Ok, last time an Eno record will by the pick of the week for a long time.. unless they reissue the ambient series right away… This year has been off to a rather slow start for new releases, but… don’t worry, we got lots of dope stuff to stick on your turntable anyway. That used stuff I hinted at is hitting the bins, come have a dig.
…..pick of the week…..
Brian Eno: Another Green World (Astralwerks) LP
I swear, this is the last time an Eno record will be the pick of the week for at least a year, but if you haven’t picked this up yet (Austin…) now is the time… From its release in 1975 to today, Another Green World has been heaped with accolades. At the time, Village Voice described it as “the aural equivalent of a park on the moon” and Rolling Stone called it “a major triumph, an important record – and also a brilliant one,” whilst recently Q dubbed it “breathtakingly ahead of its time.” The album’s music veers from the experimental sounds of Brian Eno’s previous albums – based loosely around rock – to the more meditative, synth-oriented instrumental minimalism of his subsequent work. Produced by Eno and Rhett Davies, like his previous solo efforts, Eno had several guest musicians contribute to Another Green World: Robert Fripp, John Cale, Phil Collins and his fellow Brand X member Percy Jones. Unlike his previous albums, Eno worked on more solo material, including 6 songs in which he plays all of the instruments himself; “In Dark Trees,” “The Big Ship,” “Another Green World,” “Sombre Reptiles,” “Little Fishes” and “Spirits Drifting.”
File Under: Rock, Ambient, Electronic, Pop, Essential Grooves
Franz Ferdinand: Always Ascending (Domino) LP
Scottish quintet Franz Ferdinand are back with Always Ascending! Nothing short of a rebirth, the album’s ten songs are a triumphant recasting of the group, bursting with fresh ideas and vigorous sonic experimentation. Always Ascending was recorded at RAK Studios, London and Motorbass in Paris, with the help of French producer extraordinaire Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix, The Beastie Boys), the mutual affection between band and producer seeping into every dazzling groove. Always Ascending shows Franz Ferdinand broadening their palate, as exuberant as it is euphoric, creating a sound that singer, Alex Kapranos, refers to as “simultaneously futuristic and naturalistic.” These are the louche tales of the Parisian night, the exhilaration of an Italian car racing down the autobahn; a feeling of euphoria so pure it could only exist on a knife’s edge. As such, best to press play expecting nothing more than a good time. “I hope that when you listen to it you feel exhilarated,” Kapranos adds, “Until you fully absorb the lyrics.” LP includes the album in a single LP jacket, 8 page 12″ booklet, 24″ double sided poster, and a download card.
File Under: Indie Rock
Marduk: Warschau (Century Media) LP
Formed in 1990, Sweden’s Marduk are not only one of the most long running and respected black metal acts out there, but also one of the most productive. Even thirteen albums into their storied career, the quartet have never ever delivered a weak record and never wavered from their path of utter blasphemy and misanthropic contempt. Now, Century Media Records and the band are re-visiting various much sought after titles from their vast catalog: 2004’s Plague Angel was the first release featuring current vocalist Mortuus (Funeral Mist, Triumphator) who played a pivotal role in Marduk’s reinvigoration after the departure of previous singer Legion. He brought a new level of vocal and lyrical intensity plus a frightening stage presence into the game catapulting the group to new heights. The latter is perfectly presented on the merciless live album Warschau, recorded in 2005, as well as on such monumental studio albums like Rom 5:12 (2007) and Wormwood (2009), which will also be returning to vinyl in 2018. Warschau is available for the first time on vinyl in the U.S. as a 180g 2LP-set with gatefold jacket packaging and an accompanying poster.
File Under: Black Metal
Marduk: Plague Angel (Century Media) LP
Formed in 1990, Sweden’s Marduk are not only one of the most long running and respected black metal acts out there, but also one of the most productive. Even thirteen albums into their storied career, the quartet have never ever delivered a weak record and never wavered from their path of utter blasphemy and misanthropic contempt. Now, Century Media Records and the band are re-visiting various much sought after titles from their vast catalog: 2004’s Plague Angel was the first release featuring current vocalist Mortuus (Funeral Mist, Triumphator) who played a pivotal role in Marduk’s reinvigoration after the departure of previous singer Legion. He brought a new level of vocal and lyrical intensity plus a frightening stage presence into the game catapulting the group to new heights. The latter is perfectly presented on the merciless live album Warschau, recorded in 2005, as well as on such monumental studio albums like Rom 5:12 (2007) and Wormwood (2009), which will also be returning to vinyl in 2018. Plague Angel is available for the first time on vinyl in the U.S. as a 180g LP with gatefold jacket packaging and an accompanying poster.
