So much great stuff in, and sitting on my counter! You read, I’ll receive. Come dig!
…..pick of the week…..
Haruomi Hosono: Cochin Moon (Light in the Attic) LP
My top pick of the Hosono reissues, this one is not to be missed! The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono is the auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world, putting his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as an artist, session player, songwriter and producer. Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield. The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums. After the band’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono began his solo career with Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded inside a rented house with recording gear squeezed into its tiny bedroom. Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO). Released in September 1978, a mere two months before YMO’s debut, Cochin Moon is a clear precursor to the groundbreaking synth and sequencer-dominated sounds that would come to define the iconic trio. Credited to Hosono and Pop Art legend Tadanori Yokoo (who created the cover art), Cochin Moon is a fictional soundtrack to a journey into unknown worlds, inspired by Hosono and Yokoo’s trip to India. Initially the album was to be a kind of ethnographic musical document, using found sounds and field recordings made by Hosono himself. Instead, after Yokoo introduced Hosono to the sounds of Kraftwerk and krautrock during the trip, Cochin Moon became something much stranger. Created almost entirely on synthesizers and sequencers with the help of future YMO collaborators Ryuichi Sakamoto and Hideki Matsutake, the music on the album is the perfect encapsulation of Hosono’s concept of “sightseeing music,” transporting the listener to an exotic place that may or may not exist. This highly sought-after album sees its first-ever official release outside of Japan. Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world.
Big Black: Songs About Fucking (Touch & Go) LP
Big Black was started by Steve Albini in 1982 while he was living in Evanston, Illinois, and attending Northwestern University. Contrary to popular belief, Big Black was not Steve’s first band. Prior to forming Big Black, Steve was in a band called Just Ducky, in Montana and a band called Small Irregular Pieces of Aluminum, in Chicago. Lungs, the first Big Black release, was recorded by Steve in 1982 on a borrowed 4-track. He played everything on the EP himself except the sax bleating courtesy of pal John Bohnen and the drums courtesy of Roland. Lungs, was originally issued on the Chicago label Ruthless Records. Soon after, Steve recruited Jeff Pezzati (Naked Raygun) to help him out on bass. Santiago Durango, another founding member of Naked Raygun, joined them on guitar. In 1983, together with live drummer Pat Byrne, they recorded the Bulldozer EP. It was initially released in a limited galvanized metal album jacket on Fever Records. By 1984, the band did some touring and signed a deal with Homestead Records. They recorded one more time with Jeff Pezzati on bass, which resulted in their Homestead debut, the Racer X EP, and the start of the Il Duce 7″. After that, Jeff returned full time to Naked Raygun, and he was replaced with Dave Riley. In 1985, the new trio recorded Big Black’s first full length, Atomizer as well as finishing and releasing the Il Duce 7″. 1986 saw the release of Atomizer, as well as the release the Hammer Party album which was a compilation of the Lungs EP and the Bulldozer EP. Shortly after those releases, freed from their Homestead deal, Big Black signed with Touch and Go and recorded the Headache EP and Heartbeat 7” in the summer of 1986. The first limited pressing of the Headache EP (released in 1987) boasted artwork that would make any of today’s black metal bands foam gleefully at the mouth. 1987 was a very full year for Big Black. The Headache EP and Heartbeat 7” were released. They recorded and released the 7” of “The Model/He’s A Whore,” as well as their second full length album, Songs About Fucking. They toured extensively (for Big Black). And they broke up. To quote the album insert in Songs About Fucking: “Hey, breaking up is an idea that has occurred to far too few groups. Sometimes to the wrong ones.” When they broke up, Santiago Durango decided to go to law school and is now a lawyer. While in law school, he released two EP’s on Touch and Go as Arsenal. Steve Albini went on to form Rapeman, and then Shellac. He also owns and operates Electrical Audio recording studio in Chicago. Big Black’s second and final full-length – Songs About Fucking – has been remastered by Steve Albini and Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering and is reissued here on vinyl with an accompanying MP3 album download.
File Under: Punk
Gary Chandler: Outlook (Tidal Waves) LP
Gary Chandler (born in 1938) started playing professionally in 1960 in the thriving Columbus Ohio club scene with Hank Marr, Don Patterson and Benny Maupin. He worked in the Motown Revue from 1965-67 and led his own group for over a year. Over the following years Chandler joined the bands of Lou Donaldson & Charles Earland where he remained until the recording of his debut album. Producer Bob Porter, who decided it was time for the skilled trumpeter to make a record in his own right, provided him with an all-star line up of musicians to collaborate on the album. ‘Outlook’ features Idris Muhammad on drums (which means a frenzy of funky JB-influenced over-the-top soul-jazz drumming), on bass is the legendary Gordon Edwards (known for his work with James Brown, Weldon Irvine, Funk Inc., Aretha Franklin, etc.) and on guitar we have Cornell Dupree (you all know his opening riff on the intro of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’). Last but least, we have the percussion duties which are handled by Buddy Caldwell (THE session musician for respected labels such as Prestige and who also collaborated on albums by Ceasar Frazier & Melvin Sparks)… speaking of Ceasar Frazier, he’s also featured on ‘Outlook’ with his trademark organ sound. ‘Outlook’ is one long STEAMROLLER groove & one of the true lost soul-jazz-funk classics. Crate diggers and DJs have coveted “Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)” for years, but in truth, damn near every second of the album demands consideration as a sample. All of this is carefully overseen by e ngineer Rudy Van Gelder & producer Bob Porter (known for their work with Herbie Hancock, Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis…and many others). Gary Chandler’s first (and only) album was originally released in 1972 on Eastbound Records, super rare and fetching large sums on the collectors market, now finally back available as a limited deluxe vinyl edition (500 copies) featuring the original artwork and liner notes.
