…..news letter #853 – sled…..

Well, it’s probably safe to assume you are reading this on your phone between bands at Sled Island right now, unless you are like me and stuck in Edmonton. And if you are stuck like me in Edmonton, good news… there’s lots of rad new records to stick in your ear this weekend!!!!

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out our new webstore… if not CHECK IT OUT!  The inventory is live with the shop, so if it’s in stock there, it’s in stock in the store. We have an instore pick up option, so if you are local, but going out of town, or just don’t want to miss out on something, by all means, buy it through the site and it’ll be here waiting for you when you have time to get in.

…..pick of the week…..


Kamasi Washington: Heaven & Earth (Young Turk) 4LP
Kamasi Washington’s sophomore album Heaven and Earth is the sequel to his critically acclaimed debut The Epic, and consists of two halves where the groundbreaking artist explores the realities and cosmic themes of life. The album is about Washington’s settlement with today’s global chaotic states, as well as his vision for the future. Heaven and Earth not only fulfills its overarching ambition, but illustrates the dialectic between seen and unseen, real and imagined, citizen and culture, self and self, as well as self and other, and does so through the lens of a mature but never jaded revolutionary consciousness. Washington gathered his band, The Next Step, along with members of the well-established collective The West Coast Get Down in Henson Studios in Los Angeles to record the album’s 16 tracks. The artist’s own words best convey the inspiration behind this monolith of an album: “The world that my mind lives in, lives in my mind. This idea inspired me to make this album Heaven and Earth. The reality we experience is a mere creation of our consciousness, but our consciousness creates this reality based on those very same experiences. We are simultaneously the creators of our personal universe and creations of our personal universe. The Earth side of this album represents the world as I see it outwardly, the world that I am a part of. The Heaven side of this album represents the world as I see it inwardly, the world that is a part of me. Who I am and the choices I make lie somewhere in between.” Over 2.5 hours worth of music across 4 pieces of vinyl housed within a be-spoke gatefold sleeve.

File Under: Jazz, Funk, Fusion
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…..new arrivals…..

purple blue

Eric’s Trip: Purple Blue (Sub Pop) LP
Hailing from Moncton, New Brunswick, indie rockers Eric’s Trip formed in 1990 when musicians Rick White and Christopher Thompson of The Forest joined Julie Doiron and Ed Vaughan (who was later replaced by Mark Gaudet of Purple Knight). The first Canadian band signed to Sub Pop Records, White described their sound as “sappy melodic pop music on top of thick distortion.” 1996’s Purple Blue is the group’s third album, issued just prior to their first break up. The psych and noise flavored anthemic pop affair served as the only record where Eric’s Trip recorded together rather than White piecemealing individual parts, as on their first two albums. It’s been out of print on vinyl since its original pressing.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Eric’s Trip: Forever Again (Sub Pop) LP
Hailing from Moncton, New Brunswick, indie rockers Eric’s Trip formed in 1990 when musicians Rick White and Christopher Thompson of The Forest joined Julie Doiron and Ed Vaughan (who was later replaced by Mark Gaudet of Purple Knight). The first Canadian band signed to Sub Pop Records, White described their sound as “sappy melodic pop music on top of thick distortion.” The raw and emotional Forever Again (1994) is the group’s second full-length effort and follow-up to their Sub Pop debut Love Tara (1993), recorded in 1994 at White’s home  studio, Stereo Mountain. It’s been out of print on vinyl since its original pressing. Eric’s Trip broke up in 1996 and subsequently reunited in 2001, and again in 2006.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Express Rising: Fixed Rope II (Numero) LP
The fourth Express Rising LP (and second featuring the expanded lineup of William Suran and Kevin Blagg, in addition to leader Dante Carfagna) finds the trio largely eschewing percussion in favor of twelve concise, three-minute-or-so-long bittersweet excursions that nevertheless retain the restrained, measured, and highly melodic scaffolding of their previous work. There’s more than a bit of Santo & Johnny at their most somnambulant on Fixed Rope II, slightly glazed, definitely reverbed out, mysteriously bottling the flaring, saturated light of the desert at dusk.

