…..news letter #857 – doggin’ it…..

Well we’re really in the thick of it, the dog days of summer. Not a lot in this week. Everyone is away. Even my whole family, so if you’ve been in this week, you got to see our dog! Anywno, hope you are having a smashing summer and enjoying the heat, if you need to cool down, our A/C is cranked. Come down for a dig.

…..picks of the week…..


Beak>: >> (Temporary Residence) LP
To celebrate the addition of Bristol’s preeminent out-rock trio, Beak>, to the Temporary Residence family, the label reissues their acclaimed second album >> on audiophile-quality double vinyl. Remastered for the format by Josh Bonati, and packaged in a heavyweight foil-stamped jacket, >> includes the original album in its entirety, as well as a vinyl-only bonus track not available on the CD or Digital formats. Following the release of his Quakers hip-hop project, and the Judge Dredd-inspired Drokk soundtrack collaboration, Geoff Barrow unveiled the 2012 second album by Beak>, the krautrock-influenced band formed with Billy Fuller and Matt Williams in 2009. There is an accepted music industry strategy, mainly from the mouths of experienced music managers and A&R men, that for a band to get ready to present themselves to the world they should go on tour. In most cases this advice works; the band hone their craft on the road so by the time they get on to late-night TV and summer festivals, they can amaze with their slick, tight rock performance. However, this doesn’t always work. Beak> recorded their eponymous debut in Bristol, created from 12 days of improv sessions and then edited into song form. Shorty after releasing it, the band went on a successful tour, playing various festival dates across Europe and the U.S. Buzzing from the tour, Beak> promptly returned to the studio to start work on album No. 2, only to find that the time on the road had taken its toll on the band’s delicately sensitive and creative nature – and, by consequence, had turned them into a truly awful-sounding pub prog-rock band. The magic had gone. It seemed that the band were thoroughly moribund. Until…one rainy afternoon in Bristol – after many tortured, truly terrible recording sessions – something changed. It may have been the diesel fumes from the band’s tour splitter bus had finally worn off; others say that the band simply turned their amplifiers down. We may never know the true events of that afternoon, but the band began to play and, once again as before, their bleak, wobbly, anti-blue note sound had returned – now with more synthesizers. And once again as before, it was all recorded live in one room (with very few overdubs).

File Under: Krautrock, Electronic, Portishead
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MKWAJU Ensemble: KI-Motion (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records present the official reissue of legendary album KI-Motion by Japanese percussionist Midori Takada’s MKWAJU Ensemble, originally released in 1981. A highly creative and transcendental fusion of marimba, vibraphone, bamboo percussion, and synthesizers, KI-Motion was recorded in 1981 and captures the birth of Midori Takada’s exploration of minimalism, African rhythmic tradition, and ambient music. The album takes its conceptual inspiration from the tamarind (“mkwaju” in Swahili), a drought resistant tree notably used to craft some of the first mallets and marimbas but also known for its culinary and medical uses, an essential symbol of life and identity for the Central African grasslands. Drawing from the region’s culture and music as well as the crucial notion that rhythms represent the very fabric of life, Midori Takada leads her ensemble into environmental heaven to create one of the highlights of her recording career and an absolute must-have from the golden age of Japanese ambient — the ideal companion to her majestic opus from 1983, Through The Looking Glass. Sourced from the original masters.

File Under: Japan, Percussion, Experimental, Ambient
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…..new arrivals…..


Boards of Canada: Hi Scores (Skam) LP
Vinyl version with double-sided 12″ poster. Skam Records are very proud to announce the re-release of Boards Of Canada’s Hi Scores. Originally released in 1996, Hi Scores constitutes Boards Of Canada’s second official release after 1995’s Twoism. This follows the reissue of their other seminal records by Warp in 2013. The new edition has been re-recorded and re-mastered from the original DAT tapes and has been re-cut onto heavyweight collector’s edition vinyl. The original image on the back of the sleeve is now in color. Spot varnish finish on the images & text alongside the usual Skam Braille sticker.

