Happy New Year, y’all! It seems like it’s been forever since I put together one of these lists. You probably were worried sick! Have no fear, we’re still here! There still isn’t much new, but a small smattering of new things have trickled in, so here we are. I know it’s brutal out there, but just think… new records before locking yourself in with some lovely beers for the weekend. Sounds great.
…..picks of the week…..
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Polygonawanaland (Bear Tree) LP
So these crazy guys released this album for free, like…. go ahead a make your own pressing of this record free, so my buddy in the UK did just that! And so I bought some from him, an they look awesome and are almost sold out, already so if you haven’t alread, you better get over here ASAP! Adding to what has already been an insanely prolific 2017, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard offer up their fourth album of the year and twelfth album overall. Following Flying Microtonal Banana, Murder of the Universe and Sketches of Brunswick East, Polygondwanaland finds the band journeying into the depths of the mind and the limits of the universe once again. “The stirring, quiet percussion of “Inner Cell” tiptoes into “Loyalty” for a slow buildup, before it splashes into the punctuated vocals of “Horology,” a sea of guitar tapping and rich, warm woodwinds,” writes Pitchfork. The Australian 7-piece have made a name for themselves with a steady stream of new material since their inception in 2010, blending everything from surf rock, prog, soul and folk to metal, garage rock, and even elements of spoken word and cinematic presentation.
File Under: Psych, Rock
Yasuaki Shimizu: Kakashi (Palto Flats) LP
You probabaly missed this when it was a pick of the week before xmas, so just to remind you how awesome this record is, here it is again! “Originally released in 1982, Kakashi is another high water mark in the 80s Japanese underground. This album, which has gathered cult status in recent years, is the project of musical visionary Yasuaki Shimizu, and considered to be a highlight of his solo career. Shimizu was the bandleader of Mariah, who also saw their album Utakata No Hibi reissued by Palto Flats in 2015. Kakashi offers a similar blend of saxophone experimentations, jazz fusion and ambient dub excursions.”
File Under: Electronic, Jazz, Dub, Pop, Experimental
Aphex Twin: Come to Daddy (Warp) 12”
A vibrant and exuberant 1997 release from Richard D James aka Aphex Twin with two wildly different versions of the title track alongside a pair of high-tempo yet heartfelt electronic works. The terrifying thrash of the infamous Pappy Mix of “Come To Daddy” is joined by the playful melodies and door-creak percussion of “Flim” and “Bucephalus Bouncing Ball.” An essential slab for any Aphex Twin fan. 12″ vinyl with paper inner and printed outer.
File Under: Electronic
Aphex Twin: Windowlicker (Warp) 12”
Quite unlike anything else he’s ever done, “Windowlicker” is perhaps the most accessible and dancefloor-friendly track Richard D James has ever created. A simple, gurgling riff paired with childishly sung vocals and thrown over straight-up 4/4 beats, groaning and developing, the bizarre sonics straining to burst through the shackles of form and expectation. “Formula” provides unexpected blasts of sound, lengthy breaks, explosive aspirates – it seems to escape and transcend this very plane of existence. “Nannou” is a chilling lullaby, minor-key themes that evoke thoughts of traditional melodies while percussion seemingly made out of household trappings ground it in the everyday. LP w/ Paper Inner and Printed Outer
File Under: Electronic
Future: HNDRXX (Epic) LP
Setting the pace and changing the game with every subsequent album, Future started a full court blitz in 2015 that resulted in one of rap’s most impressive winning streaks. In under a year, he achieved three back-to-back No. 1 albums on the Billboard Top 200 – the platinum DS2, platinum What A Time To Be Alive with Drake, and EVOL. 2017 saw him add to his already staggering legacy with two more No. 1 albums, Future and HNDRXX, which were issued within a week of one another and made Future the first artist to release two Billboard 200 chart topping albums in consecutive weeks. Named after his Future Hendrix alter ego, the Gold-certified HNDRXX boasts the four singles “Selfish,” “Pie,” “Incredible” and “You da Baddest” and includes guest appearances by Rihanna, The Weeknd, Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj. “HNDRXX is super personal. This is the honest album that I was supposed to be honest about,” Future told Zane Lowe. “This is me opening up and just letting it all out so I can just move past it. Certain things don’t have to speak on it again.”
File Under: Hip Hop
OST: Live Cargo (Blackest Rainbow) LP
The score to Logan Sandler’s movie ‘Live Cargo’ (2016), a dark monochrome thriller weaving together a plot of struggling relationships, child loss and the dark world of human trafficking. For the music the Blair brothers worked closely with director Logan Sandler to capture the tone and texture of a particularly depraved way of life in the Bahamas. Mastered at 45 rpm and pressed on 180-gram seafoam coloured vinyl, the LP is packaged in a UV gloss finished sleeve with a black polylined inner sleeve.
