…..news letter #923 – snow no…..

We all know it’s coming, but it’s always a bummer when it happens… but winter, has arrived. Good thing there’s always new records to keep you cozy through the cold months. Come down for a dig.

And speaking of top albums of the year… Looks like we’ll be HIRING someone again real soon! If you dream of hanging out and talking about records all day, then bring us a resume along with your top ten albums of 2019 and of all time!

Oh ya… if you don’t follow us on Instagram, WHY NOT?! And now you know.


…..picks of the week…..

Mark-Hollis-self-titled-album-cover-820Mark Hollis: s/t (Universal) LP
Following the sad passing of Mark Hollis earlier this year we all collectively turned back towards the impressive career arc of his band Talk Talk. Lesser referenced was his self-titled solo album released in 1998. It didn’t help that the record was out of print at the time but this re-issue is a chance to wallow again in the intimate grooves of a record that was initially intended to be released under the Talk Talk moniker. It is a gorgeous thing full of woodwind, jazz- inflected drumming, pastoral guitar and Hollis’s fascinated mumbling verse. So quiet that you can hear the squeak of the musicians chairs. Essential.

File Under: Experimental, Ambient, Rock
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Vernal+Equinox+-+New+Found+WorldVernal Equinox: New World Found (Aural Medium) LP
“There’s this lyric in a Rush song that’s like, ‘all this machinery, making modern music, can still be open-hearted’. I don’t know why, but that line always struck a chord with me.” – Steve Brenner In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, a small town in Ontario changed its name from Berlin to Kitchener. Many mercurial decades later, in 1988, the town now a mid-sized city, a duo called Vernal Equinox released a record that seemed to trace its roots back to Berlin, but this time the shadowy post-war Berlin of the 70s that produced Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and his Innovative Communications family, and Bowie and Eno’s Berlin Trilogy. These inspirations, viewed through a prism of 80s New Age and the autumnal denim-clad rural Ontario, became New Found World. New Found World is the inaugural release on Aural Medium, Toronto-based non-musician Linus Booth’s new label focussing on revisionist electronic, industrial and no wave music. Remastered from the reels and pressed on double 45rpm vinyl with an unreleased track from the original sessions. “I first encountered the members of Vernal Equinox, Steve Brenner and Timothy Rempel, when I would skip high school with my best friend Todd Nickolas (ADSR) who’d play me electronic records after we lurked in the keyboard shop at Sherwood Music in Kitchener, eyeballing synths and drum machines financially out of our reach. Unbeknownst to me, Steve and Timothy both worked in the shop, and leveraged their employee discount to build up an enviable battalion of gear in their aptly named Sync Studios, in Steve’s basement. It was there, after their shifts at the music shop, that they spent a year working out all the material for the album, and when they had every part sequenced, they saved their settings, unplugged hundreds of cables and lugged everything to Airtight Studios across town and recorded the album. The duo self-released the album, and not knowing exactly how to sell it, decided to try and brand it as New Age. Inspired by the genre’s most successful label Windham Hill, they adorned the album with a photo of a sunset that Brenner had shot. They even decided to record some seagulls to fit the mould, and drove 130 km north to Lake Huron with a bag of day old Tim Hortons doughnuts. Fast forward to a few years ago when Todd sent me a copy of Brenner’s cassette works reminding me that we knew Steve from the keyboard shop. Shortly after, I met Brenner at his local Tim Horton’s where I bought him a large double-double and we starting planning the reissue. Everything about the album reminds me of my youth, the smell of the woods in autumn, underage drinking and smoking on the tracks, the TD soundtracks to Risky Business and Miracle Mile, and my father’s Windham Hill records. Even the chill-out records I became obsessed with, The KLF, Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works and Boards of Canada’s melancholic NFB inspired electronica. Of course these came out years after the album was released, but somehow Steve and Tim channeled it all back then, creating something simultaneously so grounded in time and place, but years ahead of its time.” – Linus Booth, Aural Medium

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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…..new arrivals…..


