Another week, another stack of wax waiting for me to finish this news letter so it can hit the shelves. Some real sweet pieces in this week, including the OST to Another Wolfcop from our pals Shooting Guns! Maybe this weather will let up and spring will come in time for RSD, cuz no one wants to wait in line in this cold. Speaking of RSD…..
RSD is in a few weeks! Some pretty neat stuff coming in for that, and as usual, we’ll have all kinds of fun planned, so plan to come on down on April 21st! Follow our Facebook event to keep up to date one what’s going on…. HERE
…..picks of the week…..
Shooting Guns: Another Wolfcop (One Way Static) LP
Our buds from S’toon have done it again! Shredding it up for Another Wolfcop! A year has passed since the eclipse transformed hard-drinking Officer Lou Garou into a lycanthrope crime-fighter. Although the evil that controlled the town of Woodhaven was defeated, it is as depressed as ever. Lou’s liquor-fuelled lunar outbursts are now seriously testing his relationship with his partner Tina Walsh — the new Chief of Police. An old friend has mysteriously reappeared with a truly bizarre secret to share, and a villainous entrepreneur looking to transform the town has set up a nefarious new venture. Prepare for the next phase of this global cult favourite that promises to be dirtier, hairier and more outrageous than ever! Featuring a cool cameo by Kevin Smith, receiving raving reviews & stacking up award nominations … Another Wolfcop is currently wreaking havoc at festivals/theaters & is coming soon to VOD/Netflix. Also returning on scoring duties is the Canadian outfit ‘SHOOTING GUNS’. Hailing from Saskatoon, SK, in the heart of the Canadian prairies, Shooting Guns are hard at work fortifying the heavy end of the psychedelic spectrum, haunting the foggy moor between Sabbath-styled doom riffery and heavy pulse-riding kraut-rock. Their debut LP, ‘Born To Deal in Magic: 1952-1976’, was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in 2012. Their sophomore LP, Brotherhood of the Ram, released in 2013 was nominated for the 2015 JUNO Metal/Hard Album of the Year as well as the Polaris Music Prize. Shooting Guns scored the soundtrack to Canadian horror-comedy WolfCop and released the Official Soundtrack in 2014 (also on One Way Static Records) which won the 2015 WCMA Award for Metal/Heavy Recording of the Year. The Another WolfCop OST sees the band’s most ambitious recording to date, incorporating a wide range of influences and instruments to expand on the WolfCop universe and take this nail-biting, action-packed film over the edge. Available as a classic black vinyl edition (limited to 250 copies) which will be available from record stores and online retailers worldwide on 4/6. Next to this black vinyl edition there will also be TWO color variants available: ‘PINK DONUT VINYL’ (300 copies) available exclusively from Light In The Attic & Mondo in North America and through Transmission in Europe. ‘BEER-CAN BROWN VINYL’ (250 copies) available exclusively from Light In The Attic (USA) and from Shooting Guns (Canada). All versions also come with a digital download card. Album art is handled by ‘The Dude Designs’ who is known for his work for Mondo, Troma, Arrow and many others.
File Under: Metal, S’tooner Rock, OST
Stars of the Lid: Gravitational Pull vs The Despair for an Aquatic Life (Kranky) LP
The release of Music For Nitrous Oxide, the 1995 debut by Stars Of The Lid, heralded a new strain of the American underground music scene, one born of the heat and humidity, boredom, and the insular, constipated, rock-ist music scene of Austin, Texas, home of the duo of Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie. It was a muffled lashing out against surrounding musical conventions, a small middle finger to the local dominant “Americana” scene, but one that nobody could see outside the shack of a house in which they recorded or at their occasional sparsely populated live performances. It was as punk a move as anyone could make at that place and in that time. But, in a surprise to the two members of SOTL, people took notice, as related rumblings and grumblings were taking place simultaneously in other parts of the American landscape. Coming quickly on the heels of their debut was Gravitational Pull vs. The Desire For An Aquatic Life, released one year later. This is a transitional release that travels from the scruffiness of the debut’s ambiance to more extended and subtle undulating tides of assembled sound, yet still dominated by processed guitars as the primary sound source. It also serves as an omen to the mini-orchestral works to come, beginning with the Avec Laudenum album a few years later. This is a small masterpiece.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Drone
Coil: Astral Disaster Sessions Un/Finished Musics (Perscription) LP
These rare COIL tracks were recorded as part of the legendary Prescription label album sessions in the late 1990s that resulted in the album Astral Disaster. As we described with regards to our first Coil volume, they were invited to record at Sun Dial’s studios beneath the London Bridge Hop Exchange. This studio was no ordinary studio. It was originally know as Samurai Studios, and had been originally built and owned by Iron Maiden. The premises in Victorian times had been an old debtors prison, which had three underground levels, and still had the original chains, manacles and wrought iron doors from the old prison. This caught the attention of John Balance, and he was very keen to record there. At Gary Ramon’s invitation, Coil spent a number of days recording at the studio during Halloween 1998. Coil developed a number of tracks, some of which resulted in the Astral Disaster album. For various reasons, unissued material and mixes were omitted from the original album. That brings us to here and now, and this LP, which provides Coil fans with their first opportunity to listen to this additional material from the Astral Disaster sessions. This album includes previously unissued mixes, the rare version of ‘I Don’t Want To Be The One’ (only included on the very rare 1999 promo only Prescription sampler); and the 14-minute track ‘Cosmic Disaster,’ which was the original working title of the album. Edition of 1,000 copies.
