…..news letter #845 – rsd haze…..

Oof! What a day! Thanks a million to everyone who came down on Saturday and made us your RSD destination! We had a great day. Everyone was super awesome. We had lots of fun and sold a bunch of records. We gave away a turntable and a Collective Arts prize pack to some great people. We drank a bunch of Collective Arts beer thanks to Stu! We drank too much coffee thanks to Dirt Bag Cafe! All in all a fantastic day! Let’s do it again next year!

Also, next Friday, we have a little show going down… more details HERE

…..picks of the week…..

silverapplesMorton Subotnick: Silver Apples of the Moon (Waveshaper) LP/CS
Waveshaper Media’s deluxe, 50th-anniversary-edition vinyl reissue of Morton Subotnick’s landmark 1967 debut electronic LP, “Silver Apples of the Moon.” Limited to 1000 copies, with nearly 600 copies already pre-sold via Indigogo, here are some of the features that make this 50th-anniversary-edition special: Audio has been REMASTERED from original, pre-mastered digital tape transfers. Unlike previous reissues of this LP (both vinyl and CD), remastered for Wergo’s 1994 CD edition and narrowing the recording’s stereo field, our reissue has been remastered maintaining the full stereo field of the original recording. Strictly limited to 1000 copies. All-new, full-colour gatefold jacket. Brand new liner notes by Morton Subotnick. The original, iconic liquid-light cover artwork by Tony Martin has been re-scanned for full-resolution clarity. Featuring rarely-seen, newly-scanned photos of Morton Subotnick in his Bleecker Street studio where “Silver Apples…” was recorded. Also includes a scan of the LP’s original Nonesuch-edition liner notes.

File Under: Electronic, Buchla, Essential Grooves
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Elg: Vu Du Dome (Editions Gravats) LP
Mutant troubadour Laurent Gérard, aka Èlg, makes an ideal addition to the misfits at Editions Gravats with Vu Du Dôme, a patently strange record resembling a sort of cryptic opera or the dramaturgy of a waking dream. Leading listeners up the garden path after the Mauve Zone album (NP 021LP, 2016), the French-Belgian artist’s latest album feels like a stroll around a topiary maze at twilight on a warm night, with Èlg acting as a spectral protagonist narrating/ranting in first person while a supporting cast including Catherine Hershey, Borja Flames, and Ernest Bergez only make the trip more unfathomable. Forming a bridge between improbable dimensions of musique concrète and chanson, or electro-acoustic and literary spheres, on Vu Du Dôme Èlg riddles his music to life with literal and metaphorical take on sound poetry; blending French language vocals with glossolalic babble against quietly enigmatic backdrops whose low, shifting lighting and mid-fi resolution lends them to comparison with illusive theater stage designs as much as the overgrown niches of the imagination explored by Luc Ferrari or Èlg’s Reines D’Angleterre bandmate Ghédalia Tazartès before him. A dusty revenant, an epileptic bard, a peaceful messenger: Èlg plays all those roles simultaneously. Combining pointedly purposed production and cryptic incantation, he acts as a souterrain psycho-pomp relaying energies from one reality to another, taking care not to stray too far explicitly in either direction and hold his ground ambiguously with the nous of an ancient Greek play or the kind of pathos and logic likely to baffle a computer. Taken in context of Roope Eronen’s artwork — a naive illustration of smiling cone faces on a bouncy castle — each listener’s perception of Vu Du Dôme is bound to differ from the next in an all too rare and precious way that’s testament to the genius avant-garde vision of its mercurial creator. Èlg’s first release for fellow Francophone freaks at Jean Carval and Low Jack’s Editions Gravats. Art and design by Roope Eronen and David Coquelin. Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy.