File Under: Jazz, Soul Jazz
Cursive: Vitriola (15 Passenger) LP
Over the past two decades, Cursive has become known for writing smart, tightly woven concept albums where frontman Tim Kasher turns his unflinching gaze on specific, oftentimes challenging themes, and examines them with an incisively brutal honesty. The band’s remarkable eighth full-length, Vitriola, required a different approach — one less rigidly themed and more responsive as the band struggles with existentialism veering towards nihilism and despair; the ways in which society, much like a writer, creates and destroys; and an oncoming dystopia that feels eerily near at hand. For the first time since Happy Hollow, the album reunites Kasher, guitarist/singer Ted Stevens and bassist Matt Maginn with founding drummer Clint Schnase, as well as co-producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, M. Ward, Jenny Lewis) at ARC Studios in Omaha. They’re joined by Patrick Newbery on keys (who’s been a full-time member for years) and touring mainstay Megan Siebe on cello. Schnase and Maginn are in rare form, picking up right where they left off with a rhythmic lockstep of viscera-vibrating bass and toms, providing a foundation for Kasher and Stevens’ intertwining guitars and Newbery and Siebe’s cinematic flourishes. The album runs the sonic gamut between rich, resonant melodicism, Hitchcockian anxiety, and explosive catharsis — and no Cursive album would be complete without scream-along melodies and lyrics that, upon reflection, make for unlikely anthems. There’s a palpable unease that wells beneath Vitriola’s simmering requiems and fist-shakers. Fiery opener “Free To Be or Not To Be You and Me” reflects the album’s core: a search for meaning that keeps coming up empty, and finding the will to keep going despite the fear of a dark future. The record directs frustration and anger at not only modern society and the universe at large, but also inward towards ourselves. On “Under the Rainbow,” disquiet boils into rage that indicts the complacency of the privileged classes; “Ghost Writer” has a catchy pulse that belies Kasher chastising himself for writing about writing; and “Noble Soldier/Dystopian Lament” is a haunting look at potential societal collapse that provides little in the way of hope but balances beauty and horror on the head of a pin. Vitriola raises a stark question: is this it? Is everything simply broken, leaving us hopeless and nihilistic? Maybe not. There can be reassurance in commiseration, and the album is deeply relatable: Cursive may not be offering the answers, but there is hope in knowing you’re not alone in the chaos.
File Under: Indie Rock
Brigitte Fontaine & Areski Belkacem: Vous et Nous (Kythibong) LP
Art is a matter of different phases and influence. The artists’ core reaches out like heat waves. And very rarely do these artists’ core merge like Brigitte Fontaine and Arseki Belkacem have. Their Saravah Era lasted ten years (1969 to 1979), ten years of «folle sagesse» (crazy wisdom), above all genres and song limitation. Released in 1977, this free flowing record contains 33 songs, was their 6th album together, and it continues to spread the wide and generous spectrum of the couple fully blossoming talent. Electronic experiments, North African trance, refined acoustics and medieval drones gracefully blend with the acid and candid tongues of the singers. The making of this record was also full of twists and turns. It started out as a solo effort by Areski at Jean-Pierre Chambard’s studio. Little by little, as Areski was filling tapes with poems and improvised skits, Brigitte would sneak into the studio at nightfall, adding her voice here and there, her whispers then became screams, giving fuel to the fire in a total blaze, a surreal blaze. The solitary work (“je”) thrived to become us (“nous”) and you (“vous”) …
File Under: French, Rock, Experimental
John Gordon: Step by Step (Pure Pleasure) LP
John Gordon, a trombone master, brings us another gem from that most renowned of 70’s record labels, Strata-East. The trombone is a difficult instrument. In the hands of an artist like John Gordon, however, it can create vivid images and conjure up beautiful music. And when the cohort of other players includes the likes of Charles Tolliver & Stanley Cowell, you know you’re in for an extra treat.
File Under: Jazz
Doug Hammond: Reflections in the Sea of Nurnen (Pure Pleasure) LP
An incredible session from the legendary Tribe Records scene — an equal effort from leader Doug Hammond and keyboardist David Durrah, who contributes some ground breaking Fender Rhodes and moog work to the set! Hammond handles drums plus a bit of vocals and synthesizer on the session — working alongside Durrah in a groove that mixes electric and acoustic instrumentation into a totally righteous sound with lots of heavy Afro Jazz leanings. A number of tracks feature great vocals from Hammond — righteous, and with a beautifully soulful message-oriented approach — and a few other tracks, such as the classic “Space I” and “Space II”, feature a sparer all-electric sound. The whole thing’s wonderful — skittishly rhythmic, warmly flowing, and righteously beautiful. Titles include “Sea Of Nurnen”, “Fidalgo Detour”, “Reflections”, “Space II”, and “For Real”. (Dusty Groove, Inc.)