File Under: Ambient, Experimental, Industrial
Exek: Ahead of Two Thoughts (w.25th) LP
Melbourne’s Exek began as a studio project with frontman Albert Wolski before the 2014 formation of the four-piece line up with Andrew Brocchi (synthesizer), Henry Wilson (bass) and Sam Dixon (drums). With the addition of Nell Grant on saxophone, the group’s sound entered another dimension that reveals Exek to be conjuring the ghosts of PiL, This Heat and Swell Maps. Ahead Of Two Thoughts, Exek’s sophomore release, pushes headlong into haunted, post-punk territories. Opening track “U Mop” pairs sneering vocals with elastic bass and spectral guitars, while the elliptical discourse of “Weight Loss (Henry’s Dream)” is accentuated by reverbed drums that would make Martin Hannett proud. Superior Viaduct’s W.25TH imprint presents Ahead Of Two Thoughts, a never-ending loop of dub-infected textures and anxious lyrics. Mastered by Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control), this tightly coiled album recorded in 2015-2016 could easily be mistaken for a classic 4AD title from the ‘80s. Look for Exek on tour in 2018.
File Under: Post Punk
Shamek Farrah: First Impressions (Pure Pleasure) LP
For a label that wasn’t around long, Strata East achieved the same sort of label recognition that Impulse! or Blue Note managed to build. In other words, you knew what you were getting when you bought a record on the label, even if you didn’t know the names on the outside of the cover. This is no exception. Who is Shamek Farrah? Who knows? Who cares? It’s the music that’s important. This is the standard spiritually intense new jazz one learns to expect from the label, soaked in some Eastern influences but always with its ear to the street. Musicians took their roles as leaders and spokesmen very seriously back then. This very adult statement from a group of very serious men is no exception. However, what might be an average, forgettable session is rescued by the propulsive engine of Milton Suggs’ bass. He adds the fire and the drive that keeps things interesting and prevents the music from wandering into a circular spiritual morass. For fans of the sound or the label, this can be heartily recommended.
File Under: Jazz, Strata East
Billy Harper: Capra Black (Pure Pleasure) LP
Capra Black remains one of the seminal recordings of jazz’s black consciousness movement. A profoundly spiritual effort that channels both the intellectual complexity of the avant-garde as well as the emotional potency of gospel, its focus and assurance belie Billy Harper’s inexperience as a leader. Backed by an all-star supporting unit including trombonist Julian Priester and drummer Billy Cobham, Harper’s tenor summons the brute force and mystical resolve of John Coltrane but transcends its influences to communicate thoughts and feelings both idiosyncratic and universal. This is music of remarkable corporeal substance that somehow expresses the pure language of the soul.