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


Oren Ambarchi: Grapes from the Estate (Black Truffle) LP
Black Truffle make Oren Ambarchi’s Grapes From The Estate available once more on vinyl. Originally released on CD on Touch in 2004 and reissued on Southern Lord as a limited double-LP in 2006 during Ambarchi’s tenure as a member of Sunn O))), Grapes From The Estate was a landmark release for Ambarchi, seeing him expand his sonic palette beyond the clipped, bass-heavy electric guitar tones he was known for at that point. Incorporating subtle layers of strings, keyboards, percussion over a bedrock of his signature guitar tones, in retrospect this album can be seen as the beginning of a broadening and evolution in Ambarchi’s work that would lead to his acclaimed, densely layered epics for Editions Mego, Quixotism and Hubris. Beginning with the shuddering pure tones of opener “Corkscrew”, which looks back to previous guitar-only releases such as Suspension, the album’s next two pieces show a progressive broadening of the instrumental palette and a corresponding move away from textural abstraction and sustained tones towards more traditional notions of musicality. This reached its high point on the album’s third piece, the fifteen-minute long “Remedios The Beauty”, where guitars, both acoustic and electric, strings, piano, and bells build from a murmur to an interlocking web of repeating melodic patterns over gently swinging brushed snare and cymbals. The epic closer, “Stars Aligned, Webs Spun”, returns you to a space populated only by the electric guitar, but unlike everything Ambarchi had produced up until this point in his career, the piece has a liquid, psychedelic edge that looks forward to the shimmering harmonics of his more recent work. As Brendan Walls wrote at the time of the original release, this is “another outpouring of personal, intimate and enduring music from Oren Ambarchi”. Original artwork and design by Jon Wozencroft. Redesigned by Stephen O’Malley. Remastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Gatefold sleeve.

File Under: Drone, Ambient
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baby huey

Baby Huey: The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (Run Out Groove) LP
Late RSD…. With a psychedelic brand of soul and a vocal style that drew comparisons to Otis Redding, Baby Huey was destined to break out of the Chicago scene with the release of his highly anticipated debut album. Unfortunately, his weight and taste for drugs resulted in a fatal heart attack that prevented him from ever seeing it come to fruition. Featuring production from Curtis Mayfield to go along with three of his compositions (“Mighty Mighty,” “Hard Times” and “Running”) plus a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” Baby Huey’s essential lone album, The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend, which was originally recorded in 1970 and released in 1971, has become a much sought-after collectible among soul fanatics ever since!

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Belong: October Language (Spectrum Spools) LP
October Language is the debut album by New Orleans based duo Belong, comprised of Turk Dietrich and Mike Jones. Since its release in early 2006, Belongs debut masterpiece has accumulated a dedicated cult following, with comparisons to the work of Christian Fennesz and Gas, with some claims that it plays like My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless (1991) sans the songs. While these comparisons are useful for filing this album into a particular bin in the record shop, time has proven that October Language is a unique album which remains unmatched by its contemporaries. Despite the warm and welcome accolades of the albums arrival, there was no vinyl pressing until 2009, of which a limited one-time pressing vanished immediately. Spectrum Spools present a pristine vinyl cut to go with reimagined album art for the definitive edition of this legendary classic. Includes download card with three extra tracks from the impossibly rare Tour EP from the same era (2006). These tracks are exclusive to the vinyl purchase and are not available through digital outlets.

File Under: Ambient, Drone
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Jonas Bonetta: All This Here (Idea of North) LP
All This Here, the first full-length ambient work by Jonas Bonnetta, is environmental music conjured directly from the places in which it was written. Field recordings made on the coast of Fogo Island echo throughout the record, and from their obscurity emerges a music like the dialect of vast landscapes. Horns glisten into strings or shimmer apart into the rumble of surf, forlorn murmerings suggest some alloy of whalesong and cello. Particles of recorded footfalls collide in the vacuum of wind or woodwind and cold, watery piano tones. All This Here sounds like a record of dawn and dusk, of light that frets at the edge of the day. As tidal arrangements flow one into another and wash themselves away, what remains is something that feels more found than constructed, a ghostly sonic geography. The album takes the form of a single, sprawling field recording, a map of physical and emotional landscapes in superposition. All This Here explores something apart from the glut of modern curated life, of memories laminated by filters, contrived pageantries of person-in-nature posted for all to see. Bonnetta seems to be seeking a reality closer to that of the naturalist or nature writer than the hyperlinked world of his contemporaries. Some fresh province left off the map, eloquent and permanent. He has compared the field-recording process to a type of foraging, a hunt for treasures in the forest. In All This Here he assembles those fragments into something stubbornly pure. This is being released in a series of 300 LP’s on white vinyl.

File Under: Ambient, Field Recording, Drone
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Bush Tetras: Take the Fall (Wharf Cat) 12″
The Bush Tetras are back in full force with the Don Fleming-produced Take the Fall, their first offering of new music in over ten years and perhaps the most hard-hitting group of songs of their career. Commanding a rocker’s wail almost 30 years in the making, vocalist Cynthia Sley deploys a shuddering power over the album’s careening five tracks, which rail against the reality of heaven and the toll of time in the album’s opener, “True Blue.” Guitar hero and LES noise guitar innovator Pat Place wields phased out distorted slide bombs. Yet her walls of noise explore the nooks and crannies of Dee Pop and newcomer Val Vera’s rhythm ‘n paranoia groove section. Take the Fall has a jaw-dropping energy. It’s a time-won record that will rip your head off!

