Well, just like that, winter is here. And that can only mean one thing…. Black Friday RSD is coming! And that can only mean one other thing…. DEALS! And one other thing… we’re gonna give away a Rega RP1! Mark it in your calendars folks… Nov 23-25th you need to get down here and get a jump start on your Xmas shopping and have a chance to win a turntable. And celebrate our 17th anniversary! But don’t wait until then to come for a dig… we’ve been buying and pricing up loads of great used stuff that is flying out the door. And there’s all these great new arrivals in this week too…………
….pick of the week…..
Charles Bradley: Black Velvet (Daptone) LP/DLX LP
Ok, this may or may not be here tomorrow. I’m getting really vague answers from the supplier. But hopefully it is here cuz it’s great! Black Velvet is a celebration of Charles Bradley, lovingly assembled by his friends and family at Dunham/Daptone Records. Though chronologically the material spans Charles’ entire career, this is no anthology, “greatest hits” or other shallow rehashing of the songs that already made him famous. Rather, this album is a profound exploration through the less-traveled corners of the soulful universe that Charles and his longtime producer, co-writer and friend Thomas “TNT” Brenneck created in the studio together over their decade-long partnership. It features new songs recorded during the sessions from each of his three albums, heard here for the very first time in all their scorching glory: “Can’t Fight the Feeling,” “Fly Little Girl” and the heart-wrenching “I Feel a Change”; hard core rarities like his funk-bomb duet with LaRose Jackson, “Luv Jones,” the psychedelic groover, “(I Hope You Find) The Good Life” and the ever-illusive alternate full band electric version of “Victim of Love”; sought-after covers of Nirvana’s “Stay Away,” Neal Young’s “Heart of Gold” and Rodriguez’ “Slip Away”; and the title track “Black Velvet,” a stirring Menahan Street Band instrumental to which Charles was never able to cut a vocal. Black Velvet is destined to join Charles Bradely’s first three albums alongside the cannon of essential soul records for the ages.
Bauhaus: In The Flat Field (4AD) LP
Few debut albums have ever arrived as nearly perfectly formed as In the Flat Field. It practically invented what remains for many as the blueprint of goth music. Starting with the angst of “Double Dare,” with its shattering guitar over a curious but fierce stop-start rhythm and Peter Murphy raging even more fiercely over the top, In the Flat Field contains a wide variety of inspirations and ideas. The astonishingly precise rhythm section of David J and Kevin Haskins pulls off a variety of jaw-dropping performances, including the high-paced tension of the title track and the brooding crawl of “Spy in the Cab.” Daniel Ash, much like his longtime hero Mick Ronson, turns out to be a master of turning relatively simple guitar parts into apocalyptic explosions, from the background fills on “St. Vitus Dance” to the brutal descending chords of “Stigmata Martyr.” Murphy, meanwhile, channels as much Iggy Pop as he does Bowie, proving to be no simple copyist of either, able to both maniacally sing-shout and take a somewhat lighter touch throughout. The album concludes with the 7-minute “Nerves,” an aptly titled piece that alternates between understated energy and unleashed power spiraling toward a dramatic ending. In the Flat Field started off Bauhaus’ album career with a near-perfect bang!
File Under: Post Punk, Goth
Beast: Ens (Thrill Jockey) LP
Beast is a new project by composer Koen Holtkamp, known for his sweeping, maximalist work with Mountains, as well as his labyrinthian solo recordings. While taking some time away from music to focus on working with light and color his approach shifted, opening himself up to new working methods which led to the creation of a virtual ensemble of sorts. The process of refocusing on music found Holtkamp gravitating towards pieces centered on simple rhythmic patterns which, when built upon one another, create elaborately intertwining castles of sound. On Ens, Holtkamp reins in his sprawling sound with new resolve, crafting tightly constructed pieces of engaging and ecstatic beauty. Ens was made during a time of anticipation of change for Holtkamp: the birth of his first child. Having recorded and mixed the album late at night and at odd hours in the months leading up to the birth and during the early sleepless days of fatherhood, Ens (which means entity or existence) is a profoundly intimate and heartfelt journey into Holtkamp’s psyche. The constant motion created by the ebb and flow of rhythmic elements connects Ens’ diverse compositions and mirrors the building expectation of such a momentous change. Holtkamp’s initial recordings as Beast (Vol 1 & Vol 2) were mostly conceived for the immediacy and physicality of performance and were directly linked to a series of visual environments he created with 3D laser projections. As a purely studio project, Ens takes on a more precise and contemplative approach. Moments of blissful grandeur such as the convalescence of melodies in “Paprika Shorts” are at once overwhelming and crystalline in the placement and clarity of each sound. Deceptively simple pieces like “Boketto” and “Miniature” appear more sparse and subtle, but the arrangement of sounds reveal deeper levels of nuance with each listen. By carefully arranging and selecting each element, Holtkamp both references genre tropes, from classical minimalism to beat-driven dance music, and constructs a sound all his own. The intricately detailed depth of field gives the album an almost sculptural presence. This level of detail is underpinned by Holtkamp’s move towards more virtual instrumentation which he utilizes to push beyond the physical limitations of their acoustic equivalents, as well as to synthesize new instruments. As Beast, Holtkamp has nimbly altered his process of creating dense, immersive music. Ens stands as not only the culmination of his newfound methods, but also a deeply personal moment. In crafting the graceful and passionate sonic tapestries into compact compositions, Beast’s Ens masterfully melds the earthbound and the ethereal.