File Under: Jazz, Strata East
Robb Kunkel: Abyss (Future Days) LP
“…one of the best, perhaps the best, on the label…displays the typical Tumbleweed combination of a loose, stoned ‘Astral Flash’ vibe and a classy production.” – Patrick Lundborg, Acid Archives. Denver in 1971 was the right place, right time for musician Robb Kunkel. He’d just come off a year rambling around North America before settling in Colorado, landing a gig as a promotions rep for ABC-Dunhill. The weed was potent, magic was in the air, and Kunkel’s life was about to change forever. The San Fernando earthquake had spurred industry pals Bill Szymczyk and Larry Ray to join forces to form their own label—and get the hell out of California. The duo reached out to Kunkel who helped set up shop for their burgeoning Denver enterprise, Tumbleweed Records. Kunkel secured a headquarters, helped staff the label, and brought in talent, including Danny Holien, Pete McCabe, Dewey Terry. But Kunkel was itching to make a record of his own. Perhaps to repay him, Tumbleweed agreed. A longtime piano man and blues aficionado, Kunkel had the soul of a poet and the restless spirit of the jazz musicians he also worshipped. For his album, Kunkel wanted a jazz producer, and Szymczyk hired Ed Michel, then the head of Impulse Records, who brought on a string quartet and jazz legend Ray Brown and Wrecking Crew musician Jimmy Bond. Ostensibly a pop album at heart, Abyss brings all of Kunkel’s influences together and vacillates wildly in style. From folky ditties to pensive wailers, Kunkel’s songs are often piano-driven but rarely straightforward. Tracks regularly veer off into jazz or baroque string arrangements, but there’s a raw quality—in the production and in Kunkel’s literary and at times earnest lyrics. It’s the album of a young and uninhibited musician who has realized a lifelong dream and who takes it seriously, but not too seriously.
File Under: Folk Rock
Love: Forever Changes 50th Anniversary (Rhino) BOOK+LP
The golden anniversary of Love’s landmark 1967 album Forever Changes is being celebrated with an extensive 4CD/DVD/180-gram LP collection reissue housed in a beautifully illustrated 12 x 12 hardbound book that features a newly written essay and track-by-track notes by music historian Ted Olsen. The set features a few firsts for the album, including the CD-debut of a remastered version made by its original co-producer and engineer Bruce Botnick, as well as the first-ever release of the mono version on CD. Also included are alternate mixes of the album, as well as a selection of rare and unreleased singles and studio outtakes. Botnick’s stereo remaster of the original album also makes its vinyl debut on the LP included with this set. It was cut from high resolution digital audio by celebrated audio engineer Bernie Grundman. The DVD that accompanies the anniversary collection includes a 24/96 stereo mix of the album remastered by Botnick. Also featured is Your Mind And We Belong Together, a rare promotional video directed by Elektra producer Mark Abramson that was originally released in 1968. Recorded during the Summer of Love in Hollywood, CA, Forever Changes is the group’s most fully realized studio effort, featuring Arthur Lee (vocals, guitar), Johnny Echols (lead guitar), Bryan MacLean (rhythm guitar, vocals), Ken Forssi (bass) and Michael Stuart (drums, percussion). The original album introduced such timeless classics as “Andmoreagain,” “Red Telephone,” “A House Is Not A Motel” and “Alone Again Or.” Forever Changes: 50th Anniversary boasts more than a dozen rarities, including single versions of “Alone Again Or” and “A House Is Not A Motel” that are available now for the first time since 1967. Two other recordings on the set have never been released: the backing track for “Live And Let Live” and an outtake backing track for “Wonder People (I Do Wonder).”
File Under: Psych
Suzanne Menzel: Goodbyes & Beginnings (Frederiksberg) LP
Frederiksberg Records is proud to announce the first reissue of Suzanne Menzel’s 1981 album “Goodbyes and Beginnings”. This sought-after rarity presents a blend of ambient, new-age, 60’s inspired folk music. The melancholic lyrics of singer-songwriter Suzanne Menzel are transformed by Danish New-Age pioneer, Klaus Schønning’s, futuristic soundscape. Schønning, not only produced “Goodbyes and Beginnings,” Menzel also credits him as giving her the artistic courage to self-release her first and only album. “Goodbye’s and Beginnings” sits at the cross-section of many genres. Menzel’s voice is as timeless as her heartfelt, somber lyrics. While Schønning’s synthesizer, organ and rhythm computers offer a playful contrast. The beautiful tension between them creates a fresh, unique sound and makes “Goodbye’s and Beginnings” hard to categorize even today.
File Under: New Age, Synth Pop
Spacemen 3: Dreamweapon (Superior Viaduct) LP
August 1988, Spacemen 3 embark on one of the strangest events in the band’s already strange history. Billed as “An Evening Of Contemporary Sitar Music” (although consciously omitting the sitar), the group would play in the foyer of Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford, Middlesex to a largely unsuspecting and unsympathetic audience waiting to take their seats for Wim Wenders’ film Wings Of Desire. Spacemen 3’s proceeding set, forty-five minutes of repetitive drone-like guitar riffs, could be seen as the “Sweet Sister Ray” of ‘80s Britain. Their signature sound is at once recognizable and disorienting —pointing as much to the hypnotic minimalism of La Monte Young as to a future shoegaze constituency. On this double LP reissue, Dreamweapon is augmented by studio sessions and rehearsal tapes from 1987 that would lead up to the recording of Spacemen 3’s classic Playing With Fire album. “Spacemen Jam,” featuring Sonic Boom and Jason Pierce on dual guitar, is a side-long mediation on delicate textures and psychedelic effects. Includes download card and new insert with liner notes by Will Carruthers.