File Under: Black Metal
MGMT: Little Dark Age (Sony) LP
Little Dark Age is the long awaited fourth album from MGMT and follow-up to their 2013 eponymous effort. The 10-track collection was produced by MGMT, Patrick Wimberly (Chairlift, Kelela, Blood Orange), and long-time collaborator Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Spoon, Tame Impala) and recorded at Tarbox Road Studios in Cassadaga, NY. Little Dark Age marks a triumphant return to early form and includes the previously released electronica and psychedelia-tinged title song, “When You Die” and “Hand It Over.” Ben Goldwasser proclaimed that, “It feels good to make music that’s fun.” LP version includes two 180-gram vinyl discs in a gatefold sleeve and a download insert.
File Under: Rock
Portal: Ion (Profound Lore) LP
Ion is the fifth full-length album and first since 2013’s Vexovoid from enigmatic Australian avant-garde death metal surrealists Portal. The nine track collection is the band’s most intense and experimental release to date, an album not for the faint of heart or mind. “Where ‘Vexovoid’ was not only foreboding and haunted death worship but also the culmination of a specific kind of horror; ‘Ion’ is birth, creation, and power – a weapon to strike with malice,” the band explained to Bardo Methodology. “Speed and complexity with total ferocity intact throughout its entirety, electric shock and lightning spite.” Artwork and design by Zbigniew M. Beliak.
File Under: Metal
Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht (Brain) LP
“Re-release of 1972 Klaus Schulze album Irrlicht. Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht has more connections to Musique concrete than with today’s electronics. I had not owned a synthesizer at the time. I had a damaged amplifier, a modified organ and a cassette recorder with a cheap microphone. I just went to a Colloquium Musica Orchestra rehearsal with it and recorded it. I just wanted to have the sound and played the tape backwards afterwards.”
File Under: Experimental, Krautrock, Electronic
Klaus Schulze: Timewind (Brain) LP
“Re-release of the originally 1974 released Klaus Schulze classic album Timewind, includes generous bonus and a 16-page booklet. Evolving slowly but deliberately over the course of each album side, Timewind has been deemed an electronic version of an Indian raga. It resembles in many ways a longer variation of the third track from Tangerine Dream’s classic 1974 album Phaedra, ‘Movements of a Visionary’, but it remains a transitional work somewhere between the krautrock of Schulze’s earlier output and the Berlin School character of his following efforts. The intention of Timewind was to invoke a timeless state in the listener. Both track titles are references to the nineteenth-century composer Richard Wagner, Bayreuth is the Bavarian town where Wagner had an opera house built for the first performance of his massive Ring Cycle. Wahnfried is the name of Wagner’s home in Bayreuth in the grounds of which he was buried in 1883. It is also a pen-name used by Schulze himself.”
File Under: Electronic, Kosmische, Krautrock
Klaus Schulze: Moondawn (Brain) LP
“Re-release of the classic Klaus Schulze album Moondawn, original released in 1976. ‘The album is a dynamic and sometimes explosive expression of the synthesized sound so recognizable as Klaus Schulze.’ (‘Trouser Press’/USA, November 1977). Without doubt Moondawn is one of Klaus Schulze’s cultic albums. Klaus was working with a ‘Big Moog’ for the very first time, which results into a special ‘fat’ sound. On ‘Moondawn’ Klaus Schulze was accompanied by Harald Grosskopf on drums. Klaus Schulze first attracted attention as a member of the German pioneers of electronic music, Tangerine Dream. Following the release of their debut LP, Electronic Meditation he departed for a solo career. Klaus’ recorded work typically features extended pieces sometimes filling an entire album built around computer-generated synthesizers and other specially programmed electronic effects. Klaus Schulze remains a cult figure in the whole world. He is widely considered an avant-garde mainstay as well as a founding father of both the new-age space music and electronica genres.”
File Under: Electronic, Kosmische, Krautrock
Shins: Worms Heart (Columbia) LP
The Worm’s Heart is a complete re-work of The Shins’ critically acclaimed 2017 album Heartworms. The album offers new, reworked versions of the original album tracks with the sequence flipped. When James Mercer wrote, produced, and recorded the Heartworms album, he had this desire for an alternate version, an opposite version. The album’s slow songs would be flipped and re-recorded as fast songs, and vice versa. The reasoning was to showcase the versatility and strength of his songwriting, and the result is The Worm’s Heart. This ‘flipped’ collection was produced by Yuuki Matthews, Jon Sortland, and James Mercer and is a must for any fan of The Shins.