File Under: Electronic
Beatles: White Album (Apple) 2LP/4LP
In tomorrow… In November 1968, millions of double LPs were shipped to record stores worldwide ahead of that tumultuous year’s most anticipated music event: the November 22nd release of The Beatles (soon to be better known as The White Album). With their ninth studio effort, The Beatles took the world on a whole new trip, side one blasting off with the exhilarating rush of a screaming jet escorting Paul McCartney’s punchy, exuberant vocals on “Back In The U.S.S.R.” “Dear Prudence” came next, John Lennon warmly beckoning his friend and all of us to “look around.” George Harrison imparted timeless wisdom in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” singing, “With every mistake we must surely be learning.” Ringo Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By” marked his first solo songwriting credit on a Beatles album. For 50 years, The White Album has invited its listeners to venture forth and explore the breadth and ambition of its music, delighting and inspiring each new generation in turn. In November 2018, The Beatles will release a suite of lavishly presented White Album packages including this 180g 4LP deluxe box set. All the new White Album releases include producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell’s new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes. Martin’s new mix is guided by the album’s original stereo mix produced by his father, George Martin. “In remixing ‘The White Album,’ we’ve tried to bring you as close as possible to The Beatles in the studio,” explains Giles in his written introduction for the new edition. “We’ve peeled back the layers of the ‘Glass Onion’ with the hope of immersing old and new listeners into one of the most diverse and inspiring albums ever made.” The album’s 30 newly mixed tracks are also joined here by 27 early acoustic Esther Demos, most of which are previously unreleased in any form. Much of the initial songwriting for The White Album was done in Rishikesh, India between February and April 1968, when Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr joined a course at the Maharishi’s Academy of Transcendental Meditation. In a postcard to Ringo, who had returned to England before the others, John wrote, “we’ve got about two L.P.s worth of songs now so get your drums out.” During the last week of May, The Beatles gathered at George’s house in Esher, Surrey, where they recorded acoustic demos for 27 songs. Known as the Esher Demos, all 27 recordings have been sourced from the original four-track tapes. Twenty-one of the demoed songs were recorded during the subsequent studio sessions, and 19 were ultimately finished and included on The White Album. Seven have previously been released on Anthology, but they were mixed with the technology of the time and now Giles has been able to really clean them up and bring out the intimate nature of the recordings. This is the first time The White Album has been remixed and presented with additional demos. The album’s sweeping new edition follows 2017’s universally acclaimed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases. To create the new stereo mixes for The White Album, Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. Presented in a lift-top box, the Deluxe 180g 4LP set presents the 2LP album in a faithful, embossed reproduction of its original gatefold sleeve with the fold-out poster and portrait photos, paired with the 2LP Esher Demos in an embossed gatefold sleeve.
File Under: Pop, Rock
Boygenius: s/t (Matador) LP
Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus formed Boygenius after booking a tour together, but the trio had subconsciously been in the works for longer than that. Through a series of tours and performances and chance encounters that led to friendships – including Bridgers’ and Dacus’ first in-person meeting backstage at a Philadelphia festival, greenroom hangouts that felt instantly comfortable, and a couple of long email chains – the lyrically and musically arresting singer-songwriters and kindred spirits got to know each other on their own terms. With gut-wrenchingly personal yet easily relatable verses and spare, lilting melodic arrangements, all three are leading a new rock vanguard that values unflinching self-awareness and unassailable songcraft. Baker’s slow builds and taut vocals add urgency to “Souvenir” and “Stay Down,” while album opener “Bite the Hand” roils with slow-burning layers of guitar as Dacus stands in her devastating truth: “I can’t love you like you want me to.” The Bridgers-architected “Me & My Dog” chugs into view with a deceptively simple open-road riff and Bridgers’ insistent recounting of a relationship that couldn’t help but fall apart.
