Well, another classic short week = short news letter kinda week around here. Still, do you need much more than a new Kurt Vile, and Fucked Up?
…..pick of the week…..
Zacht Automaat: Memory of the World (Alicia’s Klassic Kool Shoppe) LP
In tomorrow… Super awesome psych/krautrock from Toronto. “Recorded 2017 at ELECTRONICS COMPASSIONATE HOUSE while M__ M___ visited from Oxford and a bit more after he left. This is a wonderfully compact pop masterpiece and a sprawling psychedelic exploration. We consider it our best work and are delighted to offer it to you.”
File Under: Krautrock, Rock, Psych
William Basinski & Lawrence English: Selva Obscura (Temporary Residence) LP
For over half a decade, William Basinski and Lawrence English have been in regular contact with one another. During that time their paths have crossed repeatedly in various cities; Zagreb, Los Angeles, Hobart and more, in a variety situations. It was from these chance encounters – and the strange familiar of lives lived in transit – that their first collaboration, Selva Oscura, was seeded. The phrase draws its root from Dante’s Inferno. Literally translated as “twilight forest,” it metaphorically speaks to both those who find themselves on the unfamiliar path and more explicitly the nature of losing one’s way in place and time. Each of the extended pieces on this record maps an acoustic topography that draws on the concept of drifting into the strange familiar. The works each dwell in an ever shifting, yet fundamentally constant state of unfolding. As one sound fades away, another is revealed in its place, creating a sense of an eternal reveal. Selva Oscura was recorded in Brisbane and Los Angeles simultaneously. The compositions were each created through a process of iteration and rearrangement that inverted the micro and macro characteristics of the raw sonic materials. Dynamics and density were chiseled with restraint and at other times intensely reductionist approaches to create a limitlessly deep, but open sound field – as rich as the suggested place from which its title is drawn.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Kath Bloom & Loren Connors: Restless Faithful Desperate
(Chapter Music) LP
The extraordinary creative partnership of New Haven, CT duo Kath Bloom and Loren Connors has haunted psych-folk fans since the early 80s. Kath taught herself guitar during shifts as a janitor at a New Haven cemetery, while Loren’s free-form idiosyncratic style had been developing since the late 60s. Between 1981 and 1984, the duo recorded two live and four studio albums, mostly self-released in tiny quantities. Early on, their music mixed folk and blues traditionals with a handful of Kath’s vulnerable, moving originals. By the later albums the songs were all Kath’s – her fragile voice and subdued finger-picking set against Loren’s abstract but always supportive playing. Together the duo created a sound almost impossibly emotional and haunting. Restless Faithful Desperate emerged in 1984, in an edition of 200-300 copies. As her creativity accelerated, Kath’s songs became looser and more intuitive, but Restless contains one of her most gorgeously realised compositions, Look at Me. Loren’s long-term collaborator Robert Crotty contributed electric guitar on a couple of tracks. By 1984, however, Kath was married with a young son, and Connors was entering a new relationship, so the duo found themselves drifting apart. Kath did not release anything again until a 1993 solo cassette Love Explosion, but then developed a devoted cult following through the pivotal use of her song Come Here in Richard Linklater’s 1995 film Before Sunrise. Kath has since released three solo albums on Chapter Music (Finallyin 2005, Terror in 2008 and Pass Through Here in 2015), as well as the Bloom tribute album Loving Takes This Course, featuring covers by the likes of Bill Callahan, Mark Kozelek, Devendra Banhart, Josephine Foster and many more. She has also recorded two albums and an EP for Mark Kozelek’s Caldo Verde records. Loren also retreated from music for a period until re-emerging in the late 1980s. He is now recognised as a pioneering guitar explorer, and has worked with the likes of Thurston Moore, Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke and many more. After reissuing four of Kath & Loren’s landmark albums on CD in the late 2000s, Chapter now embarks on the first ever vinyl reissues for these remarkable records. Expect more volumes in early 2019. This album includes a digital-only bonus track of 1982 compilation track Tell Him. Each LP will include digital bonus material.
File Under: Folk, Psych
DJ Shadow: The Private Press (Island) LP
Deluxe gatefold sleeve reissue of this truly unmissable DJ Shadow album from 2002. Combines crazy B-boy Breaks, DJ Cut-Ups, sublime Hip Hop instrumentals, oddball Samples with quirky beats and Leftfield Rock weirdness. Classic & epic music from DJ Shadow.
