…..news letter #891 – sun…..

You can always tell when Record Store Day is right around the corner, the new releases taper off. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing new though, and we’re always pricing up more used goodies for your fingers to flip through. Speaking of RSD… please take a look and let us know ASAP if there’s stuff on there you’d like to see in the shop that day. Also, for updates on RSD check our Facebook event page.

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…..pick of the week…..

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Pedro Santos: Krishnanda (Mr. Bongo) LP
The official Mr Bongo reissue. Krishnanda is an album in the truest sense of the word – a spiritual, psychedelic Brazilian masterpiece from start to finish – celebrated by everyone from Seu Jorge and Kassin to Floating Points, Madlib, Quantic, Gilles Peterson and DJ Nuts. These days, originals change hands for thousands of dollars. Pedro dos Santos, born in Rio in 1919, was a percussionist virtuoso, composer and inventor of instruments that apparently included oddities such as the ‘Tamba’ (electrified bamboo drum) and the mouth berimbau whistle. Nicknamed Perdo ‘Sorongo’ after the rhythm he invented, that features throughout ‘Krishnanda’. A highly spiritual man who was regarded as a philosopher by many. He worked with greats including Baden Powell, Elis Regina, Maria Bethany, Elza Soares, Sebastião Tapajós, Roberto Ribeiro, Milton Nascimento, Clara Nunes, Paul Simon and Arthur Verocai, playing on his legendary self-titled LP. In the same vein as Verocai and his self-titled LP, ‘Krishnanda’ was Pedro’s chance to shine with his own, and only, solo recording. Krishnanda was produced by Hélcio Milito, the drummer of Tamba Trio, and arranged by conductor Joppa Lins, and originally released in 1968 on CBS (Brasil). Musically, the album touches folk, samba, afro-brazilian and psychedelia plus added effects, with a lyrical depth and diversity to match; themes including morality, perception, existence and ego. Despite the genius of the record and the influence that it had on musicians at the time of release, it disappeared into obscurity. We first discovered the record around 2003, through a friend Julio Dui. Around that time Brazilian funk and bossa was the flavour of the day, so didn’t catch our ear immediately, however it continued improve with age and now we consider it to be one of the best albums ever made, regardless of genre or origin. The Mr Bongo reissue is produced as a replica original LP / audio master by Ricardo Garcier at Magic Master (Rio de Janeiro) / artwork restored by Andrew Edwards, from the original copy borrowed from Julio Dui – thank you, sir!

File Under: Brazil, Tropicalia, Psych
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…..new arrivals…..

