…..news letter #945 – hydra…..

Well, aside from the fact no one else comes in the store but me, you’d almost think it was February or something. Lots of stuff coming in. Lots going out. Same old same old… almost. Anyway, loads of work to do here, so here’s a list for ya, some stuff showing up tomorrow so if you don’t see it on the site yet, it’ll be there tomorrow once it arrives.

As always, big thanks to everyone who’s been hitting up our webstore and placing orders! Every little bit will help us be able to turn the lights back on when the curve has been flattened and we are able to open the doors back up. If you haven’t hit up the WEBSTORE, MAYBE YOU SHOULD! I’ve been adding way more stuff than usual and will keep doing so, even if we go into total lock down. If that happens, our site is linked to our inventory, if you can order it on the site, we have it. If it sells out, you can’t order it. So ordering will put it on hold for you at the very least. If you can’t figure out the site, or don’t like to use computers, you can always call the store and we can do an order over the phone. I’ll be at the shop 11-4 week days, until I’m not allowed to be. Stay safe!

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

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…..picks of the week…..

O+Yuki+Conjugate+-+PeyoteO Yuki Conjugate: Peyote (B.F.E.) LP
One of the all-time fantastic masterpieces of  tribal ambient, an absolute must-own for any fan of the genre. Peyote is a musical trip well worth taking. Originally released in 1991 on cd and now released on vinyl for the first time. O Yuki Conjugate (OYC) are an English post-industrial/ambient musical group founded in 1982 in Nottingham by Roger Horberry and Andrew Hulme and still – intermittently – active today. Originally inspired by the spirit and sound of post-punk, they soon started pioneering their own brand of ambient at a time (early 80s) when few people were interested in such a low-key approach. Their music has been variously described as ‘ambient’, ‘fourth world’, ‘ethnic’, ‘tribal’ and ‘dark wave’; the band prefer to call it ‘dirty ambient’. “Warm, enveloping and invigorating textures. O Yuki Conjugate’s music inhabits some netherworld between ethnic, ambient, improvised and experimental sounds. The music here is built largely on ghostly layers of percussion suggesting ceremonies of ancient worship…. eerily affecting.” -OPTION MAGAZINE. “Ambient, pagan, tribal scenes of sitting in a sweatlodge come to mind. The perfect trance inducing music to listen to…” – INDUSTRIALNATION “O Yuki Conjugate inhabit some netherworld between ethnic, ambient, improvised and experimental sounds, built largely on ghostly layers of percussion which suggest ceremonies of ancient worship…” – HEARTBEATS

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Industrial
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(Light in the Attic) LP

In tomorrow… When Light In The Attic released Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986 in 2019, it was the first collection of its kind to be released outside Japan. It proved to be just what music fans had been waiting for—a compilation of sought-after tracks that had been nearly impossible to obtain unless you were well-connected with dealers and collectors, or traveled regularly to the countless record stores in Japan. Pacific Breeze included Minako Yoshida, Taeko Ohnuki, Hiroshi Sato and Haruomi Hosono among other key players of ‘70s-’80s Japanese City Pop, the nebulous genre that encompassed an “amalgam of AOR, R&B, jazz fusion, funk, boogie and disco, all a touch dizzy with tropical euphoria,” as we described it the first time around. With Pacific Breeze 2: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1972-1986 we dig deeper into those sounds of bubble-era Japan. From the proto-City Pop funk of Bread & Butter and Eiichi Ohtaki to the crate-digger favorites Eri Ohno and Piper, the latest entry in Light In The Attic’s Japan Archival Series brings another set of sought-after tunes, most of which have never before been available outside of Japan. Tomoko Aran and Anri, also included in this compilation, are just a few of the artists who have gained popularity in recent years thanks to Vaporwave, the meme-genre that heavily samples Japanese City Pop to create its particular aesthetic. Pacific Breeze 2 once again feature the artwork of renowned Tokyo-based illustrator Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have become synonymous with City Pop. Nagai’s urban tropical imagery is a perfect match for the expertly curated tunes, evoking a certain sense of nostalgia for the leisure lifestyles of ‘70s-’80s Tokyo, while simultaneously being perfectly in tune with the current zeitgeist.