File Under: Drone, Psych
Spiny Norman: s/t (Riding Easy) LP
Spiny Normen were an incredible mid-’70s Houston hard rock, progressive, psychedelic rock band that featured mellotron, Vox Jaguar, crunchy, heavy guitars, flute with echo effects, and lots more. A totally lost relic, this self-titled album was recorded at a community college and never released. The recording is very English, dark, mysterious and proggy, but also very acid-drenched. “Circa 1976, Gerry [Diaz] and I would skip class, smoke whatever scrap of contraband we could scrape together and meet in the high school auditorium where there was a piano and bang out crunchy rhythms. Gerry was playing guitar, listening to Alice Cooper, hair down to his back and about the only Mexican-American in a white bread school. He was cool! So when he said one day, ‘Hey man we should jam some time,’ I was stoked. I found an ancient Vox Jaguar that had belonged to Fever Tree and a Kustom amp that I blew out just right, that made the most beautiful distortion, accompanied by a beloved phase shifter. Over the next three years we began to experiment, spending months penning intense, bizarre, surreal and mind-affecting pieces influenced by King Crimson, Pink Floyd, film soundtracks, Van Der Graaf Generator, and the like. I was collecting keyboards: a mellotron, a single-key-play Moog… Gerry was adding echos, early guitar, synth and tons of pedals. I learned the flute. In we went with a hired stand-up bass player and little engineering knowledge to the community college 8-track recording studio and just played like psychedelic Mozarts. Timpani, live effects, sound effect records, backward echo, violin bow on guitar and plenty of echo. Gerry and I on vocals. What came out was still, to this day, in my humble opinion, some very complex, untouched territory, holy-what-the stuff. We were all about 19.” —Steve Brudniak (cofounder of Spiny Normen)
File Under: Psych, Hard Rock
Streets: Original Pirate Music (Locked On) LP
English rapper/producer Mike Skinner aka The Streets burst onto the U.K. music scene at large in 2002 with his fresh and fearless debut album Original Pirate Material. Showcasing Skinner’s part street poet and part punk suburban everyman duality, it led to both voice of his generation and best album of the decade laudits and earned a Mercury Prize nomination. The landmark effort melds hip-hop, dub, ska, and dance beats to form an epic backdrop for The Street’s witty vignettes. His writing and his music are equally distinctive here, flipping from humorous to dark and introspective and back again. The highly sought after, long out of print LP is home to the half rapped/half sung singles “Has It Come to This?,” “Let’s Push Things Forward,” “Weak Become Heroes” and “Don’t Mug Yourself.”
File Under: Electronic, Hip Hop, Dub
Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Sex & Food (Jagjagwuar) LP/DLX LP
Where are we headed? What are we consuming, how is it affecting us, and why does everything feel so bad and weird sometimes? These are some of the questions posed on Ruban Nielson’s fourth album as Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Sex & Food – a delightfully shapeshifting album that filters these real-deal serious themes through a vibrant sonic lens that spans battered drum-machine funk, doomy and thrashing rock, and pink-hued psychedelic disco. Recorded in a variety of locales from Seoul and Hanoi to Reykjavik, Mexico City, and Auckland, Sex & Food is a practical musical travelogue, with local musicians from the countries that Nielson and his band visited pitching in throughout. Over the last decade, Nielson’s established himself as one of the most inventive sonic traveler currently working, and Sex & Food is the most eclectic and expansive Unknown Mortal Orchestra release yet, from the light-footed R&B of “Hunnybee” to the stomping flange of “Major League Chemicals.” The adventurousness is all the more impressive considering that there’s a bit of DNA from the past UMO discography in Sex & Food: the soft-focus psych of the project’s 2011 debut LP, the lovely melancholia of 2013’s II, and the weirded-out funk of 2015’s virtuosic Multi-Love. But rather than living in the past, Nielson is firmly in the here and now, drawing from personal unrest and generational malaise while surveying a variety of societal ailments. “If You’re Going to Break Yourself” and “Not in Love We’re Just High” chronicle the effects of drugs and addiction on personal relationships, while