…..news letter #924 – bright…..

A few real nice heavy hitters in this week. And close to the last of the new releases for the year as we approach the dreaded…. December! But before that happens, our annual anniversary sale and Black Friday Record Store Day. We’ll have more info about that real soon, in the meantime… you should head down to 124th Street this Saturday for the All Is Bright festival. There’s live music, activities for kids and adults, treats, and more!

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.

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…..picks of the week…..

857661008247_mainTaj Mahal Travellers: July 15, 1972 (Etat-Unis) LP
For over half a century, Takehisa Kosugi was one of the most unique and enduring figures in the Japanese underground. As an art student in Tokyo in the early 1960s, he joined the Fluxus-styled performance unit Hi Re Centre and founded the improvisational ensemble Group Ongaku, but his most legendary project was The Taj-Mahal Travelers – a multicellular organism that included Kosugi, Ryo Koike, Yukio Tsuchiya, Seiji Nagai, Michihiro Kimura, Tokio Hasegawa and sound engineer Kinji Hayashi. With a penchant for long psychedelic jams (some lasting 12 hours or more) The Taj-Mahal Travelers lived up to their name. Touring in a Volkswagen van across Europe and Asia in the early ’70s, they eventually reached the actual Taj Mahal in India. Upon their return to Japan, they held a concert to raise more touring funds and released their very first recordings. Their debut album, July 15, 1972, would extend the band’s matter-of-fact titling: all the tracks were named precisely for the times they began and ended. With a grab bag of instrumentation (electric violin, double bass, santoor, vibraphone, harmonica, radio oscillators, sheet iron, etc.), The Taj-Mahal Travelers weave together mesmerizing waves of sonic texture. Featuring longtone concepts that Kosugi discovered while working with sound generators in New York in the mid-’60s, July 15, 1972 remains just as much a collective tone poem as psych workout. These leader-less sounds coalesce into a unified whole that feels both subconscious and sublime, as if the waveforms bypass the listener’s ears and land directly inside one’s synapses. This first-time vinyl reissue is limited to 750 numbered copies. Comes with poster.

File Under: Experimental, Drone, Electronic, Japan, Psych
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Nick Cave: Ghosteen (Bad Seeds) LP
Ghosteen, the new two part album from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, serves as the band’s seventeenth studio effort overall following 2016’s Skeleton Tree. “The songs on the first album are the children. The songs on the second album are their parents. Ghosteen is a migrating spirit,” notes Cave. The vinyl edition is a two-disc set to allow for the two-part concept. “The Children,” is comprised of eight songs while “The Parents,” is two long songs connected by a spoken word performance. Ghosteen was recorded in 2018 and early 2019 at Woodshed in Malibu, Nightbird in Los Angeles, Retreat in Brighton and Candybomber in Berlin. It was mixed by Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Lance Powell and Andrew Dominik at Conway in Los Angeles.

File Under: Ambient, Rock
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Scott Walker: Climate of Hunter (Universal) LP
‘Climate of Hunter’ was considered by many as Scott’s ‘comeback’ solo album due to a self-imposed 10 year hiatus following the release of his 7th studio album, ‘We Had It All’ in 1974. Originally released in March 1984, it contains the single “Track Three”, which was accompanied by a stunning promo video which was first aired on the Old Grey Whistle Test. The album features a stellar cast including Billy Ocean, Mark Isham, Evan Parker and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits playing guitar on a cover of the Tennessee Williams classic, “Blanket Roll Blues”. Among the album’s many fans was Bono of U2 who is on record as saying: “Scott Walker’s Climate of Hunter was a great influence on The Joshua Tree – just listen to “With Or Without You” – March 1987

File Under: Pop, Rock, Experimental, Crooner, BILLY OCEAN
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…..new arrivals…..