File Under: Hip hop
Fucked Up: Dose Your Dreams (Arts & Crafts) LP/DLX LP
In tomorrow… “I was sent an unfinished version of Dose Your Dreams so that I might contribute string parts. I couldn’t stop listening to the rough mixes I received. A friend asked me how the record was. I replied, “My God, Fucked Up have made their Screamadelica.” And psych-rock-groove it is. The drums mixed wide, propensity for drones, for delay pedal, for repetition, groove. The politics and aesthetics of hardcore married to an “open format” approach to genre. Elements of doo-wop, krautrock, groove, digital hardcore. “None of Your Business Man” opens the album in familiar enough territory, a sax-assisted exit from an office space. But things get psychedelic very quickly. By the time the title track arrives, Mike Haliechuk is whispering, wah pedals are in full effect, and we’re wearing oversized t-shirts and pinwheeling. “Accelerate,” the lyrical centerpiece of the album, storms in like Boredoms on a bullet train and dissolves into a digital nightmare. The album closer, “Joy Stops Time,” finds Fucked Up at their most Düsseldorfian, nearly eight minutes of blissful motorik. “At the center of it all is Damian Abraham’s scream – a man chained, a man tortured, a true protagonist. The effect is one of an epic, every chapter attempting its own narrative devices, its own genre hybridization – and it works, it works so insanely well. The drama unfolds like a miniature world of many parts being explored, a map being illuminated, location by location. As with David Comes to Life, there is a story here. David – who once came to life – is now indentured to a desk job. David meets the elderly Joyce who closes his eyes, opens his mind, and sends him on a spiritual journey. David embarks on his own metaphysical odyssey. He sees a stage adaptation of his own life. He speaks to an angel in a lightbulb. He sees an infinite series of universes as simulations within simulations. “Meanwhile, Lloyd – Joyce’s lover – was sent, decades ago, by Joyce on the same odyssey, but was lost in the void. Lloyd seeks to be found and reunited with his lover. Where will David end up? Will Joyce and Lloyd be reunited? Dose Your Dreams – meaning: treat your dreams as you would a dream, allow yourself to be lost within them, allow them to open your heart and your mind, enjoy them as you would a drug. Reach out for my hand and pull me close.” – Owen Pallett
File Under: Punk
Los Campensinos: Hold on Now, Youngster (Arts & Crafts) LP
In tomorrow… Los Campesinos! first album, February 2008’s ‘Hold On Now, Youngster…’ has been remastered and is available to buy again on vinyl for the first time in many years. This deluxe version comes in the original gatefold design but with an additional C and D side, featuring flotsam, jetsam and spindrift from the era. Each piece of vinyl is 180g heavyweight, and the album comes with a download code for all the remastered tracks, plus lyric sheet.
File Under: Indie Rock
Los Campensinos: We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (Arts & Crafts) LP
In tomorrow… Available for the first time on vinyl outside of North America, here comes the remaster of our second studio album, from October 2008, ‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’. Previously only available on import or the black market, it’s now available on 180g heavyweight vinyl, and comes with lyric sheet and download code.
File Under: Indie Rock
Joe Strummer: 01 (Ignition) Box
In tomorrow… Punk pioneer, singer, songwriter, recording artist, activist, musical and political inspiration for a generation and mighty diamond Joe Strummer was the most charismatic and passionate frontman to emerge from the punk explosion of the late ’70s. After Joe’s untimely death in December 2002 it was discovered that he had been an archivist of his own work, having barns full of writings and tapes stored in his back garden. The archiving of this material and compiling of Joe Strummer 001 was overseen by Joe’s widow Luce and Robert Gordon McHarg III. Featuring 32-tracks, Joe Strummer 001 is the first compilation to span Strummer’s career outside of his recordings with The Clash collecting fan favorites from his recordings with the 101ers and The Mescaleros, his solo albums, soundtrack work plus an album of 12 unreleased songs. The previously unreleased material includes an early demo of “This Is England” entitled “Czechoslovak Song/Where Is England,” a solo demo of “Letsagetabitarockin” recorded in Elgin Avenue in 1975, outtakes from Sid & Nancy featuring Mick Jones and unreleased songs “Rose Of Erin,” the biographical and mythical recording “The Cool Impossible” and “London Is Burning” one of the last songs Joe recorded. This 180g 4LP box set edition includes all three Joe Strummer 001 albums – each in their own single sleeve and combined in to one wide-spined outer sleeve – all featuring restored and remastered audio by Grammy award winning Peter J Moore. Also included is an additional 180g heavyweight 12″ single of the previously unreleased “U.S North.” All four vinyl discs come packaged together into outer slipcase, sealed on one side.