File Under: Jazz
Wendell Harrison & Phillip Ranelin: A Message From the Tribe (Pure Pleasure) LP
Genius work from the Detroit underground of the 70s – one of the greatest records ever on the now-famous Tribe Records label, and a masterpiece of soul, jazz, and righteous spirit! The session’s headed by tenor player Wendell Harrison – and it’s got an all-star Motor City lineup that includes Marcus Belgrave on trumpet, Phil Ranelin on trombone, Jeamel Lee on vocals, Charles Eubanks on electric piano, and Charles Moore on flugel horn. The tracks have a spacious spiritual approach that recalls some of the later Archie Shepp on Impulse – a blend of soul jazz with slight touches of electric instrumentation, some vocals, and a very progressive spirit overall – stepping proud in the new freedoms of the 70s, yet still swinging and very groovy. (Dusty Groove, Inc.)
File Under: Jazz
Lee Hazlewood’s Woodchucks: Cruisin’ For Surf Bunnies (Light in the Attic) LP
Deep in the LHI tape archive hid a mysterious tape marked “Woodchucks.” The tape held a “lost” instrumental surf album recorded by Lee Hazlewood in the early 1960s. Some of the songs have been recorded by The Astronauts, Jack Nitzsche, Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, Takeshi Terauchi, The Ventures, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), The Trashmen, The Challengers and The Surfaris. Lee’s original recordings have never been released. Bask in the reverb drenched twang of Lee Hazlewood’s original versions for the first time ever! Light in the Attic Records is proud to continue it’s Lee Hazlewood archive series with this very special release. Not a reissue, but rather a brand new, never before released time capsule from the surf era. Lee Hazlewood’s Woodchucks Crusin’ for Surf Bunnies is the perfect soundtrack for sun-baked skin and salty waves, hot rods and summer love. It’s the soundtrack to the American dream in the early 1960s and it comes from California. Though Lee and Suzi Jane Hokom hadn’t met yet, they were both living that dream…Suzi with her group The Surf Bunnies and Lee on his brief surf music tangent with albums like Al Casey’s Surfin’ Hootenanny, Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars and The Glaciers From Sea to Ski. “He was trying to do too much at that period of time. He was just throwing stuff around, but this sounds like a complete project. If there was an airplay record in there, he probably could’ve had a band go out and be the Woodchucks or whatever he wanted to call them. It’s a good surf album. I really loved it. He was a master…there’s no question about it. He invented sounds that no one was doing.” – Shackleford and “Lonely Surfer,” Marty Cooper
File Under: Rock, Surf
Haruomi Hosono: Hosono House (Light in the Attic) LP
The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono has put his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as a session player, producer, and auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world. Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield. The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums. After Happy End’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono released Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded at home with a back-to-basics approach akin to Music from Big Pink or McCartney. While his former band helped pave the way for the rise of “city pop” that reflected upon urban themes and city life, Hosono took a 180 degree turn towards the countryside for his highly-regarded first solo album. Located an hour from Tokyo in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, the actual Hosono House was one of several American-style houses originally built for the families of troops stationed at the nearby Johnson Air Base, active during the post-war occupation years. By the early ‘70s this small community had become a hub for creative types looking for a break from Tokyo’s hustle and bustle – and cheaper rent. For Hosono, this was as close as he could get to living in America without leaving his home country. With rooms filled to the edges with recording gear, the house became a live-in studio for Hosono and his crack band – soon to become known as the in-demand session group Tin Pan Alley. The songs on Hosono House display the breadth of Hosono’s talents, from the hushed acoustic folk of “Rock-A-Bye My Baby” and the country twang of “Boku Wa Chotto” to the New Orleans funk of “Fuyu Koe” and the unexpected breakbeats in “Bara To Yajuu.” Lauded by artists such as Jim O’Rourke and Devendra Banhart, Hosono House remains a touchstone of the early phase of Hosono’s career. Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), who made their debut in 1978. Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world.
