If you thought there was a lot of metal in last week… well then this week is gonna blow yr mind. Loads of other hot stuff in too. I’m swamped so read on!
Also, a reminder, I’m taking an extended weekend July 12-14th. We’ll have someone here on the 13th, but there will be no one here on the 14th for pick-ups, however I will be here on Saturday July 11th , 11-4 instead. Probably not a BIG deal, but worth making a note in your day planner.
And in case you’re wondering, no, we still aren’t opening up yet, despite the provincial gov’t’s confidence in how things are going. As I’ve been saying we’re in a good groove. Online ordering and pick-ups are working well and keeping everyone safe. We run a small shop. Distancing, and cleaning add an extra layer to the whole thing that I currently just can’t fathom adding to the mix right now. We’re keeping tabs on how things go with Phase 2 rolling out tomorrow and in the coming weeks.
As always, big thanks to everyone who’s been hitting up our webstore and placing orders! It’s getting competitive around 5pm when we post up fresh used stock. If you haven’t hit up the WEBSTORE, MAYBE YOU SHOULD! 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. Stay safe!
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…..picks of the week…..
Razen: Robot Brujo (Hands in the Dark) LP
We instantly fell in love with Razen the first time we saw them live in September 2018. It was during a unique Sunday morning mass at the ‘Friedenskirche’ (which translates literally to mean ‘the church of peace’), as part of the Meakusma Festival. Slightly sleep deprived and still euphorically intoxicated from the night before, their performance in front of a full mass of devotees had a biblical aura to it from the first note they played. They delivered a stunning set which was somehow, paradoxically, both relaxing and formidably tense. Two years later and the group are now bringing their talent for restraint and slow tension-building to the fore on “Robot Brujo”. Each of the six improvisations on this double LP is made up of the barest of materials, with the three musicians relying on a limited combination of tones. They lay their focus on small variations in timbre, timing, articulation and vibration, which creates a narrowing of consciousness, and feels something a bit like staring meditatively at the minute changes of leaves blowing in the wind. Recorded over two sessions, in what Razen themselves refer to as their detached playing style, « Robot Brujo » stands as an auditory magnifying glass of concentration, in all its uncanny and minimal glory. It is yet another new step up from the deep listening ensemble from Brussels, after nearly 10 years exploring music together.
File Under: Drone, Experimental
Yair Elazar Glotman & Mats Erlandsson: Emanate (130701) LP
Both prolific composers in their own right working within the field of modern composition/new electronic music, Berlin-based Yair Elazar Glotman and Stockholm-based Mats Erlandsson have been collaborating since 2015. Following Deutsche Gramophon’s release of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ‘Last and First Men’ project which Yair co-composed, the pair’s sophomore album ‘Emanate’ is a powerful and stunningly executed extended duration work that utilises a fantastic ensemble cast and continues to explore their ideas of a ‘displaced sound’ – combining electronic and acoustic sound sources through both analogue and digital means to create a gorgeous and ambiguous composite work, a music that sounds neither clearly electronic or acoustic, existing instead in some in-between space.
File Under: Drone, Ambient, Classical
Arab Strap: Philophobia (1972) LP
Philophobia, Arab Strap’s sophomore slam dunk released in the spring of 1998, begins with one of the most memorable opening lines in all of indie rock: “It was the biggest cock you’d ever seen, but you’ve no idea where that cock has been.” So begins an album that, while picking up thematically where the duo’s debut album The Week Never Starts Round Here left off, promises from its very first seconds a renewed sense of purpose: the narratives are more streamlined, the music more confident and mature. Gone are the sketches and doodles that unquestionably distinguished 1996’s The Week Never Starts Round Here as the work of first timers, replaced with a consistent, almost conceptual, musical framework. On Philophobia, singer and lyricist Aidan Moffat’s realism is more profane, gritty and poignant, while multi-instrumentalist Malcolm Middleton’s honeyed orchestrations increasingly provide clinics in subtlety and restraint. Part of the appeal of Arab Strap’s post-everything music is the way the group’s songs make every listener feel like either a voyeur or a trusted confidante. The ever-present humanity in future sex advice columnist Moffat’s first person tales of debauchery and regret is a through-line running through each of these frank and vivid songs: the same narrator who confesses to sniffing his fingers after a sexual encounter and boasts about the size of his penis also yearns to “hug” a lover to death, finds himself crying on the bus, and wonders idly—but hopefully—whether or not he’s truly in love with the woman he’s just slept with. It is this duality, complemented by Middleton’s imaginative and deeply sensitive accompaniment, that makes Philophobia one of the most original and most enduring front-to-back albums in the canon of modern indie rock; over two decades later, it still sounds warm to the touch.