the lyrics for “Ministry of Alienation” drip with modern-day paranoia like the silvery guitar tones that jewel the song’s structure. It’s a scary world out there, and it’s been that way for a while – and Sex & Food finds Nielson surveying the damage while attempting to reckon with the magnitude of it all. Indeed, the modern world – and all the thorny complications that come with living in it – loomed large on Ruban’s mind while making Sex & Food. But even though he’s not afraid to get topical throughout – as evidenced on the surprisingly boisterous “American Guilt” or the roomy-disco medication-meditation “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays” – Ruban was also careful not to get too political, and for good reason. “Everything is so soaked in politics, and it’s kind of depressing for everything to be political right now,” he explains. “I wanted to keep it light. I think everyone’s feeling angry, and there’s nothing particularly interesting about my anger.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Christina Vantzou: No. 4 (Kranky) LP
Belgium-based composer Christina Vantzou’s fourth full-length for Kranky ventures further into the uniquely elusive and evocative mode of ambient classical minimalism which has become her signature: a fragile synthesis of contemplative drift, heady silences, and muted dissonance. In regards to the new album she speaks of focusing particular attention on the effects of the recordings on the body, and of “directing sound perception into an inner space.” No. 4 took shape across roughly two years, incorporating a diverse array of musical and conceptual collaborators, including fellow Kranky artists Steve Hauschildt and John Also Bennett (of Forma) as well as Angel Deradoorian (ex-Dirty Projectors), Clarice Jensen, Beatrijs De Klerck, and members of Belgium’s Echo Collective. During the creation process Vantzou wanted to “blur lines of hierarchy,” and thus allowed all ensemble members and technical assistants to add or delete elements. Despite such a spectrum of input the eleven tracks feel distinctly cohesive, weaving elegant textures and resonant open spaces within a twilit landscape of eclectic instrumentation: piano, harp, vibraphone, voice, strings, marimba, synthesizers, gong, and bells. A mindset of premeditated exploration informs the album’s emotive textural intuition, with hushed drones and delicate gestures eliding in the periphery of the mix. Vantzou cites sleep and “the loosening of time” as two formative practices in her private and professional life, which manifests in the quietly hallucinatory properties of her music. No. 4 feels both endless and ephemeral, immersive and immaterial. It’s a music of horizon lines and half-light, mapped with feeling and foresight.
File Under: Ambient, Classical, Minimalism
Black Sabbath: s/t (Rhino) LP
Black Sabbath: Master of Reality (Rhino) LP
Black Sabbath: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Rhino) LP
Black Sabbath: Vol. 4 (Rhino) LP
Butthole Surfers: Independent Worm Saloon (Plain) LP
Depeche Mode: Violator (Warner) LP
Flaming Lips: Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (Warner) LP
Flaming Lips: Soft Bulletin (Warner) LP
Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles (Warner) LP
Bridgette Fontaine: Est… Folle (Superior Viaduct) LP
Bridgette Fontaine: Comme A La Radio (Superior Viaduct) LP
Nils Frahm: All Melody (Erased Tapes) LP
Fuzz: II (In The Red) LP
Johnny Jewel: Digital Rain (Italians Do It Better) LP
Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures (Rhino) LP
Joy Division: Closer (Rhino) LP
Love: s/t (Rhino) LP
Metallica: Kill ‘Em All (Blackened) LP
Metallica: Ride the Lightning (Blackened) LP
Cecil Payne: Zodiac (Pure Pleasure) LP
Sheer Mag: Compilation (Wilsun) LP
Sheer Mag: Need to Feel Your Love (Wilsun) LP
Simply Saucer: Cyborgs Revisited (In The Red) LP
Spiritualized: Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (Plain) LP
Terekke: Improvisational Loops (Music From Memory) LP
Thundercat: Drunk (Brainfeeder) 4×10″
Marcos Valle: Vento Sul (Light in the Attic) LP
Marcos Valle: Previsao do Tempo (Light in the Attic) LP
Ween: 12 Golden Country Greats (Plain) LP
Ween: Chocolate & Cheese (Plain) LP
Ween: God Ween Satan (Plain) LP
Justin Walter: Lullabies & Nightmares (Kranky) LP
Wand: Golem (In The Red) LP
Wand: Plum (Drag City) LP
Various: Deutsche Elektronische Musik Part 1 (Soul Jazz) LP
Various: Deutsche Elektronische Musik Part 2 (Soul Jazz) LP