….news letter #896 – bunnied…..

Well I hope you found some chocolate eggs last weekend. It would appear that the record world is slowly settling back to normal. New releases, restocks etc. Come down for a dig!

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…..pick of the week…..

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Various: Science & Technology – ERR Rec Library Vol 2 (ERR) LP
Volume number two of Err Rec’s fabulous library music collection is here and as with the first, features the work of a group of contemporary French musicians working under pseudonyms in the field of weird and wonderful vintage sounding library music. Fans of volume one will find much to love here and its just as limited with only 50 available. The artwork was created by the label’s co-founder Bolanile Maté, loosely inspired by the works of Paul Kee and Josef Müller-Brockman. It features Gianni Moretto, Bernold Delgoda, Antonin Fortin, Atmosphere, Bertrand de Rombières etc.

File Under: Electronic, Library
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Late RSD Arrivals/Restocks

A wee selection of late arrivals and restocks… first come, first served, no holds..

Olafur Arnalds: Re:Member+ Strings (Mercury) LP+7″
Angelo Badilamenti/David Lynch: Twin Peaks Season 2 (Warner) LP
Jim Cuddy: Countrywide Soul (Warner) 7″
Gong: Live au Bataclan 1973 (Culture Factory) LP
Groundhogs: Thank Christ for the Bomb (Fire) LP
Hockey Dad: Dreamin’ (Kanine) LP
Modest Mouse: Poison The Well (Glacial Pace) 7″
Mumford & Sons: Delta Acoustic Sessions Live (Island) 10″
OST: Dr. Who – Galaxy 4 (Demon) LP
OST: Dr. Who – Destiny of the Daleks (Demon) LP
Rolling Stones: She’s a Rainbow (Abkco) 10″
Tangerine Dream: Le Parc (Cherry Red) LP
Cecil Taylor: The Great Paris Concert (ORG) LP
Yes: s/t (Rhino) LP
Various: Sonic Unyon: Now We Are 25 (Sonic Unyon) 3LP

….new arrivals…..

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Chemical Brothers: No Geography (Virgin) LP
No Geography is The Chemical Brothers’ long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s UK chart-topping and Grammy nominated Born In The Echoes, the electronic music legends’ sixth consecutive UK No. 1. To realize No Geography, the duo built tracks vocal samples; voices were wound tightly into music that Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons found themselves following wherever it led them. Snatches of dialogue from the late ’60s experimental Dial-A-Poem project were chosen that reflected the mood in the studio. Songs were road tested in front of audiences as part of the 2018 live set and honed in regular DJ sets the world over. No Geography is introduced by “Free Yourself” (dubbed “a euphoric, multi-faceted odyssey of blistering synths and deep grooves” by Rolling Stone), “MAH” (described as “a short & bloody ride into our modern media psychosis” by The Guardian) and “Got To Keep On,” a striking groovy and disco-inspired track which proves once again what The Chemical Brothers are capable of when it comes to the diversity of their production skills. Several of the tracks on No Geography feature vocals by Norwegian singer/songwriter Aurora who wrote and recorded parts in the band’s studio in close collaboration with the band while Japanese rapper Nene features on the record’s opening cut “Eve of Destruction.”

File Under: Electronic
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Fidlar: Almost Free (Mom & Pop) LP
Almost Free, the new release from Fidlar touches on many of the tragedies and irritations of modern life: existential dread, gentrification, the inescapable sway of the super-rich and the self-involved, post-breakup telecommunication, performative wokeness, the loneliness of sobriety or the lack thereof. But through sheer force of imagination and an unchecked joie de vivre, the L.A.-based band manages to turn feeling wrong into something glorious and essential. In the age of joyless self-care, Almost Free makes a brilliant case for being less careful, for living without fear of fucking up, and possibly embracing any incurred damage as a lucky symptom of being alive. The album sees the band pushing boundaries into new territory and influences while staying true to their unshakable core. “A lot of the vibe was, ‘Well, why can’t we do that? Why can’t we have horns? Why can’t we have key changes? Why can’t we have a harmonica loop?’,” said lead singer/guitarist Zac Carper. “It was about taking the ceiling off. Having it be limitless. Ain’t no rules,” Elvis Kuehn added “Almost Free feels like a step forward for us in a lot of ways. We tried to be true to ourselves and let the music come out naturally, without fear of how people would receive it.”