File Under: Indie Rock
Shudder to Think: Ten-Spot (Dischord) LP
Originally released in 1990 and long out of print, Shudder To Think’s Ten Spot was the band’s second album and first record on Dischord. Formed in 1986, Shudder was part of a wave of younger punk bands making music that was inspired by, but also independent from, the established Dischord scene. Their music was theatrical, merging punk, progressive rock, and glam. The quartet would go on to release two more albums on Dischord (Funeral at the Movies and Get Your Goat) before moving to a major in the mid ’90s. At the time of this recording, Shudder to Think was Craig Wedren, Stuart Hill, Chris Matthews and Mike Russell. This pressing of Ten Spot has been remastered from the original tapes and has been pressed on colored vinyl. The artwork has been revised courtesy of Heather Hendrix Russell.
File Under: Punk
Superchunk: What a Time to Be Alive (Merge) LP
After the shocking, and for many, demoralizing result of the 2016 election, “I didn’t buy the silver lining some were promoting that ‘well, at least art and music will be great now!’,” says Superchunk co-founder and frontman Mac McCaughan. “Obviously, any sane person would gladly trade four to eight years of terrible music for not having our country dismantled to satisfy the whims of a vengeful child and his enablers.” That said, good music and art still have a lot to say, and the urgency of current events gave Mac, Laura, Jim, and Jon the momentum to make something new sooner than later. “It would be strange to be in a band, at least our band, and make a record that completely ignored the surrounding circumstances that we live in and that our kids are going to grow up in.” Enter What a Time to Be Alive, Superchunk’s first album in over four years. It’s a record, says Mac, “about a pretty dire and depressing situation but hopefully not a record that is dire and depressing to listen to.” Indeed, like so much of Superchunk’s music in the band’s nearly three decades together, the songs on What a Time to Be Alive meet rage and anxiety head-on with the catharsis and exhilaration of loud punk fire and vulnerable pop energy. Like 2013’s I Hate Music, which focused on death, loss, and the role of music in an aging life, the new record brings spirit to the frontlines of pain – it’s as defiant as it is despairing, as much a call to arms as a throwing up of hands. Written almost entirely between November 2016 and February 2017, What a Time to Be Alive was recorded and mixed by Beau Sorenson, who also worked on I Hate Music. “He’s possibly the first engineer we’ve worked with that I had to ask to turn down the guitars,” says Mac. “Not too much, though.” The record also features more guest backing vocalists than any previous Superchunk album, including Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit), Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Skylar Gudasz, and David Bazan. “Part of that was wanting a feeling of community,” says Mac. “I think that’s important to not be completely bummed out about everything all the time.” The title track charges in first and says it all. The record travels through the ensuing shock and chaos, from the pointed Fuck Yous (“Bad Choices,” “Cloud of Hate,” “All for You”) to the What Nows (“Lost My Brain,” “Break the Glass”). Merritt and Crutchfield join on “Erasure,” a resonant confrontation of the objective and consequences of fear and hatred.
File Under: Indie Rock
Amon Duul II: Phallus Dei (SPV) LP
Jorge Ben: Ben E Samba Bom (Dol) LP
Blonde Redhead: Fake Can Be Just As Good (Touch & Go) LP
Blonde Redhead: In An Expression of the Inexpressible (Touch & Go) LP
Nick Cave: Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed) LP
El Michels Affair: Enter the 37th Chamber (Fat Beats) LP
El Michels Affair: Return to the 37th Chamber (Big Crown) LP
Funkadelic: s/t (Westbound) LP
La Dusseldorf: s/t (4 Men With Beards) LP
La Dusseldorf: Viva (4 Men With Beards) LP
The Nils: s/t (Label Obscura) LP
Pixies: Come on Pilgrim (4AD) LP
Radiohead: The Bends (XL) LP
Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL) LP
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (XL) LP
Ramones: s/t (Rhino) LP
Ramones: Leave Home (Rhino) LP
Ramones: Rocket to Russia (Rhino) LP
Sigur Ros: Valtari (XL) LP
Sunn o))): Kannon (Southern Lord) LP
Sza: CTRL (Sony) LP
XX: s/t (Young Turks) LP
Various: Brazil (Soul Jazz) LP