Jerusalem in my Heart: Daqa’iq Tudaiq (Constellation) LP
Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH) returns with Daqa’iq Tudaiq, the third full-length album from the Montréal-Beirut contemporary Arabic audio-visual duo, following the acclaimed 2015 release If He Dies, If If If If If If. Featuring voice, electronics, buzuk and other instrumentation from composer-producer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Matana Roberts, Suuns, Big Brave) and abetted by the 16mm analog film work of Charles-André Coderre in live performance, JIMH continues to expand the horizons of its profound conceptual and aesthetic engagement with Arabic/Middle-Eastern traditions. Daqa’iq Tudaiq translates as “minutes that bother/oppress/harass” – which presumably needs no further explanation – and features two distinct album sides of music. Side One realizes a long-held dream of Moumneh’s to record a modern orchestral version of the popular Egyptian classic “Ya Garat Al Wadi” by the legendary composer Mohammad Abdel Wahab. Side Two comprises four tracks of non-ensemble “solo” material by Moumneh which push rupture and decomposition/recomposition of tradition further into avant-garde territory – voice, buzuk and electronics take the lead on a suite of emotive and evocative songs, including the percussive loop-driven instrumental “Bein Ithnein” (“Between Two” ) and the stunningly unsettling processed vocal track “Thahab, Mish Roujou’, Thahab” (“(The Act Of) Departing, Not Returning, Departing”). Daqa’iq Tudaiq is a masterful, mesmerizing artistic statement and confirms Jerusalem In My Heart as one of the most engaged and forward-looking avant-Arabic projects at work in contemporary music today. 180-gram vinyl (pressed at Optimal, Germany) includes 12″ x 24″ art print poster plus 320kbps download card.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Arabic
Khruangbin: The Universe Smiles Upon You (Night Time Stories) LP
Available again! Taking influence from 1960’s Thai funk – their name literally translates to “Engine Fly” in Thai – Khruangbin’s debut album The Universe Smiles Upon You is steeped in the bass heavy, psychedelic sound of their inspiration, Tarantino soundtracks and surf-rock cool. The Texan trio is formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums. The Universe Smiles Upon You was recorded at their spiritual home, a remote barn deep in the Texas countryside where their first rehearsals took place. The band listened to a lot of different types of music on the long drives out to the country but their favorites were ’60s and ’70s Thai cassettes gleaned from the cult Monrakplengthai blog and compilations of southeast Asian pop, rock and funk. This had a heavy impact on the direction of the band, the scales they used and the inflection of the melodies; which coupled with the spaciousness of the Texan countryside culminated in Khruangbin forming their exotic, individual sound. Although the band was conceived as an instrumental outfit, The Universe Smiles Upon You features the first Khruangbin recordings with vocals. Tracks “People Everywhere (Still Alive),” “Balls and Pins” and recent single “White Gloves” show a new dimension to the band. “We never really thought of ourselves as having a “singer” but we knew that we wanted a voice for Khruangbin. We decided to write about something close to us, tell a story as simply as possible, and sing it together.” The band explains: “We feel like there is an ease that comes from being immersed in a space, away from the distractions of the city and everyday life. We make our music in a barn, in the Texas hill country, because it makes sense to us. Being there allows us to make music that comes naturally, and that’s what we wanted this album to be. We wanted to make a record that just let the music happen, and we hope that’s what you can hear.”
File Under: Psych, Funk, World
Takashi Kokubo: A Dream Sails Out to Sea (Get at the Wave) (LAG) LP
Recorded in 1987 as promotion for a luxury air conditioning line, Takashi Kokubo’s Balearic gem A Dream Sails Out To Sea gets first ever official release from Lag Records, complete with previously unheard music. Originally only available as a sought-after promo by the name of Get At The Wave, Takashi Kokubo’s mini-masterpiece of halcyon mastery finally re-emerges for the first time since 1987 with a remastered vinyl edition courtesy of UK label Lag Records. A Dream Sails Out To Sea (Get At The Wave) comes not only with a new title, but also a brand new B-side as taken from Get At The Wave’s original recording sessions. Never-before released, the epic Ocean Breeze makes the perfect companion for the sonic world Kokubo created with his original release, imbued as it is with the same serene sense of understated beauty. The original story of A Dream Sails Out To Sea is as interesting as Kokubo’s own backstory as a musician and sound artist. Originally composed to ‘soundtrack’ a high-end air conditioning line from Japanese electronic giant Sanyo, the album was meant to transport the consumer into a paradise far away from the heat and hurry of urban life. One listen to something as splendorous as Underwater Dreaming, and it’s mission accomplished. Takashi Kokubo meanwhile is a musician whose work, without many knowing it, has perhaps touched the most lives in Japan. Composer of environmental music such as nationwide phone alerts to warn of oncoming earthquakes, and the fruitful jingle of a standard contactless payment, Kokubo’s oeuvre also includes anime soundtracks and works in the avant garde realm. It is with Kokubo’s blessing and original masters that the Lag Records release has been made possible, with a remastering courtesy of Jerome Schmitt at the AirLab. A Dream Sails Out To Sea (Get At The Wave) also comes with new artwork by Ella Mclean in a standard sleeve on clear blue vinyl LP.
File Under: Japanese, Ambient, New Age
Harold McKinney: Voices & Rhythms of the Creative Profile (Pure Pleasure) LP
One of the most righteous albums ever issued by the always-righteous Tribe Records label of Detroit – a really collective effort, one that features ensemble vocals and spiritual jazz – all pulled together by pianist Harold McKinney! The album showcases a group named Voices Of The Creative Profile – formed by McKinney to accompany his Creative Profile instrumental group – and the overall style is a great blend of spiritual soul jazz that gives equal time to the voices and instruments in the set. Gwen McKinney heads up the vocal ensemble, and other players on the set include Wendell Harrison on flute, Marcus Belgrave on trumpet, Billy Turner on percussion, and Ed Pickins on bass. Also features some cool moog from Darryl Dybka (Dusty Groove, Inc.)
File Under: Jazz
Music Inc.: s/t (Pure Pleasure) LP
The remarkable Music, Inc. Big Band remains the apotheosis of trumpeter Charles Tolliver’s singular creative vision. Rarely if ever has a big band exhibited so much freedom or finesse, while at the same time never overwhelming the virtuoso soloists on whom the performances pivot. Built around the core of Tolliver, pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Jimmy Hopps, the music boasts the kind of give-and-take born equally of talent and telepathy — each player seems to communicate with his colleagues on a higher plane, delivering performances to rival any in their careers. Tolliver in particular plays like a man possessed, summoning an energy and clarity that slice through the big, bold arrangements like the proverbial hot knife through butter.