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Avey Tare: Cows on Hourglass Pond (Domino) LP
Dave Portner aka Avey Tare of Animal Collective, has returned, following up 2017’s release of Eucalyptus with a gorgeous and layered new record titled Cows On Hourglass Pond. The 10-track collection was recorded between January – March 2018 by Portner at Laughing Gas Studio in Asheville, NC on a Tascam 48 half-inch reel-to-reel tape machine. The album was mixed by Adam McDaniel and Portner at Drop of Sun Studios in Asheville, NC. The album takes inspiration from the future and the past in equal measure, referencing a myriad of cultural touchstones and influences – Buddy Holly, robots, Waylon Jennings, Morricone soundtracks, and much more. 180 gram heavyweight vinyl housed in a single LP jacket with printed inner euro sleeve and download card.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Ryan Bingham: American Love Song (Axster Bingham) LP
Ryan Bingham’s sixth studi album, American Love Song finds the South Texas bred singer/songwriter honing his creativity on two distinct levels, the personal and the cultural. He co-produced it with Charlie Sexton, the superb Austin guitarist who has played for years in Bob Dylan’s touring band. American Love Song was recorded at Arlyn Studios and Public Hi-Fi in Austin with additional recording at Matter Music in Los Angeles. From the opening track – the spry “Jingle and Go,” which recounts his early years as an itinerant open-mic performer working, like the great Texas bluesmen before him, for tips – to the closer, “Blues Lady,” a tribute to Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Bingham’s own late mother, and all the other strong women this country has produced, the album combines autobiographical reflection with a bittersweet celebration of our collective spirit in the face of enduring difficulties. There are songs for his wife Anna Axster. “Pontiac” brings a Stones-y crunch to the tale of their meeting and the wild early years they spent on the road together. “Lover Girl,” which features a sweet steel guitar, reveals a more tender side of their relationship: “The scars upon my heart won’t hide, but now I found your sparklin’ eyes.” Musically, “Situation Station” is built on a comfortable lope and a few bright chords. But that’s deceiving. The song is the first of several on the album that take a hard line on the state of the nation, with a scathing verse about a leader “ridin’ on the back of the poor man, selling them lies.” He’s speaking his mind, and right now he has a lot to say. “Blue,” for instance, is a beautiful storm cloud of a song about Bingham’s own battle with depression after the deaths of his parents. But it’s also, he says, a commentary on the persistent taboo about seeking mental health care in this country. “Wolves” deals with the painful memories of his youth and those inevitable confrontations with the next school bully. But it’s also a response to Bingham’s emotions when the March for Our Lives students, in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, had to contend with men and women questioning their integrity on social media. Built on a hypnotic, bluesy electric guitar riff, “Hot House” imagines an unjustly imprisoned young man whose life has been effectively cut short. “What Would I’ve Become” is a twang anthem of sorts, one that asks a universal question. What if the singer had stayed put in one small town? If he hadn’t taken a chance on life? Bingham’s growing concerns about where we’re at as a people come to a head on “America,” the album’s somber, instantly memorable signature song. Is there still an American dream, he asks, his voice rising to a poignant pitch. These 15 new songs from one of American music’s most distinct voices answer that simple question with a resounding “Yes!”

File Under: Country, Folk
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June Chikuma: Les Archives (Freedom to Spend) LP
Les Archives is composed, arranged, and produced by the elusive Japanese artist June Chikuma. While Freedom To Spend’s reinvented edition bares little visual evidence of its origins in the composer’s name, title, or sleeve design, the album, a whooping gonzo of synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and a mysterious string quartet, remains as vibrant now as it did when released on Toru Hatano’s Picture Label as Divertimento in 1986. In fact, the music of Les Archives now glows with a different purpose; one that revises the past while maintaining, and finally elevating, its hidden influence. For Les Archives, Chikuma constructed a sonic stage to animate her imaginings as a one-person show. The primary props, a KORG SDD-3000 digital delay, an audible, overt display of unclassified drum machines and samplers, and a litany of literary references. Following the original album’s sequence, “Broadcast Profanity Delay” bursts onto Les Archives’ first scene full of buoyant energy and fluttering atmospheric pressure. The composition was conceived by Chikuma for a make-believe marimba ensemble, and in this shapeshifting form, takes on its own mutant life. “Pataphysique” is a term for the study of an imaginary realm additional to metaphysics, and the track on Les Archives most conducive to dancing (even if those movements might conjure the herkiest, jerkiest imagery). “Divertimento,” the heretofore title track of the album, brandishes a tough electro exoskeleton with a molten 18th century orchestral interlude nine minutes into the nearly thirteen minute piece. Chikuma dedicates “Divertimento” to composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Paul Hindemith for his alignment with the New Objectivity movement. By the composition’s conclusion the object’s particles have been completely obliterated and assembled again. The cacophony of Les Archives parts to reveal a clearing with “Climb-Down,” Chikuma’s tribute to Erik Satie’s Furniture music (musique d’ameublement). The Michiyo Toda String Quartet’s somber string interpretation of June’s composition offers a grace unlike the Rube Goldberg of punchy programming and found sound on the surrounding electronic machination. After this acoustic respite the electricity is switched on again. “Dual Use” repurposes the constitution of “Divertimento” as a slight samba, complete with Godzilla samples. Recorded during the original Divertimento sessions at Hugh Studio in Tokyo but excluded from the original album release, Les Archives presents two unheard pieces. “Mujo to Ifukoto” works as interspecies smalltalk between synthetic instruments and environmental samples. Lush strings interrupt synth sweeps, said sweeps giving way to a concrète concert of crickets and church bells. Countering the title’s claim of dispassionate decision-making in the midst of crisis, “Oddman Hypothesis” is deliberately restrained, aside from the shatter marking the start, and resembles the City Pop and fusion movements that defined Japan’s musical landscape in the 80s. Chiikuma’s neon-vibrant aesthetic would be at home soundtracking films like After Hours or Teknolust. However, Les Archives is the score for a movie of mistaken identity – clones redressed in a guise of the artist’s re-coding. The legitimate artifact deceives history. There is no original, but this copy is singular and complete.