File Under: Experimental, Post Rock
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Natalie Prass: Future and the Past (ATO) LP
Natalie Prass had her new album written, her band ready, the recording studio booked. Then the 2016 election happened, and out of her despair and disappointment in those results came an impulse she could not ignore: she rewrote the album to reflect these swirling emotions. The result is The Future and The Past, a stunning snapshot of a musician in a state of personal rediscovery and surging femininity. The celebratory and defiant collection also signals a significant artistic leap for Prass on the heels of her 2015 breakthrough debut. It finds Prass tapping into deep, dancey grooves that glisten with ’80s pop and ’90s R&B, nestled alongside quivering, lushly orchestrated ballads. Like her debut album, Prass made The Future and The Past in Richmond, VA with long-time friend and collaborator Matthew E. White at his Spacebomb Studios. She added some new collaborations to the mix as well: Blue (Solange’s A Seat At The Table, Blood Orange, Carly Rae Jepsen) and Michael Brauer (Elle King and James Bay). The Future and the Past is ripe with a myriad of grooves, string orchestrations, piano flourishes, snaking synth lines and fuzzed out guitars while Natalie’s vocals float on top, light as a feather and tough as nails. “Short Court Style” dials the tempo into 90s R&B territory – punctuated by handclaps, sampled “woos,” and a Dr. Dre-esque whistling synth line. Lyrically she wields a sharp knife as well on the love torn “Lost” and the empowering feminist anthem “Sisters.”

File Under: Rock, Pop
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Happy Rhodes: Ectotrophia (Numero) LP
The first authoritative compilation of American dream pop artist Happy Rhodes, whose singular songwriting and 4-octave vocal range emanated from the pastoral confines of upstate New York in the ’80s. Her melding of classical music influences with synthesizer and acoustic guitar, and her enchanting and idiosyncratic singing, are favorably compared to heralded English chanteuse Kate Bush. Fans of such artistic pop music would be remiss to overlook Rhodes’s similarly remarkable and otherworldly sonic transmissions, traversing tales of dreamers, outsiders, lovers and other lovely and terrifying creatures born of a wellspring of wild creativity and bold imagination. Affectionately remastered from the original tapes, Ectotrophia gathers essential songs from Rhodes’s mid-’80s salad days, many written when she was just a teenager – wildly ahead of her time and unafraid to bare her soul to regional audiences, the ectophiles who’d eventually coin an entire subgenre of pop music in her honor. Dive deep into ecto, with the woman who started it all!

File Under: Indie Rock, Dream Pop
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Sleep: The Sciences (Third Man) LP
Finally a good stack of these in! Sleep unleashes their first full-length album of new recordings since 1998 on Third Man Records. Years after the release of Volume One in 1991, Sleep’s Holy Mountain in 1992 and Dopesmoker in 2003, the sonic titans reaffirm their place at the top of the riff pyramid with the brand-new six-track double album masterpiece, The Sciences. Featuring guitarist Matt Pike (High On Fire), bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (Om) and new drummer Jason Roeder (Neurosis), “This is Dopesmoker Beyond the Thunderdome, a lawless, yet demanding exploration of Sleep’s stock-and-trade, and hopefully just the hazy horizon of riffs to come” (NPR Music).

File Under: Metal, Stoner
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David Sylvian & Holger Czukay: Plight, Premonition, Flux & Mutability (Gronland) LP
Groenland reissues one of ambient music’s hidden gems, by two unique musicians whose paths crossed in the early-80s while working on David Sylvian’s debut solo album, Brilliant Trees. In 1986, Sylvian – of British Art-Pop band Japan – and Holger Czukay – founding member and bassist in legendary German Kosmiche band Can – were ostensibly reconvening for Sylvian to record a vocal for Czukay’s Rome Remains Rome. But on arriving at Czukay’s studio – a former cinema in Köln – Sylvian began playing freeform, improvising on readily available instruments located in the studio itself. No sooner had Sylvian started to structurally define/refine the performance than Czukay would stop the recording he’d surreptitiously been making. Czukay had attempted to capture the process of creation without a musician’s inclination for refinement. This process, drawn out over two nights, gave birth to the duo’s first, full-fledged, collaboration, “Plight and Premonition.” Having been out of print for some time, the parallels between the original release 30 years ago and now are quite stark; at the time of recording the Cold War was lifting – but still very real – after a bitter winter. The names “Plight & Premonition” and “Flux & Mutability” themselves hint at an instability. In Sylvian’s words, the sessions seemed to touch on something: “A form of music that seemed to have been created while we were absent by instruments abandoned to the earth and the woods, sounded by the coarse winter elements.” The version of “Plight and Premonition” included here is a new mix by Sylvian from 2002. All the recordings have been fully remastered. The packaging has been redesigned by Chris Bigg with Art Direction by Sylvian with new, previously unseen, photographs by Yuka Fujii, accompanied by an extensive essay by David Toop. Originally released separately, they are now packaged in a 2LP set.