File Under: Indie Rock
Kids See Ghosts (Kanye West & Kid Cudi): s/t (Kanye/Cudi) LP
In tomorrow… Kids See Ghosts is the eponymous debut from the hip hop duo of the same name featuring Kanye West and Kid Cudi and the third of five 7-track 2018 albums produced by West succeeding Pusha T’s Daytona and his own ye and preceding Nas’ Nasir and Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E. Fans have been anticipating an album length project from the longtime collaborators for a decade now and the intriguing Kids See Ghosts is a cathartic and confessional affair with both artists documenting bouts of depression and struggles with drug abuse throughout. “We just have this chemistry that’s undeniable, especially when we have to fight for it with each other,” Cudi said. It includes contributions from Pusha T, Yasiin Bey, Ty Dolla Sign and a posthumous vocal sample of Louis Prima.
File Under: Hip Hop
J. Mascis: Elastic Days (Sub Pop) LP
“Near the end of Reagan’s first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore scene coughed up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur. Comprised of WMHC vets, the trio was a miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude and near-subliminal pop-based-shape-shifting. Through their existence, Dinosaur (amended to Dinosaur Jr. for legal reasons) defined a very specific, very aggressive set of oblique song-based responses to what was going on. Their one constant was the scalp-fryingly loud guitar and deeply buried vocals of J Mascis. “A couple of years before they ended their reign, J cut a solo album called Martin + Me. Recorded live and acoustic, the record allowed the bones of J’s songs to be totally visible for the first time. Fans were surprised to hear how melodically elegant these compositions were, even if J still seemed interested in swallowing some of the words that most folks would have sung. Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those album, Sings + Chant for AMMA (2005), Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star (2014) had all delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of cool. “Like its predecessors, Elastic Days was recorded at J’s own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on Tied to a Star) plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include old mates Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), and Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion), as well as the newly added voice of Zoë Randell (Luluc) among others. But the show is mostly J’s and J’s alone. But for those expecting the hallucinatory overload of Dinosaur Jr’s live attack, the gentleness of the approach here will draw easy comparisons to Neil Young’s binary approach to working solo versus working with Crazy Horse. This is a lazy man’s shorthand, but it still rings true. “Elastic Days brims with great moments. Epic hooks that snare you in surprisingly subtle ways, guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers, and structures that range from a neo-power-ballad (“Web So Dense”) to jazzily-canted West Coasty post-psych (“Give It Off”) to a track that subliminally recalls the keyboard approach of Scott Thurston-era Stooges (“Drop Me”). The album plays out with a combination of holism and variety that is certain to set many brains ablaze.” – Byron Coley
File Under: Indie Rock
Pig Destroyer: Head Cage (Relapse) LP
In tomorrow… After six long, harsh years of absence, the mighty Pig Destroyer have reassembled to eradicate eardrums and split skulls with their highly anticipated sixth full-length opus, entitled Head Cage (named after a grisly medieval torture device). A visceral vortex of animalistic rage and extreme sonic brilliance, Head Cage is a true work of extreme metal art, that with the addition of a bass player, is hands down their most dynamic and heaviest recording to date. Across 12 tracks, Pig Destroyer weave together harrowing tales of philosophical dualities, touching on mortality and depression, fear and violence, and the darkest complexities of the human condition, all told through the distorted lens of delightfully transgressive vocalist/lyricist JR Hayes. Musically, the band continues to push the boundaries of metal, grindcore, noise and punk, ramping up the intensity and leaving you bludgeoned in a state of utter shock, all in less than 33 minutes. Head Cage was recorded by guitarist Scott Hull at Visceral Sound Studios, mixed and mastered by Will Putney (Exhumed, Every Time I Die, Body Count) and features striking artwork by Mark McCoy (Full of Hell, Nothing) along with guest vocal appearances by Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Richard Johnson and Kat Katz plus Full Of Hell’s Dylan Walker.
File Under: Metal
Stereolab: Peng! (Too Pure) LP
Sometimes jam-packed with thundering keyboards and driving drums, at other times ethereal, airy and light, Stereolab’s debut album Peng! (1992) captures the thinking man’s band at the early stages of its prolific career. Emulating aspects of the Velvet Underground’s strutting rhythms as well as the Moog-happy keyboard euphonies of the early-70s, the avant-pop sonic experimentalist’s far left-of-center pop vision has always been something of a love-’em-or-hate-’em proposition. Longtime fans familiar with the band’s later work will find interest in this early recording as it includes the moody, cafe-styled “K-Stars” sung fetchingly in French by Leatitia Sadier. There’s also the dry, rub-a-dub guitar of “Perversion,” which is a dissertation over post-modern music.