Black Mastiff: Loser Delusions (Grand Hand) LP
Every now and then we come up for air and lift our heads from what is the heavy sonic tundra. While we dive into all genres, we cannot lose sight of what brought us here and that is straight shooting hard rock. Black Mastiff hailing from Edmonton, Alberta have released their third full-length titled Loser Delusions, a follow-up from their 2015 solid release Music Machine. The 2015 album hit stoner pathways under the label New Damage Records and guidance/production of the great John Garcia. Having hit some challenges, the trio re-directed their energies and production into more organic roots by starting their own label, Grand Hand Records. The result was one hell of a synergistic new album. Yiannakoulias’s vocal charisma shines on “Loser Delusions” as his solemn tone consumes the listener. We hear hints of Badland’s Ray Gillen and Josh Homme throughout. All ten tracks weave beautifully to make for an addictive experience, a testament to quality lyrics and rich sonic texture.

File Under: Metal, Stoner
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Oren Cantrell: Kobzir (Séance Centre) LP
Kobzir is a collection of vocal overtone recordings made for an unrealized film project by Oren Cantrell. Inspired by Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way, the four pieces sit comfortably within the deep-listening practices of The Theatre of Eternal Music, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, Yoshi Wada, Takehisa Kosugi and Phill Niblock. Although clearly a child of microtones, Oren’s voice is shrouded in contemporary robes woven from modular electronics, muted trumpet, and layers of shimmering percussion. This is immersive music of the highest order, a sound-bath for the ages. Limited edition of 100 LPs with risograph printed covers.

File Under: Ambient, Drone
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Gene Clark: No Other (4AD) LP
Recorded at the Village Recorder in West Hollywood and produced by Thomas Jefferson Kaye, No Other was originally released in 1974 on Asylum Records, coming a year after the Byrds short-lived reunion. Reaching for the stars, Gene Clark delivered a visionary record of psychedelic rock, folk, country and soul which famously cost a small fortune to make (“It took a lot of time in the studio before we could actually get the songs to the point we wanted them,” Gene said in 1977). Although warmly received by critics, No Other was a commercial failure and was subsequently deleted shortly after. However, as The New York Times wrote around the record’s 40th anniversary in 2014, “hindsight has burnished No Other, as it has redeemed other albums that went on to be reconstructed as rock repertory, like Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers and Lou Reed’s Berlin,” with No Other now being increasingly recognized as one of the greatest of its time, if not all time. Another sign of the album’s enduring charm came that year when feted Baltimore duo Beach House decided to “spread awareness” of Gene’s master work by enlisting friends – most of whom weren’t born when No Other was released – from bands such as Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear and The Walkmen to tour the album note-for-note in both the UK and the US. Five years on from then and No Other is finally getting the reappraisal it deserves with a remastered standalone vinyl LP reissue and a Deluxe LP + 7″ + 3 x SACD + Blu-ray box set. Remastered from the original tapes at Abbey Road the design is kept as close to the 1974 original as possible and includes an accompanying poster. Coming on the eve of Gene’s 75th birthday, this reissue serves as both a celebration for fans and an introduction to soon-to-be fans. There really is no other like No Other. “One of the greatest albums ever made. Initially celebrated for its obscurity, No Other is now celebrated for its magnificence. It was in every way a magnum opus: epic, sprawling, poetic, choral, rococo.” – The Guardian

File Under: Folk, Rock, Country
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Colman: Daedalus (Musique Plastique) LP
Like the wings Daedalus crafted for his son Icarus, John Gilbert Colman’s score for sampler, voice and chamber orchestra almost melted away completely, disappearing into the tides of time. The album originally served as the score to an avant-garde production of the Greek myth that toured the Belgian theatre circuit in 1986. Director Guy Cassiers cast the play with 45 developmentally disabled actors enrolled at the Krauwelenhof school in Antwerp, working for six months with the young actors (aged 12-17) to discover and develop their talents, creating (by all accounts) a deeply moving piece of visual theatre. Rather than using dialogue, Cassier used movement, costumes and music tell the fable, words were only present as text fragments within the score, spoken by members of the chorus or sung by Rolande van Der Paal. Colman’s compositions elevate the experimental narrative with broad shifts in mood, utilizing a pop-concrète style by incorporating sampled squeaking balloons, environmental recordings, tuned percussion, drum computer, and voice to accompany the traditional small chamber instrumentation. The music is reminiscent of other avant-theatrical pieces from that era by Nuno Canavarro, Milesi & Bacalov, Todd Barton, Vito Ricci and Roberto Musci, while standing on its own as a unique and moving piece of minimal music. Remastered DMM pressing.