File Under: Rock, Punk
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Kelly Finnigan: The Tales People Tell (Colemine) LP
Kelly Finnigan, the lead singer of Bay Area-based indie-soul auteurs Monophonics, presents his debut solo album The Tales People Tell. Over the course of record’s ten new, original songs, Kelly channels a multitude of influences that reflect a lifetime immersed in the music and culture of soul, R&B, and hip­hop – it’s the story of an outsider that followed an unorthodox route, always guided by his own creative north star. Kelly guided the songs on The Tales People Tell from their conception all the way to the record pressing plant over the course of two years. He wrote and produced each track on the record and plays ten instruments throughout, while enlisting the help of friends and legends like drummer James Gadson (Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Beck), members of Monophonics, and Kelly’s own father, prominent sideman/keyboardist Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Etta James). The result is a timeless collection underscored by a sense of community, a family affair of a record that’s at once raw and gritty, tender and emotive, lush and symphonic. Colored vinyl LP pressed at Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, OH. High quality Stoughton Tip-On gatefold jacket packaging with Mobile Fidelity anti-static innsersleeve, download card, and a lyric sheet insert.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Foxygen: Seeing Other People (Jagjaguwar) LP
Los Angeles-based Foxygen, the duo of Sam France and Jonathan Rado, return in 2019 with the new album, Seeing Other People. The nine-track collection was written and produced entirely by Foxygen at Sonora Recorders in Los Feliz, California and engineered and mixed by Shawn Everett. Throughout, Foxygen’s keen ability to experiment with and expand upon classic pop and rock sounds bloom, and it also features contributions from legendary drummer Jim Keltner. Seeing Other People sees Foxygen at their very best, “chopping up pop culture and spinning it into a sticky, wicked web.” The particular flavor on this album, the band suggests, is “Sad-Boy Plastic-Soul Adult-Contemporary Cartoon-Noir Music.” Aptly named after the adult phrase “maybe we should see other people,” Seeing Other People is Foxygen’s most straightforward “goodbye” album yet; “Goodbye to the drugs, to the partying. Goodbye to my twenties now, Goodbye to my Saint Laurent-model-body. Goodbye to the touring circus – that’s right, no more shows or tours for a while. Goodbye, hopefully, to the anxiety attacks. Goodbye to beating myself up because I didn’t fit into those leather pants anymore. Fuck it. Goodbye to the facilities. And goodbye the leeches in my life,” says France. The album is filled with self-referential tales of touring, partying, of being young and in a band, and saying farewell to the grittier, darker aspects of it all. “I remember a quote from Rado sticking with the press a few years ago about how we’d lived every rock n roll cliche in, about, one year. Well, here’s the album about it. Another movie. I don’t know what’s next. But here’s a snapshot of it all.” Lead single, “Livin’ A Lie,” is an acknowledgement of fame-hungry mimicry as France sings “you’re name-dropping me all the time / You know I don’t really care for it / yeah you know that I don’t really care about it/ How does it feel to be livin a lie?”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Aldous Harding: Designer (4AD) LP
Designer finds Aldous Harding hitting her creative stride. After Party, Harding came off a 100-date tour and went straight into the studio with a collection of songs written on the road. Reuniting with John Parish, producer of Party, Harding spent 15 days recording and 10 days mixing at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth and Bristol’s J&J Studio and Playpen. From the bold strokes of opening track “Fixture Picture,” there is an overriding sense of an enigmatic artist confident in their work, with contributions from Huw Evans (H. Hawkline), Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo), drummer Gwion Llewelyn and violinist Clare Mactaggart broadening and complimenting Harding’s rich and timeless songwriting.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Damien Jurado: In the Shape of a Storm (Mama Bird) LP
Speaking about the films that influenced his fourteenth album, the solitary masterwork In the Shape of a Storm, Damien Jurado tosses out a list of favorites – American Graffiti, Paris, Texas, The Last Picture Show – films in which settings serve as silent, omniscient characters. But inquire about the curious way he writes songs, the hazy manner by which he seems to channel them from beyond the beyond, and the cinematic reference point he reaches for is a surprising one. “You ever see that movie Ghost? Whoopi Goldberg’s character, Oda Mae Brown – that’s who I am. These spirits are showing up at her door, jumping into her body. That’s how I feel. I don’t know what’s coming out of me…I just show up and deliver it.” For more than two decades, Jurado has sung folk songs brimming with prophetic imagination. Whether singing ballads about killers, wounded lovers, UFO cults, or yes, the phantoms of departed friends, he’s populated his work with eerie foretelling, the sense that he’s divining something just on the verge of happening. He wrote his last record, 2018’s The Horizon Just Laughed as a goodbye letter to his home of Seattle, WA, before he’d even decided to leave there for sunny Los Angeles. And while he recorded the ten songs featured on In the Shape of a Storm months before the passing of his longtime collaborator and close friend Richard Swift, it’s no coincidence that Swift’s death looms over the album. “His absence is very much felt on this record,” Jurado says. Damien has always worked fast, but In the Shape of a Storm came together with unprecedented speed. Recorded over the course of two hours one California afternoon, it’s