File Under: Jazz
Ofege: Try & Love (Tidal Waves) LP
Ofege was formed in the early 1970s by a bunch of teenagers at the St. Gregory’s College in Lagos Nigeria. They were largely influenced by the guitar solos of Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page while closer to home, they were influenced by the music of ‘BLO’ (Berkley Jones, Laolu Akins and Mike Odumosu), ‘Monomono’ (led by Joni Haastrup), The Funkees, and Ofo The Black Company. Due to their vibrant combo of sweet harmonies, hooks & fuzz, Ofege would become one of the most legendary Nigerian groups of all time, with expressive sales and national stardom. At the turn of the century (and because of tracks appearing on various psychedelic music compilations) Ofege would receive international acknowledgment for being the first of their kind and the ultimate West-African psychedelic funk band! Their first album was recorded while the band members were still in high school (average age of 16), Ofege’s debut album ‘Try And Love’ was originally recorded and released in 1973 on EMI Nigeria. ‘Try And Love’ is wild and uncompromising blend of soul, funk and rock with complex and groovy rhythms. Ofege succeeded in creating a debut album drenced with fuzzy guitars, plaintive/wailing vocals and a backbeat as influenced by James Brown as it is by Fela Kuti. It’s a unique, raw and beautiful take on the psychedelic sound. The ingenuity allied with the inexperience of its members makes this album a real treasure. Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the first OFFICIAL reissue of this landmark Nigerian album. This RARE classic (original copies tend to go for large amounts on the secondary market) is now finally back available as a limited vinyl edition (500 copies) complete with the original artwork and exclusive liner notes/pictures provided by Ofege’s founding member ‘Melvin Ukachi’ who also supervised this reissue.
File Under: Afro-Funk, Nigeria
OST: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare(iam8bit) LP
“Instead of concentrating on the epic vastness of space, the music aims to capture the loneliness felt in space and the burdens of war. The score is equal parts electronic and orchestral. It combines cold and aggressive analog synths with small, intimate string sections and a gnarly low brass ensemble. A lot of the percussion is from metallic found objects. It’s not a traditional score by any means. We wanted to do something different than the typical epic orchestral action sound.” – Sarah Schachner, Composer for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. iam8bit has teamed up with Infinity Ward and Activision to mint the music of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on wax. The moment we heard composer Sarah Schachner’s epic score, tinged with sci-fi subtleties and big orchestra crescendos, we couldn’t shake its trappings. During development, the Infinity Ward team fell in love with Chris Skinner’s illustrations, so it only made sense to recruit him for the album design. Skinner’s skills are uniquely honed – deft at inking detailed vehicle battle scenes, but also the intricacies of the human condition. It’s a classy match for the Call of Duty universe. As with all iam8bit vinyl releases, the music is mastered specifically for vinyl audio supremacy.
File Under: OST, Video Games
OST: FTL: Faster Than Light (iam8bit) LP
Indie developer Subset Games first released FTL: Faster Than Light to the world in 2012. Since then, this incredible space ship simulator has won countless awards, and has been downloaded millions of times. To accompany the game, Ben Prunty composed a masterful sci-fi soundtrack that we’re thrilled to release on vinyl for the very first time! Give it a listen here. To do this vinyl recording its ultimate justice, we had the audio mastered at Telegraph Mastering Studio. We can’t wait for you to hear it like this! We teamed up with Leif Podhajsky to design a vinyl package that blows our minds with its awesomeness! Leif’s pedigree includes album covers for many top labels, including famed rock group, Tame Impala.
File Under: OST, Video Games
OST: Halloween(Sacred Bones) LP
When the new Halloween movie hits theaters in October 2018, it will have the distinction of being the first film in the series with creator John Carpenter’s direct involvement since 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Carpenter serves on the new David Gordon Green-directed installment as an executive producer, a creative consultant, and, thrillingly, as a soundtrack composer, alongside his collaborators from his three recent solo albums, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies. The new soundtrack pays homage to the classic Halloween score that Carpenter composed and recorded in 1978, when he forever changed the course of horror cinema and synthesizer music with his low-budget masterpiece. Several new versions of the iconic main theme serve as the pulse of Green’s film, its familiar 5/4 refrain stabbing through the soundtrack like the Shape’s knife. The rest of the soundtrack is just as enthralling, incorporating everything from atmospheric synth whooshes to eerie piano-driven pieces to skittering electronic percussion. While the new score was made with a few more resources than Carpenter’s famously shoestring original, its musical spirit was preserved. “We wanted to honor the original Halloween soundtrack in terms of the sounds we used,” Davies explained. “We used a lot of the Dave Smith OB-6, bowed guitar, Roland Juno, Korg, Roli, Moog, Roland System 1, Roland System 8, different guitar pedals, mellotron, and piano.” Unlike the Lost Themes albums, where the composers wrote the soundtracks for imaginary movies, Halloween saw the Carpenters and Davies collaborating on music set to images for the first time. Though it marked a significant change from their previous creative process, the trio thrived under the constraints and tight deadlines that film scoring work demands. “Being limited by the length of time in scoring the sequence, we focused on the director’s tempo, timing, and vision,” Davies said. “He would tell us what he had in mind, how long the cue should be, what emotion he wanted, and we would take it from there. It’s only the three of us, there is no elaborate system. We wrote, performed, and orchestrated everything.” For John Carpenter, who reunited on the new film with original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis, composing the score felt like a homecoming. Not only had he not worked on a Halloween movie in 35 years, he hadn’t composed a soundtrack since his 2001 sci-fi thriller Ghosts of Mars. “It was great,” Carpenter said of the experience. “It was transforming. It was not a movie I directed, so I had a lot of freedom in creating the score and getting into the director’s head. I was proud to serve David Gordon Green’s vision.” For Cody Carpenter, John’s son, and Davies, his godson, it was surreal to work on something that means so much to generations of fans, and that they grew up around. “It was an honor for us to be involved, and we are really happy to be a part of something that so many people are anticipating and excited about,” Davies said. “Working together with both the director of the new Halloween and the creator of the original Halloween was really a fantastic experience.”