File Under: Electronic, Minimalism
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FKA Twigs: Magdalene (XL) LP
Magdalene is the long awaited new album from English singer/songwriter FKA Twigs following her revered 2014 debut album LP1. Created in a period where her confidence was knocked following heartbreak and laparoscopic surgery, Magdalene is the sound of FKA Twigs reconfiguring, emotionally and physically. “I never thought heartbreak could be so all-encompassing,” she explains. “I never thought that my body could stop working to the point that I couldn’t express myself physically in the ways that I have always loved and found so much solace,” she explains. “I have always practiced my way into being the best I could be, but I couldn’t do that this time, I was left with no option but to tear every process down. But the process of making this album has allowed me for the first time, and in the most real way, to find compassion when I have been at my most ungraceful, confused and fractured. I stopped judging myself and at that moment found hope in ‘Magdalene’. To her I am forever grateful.” As she sings on “Mary Magdalene,” – ‘A woman’s time / A woman’s work / A woman’s time to embrace / She must put herself first.’

File Under: Indie Rock
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Scott Gailey: Polysensuality (Séance Centre) LP
It all began eight years ago with a copy of R. Murray Schafer’s The Tuning of the World found in a box in a cabin, deep within the Pacific coast rain forest. This catalyst provoked Scott Gailey to draw inspiration from the sublime environment that surrounds his home on the West Coast of British Columbia. This exact landscape had a profound effect years earlier on a group of composers centred around Schafer and Simon Fraser University, including Hildegard Westerkamp and Barry Truax, who banded together as the World Soundscape Project (WSP). Where the WSP was primarily interested in field recording as sound ecology – documenting, preserving, and archiving a changing landscape – Gailey explores the musicality of field recordings through various synthetic approaches, a way to access the ambiguous emotional content latent in the natural world. There is a subjectivity to Gailey’s work, and in that sense it has more in common with the sensual musique concrète of Luc Ferrari, or even the Fluxus tape works of Henning Christiansen, than with the WSP. Despite having roots in this well of thought, Polysensuality is undeniably modern, finding kinship with contemporary works by Sugai Ken, Visible Cloaks, and Meitei, while also dipping a toe in the sound pool created by Haruomi Hosono and Hiroshi Yoshimura. Gailey has previously explored this palette in his duo You’re Me with Yu Su, but here there is more space, more silence, greater extremes, and in this way it is more personal, like a soliloquy rather than a conversation. In a way Polysensuality is a sonic addendum to Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses, a proclamation for approaching the lived sensation of your environment in a way that doesn’t privilege any discrete element of perception. This approach gives voice to the in-between and shared areas of our five senses, which have been sublimated due to our scientific approach to feeling. From Luigi Russolo through Brian Eno, music has often been prone to experiments in synesthesia, but rather than explore the ways in our senses get crossed, the focus here is on how they relate to each other, and how that affects the ways humans interact with their lived environments, their ecologies. And in this sense, the sounds on the album – field recordings, percussion, voice, piano, clarinet, guitar, synthesizer, and bass – all live in inchoate and transitory states, somewhere between silence, landscape and song. The recent revival of ambient music encourages a subsumed form of listening and composing, optimistically suggesting a repositioning of mankind within natural order rather than superior to it. An idea slowly making its way across disciplines over the last half-century, from the ephemeral works of Robert Smithson and Andy Goldsworthy to the radical gardening techniques of Piet Oudolf. Polysensuality shares this worldview, and asks us to focus on the relationships between ourselves, our perceptions and our environment, revealing that they are inseparably linked. Limited edition of 100 LPs with risograph printed artwork.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Field Recordings
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Guerilla Welfare: The Nature of Human Nature (Musique Plastique) LP
Politico dub-collage practitioners Guerrilla Welfare came from Edmonton, Alberta, coincidentally the birthplace of prophetic media sage Marshall McLuhan. Armed with vanguard ideas taken from Steve Reich, Fela Kuti, Robert Fripp and Material, the duo of Curtis Ruptash and Brian Schultze adopted the “studio as instrument” mindset of Eno and King Tubby creating complex textural and polyrhythmic sonic insurgencies. They overdubbed drum computers, guitar, bass, noise-makers, mallet percussion, sitars, often accompanied by sampled vocals and found sound taken from TV. Their pan-global, multi-media palette supported zeitgeist commentary — often, with a healthy dose of gallows humour — on gender, power structures, and sexual and geopolitical tensions in the late 80s. Their DIY bunker studio experimentations align them with genre defying dub-infused outfits like African Head Charge, Dome, Lifetones, Naffi, Woo, Negativeland and The Residents. The Nature of Human Nature captures Guerilla Welfare’s most formidable output, compiling tracks selected from their entire discography (two LPs and a cassette collaboration with poet Mary Howes), all originally self-released from 1986 to 1991. Remastered from the original tapes.