File Under: Electronic, Downtempo
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Death: Leprosy (Relapse) LP
Death’s immensely influential second effort Leprosy, originally released in 1988, was a pioneering album which built upon the thrash sounds of trailblazers like Metallica and Slayer but added in a previously unheard level of raw extremity. These songs are the roots of an entire genre: death metal. While this was only Death’s second full-length record, it immediately cemented them as heavy metal icons. This 30th Anniversary colored 2LP reissue features expanded packaging and a bonus disc with 10 Leprosy 1987 rehearsal recordings!

File Under: Metal
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Digable Planets: Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time & Space)
(Modern Classics) LP
Back in stock!! At a time when hip-hop was determined to snap your neck, a young, hip trio from Brooklyn (by way of Seattle, Philly, and Brazil) conspired on an uncommonly smooth new sound and freaky way of speak, a titanically chill expression of Black bohemia loaded with jazz idiom and a subversive Marxist bent—and pushed it worldwide via an undeniable crossover hit. Digable Planets’ 1993 debut, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), unexpected to all involved, produced a massive radio hit in “Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)”, which won the 1994 Grammy for Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group. Unduly lumped into an “alternative rap” subgenre they chafed at, the Dig Plans were dismissed by some as one-hit wonders, coming out of nowhere; but the Digable Planets concept, and what became Reachin’, had been in the works for close to five years, as group leader Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler wrote music and soaked up game in multiple cities, navigating the industry of hip-hop’s golden age. In the end, Butler, Mary Anne “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira, and Craig “Doodlebug” Irving came together to create a seamlessly articulated vision of urbane hiphop cool with an uncommonly literary bent that subtly pushed the hip-hop genre’s frames of reference and added breadth to rap music’s burgeoning political philosophy. Drawing on inspiration from Butler’s jazzbo father, the Black Panthers, Jose Luis-Borges, the Last Poets, and Jimi Hendrix, Reachin’ posited a theory of “universal beats”, narrated by three unearthly MC’s that had “split to Earth to resurrect the funk”, assuming curious, arthropodic aliases—a nod to the natual collective action of the insect world. In just four years the crew would record two beloved and ambitious LPs before disbanding. Out of print on wax domestically since 1993, Reachin’ captures one of the last gasps of rap music’s jazzy, upbeat adolescence in the early 90’s—those warm, blissed-out grooves every bit as slick as when they were laid way back when. Put this on, roll up with your crew and bug out again with the insect tribe.

File Under: Hip Hop
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Index: Originals Volume 1 (Lion) LP
All of the original compositions from the band’s two self-released holy grails of psychedelia (the Black Album and the Red Album, from 1967-68) combined into one collection—all newly transferred from the original tapes! Most of you have no doubt heard of records that have been touted as “mind blowing”, “fuzz monsters”, or “lost/undiscovered classics”. The raves rarely turn out to be justified. That’s certainly not the case with the music of Index—if anything, the raves underplay the essence of the band’s music, which is seething with cavernous reverb, snaky guitar lines, and downer lyrics. It is fantastically minimalist, starkly atmospheric, and sprinkled with ferocious guitar work. In the mid 1960’s, Detroit Michigan was a thriving industrial city. But the great ethnic diversity in the inner city was a brewing powder keg of civil unrest. This, coupled with a disillusioned population struggling to make some sense of a questionable war in the rice paddies of Viet Nam, set an uneasy and troubling tempo for the future. Still, there were pockets of communities in the Detroit area where things were good and economic life was vibrant. The Grosse Pointes were such communities. It was on the outskirts of this political and racially tense era, in those affluent suburbs just outside Detroit, that Index was formed. The music of Index has been lauded by (and bootlegged by) music heads for decades, and with good reason: it is unexpected, atmospheric, and “home-made” in the best of all possible ways. The band has a druggie sound, with songs full of feedback and fuzzy guitars, hazy guitar riffs and loud pushy rhythms. And in there amongst the echoing canyons of sound you’ll find some snotty post-punk attitude wrapped up in all that trippy velvet fuzz. It’s a wonderful bleak sound, droning and murky and introspective—the atonal side of late 1960’s rock that would leave the most lasting impression on those who would eventually become punk, post-punk and indie rock… you know, artists like Joy Division or the Fall or Felt to name three out of a thousand.