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Arab Strap: The Week Never Starts (1972) LP
The year 1996 saw the release of Arab Strap’s first single, “The First Big Weekend,” and debut album The Week Never Starts Round Here. Into an underground rock milieu preoccupied at the time with slo-core, math rock, and all things Pet Sounds, the duo of Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat couldn’t have sounded more alien. In many ways, The Week Never Starts Round Here bears all the marks of a debut: it’s raw, unguarded, and crammed with ideas. It also firmly establishes the particular set-up that would define Arab Strap’s sound over the course of eleven years, with Middleton handling the music while Moffat provides the vocals and lyrics. Even this division of labor—more common to rap music than to the shoegazers and increasingly ubiquitous “collectives” of indie rock—seemed to defy expectations.
The sound of Arab Strap is a distinct brand of existential miserablism. Middleton’s cleverly arranged foundation of nocturnal guitars and rudimentary drum machines provides a canvas for Moffat to relay, in a thick Scottish dialect, his many sloshed, candid confessions. Long before artists like Mike Skinner chronicled the picaresque days of lads getting pissed and getting laid, Arab Strap’s vivid tales of lovers, lager and shame were being broadcast on college stations everywhere.  The Week Never Starts Round Here is an album full of drugged-up kisses and dried up egos; it chronicles the conquests and knockbacks of weekends that last forever, and it does so unapologetically, poetically, and profanely. Indie rock would never be the same.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Big Star: In Space (Omnivore) LP
Big Star formed in 1971, and in their brief four years together, created three albums that consistently make “Best of All-Time” lists. Eighteen years after officially disbanding, original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens joined forces with The Posies’ Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow for a live performance, which led to a tour (documented on Omnivore Recordings’ Live In Memphis), and years of concerts. While the live shows were a joy and surprise, a bigger surprise happened in 2005. After over a decade playing together: a new studio album. As Ryko A&R’s Jeff Rougvie said. “It was the easiest approval for a project I ever got.” In Space featured new twelve tracks (eleven originals and a cover of The Olympics’ “Mine Exclusively”) recorded where Big Star began, at the classic Ardent Studios. The new line up was creating a new chapter for the band while minding and honoring its past. With original vinyl going for outrageous prices, In Space returns here in a colored LP pressing. Packaging contains liner notes from Rougvie, original album co-producer/engineer Jeff Powell (who also cut the new vinyl), assistant Ardent engineer Adam Hill, and surviving band members Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow, and Jody Stephens. In Space finally returns to earth. Prepare to blast off again!

File Under: Rock

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Big Star: In Space (Omnivore) LP
Big Star formed in 1971, and in their brief four years together, created three albums that consistently make “Best of All-Time” lists. Eighteen years after officially disbanding, original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens joined forces with The Posies’ Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow for a live performance, which led to a tour (documented on Omnivore Recordings’ Live In Memphis), and years of concerts. While the live shows were a joy and surprise, a bigger surprise happened in 2005. After over a decade playing together: a new studio album. As Ryko A&R’s Jeff Rougvie said. “It was the easiest approval for a project I ever got.” In Space featured new twelve tracks (eleven originals and a cover of The Olympics’ “Mine Exclusively”) recorded where Big Star began, at the classic Ardent Studios. The new line up was creating a new chapter for the band while minding and honoring its past. With original vinyl going for outrageous prices, In Space returns here in a colored LP pressing. Packaging contains liner notes from Rougvie, original album co-producer/engineer Jeff Powell (who also cut the new vinyl), assistant Ardent engineer Adam Hill, and surviving band members Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow, and Jody Stephens. In Space finally returns to earth. Prepare to blast off again!