File Under: Punk, No Wave
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Chevel: Always Yours (Different Circles) LP
Chevel gives the prism-pushers at Mumdance and Logos’ Different Circles label their first album release with Always Yours; a slanted new take on the “weightless” paradigm, floating somewhere between headspaces associated with the styles of Lee Gamble, Actress, and Logos. Paradoxically the longest and yet most minimalistic release on Different Circles to date, Always Yours says its piece in succinct yet expansive terms, rendering precisely tooled rhythms and technoid motifs in acres of suspenseful emulated space in a way that connects the brutally efficient dynamic of late ’90s tech-step with a Raster Noton-like appreciation of pointillist reduction. In that imagined space Chevel moves like a Soviet gymnast or prototype robot fluidly executing a demanding routine full of intricate, rigid steps. From the ambient airlock of “One Evening In July” he pulls off the aerobic mid-air swiftness of “The Call”, which comes off like a syncopated Sleeparchive workout, before twisting into the knotted quasi-step of “Bullet” and stepping into hyperspace on “Arp 2600”. Another ambient interlude “Warming Bath” returns the LP to balmier states, before the jagged pulse of “Data Recovery” pulls back into the dance like a virulent Alva Noto piece, and “Dem Drums” pitch to the rave’s darker side, but ultimately the lushly self-explanatory “Underwater” and “Always Yours” keep the LP hovering around the edge of ecstasy and the abyss with a grasp of heady, day-after feelings known to ravers the world over. Cover photo by Yusuke Yamatani. Vinyl master and cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Techno
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dr dog

Dr. Dog: Critical Equation (We Buy Gold) LP
“I feel like I’m in a totally new band right now,” says guitarist/singer Scott McMicken. It’s a bold declaration considering he’s been co-fronting the beloved indie outfit for a decade-and-a-half, but it cuts straight to the heart of the intense and transformative experience behind the group’s brilliant new album, Critical Equation. Produced by Gus Seyffert, it’s the most infectious and adventurous collection Dr. Dog has laid to tape yet, born from a journey of doubt and discovery, a heavy, sometimes painful reckoning that ultimately brought the band closer together with more strength and clarity than ever before. Call it an existential awakening, call it a dark night of the soul, whatever it was, it fueled one of the most fertile creative periods in the group’s history and forced them to confront that timeless question: what do we really want? “We’d been touring and making records for our entire adult lives, and I think we just needed to take a step back,” reflects bassist/singer Toby Leaman, who splits fronting and songwriting duties with McMicken. “It was important for all of us to figure out if we were actually doing what we wanted to be doing, or if we were just letting momentum carry us down this path we’d always been on. This band has been at work a long time and this record is about a concerted effort to push ourselves to grow with courage and confidence built upon our history together. That ends up being a renewed testimony of love for ourselves, each other, the work we do together, and the willingness to approach something you know so well with a beginners innocence”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Funkees: Dancing Time (Soundway) LP
Repressed, originally released in 2012. Gatefold double-LP version; 180 gram vinyl. Dancing Time: The Best Of Eastern Nigeria’s Afro Rock Exponents 1973-77 by The Funkees is the latest title on Soundway to mine the rich musical output of ’60s and ’70s Nigeria. For the five-year period this compilation spans, The Funkees’ output crackled with dancefloor fire. Having featured on three of Soundway’s most popular titles, across the definitive Nigeria Special compilation series, Soundway felt The Funkees’ output deserved closer inspection. Presented here are 18 slices of funky Afro-rock grooves, hand-picked by Soundway’s Miles Cleret from a selection of the band’s 45s and two full-lengths. In the early 1970s, The Funkees were the #1 east Nigerian band and the only outfit to seriously challenge the popular Lagos-based rock combos MonoMono and BLO. It wasn’t long before promoters in the UK came calling and The Funkees packed up their instruments and moved to London, where they quickly established a fierce reputation on the live circuit. Here, they recorded two seminal albums before finally breaking up in 1977 amidst some controversy. This collection features for the first time all of their Nigerian 45s alongside the best of their UK album material and is accompanied by a full interview with original member Sonny Akpan, who still lives in the capital.