File Under: Electronic, Dub, Experimental, YEG
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Grouper: AIA: Alien Observer (Kranky) LP
“This sound / synapse transposition is as haunting as it is beautiful—surely Grouper’s best.”—Tiny Mix Tapes “If past Grouper releases have inhabited abyssal trenches and damp backwoods, here Harris takes us journeying across constellations and stars. Two of the most beguiling albums of the year, exquisitely realized and singularly evocative.” —The Quietus “This music feels both spacey and expansive and also oddly intimate and grounded, the work of someone who has mastered her tools and knows how to get the most out of them.”—Pitchfork “Harris finds a way to dive deeper in simple and unassuming ways.”—NPR

File Under: Ambient
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Grouper: AIA: Dream Loss (Kranky) LP 
“This sound / synapse transposition is as haunting as it is beautiful—surely Grouper’s best.”—Tiny Mix Tapes “If past Grouper releases have inhabited abyssal trenches and damp backwoods, here Harris takes us journeying across constellations and stars. Two of the most beguiling albums of the year, exquisitely realized and singularly evocative.” —The Quietus “This music feels both spacey and expansive and also oddly intimate and grounded, the work of someone who has mastered her tools and knows how to get the most out of them.”—Pitchfork “Harris finds a way to dive deeper in simple and unassuming ways.”—NPR

File Under: Ambient
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Gwakasonne: Vwayaje (Séance Centre) LP
“Stop here!” exclaimed Robert Oumaou as we passed a mango tree on the side of the road just outside of Point-a-Pitre, the balmy capital of Guadeloupe. He filled a plastic bag with ripe fruit, and we set off on our journey across the small Caribbean island in search of musicians he hadn’t seen in years. On the way, we shared stories in broken French and English, stopping at truck stops to eat delicious fried fish. Robert took me to his hometown, and placed a mango and a flower on the grave of his teacher and mentor, a local poet. The seeds of Vwayajé (Traveller) were sewn on this trip, but shortly after returning home, I heard that Robert was ill, and he sadly passed away in 2018. This compilation was originally intended as a way to share Robert’s brazen work with a wider global audience, but it now also serves to immortalize his indomitable spirit. Gwakasonné is the ecstatic articulation of Robert Oumaou’s artistic and political vision, a unified expression of his interests in American jazz, pre-colonial rhythms, Guadeloupian independence, and Créole poetics. Over the course of three albums, all released in the 80s, Robert piloted a revolving cast of musicians, a venerable who’s-who of Point-a-Pitre avant-jazz pioneers, to deftly intone his creative communal concepts. The songs on Vwayajé are compiled from these three releases, Gwakasonné, Temwen, and Moun, along with an electronic mantra taken from his 2007 solo album Sang Comment Taire. Viewed from our current artistic and cultural landscape, Robert’s work is exceptionally enduring, grounded in its declarations of freedom and foundational use of the Ka (drum) and voice, and prescient in its borderless explorations of protest folk, electronics, ambient atmosphere, music from the African diaspora, and spiritual jazz. The long-form hive-mind expression of the group has parallels with similar explorations by The Grateful Dead, electric Miles, Pharaoh Sanders, and even the Boredoms, but these are only oblique references for a truly peerless sound. Like other conceptual children of Gérard Lockel, the group was part of a progressive movement of like-minded musicians, such as Serge Fabriano, Dao, Erick Cosaque, and Gaoulé Mizik, who embraced Lockel’s modernist ideals, fusing Gwo Ka drumming and tuning systems with contemporary jazz and vanguard recording technologies. Robert’s ecstatic phrasings, embrace of electronic instruments, and daring lyrics set the group apart as the beatific expression of a sagacious soul.