File Under: Electronic, Pop, City Pop

NWW portadaNurse With Wound: Rock ‘n Roll Station (Abstrakce) LP
Reissue of this mesmerizing record including an unreleased alternate mix of “Subterranean Zappa Blues”. Hypnotic rhythms made of slow minimal beats, industrial textures, intoxicating drones and repetitive voices that seem to merge from dreams. Everything built by two of the most brilliant industrial music minds: Steven Stapleton and Colin Potter. “This album arrived somewhere after a dream meeting of several individuals, Graham Bond, Joe Meek, Jacques Berrocal and myself. After a few beers and a heated disscussion of puncture repair we all lay down in a circle and point our penises at Venus, telepathic messages are sent out to Colin saying he can use the two golden microphones. He did, and here we are.” Steven Stapleton, 17.1.94. Rock ‘n Roll Station began life with Steven Stapleton asking engineer Colin Potter to remix some of the more rhythmic elements of ‘Colder Still’ from 1992’s Thunder Perfect Mind. As Potter gradually warped these sections into weirder and weirder pieces, a new album began to emerge. Potter himself explained it to David Keenan in England’s Hidden Reverse: “What I sometimes did in the studio was to ‘over-use’ effects and processors to totally mutate a piece into something completely different” while Stapleton observed how “it was almost as though telepathic messages were sent over to Colin. [We’d] started an album [together at IC Studio] that was never finished. He [then] sent me some vague mixes, which were just what I had in mind. So, from that basis, I started putting the album together.” Potter would quickly become a key player in Nurse With Wound’s productions, a position he continues to fulfil to this day. He was first credited as a member on 1992’s Thunder Perfect Mind, a tour-de-force of cold, at times hostile, machined atmospheres, but considers Rock ‘N Roll Station from the following year to still be his favourite. Building on percussion and drone elements, Stapleton and Potter throw in a huge range of bizarre and atmospheric elements: didgeridoos, chanting voices, and their usual selection of unidentifiable sounds. Its strong focus on rhythm was erroneously surmised by some as an attempt to join the then rising electronic dance music scene. But it was Stapleton’s recent obsession with the music of ‘King of the Mambo’ Pérez Prado that was beating at the heart of Rock N’ Roll Station’s heady rhythms. The album’s title alluded to two specifically rock-related stations of influence: the song of the same name by Jac Berrocal, of which a surprisingly straight cover opens the album in homage; and the tragic life of the Sixties British R&B organist Graham Bond who influenced bands such as Deep Purple and Cream. Beset by mental health problems (at one point believing he was the son of Aleister Crowley), Bond died under a train at a Tube station in 1989 and it is this tragic scene that Rock ‘n Roll Station’s closing track, ‘Finsbury Park, May 8th, 1:35 PM (I’ll See You In Another World)’, sets in sound.

File Under: Industrial, Experimental
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…..new arrivals…..

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Daniel Avery & Alessandro Cortini: Illusion of Time (Mute) LP
Mute present the the debut full-length collaboration between UK techno specialist Daniel Avery and acclaimed experimental musician Alessandro Cortini. Illusion Of Time is a beguiling and unexpected collusion of two sounds. Beginning as a collaborative experiment before the pair had even met, Avery and Cortini then worked remotely and free of concept or deadline over several years. The result, finally completed when both artists were touring with Nine Inch Nails in 2018, is a quietly powerful album rooted in trust, process and experimentation. Gently challenging the hypnotic ideals of ambience that already united the work of both artists, Illusion of Time is in equal parts cryptic and inviting. Wistful and even memorable chords are boldly buried beneath blankets of soothing noise, as if asking listeners to lean in further. In other moments, Avery and Cortini achieve catharsis when working through bristling electronics more indebted to their heavier influences. More frequently, the soothing analogue textures that drive the album are allowed to linger alone, stripped back in order to conjure the moments of suspended bliss that give the album its title. “It was very much a shared process,” notes Avery. “I would like to credit Alessandro with his belief that music has a life of its own, as well as the importance he places on the first take…That even something that may be considered out-of-step by some should be respected. Some of the tracks were borne simply out of a tiny synth part, or a bit of tape hiss that we had recorded. And that approach taught me a lot. It’s a record that’s been worked on hard, but not laboured over.” “I was a big fan of Daniel’s, and his work always spoke to me in a certain way,” adds Cortini. “Then, when we started working together, it just clicked. It’s very hard to explain, but I can always hear the love in his work, and that is true on this record. After our first collaboration, we just kept sending each other music and maintaining that dialogue. Next thing you know, we’re sitting in a hotel room in

File Under: Electronic, Ambient

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Brendan Benson: Dear Life (Third Man) LP
“There’s something about this record,” Brendan Benson says, describing his Third Man Records debut album Dear Life. “A friend of mine called it ‘life-affirming.’ I thought it was a joke at first but then realized, well, it’s about life and death for sure. I don’t know if that’s positive or optimistic or whatever, but that’s what’s going on with me.” Benson finds himself in an enviable spot as he enters the third decade of a remarkably creative, consistently idiosyncratic career – an accomplished frontman, musician, songwriter, producer, band member, husband, and dad. Benson’s seventh solo album, and first new LP in almost seven years, Dear Life is this consummate polymath’s most inventive and upbeat work thus far, an 11- track song cycle about life, love, family, fatherhood, and the pure joy of making music. Produced and almost entirely performed by Benson at his own Readymade Studio in Nashville, the album sees the Michigan-born, Nashville-based artist – and co-founder, with Jack White, of The Raconteurs – reveling in a more modernist approach than ever before, fueled by a heady brew of cannabis, hip-hop, and a newly discovered interest in software drum programming. The result is an untapped playfulness that elevates expertly crafted songs like the opener, “I Can If You Want Me To,” and the first single, “Good To Be Alive,” with voluble arrangements, elastic grooves, and incandescent power. Imbued with revitalized ambition and confidence, Dear Life is Brendan Benson at his very best!