File Under: Rock

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Bonnie Prince Billy: I Made a Place (Drag City) LP
Bonnie Prince Billy’s first album of new original songs since 2011’s Wolfroy Goes To Town. “This whole record is intensely inspired by the 50th state. In fact, for a while there the working title of the record was 49th State of Mind, after the mid-20th century Hawaiian music record label optimistically and ultimately erroneously called 49th State Records. The songs likewise are influenced by certain Hawaiian musics, mainly the recordings of Johnny Lum Ho and Edith Kanaka’ole; also by the recordings of Jake Xerxes Fussell; by the songwriting of John Prine, Susanna Wallumrod and Tom T. Hall; by the neo-Zydeco cassette compilation Trail Riderz Vol. 1; and by the desire to have some songs that might be learned on the fly at get-togethers at my friend David ‘Fergie’ Ferguson’s house. As these songs were worked on, in the night, my wife would wrap her pregnant body around mine while I sang the songs over and over and over. They’re the first music that our daughter heard. The arrangement and production of the record come dominantly from the players themselves and the very circumstances in which the recording of this record was undertaken. Danny Kiely played bass on this, as he had done on Wolfroy and Best Troubador and the Babblers tour as well as Funtown Comedown and many other musical adventures. The mighty mighty Mike Hyman plays drums, Nathan Salsburg plays the lead guitars, Joan Shelley sings along, and Jacob Duncan brought the power with his sax, his flute, his clarinet, my harmonium and the studio’s piano and hammond organ.” .

File Under: Indie Folk
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Patrick Cowley: Mechanical Fantasy Box (Dark Entries) LP
Mechanical Fantasy Box is Cowley’s homoerotic journal, or as he called it, “graphic accounts of one man’s sex life.” The journal begins in 1974 and ends in 1980 on his 30th birthday. It chronicles his slow rise to fame from lighting technician at The City Disco to crafting a ground-breaking 16-minute remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” to performing with Sylvester at the SF Opera House. Vivid descriptions are told of cruising in ‘70s SoMA sex venues to primal highs in Buena Vista Park and composing pornophonics in his Castro apartment. The entries are introspective and show a very out-front, alive person going through the throes of gay liberation post-Stonewall. French-born artist and Berlin resident Gwenaël Rattke works in collage, silkscreen, photography and Xerox graphics. Rattke’s collage works borrow from the visual codes of the 60s and 70s. Intricate, ornamental and excessive, they present “an imagined past fired with beauty and sexual freedom.” For this book Rattke created 25 original illustrations inspired by selected entries, 3 street maps documenting locations mentioned herein and 4 collages of photos, ephemera and notes Patrick stuffed inside the journal. We’ve included Patrick’s doodles too, as well as introductory essays by Josh Cheon, Theresa McGinley and Jorge Socarrás.

File Under: Electronic
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Iron Age: Sleeping Eye (20 Buck Spin) LP
In 2009 Iron Age unleashed their second album The Sleeping Eye upon the world like a many-tentacled monstrosity, ripping to shreds boundaries between epic heavy metal and punishing hardcore. Now, ten years on from its initial foray into earthly realms, The Sleeping Eye has awakened again as 20 Buck Spin re-releases the now legendary Texas crossover masterpiece. Pushing forward from their 2006 Constant Struggle debut, The Sleeping Eye presents crossover with an arid, menacing desolation and bold spirit, confidently going beyond the genre’s limits to introduce tastefully complex arrangements and experimentation with style. Working equally as individual songs and a distinct conceptual whole, Iron Age forged an album of lasting importance and influence. Adorned with new artwork by Jerry “Wyrmwalk” Hionis to more fully embrace the deeply-rooted Lovecraftian madness at the album’s core, this albums remains, ten years later, as powerful as ever, reigniting the Iron Age, and its impact can be widely felt throughout the metal / hardcore scene of the last decade.

File Under: Metal
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King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (Pangyric) 2LP
Expanded 50TH Anniversary Editions – of one of rock music’s seminal debut albums. 2LP’s on 200gm super heavyweight vinyl. LP1: all new 2019 mixes by Steven Wilson. LP2: Alternate album featuring tracks mixed by Steven Wilson and David Singleton. Packaged in original gatefold sleeve art – fully restored from original paintings. Cut by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering from original 24/96 high-resolution source files.