Jurado’s sparsest album to date. Gone are the thundering drums and psychedelic arrangements that defined the trilogy of concept albums he made with Swift. Gone even is the atmospheric air that hovered above his early albums for Sub Pop. Here, there’s only Jurado’s voice, acoustic guitar, and occasional accompaniment from Josh Gordon, playing a high-strung guitar tuned Nashville style, rendering its sound spooky and celestial. Though fans have long requested a solo acoustic album, the prospect never made sense to Jurado, until one day it simply did. “It just felt like it was time,” Jurado says. The idea of an unadorned album became its own medium in his mind, like a painter who sets down his brushes and instead opts for charcoal pencils instead. “There is nothing left to hide,” Jurado sings on “Lincoln,” which opens the record. It’s something of a thesis statement for these songs. Everything here is clear and laid bare, two-tone, like the drawing Jurado crafted for the record’s cover. Originally written for 2000’s The Ghost of David, “Lincoln” was shelved and forgotten about until Damien came across it on an old cassette tape. The discovery inspired him to go about gathering up songs that had never found proper homes. As a result, In the Shape of a Storm is like an archive of previously abandoned songs. And yet, despite their disparate nature, Jurado’s visions hang together in curiously symmetrical ways: the moon shines in both the echo-drenched “Silver Ball” and closer “Hands on the Table”; rain ties the title song to the lilting “Oh Weather.” Jurado repeatedly returns to oceanic poetry – waves, tides, and shores – and to the theme of anchors, the metaphorical ones we use to tether ourselves to the sea floor and to each other. These are songs about the enormity of the unknown – the shape of storms that threaten to swallow us whole – and above all, they are songs about the connections that keep us from drifting away. “We are not meant to be on our own,” Jurado sings on “Throw Me Now Your Arms.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Karen O & Dangermouse: Lux Prima (BMG) LP
Lux Prima is the first release from iconic Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O and legendary musician-producer Danger Mouse. The two originally met to discuss collaboration in 2007 as mutual admirers, but in 2015, they got serious and made a plan – entering the studio with no sonic parameters and a handful of references – Lux Prima was born. “Title track Lux Prima is the first song we wrote for the record,” says O. “After making music for the past twenty years and embarking on making this record with Danger Mouse I knew a couple things: one was that the spirit of collaboration between us was going to be a pure one, and two was that the more I live the less is clear to me. When you create from a blurry place you can go places further than you’ve ever been. I think we both were excited to go far out.” “‘Woman’ came like a bolt out of the blue when we were in the studio,” adds O. “We did a first pass where I was blurting unintelligible words and Danger Mouse and I were like ‘Dang! That was intense. What’s that word I keep saying? Woman.’ The atmosphere was volatile with it being just after the election. A lot of people felt helpless like you do when you’re a scared kid looking for assurance that everything is gonna be alright. I like to write songs that anyone can relate to but this one felt especially for the inner child in me that needed the bullies out there to know you don’t fuck with me. I’m a woman now and I’ll protect that inner girl in me from hell and high water.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Mountain Goats: In League with Dragons (Merge) LP/DLX LP
The Mountain Goats’ In League with Dragons surges with wild tales of revenge and redemption, heroes at a crossroads, and great figures in decline. The band present twelve new songs penned by John Darnielle that luxuriate in a wide swath of sounds, from shades of the ’80s Athens scene to swaths of outlaw country and a few motorik meditations. In League with Dragons was engineered by Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price, Jason Isbell, John Prine) and recorded by the Mountain Goats – songwriter and guitarist Darnielle, drummer Jon Wurster, bassist Peter Hughes, and multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas – at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, TN. Robert Bailey contributed additional vocal arrangements and strings were performed by the Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra. “This album began life as a rock opera about a besieged seaside community called Riversend ruled by a benevolent wizard, for which some five to seven songs were written. When I’m focusing on a project, I always distract myself from the through-line with multiple byways, which are kind of like mini-games within the broader architecture of a long video game. As I worked on the Riversend stuff, weird noir visions started creeping in, probably under the influence of Leonardo Sciascia (a Sicilian author, he wrote mysteries) and Ross MacDonald’s The Zebra-Striped Hearse, which a friend from Port Washington gave me while I was in the thick of the writing. “I thought these moods helped complicate the wizards and dragons a little, and, as I thought about my wizard, his health failing, the invasion by sea almost certain to wipe out half his people, I thought about what such a person might look like in the real world: watching a country show at a midwestern casino, or tryout pitching for an American League team years after having lit up the marquees. Finally, I wrote the title track, which felt like a drawing-together of the themes in play: rebellion against irresistible tides, the lush vistas of decay, necessary alliances. I am earnestly hoping that a new genre called “dragon noir” will spring from the forehead of nearly two years’ work on these songs, but, if not, I am content for this to be the sole example of the style.” – John Darnielle