File Under: Afro Beat, Funk, Psych
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Gerardo Iacoucci: Industria n. 1 (Intervallo) LP
Intervallo present a reissue of Gerardo Iacoucci’s Industria N. 1, originally released in 1972. At the beginning of the ’70s, in Italy, the revolutionary surge of 1968 was beginning to turn into something grimmer (and definitely not linked to left-wing ideology) but the concept of “factory” still had a key role in the economic and social life of the country. It was not just an alienating workplace, where you would often spent your whole life, but also — and overall — the place where demands were made and political struggles took place. Therefore, a feasible imaginary soundtrack for the factory was the daily noise of machines, tools, hammers: an idea that, years later, would be embraced by dozens of industrial bands all over the world. But, in 1972, that reality was documented by Gerardo Iacoucci: “We went into factories and workshops and recorded the noise of the machines, then we put on it special musical effects and did an accurate mix,” he tells in the liner notes. Industria N. 1, divided in “Fabbrica” on the A side and “Impianti Meccanici” on the B side, is an amazing work mixing field recordings and experimental music, proving how you can combine political commitment, art, avant-garde, and pioneering noise music in a brave record. Edition of 300.

File Under: Library, Italian
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Langley Schools Music Project: Innocence & Dispair (Bar None) LP
Replicas of the two rare and highly sought 1976 and 1977 LPs that have captivated the world, inspired a VH-1 documentary, a feature film and Broadway musical (School of Rock) and the soundtrack for Spike Jones’ Where the Wild Things Are. The Langley Schools Music Project is a 60 voice chorus of rural school children from western Canada singing the songs of The Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, David Bowie and many more. Captured in the school gymnasium, the recordings were never meant for commercial release but were pressed on LP for the students, family and friends. Long out of print on vinyl, newly re-mastered. Two separate LPs packaged together with extensive liner notes and deluxe packaging. “The backing arrangement is astounding… a piece of art that I couldn’t have conceived of, even with half of Columbia’s finest export products in me.” – David Bowie “A haunting, evocative wall-of-sound experience that is affecting in an incredibly visceral way. Amazing.” – Fred Schneider/The B-52s

File Under: School Bands, Pop
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mouvementsMouvements: s/t (Mental Experience) LP
Includes insert with liner notes; Includes digital download code which includes previously unreleased bonus tracks; Housed in a silver-mirrored sleeve. Mental Experience present the first ever reissue of Mouvements, originally released in 1973. An impossible to find artifact from the Swiss underground avant-garde scene of Geneva, originally released as a private boxset limited to 150 copies in 1973, only sold at art galleries. A unique, instrumental mix of free-jazz, classical, psych-rock, folk, improv, kraut, funk, and musique-concrete with tape effects. In the late 60s, musician/guitar player Christian Oestreicher, “a savage in the era of twist and free jazz”, met artist and painter Richard Reimann, famous for his optical art, at the Aurora art gallery in Geneva. Fueled by the artistic creativity from this underground scene, where jazz and rock musicians rubbed shoulders with artists, poets, and painters, Christian ideated the Mouvements project, enrolling his friend Richard to create the artwork. Christian was a trained guitar player with diverse influences: Ornette Coleman, Chuck Berry, Zappa, Soft Machine. He envisioned Mouvements as a concept album and he asked some of his musician friends from the jazz/rock scene to join in for the recordings: among them, Jean-François Boillat (of Boillat-Thérace), Blaise Català, Jerry Chardonnens. The album sessions took place at an occupied mansion during 1972, using three Revox machines. The musicians played standing in a circle and there was lot of room for improvisation. Tape effects and a small portable synth were also used. The result was released in 1973 as a hand-numbered, deluxe boxset limited to 150 copies, including a series of Richard Reimann’s lithographies and inserts. For this, the first ever reissue, Mental Experience have created a new, more affordable edition with new artwork, including an insert with liner notes and previously unreleased photos. Highly recommended if you’re into avant-garde psychedelia, free-jazz, free-rock, psych-funk, kraut. Think Staff Carpenborg, Zappa, Soft Machine, Bo Hansson, The Feed-Back, Mahogany Brain, Semool, Pierre Schaeffer, the BYG and Futura labels. Master tape sound; Includes insert with liner notes and rare photos; Includes digital download code which includes previously unreleased bonus tracks, including: “Largo Pour Trompettes”, “Mouvement Pour Guitare B1”, “Mouvement Pour Guitare B2”, and “Hard-Rock Ouverture (Take 2)”.