File Under: Jazz, World, Fusion
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8w7buzucijuh6cmt3ok3madw_15686Peter Ivers: Becoming Peter Ivers (RVNG Intl) LP
“Becoming Peter Ivers” tells the story of the late Peter Ivers, a virtuosic songwriter and musician whose antics bridged not just 60s counterculture and New Wave music but also film, theater, and music television. Collected from a trove of previously unheard demos, studio sessions, and rehearsal recordings written and recorded in Los Angeles in the mid-to-late 70s, “Becoming Peter Ivers” pulls back the curtains on this mischievous master of ceremonies whose exploration of the outer limits of music, and of life, came to a tragic end in 1983. Mastered by Bob Weston, the CD includes a 24-page booklet with expansive liner notes and unseen ephemera.

File Under: Rock, New Wave
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LDH06953_Hiro Kone: A Fossil Begins to Bray (Dais) LP
In her most personally narrative work to date, A Fossil Begins To Bray is the follow up on Dais Records for NYC producer Hiro Kone, furthering the dialogue set forth on her 2018 release, Pure Expenditure. While the statements on Pure Expenditure rallied behind a point of dangerous excess and injustice, the material on A Fossil Begins To Bray embark upon a journey of discovery and self-analysis, proposing a potential reorientation towards absence in hopes of illuminating potential futures. In Mao’s own words, “This album considers the power of absence as neither a lack or deficit, but as a quiet, indeterminable force to cultivate in this time of looming and unrelenting techno-fascism. It asks that we take pause to consider our learned languages and actualities and to better consider how desire shapes our recollections and interpretations of this ‘existence.'” This allegory is expertly applied to every song on A Fossil Begins To Bray. Mao has established a long history of employing absence in her productions to maximum effect. With a vast assortment of diverse elements at play, no single track ever feels overly convoluted and further illustrates Kone’s skillful attention to dynamic tension and flow. Tracks such as “Fabrication of Silence” and “Submerged Dragon” perfectly represent the power of absence, utilized in a matter to create unique amalgams of decisive, cinematic techno rhythms from the electronic void. As the melodic elements contained within A Fossil Begins To Bray begin to unravel and slowly take form, the unaware are rewarded with a driving yet tangible refrain that offers resolve in contrast to the dense, texture-laden backdrop that forms the album’s foundation. The first single, “Feed My Ancestors,” expands upon Kone’s signature take on electronic music structures. Seemingly free from the predictable contracts imposed by any one genre’s stereotypes, Kone throttles the foreboding bassline in favor of more calculated, abstract cut-ups that gracefully hold the track in place between hopeful utopia and something more ominous. The production and detail found throughout the album shows Hiro Kone’s neverending development and dedication to principle. A Fossil Begins To Bray is a challenge to dust off the forgotten modes of existence, expel the accepted paradigms within modern subculture and utilize the absence left behind. Mixed and mastered by noted electronic producer Kris Lapke (Alberich) with artwork and packaging design by acclaimed visual artist Tauba Auerbach.