File Under: Indie Rock
Auroch: Stolen Angelic Tongues (20 Buck Spin) LP
Neon magenta w/ black & mustard yellow splatter vinyl version!!! Vancouver’s Auroch return with new music for the first time in nearly four years. The new mini-album Stolen Angelic Tongues draws upon the magical and spiritual traditions of South America and the Caribbean as their histories, past and present, represent a microcosm of the great spiritual rebellion that has been the band’s inspiration throughout its singular discography. An ever-evolving beast of the deep, here Auroch conjure vicious black / death spells of occult necromancy and technical sorcery, making manifest a dark vision of obscure magic. Returning to the fold is original vocalist Culain who here summons demons of the abyssic fire with savage equanimity. Joining with their Covenant Circle brethren in Night Profound and Aos Si, eerie ambient recordings bookend the concept piece to dramatic effect.
File Under: Metal
Albert Ayler: New Grass (Third Man) LP
Albert Ayler’s 1969 album New Grass has been misunderstood from the day of its release. The album finds Ayler experimenting with soul music and digging back into his R&B roots (he started his career playing saxophone with Chicago bluesman Little Walter), fusing it with the avant-garde free jazz (the one element of the record which garnered consistent praise) and adding the vocals of Rose Marie McCoy, The Soul Singers and Ayler himself. As if predicting the divisiveness of the record to follow, Ayler speaks directly to the listener and explains that New Grass is nothing like his albums before – that it is of “a different dimension of his life” – in the album opener “Message from Albert.” New Grass deserves reconsideration, if not for the heavy grooves and surprising arrangements, then for its bravery in challenging norms of the time; by the ’60s, jazz was well-accepted as a uniquely American art form, while soul as a genre was very much still seen as primitive. Ayler melds them together and creates something novel, adventurous, and completely his own. At the time of its release, despite its divisive reception, New Grass helped break down the unnecessary walls dividing genres and revealed music’s potential freedoms. The album has gone on to infl uence generations of Jazz, R&B, Funk, Hip Hop, Post Punk, No Wave and unshrinking artists like Pharaoh Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Funkadelic, Jungle Brothers, Red Krayola, Sonic Youth and Mark E. Smith. Third Man Records can’t recommend this record highly enough. We are confident that it won’t take but one listen for you to understand New Grass is an undeniable healing force.
File Under: Jazz
Bibio: Sleep on the Wing (Warp) LP
Bibio returns on Warp Records in 2020 with a new collection entitled Sleep On The Wing, just over a year on from his last album Ribbons. This album continues the story of Ribbons, with ten tracks drawing on similar inspiration and using a similar palette of instruments and sounds. In this way it continues a pattern in Bibio’s work, like Dye The Water Green following Silver Wilkinson. It is much more instrumental focused with only two tracks featuring vocals.
File Under: Electronic
Bloodshot Bill: Get Loose or Get Lost (Goner) LP
For nearly twenty years, Bloodshot Bill has shouted, snorted, cooed and crooned his way through the wild shadowland of primitive rock and roll, touring the world and collaborated with heavyweights like Jon Spencer, King Khan, the 5678’s and Deke Dickerson. Seventeen albums and over two-dozen singles later, this unstoppable Montrealeño has not slowed his manic touring and recording schedule one whit. He’s a seminal punk, a true wildman who blazes his own path to honky tonk hell with a bottomless repertoire of desperate rock and roll and insatiable R&B. That means he knows a lotta songs—not that he doesn’t wear pants. But on the right night, who knows! This spring, Bloodshot Bill will release his eighteenth album, Get Loose Or Get Lost, his second for Memphis’ Goner Records. He will be touring everywhere, continuing his twenty-year rampage with a new record and a new slew of shows—do not miss it! “He’s a throwback to the wild ’50s / ’60s: part Stompin’ Tom, part Charlie Feathers, part Elvis, part Hasil Adkins, and these sixteen tracks of his one-man primitive rock and roll pretty much cements him as a bona-fide legend.”
File Under: Rockabilly
Ameel Brecht: Ghost Tropic (Hands in the Dark) LP
Ghost Tropic is first and foremost the name of the third feature from acclaimed Belgian writer-director Bas Devos. The film tells the story of Khadija, a middle-aged cleaner who has no other option but to walk home through Brussels on a cold night after falling asleep on the last train. The journey is a reflection on motherhood and expectations, pride and unknown struggles, stories of the ghostly magic of a lonely night in a big city, of the kindness of strangers and the hurt felt seeing the vulnerability of someone you love. Brecht Ameel, from the band Razen, uses his classical guitar training and his experience with various string instruments to craft a beautiful soundtrack of minimal ambient acoustic music. The Belgian musician’s intention was to create music that would be a warm blanket for the nocturnal odyssey of Khadija. A melody and rhythm to accompany her walk through the cold night, a sort of guiding light. Ghost Tropic was premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and is set to be released on 1st January 2020. The accompanying soundtrack recording is out 2 days later via Hands in the Dark in a limited edition of 300 copies.
