Well, it’s not a hefty list in terms of length, but the Zoviet France boxset almost deserves a news letter all of its own. Buuuuuut, then there’s the Michael Stearns reissue! And the new Here Lies Man! oh boy!
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…..picks of the week…..
Zoviet France: Chasse (Vinyl on Demand) 15LP Box
We’re actually already down to our last couple of these boxes so…. “Members during the exciting early years represented by these 15 LPs of :zoviet*france: were Ben Ponton, Robin Storey, Peter Jensen, Paolo Di Paolo and Lisa Hale. :zoviet*france: is an idiosyncratic group of anonymous music makers, gatherers of sound, and fabricators of unknown music. For nearly 40 years, they have explored and reported back from the liminal areas of music and composition, walking the margins where little is easily located and consensus reality melds with the hypnagogic and half-heard. Having wilfully obscured themselves in Newcastle upon Tyne since their inception in 1980, :zoviet*france: has developed a radical relationship with cheap technologies, homemade acoustic instruments, primitive looping and sampling techniques, and basic dub trickery from which the group has crafted a distinctly unique vocabulary of sonic hypnosis. Just as the group’s sound has alchemically reconfigured inexpensive technologies, the packaging of their releases has avoided standard formats with aluminium, steel, wood and porcelain among the materials that have been bent and cut to shape instead.”
Lp1: Garista Lp (1982)
Lp2: Untitled / Norsch Lp (1982/83)
Lp3/4: Monomishe 2lp (1983)
Lp5/6: Eostre 2Lp (1984)
Lp7: Gris Lp (unreleased extended version) (1985)
Lp8/9/10: Popular Soviet Songs And Youth Music 3Lp/7inch (1985)
Lp11: Misfits, Loony Tunes And Squalid Criminals Lp (1986)
Lp12: Gesture Signal Threat Lp (1986)
Lp13: Loh Land Lp/7inch (1987)
LP14: Assault And Mirage Lp (1987)
Lp15: A Flock of Rotations Lp (1987)
File Under: Industrial, Ambient, Electronic, Tribal
Michael Stearns: Planetary Unfolding (Emotional Rescue) LP
Emotional Rescue is honoured to reissue the benchmark in new age ambient music, Michael Stearns epic Planetary Unfolding album. Out of press on vinyl for over 30 years, here is Stearns masterful electronic symphony in 6 movements, recorded using his Serge modular synthesizer at the Continuum Studio in 1981. The culmination of years of exploration in “space” music, Stearns journey, to the album’s release, was one of learning and application. Involved in music since his teens, he graduated from guitar bands in the late 60s to an increasing interest in the principles of electronic music synthesis and the physics of musical instruments. He moved from Tucson, Arizona to Los Angeles in 1975 where he performed live during movement meditation classes at the Continuum Studio. He released his first cassette album in 1977 before going on to record 7 albums during this formative period. With Planetary Unfolding, the musical ideas that Michael performed on the Serge developed into this 52-minute masterpiece of music, six movements, three on each side of the LP. Based on the idea that the universe is made of sound held together through resonance, where atoms, cells, oceans, plants, animals and humans, all are part of a complex orchestration – the Earth as a being of sound. Having first approached Michael in 2013, his uncertain response that the album could be rereleased in a way that the music would be given justice via vinyl, the idea was never forgotten. Gaining discovery, appraisal and prominence when “As The Earth Kissed The Moon” appeared in edited form on the “I Am The Centre” box set from Light In The Attic, this excellent window into the world of Private issue new age music, superbly compiled by Douglas McGowan, further increased the interest in Michael’s and others, such as Laraaji, music. With the likes of Matthewdavid’s Leaving Records and Jonny Nash’s Melody As Truth pushing the ambient curve beyond a post club, chill out fad, classic albums can rightly sit alongside this ‘new age of the new age’, so that ambient music again has a gravity and place of it’s own. This specially re-mastered version by Bob Ohllson features the original artwork by Leilani Bost, liner notes by long-term friend and fellow musician, Gary David, as well as the photography of Ron Peterson, together bringing this wonderful album to life once again.