File Under: OST, Ambient
Panda Bear: A Day With The Homies (Domino) 12”
New material from Panda Bear! Animal Collective founding member Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) adds to his impressive body of solo work (including fan-favorite Person Pitch and the critically-acclaimed Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper) with this limited edition 12″ release. A Day With The Homies includes 5 brand new tracks, and is exclusively available on this limited edition, vinyl-only 12″ EP (no digital is available at this time). Comes housed in full pic jacket with printed inner sleeve, no download code to keep it strictly vinyl-only.
File Under: Indie Rock
Penguin Café Orchestra: Union Café (Erased Tapes) LP
Erased Tapes has the privilege of reissuing world renowned Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s last studio album Union Cafe – out December 2017 to coincide with the 20th Anniversary of Simon Jeffes’ passing in 1997. The Penguin Cafe Orchestra was arguably the ultimate word of mouth group. But those who manage to stumble upon their richly melodic and utterly uplifting music invariably respond by asking, where has this music been all my life? Quickly followed by, which album should I buy first? How about 1993’s Union Cafe, a sprawling, diverse collection that could be the Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s White Album. 2LP-set with download.
File Under: Jazz, Classical
Lou Reed: Berlin (RCA) LP
An American master and true rock & roller, Lou Reed transformed popular art, music and culture through a body of work that continues to affect the way fans hear and see the world. Reed, who cut his first single as a teenager in the late-50s, began his professional career working as a New York in-house assembly line songwriter in the early-60s while developing his pure artistic vision as frontman for the Velvet Underground and throughout his uncompromising solo career. 1973’s Berlin is Reed’s theatrical third solo effort which came in drastic contrast to its glam-rock predecessor, Transformer. Comprised of re-drafts of earlier compositions first penned by Reed and the Velvet Underground, Berlin tells the story of an ill-fated romance amidst heavy orchestral arrangements, harrowing horn sections and fervent lyrics. Produced by Bob Ezrin, the equally ambitious and controversial 10-song set includes appearances by Michael and Randy Brecker, Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar, Tony Levin and Steve Winwood. Upon the album’s original release, Rolling Stone’s Stephen Davis described it as one of those “…records so patently offensive that one wishes to take some kind of physical vengeance on the artists that perpetrate them…a distorted and degenerate demimonde of paranoia, schizophrenia, degradation, pill-induced violence and suicide.” Thirty years later, the magazine hailed it as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
File Under: Rock
Lou Reed: Rock N Roll Animal (RCA) LP
An American master and true rock & roller, Lou Reed transformed popular art, music and culture through a body of work that continues to affect the way fans hear and see the world. Reed, who cut his first single as a teenager in the late-50s, began his professional career working as a New York in-house assembly line songwriter in the early-60s while developing his pure artistic vision as frontman for the Velvet Underground and throughout his uncompromising solo career. Following his theatrical concept album Berlin, Reed switched gears once again with 1974’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal, a searing live set recorded at Howard Stein’s Academy of Music in New York in December 1973 with his road band at the time which featured the twin guitar attack of Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter. The 5-song set primarily consists of extended arrangements of former VU classics including a 13-minute plus version of “Heroin,” and a 10-minute “Rock ‘n’ Roll” to go along with more concise takes on “Sweet Jane” and “White Light/White Heat.” Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal amplifies the music of the Velvet Underground as never before or since and it finds Lou Reed doing what he does best, challenging the status quo with artistic ambition and restless abandon.
File Under: Rock
Lou Reed: Street Hassle (RCA) LP
An American master and true rock & roller, Lou Reed transformed popular art, music and culture through a body of work that continues to affect the way fans hear and see the world. Reed, who cut his first single as a teenager in the late-50s, began his professional career working as a New York in-house assembly line songwriter in the early-60s while developing his pure artistic vision as frontman for the Velvet Underground and throughout his uncompromising solo career. 1978’s Street Hassle has been referred to as the angrier, younger sibling to Reed’s eloquent, mature New York, which was released over a decade later. Teeming with the lyrical hell of drug addicts and desperate misfits, it also possesses elements of Reed’s signature pitch-black humor. A mix of New York studio recordings and fine live performances recorded in West Germany, Street Hassle is a curious and compelling coda to Reed’s tumultuous and ever-changing ’70s work.