File Under: Ambient, Experimental, Guitar
Cauldron Black Ram: Slaver (20 Buck Spin) LP
On limited silver w/ mustard splatter vinyl!! Australia’s bastard horde of pillaging plunderers Cauldron Black Ram sail the high seas again, producing a full length decree for the first time in six years. Slaver presents ten sordid new tales of grim malevolence and dishonorable miscreants. The experienced hand of decades renders this singularly underground beast adept in the dark arts of skulduggery and churning, sodden death deliverance, a task of which they partake with cruel delight. Though rising from their watery tombs only infrequently, the burglarious villains of Cauldron Black Ram uniquely slay their enemies with demented grooves, blackened thrash malice and sludgy death metal barbarity. The lash of the whip hangs heavy on Slaver, and the stench of war torn lands, scorched villages and wanton thievery seeps from the thick heavy atmosphere. A declaration of desperate yet almighty blows, rending limbs and dimming hopes…
File Under: Metal
Cenotaphe: Monte Verita (Nuclear War Now) LP
In a remarkably short period of time, France’s Cénotaphe have risen from obscurity to become one of the most distinctive voices in black metal. Traced from the band’s auspicious inception, the grand arc of Cénotaphe’s ascent is mapped out in the constellation of releases in its catalog—from the promising spark of 2016’s La larve exulte demo through the explosive burst of last year’s Empyrée MLP, to this, the band’s debut full-length, Monte Verità, a brilliant supernova of melodic entanglements, erudite lyrics, and transcendent composition. Though loosely inspired by a specific mountain in Ascona, Switzerland that, beginning in the early 19th century, attracted a stream of outcasts, artists, and intellectuals in search of solitude and respite from the chaotic world below, the concept behind this album is more allegorical and metaphysical. The lyrics, written in French and delivered in anguished bellows by vocalist Khaosgott, are contemplative and poetic, rich in imagery and allusion. Progressing in stages, each track on the album recounts an individual’s journey, spurred by necessity and guided by instinct, toward detached seclusion from the world of men—observing from a vantage point high above, where the lives of others condense into an indistinct hum vibrating in the valley below. The epiphany may be short-lived, for even after reaching the summit, the lure of society—its traps and its vices, the vulgar pursuits and banal routines of existence—are a constant source of temptation, drawing the individual away from that elusive, enlightened truth. In the title track, Khaosgott depicts the culmination of the journey.
File Under: Metal
Dead Moon: Nervous Sooner Charges (Mississippi) LP
Another all time DEAD MOON classic. The band really hit their stride on this one! The best rock band of the ’90s and 2000s kicks out some of their finest rockers and ballads. Features all time greats like “Diamonds in the Rough,” “Say It Isn’t So,” “Running out of Time,” “Somewhere Far Away” and “Windows of Time.” A must have for any fan of the band and rock music in general.
File Under: Punk
Destruct: Echoes of Life (Grave Mistake) LP
Destruct deliver an absolute crusher of a debut LP following a couple recent, well-regarded demos. The sound is one that you know and are familiar with; Stoke-on-Trent, Scandanavia, and Japan, but it has been executed to its absolute maximum and captured with a clear and powerful recording. Huge, catchy riffs. Exacting rhythm. Howls of defeat, agony and pain. Taking a time-honored formula, they have lent their hand to making an album that has again breathed new life into the genre. Echoes of Life is a testament to the power of paying respects to a classic sound while simultaneously pushing it forward to today. It’s the sound of an enormous door closing in the depths of hell. Ten-million tons of TNT dropped on your head.
File Under: Metal
Elder: Omens (Armageddon) LP
Following 2017’s Reflections of a Floating World and the 2019 experimental EP The Gold & Silver Sessions, it was anyone’s guess what the band’s next full-length might have in store. Having cemented their own heavy progressive rock sound, the latter EP showcased an exact opposite side of Elder, more rooted in sparse krautrock and even jazz-tinged jams. Omens answers this speculation with a contradiction that embodies the spirit of ELDER: somehow, there’s even more everything. In five cinematic songs, lush, intricately interwoven melodies grow and dissolve into spaced-out jams. Massive riffs thunder down into a churning sea of psychedelic sounds and unpredictable grooves carry away the listener. Elder paints pictures with their music, and Omens shows the band experimenting with an even more colorful palette—with good reason. After thirteen years, this is the first full-length recorded with a new lineup including guitarist MICHAEL RISBERG and new drummer GEORG EDERT, along with guest performances by FABIO CUOMO on Rhodes piano and synthesizers. This is music for a vacation from reality—to lose oneself in another world. And yet Omens is not purely an exercise in escapism, but also reflects the increasingly bleak, confusing and antagonistic times in which it was written. Composed as a concept album spanning the lifespan of a civilization, the album also reads as a commentary on our own society hell-bent on profitability at the expense of our own lives and environment.
File Under: Metal
Elg: Les Particules (Three:Four) LP
Since our first listening, we’ve been obsessed by the strange beauty of this small pop track that seems to be fallen on a dark hole. After having the chance to see the film before its screening at Cannes Festival’ La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, we decided to release this music. The LP comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve designed by Coline Sunier and Charles Mazé. Since 2004, Èlg, has drawn concentric sound spirals made of musical pipes and entrails. He builds improbable bridges between concrete music and french song debris, between cryptic electronic tribal incantations and russian doll dancing in Plutonia. When not in french, language is reduced to alien babble of an old man, a child, a dusty revenant, an epileptic bard, a peaceful messenger… Èlg, is 1/2 Opéra Mort, 1/3 Orgue Agnès, 1/3 Reines d’Angleterre, 1/2 Schultz et Èlg.