File Under: OST, Horror
OST: Halloween II (Death Waltz) LP
Death Waltz Recording Company is proud to present the return of one of horror’s scariest boogeymen, as well as one of the genre’s most iconic theme tunes with John Carpenter and Alan Howarth’s score to HALLOWEEN II. Set directly after the events of the first film, Rick Rosenthal’s sequel sets itself up as the slasher equivalent of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, making a family connection between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers while getting some good kills in at the same time. Carpenter and Howarth’s score is beefier and more intense than before, using layers of electronics to drive the audience to madness. As before, Myers aka “The Shape” is propelled by that theme, souped up with a new and more powerful arrangement from Carpenter and Howarth. HALLOWEEN II is more overtly synth and is perhaps less focused than the original score, although that certainly means it’s nastier and more schizophrenic. The score also brings back the evocative ’Laurie’s Theme’, incorporating into a score full of harrowing musical effect, its synthesised howls and wails piercing your ears so that by the time ‘Mr. Sandman’ comes around, you’ll feel just like the final girl, delirious at having survived the aural ordeal. And that’s just when The Shape wakes up.
File Under: OST, Horror
OST: Luke Cage Season Two (Mondo) LP
Mondo Music, in partnership with Marvel, are proud to present the soundtrack to the Netflix original series Marvel’s Luke Cage Season Two. The all new score by composers Adrian Younge (Venice dawn, Ghostface Killah) and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A TRIBE CALLED QUEST) is an incredible follow up to one of the best scores of 2016. Set in the aftermath of first season, our hero has finally cleared his name but finds himself up against an all new opponent that threatens Harlem…the mysterious and powerful Bushmaster. Recorded in the Winter of 2018, in Los Angeles California, at Blakeslee Studios and Linear Labs Studios by composers Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, the score to Luke Cage Season Two is just as epic and powerful as the first. Exploring the vast sonic cultural landscape of Harlem, Adrian and Ali have introduced a dub-reggae motif for the character of Bushmaster, on top of the classic themes that made the original soundtrack so essential.
File Under: OST
OST: Rick & Morty (Sub Pop) LP
LIMITED LOSER EDITION on COLOURED VINYL…. Rick and Morty is the critically acclaimed, half-hour animated hit comedy series on Adult Swim that follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. Rick and Morty stars Justin Roiland (Adventure Time), Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live) and Spencer Grammer (Greek). The series is created by Dan Harmon (Community) and Roiland who also serve as executive producers. This release is the first official collection of music from Rick and Morty. All formats feature 26 songs, 24 of which are from the first 3 seasons of the show, and 18 of which were composed by Ryan Elder specifically for the show. The album also includes songs by Mazzy Star, Chaos Chaos, Blonde Redhead, and Belly, all of which have been featured in the show, as well as two new tunes from Chad VanGaalen and Clipping inspired by the show.
Greg Sage: Straight Ahead (Luxury) LP
I didn’t think too much about acoustic guitar before, but Greg Sage somehow made it ok. If all these great songs were gonna come out of it, maybe it’s not so bad. Straight Ahead sold me on the concept of acoustic guitar. Now it was something I had to deal with. – J. Mascis This quote from Dinosaur Jr. guitar hero, J. Mascis sums up the impact Straight Ahead had upon it’s initial 1985 release – and continues to have on subsequent generations. Few, if any punk musicians had dared step so far out of their safety zone as Sage did here, re-defining the definition of what “punk” could be. Arriving two years after the release of Wipers’ seminal Over The Edge LP, Straight Ahead was Sage’s first proper release of new material since signing to a major label (Enigma-offshoot, Restless Records) – a statement itself in an era where “selling-out” was a looming concern in the DIY community. Despite this, Sage’s first solo album remains even more insulated from the outside world than the Wipers – a quality exacerbated by the stripped-down instrumentation and themes of alienation. Today, some might call it “death folk” but in 1985 there were few precedents for the spectral, echo-laden folk-punk of Straight Ahead. While the first half of the record bears some of the familiar urgency and hooks of the Wipers’ trademark sound (On The Run, Straight Ahead), Side 2 is given over entirely to slower, longer, hollowed-out songs and arrangements, and signaled Sage’s increasing devotion to studio craftsmanship over performing live. While the album was misunderstood by some who weren’t looking for a mellow “singer-songwriter” effort from the Wipers frontman, it’s stature has grown exponentially over time, with everyone from J. Mascis to Ryan Adams paying tribute with cover versions, and a younger generation rightly referencing the album for the groundbreaking work it remains. Indeed, you can’t look back – you just look straight. Straight Ahead.