File Under: Indie Rock
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Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky: Droneflower (Sacred Bones) LP
Droneflower is in bloom. The new collaboration between Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky (Cave In, Mutoid Man), is a sprawling and expansive exercise in contrasts. It is the sound of the war between the brutal and the ethereal, the dark and the light, the past and the present, and the real and imagined. Brodsky met Nadler for the first time in 2014 at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus Bar when he came to see her play on her July tour, and they quickly became friends. Both of them had been wanting to explore songwriting that didn’t fit into their existing projects, and they soon became energized by the prospect of working together. One of the first ideas they discussed was a horror movie soundtrack, and while Droneflower isn’t that, it is a richly cinematic album. It’s easy to imagine much of the record set to images, though it wasn’t composed that way. The first song that came together was “Dead West,” based around a beautiful acoustic guitar piece Brodsky wrote while living on Spy Pond, just outside of Nadler’s home base in Boston. By the time they started working on the song earnest, Brodsky had moved to Brooklyn. Nadler added lyrics and vocal melodies remotely, and even from a distance it was obvious there was real kismet in the collaboration. All the songs on Droneflower were recorded in home studios, and they throb with the frisson of that intimate environment. For much of the recording process, Brodsky would stop by the ramshackle studio that Nadler set up in Boston whenever he was in town visiting family. Songs like “For the Sun” were written on the spot there, lyrics and all. The lush ambient pieces “Space Ghost I” and “Space Ghost II” began as Brodsky piano compositions and were later fleshed out by additional instrumentation and Nadler’s inimitable vocals. Nadler and Brodsky also recorded two cover songs for the album – the epic Guns n’ Roses power ballad “Estranged” and Morphine’s beguiling “In Spite of Me.” Since childhood, Nadler had been transfixed by the “Estranged” video where Axl Rose swam with dolphins, and she and Brodsky breathe new life into the song here. Their take on “In Spite of Me” is invigorated by a guest appearance from Morphine saxophonist Dana Colley, who ironically didn’t play on the original recording but is indispensable on Nadler and Brodsky’s version.