File Under: Punk
System of a Down: s/t (American) LP
The intensity of metal, the social commentary of rap and a plethora of influences – ranging from the band’s Armenian heritage to jazz to Middle Eastern melodies to the nightly news – has made System Of A Down an international powerhouse. The members’ shared and diverse musical and personal experiences created such an explosive musical mine field of such volatile, incendiary ferocity that Rick Rubin elected to sign and produce the group as the first new act on American Recordings under a pact with Columbia Records. The Los Angeles, CA outfit delivers a thrilling mix of thrash metal, sharp lyrics and unusual melodies on their platinum certified eponymous 1998 debut. Full of powerful guitar work and vicious screams, System of a Down is intelligent rock with a rebellious spirit as encapsulated on the name making singles “Sugar” and “Spiders.”
File Under: Metal
System of a Down: Steal This Album (American) LP
The intensity of metal, the social commentary of rap and a plethora of influences – ranging from the band’s Armenian heritage to jazz to Middle Eastern melodies to the nightly news – has made System Of A Down an international powerhouse. The members’ shared and diverse musical and personal experiences created such an explosive musical mine field of such volatile, incendiary ferocity that Rick Rubin elected to sign and produce the group as the first new act on American Recordings under a pact with Columbia Records. 2002’s Steal This Album!, System Of A Down’s platinum certified third full-length release, is an archival collection of material the band recorded from the mid-1990s through 2001 yet stressed as not being “B-sides or outtakes.” Praised as some of the band’s finest work, the 18-track, 2LP affair is as fluidly diverse and impactful as anything in their catalog.
File Under: Metal
Teenage Fanclub: Songs from Northern Britain (Sony) LP
Songs From Northern Britain gave Teenage Fanclub their highest ever UK Chart placing (No. 3) on release in 1997. The LP shifts focus to a cleaner pop sound than previous efforts, adding lush orchestrations to tracks like “Planets” while retaining their ability to blend beautiful harmonies and gives it an optimistic and happy mood – as close to a summer album as they have ever made. It’s the sound of a band maturing and being totally comfortable in their own skin. Exhibiting a classic contemporary sound that ages extremely well, tracks like the UK Top 20 hit “Ain’t That Enough” and “Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From” remain firm live favorites. Remastered from the original tapes at Abbey Road Studios, London under the guidance of the band and packaged in a faithful re-production of the original vinyl artwork. The band has also selected rarities, favorites and tracks previously unavailable on vinyl to include as a bonus 7″ with the album. The 7″ single features two tracks and will only be available with the initial pressing of each album.