File Under: Ambient, New Age
Here Lies Man: No Ground to Walk Upon (Riding Easy) LP
Here Lies Man took the music world by storm in 2017 with their self-titled debut positing the intriguing hypothesis: What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat? Since that time, they have expanded and expounded upon their sound and ideas of heavy riff rock and psych within the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave. The L.A. based band comprised of Antibalas members have toured relentlessly over the past two years, while also releasing a second album, You Will Know Nothing and an EP, Animal Noises, both in 2018. No Ground to Walk Upon is their third album. It continues with an ongoing concept of playing a soundtrack to an imaginary movie, with each song being a scene. Rough Trade named Here Lies Man in their prestigious Top 10 Albums of 2017. BBC 6 and Classic Rock Magazine deemed it among the year’s best, as well as countless other press outlets singing its praises. 2018’s You Will Know Nothing furthered the band’s reputation for genre-smashing rhythmic experimentation, topping many year-end lists as well as earning features from countless metal and indie rock outlets, plus cover stories in weekly papers. This latest album is the next step in the band’s rapid ascent to what is bound to be influential upon riff-based rock. “We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs,” explains founder and vocalist / guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Marcos Garcia (who also plays guitar in Antibalas) of the band’s sound. “Tony Iommi’s (Black Sabbath) innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are taking that same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi it was the blues, for us it comes directly from Africa.”
File Under: Psych, Rock, Metal, Afrobeat
Ride: This Is Not A Safe Place (Wichita) LP
Ride return with the 6th studio album of their career and their second since reforming in 2015 and signing to Wichita. As with their previous album, the highly acclaimed Weather Diaries, Erol Alkan was in the producer’s chair, whilst career-long collaborator Alan Moulder (with Caesar Edmunds) mixed the album. The album’s title was inspired by one of the “hobo code” symbols once used by those who travelled the railroads of the US, and then found in the early artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The phrase clearly resonates with the current state of the world – politically and environmentally. This Is Not A Safe Place is arguably the Ride album with the broadest sonic palette thus far. You can hear sounds and styles that span their entire catalogue but, both musically and lyrically, this is clearly an album made by a band who love being back together and who are at the very top of their game.
File Under: Rock, Shoegaze
Ana Roxanne: ~~~ (Leaving) LP
“Ana Roxanne is an intersex Southeast Asian musician based in Los Angeles. Born & raised in the Bay Area to immigrant parents, Ana’s love for music and singing began through her mother’s cd collection of 80’s/90’s R&B divas. Raised in the catholic church, she became a devout choir nerd and found any opportunity to sing, whether for religious mass, the jazz ensemble of her catholic high school, or karaoke at family gatherings. Her commitment to singing led her to a brief stint at a vocational jazz program in the cornfields of the midwest; in a remote town of 7,000 people, she began a formal study of jazz and classical music. During these years she would tour with various ensembles to beautiful old cathedrals in nearby cities and became enamored with the sacredness of choral music, as well as the enveloping sound of harmony. A near death experience, too, served as a connection between music and spirituality, and music as a healing art after facing tragedy. In 2013, Ana was also fortunate enough to spend a few months in Uttarkhand, India where she met an incredible voice teacher who introduced her to classical Hindustani singing. Living and studying with this teacher deeply impacted her outlook on the voice as art. It was there that she began to see the singer – the Diva – as a symbol of divinity; that the unique power of one’s voice comes from the vulnerability of using the body as an instrument. Be it romance, love, or worship of a deity – in order to access such depths of emotional expression, one must be willing to be intensely vulnerable, lay one’s heart in the open air, expose what is kept hidden. This brief study was the catalyst that led her to finish her music study at the experimental Mills College in Oakland, CA, where she began to combine all of these influences into her current self-titled project. This album ~~~ was created during her last years residing in the Bay Area, a tribute to the great musicians who inspired her and the landscape where she spent her formative years. In addition to the worship of R&B and pop divas, Ana’s current practice explores themes of gender & identity. In October of 2018, she decided to come out publicly as intersex, and is dedicated to being a voice for her community and speaking out about social justice for intersex youth.”