File Under: Psych, Garage
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Orb: No Sounds Are Out of Bounds (Cooking Vinyl) LP
Alex Paterson’s longstanding electronic titans The Orb present the new album No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds, which as the title suggests finds them embracing an anything-goes new approach to creative freedom. Refreshing and reinventing the predominantly two-man set up with Thomas Fehlmann on the prior two albums (Moonbuilding 2703 AD and COW / Chill Out World!), No Sounds… is intentionally an ensemble piece, featuring a large cast of big names, cult heroes, rising talent and fresh newcomers. Paterson, Fehlmann, Youth, Roger Eno, Hollie Cook and Guy Pratt take star turns, as does heroic bassist Jah Wobble, who returns to the fold following the bassbin-bullying anthem “Blue Room.” Additional supporting roles come from Gaudi, Roney FM and Michael Rendall, plus vocalists Brother Culture, Mary Pearce, Emma Gillespie, Rianna, and Andy Cain – who’s best known for voicing Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald’s deep house gems “I’m Your Brother” and “A New Day.” Despite featuring a cheeky nod to their remix of Primal Scream’s “Higher Than The Sun,” vocal led opener “The End Of The Road” makes it clear this is virgin territory. But despite new paths being forged, Paterson’s omnipresent humor remains on “I Wish I Had A Pretty Dog’s” animalistic rhythm – joined by tablas, strings, half speed beats and bass, which collide like planets in the cosmos. Hollie Cook returns the favor following Alex’s production work on her Vessel Of Love album, lending her vocals to the Battersea-referencing, classic dub house throbber “Rush Hill Road,” alongside Brother Culture. The first of several tracks to feature Roney FM’s plummy, faux vintage BBC voice, “Pillow Fight At Shag Mountain” is airy and bright like stratus on a clear day, bubbling in pleasing fashion through various styles and samples tethered by Wobble’s bass and Eno’s piano, somehow coalescing, making illogical logic in a way only The Orb can. “Isle Of Horns” pares things down to a loping, dusty and organically-minimal piece that’s closer to the last two albums, yet works well as a subtler break from other more maximal moments herein. Driven by Youth’s double bass, “Wolfbane” is a lysergic romp through hip hop across the ages, from Run DMC to Dre to Dilla. It also withholds the anti-war stance expressed on COW, putting vintage nuclear threat back on the menu, thanks to Trump, Jong-un and Putin. Paying homage to another or Alex’s faves is the boom bap of “Doughnuts Forever,” which swings from chilling, pensive atmosphere into reassuringly lush, 50s Hollywood strings and back again. Featuring the singing and poetry of Rianna, the “small dittie” “Drift” offers another pleasant moment of calm reflection, before “Wobble’s phenomenal bassline and Roger’s supreme piano” on “Easy On The Onions” elevates the listener blissfully skywards above Bermondsey and “West Snorewood.” “Ununited States” takes a darker but breathtaking turn, with Eno’s playing taking center stage on what Alex claims is “how the new Blade Runner score should’ve sounded” – and it’s hard to disagree. Ending the album on majestic form is the 15 minute classic opus “Soul Planet,” which finds the vocal axis between divas of house music and Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig In The Sky.” Disembodied voices float in a black hole, before an undulating throb cuts through the darkness, with layers of detail gradually building to a gentle euphoria, before drifting back into the darkness of space, with a lonely piano refrain.

File Under: Electronic
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OST: The Defenders (Mondo) LP
Mondo is proud to present the premiere vinyl pressing of the soundtrack to the Netflix Original Series MARVEL’S THE DEFENDERS. This limited-series event, several years in the making, finds Marvel’s finest street-level heroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist (along with help from various other recurring characters from their respective series) joining forces to take on the sinister organization, The Hand, along with the mysterious yet familiar new recruit (known to them as The Black Sky). Composed by John Paesano (MARVEL’S DAREDEVIL – Season One), the score to THE DEFENDERS takes his work to another level. Incredibly dynamic, serious and still fun, and ominous but still optimistic. Paesano takes the musical world of the four separate comic book superheroes, all dealing with their own sonic demons, and produces a seamlessly shared musical universe for them to co-exist.