File Under: Rock, Raconteurs
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Car Seat Headrest: Making a Door Less Open (Matador) LP
In tomorrow…. Making A Door Less Open is the new album from Car Seat Headrest and the first set of brand-new songs since 2016’s Teens Of Denial. Created over the course of four years, Making a Door Less Open is the result of a fruitful “collaboration” between Car Seat Headrest, led by Will Toledo, and 1 Trait Danger, a CSH electronic side project consisting of drummer Andrew Katz and Toledo’s alternative persona, “Trait.” In this way, Making A Door Less Open sees Toledo embarking on new and imaginative roads to songwriting and recording, placing emphasis on the individual songs, each with its own “special energy,” rather than attempting to draw a coherent storyteller narrative through the album as he has in the past, resulting in his most dynamic and open-ended work to date. The album will be available on vinyl and CD featuring distinct tracklists and mixes for each format.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Caspar Brotzmann Massaker: Home (Southern Lord) LP
Southern Lord reissues Home, the final installment in the Caspar Brotzmann Massaker series. The indelible trio continues to perform live, and Caspar Brotzmann, arguably one of the most unique and innovative guitarists of the last forty years, is exploring new solo material and will release his first solo album this year 2020. Originally recorded in 1994 and released in 1995, Home is characterized by Massaker‘s ultra-refined riffs of shrieking, screeching feedback, and rattling machine gun staccatos. Exuding confidence, authority and a natural rapport that the musicians clearly had with one another. Certain songs from earlier records were revisited on Home including “The Tribe” and “Massaker” from The Tribe, and “Templehof,” “Hunter Song,” and “Böhmen” from Black Axis. These pieces had evolved following years of rethinking, rehearsing and reshaping them on stage, as well as playing with Danny Lommen, who had replaced Frank Neumeier on drums after Black Axis. These refined versions on Home raise the level of density and tension, the ominous evocations of impending doom, booming threat, and the grim determination that’s always driven Massaker. The 1994 recording of Home at the Steinschlag Studio (of FM Einheit) features Caspar Brotzmann on guitar with Danny Lommen on drums and Eduardo Delgado Lopez on bass.

File Under: Art Rock, Industrial, Noise
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Beverly Glenn-Copeland: Keyboard Fantasies (Séance Centre) LP
Back in stock! Beverly Glenn-Copeland is already known amongst collectors and music heads for two sought-after albums of folky jazz in the key of Joni. But it was this album, originally self-released on cassette in 1986 that really caught our attention. The album, entirely recorded on DX-7 and TR-707, lies somewhere between digital new-age and (accidentally) early Detroit techno experiments. The inimitable style of BGC here is both peaceful and meditative while simultaneously rhythmic and bass heavy. The album was recorded in the northern Canadian town of Huntsville where BGC was living at the time and is a beautiful fusion of personal vision, technology and place. This repress features a reconstructed glasswork design by Alan Briand.

File Under: Ambient, Pop
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Dueling Experts: s/t (Mellow Music) LP
From a lost chamber of a dark cavern, Dueling Experts unlock the most esoteric of styles. Chicago’s Verbal Kent (of Ugly Heroes) joins forces with Ghana MC Recognize Ali for the project’s new self titled album produced by Lord Beatjitzu. Mixed and mastered by Keith Krueser. Artwork by Kamila Krauze. “I had a treasure trove of beats from legendary Lo-Fi beat maker Lord Beatjitzu that I needed to put to use…and sonically me and Ali were right there. The beats sound like they were dropped on the floor, almost beta like quality while at the same time exemplifying that 90’s RZA peak.” – Verbal Kent “Dueling Experts is that raw unadulterated hardcore boom bap.” – Recognize Ali

File Under: Hip Hop
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William Eaton: Music By William Eaton (Morning Trip) LP
Originally released in 1978, Music By William Eaton is a private-press album from the accomplished experimental stringed instrument builder. The atmospheric recording techniques, mixed with a hint of Fahey/Takoma-lineage make for a listening experience akin to the mountainscape drawing represented on the album cover. The experience may seem simple at first, but like any great trip in nature, new details consistently reveal themselves upon each listen. “When I started building instruments, playing guitar took on a whole new dimension. From the conception to the birth of each instrument, new layers of meaning unfolded. Cycles, connections and interdependencies became apparent as I contemplated the growth of trees from seed to old age, and the transformation from raw wood to the building of a musical instrument. I sought out quiet natural environments to play and listen to the “voice” of my 6 string, 12 string, 26 string (Elesion Harmonium) and double neck quadraphonic electric guitar. Deep canyons contained a beautiful resonant quality and echo. A starlit night with a full moon provided all the reflection and endless space by which to project music into the cosmos. The sound of a bubbling stream and singing birds added a natural symphonic tapestry to a melody or chord pattern. As I perceived it, everything was participating in a serendipitous dance. Everything was part of the music. During this time, I decided to record an instrumental album of music. The idea was simple; it would be a series of tone poems with no titles or any information attached, only the words ‘Music by William Eaton.’ While some of the songs evolved out of composed chord progressions, most of the songs were played spontaneously, only on the occasion of the recording. These improvised songs haven’t been played since.” — William Eaton

File Under: Ambient, New Age
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Dexter Gordon: A Swingin’ Affair (Blue Note) LP
In honor of Blue Note Records’ 80th Anniversary, the legendary jazz label is launching the Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series. Distinct from the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series, this second series curated by Don Was and Cem Kurosman features 180g vinyl LP releases in standard packaging with albums spanning the many eras of the label’s history presented by themes: Blue Note Debuts, Blue Grooves, Great Reid Miles Covers, Blue Note Live, and Blue Note Drummer Leaders. The series resumes in April 2020 with Part 3 of the Great Reid Miles Covers theme – Jackie McLean – A Fickle Sonance (1961), Dexter Gordon – A Swingin’ Affair (1962) and Lee Morgan – The Rumproller (1965). Just two days after saxophonist Dexter Gordon recorded his classic album Go! in August 1962 he brought the same quartet with pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Billy Higgins back into Rudy Van Gelder’s studio to record the equally sublime A Swingin’ Affair. All the joy and beauty of the great tenor man’s music can be found in the irrepressible opener “Soy Califa,” a Gordon original that moves deftly between Latin and swing rhythms as Dex holds forth with his commanding horn. The feeling of the music is reflected perfectly in Reid Miles’ masterful cover design featuring Francis Wolff’s incredible photo.