File Under: Psych, Jazz-Funk
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INTER012LP_PRODNarassa: Guerra E Angoscia (Intervallo) LP
Intervallo present a reissue of Narassa’s Guerra E Angoscia, originally released in 1973. Like Gerardo Iacoucci — already celebrated twice by Intervallo with Simbolismo Psichedelico (2015) and Industria N. 1 — Narassa, real name Sandro Brugnolini, is back in Intervallo’s catalog with another gem: his second release on the legendary Rome-based label Rotary, which came out after the amazing Tensione Dinamica. Guerra E Angoscia was born as the fifth installment of seven and, like the previous album (which was recorded with the collaboration of label boss Amedeo Tommasi, the mind behind every release on Rotary), moves away from the experimental and mechanical drift of the first chapter, to dive headfirst in a dark and heavy mood — as the title suggests (“War And Distress”). Guerra E Angoscia is truly faithful to the topic of its title — with tracks like “Rommel”, “Minaccia Di Guerra”, “Campo Di Sterminio”, “Commandos”, “Battaglia Tragica”, “Beat Bellico”, “Eruzione”, and “Linea Calda” — there’s little room for misunderstanding. It does a brilliant job offering library music to evoke tragedies, dark times, and the madness of human kind. This is done with wonderful beats, sharp and powerful percussions, grievous rhythms, and dramatic string sections. No more dynamism, to quote Narassa’s other release on Rotary: “here the tension is just the effect of explosions and wrecked nerves.” Edition of 300.

File Under: Library
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railtonLucy Railton: Paradise 94 (Modern Love) LP 
Lucy Railton is a prolific performer who has appeared on countless recordings and collaborations with many important figures in contemporary music over the last few years. Paradise 94 is, remarkably, her solo debut — featuring archival, location, and studio recordings which serve as a time capsule of all the myriad disciplines and influences that have brought her to this point in time. It both plays up to and shatters expectations of her music, which harnesses a duality of energies — acoustic/electronic, real/imagined, iconic/iconoclastic, pissed-off/romantic; out of place and androgynous — resulting in a visceral emotional insight and rare narrative grasp. Variegated, asymmetric, and located somewhere between her usual fields of exploration, Paradise 94 gives free reign to aspects of her creativity that have previously been subsumed into collaborative processes and interpretations of other composers’ work. Here, she’s free to probe, sculpt, and layer her sounds through a much broader range of techniques and strategies, placing particular focus on non-linear structural arrangements and exploring the way her cello becomes perceptibly synthetic through collaging, rather than FX. At every turn Paradise 94 is bewilderingly unique. The A-side unfolds an oneiric, inception-like sequence traversing temporalities, timbres, and tones from what sounds like a spectral ensemble playing on a traffic island in “Pinnevik”, to bursts of rabbit-in-headlights trance arps emerging from meticulously dissected musique concrète in “The Critical Rush”, and a collision of masked vocals, string eruptions, and a deeply moving, light-headed Bach rendition in “For J.R.” On the other hand, “Fortified Up” on side B tests out a far rawer approach, sampling herself playing the same glissandi over and again, which she layers into a sort of perpetual, sickly motion, the Shepard tone riffing on the listener’s psychoacoustic perceptions before calving off into a cathartic dissonant folk coda in its final throes. In the most classic sense, you can only properly begin to fuck with something from the inside once you truly know it. Railton’s dedicated years of service have more than equipped her with the nous and skill to do just that, gifting us with what will no doubt be looked back on as a raw, exposed and important solo debut in years to come. RIYL: Mark Leckey, Alvin Lucier, Beatrice Dillon, Nate Young, Valerio Tricoli, Popol Vuh.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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The Shacks: Haze (Big Crown) LP
“Fronted by 19-year-old singer/bassist Shannon Wise and 21-year-old guitarist/producer Max Shrager, The Shacks are already well on their way to becoming one of the year’s big breakouts, and their remarkable debut album, Haze, solidifies their status as a band with ability to deliver on the well-deserved buzz. When Max and Shannon met in high school, a bond was created that has permeated their music since the Shacks first incarnation four years ago. That chemistry lies at the heart of Haze, a record so hypnotic and seductive that it feels more like a whispered late-night secret than a young band’s debut. Produced together by Shrager and Big Crown co-founder Leon Michels (who’s played with Bradley, Sharon Jones, and Fields in addition to working with The Arcs, Lana Del Rey, and countless others), the album was recorded in bits and pieces between Shrager’s basement and Michels’ Diamond Mine studio, which the Observer dubbed ‘the Shangri La of Soul.’ Haze opens with the title track, which is, appropriately enough, the first song Shrager and Wise ever wrote together. It’s a spare, smoky tune that shimmers and sparkles as it shifts in and out of focus, and it’s an ideal gateway into the immersive world of The Shacks. On the breezy ‘Follow Me,’ they channel the infectious charm of a 60’s girl group, while the soulful ‘My Name Is’ grooves its way through a mesmerizing take on 70’s funk. Much like a dream, the songs often merge the familiar and the unfamiliar, constructing their own psychedelic reality full of beauty and yearning, all fueled by Wise’s breathy vocals and the unmistakable electricity of a wildly creative band truly inhabiting their music. ‘Birds’ makes brilliant use of Daptone drum hero Homer Steinwess’s impeccable feel behind the kit, while the 50’s ballad-meets-baroque pop of ‘Cryin” tips its cap to Roy Orbison and John Lennon as Shrager takes over lead vocals, and the soulful shuffle of ‘Texas’ belies a dark and violent undercurrent ripped from the headlines. Through it all permeates an unshakable sense that this is a group performing just for you. ‘Nobody’ finds the Shacks re-interpreting Phil Spector’s Wagnerian approach to rock & roll, complete with sweeping strings and darkly innocent lyrics. The 13 songs featured on Haze plays out like the soundtrack to some long lost 16mm film, beckoning you into their grainy, saturated world of analog beauty. In the short time that they’ve been together, The Shacks have already made an impressive mark. Their hypnotic cover of Ray Davies’ ‘This Strange Effect’ soundtracked a global iPhone commercial, one which actually stars Wise herself, and their self-titled EP earned the band dates with St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Chicano Batman, and their Big Crown Records labelmates Lee Fields & The Expressions.”