File Under: OST, Experimental
Ellen Fullman: In the Sea (Superior Viaduct) LP
Ellen Fullman began developing The Long String Instrument in her St. Paul, Minnesota studio in 1980 and moved to Brooklyn the following year. Inspired by composer and instrument builder Harry Partch, Fullman’s large-scale work creates droning, organ-like overtones that are as unique in the world of sound as her vision of the instrument itself. Along with her 1985 debut album—appropriately titled The Long String Instrument—Fullman’s only output in the 1980s would be two self-released cassettes, In The Sea and Work For Four Players And 90 Strings, recorded in 1987 at an unfinished office tower in Austin, Texas. This double LP collection features music from both cassettes as well as a previously unreleased piece from 1988 at De Fabriek in Den Bosch, Holland. Ethereal and exquisitely paced, these rare recordings capture minimalism’s quiet radiance. Within a musical landscape that has seen the rise of contemporary drone practitioners like Ellen Arkbro and Kali Malone, Fullman is sure to find a legion of fans. Superior Viaduct is honored to present this long overdue archival release that marks a particularly vibrant period of Fullman’s pioneering and timeless work.
File Under: Avant Garde
Jon Gibson: Songs & Melodies 1973 (Superior Viaduct) LP
Since the mid-1960s, Jon Gibson has played a key role in the development of American avant-garde music. As a versatile reed player, he has performed with everyone from Steve Reich and Philip Glass to Terry Riley and La Monte Young. In the 1970s, Gibson would emerge as a minimalist composer in his own right and release two exceptional albums, Visitations and Two Solo Pieces, on Glass’ Chatham Square imprint. Songs & Melodies brings together recordings from 1973 to 1977 (mostly previously unreleased), featuring prominent figures in New York’s scene including Arthur Russell, Barbara Benary and Julius Eastman. This double LP collection showcases the breadth of Gibson’s expressive range—from introspective piano meditations to cerebral ensemble works—and the subtlety of his radical compositional techniques. The front cover artwork, a hand-drawn diagram by Gibson, originally appeared in the program for a March 1974 concert at Washington Square Church in Greenwich Village. While this concert was not the first to feature the composer exclusively, it would be a pivotal event in Gibson’s early career as a composer. Superior Viaduct is honored to present this long overdue archival release that not only documents Gibson’s important work, but also a crucial period in NYC musical history.
File Under: Avant Garde, Minimalism
Goners: Good Mourning (Riding Easy) LP
Swedish quintet The Goners announce their forthcoming debut album Good Mourning on Riding Easy Records! The Goners feature former Salem’s Pot vocalist / guitarist Nate Gone and former members of Swedish rock band Yvonne. Don’t make a big deal about it. This is something new: “Rock bottom. A place you have to throw yourself over the edge and burn all your bridges to reach. A place where the devil is laughing as a constant reminder of everything that went to shit. A place where you owe. “As the echoes of the past get louder and the forget-me-now’s no longer work, you have to pick up the remaining pieces and try to make them fit. You can only wake up in an unknown bed with aching intestines and a throbbing noise inside your skull, still craving more, so many times until you realize that your life didn’t quite turn out to be what you expected it to be. The killing floor is crowded and when the smoke starts to clear you start to notice just how bad you’ve been letting yourself go. It’s Monday. You are on your own now. “And even as you start to do the right, start paying your dues and bills, doing the 9 to 5 and saying your sorries, you’re still standing there like a sack of dead meat in a stinkin’ world of decay where nobody cares. Gone but still aware. Ain’t that something? Ain’t that grand! “There’s no remedy, no working cure but at least you got loud guitars, thumping bass and bashing cymbals to ease the pain. And as you stumble into your thirties, scorched earth policy-style, you can at least smile at the fact that you finished first. At last you succeded in something. Now you can just lay back, back where the sun doesn’t shine and ask everybody else ‘aren’t you gone yet?’ “Don’t worry, you soon will see that ‘Gone’ is just a four-letter word. We’re all heading south and again, no one really gives a fuck. “It’s Sunday. Join us.”