 File Under: Ambient
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Piero Umiliani: Grazie! (Nature Sounds) LP
Nature Sounds is proud to present GRAZIE! – A quintessential and truly unique approach to the work of legendary Italian composer, Piero Umiliani. Understandably inspired by a recent whirlwind Italo-adventure to both meet the maestro’s family and friends, as well as to visit his Sound Work Shop, renowned soundtrack and library record collector Mike Wallace immediately got to work compiling and mixing an all Umiliani DJ mix. The result is a fitting tribute and sonic treat for the senses: a double-LP compilation album and mix CD consisting of a prime selection of Umiliani’s soundtrack and library work, meticulously sourced off iconic rarities, and including classic tracks such as “Lady Magnolia”, “Nostalgia”, “Chaser”, and many more. Limited to only 1000 copies, GRAZIE! is sure to become an indispensable addition to the record collections of Italian soundtrack and library music aficionados worldwide.

File Under: Library, OST
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Zeal & Ardor: Stranger Fruit (MVKA) LP
Creative firebrand Manuel Gagneux returns with the brand new Zeal & Ardor album Stranger Fruit. Mixing blues, gospel, and soul with harsher music has opened up a world of possibilities for Gagneux. Previously creating as a one man solo effort, the immense interest and critical acclaim Zeal & Ardor attracted upon release of debut album Devil Is Fine, has led to the project becoming a fully-fledged, internationally-touring band. After months hidden away, crafting the new songs for Stranger Fruit, Gagneux entered the studio with producer Zebo Adam and mixer Kurt Ballou (Converge, Kvelertak, Nails). While the finished sound is larger and heavier, it’s still unmistakably Zeal & Ardor. The diverse yet cohesive nature of the sixteen tracks on Stranger Fruit is designed to encourage the listener to dig a little deeper and find their own meaning in its words. In contrast to first LP Devil Is Fine, these songs are deliberately intended to play off each other both lyrically and musically. While the record seethes with a justifiable rage, its wider-reaching aim is to unify, not divide, and to inspire action, not inertia. Elements of a bleak melancholy are tempered by hope. Superficially, the album tells small isolated stories, but there are also references to the Goetia, Yoruba, and obscure occult literature and history within.

File Under: Metal
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Various: This is Soul (Atlantic) LP
Appearing first in the UK in 1968, This Is Soul was an immediate success. The compilation features the best of Stax and Atlantic artists, at a time when mainstream radio was not focused on soul music, and buying a compilation like this was UK’s first introduction to the great soul music from the US. This reissue is a replica of the original release, in mono, starting and ending with Wilson Pickett and featuring the likes of Ben E. King, Sam & Dave and Percy Sledge.

File Under: Soul, Funk RnB


Big Black: Headache (Touch & Go) 12″
Bill Callahan: Sometimes I Wish I Were an Eagle (Drag City) LP
Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City) LP
Kenny Dorham: Afro-Cuban
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (Westbound) LP
Funkadelic: America Eats Its Young (Westbound) LP
Funkadelic: Cosmic Slop (Westbound) LP
Massive Attack: Heligoland (EMI) LP
Lee Morgan: Cornbread (Blue Note) LP
Lee Morgan: Sidewinder (Blue Note) LP
Lee Morgan: Search for the New Land (Blue Note) LP
Neutral Milk Hotel: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (Merge) LP
Liz Phair: s/t (Universal) LP
Tom Petty: Full Moon Fever (Universal) LP
Lou Reed: Berlin (Legacy) LP
Lou Reed: Coney Island (Legacy) LP
Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (Abkco) LP
Yasuaki Shimizu: Kakashi (Palto Flats) LP
Smog: Red Apple Falls (Drag City) LP
Cecil Taylor: Conquistador (Blue Note) LP
Various: Don’t Stop Recording Tap (Numero) LP
Various: Drive (Lakeshore) LP
Various: Technicolor Paradise (Numero) Box
Various: Westbound Disco (Westbound) LP

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