File Under: OST
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OST: Johto Legends (Music From Pokemon Gold & Silver) (iam8bit) LP
In collaboration with our pals at Materia Collective & composer/arranger Braxton Burks, iam8bit is proud to present the Johto Legends! 2xLP vinyl – a one-hour orchestral arrangement album featuring the timeless music of Pokémon Gold and Silver! This pairing explores a young Pokémon Trainer’s epic journey across the scenic Johto region – meeting Pokémon friends, going head-to-head with the nefarious Team Rocket, and encountering the legendary guardians of Johto – all told through a stunning musical narrative. Seven incredibly talented musicians with performance pedigrees including Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions and The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses — as well as game scores such as Destiny, Dragon Age, Tomb Raider and Minecraft — will bring this score to life. Accentuating the journey is an epic package design by artist Ryan Brinkerhoff, chock-full of premium trappings like: Premium Foil-Stamped Jacket; Gold/Silver Foil Inner Sleeves; Half-and-Half Color Pokeball Vinyl Discs; and an Epic Gatefold Illustration to be revealed at a later date. The satisfaction of seeing these discs spin on a turntable is hard to pass up. Below is a preview of tracks that will be re-recorded for Johto Legends! Please note that these are synthesized temp tracks and they will be re-recorded with LIVE orchestral instruments in a studio environment for the final record set.

File Under: OST
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Mike Patton: 1922 OST (Ipecac) LP
1922 is based on Stephen King’s 2010 novella of the same name, from his horror anthology Full Dark, No Stars, which tells the story of a man’s confession of his wife’s murder. The tale is told from from the perspective of Wilfred James, the story’s unreliable narrator who admits to killing his wife, Arlette, with his son in Nebraska. But after he buries her body, he finds himself terrorized by rats and, as his life begins to unravel, becomes convinced his wife is haunting him. Presented here on double vinyl courtesy of Ipecac Recordings, Mike Patton’s (Faith No More, Dead Cross, Tomahawk) heavily orchestral original score follows his acclaimed work on the 2012 film The Place Beyond The Pines and is equally haunting and dissonant.