File Under: Electronic
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OME1021LP_PRODUmm Kulthum: The Twinkling Star (Fantome Phonographique) LP
Fantôme Phonographique present a reissue of Umm Kulthum’s (Oum Kalthoum) The Twinkling Star, originally released in 1961. Kalthoum is a legendary Egyptian vocalist and one of the biggest celebrities of the 20th century Arab world. She was dubbed “the voice of Egypt” and “Egypt’s fourth pyramid”, and is considered a national treasure. This 1961 album originally released on Parlophone is one of the finest examples of her vocal ability and a beautiful example of mid-20th century Egyptian popular music. Kalthoum counts among her legion of fans none other than Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Bono, and Youssou N’Dour, along with most of the Arab speaking world, and this LP is one of the finest of her career. An absolute legend!

File Under: Egyptian, Arabic


John Lafia: 1980 -1985 (Discos Transgénero) LP
Active in Los Angeles’ 1980-1986 underground music scene, John Lafia is best known for the hypnotic album Prayers, released through Barry Craig’s influential, cassette-only label Trance Port Tapes.  While recording music, Hollywood-based John also dreamt of making his own films. To support himself, he intermittently worked on low-budget movies, including fellow UCLA Film School alumni, Alex Cox’s infamous Repo Man. Cinematic influence comes to the fore in titles such as, “Spaghetti Western”, “Queen Of The Nile”, “Escape”, and “Hidden Things”. Working alone in his home studio, John used the recording environment as a launching pad for exploring his uncensored psyche’s furthest dimensions. Hours of repetitive rhythms often transported him into trance-like states. Tracks “Propaganda” and “Art Of The Jungle” exemplify this technique. Others, “4AM”, “Doubt”, and “Montgomery Park”, are miniature psychodramas (replete with three-act structures). Songs “Life Is Short”, and “Dream” grapple with life’s fragile and unknowable essence. “The Moth”, “Fourth Of July”, and “SOS”, are sonic journeys into trance-like repetition. This intensely personal music never intended to “find” an audience; it was a means in and of itself. Its decades-later rebirth in this compilation is a joyous surprise.

File Under: Electronic, Minimal
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Sam+Mallet+-+WetlandsSam Mallet: Wetlands (Musique Plastique) LP
Sam Mallet could have pursued a career as a French literature professor in Paris, but decided his true calling was to remain in Australia, dedicate himself to his music and find the plateau; a word he used to describe the sensory worlds residing in music. Under the influence of Eno, Jon Hassell, Arvo Pärt, John Coltrane and Robert Fripp, Sam explored a wide variety of musical styles and put them to service soundtracking the time-based works of his peers. He crafted spatial ambience, somber jazz, and drum computer driven rockers for short films and experimental video works, television shows (including the original Australian Wilfred series), feature films and live theatre. The avant garde Anthill Theatre, known for its departure from conventional staging practices and having a keen eye for talent, enlisted Mallet to provide soundtracks for approximately 40 productions throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Sadly, Sam passed away in 2014. A crucial piece of his legacy is undoubtedly the body of work he produced during his life, and the archive of recorded works is vast and deep. Sam seemingly saved everything, from fragments to finished pieces; and often repurposed previously released tracks by collaging them into new pieces. He self-released a small number of cassettes and CDs from the mid 1980s onward, the contents of which were culled from soundtrack work and original pieces, but the majority of his music was experienced only within the ephemeral live performances. Wetlands is the product of countless hours spent with this archive by Rowan Mason (Sanpo Disco/Recurring Dream) and Tony Remple (Musique Plastique), offering a dynamic survey of Sam’s work, and housed in a jacket evoking the minimal design and colour palette of his earliest cassette releases. Two selections of Sam Mallet’s music were featured on the compilation Midday Moon (also produced by Rowan), released last year by Bedroom Suck Records. Along with Left Ear Records’ Antipodean Anomalies, Midday Moon has served to highlight outlier musics and scenes from Australia and New Zealand, and Wetlands plunges deeper into the catalog of this obscure yet groundbreaking artist.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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LDM21118_Charlie Megira: Tomorrow’s Gone (Numero) LP
Even in this age of near-total Internet accessibility, Charlie Megira is a modern mystery. A casual search turns up little aside from a few cryptic articles. His brief career unfolded during a changing of the guard in the music industry, opening on the death of the compact disc and ending just prior to Spotify’s IPO. For an artist like Megira, living far away from a major music outpost, there was more chaos than structure for his recordings to exist and find an audience. This collection is the first attempt at putting the pieces together, compiling a life’s work of an artist whose spark almost shined unto the world. His was a music both familiar and entirely alien at once. It touches on corners of darkness, an isolation both lonely and sweet, all wrapped in a cold glow that draws the listener into each note, each melancholy melody triggering unrecorded experiences. His various projects put out music which began as a junction point between Link Wray’s surf guitar and the theatrical psychobilly of The Cramps, took a turn towards goth-inflected post-punk, and towards the end of his career would sojourn back into his earlier musical fascination with late 1950s and early 1960s rock ‘n’ roll. The Israeli guitarist recorded seven albums worth of material in 15 years during his all-too-brief 44 trips around the sun. Tomorrow’s Gone collects 24 of these tracks for a double album journey across his career, accompanied by a lavish booklet that documents his tragic existence. Armed with only an Eko guitar, a black tuxedo, and his signature wrap-around shades, Charlie Megira was a mold-breaking artist who disintegrated while we were all staring at our phones.