File Under: Punk, Wipers
Saron Luang Alit Semara Dahana: Suara Semara (Insitu) LP
This collection of new works for the Balinese gamelan Saron Luang performed by Sanggar Alit Semara Dahana (est. 2013) of Desa Ubung Kaja emerges from one of the many junctures at which longstanding gamelan traditions meet new creativity. Composer I Ketut Sujena skillfully navigates this crossroads by exploring new sonic and symbolic territory without abandoning performance styles recognizably derivative of the Saron Luang repertoire, which provide much of the foundation upon which subtle and more creative departures rest. The hauntingly beautiful vocals in kidung style composed by A.A. Ngurah Oka that float above these textures point to Saron Luang’s ritual associations, while choreographies by A.A. Ngurah Bagus Supartama that were inspired by ritual rejang dances point to the religious undertones permeating much creativity on Bali today.
File Under: World, Gamelan
Stereolab: Switched On Vol 1 (Duophonic) LP
An entry point to their motorik soundworld, Duophonic offers up a remastered vinyl edition of Switched On Vol. 1, a compilation of Stereolab’s first three singles, originally issued in 1992. It’s reissued alongside new vinyl editions of the companion volumes Refried Ectoplasm: Switched On Volume 2, Aluminum Tunes: Switched On Volume 3, and a 4CD box set anthology of all three volumes. Hosting some of Stereolab’s finest moments, the Switched On compilations act as a true testament of Stereolab’s reputation as one of the truly greatest groups of the ’90s and beyond. Each album has been remastered by Calyx in Berlin and includes an accompanying download card.
File Under: Indie Rock
Stereolab: Refried Ectoplasm Vol 2 (Duophonic) LP
An entry point to their motorik soundworld, Duophonic offers up a remastered double vinyl edition of Refried Ectoplasm: Switched On Vol. 2, a compilation of Stereolab singles and rarities, originally issued in 1995. It’s reissued alongside new vinyl editions of the companion volumes Switched On Volume 1, Aluminum Tunes: Switched On Volume 3, and a 4CD box set anthology of all three volumes. Hosting some of the band’s finest moments, the Switched On compilations act as a true testament of Stereolab’s reputation as one of the truly greatest groups of the ’90s and beyond. Each album has been remastered by Calyx in Berlin and includes an accompanying download card.
File Under: Indie Rock
Stereolab: Aluminum Tunes Vol 3 (Duophonic) LP
An entry point to their motorik soundworld, Duophonic offers up a remastered triple vinyl edition of Aluminum Tunes: Switched On Vol. 3, a compilation of Stereolab singles and rarities, originally issued in 1998. It’s reissued alongside new vinyl editions of the companion volumes Switched On Volume 1, Refried Ectoplasm: Switched On Vol. 2, and a 4CD box set anthology of all three volumes. Hosting some of the band’s finest moments, the Switched On compilations act as a true testament of Stereolab’s reputation as one of the truly greatest groups of the ’90s and beyond. Housed in a screenprinted gatefold sleeve, each album has been remastered by Calyx in Berlin and includes an accompanying download card.
File Under: Indie Rock
Swearin’: Fall Into the Sun (Merge) LP
Swearin’ is the kind of band that comes around, at best, once a decade. Thankfully for us, they’ve come around twice. After releasing two beloved full-lengths, 2012’s Swearin’ and 2013’s Surfing Strange, the Philadelphia band quietly put things on hold. It was due, at least in part, to the band’s main songwriters, Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride, ending their romantic relationship. And though Swearin’ tried to soldier on, it became far too stressful to keep going. But after a few years apart, those bad feelings disappeared. And when the band’s three members – Crutchfield, Gilbride, and drummer Jeff Bolt – found themselves in a room again, the conversation inevitably turned back to Swearin’. They realized that what they all wanted was to not just play shows, but to make a new record. Before the band initially split, they’d already started writing for what would have been their third album, but instead of going back to that old material, they wanted to do something that reflected the people they’d become during those intervening years. Before long, Crutchfield and Gilbride had a new batch of Swearin’ songs, ones that meshed with the sound they’d originally developed together but boldly pushed things forward. The result is Fall into the Sun, a Swearin’ record that doesn’t try to obscure the passage of time but instead embraces it. Those changes, though subtle, are impactful, making Fall into the Sun what Crutchfield calls “the adult Swearin’ album.” It can be seen in songs like “Big Change,” where she says goodbye to Philly and the scene that she came up in, or in “Dogpile,” where Gilbride offers the line any aging punk can relate to: “By pure dumb luck I’ve gotten where I’m going.” Where Swearin’ used to pummel through their songs, on Fall into the Sun, they bask in what this newfound openness offers. It’s most notable on the ambling “Stabilize,” which sees the band throw their weight around in the song’s back half, offering up what’s easily the heaviest riff in the band’s catalog. “I think both me and Allison have gone through huge transitions in our lives. There was a lot on our minds, and it was a super fertile time to put a bunch of songs together,” said Gilbride. It’s true of the material found on Fall into the Sun, but it’s noticeable in the album’s production, too. Much like the band’s previous albums, Gilbride anchored the recording and producing of the record, but this time around, the band worked to make the process feel more collaborative than ever before. Recorded in both Philly and Los Angeles, where Crutchfield now resides, Fall into the Sun took shape by the members giving their full trust to one another, and it can be seen in the final product. Listening to Fall into the Sun, the old Swearin’ is still there, but it’s a more confident, collaborative version than the one people first came to know. Crutchfield and Gilbride always had an innate ability to mirror the other’s movements in songs, but here, they build a focused lyrical perspective across their songs, one that’s thankful for their past, but looks boldly toward the future. Though it may have taken them a while, Swearin’ finally made the third album they always wanted. Fall into the Sun is as riotously affirming as their early work…