File Under: Prog Rock
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King Crimson: The Reconstruktion of Light (Pangyric) LP
A new series of King Crimson 2LP-sets covering Thrak, The ReconstruKction Of Light and The Power To Believe will be released in September 2019, bringing these albums to vinyl for the very first time. This first time vinyl version of The ReconstruKction of Light appears in an expanded edition with the acclaimed 2019 mix of the main album – with newly recorded drum parts – and Heaven and Earth by ProjeKct X taking up sides one, two and three, and side four featuring two live recordings taken from the Heaven & Earth boxed set (the powerful improv: “Mastelotticus SS Blasticus” and “The Deception of the Thrush” – a live favorite that was, inexplicably, never recorded by KC in the studio during that period. Double 200g vinyl LP cut from masters approved by Robert Fripp.

File Under: Prog Rock
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King Crimson: Thrak (Pangyric) LP
A new series of King Crimson 2LP-sets covering Thrak, The ReconstruKction Of Light and The Power To Believe will be released in September 2019, bringing these albums to vinyl for the very first time. This first time vinyl version of Thrak (1995) appears in an expanded edition with the main album taking up sides one through three. Side four features four tracks taken from the Vroom mini-album which preceded the Thrak sessions plus the complete “Inner Garden” taken from the Thrak box set. Double 200g vinyl LP cut from masters approved by Robert Fripp.

 File Under: Prog Rock
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Obsequiae: The Palms of Sorrowed Kings (20 Buck Spin) LP
For the third time in a decade, a new dawn rises over the castle ruins. Obsequiae once more lower the gates and emerge from the keep, to regale the townsfolk with tales of another age via heroic hymns of majesty and high adventure on The Palms Of Sorrowed Kings. The most immersive and hyper-focused album from Obsequiae to date, this album features a heightened sense of rhythmic definition, greater care in the depth of layers and a shimmering clarity that elevates the uniquely realized character of a band unlike any other. Sweeping and vast, the otherworldly scope of the guitars, the anachronistic harp interludes, the percussive precision and the range of ancient melodic beauty open portals to the immemorial. An album singularly concerned with creating a captivating world to become willfully lost in, The Palms Of Sorrowed Kings sets itself on a path that few now trod but a realm that Obsequiae tower over like the noblest kings.

File Under: Metal
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Unwound: The Future of What (Numero) LP
As a robust rock underground got swallowed alive by the Major Label Industrial Complex, the very autonomous Unwound – Olympia, Washington’s Great Noise Hope – toed the troublesome line between pay check and Check Engine light. Captured in the gaps of a ruthless touring schedule, defining fourth and fifth albums The Future of What and Repetition were issued in the back-to-back springs of 1995 and ‘96. Both find the band severing their post-hardcore roots, for gripping detours into Echoplex, kraut, D&B, and Mingus, as guided by a sun-worn copy of Book Your Own Fuckin’ Life. Equal parts noise and adrenaline, The Future of What is an unrelenting, constructivist masterstroke!

File Under: Punk
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721616811629_mainVastum: Orificial Purge (20 Buck Spin) LP
After four years of near silence, Vastum return with Orificial Purge, their much-awaited follow up to the acclaimed Hole Below. Their fourth album, Orificial Purge offers a distinctive blend of sinister atmosphere, punishing brutality, and an unparalleled lyrical and visual imagery that traces connections between perversion, mortification, and an abyssal mysticism of sin. Elements from previous albums are preserved here, but they are both evolved and devolved at once. The mid-paced dirge and cave-dwelling riffs are littered throughout, but are intertwined with slicing melodic dissonance and celestial virtuosity, all against the background of a bulldozing rhythm section. The dual vocal / lyrical exorcisms of Daniel Butler and Leila Abdul-Rauf combine to deliver unsettling, dichotomous meditations on “abjection as life, life as tragedy, and tragedy as an eviscerating, eroticized rapture through which an evil and useless humanity comes into being.” With four standout albums over the course of the last eight years, the effect of Vastum’s influence has by now seeped out onto the wider underground death metal scene, leaving an indelible mark due to their singular amalgam of aural primitivism and aesthetic originality. Their most markedly refined and tortured oblation to date, Orificial Purge represents the dominant return of Vastum, a death metal band founded on the lived experience of mutilated minds and bodies.

