Not a load in this week, although that could largely be attributed to Universal and their refusal to have a good distribution chain. But thankfully they aren’t the only label around and plenty of other things show up as expected. We’ve also been pricing up so much great used stuff lately that it hardly matters anyway. Come down for a dig.
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…..pick of the week…..
Stereolab: Cobra & Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night
September 2019 sees the continuation of Stereolab’s seven album reissue campaign when 1996’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup, 1997’s Dots and Loops and 1999’s Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night are reissued, via Warp Records and Duophonic UHF Disks, as expanded and re-mastered editions on triple vinyl. Each album has been re-mastered from the original 1/2″ tapes by Bo Kondren at Calyx Mastering and overseen by Tim Gane. Bonus material will include alternate takes, 4 track demos and unreleased mixes. These reissues follow 1993’s Transient Random Noise-Bursts With Announcements and 1994’s Mars Audiac Quintet which received Expanded Editions earlier in 2019. Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night is Stereolab’s sixth studio album and a return to the poppier tendencies the band had left behind on their previous full-length, Dots and Loops. Where that album was an amalgam of often chilled, abstract electronica, prog and jazz, this work’s exotic pop features warm Moog textures, bursting horns and lush, layered vocals. Co-producers John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake) and Jim O’Rourke (Sonic Youth, Gastr del Sol) add new wrinkles to Stereolab’s sound and deliver rich and expansive mixes. Their contributions to the album’s sonic deconstructions and analog keyboard textures present a radical model of pop-rock song architecture. Harmony and cacophony coexist throughout, wrapped up in the group’s familiar, mellow ’60s bossa-groove. The arrangements incorporate Chicago post-rock, Sun Ra-styled free-form jazz and classic British acid-psych styles, while the songs return to the core melodic instincts of the band’s classic albums. Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night ended a decade in which Stereolab constructed a singular vision of popular music. It completed a journey from the lo-fi fuzz of their early ’90s singles to the sophisticated and complex soundscapes of their more mature second phase. The result is an alluring collage of ’60s jazz, French pop and shimmery, ambient guitars, and an underrated piece of Stereolab’s oeuvre.
File Under: Indie Rock, Pop, Electronic
Belle & Sebastian: Days of the Bagnold Summer (Matador) LP
Days of the Bagnold Summer began life as a 2012 award-winning graphic novel by Joff Winterhart, was turned into a feature film and the directorial debut of Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners, Friday Night Dinner), and is now a wonderful, rich, bittersweet, and warmly welcoming original soundtrack album by Belle and Sebastian, to be released in September 2019 on Matador Records. The collection features eleven brand new Belle and Sebastian songs, as well as re-recorded versions of classics “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying,” originally appearing on 1996’s If You’re Feeling Sinister, and “I Know Where The Summer Goes,” from 1998’s This Is Just a Modern Rock Song EP. “Everything we do that becomes an album is a big deal for us,” says Stuart Murdoch. “We’re quietly pleased with how the collaboration went, but the truth is that you don’t know what’s going to happen when it goes out into the world, and people hear it.” Sarah Martin thinks it is slightly different from other records they’ve put out, “It’s more consistent, probably, than most of our albums. Soundtracks are a deeper cut. They’re not a big pop statement.” But is making music for film that different than making it for a listener? “The whole thing with music is to make a good moment better,” Murdoch adds. “Deeper, more thrilling, more heartfelt.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Elder: Gold & Silver Sessions (Blues Funeral) LP
“An experimental LP of ranging, krautrock-style jams that dramatically expands the Elder sound from its stoner/doom roots. Capturing Elder’s expanding dynamic and ongoing progression, The Gold & Silver Sessions is an experimental LP of ranging psychedelic jams that captures their expressive and nuanced development in a way a ‘regular’ studio release wouldn’t. This is still the band who put out 2017’s crushing Reflections of a Floating World, but following their imagination in an entirely new direction.”