File Under: Jazz
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King Dude: Full Virgo Moon (Van) LP
For the past few years King Dude has been one of the most misunderstood voices in folk music. He’s been accused of everything under the sun; to some he is a violent psychopathic Satanist, to others he is a charlatan-left-leaning coward. And that’s just scratching the surface. While there are many myths surrounding him it seems true that no one can easily sum him up in a single breath. One thing is for sure, he plays uncompromising songs devoted to his craft without questioning how it will be interpreted. He doesn’t ask anyone for permission to exist in this way and refuses to back down in the face of his naysayers. As is the tradition of folk music in it’s original form, his latest album Full Virgo Moon represents a “shots-fired over the line” at many of these detractors, his songs becoming pointed dagger-like anthems of the unsung theists and atheists alike. As he weaponizes his songs in this unique manner, he is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous and influential folk musicians of our times. Beware and be aware, King Dude is a force to be reckoned with. Full Virgo Moon was recorded in Seattle, Washington in the first two weeks of January 2020. The album consists of nine new songs all performed, recorded, mixed and mastered at home by Thomas Cowgill. The focus of the album was to recall the earlier works of King Dude before he had a full band, so there is a distinct minimal approach here.

File Under: Folk, Neo-Folk
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Shelby Lynne: s/t (Thirty Tigers) LP
It’s been 20 years since I Am Shelby Lynne, the album which earned her a Best New Artist Grammy nod. This time, Shelby Lynne, her debut Thirty Tigers release, removes the “I Am” and gets direct to the heart of the singer-songwriter-instrumentalist who gives it her name. This is an album of mostly solo, spare but emotionally rich, original torch songs done the only way this idiosyncratic artist knows how – at once tortured and vulnerable, with intimate feelings laid bare, but ultimately offering hope that there’s a light in the darkness. Recalling her 2008 Dusty Springfield tribute, Just a Little Lovin’, recorded with the late Grammy-winning producer Phil Ramone at the same Capitol Studios where the new album was mixed, the soulful Shelby Lynne is her most personal, autobiographical statement yet on the dual, push-pull nature of love: at once close enough to touch, but also a frustrating tease that can both seduce and abandon. The album itself proceeded from a collaboration between Lynne and lyricist/director /screenwriter Cynthia Mort that morphed into an unreleased, full-length feature film, When We Kill the Creators, featuring several live recordings made right on the set of the production, which explains their raw immediacy. Starring Lynne representing not just her alter ego, but all “endangered” musicians and artists, the movie makes a strong case for the ever-going conflict between art and commerce, and how dangerous it can be to muzzle creativity for the corporate buck. Songs like the opening, ominous “Strange Things” (with lyrics by Mort), the aching “Revolving Broken Heart” and the climactic self-declaration “Here I Am” (another collaboration with Mort) – all recorded live during filming – take on a narrative arc that exists on its own. “It’s really a new Shelby Lynne album,” she explains about her first solo release since 2015. Her collaboration with Cynthia Mort is the first time she’s done something like this since working with Ron Sexsmith on several songs for I Can’t Imagine. “When we met, I wanted to go someplace else with my writing, get out of my own head. She came along and I just loved her words, her landscape, her mind, the visions I got. I found songs and stories in her lyrics. They drove me to different musical places. It’s been a fun journey.” Mort, a lifelong music fan best known for creating and producing the HBO series Tell Me You Love Me, wrote the original screenplay for the film and the lyrics for “Here I Am” before she ever met Shelby.  “It was a little intimidating collaborating with someone like Shelby,” she says, the character based on tragic singers like Judy Garland and Billie Holiday in mind. “The songs took on a life of their own outside the film. What she did creating such powerful melodies for those words was incredible. I enjoyed telling a story that way. We had a similar belief in what matters.” While Shelby Lynne boasts several other musicians, including keyboardists Benmont Tench, Mimi Friedman, Ed Roth and Billy Mitchell. for the most part the album’s namesake does it all, playing guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and even sax on the smoky, noirish “My Mind’s Riot.” There’s a sense of doom which hangs over Shelby Lynne, a hope that things can get better for artists in this crazy world, rather than worse. Shelby Lynne is “pretty much just me, a guitar and a microphone,” she notes, but there’s an incredible power in that simplicity. “As an artist, I don’t mind being naked. Everything is so fake, so manufactured these days, I want to get real. It’s pretty much the only way to communicate these days.”

File Under: Folk, Country
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Mariangela: s/t (Telephone Explosion) LP
In the early 1970s, Mariangela Celeste signed to a major label at 13, she would go on to record her self-titled album with rising European superstar Vangelis. Though tragically overlooked upon its release, Mariangela is a gem of early electronic pop with sparkling synths, drums machines, and lush arrangements propelling the songs of an unapologetically strong-willed adolescent. By 1972, Vangelis’ group Aphrodite’s Child had earned widespread acclaim for their lavish psych-prog masterpiece, 666. Though still years away from the Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner soundtracks that would make him a household name in North America, Vangelis had released three solo albums and was well on his way to becoming an international luminary. Polygram hired him as a producer to work with up and coming artists on their roster, and he handpicked the teenaged Mariangela. Mariangela’s most successful songs are the ones she wrote herself, coupled with Vangelis’ forward-thinking production. The heart-pumping disco of “You Are The One” sounds like a teenage impression of ABBA or sonic pre-cursor to The Carpenters’ “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.” Floating head and shoulders above all else is Mariangela’s minimal wave ballad “My Dear Life”, fusing the spellbinding vocals of Wendy and Bonnie’s Genesis with the dazzling futurism of Roberto Cacciapaglia’s Ann Steel Album. Its sound is years ahead of its time, with Vangelis’ decisions to drape the song’s dreamy melody in sun-dazed synths, popping drum machines, and cavernous guitar effects confounding even its creator. When the album hit the shelves in 1975, its release was confusingly limited to Greece, Canada, South Africa, and Holland. Why Polygram would choose to make it nearly impossible to find in Western Europe or England where Vangelis’ star was rising remains a mystery to this day. (Words by Jesse Locke)