File Under: Garage, Metal, Psych
Randy Holden: Population II (Riding Easy) LP
“Godzilla just walked into the room. People just stood there with their eyes and mouths wide open.” To hear Randy Holden describe the audience’s reaction in 1969 to his solo debut performing with a teeth-rattling phalanx of 16 (sixteen!) 200 watt Sunn amps is about as close as one will get to truly experience the moment heavy metal music morphed into existence. However, at last Riding Easy have unearthed the proper fossil record. Population II, the now legendary, extremely rare album by guitarist / vocalist Holden and drummer / keyboardist Chris Lockheed is considered to be one of the earliest examples of doom metal. Though its original release was a very limited in number and distribution, like all great records, its impact over time has continued to grow. In 1969, Holden, fresh off his tenure with proto-metal pioneers Blue Cheer (appearing on one side of the New! Improved! Blue Cheer album and touring for the better part of a year in the group), aimed for more control over his band. Thus, Randy Holden – Population II was born, the duo naming itself after the astronomical term for a particular star cluster with heavy metals present. “I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before,” Holden explains. “I was interested in discordant sounds that could be melodic but gigantically huge. I rented an Opera house for rehearsal, set up with 16 Sunn amps. That’s what I was going for, way over the top.” And over the top it is. The six-song album delves into leaden sludge, lumbering doom and epic soaring riffs that sound free from all constraints of the era. It’s incredibly heavy, but infused with a melodic, albeit mechanistic, sensibility. Troubles with the album’s release bankrupted Holden, who subsequently left music for over two decades. It was bootlegged several times over the years, but until now hasn’t seen a proper remaster and has yet to be available on digital platforms. “The original mastering just destroyed the dynamics of it,” Holden says. “They flattened it out. Now we got a really nice remaster that should be the closest thing to the original recording.”
File Under: Psych, Rock, Blue Cheer
Ice: Ice Age (Riding Easy) LP
As Riding Easy Records’ highly successful Brown Acid series (now at ten volumes and counting) proves, there is a massive amount of incredible heavy psych and proto-metal music that has been lost to the sands of time. Case in point, the astoundingly great 50 year-old album The Ice Age by Indianapolis quintet ICE was never even released upon its completion. In 1970, the band recorded ten original songs at 8-Track Studios in Chicago, only to break up shortly thereafter. Two of the tracks were eventually released as a 45 in 1972, but confusingly under a different band name, Zukus! The A-side of that single was featured on Brown Acid – The Ninth Trip, which led Riding Easy Records to discover when licensing the track that an entire album had been languishing in obscurity all of this time. The 2-inch master tapes had been shelved and forgotten until recently when The Ice Age tracks were converted to digital and remixed, preserving the sounds of the original vocals and instruments. Finally, half a century later, this ten-song album of radio-ready rock will finally see light of day. The Ice Age is an exceptional archive of hard edged rock with serious pop hooks akin to something like Grand Funk Railroad meets The Guess Who and The Move. It rocks hard, but is also interlaced with glorious melodic hooks. Had fate been less fickle, this album would’ve long been a classic rock radio staple. This album is truly an incredible and unprecedented find, particularly when everyonel thought the glorious history of rock’n’roll had long ago been written and sealed as complete.
File Under: Psych, Metal
Ike Yard: s/t (Superior Viaduct) LP
Ike Yard remain a legendary band of early ’80s New York City – at once immensely influential, yet obscured by a far-too-brief initial phase. Their debut EP, the dark and absorbing Night After Night, sounds almost like a different group, so rapidly would Ike Yard evolve towards the calmly menacing electro throb of their self-titled LP. Originally released on Factory in 1982, the album put Ike Yard’s indelible mark on the synth-driven experimental rock scene then emerging all over the planet. While historical analogues would be Cabaret Voltaire’s Red Mecca or Front 242’s Geography, opening track “M. Kurtz” makes starkly clear that Ike Yard is a far heavier proposition. With a thick porridge of bass, ringing guitar and strangled/stunted layers of voice, these six pieces are densely packed and perversely danceable. “Loss” sounds like a minimal techno track that could have been made last week, while “Kino” combines Soviet-era imagery with sparse soundscapes à la African Head Charge’s Environmental Studies. Ike Yard somehow pull off the toughest trick in modern music: making repetition hypnotically compelling through subtle variation. The effect of Ike Yard’s first LP can be heard in many genres – from industrial dance labels like Wax Trax to electro-punk bands and innumerable European groups (Lucrate Milk, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, etc.). The fact that the cover artwork does not include any photos of the band, but rather features the original catalogue number (FACT A SECOND) only further illustrates the release’s importance and Ike Yard’s timeless mystique.
File Under: Post Punk
Abner Jay: Man Walked on the Moon (Mississippi) LP
ABNER JAY is an extraordinary one-man-band with one of the deepest emotive voices ever recorded. Man Walked On The Moon features Abner material from two different periods. Side A opens with an early deep 1970’s version of his signature song “I’m So Depressed,” which has never before been reissued on LP. The hit is followed by four previously unreleased songs from the same period—“The Royal Palm” (a classic train song), “Old Black Joe,” “I’m A Hard Working Man,” and his paen to space travel, “Man Walked On The Moon.” All are sung and played by Abner with his standard one man band set up—electric banjo, drums played by his feet, and harmonica. Side B of the LP features Abner’s emotionally charged last recordings. These were made two months before Abner passed away, and here we find him pensively playing acoustic guitar and singing. The songs are incredibly emotional and not for the faint of heart. These mournful tracks were previously released on a Mississippi 10” EP back in 2011 (“Last Ole Minstrel Man”) and is long out-ofprint. This LP collects some of Abner’s greatest work from across his career, all rare or previously unreleased classics! LP comes housed in an old school “tip on” jacket and includes a 20 page booklet with photos and a loving tribute to Abner Jay written by JACK TEAGUE. All tracks fully licensed from BRANDIE JAY, Abner’s daughter.