File Under: Metal
Nils Frahm: Encores 3 (Erased Tapes) LP
Nils Frahm releases Encores 3 on September 20, 2019 — the third and final instalment of his Encores series. The three EPs will be available as one full length release titled All Encores featuring 80 minutes of music on October 18, to follow his masterful 2018 album All Melody. Whilst Encores 1 focused on an acoustic pallet of sounds with solo piano and harmonium at the core, and Encores 2 explored more ambient landscapes, now Encores 3 sees Nils expand on the percussive and electronic elements in his work.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Minimalism
Hiss Golden Messenger: Terms of Surrender (Merge) LP
Led by the introspective songwriting of M.C. Taylor, Terms of Surrender finds the charismatic bandleader ruminating on complex emotions in the wake of a personally turbulent year. Over the course of six albums, fans of Hiss Golden Messenger have connected with the unique way Taylor identifies and articulates deeply personal sentiments and observations, all from a seemingly vulnerable place. There is always an underlying sense of hope and resolution throughout his extensive body of work that makes his songs relatable. Hiss Golden Messenger is also an extraordinary band that infuses elements of rock, gospel, alternative, Americana, and folk that make their music easily accessible and highly infectious. Terms of Surrender encompasses all of these key elements and brings them to new heights. The album’s ten songs touch on a myriad of emotions, inner conflict, and questions. Starting with opening track “I Need a Teacher,” the narrator longs for guidance to help navigate life’s endless challenges. Terms of Surrender was produced by Taylor and Brad Cook and features guest appearances by Jenny Lewis, Josh Kaufman, and Aaron Dessner of The National. The album was recorded at Dessner’s Long Pond studio in upstate New York, with additional recording at Sound City in Los Angeles, Haptown Studio in Nashville, and Overdub Lane in Durham, North Carolina.
File Under: Indie Rock, Folk
Melvins: The Maggot & The Bootlicker (Ipecac) LP
Twenty years ago, in April 1999, Ipecac Records was formed to release Fantômas’ debut release (a band featuring Mike Patton, Dave Lombardo, Trevor Dunn and Buzz Osborne from the Melvins). During that time, Buzz said, “We told Greg that if they wanted to start a label then the Melvins would love to be involved. We asked if he would be interested in doing a trilogy of releases within one year and they said no problem.” That year the Melvins released The Maggot, The Bootlicker and The Crybaby via Ipecac. Now for Ipecac’s 20th Anniversary, they’re reissuing two-thirds of the infamous “trilogy” by packaging The Maggot and The Bootlicker together in a double vinyl LP gatefold package.
File Under: Metal
Messthetics: Anthropocosmic Nest (Dischord) LP
Anthropocosmic Nest is the second full-length by Washington, D.C.’s The Messthetics who are Anthony Pirog (Low Ways Quartet), Joe Lally (Fugazi) and Brendan Canty (Fugazi, Deathfix). Recorded at the band’s practice space throughout 2019, it’s an album that more perfectly captures the trio’s current live dynamic, complete with improvisational tangents, playful experimentation, and cathartic sprawl. When The Messthetics recorded their debut album in 2017, the trio had only done a handful of shows and had yet to fully find its footing on stage. In a way, those compositions were a template for the band that Pirog, Lally, and Canty hoped would come into being through subsequent work on the road. Since then, The Messthetics have played upwards of 200 shows across the US, Europe and Asia. Their dialog as a performing unit has necessarily focused and intensified. As a result, Anthropocosmic Nest offers a more varied vision of the band. It’s the loudest the trio has ever been and also the quietest.
File Under: Indie Rock
One Eleven Heavy: Desire Path (Beyond Beyond is Beyond) LP
One Eleven Heavy’s brilliant second album Desire Path is a wry, occasionally biting, but always joyful celebration of human endurance and the ability to overcome. Nick Mitchell Maiato’s album opener, “Chickenshit,” deals with lazy acquiescence to attention-seekers. Pianist-cum-drummer Hans Chew’s first songwriting contribution to the band, “Fickle Wind,” externalizes the band’s raison d’etre by questioning society’s drive toward constant change. Meanwhile James Toth fires off image-laden witticisms about the unnecessary difficulty of human interaction in “Too Much, Too Much,” mocking fashion-conscious Marxists at the same time as he laughs at his own ‘cacti-withering row(s) with (his) old man.’ The musicianship is a step up from their raggedy, but already accomplished, debut, too. The album is laced with lush three-part vocal harmonies and two-part harmonized guitar licks, recalling those classic Allman Bros runs at the same time as it brings to mind timeless classics by Hendrix, the Stones and, of course, the Dead. Brooklyn, NY-based pedal steel player John Bohannon guests on a couple of tracks. Guitarist Nick Mitchell Maiato reaches new levels of guitar heroism on closing track – the Santana-esque “Three Poisons.” Meanwhile Chew also takes on drummer duties in the absence of regular hired hand Ryan Jewell who couldn’t make the session and more than earns his keep. The rhythm section of Chew and Dan Brown swings so hard, it almost doubles over on itself!