File Under: Electronic, Pop
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MinaeMinae: Gestrupp (Marionette) LP
On this seven track album we hear MinaeMinae (alias Bastian Epple) playfully scurry through his dense soundscapes on a tightrope. The sounds lying somewhere on the crossroads of psychedelic trance, exotica, ambient and melodic dance music – veering further off orbit with nontypical rhythms and dystopian percussive patterns. MinaeMinae understands musical material similar to documentary footage which he would cut up, repitch, and rearrange freely. Most of his tracks are a mix of analog, synthetic sounds and recordings of ethnic percussion and guitar. Recently Bastian began experimenting with modular synthesis and self made tape echoes – seeking a more reduced and minimal composition style compared to his earlier quite whimsical tunes. Growing up in a small village in southern Germany, Bastian was never interested in kitschy folk sounds that everyone would mindlessly clap and sing along to, rather he took solace in the time he would spend delving into patterns and repetitions that pleased him. His guitar strumming and what sounded to his mother like a young Philip Glass on a cheap Casio keyboard encouraged little Epple to continue on this self-taught path of developing his musical language. He then started to experiment with a tape recorder and layering sounds with non-musical samples, which his former village friends found too weird – then to eventually working with a small freeware DAW. Bastian went on to study Media Art at the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe – initially enrolled in music but the frustration and doubt of not being able to produce the music he wanted led him into film and documentary media. During his studies, Bastian was living with Florian Meyers (Don’t DJ) for several years where they would philosophize life and music into the wee hours – he encouraged Bastian to start sharing what he’s been quietly working on all these years and slowly emerge from this anonymity which eventually led to his first release on Human Pitch last fall. Disproportionate forms, color changes, backdrops weaved into the foreground, all lay the dense earth for Gestrüpp through Benjamin Kilchhofer’s artwork.

File Under: Electronic
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Nap Eyes: Snapshot for a Beginner (Royal Mountain) LP
This one’s for the procrastinators and the slow learners. This one’s for the bungled and the botched, for the fumbled and humbled. This one’s for the late bloomers, and ultimately, Nap Eyes latest full length Snapshot of a Beginner is proof that sometimes, the late bloomers bloom brightest. Eight years and four albums into it, the artistic arc of Nap Eyes finds itself tracing a line alongside frontman Nigel Chapman’s daily tai chi practice. Those first years and albums are the cold mornings in the park: the measured movements, the joint aches, the self-doubt. With each new release, an incremental and invigorating step forward. And with the end of each album and tour, a return to the beginner’s practice. And now, Snapshot of a Beginner, Nap Eyes’ boldest, most concentrated and most hi-fi album to date, a study of that repeated return and all that it can teach you. Almost all the songs of Nap Eyes are whittled into their final form from Chapman’s unspooling, 20-minute voice-and-guitar free-writing sessions. Each member – drummer Seamus Dalton; bassist Josh Salter or guitarist Brad Loughead – then plays a crucial role in song development, composing around the idiosyncratic structures and directing the overall sound and feel of the songs. Until now, that final song construction and recording has been mostly done live in a room. But for Snapshot of a Beginner, the band went to The National’s neuvo-legendary upstate NY Long Pond Studio, working with producers Jonathan Low (Big Red Machine, The National) and James Elkington (Steve Gunn, Joan Shelley), the latter of whom also did pre-production arrangement work with the band. It took Nap Eyes a long time and a long practice to reach this artistic zen, but one gets the feeling throughout Snapshot of a Beginner that this balance is going to hold.

File Under: Indie Rock
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OST: Blood on her Name (Death Waltz) LP
In tomorrow!… What would you do if you accidentally killed someone? Death Waltz Recording Company invites you to ponder this with the haunting score to Matthew Pope & Don Thompson’s film BLOOD ON HER NAME, composed by Brooke and Will Blair (GREEN ROOM, I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE). A unique Gothic-noir meditation on classic themes of honesty and tragedy, the film asks the audience how they would react after a fatal incident, and how far their conscience would allow them to go. Underlining this is a score that reaches into the dark pit of your stomach, where your feelings lie. BLOOD ON HER NAME is a score that is built around atmosphere and tension. In an almost Poe-like narrative, it pulsates and undulates; it’s both incredibly unsettling and serene in its beauty, delving into the murkier sounds that you’d expect while also taking on strangely ethereal tones. But when you think you might be comfortable, it transforms into something jarring, capturing that biting doubt reaching up from inside you. The tension rackets up and something launches itself at you, forcing you to react on instinct without giving any mind to the consequences. And you will, there’s no doubt about that.