File Under: Japan, Electronic
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Steve Earle & The Dukes: Guy (New West) LP
Steve Earle was 19 and had just hitchhiked from San Antonio to Nashville in 1974. Back then if you wanted to be where the best songwriters were you had to be in there. Guy Clark had moved to Nashville and if you were from Texas, Guy Clark was king. A few years later, Steve would be playing bass guitar in Guy’s band and flying high on what would become an indelible friendship of like-minded musicians who bonded in a kinship of stories told through song. Flash forward more than 40 years to May 2016. Guy Clark had just succumbed to cancer after a long battle with lymphoma. Guy had lived with his disease and had continued to write songs until the day he died. He also painted, built instruments and owned a guitar shop in the Bay Area. According to Earle, “You hung around with him [Guy] and knew why they call what artists do disciplines. Because he was disciplined.” The same can be said of Earle. In the fall of 2018, Steve and The Dukes went into House Of Blues studio in Nashville and recorded GUY in six days. “I wanted it to sound live…When you’ve got a catalog like Guy’s and you’re only doing sixteen tracks, you know each one is going to be strong.” Earle and his current, perhaps best-ever Dukes lineup, take on these songs with a spirit of reverent glee and invention. The tunes are all over the place and so is the band, offering max energy on such disparate entries as the bluegrass rave-up “Sis Draper” and the talking blues memoir of “Texas 1947.” Earle’s raw vocal on the sweet, sad “That Old Time Feeling” is heartbreaking, sounding close enough to the grave as to be doing a duet with his late friend and mentor. You can hear little hints of where Earle came from. The stark “Randall Knife” has the line “a better blade that was ever made was probably forged in Hell,” which wouldn’t be out of place in a Steve Earle original. Also hard to beat is “The Last Gunfighter,” a sardonic western saga to which Earle offers a bravura reading of the chorus: “the smell of the black powder smoke and the stand in the street at the turn of joke.” But in the end GUY leads the listener back to its beginning, namely Guy Clark, which is what any good “tribute” should do. GUY is a saga of friendship, its ups and downs, what endures. We are lucky that Earle remembers and honors these things, because like old friends, GUY is a diamond.