File Under: Jazz, Blues, Rock
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smithCraig Smith: Love is Out Existence (Maitreya Apache) LP
Tip-on gatefold sleeve; Includes liner notes; Edition of 500. Craig Smith was an extraordinarily gifted songwriter and musician who seemed poised for a successful career in the 1960s music business until his life was derailed by drugs and schizophrenia. In 1969 clean-cut, charismatic Craig Smith became Maitreya Kali, a dark, disturbed psychedelic Messiah figure with a black widow spider tattooed on his third eye. He laid out his strange vision on a self-released double-album Apache/Inca (1972), which would become a sought-after artifact of the psychedelic era. Success came easily for Craig Smith. In 1963, right out of high school he became a cast member of the popular Andy Williams TV show as one of the Good Time Singers, a wholesome folk ensemble that recorded for Capitol Records. Next he landed one of the lead parts in a new TV show, The Happeners, about a Greenwich Village folk group. But when the TV pilot was not picked up, he set out on his own musical path with the folk-rock duo Chris & Craig and then the more psychedelic Penny Arkade, produced and managed by Mike Nesmith of the Monkees. Throughout this period Smith was constantly writing songs, some of which were recorded by other artists, including the Monkees (“Salesman”), Andy Williams (“Holly”, “Christmas Holiday”), the Robbs (“Rapid Transit”), and Glen Campbell (“Country Girl”). But soon afterwards, his life took a dark, terrifying turn. Turning to LSD and Eastern mysticism he journeyed through Asia along the hippie trail where he was brutally attacked, raped, and left for dead. He was never the same again. As Maitreya Kali, he self-released the now legendary Apache and Inca albums in 1972 before disappearing into the shadows. He spent much of the 1970s in prison or in mental institutions before eventually drifting into homelessness on the streets of Hollywood. He died in his sleeping bag in North Hollywood Park in March 2012. Craig’s older brother Gary contacted Stax with a trove of unreleased music. The best of those songs are presented on Love Is Our Existence. Professionally recorded in Los Angeles studios between 1966 and 1971, these previously unheard songs reveal a singer and songwriter of breathtaking depth and talent. Remastered from acetate discs and master tapes.

File Under: Psych
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jonesStimulator Jones: Exotic Worlds & Masterful Treasures (Stones Throw) LP
The music of Roanoke, VA’s Stimulator Jones never draws on just one place or time, instead dipping into a range of styles and periods from the ’70s and ’80s to the present day. “American music is the result of a variety of humans from diverse cultural backgrounds combining and sharing their expressions and being free of restrictions,” he says, “Any categorical borders or boundaries are illusions. I was raised in a household where soul, rock, folk, country, jazz, blues, funk, reggae, rap, opera and classical music were all played side by side. To me, the appreciation of such a wide mix of sounds is perfectly natural.” After his start in the music world as a hip-hop DJ, Stimulator Jones began writing songs, and his ballad “Soon Never Comes” was featured on the Stones Throw compilation Sofie’s SOS Tape. Peanut Butter Wolf took note and immediately signed Jones to his label. A singer and multi-instrumentalist who can play anything you set in front of him – from banjo and fiddle to harmonica and sitar – Stimulator insists on playing all the instruments on his songs himself, for complete and total control over the results. Exotic Worlds and Masterful Treasures is his debut longplayer on the label.