File Under: Indie Rock
Kurt Vile: Bottle It In (Matador) LP
Travel can inspire in surprising ways: Kurt Vile discovered as much making his first record in three years, the eclectic and electrifying Bottle It In, which he recorded at various studios around the country over two very busy years, during sessions that usually punctuated the ends of long tours or family road trips. Every song, whether it’s a concise and catchy pop composition or a sprawling guitar epic, becomes a journey unto itself, taking unexpected detours, circuitous melodic avenues, or open-highway solos. If Vile has become something of a rock guitar god – a mantle he would dismiss out of humility but also out of a desire to keep getting better, to continue absorbing new music, new sounds, new ideas – it’s due to his precise, witty playing style, which turns every riff and rhythm into points on a map and takes the scenic route from one to the next. Using past albums as points of departure, Bottle It In heads off in new directions, pushing at the edges of the map into unexplored territory: Here be monster jams. These songs show an artist who is still evolving and growing: a songwriter who, like his hero John Prine, can make you laugh and break your heart, often in the same line, as well as a vocalist who essentially rewrites those songs whenever he sings them in his wise, laconic jive-talkin’ drawl. He revels in the minutiae of the music – not simply incorporating new instruments but emphasizing how they interact with his guitar and voice, how the glockenspiel evokes cirrocumulus clouds on “Hysteria,” how Kim Gordon’s “acoustic guitar distortion” (her term) engulfs everything at the end of “Mutinies,” how the banjo curls around his guitar lines and backing vocals from Lucius to lend a high-lonesome aura to “Come Again.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Colter Wall: Songs of the Plains (Young Mary) LP
After two years of relentless touring, Colter Wall wanted to make an album about home. Drawing on the stories of Saskatchewan, Canada, the young songwriter’s corner of the world takes shape throughout his second full-length album, Songs of the Plains. Produced by Dave Cobb in Nashville’s Studio A, the project combines striking original folk songs, well-chosen outside cuts, and a couple of traditional songs that reflect his roots growing up in the small city of Swift Current. Wall captures the spaciousness of the Canadian plains by relying on minimal production and his resonant baritone, which he’s strengthened into a mighty instrument in its own right. It’s a deep and knowing voice you wouldn’t expect of a man who’s not yet 24 years old. Songs of the Plains begins with “Plain to See Plainsman,” a sincere portrait of a man whose rural heritage follows him into the greater world. As Wall lists the kinds of people he meets on the road – beautiful women, bikers, junkies, hippies – it’s easy to imagine the autobiographical component. The darkly comical “Saskatchewan in 1881” recalls a stubborn encounter between a Toronto businessman and a steadfast farmer who cultivates the province’s land. And although Wall racked up a body count on his prior album, this time he stops just short of killing the title character in “John Beyers (Camaro Song),” which he says is inspired by true events. Evoking the most remote reaches of the plains, “Wild Dogs” sounds like a cinematic Colter Wall composition, but he actually first heard the Billy Don Burns song in Little Rock, AR. He found himself captivated by its minor-chord progression, no rhyme scheme, and unique perspective of being told from the dog’s point of view. As a folk singer, Wall places equal importance on crafting songs as well as carrying older songs into the present day. That sense of tradition is part of the reason he recorded Canadian folk hero Wilf Carter’s “Calgary Round-Up,” a snapshot of the iconic Calgary Stampede. To make it his own, he put a Western Swing feel to it and brought in steel guitarist Lloyd Green and harmonica player Mickey Raphael. Through his favorite folk singer, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Wall discovered “Night Herding Song.” Because the song was a cappella, and because Wall doesn’t wear headphones when he records, he couldn’t nail down the campfire vibe inside the sprawling Studio A. So, for this track only, he went to Cobb’s house, started a fire in the outdoor fireplace, and recorded it on the spot. The immediacy of his voice is unmistakable. Wall says he spent the last three or four years trying to get better as a singer. By putting in the work, his range is now far more dynamic and expressive. He describes the vocal development as “less gravel, without losing the baritone that I’ve developed over the years.” Meanwhile, Wall’s ability as a songwriter is especially clear in the second half of Songs of the Plains. “Wild Bill Hickok” distills that legendary gunfighter’s epic life and death into less than three minutes. While “The Trains Are Gone” laments the loss of an era, “Thinkin’ on a Woman” hints at a heartbreak as a truck driver concocts a lethal combination of whiskey, wine, and a mountain road. Wall turns far more introspective on “Manitoba Man,” a devastating song he wrote about a dark period in his life. The desperation in that track quickly gives way to the outrageous traditional song, “Tying Knots in the Devil’s Tail,” featuring verses from Blake Berglund and Corb Lund. “I went into the studio and knew exactly the story I wanted to tell,” Colter says of Songs of the Plains. “That made it easier on a sonic level and a musical level, to be able to tell Dave that it’s a record about my home. That changes it at the roots level because it’s like having a mission statement, saying, ‘All right, let’s make a Western album.'”
File Under: Country
Arcade Fire: Everything Now (Sonovox) LP
Death Grips: Bottomless Pit (Harvest) LP
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma (Warp) LP
Arve Henriksen: Cartography (ECM) LP
Lauren Hill: Miseducation of (Legacy) LP
Pharoah Sanders: Thembi (Impulse) LP
Siouxsie & the Banshees: Juju (Universal) LP
Sunn o))): White 1 (Southern Lord) LP
Sunn o))): White 2 (Southern Lord) LP