File Under: Metal
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Yoshi Wada: Lament for the Rise & Fall of the Elephantine Crocodile (Etat-Unis) LP
Yoshi Wada’s Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile, originally released in 1982 on India Navigation, remains one of the most remarkable flowers to grow in the rarefied air of American minimalism – akin to Terry Riley’s Reed Streams and Pauline Oliveros’ Accordion & Voice, yet with a wild, liberated energy all of its own. After graduating from Kyoto University of Fine Arts with a degree in sculpture, Wada moved to New York City in 1967 and quickly fell in with the community of artists known as Fluxus. In the early ’70s, he began building his own instruments and writing musical compositions, studying with La Monte Young and Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath. Recorded during an epic three-day session in an empty swimming pool in upstate New York, Wada’s first album brings together two of the oldest drone instruments – the human voice and bagpipes – to simple and glorious effect. A visit to the Scottish Highlands spurred Wada’s interest in bagpipes, which the composer integrated into these sparse, otherworldly sounds heard on Lament. “That swimming pool was quite hallucinatory,” recalls Wada. “It was another world. I felt it in terms of resonance. I slept in the pool, and whenever I moved, I woke up because of the reverberations…. The piece itself is an experiment with reeds and improvisational singing within the modal structure.” This first-time vinyl reissue is limited to 750 numbered copies. Comes with poster.

File Under: Drone, Minimal, Experimental, Fluxus
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Christopher Willits & Ryuichi Sakamoto: Ancient Future (Ghostly) LP
Ancient Future is the second collaboration between composer and visionary pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto and electronic pioneer Christopher Willits. Built around a series of piano pieces that Sakamoto sent to Willits after the release of the duo’s first record together, 2008’s Ocean Fire, the six tracks that make up Ancient Future are entirely instrumental – and yet, they speak about the very essence of what it means to be human. As a whole, Ancient Future functions as a piece about the creation, acceptance and completion of one’s fate and all of life’s experiences, following a trajectory through inner conflict, resolution and, ultimately, acceptance. The six-song cycle moves through a narrative of sorts, each piece with a story to tell and an aspect of life to explore. The album opens with the restless energy of “Reticent Reminiscence”, an energy that subsides into the introversion of “Abandoned Silence” and “I Don’t Want to Understand” and, eventually, the cold disassociation of “Levitation”. A certain warmth returns with “Releasing”, its guitar arpeggios like washes of sunlight, and the album’s journey finally resolves into closing track “Completion”, a piece that’s full of quiescent tranquility, perhaps reflecting the experience of finally coming to know oneself. Despite its conceptual coherency, contradictions lie at the heart of Ancient Future, as the album title might suggest. Even within the confines of each track, opposing forces are at play – loops of static and feedback provide the backing for delicate melodies that develop and evolve like ripples on a placid lake. And yet the contradictions never feel like conflicts — instead, the diverging elements come together to create something with its own internal logic, perhaps reflecting the way that we are all the sum of our experiences, both light and dark, positive and negative.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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5d825dc83a1f0_mainWipers: Land of the Lost (Jackpot) LP
Jackpot Records is proud to announce the highly sought after WIPERS Land Of The Lost LP. It was released in 1986 on Restless Records and has been out of print since. Land Of The Lost is the follow up to their historic third studio record Over The Edge. and is one of the hardest Wipers titles to find. Featuring 9 original tracks and includes the original locked groove. Pressed on limited edition blue/gray vinyl.