File Under: OST, Death Waltz

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Piper: Sunshine Kiz (Ship to Shore) LP
Riding high on the success of Gentle Breeze, PIPER was eager to put out more new material. Keeping the same members and guest musicians, the band used its excitement and forward momentum – aided no doubt by its ever-growing experience and taste for experimentation – to produce its next album, Sunshine Kiz, within the tiny span of six months. And despite seeing no change in personnel for these latest efforts, PIPER’s musicality was constantly evolving. Perhaps most obviously, Sunshine Kiz showed the band beginning to break away from its signature style. Instrumentals were no longer the focus as more vocal-centric tracks made their way to the fore. Sunshine Kiz turned out to be a “song album,” and its lyric sheet saw a substantial increase in the number of words. A Drumulator replaced the LinnDrums, and the programmed percussion suddenly sounded more natural. Some songs actually featured live drumming, abandoning programmed beats altogether. It could be said that this all amounted to, at least partially, a return to PIPER’s roots. Or, maybe more accurately, it was something like PIPER circa 1981 filtered through the signature sound the band had forged with their two Breeze albums of 1983. The title track on Sunshine Kiz was released as their second-ever single – their first since “Far Away” from their debut album. And with this new single there even came a music video.

File Under: Electronic, City Pop

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Rubba: In Motion: Modern Progressive Group Sounds Played By Rubba (Farfalla) LP
L’Illustration Musicale, Sonimage, Técipress-In Editions (Timing), Musax, Freesound, Montparnasse 2000 in France but also De Wolfe and Chappell in England, every of these sound illustration labels have in common to bring out as a legendary spectre the name of Jacky Giordano and his aliases. Widespread practice in the library music world, Joachim Sherylee, chosen for the “In Motion” album, is one of his plentiful aliases (with José Pharos, Jacky Nodaro, Gruppo Sounds, Rubba…) used by the french composer, that we regain as well for Black Devil with Bernard Fèvre or even for the Shifters with Yan Tregger. For his enthronement on the mythical english label De Wolfe, it’s under the obscure name of the Rubba collective (which resurfaces evenly with other english instrumentalists within the Rouge subdivision) that Jacky Giordano aka Joachim Sherylee sneaked in the londonian De Wolfe studios with the companionship of british colleagues such as John Hyde (aka John Saunders, James Harrington used on the Amphonic Music label, Astral sounds or even Wozo) and his wife Monice Hyde (aka Monica Beale), Alan Howe (aka John Collins), Robert Poole and Tim Broughton. Published in 1980, the “”In Motion: Modern Progressive Group Sounds Played By Rubba”” LP and its minimalistic and utilitarian red record cover which contains 13 tracks, mainly composed by Joachim “”Giordano”” Sherylee and was never reissued since then. This record became cult over time, it will have taken that the Hip-Hop world, consistently at the forefront and on the lookout for original samples, seize it in order to dig out from the disregarded and underestimated musical gems graveyard. First of all with beatmaker Madlib and Freddie Gibbs in 2011 with the track Thuggin’, in which he sampled the track Way Star, also used more recently by Mil and the rapper Westside Gunn on his track Brains Flew by (1964 Version). Nearly 40 years after, the Farfalla Records label, after publishing Timing Archives, presents another aspect more progressive and psychedelic of the multi-faceted composer Jacky Giordano by fully reissuing at last this coveted, mysterious and mesmerizing “”Rubba””. Very desired by crate-diggers, In Motion appears in the want-list of plenty enthusiasts in this enigmatic world of the library music. (Erwann Pacaud)

File Under: Library
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The Strokes: The New Abnormal (RCA) LP
Introduced by lead single “At The Door,” – which Billboard says, “finds the band that made its reputation on a dirt-caked amalgam of grunge, punk and new wave in a contemplative mood…over chiming waves of synths…” – The New Abnormal is the long awaited new album from The Strokes, and the band’s first full-length studio release in seven years. The Strokes’ sixth LP overall following 2013’s Comedown Machine was recorded at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California, with producer Rick Rubin. The album’s cover artwork is a painting called Bird on Money, by famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. 180g vinyl LP in clear APET slipcase, and clear cling wrap with type. Printed album art, printed inner sleeve and 24″ x 36″ poster.

File Under: Rock
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Sterling Toles: Resurget Cineribus (Sector 7-G) LP
Sterling Toles’ Resurget Cineribus is the story of “Detroit 1967” reappearing in the world as a human being, Dennis Edward Toles, Sterling’s father. In 2002, the year he turned 50, Dennis came over to Sterling’s basement studio as he routinely did to catch up. What started initially as Sterling’s idea to record him “talking shit” over a Marvin Gaye record suddenly became Dennis’ chilling account of what was happening in his life, the second the music became silent. Dennis was seeking to heal from an addiction, by returning to the work that led him to that addiction, to fund his recovery. Around this time, Sterling was ruminating on news clips about the uprising of 1967 and the possibility of setting these to a musical score. Also around this time, Sterling discovered the city’s motto Resurget Cineribus which means “it shall again rise from the ashes” which was adopted in 1805 when the settlement of Detroit burned down. Consumed with the notion of fire and rebirth, Sterling listened as his father shared a recent incident of waking up to a molotov cocktail lighting up his living room. Sterling saw, both literally and metaphorically, that the combustible events of 1967 were unfolding inside of his father in the present day. He saw Dennis’ longing to transcend his past, to return to it in order to break free of it, as mirroring the desire of the city itself to be reborn.  Ghettotech legend and DJ Assault collaborator Mr. De’, describes Sterling Toles’ 19 track, 67 minute-long album Resurget Cineribus as a “crazy late 90’s indie film without the picture”. Sterling’s gritty analog production acts as a score rising and settling around audio of his father speaking on his circumstances in 2002, alongside soundbites from news reports from 1967. Originally self-released on CD-R in 2005, Resurget Cineribus was a project held dear to many in Detroit’s activist organizing community and was an inspiration to boundary-shattering sound purveyors such as Dakim Saadiq and Kyle Hall. Sampling as freely as we travel our memories, and in moments using silence and pregnant pauses as lead instruments, Sterling completely mangles traditional song and album structure. With an Ornette Coleman-like curiosity for the possibilities of sound and John Cage-like refutation of rules, Sterling uses sound to give flesh and a face to the beautiful and resilient spirit of his city.