File Under: Blues
Jayhawks: XoXo (Sham) LP
Featuring writing and lead vocal contributions from all four members, The Jayhawks’ extraordinary new album, XOXO, is the most diverse and wide-ranging in the group’s storied history. Rather than marking a sonic departure, though, the collection signals a sharpening of focus for the band, an elevation in understanding of who they are and what they do best. In classic Jayhawks fashion, the songs here mix the influence of American roots music with British invasion and jangly power-pop, but there’s a newfound vitality at play, as well, an invigoration of confidence and energy that could only come with the injection of fresh blood. The result is an album that, much like the band’s lush harmonies, brings multiple distinctive voices together into a singular whole, a collection that, ironically enough, finds unity in individuality and identity in reinvention. XOXO is the eleventh studio release from the Twin Cities based band since the release of their first self titled and genre defining album in 1986.
File Under: Alt Country
Kedama: The Complete Collection (Castle Face) 3LP
“Three thick LPs of hot jellied kraut-prog heavies coming at you from 1970s Swiss-German based Kedama: three LPs of ‘live’ in-the-studio and actual live recordings—unbelievably telekinetic drums, keys and guitar. Vision quest soundscapes, a total gem lost to the ages here, y’all. The first LP was reissued by Guerrsen Records a while back, the other two LPs are unreleased on wax as of yet: rarities and live oddities. It’s been a real pleasure to work with these guys, as they were as excited as we were and provided us with a plethora of recordings and photos and press clippings to sort through, to pull together this nice little set. “It’s raw, like you like it after a few. It’s heavy, so you can nod as you sway along the path. It’s beautiful, so you can reminisce. It’s winding, so your imagination is blindfolded. It’s far-flung space jams so you can fry out. It’s screwed-down genius so you can be inspired. This shit is far out and a real-deal old school fuse lighter and its limited to 1000 copies. Nice, never seen before photos of the gurus, so come and get it nerds! “For fans of Le Orme, Yes, Birth Control, Camel, Edgar Froese, ELP, King Crimson.” —John Dwyer
File Under: Psych, Prog
Maxx Mann: s/t (Dark Entries) LP
Maxx Mann were the gay New Wave duo of Frank Oldham Jr (vocals, lyrics) and Paul Hamman (music) from New York City formed in 1981. Frank studied voice and acting at the Herbert Bergdorf School idolizing Eartha Kitt, Nancy Wilson, Johnny Mathis and Shirley Bassey. Paul was playing piano for a cabaret singer at a bar in Greenwich Village where Frank met him and their friendship began. Paul and Frank worked together 3 to 4 times a week recording their debut self-titled album released in 1982, limited to 500 copies. Songs provide interesting insights into the homosexual experience before the AIDS crisis: cruising backroom bars, BDSM and one-night stands. The music is “Neo-realistic rock” heavily influenced by punk, titillating, synthesized body and soul with Frank’s dramatized vocal stylings. The original press release sent to radio stations stated, “Because this is a completely innovative sound, we hope you will give it several listenings. It is adventurous, daring, and certain to cause reactions from your listeners.” For this first time vinyl/CD reissue we’ve added two bonus instrumental tracks, so the album now contains all four original vocal cuts and their corresponding instrumental versions. Paul sadly passed away in 1986 aged 33 from AIDS-related illness and we dedicate this reissue to him. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each copy is housed in an exact replica of the 1982 jacket and includes a fold-post poster with photos, lyrics and notes by Frank Oldham Jr.