File Under: Rock
Raincoats: s/t (We Three) LP
Limited edition 1000 special marble 180g vinyl, plus download code. Includes 2 limited edition prints by Gina Birch and Ana da Silva. Remastered from original masters. November 2019 marks the 40th Anniversary of the release of The Raincoats’ self-titled debut album. and the band plan to celebrate with a series of live performances in the UK and at Le Guess Who? Festival in Utrecht. TRACKLISTING: Fairytale In The Supermarket, No Side To Fall In, Adventures Close To Home, Off Duty Trip, Black And White, Lola, The Void, Life On The Line, You’re A Million, In Love, No Looking.
File Under: Post Punk
Various: Studio One DJ Party (Soul Jazz) LP
Soul Jazz Records’ new Studio One DJ Party is the latest installation from the mighty Studio One Records catalog, a wicked new collection of the finest DJs and toasters ever to inhabit the world of reggae – seminal Jamaican artists including Prince Jazzbo, Dillinger, Dennis Alcapone, Michigan & Smiley, Lone Ranger as well as a host of lesser known artists and rare cuts from Studio One. From the earliest days when Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd ran his Downbeat soundsystem up and down the length of Jamaica, DJs and toasters such as King Stitt and Count Machukie were always a part of the sound of Studio One, introducing new records and exciting audiences with catchphrase lines such as: “No matter what the people say these sounds lead the way It’s the order of the day from your boss deejay.” So when DJ emerged as a distinct reggae style at the start of the 1970s, Studio One was, as always, way ahead of their competitors. Legendary artists of the caliber of Dillinger, Dennis Alcapone and Prince Jazzbo all queued up to record for the equally legendary label. At the end of the 1970s, as dancehall exploded onto the island, Clement Dodd was once again able to maintain Studio One’s position on the throne as the number one sound in the Jamaica, fighting off upstart competitors such as Channel One and Joe Gibbs who tried to replicate Studio One’s unique sound. During this period Clement Dodd released a series of stunning dancehall releases from young DJ/dancehall artists at the label including Lone Ranger and Michigan & Smiley. This selection spans the early 70s up until the mid-1980s, from the earliest days of deejay toasting right up until digital dancehall, ground-breaking tracks over the finest selection of the ultimate Studio One rhythms and tracks. Who could ask for more? Studio One DJ Party includes specially commissioned sleevenotes by Chris Lane, founder of the legendary British reggae label Fashion Records, as well as fantastic original artwork commissioned by the illustrator Ski Williams. The album is released as double heavyweight vinyl.
File Under: Reggae
Various: Visible & Invisible Persons Distributed in Space (Numero) LP
P-Funk and Prince & the Revolution led the world through the last stellar evolutionary stages of soul music as it was transmogrified through the pulverizing lens of the 1980s, when African-American culture gave way to an advanced African-Interplanetary civilizations. Self-actualized artists and visionaries followed, reflecting and refracting their own interpretations as if translated by Samuel Delaney or Octavia Butler. This unwieldily titled collection documents ten successful experiments in privately-issued sci-fi soul music, lonely transmissions from a planet in a state of cultural fugue. Packaged in a one-way portal to the further limits of expression.
File Under: Funk, Soul, P-Funk
Les Baxter: Ritual of the Savage (Waxtime) LP
Leon Bridges: Good Thing (Columbia) LP
Clash: London Calling (Epic) LP
Lana Del Rey: Norman Fucking Rockwell (Universal) LP
Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde (Columbia) LP
Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced (RCA) LP
Jimi Hendrix: Axis: Bold as Love (RCA) LP
Grachan Moncur III: Evolution (Blue Note) LP
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd: Meddle (Pink Floyd) LP
Portishead: PNYC: Live at the Roseland Ballroom (Universal) LP
Sam Rivers: Fuchsia Swing Song (Blue Note) LP
Sunn o))): Life Metal (Southern Lord) LP
Ween: La Cucaracha (Schnitzel) LP
Various: J Jazz? Vol 2 (BBE) LP