File Under: Punk
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603111735511_mainVarious: Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip (Riding Easy) LP
The forthcoming ninth edition of the popular compilation series featuring long-lost vintage ’60s-’70s proto-metal and stoner rock singles, Brown Acid – The Ninth Trip is set for release! Some of the best thrills of the Internet music revolution are the ability to find extremely rare music with great ease. But even with such vast archives to draw from, quite a lot of great songs have gone undiscovered for nearly half a century—particularly in genres that lacked hifalutin arty pretense. Previously, only the most extremely dedicated and passionate record collectors had the stamina and prowess to hunt down long forgotten wonders in dusty record bins—often hoarding them in private collections, or selling at ridiculous collector’s prices. Legendary compilations like Nuggets, Pebbles, ad nauseum, have exhausted the mines of early garage rock and proto-punk, keeping alive a large cross-section of underground ephemera. However, few have delved into and expertly archived the wealth of proto-metal, pre-stoner rock tracks collected on Brown Acid.  “Will do for hard rock, proto-metal and heavy psych what Nuggets did for garage rock, and bring it to a wider audience of collectors and music fans.” —The Guardian  “So rare that diehard fuzz junkies say you’d have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding a physical 45 RPM single by one of the bands featured on their latest installment.” —Dangerous Minds .
File Under: Metal, Psych
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5daf6ae519478_mainVarious: Tens Across the Board (Dark Entries) LP
Celebrating a Decade of Dark Entries with a compilation titled Tens Across The Board. We revisit our roster and chose 10 songs from 10 bands from 10 different countries spanning the years 1981-1993. The songs flow in chronological order and have never appeared on vinyl, with 7 of the songs previously unreleased. Features tracks from PARADE GROUND, DISENO CORBUSIER, LENA PLATONOS, VICTROLA, BORGHESIA, TOM ELLARD, X-RAY POP, SECOND DECAY, FROM NURSERY TO MISERY, and CYRNAI. All songs have been remastered by GEORGE HORN at Fantasy Studios. The vinyl is housed in a custom designed jacket by ELOISE LEIGH featuring our label’s colors black-white-red with connect-the-dots pattern linking the 10 songs via maps/timeline/location, all relating to the reissue process, plus source images from San Francisco, our hometown. For this landmark release we’ve also printed a 2-sided fold-out wall poster that includes every artist we’ve released in our first 10 years 2009-2019 in black, red and silver metallic ink, plus an 8×11 insert with lyrics, notes and photos.

File Under: Electronic

…..Restocks…. 

Amanaz: Africa (Now Again) LP
Black Flag: Family Man (SST) LP
Black Flag: Loose Nut (SST) LP
Black Flag: Wasted Again (SST) LP
Bon Iver: 22, A Million (Jagjaguwar) LP
Tina Brooks: Minor Move (Tone Poet Series) (Blue Note) LP
Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City) LP
Bill Callahan: Dream River (Drag City) LP
Alice Coltrane: Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse) LP
Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch (Blue Note) LP
Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage (Blue Note) LP
Joe Henderson: In ‘N Out (Blue Note) LP
Jutta Hipp: with (Blue Note) LP
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: I’m in Your Mind Fuzz (Castle Face) LP
Delvin Lamarr Organ Trio: Live at KEXP! (Colemine) LP
Delvin Lamarr Organ Trio: Close But No Cigar (Colemine) LP
Madlib & Freddie Gibbs: Pinata (MMS) LP
Charlie Megira: Tomorrow’s Gone (Numero) LP
Oh Sees: Face Stabber (Castle Face) LP
Angel Olsen: My Woman (Jagjaguwar) LP
Refused: War Music (Spinefarm) LP
Sure Fire Soul Ensemble: Out on the Coast (Colemine) LP
Sure Fire Soul Ensemble: s/t (Colemine) LP
Tropical Fuck Storm: Braindrops (Joyful Noise) LP
Uniform & The Body: Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back (Sacred Bones) LP
Kurt Vile: Constant Hitmaker (Woodsist) LP
X: Los Angeles (Fat Possom) LP
Frank Zappa: Freak Out (Zappa) LP

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