worded verse, filled with double meanings, ambiguities, complex metaphors, and rich details of the everyday. Lindeman and her band have toured extensively in North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan, both as a headliner and as support for artists such as The War on Drugs, The Mountain Goats, Damien Jurado, Bahamas, and Basia Bulat.

File Under: Indie Rock
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…..Restocks…..

Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls (ATO) LP
Baby Huey: The Living Legend (Curtom) LP
Bjork: Vespertine (One Little Indian) LP
Booker T. & The MGs: Green Onions (Rhino) LP
Nick Cave: Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed) LP
CCR: Chronicle Vol 1 (Fantasy) LP
Comus: First Utterance (Getback) LP
Creation: Action Painting (Numero) LP
Miles Davis: On The Corner (Music on Vinyl) LP
J Dilla: Donuts (Stones Throw) LP
Brian Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (Astralwerks) LP
Equatics: Doin’ It (Now Again) LP
Funkadelic: s/t (Westbound) LP
Green Day: Dookie (Warner) LP
Billie Holiday: 3 Classic Albums (Real Gone) 3LP
Jason Isbell: Nashville Sound (Thirty Tigers) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Flying Microtonal Banana (ATO) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinitey (ATO) LP
Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath) LP
LCD Soundsystem: American Dream (Sony) LP
Melvins: Ozma/Bullhead (Boner) LP
Melvins: Eggnog/Lice-all (Boner) LP
Neutral Milk Hotel: In The Aeroplane Over the Sea (Merge) LP
Lee Scratch Perry: Super Ape (Get on Down) LP
Slowdive: s/t (Dead Oceans) LP
Tragically Hip: Day for Night (UniversAl) LP
Tragically Hip: Live Between Us (Universal) LP
Tragically Hip: Phantom Power (Universal) LP
Tragically Hip: Road Apples (Universal) LP
Townes Van Zandt: Delta Momma Blues (Fat Possum) LP
Townes Van Zandt: s/t (Fat Possum) LP
Colter Wall: s/t (Sony) LP
White Zombie: It Came From NYC (Numero) 5LP Box
Neil Young: Harvest (Reprise) LP

 

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