File Under: Indie Rock
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LDP39813_Prince: Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic (Legacy) LP
The Prince Estate and Legacy Recordings present the next round of physical titles set for release as part of the ongoing and definitive Prince catalog project, first time vinyl LP pressings of 1999’s Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic and its 2001 remix Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic. Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, Prince’s only album for NPG/Arista (and last released under the unpronounceable “Love Symbol” moniker), is a record which showcased the music legend’s mastery of pop and R&B on simmering jams like “The Greatest Romance Ever Sold” and “Man ‘O’ War” and also boasts a surprising range of guest artists including Chuck D, Eve, Gwen Stefani, Ani DiFranco, and Sheryl Crow (Prince even covers Crow’s smash hit “Every Day is a Winding Road” on the album).

File Under: Pop, R&B
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Reigning Sound: Abdication… For Your Love (Merge) LP
Produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and Reigning Sound frontman Greg Cartwright, Abdication…For Your Love was originally available solely as a promotional giveaway. This 2019 colored vinyl LP reissue marks the first wide release of the record. In a 2011 review of the album, the A.V. Club wrote, “Reigning Sound’s allegiance is to producing great songs that move feet and rip out hearts, not to any particular scene or fashionable pose.” Paste also described it as a collection of “nicely recorded songs that sometimes rock, sometimes don’t, but are always well put together.” After the release of Abdication…, Reigning Sound put out the much-loved Shattered LP in 2014. Includes a download card with the digital-only bonus track “What Did I Tell You.”

File Under: Rock, Punk
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The-Slits-Cut-Album-Cover-web-optimised-820Slits: Cut (Island) LP
Overseen by reggae producer Dennis Bovell, Cut was originally released in September 1979 and remains one of the post-punk era’s most seminal releases. The record gained instant notoriety due to its controversial cover image depicting the three Slits – Ari Up, Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt – clad in mud and loincloths. However, the music contained within was every bit as striking. Enhanced by future Siouxsie & The Banshees star Budgie’s crisp, inventive drumming, the girls’ natural quirkiness came careening to the fore on scratchy but exuberant pop-punk tracks including ‘So Tough’, ‘Typical Girls’ and the irreverent, anti-consumerist ‘Shoplifting’, but the album’s spacy sensurround also owed a debt of gratitude to Bovell’s deft studio techniques, which graced highlights such as ‘Adventures Close To Home’ and the football- and TV-dissing ‘Newtown’. The Slits were first formed in London in 1976 by members of early punk outfits groups The Flowers of Romance and The Castrators. The group’s early line-up consisted of Ari Up (Ariane Forster) and Palmolive (aka Paloma Romero, who played briefly with Spizz Energi and later left to join The Raincoats), with Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt replacing founding members Kate Korus and Suzy Gutsy. Along with Buzzcocks, The Prefects and Subway Sect, The Slits supported The Clash on their 1977 ‘White Riot’ tour. They again joined The Clash on their widely-publicised ‘Sort It Out’ UK tour on November and December 1978, during which The Clash were supporting the release of their second album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope. Cut also broached the UK Top 40 and has since been enthusiastically championed by trailblazing musicians ranging from trip-hop futurists Massive Attack to feminist punks Sleater-Kinney. Following Cut, The Slits’ sound and attitude became increasingly experimental and avant-garde during the early 1980s. The band toured widely and released another album, Return Of The Giant Slits before breaking up in early 1982.