File Under: Rock
Lou Reed: Transformer (RCA) LP
An American master and true rock & roller, Lou Reed transformed popular art, music and culture through a body of work that continues to affect the way fans hear and see the world. Reed, who cut his first single as a teenager in the late-50s, began his professional career working as a New York in-house assembly line songwriter in the early-60s while developing his pure artistic vision as frontman for the Velvet Underground and throughout his uncompromising solo career. Released in 1972 just a few months removed from his somewhat underground self-titled solo debut, Transformer immediately distinguished itself with a new sound and chart success thanks to the famous production duo of David Bowie and Mick Ronson. Reed’s signature guitar-driven rock is colored here with inventive arrangements and pop muscle, resulting in some of his best-known material such as “Walk on the Wild Side,” “Perfect Day” and “Satellite of Love.” The aptly titled release literally transformed Reed into a certifiable solo artist and it greatly influenced the direction his career would take stylistically for the remainder of the ’70s.
File Under: Rock
Shame: Songs of Praise (Dead Oceans) LP
Shame thrives on confrontation. Whether it be the seething intensity crackling throughout their debut LP Songs of Praise or the adrenaline-pumping chaos that unfolds at their live shows, it’s all fueled by feeling. Comprised of vocalist Charlie Steen, guitarists Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green, bassist John Finerty, and drummer Charlie Forbes, the London-based 5-piece built the band up from a foundation of DIY ethos while citing The Fall and Wire among its biggest musical influences. Utilizing both the grit and sincerity of that musical background, Shame carved out a niche in the South London music scene and then barreled fearlessly into the angular, thrashing post-punk that would go on to make up Songs of Praise. From “Gold Hole,” a tongue-in-cheek takedown of rock narcissism, to lead single “Concrete” detailing the overwhelming moment of realizing a relationship is doomed, to the frustrated “Tasteless” taking aim at the monotony of people droning through their day-to-day, Songs of Praise never pauses to catch its breath.
File Under: Post Punk
13th Floor Elevators: Easter Everywhere (Charly) LP
Amon Duul II: Phallus Dei (SPV) LP
Syd Barrett: Barrett (Harvest) LP
Syd Barrett: Madcap Laughs (Harvest) LP
Bjork: Post (One Little Indian) LP
Blonde Redhead: Fake Can Be Just As Good (Touch & Go) LP
Blonde Redhead: In An Expression of the Inexpressible (Touch & Go) LP
Charles Bradley: Victim of Love (Daptone) LP
Bully: Losing (Sub Pop) LP
Danger Mouse: Gray Album (Fan Club) LP
Miles Davis: Big Fun (Music on Vinyl) LP
Destroyer: Ken (Merge) LP
Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde (Columbia) LP
Bob Dylan: Another Side of Bob Dylan (Columbia) LP
Bob Dylan: Freewheelin’ (Columbia) LP
Bob Dylan: Nashville Skyline (Columbia) LP
Bob Dylan: The Times They Are A Changin’ (Columbia) LP
Faith Healer: Try (Mint) LP
Robert Fripp/Brian Eno: No Pussyfooting (Panegyric) LP
Robert Fripp/Brian Eno: Equatorial Stars (Panegyric) LP
Yussef Kamaal: Black Focus (Brownswood) LP
LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver (DFA) LP
LCD Soundsystem: s/t (DFA) LP
LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening (DFA) LP
Modest Mouse: The Moon & Antarctica (Epic) LP
Modest Mouse: Good News… (Epic) LP
My Bloody Valentine: M B V (MBV) LP
Pile: A Hairshirt of Purpose (Exploding in Sound) LP
Protomartyr: Under Color of Official Right (Hardly Art) LP
Protomartyr: Relatives in Descent (Domino) LP
Raincoats: s/t (Kill Rock Stars) LP
Max Richter: Blue Notebooks (Deutsche Grammophon) LP
Run the Jewels: 1 (Mass Appeal) LP
Run the Jewels: 2 (Mass Appeal) LP
Sleep: Holy Mountain (Mosh) LP
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Tragically Hip: Road Apples (Universal) LP
Uncle Acid: Night Creeper (Rise Above) LP
Tom Waits: Alice (Anti) LP
Tom Waits: Bad as Me (Anti) LP
Tom Waits: Blood Money (Anti) LP
Tom Waits: Real Gone (Anti) LP
White Zombie: It Came From NYC (Numero) LP
Jack White: Blunderbuss (Third Man) LP
Jack White: Lazaretto (Third Man) LP
Wolves in the Throne Room: Diadem of 12 Stars (Diadem) LP
Various: Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles (Numero) LP