File Under: Electronic
Seke Molenga & Kalo Kawongolo: s/t
(Antarctica Starts Here) LP
“Over the years, they would come to say that the Africans just appeared one day in Jamaica. That two Congo men somehow materialized on the streets of Kingston sometime in 1977, almost as if by magic, speaking not a word of English or patwa. The duo, they say, were musicians brought in by a Jamaican promoter—a woman who ditched them, leaving them to fend for themselves, stranded in a strange land. “What really happened is harder to fully divine. The two young Africans—Molenga Mosukola (aka Seke) and Kawongolo Kimwanga (aka Kalo)—were musicians from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then known as the Republic of Zaire, and had indeed been brought to Jamaica by a woman. But she was not a Jamaican promoter; she was a Frenchwoman named Nadette Duget, an executive at CBS France. “Seke and Kalo were both vocalists and guitarists who also played percussion; one of them also handled the saxophone. Initially, Duget had intended for the recording to take place at Byron Lee’s Dynamic Sounds studio. Somehow, though, the project instead ended up at Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s Black Ark. “When Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo arrived at the Black Ark, Perry was wrapping up the sessions for the Heart of the Congos. He was immediately enamored with the two Congolese visitors and did regard their presence as a fortuitous sign. As he later said in 1992, ‘I know they were sent from Africa, because Africa wanted to make that heart connection in the Ark Studio. So African have to appear in the Ark Of The Covenant to manifest the African drum.’ “Perry eventually completed the work with Seke and Kalo: a deeply rootsy and rugged album under the working title Monama (which in Lingala means ‘Rainbo’). He submitted it to Island, but as they had done with Heart of the Congos, they passed on releasing it. “While it has remained relatively obscure, even as Perry’s Black Ark oeuvre has been rehabilitated and lionized over the past two decades, the album has nevertheless been quietly influential. Its groundbreaking amalgamation of African music and dub anticipated similar experiments by producers like Adrian Sherwood, Bill Laswell and Jah Wobble who would ride to critical acclaim in the ’80s and ’90s.” – Uchenna Ikonne (excerpt from the liner notes)
File Under: Reggae
Moondog: On the Streets of New York (Mississippi) LP
Behold! A survey of Moondog’s earliest recorded works – many of them unreleased until now – through a collaboration by Mississippi Records and Lucia Records. From 1954–1962 field recordist Tony Schwartz frequently checked in with Moondog, his favorite street musician. Tony Schwartz made recordings of Moondog’s earliest compositions as they were coming into focus. Sometimes these recordings were made right on the street as Moondog busked, sometimes they were made in Schwartz’s studio, and sometimes they were made on NYC rooftops. The resulting recordings, many of which had never been released, were deposited at the Library Of Congress as part of the Tony Schwartz Collection in 2006 when Schwartz passed away, and this record was culled straight from these original tapes. Side one kicks off with an unreleased version of Moondog’s classic composition “Why Spend The Dark Night With You?” followed by the first ever complete recording of his “Nocturne Suite,” a beautiful piece of classical music performed with members of the Royal Philharmonic. The side ends with the complete “On The Streets Of New York” 7″ EP, which was released on Mars records in 1955 and subsequently re-released by Honest Jon’s Records in 2004 on their excellent Moondog anthology. Side B features sketches of Moondog compositions never released, many with the man himself howling and chanting over his homemade percussion set. Moondog’s music is as universal as it gets – part classical music, part Native American, part European folk, and part something completely unique. Moondog is one of the towering figures of 20th century music. This record comes with liner notes featuring never before released interviews with Moodog by Tony Schwartz and is housed in an old school “tip on” cover. All tracks fully licensed from the Library of Congress.
File Under: Avant Garde, Experimental
Mount Eerie & Julie Doiron: Lost Wisdom pt 2 (P.W. Elverum) LP
Eight new songs written in early 2019 about devotion and release. Julie graciously came back to the northwest and recorded this kind-of-sequel to the Lost Wisdom from 11 years ago. This one goes deeper. We recorded with the doors wide open and between breaths you can hear birds, jackhammering in the distance, and on some songs night air.
File Under: Indie Rock
Nox Formulae: Drakon Darshan Satan (Dark Descent) LP
The Red Black Clan of Nox Formulae returns with their second sonic grimoire of Higher Black Magic, delving deeper into the Draconian Universe and the Shadow Current emanating from the hidden and relatively unexplored realms of the Qlipha of the Concealers, Satariel, Archon of which is the second face of Lucifer, the Mighty King Lucifuge Rofocale. Drakon Darshan Satan is based—music and lyric wise—on the grimoire At The Outskirts Of The Shadow Current: The Dark Initiation, in this lifetime by Daemon Gharrassielh, and all those Dark Traditions offered by the Red Dragon to humanity. This album is a musical outcome of actual experiences that took place both on the physical and spiritual planes during the time years 2015-2019. The Shadow Allies are here, welcome the Arrival of Noctifer.
File Under: Metal
Once and Future Band: Deleted Scenes (Castle Face) LP
“We are very proud to announce a new full length LP from Oakland’s Once & Future Band—Deleted Scenes. The space-age songsmiths of Once & Future Band have been ting-tinging away on the truly heavy anvil of hominid perspective and emotion again to bring you this singing scape of songs. Annealing for over a year now, until it was cool enough to hold in your ears, nested in the pinnae, the time has finally come. Dew drops pop and hiss as they settle on the gliding guitarmonies. Once & Future Band have outdone themselves this time around, in my opinion. If songs could stop heated exchanges by mere presence, these are the ones, and more needed than ever. As I tuned in to each new transmission, each step closer to this perfect platter, I had to stop and do nothing else, and merely absorb how wonderful this album is. Each tune exists in the company it was born to live with. There are haunting chorale escorts here… long trains of room warmth… the belting of the machine heart… lofty guitar and bass melange… and just beautifully laid to magnetic tape with a sure hand by the throbbing brains that are Once & Future Band. For fans of Roy Wood, Idle Race, ELO, Roxy Music, Head Hunters, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, The Lord Bowie, The Band, and the soundtrack from every movie that ever pierced your cold, cold heart” —John Dwyer
File Under: Rock
Arvo Part: Fur Alina (Mississippi) LP
Compilation of our favorite ARVO PART pieces. All sparse and beautiful arrangements. Some solo piano pieces, some duets with piano, violin cello and viola and one string quartet. The pieces on this record are all unique to the style of Arvo Part—deceptively simple compositions that force you to live in the moment you are listening to them. A Part quote from the back of the record: “You can kill people with sound. And if you can kill, then maybe there is also the sound that is opposite of killing. And the distance between these two points is very big. And you are free—you can choose. In art everything is possible, but everything is not necessary.” Record comes in a beautiful tip-on old school cover with shiny gold ink and features an incredible painting from the 16th century manuscript Kometenbuch.