File Under: Country, Folk
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Ex Hex: It’s Real (Merge) LP
On It’s Real, the group’s second album, Ex Hex’s commitment to larger-than-life riffs and unforgettable hooks remains intact, but the garage-y, post-punk approach that defined their debut Rips has grown in scale and ambition. What started as a reaction to the blown-out aesthetic of Rips would test the sonic limits of the power trio and lead the band on a quest for a more immersive and three-dimensional sound. Vocal harmonies are layered ten tracks deep, solos shimmer and modulate atop heaving power chords, and the codas linger and stretch toward new frontiers of sound. On first listen, you might think you’ve unearthed a long-lost LP carved from the space where crunch-minded art rock and glitter-covered hard rock converge, an event horizon at the intersection of towering choruses and swaggering guitars. Ex Hex were already one of America’s best guitar bands – but on It’s Real, their musical savvy has thrillingly combined with anything-goes curiosity, studio experimentation, and a dedication to refinement, resulting in an album that’s ready to be played at maximum volume.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Giuda: E.V.A. (Burger) LP
Giuda is a five-piece band from Rome, Italy, that play an air-punching mix of anthemic ‘70s rock hooks delivered with the brutal force of early UK punk, all interpreted in a contemporary and original way with relevance for today’s discerning listener. The story of Giuda began in 2007 and is inextricably connected with that of Rome’s seminal punk rock band Taxi. When Taxi’s career was cut short by the tragic passing of their drummer, singer Ntenda, lead guitarist Lorenzo and bassist (then drummer) Danilo regrouped as Giuda. The lineup is completed by guitarist Michele, adding a second layer of boogie sparks to the mix, and new drummer Alex, who recently replaced Daniele. Fueled by the sounds of bands like Slade, Glitter Band, Hector, Third World War and Slaughter & The Dogs, Giuda deliver fresh, powerful rock and roll with attitude in spades. Already being hailed as the band’s strongest album to date, Giuda offers up their fourth full-length effort E.V.A. on Burger Records.

File Under: Punk
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Iron & Wine: Our Endless Numbered Days DLX (Sub Pop) LP
Released fifteen years ago, 2004’s Our Endless Numbered Days was the breakthrough album for Sam Beam aka Iron and Wine: a collection of sweetly haunting, intimate songs, with Beam recording for the first time in a professional studio. It was the first in a string of releases to be produced by Brian Deck (Red Red Meat, Modest Mouse, Ugly Casanova) and has been widely heralded, going on to sell over 500,000 copies. SPIN called the record a “masterwork” one that is “self-assured, spellbinding, and richly, refreshingly adult” while Pitchfork hailed it as, “An astoundingly progressive record.” This deluxe double vinyl reissue comes with eight never-before heard home demos and a beautifully updated gatefold package featuring a twelve-page booklet with an essay about the album from Amanda Petrusich who rightly calls Our Endless Numbered Days “a timeless record about the passage of time.”

File Under: Folk, Indie Rock
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4250506831639_x_4250506831691_Lambchop_LP_THIS_12x12_HIresLambchop: This (Is What I Wanted to Tell You) (Merge) LP
As with 2012’s engrossing Mr. M and 2016’s staggering FLOTUS, Kurt Wagner’s openness to unexpected collaborators to give his thoughts and feelings the shape they need was central to the creation of This (is what I wanted to tell you). In the summer of 2017, Wagner re-met Matthew McCaughan, who has spent the last decade drumming for the likes of Bon Iver and Hiss Golden Messenger. McCaughan told Wagner he had been adventuring inside the world of rack-mounted analogue synthesizers and asked if Wagner might send some vocals to which he could compose. They became instant musical pen pals, with Wagner sending him a cappella takes of new song ideas and McCaughan dispatching long-form synthesizer pieces for inspiration. McCaughan eventually headed to Nashville, where, together, they put a band behind the songs, using pedal steel and piano and the harmonica of Nashville legend Charlie McCoy to color in the spaces of these black-and-white sketches.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Night Beats: Myth of a Man (Heavenly) LP
Fronted by Texan native Danny Lee Backwell, Myth Of A Man is an album that holds its own next to the classics, less of the bloodshot acid trip of Sonic Bloom (2013) and Who Sold My Generation (2016) here, Blackwell has recalibrated them, slowed them down just enough and allowed them the space to breathe and exist as something new. It’s the same book, just a different chapter. Written during a particularly destructive period of Night Beats, the album is populated by fallen angels, blood-sucking wanderers, and vindictive lovers – sketches of people the band has surely come across during their cosmic roving through the underground – but the character most present is Blackwell, himself. “Myth Of A Man can be summed up as a personal display of vulnerability and guilty conscience,” he explains, “Destroying the mythos of what it means to live and function in society.” With its bold steps forward, Myth Of A Man serves as both a takedown and reintroduction of the band as we know it – the strongest evidence that you’ll never be able to pin Night Beats down. While Blackwell has always fed off the musical legacy of his Texas roots – Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, The Red Krayola, The Black Angels and more paving the way for the the napalm-coated psych-rock headtrip of past albums – Myth Of A Man has him pulling from the surrogate wellspring of Nashville, TN. It was there that he worked with the eminent Dan Auerbach, and a murderer’s row of battle-worn session musicians – the combined weight of experience that comes from working with every legend from Aretha Franklin to Elvis not lost on Blackwell. “I was just humbled by being accepted,” he explains, “Big hearts all around.”