File Under: Electronic
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Sylk: s/t (Tidal Wave) LP
In tomorrow… Sylk was a short-lived soul & funk band from the Aiken, South Carolina – Augusta, Georgia border area (better known as the CSRA) who released just one album in 1983. Their self-titled (and only) album would become a much sought-after private pressed holy grail within the record collecting community. Sylk was founded by Leroy Harper Jr. (sax/keyboards) and Ben Moses (bass/guitar). Soon they were also joined by key-members Keith Henderson (drums/percussion) and Michael Simpkins (vocals/trombone). The band also sought out John Howard (who was known for his funky rhythm style guitar + excellent soloing) and David Sanders (a known rock keyboardist in the local scene). Later down the line George Bright and Cathey McLaughlin also teamed up with Sylk…the line-up was now complete. All members were friends, frequented the same music scene or knew each other from high school. Leroy Harper Jr. & Michael Simpkins already made their bones playing together in the local funk band Exit Enterprises, one of the hottest bands in the CSRA area. All these talented musicians (some were playing from the tender age of 15) were ready to get funkin’…it was time to form SYLK and get busy. Ben Moses (who is now a preacher) was the band leader and it was his idea to write and record the album before the band would start playing gigs. Ben was al tall guy with long fingers who played on a ‘Peavey Natural Wood’ bass guitar (which gave the band its classic funky-smooth sound). Rehearsing at Ben’s house, they were all green first-time song writers…but the songs were flowing in an almost organic fashion. Soon after the writing process was completed, they went and recorded the album at John Peterson’s home studio in North Augusta SC. The engineer on duty was the legendary Jim Loyd responsible for mastering milestone recordings from the likes of The Meters, Johnny Cash and The B-52’s. With a strong album up their sleeve, the live bookings started coming in and the band (wearing P-funk style outfits) made good money playing local gigs. Sadly, after a while some band members fell on hard times and this marked the beginning of the end of the band. In the end, Sylk only lasted a year before calling it quits. When the Sylk chapter came to a close, founding member ‘‘Funky’’ Leroy Harper Jr. began to focus on his personal musical career. He’s served as a founder for several bands (including Spur of the Moment, Painted Man and Soul Power Posse). The incredible talented sax and keyboard player has also performed with Stevie Wonder, Millie Jackson, James Levi (Herbie Hancock’s The Headhunters) and Tony Cook (The J.B.’s). ‘‘Funky’’ Leroy Harper Jr. joined James Brown in 1991 and started playing/recording (and touring extensively) with the godfather of soul until Brown’s death in 2006. Over the years, harper has made appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and The Arsenio Hall Show (among many others). Currently he’s still playing gigs with his band Funky Leroy Harper Jr’s All Starz and shows no signs of slowing down! Sylk was a true example of a bright light burning out way too quickly, thankfully we are left with the unique (and very rare) document that is their self-titled album. Although it was recorded in 1983, it has a strong 1978-1979 vibe working for it. The entire album is filled with sexy (yet strong) vocals, space-like rhythmic keyboard vibrations, groovy bass lines & fat trombones that compels the listener into a dancing frenzy…one can hear the cosmic touches and influences of The J.B.’s, Bernie Worrell (amongst other P-Funk greats) and Herbie Hancock softly slipping in. This is hot and soulful Southern Funk…smooth as sylk! Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the first ever vinyl reissue of this fantastic funk/soul album (originally released in 1983 on Earthquake Records). This rare record (original copies tend to go for large amounts on the secondary market) is now finally back available as a limited vinyl edition (500 copies) complete with the original artwork.

File Under: Funk, Soul

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Wheeler Walker Jr.: Fuck You Bitch (Thirty Tigers) LP
Wheeler Walker, Jr. has been bringing his provocative brand of tongue-in-cheek country music to the world for years with the equally accomplished and amusing albums Redneck Shit (2016), Ol’ Wheeler (2017) and WWIII (2018). With all music produced by the great Dave Cobb, Wheeler’s starpower is undeniable and connects on a multitude of levels with an array of people. “I’ve already made some of the greatest country albums of all time. So I started thinking… what if I put all the best stuff on one album? Wouldn’t that be the greatest country album of all time? So I did and it is,” Wheeler boldly proclaims. Gathering all the classics plus a few brand spanking new cuts, in signature style the collection is titled Fuck You Bitch: All Time Greatest Hits.