File Under: Jazz, Soul, R&B
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Alexis Taylor: Beautiful Thing (Domino) LP
Beautiful Thing is the fourth solo album from Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor and his first with an outside producer (Tim Goldsworthy). It’s a very new, very individualist and – yes – very beautiful reflection of a life that’s changed immeasurably since Alexis first started out in music. This is a musician, writer and singer who has carved his own unique path through the music of the 21st century, completely avoiding getting trapped along the way in dumb oppositions of pop vs avant-garde, dancefloor vs intellect, retro vs modernist and so on. He has worked with living legends from major pop stars to free improvisors in the furthest left field, played huge arenas and tiny clubs without ever privileging one over the other, and through all of it, never stopped listening and learning. All of this accumulated experience is put to work on Beautiful Thing in pursuit of something subtle and elusive but ultimately quite profound and beautifully human. The record is a bold and confident step forward for Alexis both sonically and in terms of his songwriting abilities. It has electronic thrills, dark spaces, memories of dancefloors, heartfelt writing; it’s composed, it’s improvised, it’s accidental, it’s strange, but it’s also very immediate. It is a Beautiful Thing itself: a moving, modern and unique sounding long-player, to get lost in on repeated deep listens. On the album’s title track which kick-started the recording process with Goldsworthy, Alexis combines experimental, clattering noises with crazed, disco lavishness and bug-eyed acid house momentum to create something giddy and glorious.

File Under: Electronic, Pop
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wild havanaWild Havana: s/t (Mental Experience) LP
Mental Experience present a reissue of Wild Havana’s self-titled album, originally released in 1977. Obscure Dutch private pressing of laid-back instrumental psychedelic/progressive sounds with jazz-funk-groove and abstract/experimental/Latin-indigenous touches. Stoned homemade atmosphere with treated/distorted electric and acoustic guitars, flute, electric piano, primitive drum machines/homemade electronics… Much in the vein of the experimental-underground scene of France and Germany during the early ’70s but actually recorded and released in Holland. Wild Havana was the project of guitar player Johan Smith, helped by his brother Cor on flute. Influenced by artists like Zappa and Herbie Hancock, Johan recorded the Wild Havana album at his home studio on a 4-track, using effect devices developed by himself, like a modified proto-drum machine taken from a Hammond organ. He also used effects like phase shifter, chorus, etc. and experimented with putting wool on the guitar strings and electric effects on the mandolin. The result sounded like nothing else at the time. Buried for many years, we’re excited to bring to life this unique album. RIYL: Herbie Hancock, Richard Pinhas, Christian Boule, Orexis… Insert with liner notes by band member Johan Smit. “…a beautiful, strange psych-prog LP with abstract compositions ,experimental edges and some funk hints” –Mutant Sounds

File Under: Psych, Prog, Jazz
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uneven-pathsVarious: Uneven Paths (Music From Memory) LP
Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe 1980-1991 is the second multiple artist compilation on Music From Memory. It’s compiled by record connoisseur Raphael Top-Secret and label man Jamie Tiller. The compilation brings together twenty-one tracks from across the continent; exploring the more unusual and unexpected sides of pop music produced during that period. Drawing material from cult experimental artists such as Steve Beresford, Brenda Ray, and Bill Nelson alongside one-off independent musical projects rescued from the fringes, Uneven Paths focuses on a selection of tracks that go beyond the confines of mainstream pop music but which also transcend expectations of much of the “experimental” music of the time. This is music with one foot in the avant-garde and another foot firmly rooted within the sensibilities of pop; where jazz musicians detour into synth-pop, punk bands break into boogie jams, and student doctors jam out on odd melodies with synthesizers and drum machines during their night shifts. Features Nightfall In Camp, Stroer Duo Howard Fine, Tony Hymas, Violet Eves, Miko & Mubare, Piscine Et Charles, John Makin & Friends, Nonobstant, Wolfgang Klingler, Thomas Heimes, Hans-Christian Mittag, Sound On Sound, Pete Brandt’s Method, Lost Gringos, Vanakos, Brenda And The Beachballs, Patrick Forgas, Xavier Jouvelet, Lou Blic, Steve Beresford, Bill Nelson’s Orchestra Arcana, Harte 10, and Monica Rypma.