File Under: OST
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Pedro The Lion: Winners Never Quit (Jade Tree) LP
Following a critically acclaimed debut album for Made In Mexico, singer/songwriter David Bazan returned to his Seattle home studio to craft the bulk of 2000’s Winners Never Quit (remastered and reissued on vinyl for the first time in over half a decade) – a haunted collection of material that traces the fictional story of a man who vows to maintain his good name despite a slew of devious activity and malicious intent. Stripped down to a voice and a guitar, Bazan is a modern-day folk champion. Behind a band, he loses his timidity and commands attention with an impassioned voice and a compelling narrative. In either sphere, Bazan is an accomplished artist and unique talent as he displays here. In early 2006, Bazan retired the Pedro The Lion moniker to continue on with solo work under his own name. In December of 2017 Bazan announced that Pedro The Lion will reunite after eleven years for a new album and a worldwide tour.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Zuider Zee: Zeenith (Light in the Attic) LP
An early/mid-1970s group that sound like a hybrid between T-Rex and Big Star, might sound like a band that should be universally adored but Memphis’ Zuider Zee have remained something of an untapped curiosity. Until now. With this first time release of the album Zeenith, recorded between 1972 and ’74 and featuring all previously unheard tracks, the band should no longer be a boxed-up mystery. Prior to Zeenith, Zuider Zee’s 1975 self-titled LP was the only record out there that existed. Released on Columbia, it was hailed as a true great power pop record of the time by groups such as Cheap Trick. “Rick Nielsen called me one night,” Zuider Zee’s Richard Orange recalls. “He was asking about why weren’t we bigger and doing as well as they were. He said: “Man, you’re so damn good, do you know where I have your phone number? I have your number right beneath John Lennon’s number. Fuggin’ John Lennon, Richard!’ Despite love from such bands and a later line-up of Zuider Zee even supporting the Sex Pistols at the Taliesyn Ballroom in Memphis in 1978 – “Sid Vicious stumbling around out of his gourd. It was very unremarkable, the whole event.” remembers Orange – and with Columbia never even releasing a single for radio, Zuider Zee never quite took off and dissolved into the ether of cult band land. However, an untold chapter of the group’s history has now been unearthed as Light In The Attic’s ability to pluck gold from seemingly nowhere continues on this release. Comprised entirely of previously unreleased tracks, Zeenith is an album in which sugar-coated glam stomp nestles up alongside Mersey beat and where rousing power pop, crunchy rock and a undercurrent of pop-peppered psychedelia all merge seamlessly. Childhood pals Richard Orange and Gary Simon Bertrand had matriculated in late ‘60s Lafayette pop-psych outfit, Thomas Edisun’s Electric Light Bulb Band, before joining forces with Kim Foreman and John Bonar. Zuider Zee’s tale wasn’t always destined to be that of a mysterious cult band but they did face some difficulties in from the off, as they found when they moved from Jackson, Mississippi to their new adopted home of Memphis. “When we first rolled into town, we were completely unknown,” says Orange. “We couldn’t get a gig at any of the clubs for what seemed like at least a year or even longer. We were very different from bands in the South. We never covered any Southern rock – apart from The Allman Brothers who we all thought the world of – and as we grew into ourselves we didn’t sound anything like southern rock.” It was Orange’s work ethic that kept the band driven and focused though through such tough times. “I can honestly say that there is one thing Zuider Zee shared with The Beatles experience,” he says. “We played for years in the crappiest most disgusting, dangerous and depressing places, and we played anywhere from 5 to 7 hours, 6 days a week – for years.” A group led by such a hard-working and determined individual is glisteningly apparent on this release. Zeenith feels like a band at that magical juncture between a group perfecting their craft whilst still driven by wide-eyed optimism, youthful energy and a sense of fun that radiates throughout every note played. Ultimately, this was at the core of Zuider Zee’s aims. “Most important is to have fun whilst you’re up there doing it [on stage] because people will feel that joy – it’s electric and contagious and they will react to it.” Something that still feels pertinent over 40 years since it was created.

File Under: Rock, Power Pop, Glam
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Leon Bridges: Good Thing (Columbia) LP
Black Angels: Passover (Light in the Attic) LP
Built to Spill: Perfect From Now On (Unviersal) LP
Michael Chapman: Fully Qualified Survivor (Light in the Attic) LP
Circle: Terminal (Southern Lord) LP
Converge: The Dusk in Us (Deathwish) LP
Karen Dalton: In My Own Time (Light in the Attic) LP
DJ Shadow: Endtroducing (A&M) LP
Lee Hazlewood: Cowboy in Sweden (Light in the Attic) LP
Lee Hazlewood: Forty (Light in the Attic) LP
Lee Hazlewood: LHI Years (Light in the Attic) LP
Lee Hazlewood: Special World of (Light in the Attic) LP
Husker Du: Savage Young Du (Numero) Box
I Marc 4: Nelson Psychout (Vampisoul) LP
Ennio Morricone: Un Esercito di 5 Uomini (AMS) LP
OST: Heartworn Highways (Light in the Attic) LP
OST: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Beatball) LP
Popol Vuh: Nosferatu (Waxwork) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R (Interscope) LP
Shooting Guns: Another Wolfcop (One Way Static) LP
Paul Simon: Graceland (Legacy) LP
Sunn o)): Monoliths & Dimension (Southern Lord) LP
Taake: Noregs Faapen (Peaceville) LP
Toro y Moi: Boo Boo (Carpark) LP
White Zombie: It Came From NYC (Numero) Box
Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch) LP
Link Wray: Be What You Want to (Tidal Wave Music) LP
Link Wray: s/t (Future Days) LP
Various: I Am The Center (Light in the Attic) Box
Various: Microcosm (Light in the Attic) Box
Various: Native North America (Light in the Attic) Box
Various: This Record Belongs to…….. (Light in the Attic) LP
Various: Uneven Path (Music From Memory) LP
Various: Voyager Golden Record (Ozma) Box

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