File Under: Indie Rock
Titus Andronicus: Home Alone on Halloween (Merge) LP
With Home Alone on Halloween, noted rock band Titus Andronicus [hereafter +@] celebrate the spookiest of the seasons by staring into the abyss and confronting the bone-chilling terror which lies at the haunted heart of our human experience. Bearing the justly feared catalog number MRG666, the 12-inch EP spans 31 minutes and features three tracks recorded concurrently with the group’s most recent full-length A Productive Cough, offering an autumnal tableau of dread and decay to complement its LP companion’s springtime visions of rebirth and new possibilities. The title track remixes A Productive Cough’s hardest-rocking selection, foregrounding its ominous strings and swelling organ and featuring a soulful new lead vocal from frequent +@ special-teams captain Matt “Money” Miller, while “Only a Hobo” plucks an oft-forgotten gem from the dusty corners of the Bob Dylan songbook to paint a grim portrait of hopes dashed and potential squandered. Eeriest of all is “A Letter Home,” which, across nearly 17 minutes and more than 1,200 words, drags the listener along for a harrowing descent into the darkness and proves definitively that this ceremony is no mere monster mash. “Death is not scary,” explains +@ singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles, shaking off a cold sweat. “Everyone has to die, but not everyone gets to die surrounded by love with the satisfaction of a life well-lived. What frightens me, far more than ghouls or goblins, is knowing that I may yet face the former without the comfort of the latter. When it comes to that of which nightmares are made, a werewolf popping out of the bushes is nothing next to a life without love when it is too late to turn back.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Yves Tumor: Safe in the Hands of Love (Warp) LP
Yves Tumor presents his highly anticipated Warp Records debut Safe in the Hands of Love. Ever the sonic chameleon, Safe in the Hands of Love sees Yves peaking out of the shadows with strong vocals and amped up production, channeling energy into deeply psychedelic and emotional compositions that manage to balance rampant experimentation with an indiosyncratic pop sensibility. From noise and industrial denizens to adventurous beat heads and a much wider field of adventurous music lovers of all kinds, Yves maintains a curiously wide appeal here and offers up an amazing ride.
File Under: Electronic, Pop
Various: Blaze (Cinewax) LP
“This short life will soon be over, and my vision will be told, and songs will sound more sweeter, when those pearly gates unfold” – Blind Willie McTell, “Pearly Gates” The cornerstone of Blues and Country music is storytelling, but only the most able messengers can carry the words of another as their own. So goes the story of Texas singer/songwriter/poet Blaze Foley, whose vision has been kept alive by legendary artists like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Lucinda Williams and John Prine. It’s in the spirit of this great musical tradition that writer/director Ethan Hawke and his cast and crew set out to create the first ever “Gonzo Indie Country-Western Opera” film, BLAZE. Hawke, an Austin native, understood the jury he’d likely face in making a film about Texas’ own drunken angels, Blaze Foley and Townes Van Zandt. An able messenger of this story, Hawke brought in the people that loved them most, including Foley’s partner Sybil Rosen (the film is based on her book Living In The Woods In a Tree…), longtime friend and bandmate Gurf Morlix, Charlie Sexton (portraying Van Zandt and overseeing music production). Alia Shawkat and Alynda Segarra (Hurray for the Riff Raff) already knew the words to Foley’s songs and went all in. Finally, songwriter and chef Ben Dickey was pulled out of the kitchen and placed in front of the camera to portray Foley, a performance by this first-time actor that couldn’t have been played by anyone else. As the cameras rolled, the actors began to sing and the singers began to act, and in many ways what’s captured in the film is the spirit of music itself. Found in the atmospheric noises of clinking beer bottles, birds, and the cast cheering each other on are the makings of any good album—a group of artists with a collective vision of creating something eternal, and doing it all, as Van Zandt put it best, “for the sake of the song.”
File Under: OST
13th Floor Elevators: Psychedelic Sounds (Charly) LP
Air: Moon Safari (EMI) LP
Jorge Ben: Big Ben (Elemental) LP
Jorge Ben: s/t (Elemental) LP
Beta Band: Three Eps (Because) Box
Black Angels: Directions to See a Ghost (Light in the Attic) LP
Black Angels: Passover (Light in the Attic) LP
Tim Hecker: Konoyo (Kranky) LP
Jungle: For Ever (XL) LP
King Gizzard & Lizard Wizard: Flying Microtonal Banana (ATO) LP
OST: Logan’s Run (Waxwork) LP
Anderson.Paak: Malibu (Ere) LP
Parquet Courts: Wide Awake (Rought Trade) LP
Sigur Ros: Agaetis Byrjum (XL) LP
Midori Takada: Through the Looking Glass (WRWTFWW) LP
This Heat: Live 80-81 (Modern Classics) LP
This Heat: Repeat/Metal (Modern Classics) LP
This Heat: Made Available (Modern Classics) LP
Tinariwen: Amassakoul (Modern Classics) LP
Hiroshi Yoshimura: Pier & Loft (17853) LP
War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding (Universal) LP
Various: Hillbillies in Hell 777 (Iron Mountain) LP
Various: Pornosonic (Enjoy the Ride) LP