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Sleater-Kinney: The Center Won’t Hold (Mom + Pop) LP
“How does brokenness walk? Or move through the world?” says guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein about The Center Won’t Hold, Sleater-Kinney’s tenth studio album and first since 2015’s No Cities to Love. “We’re always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person – ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness – in the middle of the chaos.” The Center Won’t Hold is Sleater-Kinney’s midnight record on the doomsday clock. After 25 years of legendary collaboration, rock ‘n’ roll giants Brownstein, Corin Tucker, and Janet Weiss rise to meet the moment by digging deeper and sounding bigger than we’ve heard them yet. Here are intimate battle cries. Here are shattered songs for the shattered survivors. “The Center Won’t Hold drops you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election,” adds guitarist/vocalist Tucker of the title track. “We’re not taking it easy on the audience. That song is meant to be really heavy and dark. And almost like a mission statement, at the end of that song, it’s like we’re finding our way out of that space by becoming a rock band.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Spoon: Everything Hits at Once (Matador) LP
Spanning a career well into its third decade, Spoon returns with the new compilation, Everything Hits At Once: The Best of Spoon. In addition to the 12 fan-adored tracks making up this single LP, Spoon also offer up the bold new single “No Bullets Spent.” How many rock bands from the past 25 years could get away with a greatest-hits album? Spoon stand alone, with a career-spanning retrospective culled from all over their unique songbook. It’s a flawless compilation of their best-known, best-loved tunes, yet it’s still full of surprises – the only thing you could expect from a band that’s spent their whole career taking people by surprise.
File Under: Indie Rock
Thom Yorke: Anima (XL) DLX LP
Limited edition deluxe edition on 180g heavyweight orange double LP with sewn orange cloth spine, also includes a 40-page book of artwork from Stanley Donwood and Tarik Barri. Thom Yorke will release his new album ANIMA on Thursday 27th June, at midnight. The physical release will follow on Friday 19th July. A ‘one-reeler’ film, also entitled ANIMA , will be available to watch exclusively via Netflix worldwide from midnight 27th June. Made by Paul Thomas Anderson to music from Thom’s album, the one-reeler has a run time of approximately 14 minutes. There were multiple sneak previews of the one-reeler at IMAX Theaters globally on the eve of 26th June. Forthcoming album ANIMA was written by Thom Yorke and produced by Nigel Godrich. The album features 9 tracks, with an extra track exclusively on vinyl.
File Under: Indie Rock, Electronic, Radiohead
Thom Yorke: Not the News (XL) 12″
Thom Yorke will be releasing an EP of remixes for the track “Not The News” from his new album, ANIMA (XL Recordings).
File Under: Electronic, Radiohead
Frank Zappa: Mothermania (Zappa) LP
The lionized Mothermania – The Best Of The Mothers compilation album was originally released in March 1969, created by Frank Zappa in a resolution agreement with MGM Verve over censorship and their endless unauthorized and unappreciated by the artist compilations from the original albums then in release by Verve. Although the songs on the album were released previously on Freak Out, Absolutely Free, and We’re Only In It For The Money, it contains unique mixes/edits done specifically for this collection by Zappa himself, including an uncensored version of “Mother People” (previously censored on WOIIFTM,) as well as a completely different mix of “The Idiot Bastard Son.”
File Under: Rock
Nick Cave: Push the Sky Away (Bad Seed) LP
Miles Davis: Complete Birth of Cool (Capitol) LP
Drag Majesty: Modern Mirror (Dais) LP
Brian Eno: Apollo (Astralwerks) LP
Fontaines DC: Dogrel (Partisan) LP
Here Lies Man: s/t (Riding Easy) LP
Here Lies Man: You Will Know Nothing (Riding Easy) LP
Khruangbin: Con Todo El Mundo (Dead Oceans) LP
Lumineers: Cleopatra (Dine Alone) LP
Efrim Menuck & Kevin Doira: Are SING, SINCK, SING (Constellation) LP
Murlocs: Manic Candid Episode (Flightless) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: Era Vulgaris (Ipecac) LP
Six Organs of Admittance: For Octavio Paz (Hermit Hut) LP
Sons of Kemet: Burn (Naim) LP
US Maple: Talker (Drag City) LP
Sharon Van Etten: Tramp (Jagjaguwar) LP
Sharon Van Etten: Are We There (Jagjaguwar) LP
Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar) LP