File Under: Garage Rock, Indie Rock
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Sadies: Favorite Colours (Yep Rock) LP
In 2004 Toronto’s cosmic cowboys The Sadies served up another batch of genre-bending rock ‘n’ roll with Favourite Colours, their second release for Yep Roc. Recorded at WaveLab in Tucson, The Woodshed in Toronto, and Greg Keelor’s farm between the band’s grueling tour schedule, The Sadies managed to combine country, ’60’s psychedelia, surf, punk and bluegrass and transform it into their own uniquely organic sound on these 13 original tracks. Longtime fans will notice there are more vocals and a greater emphasis on the Good brothers’ effortless harmonies. Sadies friends/collaborators Greg Keelor, Joey Burns, Rick White and Paul Brianerd all make appearances, while Robyn Hitchcock sings lead (and composed the lyrics) for the closing track, “Why Would Anybody Live Here?” Favourite Colours is chock full of heady harmonies, wistfully beautiful melodies and jaw-dropping musicianship.

File Under: Country, Surf, Garage
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Strand of Oaks: Eraserland (Dead Oceans) LP
Leading off with standout track “Weird Ways” and his powerful declaration of “I don’t feel it anymore,” “Eraserland” traces Tim Showalter’s evolution from apprehension to creative awakening, carving out a new and compelling future for Strand of Oaks. In February 2018, he spent two weeks alone writing and demoing all of the songs that would eventually comprise “Eraserland”. And in April, he went into the studio to record with his band. Jason Isbell also contributed his Hendrix-esque guitar work to the album while singer/songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle provided gorgeous vocals. Every song was recorded live, with all musicians playing together in one room and working to bring Showalter’s ideas to fruition.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Gabor Szabo: 69 (Modern Harmonic) LP
Masterful ‘60s pop by Hungarian jazz guitar guru Gabor Szabo! The guitar master’s 1969 platter of folk and pop music standards is highlighted by the rock ‘n’ bossa spin on “Sealed With A Kiss” and nuanced takes on the handful of Lennon-McCartney gems “Dear Prudence,” “You Won’t See Me,” “In My Life” and “I’ve Just Seen A Face.” Pressed at RTI on colored vinyl courtesy of Modern Harmonic.

File Under: Jazz, Guitar
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…..Restocks…. 

David Axelrod: Earth Rot (Now Again) LP
Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Just Sit… (Mom + Pop) LP
Bing & Ruth: No Home of the Mind (4AD) LP
Dinosaur Jr: You’re Living All Over Me (Jagjaguwar) LP
Fifty Foot Hose: Cauldron (Modern Harmonic) LP
Flight of the Conchords: Live in London (Sub Pop) LP
Nils Frahm: All Melody (Erased Tapes) LP
Steve Gunn: Unseen In Between (Matador) LP
Yussef Kamaal: Black Focus (Brownswood) LP
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinity (ATO) LP
Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath) LP
Nirvana: Nevermind (Geffen) LP
Quasimoto: The Unseen (Stones Throw) LP
Saun & Starr: Look Closer (Daptone) LP
Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht (Brain) LP
Nina Simone: Pastel Blues (Music on Vinyl) LP
Songs: Ohia: Love & Work – The Lioness Sessions (Secretly Canadian) BOX
Tangerine Dream: Zeit (Universal) LP
Twilight Sad: It Won’t Be Like This All The Time (Rock Action) LP
Various: Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht (Numero) LP

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