File Under: Pop
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sonVarious: Son Cubano NYC (Honest Jon’s) LP
Stoked to have this one back in! “Almost all of the Afro-Cuban music in this compilation fell under the new marketing category ‘salsa’ (up till then it would have been simply called Latin music), and its cradle was New York City, where the tradition flourished amidst the constant mix of ethnicities and so many styles of music. It was inevitable that Afro-Cuban music would proliferate in new genres reflecting its new home. Afro-Cuban jazz was born in New York City, through the amalgamating creativity of musicians like Chano Pozo, Machito, Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie. … The recordings on Son Cubano NYC were made over the decade beginning 1972, for the new Salsoul and SAR labels and their sisters Mericana and Guajiro. For the trumpeter Chocolate, the music has ‘broader harmonies and touches of jazz phrasing, but never leaves the raices and cinquillo… Cuban music is natural — its essence is its raices [roots]’. For the singer Henry Fiol, ‘New York salsa is a hybrid. When Cuban music moved to New York it added another flavour.’ Latin music was exploding in the City. You could hear deejays like Polito Vega playing on the radio at any time of day; you could go dancing any night of the week, throughout the boros, at clubs like Corsos, Casablanca, Bronx Casino, Ochentas, Club Cabrojena, Carlos Ortiz’ Tropicana, Hunts Point Palace. And yet — held back because of the unmistakable Cuban personality of its music — ‘the success of SAR was due mainly to word of mouth’, as co-founder Sergio Bofill recalls. … This was still the period of the Cold War — when Eddie Palmieri was accused of ‘communist salsa’ for his song ‘Mozambique’ (which isn’t even salsa) — and the radio stations did their bit to suppress Cuban culture. Within a few years — by the mid-80s — New York salsa was becoming stagnant: ‘boring and monotonous’, in the words of historian Max Salazar; for Charlie Palmieri, ‘Europeanized’ in its disavowal of improvisation. The music-making on this album was dismissed as old-fashioned. Actually — in the glory of its long, flowing, rootsy forms, in the irresistible spell it casts on dancers everywhere — it is timeless.” Includes tracks by Rey Roig y su Sensacion, Charlie Rodriguez y su Conjunto, Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros, Henry Fiol, Lita Branda, Roberto Torres, Los Jimanguas, Fernando Lavoy y los Soneros, and Angelo y su Conjunto Modelo.

File Under: Latin, Jazz, ‘Salsa’


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John Coltrane: Coltrane’s Sound (Dol) LP
Miles Davis: Sketches of Spain (Columbia) LP
Miles Davis: Miles & Monk (Columbia) LP
Miles Davis: Round About Midnight (Columbia) LP
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Miles Davis: Nefertiti (Music on Vinyl) LP
Death Grips: Bottomless Pit (Harvest) LP
Dinosaur Jr: Bug (Jagjaguwar) LP
Dinosaur Jr: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
Dinosaur Jr: You’re Living All Over Me (Jagjaguwar) LP
Bob Dylan: Basement Tapes (Columbia) LP
Flying Lotus: You’re Dead! (Warp) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny Fists (Constellation) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Allelujah (Constellation) LP
Herbie Hancock: Speak Like A Child (Blue Note) LP
J Dilla: Ruff Draft: Dilla’s Mix (Pay Jay) LP
Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate (Universal) LP
Kendrick Lamar: Damn (Aftermath) LP
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Massive Attack: Mezzanine (Universal) LP
Modest Mouse: Good New for People… (Epic) LP
Modest Mouse: Moon & Antarctica (Epic) LP
Nine Inch Nails: Downward Spiral (Universal) LP
Ol’ Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers (Get on Down) LP
Olympians: s/t (Daptone) LP
Pink Floyd: The Wall (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd: Meddle (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd: Division Bell (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd: Obscured By Clouds (Pink Floyd) LP
REM: Automatic for the People (Universal) LP
Rush: Hemispheres (Universal) LP
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Thundercat: Drunk (Brainfeeder) LP
US Girls: A Poem Unlimited (Royal Mountain) LP
Weezer: Blue (Universal) LP
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (Universal) LP
Amy Winehouse: Frank (Universal) LP
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