File Under: Indie Rock
Stereolab: The Groop Played Space Age Bachelor Pad Music (Too Pure) LP
Stereolab’s 1993 EP, The Group Played Space Age Bachelor Pad is one of the avant-pop group’s most experimental works, featuring their twin obsessions – krautrock-derived electronic minimalism and lush pop owing much to both Brian Wilson and Ray Conniff. The two styles are presented separately, in relatively short pieces, rather than combined into the lengthy sonic melanges of their other albums. Most of the brief pieces, such as the two title tracks, each subtitled “Mellow” and “Foamy,” work best in the context of the whole, but some of the longer songs, particularly the sarcastic “Ronco Symphony” and “We’re Not Adult-Orientated,” are among the prolific outfit’s best.
File Under: Indie Rock
Sufjan Stevens: Songs for Christmas (Asthmatic Kitty) Box
From 2001 through 2010, Sufjan Stevens recorded an annual Christmas album that he gifted to friends and family. The recording process took place every December for one week, usually at home, provoking collaborations with friends, roommates, and musical peers. In 2006, Stevens’ label, Asthmatic Kitty Records, released Songs for Christmas, a CD boxset compiling the first five of these albums, Volumes I-V. Later in 2012, the label released Silver & Gold, a CD and vinyl boxset compiling of Volumes VI-X. But the first five volumes have never been released to vinyl. This holiday season, Asthmatic Kitty Records is proud to finally release Songs for Christmas: Volumes I-V as a 5-piece vinyl boxset. It arrives with all 42 songs from the original CD boxset, including fan favorites like “Sister Winter,” “That Was The Worst Christmas Ever,” “Only At Christmas Time,” and “Put The Lights on the Tree.” The 5LP boxset includes a new package design with illustrations by Stevens and Stephen Halker, and a family portrait painting by Jacques Bredy, as well as lyrics, chord charts, and full recording credits for all the songs.
File Under: Indie Rock
Mike Westbrook: Metropolis (Music on Vinyl) LP
The English jazz pianist Mike Westbrook released his album Metropolis in 1971. In the height of the British-jazz’s golden age this concept album was recorded over three days in the famous Lansdowne studios. The 9-movement album shows the best of the London jazz scene with it’s big-band jazz sounds and funk-rock rhythms. In this collective effort, which included 23 musicians, the sum is greater than its parts and Westbrook worked-out the ideas really great. Musicians like Mike Osborne, Ray Warleigh, Kenny Wheeler, Harold Beckett and John Taylor all playing their part on this incredible record. The wonderful arrangements and chord progressions building on one of Westbrook’s best recordings. It is an absolute classic and a must for any serious jazz listener. Pressed on 180 gram vinyl and comes in a gatefold sleeve.
File Under: Jazz
Windhand: Eternal Return (Relapse) LP
Eternal Return, the fourth full length from Richmond, Virginia’s heavy psychedelic quartet Windhand represents a new era for the group, a chrysalis moment that takes them to new and unforeseen heights. Across nine songs and 63 minutes, Eternal Return offers an infectious display of songcraft cloaked in alluring atmosphere, molten fuzz, eerie psychedelia and ethereal vocals. The album was once again produced by Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden) with vivid artwork by Arik Roper (Sleep, High on Fire). Equally informed by heavy, fuzzed-out psych along with the iconic grunge/alternative groups of the ’90s, Windhand have crafted a record brilliant in scope, powerful in execution, and perfect for an era of increasingly blurry yet still heavy borders.
File Under: Metal
Against All Logic: 2012-2017 (Other People) LP
David Axelrod: Song of Innocence (Now Again) LP
Beta Band: s/t (Because) LP
Bon Iver: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
Death Grips: No Love Deep Web (Harvest) LP
Emperor: Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk (Spinefarm) LP
Emperor: In the Nightside (Spinefarm) LP
Jungle: Ever For (4AD) LP
National: Sleep Well Beast (4AD) LP
National: High Violet (4AD) LP
OST: Annihilation (Lakeshore) LP
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: Villains (Matador) LP
Rage Against The Machine: s/t (Legacy) LP
Skinny Puppy: Mind The Perpetual Intercourse (Nettwerk) LP
Skinny Puppy: Cleanse Fold & Manipulate (Nettwerk) LP
Spoon: Hot Thoughts (Matador) LP
Talk Talk: Laughing Stock (Verve) LP
Townes Van Zandt: s/t (Fat Possum) LP
Townes Van Zandt: Rear View Mirror (Fat Possum) LP
Kurt Vile: Bottle It In (Matador) LP