File Under: Post-Punk
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Soak: Grim Town (Rough Trade) LP
Soak returns after four years with a new album, bringing with her four years worth of growth, introspection and understanding. The result is Grim Town, the follow-up to her Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut Before We Forgot How To Dream, which saw her win the prestigious Choice Music Prize for Album of the Year, the Northern Irish Music Prize, and the European Border Breaker Award, in addition to being shortlisted for a Q Award. Her astonishingly assured, emotionally mature songwriting was often hailed as wise beyond its years; but, as her new album often asks, when do we ever truly shake off those childlike fears, the imposter-syndrome, the outsider-status? The term ‘to come of age’ lands with so much expectation, but with Grim Town, Bridie Monds-Watson dissolves all such assuredness with imaginative, ambitious, and cathartic results. It is almost as though the greater soundscape – heavier in places, more pop-focused in others – has given Soak the confidence to put her long overdue introspections in the firing line. It’s beauty and brutality is there from the album open opener, “Get Set Go Kid” which traces the train-tracks out of depression (“I’ve got to get out, I can’t live here anymore!”) and was as inspired by the audio-visual environmentalism of Pink Floyd’s The Wall as Bridie’s train-obsessed Grandad on voiceover duties.

File Under: Indie Rock
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…..Restocks…. 

Bad Brains: Black Dots (Wax Audio) LP
Beatles: Abbey Road (Apple) LP
Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s (Apple) LP
Ryan Bingham: American Love Song (Thirty Tigers) LP
Leon Bridges: Coming Home (Sony) LP
The Clash: London Calling (Epic) LP
Danger Doom: Mouse & the Mask (Lex) LP
Miles Davis: Sketches of Spain (Legacy) LP
Miles Davis: Live Evil (Music on Vinyl) LP
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks (Legacy) LP
Brian Eno: Another Green World (Astralwerks) LP
Brian Eno: Ambient 1 – Music for Airports (Astralwerks) LP
Funkadelic: s/t (Westbound) LP
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (Westbound) LP
Herbie Hancock: Headhunters (Music on Vinyl) LP
Herbie Hancock: Sextant (Music on Vinyl) LP
Idles: Brutalism (Partisan) LP
Khruangbin: Con Todo (Dead Oceans) LP
Khruangbin: Universe Smiles Upon… (Innovative Leisure) LP
King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (Pangyric) LP
Madlib: Beat Konducta (MMS) LP
Stephen Malkmus: Sparkle Hard (Matador) LP
Les McCann: Layers (Get on Down) LP
Meters: s/t (Music on Vinyl) LP
Modern Lovers: s/t (Music on Vinyl) LP
Modest Mouse: Lonesome Crowded West (Glacial Pace) LP
Modest Mouse: This is a Long Drive… (Glacial Pace) LP
Nine Inch Nails: The Fragile (Nothing) LP
Nine Inch Nails: The Downward Spiral (Nothing) LP
Parliament: Mothership Connection (Universal) LP
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd) LP
Portishead: s/t (London) LP
Portishead: Dummy (Polydor) LP
Radiohead: Kid A (XL) LP
Paul Simon: Graceland (Legacy) LP
Smiths: Hatful of Hollow (Rhino) LP
Smiths: Queen is Dead (Rhino) LP
Laurie Spiegel: The Expanding Universe (Unseen Worlds) LP
Midori Takada: Through the Looking Glass (WRWTFWW) LP
Uncle Acid: Wasteland (Rise Above) LP
Sharon Van Etten: Are We There Yet? (Jagjaguwar) LP
Visible Cloaks & Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano: Serenitatem (RVNG Intl) LP
Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreaks (Def Jam) LP
Kanye West: Late Registration (Universal) LP
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Universal) LP
White Stripes: Icky Thump (Third Man) LP

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