File Under: Country
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M. Ward: Migration Stories (Anti) LP
In tomorrow... For his tenth album M. Ward journeyed to Quebec, Canada to work with Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury, Richard Reed Parry, producer/mixer Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine) and Teddy Impakt. Together they recorded a collection of 11 songs inspired by stories of human migration. Languid, hazy and often dream-like in narrative, these songs have their origins in pictures from newspaper and television reports, stories told by friends and tales from Ward’s own family history. At Arcade Fire’s Montreal studios the assembled talents recorded what he describes as “11 largely instrumental ballads – a sci-fi fast forward to a more silent night many generations from here to a maybe-era where movement is free again.” Says Ward of the stories which informed these songs, “Some time went by, the stories wove together and I remember them now closer to characters in a dream of how people could treat each other than any kind of front-page news realism. I think music subconsciously – whether writing or listening – is a filter for me. Helping to process all the bad news into something new to build from. Some records to me are like self-fulfilling prophecies – visualizing change to wish something into being. Those records inspired this one.” M. Ward’s music has always felt intricate, intimate and other worldly. With Migration Stories he breathes beautiful life into vignettes of human flight, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy as it reckons with a world that feels more divided than ever before, even as its inhabitants grow more inextricably linked by the day. With a rich, emotive croon – which Uncut Magazine once likened to “honey drizzled onto a dry creekbed” – he conveys a huge depth of emotion, captured in the studio, almost entirely on the very first take. Ward’s delivery is tender and gentle throughout the album, but there’s an undercurrent of darkness floating just beneath the surface; a persistent sense that the end may be closer than any of us dare to realize. Eerily beautiful opener “Migration of Souls” imagines a reunion beyond the boundaries of space and time, while the slow-shuffling “Heaven’s Nail and Hammer” gets lost in the stars, and the driving “Unreal City” searches for peace in a post-apocalyptic swirl of synthesizers. The album includes Ward’s deft take on the 1940 cowboy ballad, “Along The Santa Fe Trail,” popularized by Glenn Miller. It’s a record that draws on the full gamut of Ward’s profound powers as an artist, mixing folk tradition and timeless song craft with bold production and transportive sonic landscapes.

File Under: Indie Rock

…..Restocks….

Aphex Twin: I Care Because You Do (Warp) LP
Art Ensemble of Chicago: We Are on the Edge (Erased Tapes) LP
Robbie Basho: Songs of the Great Mystery (Real Gone) LP
Beastie Boys: Hello Nasty (Capitol) LP
Beastie Boys: Ill Communication (Capitol) LP
James Brown: Black Caesar (Polydor) LP
Donald Byrd: Chant (Blue Note) LP
Childish Gambino: Awaken, My Love (Glassnote) LP
Cochema: All My Relations (Daptone) LP
Alice Coltrane: Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse) LP
Chick Corea: Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Blue Note) LP
Miles Davis: Miles & Monk (Columbia) LP
Miles Davis & John Coltrane: Final Tour (Columbia) LP
Dhidalah: Threshold (Gurugurubrain) LP
Lou Donaldson: Mr. Shing-a-ling (Blue Note) LP
Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left (Island) LP
Nick Drake: Pink Moon (Island) LP
Nick Drake: Bryter Layter (Island) LP
Brian Eno: Ambient 1: Music for Airports (Astralwerks) LP
Brian Eno: Another Green World (Astralwerks) LP
Brian Eno: Discreet Music (Astralwerks) LP
Gil Evans: New Bottle, Old Wine (Blue Note) LP
Far Out: Nijonjin (Everland) LP
Nils Frahm: All Encores (Erased Tapes) LP
Grant Green: Born to be Blue (Blue Note) LP
Gza: Liquid Swords (Geffen) LP
Joe Henderson: State of the Tenor 1 (Blue Note) LP
Joe Henderson: State of the Tenor 2 (Blue Note) LP
Bobby Hutcherson: Components (Blue Note) LP
Bobby Hutcherson: Happenings (Blue Note) LP
Daniel Johnston: Hi How Are You? (Eye) LP
Fela Kuit: Expensive Shit (Knitting Factory) LP
Lifetones: For a Reason (Light in the Attic) LP
Tim Maia: Nobody Can Live Forever (Luaka Bop) LP
Menahan Street Band: Make the Road By Walking (Daptone) LP
Lee Morgan: Cornbread (Blue Note) LP
Lee Morgan: Search for a New Land (Blue Note) LP
N.W.A.: Straight Outta Compton (Universal) LP
Nirvana: Nevermind (Geffen) LP
Orville Peck: Pony (Royal Mountain) LP
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd: Piper at the Gates of Dawn (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd) LP
Max Richter: From Sleep (Deutche Gramophone) LP
Max Richter: Blue Notebooks (Deutche Grammophone) LP
Wayne Shorter: Adam’s Apple (Blue Note) LP
Sonic Youth: Dirty (Geffen) LP
Sonic Youth: Goo (Geffen) LP
Sonic Youth: Washing Machine (Geffen) LP
Sons of Kemet: Your Queen is a Reptile (Impulse) LP
Jim Sullivan: UFO (Light in the Attic) LP
Supreme Jubilees: It’ll All Be Over (Light in the Attic) LP
Thundercat: It Is What It Is (Brainfeeder) LP
Oded Tzur: Here Be Dragons (ECM) LP
U.S. Girls: Heavy Light (Royal Mountain) LP
Colter Wall: Imaginary Appalachia (Thirty Tigers) LP
Colter Wall: Songs of the Plains (Thirty Tigers) LP
Link Wray: s/t (Future Days) LP
Hiroshi Yoshimura: Music from Nine Postcards (Empire of Signs) LP
 Various: Pacific Breeze (Light in the Attic) LP

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