File Under: Surf, Post Punk
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downloadMekons: Fear & Whiskey (Sin) LP
Long hailed as a precursor to alt-country and roots-rock, Fear & Whiskey has been remastered and is reissued now for the first time on LP in its original form, on the band’s same imprint, Sin Recordings. Inspired by folk, honkey-tonk and Cajun music and boasting a pathological fear of closing time. “Some albums are of their time, and some are for all time. This record, originally released in 1985, is both.” – Bill Meyer / Chicago

File Under: Rock, Alt-Country
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Mekons: The Edge of the World (Sin) LP
Remastered for the 21st Century. First time available on vinyl since its original release in 1986. The success of Fear and Whiskey in 1985 saw the Mekons with a stable line-up and enough money to record a new album for the first time in years. The songs on Edge of the World were written and demoed in Leeds by Tom, Jon and Kevin early in 1986 and recorded at Offbeat Studios in Kirkstall with Three Johns live Soundman Tony Bonner who had recorded parts of Fear and Whiskey the year before. Around this time the live band was expanded further to include Rico Bell and Sally Timms who both perform lead vocal duties on Edge of the World. At one point during the recording sessions a version of the band traveled to the northeast of England to perform some live shows and procure valuable funds leaving Langford, Edmonds and Goulding in the studio cutting rhythm tracks. Martin Bomber Henderson of Keithley Gothic band the Skeletal family drummed in the live band at this time but does not appear on the album. The album was mixed in London and was the third release on Sin Recordings of Brixton through the York based distributor Red Rhino.

File Under: Rock, Alt. Country
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5d9dea93c0a3a_mainOm: BBC Radio 1 (Drag City) 2×10”
The mighty OM recorded live on BBC Radio 1, Maida Vale, May 13, 2019. Four tracks spread over four sides of 10-inch vinyl—”Gethsemene,” “State of No Return,” “Cremation of Ghat I,” and “Cremation of Ghat II.”

File Under: Metal, Stoner

Shabason_Gunning+-+Muldrew_borderShabason/Gunning: Muldrew (Séance Centre) LP
Like many Canadians, Joseph Shabason and Ben Gunning like to untangle themselves from urbanity and disappear up north a few times a year. Unlike other cottage-goers, Ben and Joseph don’t while away the ur-time on jet-skis and lounge on docks reading pulpy mysteries. Instead, they bring a car full of synths, drum machines, saxophones, guitars, samplers, effects, and recording equipment to jam the days away in a cabin-fever inducing haze of wood smoke, cedar musk, hot wires and jazz sweat. Muldrew, recorded on the northern Ontario lake by that name, is the culmination of several years of this collaborative tradition. Resisting their penchant for composition and arrangement, the duo embarked on this project with only an open framework that encouraged restraint. The result is a sparse and improvisational album, hung on enough structure for each song to evoke a distinct, albeit ambiguous mood. Space is paramount and even the most digital elements breathe with the resonance of the room and mingle with creaking floors. The resulting album is steeped in the placid stillness and northern ambience of a lake at dawn, and the emotive expanse of a forest at dusk. Imagine an ECM cottage-series, or Jon Hassell, Hiroshi Yoshimura, and John Martyn scoring a Bela Tarr film set in rural Canada. This is the future-proof music of metropolitan polyglot minds invigorated by nature’s mute refusal to follow a click-track.

File Under: Ambient
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LDS006313_Swans: Leaving Meaning (Young God) LP
Leaving Meaning. is Swans’ fifteenth studio album and the follow up to 2016’s The Glowing Man. “Leaving Meaning. is the first Swans album to be released since I dissolved the line up of musicians that constituted Swans from 2010-2017,” says Michael Gira. “Swans is now comprised of a revolving cast of musicians, selected for both their musical and personal character, chosen according to what I intuit best suits the atmosphere in which I’d like to see the songs I’ve written presented. In collaboration with me, the musicians, through their personality, skill and taste, contribute greatly to the arrangement of the material”. Guest artists include The Necks, Anna and Maria von Hausswolff, Baby Dee, Ben Frost, Jeremy and Heather of a Hawk and a Hacksaw and more. Includes special insert, 18″ x 24″ poster and download card with all extended mixes and additional track.

File Under: Rock
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147542Scott Walker: Til The Band Comes In (Universal) LP
‘Til The Band Comes In’ was Scott Walker’s sixth record, originally released in 1970 and consisting of two distinct sides: on the first, Walker gives us a bunch of new solo material, while on the flip there are covers on covers. While Walker started as a renowned pop crooner with a baritone and a lot of melodrama, ‘Til The Band Comes In’ has hints of the artist who would eventually stop all that easy listening and go hard with the avant-garde.

File Under: Pop
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LDW42518_Michael Vincent Waller: Moments (Unseen Worlds) LP
In essence, the sound of the piano comes in two parts: its attack and its decay. The striking of a hammer is followed by the resonance of a string or strings. Much the same might be said about the vibraphone, as it happens. This dual quality of sound comes to mind when listening to Moments by New York-based composer Michael Vincent Waller. Performed by pianist R. Andrew Lee and vibraphonist William Winant, Moments − his third album, following Trajectories (Recital, 2017) and The South Shore (XI, 2015) − draws on Western classical music tradition in its most archetypal forms through its use of modal melodies, triadic harmonies and metered rhythms. Yet the emotional heart of the music is not in attack, but resonance. The afterlife of sounds. Those elements that can’t be grasped and placed into easy historical categories. Behind his surface attacks Waller finds hazy, edgeless zones that draw us downwards, into introspection – an “inward gaze.” Waller’s music is often compared to that of Erik Satie, and there is certainly something Satie-like in its concision, its subtle asymmetries and its lack of ornament. But where Satie’s Gnossiennes, Nocturnes and Gymnopédies were blank canvases, deliberately signifying nothing, Waller’s pieces are vessels to be filled. That is partly an effect of titles: Waller’s pieces on this disc are all ‘moments’ of autobiographical poignancy – memorials, birthdays, homecomings; friends, teachers, family members. We are clearly invited to invest certain emotional expectations into these sounds. Liner notes by Tim Rutherford-Johnson and “Blue” Gene Tyranny. Mastered and cut for vinyl by Rashad Becker. Cover art by Phill Niblock with graphic design by Robert Beatty.

File Under: Piano, Classical
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