File Under: Classical
Papivores: Death & Spring (Hands in the Dark) LP
Papivores, which could be literally translated as “Paper Eaters”, is the new project that has blossomed from the minds of French violinist Agathe Max and British musician and producer Tom Relleen – half of the duo Tomaga and member of The CAN project. Their debut release ‘Death And Spring’ is based around an intriguing experimental compositional approach, taking their inspiration from a novel by Catalan writer Mercè Rodoreda. The text functions both as a fantastical, magic-realist reverie and as an address to oppressive, authoritarian government. Natural images are juxtaposed with a series of increasingly violent human rituals which ultimately weave together into a self-imploding folk tale about life and death. Taking different aspects of the varying symbolism as starting points, the two musicians conjure expansive sound worlds that veer between evocations of the natural world and dark psychological states. Their individual voices exist in subjection to the themes of the novel and the feelings inspired by it. The result is a remarkably profound and refreshing conceptual album.
File Under: Ambient, Experimental
Razen: The Xvoto Reels (Three:Four) LP
The Xvoto Reels provides additional proof (if necessary) that Razen is an audacious group. If the Belgian band led by the duo Brecht Ameel and Kim Delcour has explored different musical worlds with changing formations, the involuntary irruption of a sixth “member” has upset the content of this new album. Through these brutal and unpredictable interventions, it made an ambitious album – recording live improvisations in a church with an organ and a tabla – unique. “When we listened to the tape reels months after the recording sessions at the St Martin’s Church, we were forced into noticing that a presence had placed itself on all of the recordings. A presence playing tricks with the dynamics and the church acoustics, leaving inexplainable sound prints and cuts on the reels, turning our music into stray phantoms, as if what was left on the tapes was only a vague recollection of the sessions, reducing the slowed down ragas we had had in mind into a version so different and frayed yet at the same time so layered and eternal, that at first we had a hard time recognizing our original ideas, let alone deciding whether this was not too personal, intimate and obscure at all to let it out into the world, because what we had in our hands now, was the sound of a deeply private dream, a message from the subconscious, rather than a collection of tracks by five improvising musicians. It did not take us long before we observed that what was lost in terms of our original expectations of these recordings (the precision of our tunings and interplay, proper endings and beginnings, clearer definition of sound) we had suddenly gained on other and far more worthier levels; the levels of randomness, unexpectedness and irrationality, precisely the sort of qualities our improvised music had always embraced, which were now put to the fore in a manner we had not yet encountered. So here it is. More than the sum of tabla + hurdy gurdy + recorders + double bass + church organ. More than the sum of 5 musicians + tape engineer + church acoustics. The Xvoto Reels – a prayer in the halflight, a comforting sermon out of St Martin’s Church – is a version of Razen where the music played itself, and chance dictated what essence of this was allowed to be captured. We look back on those days in August as a moment in time where in fact, we ourselves and all those involved had become the instruments, in a way such as described by Inayat Khan: “I played the vina until my heart had changed into the same instrument. Ever since I have become His instrument, and whenever He wishes, He plays me with His music”.
File Under: Ambient, Drone, Experimental
Ruin Lust: Choir of Babel (20 Buck Spin) LP
Ultra clear w/ black smoke and red splatter version! New York’s Ruin Lust have spent the better part of the last decade spreading a drape of black violence across the dank basement corners of the deepest underground. Though temporarily dormant after their debut, the band returned with new music in 2019 with Sacrifice. Now in 2020 the third Ruin Lust atrocity, Choir Of Babel, marks the band’s 20 Buck Spin debut. Thoroughly uncompromising and bestial, Choir Of Babel squanders no time on subtlety, laying waste with barbaric ferocity via a ruthless attack crafted not to disappear in a blur of forgettable noise but devastate with jagged menace and complexity. Visions of blood, red bodies in mass graves, piles of broken skulls and decimated fields strewn with carrion pervades the war-like stench of death conducting this primal choir. Whether called death metal, black metal, war metal or something else, the suffocating savagery of Ruin Lust has no remorse for destruction left in its wake, only more cruelty.
File Under: Metal
Charles Rumback: June Holiday (Astral Spirits) LP
The first vinyl release (and third album) from the CHARLES RUMBACK piano trio! You may know Charles from his work with Ryley Walker, Colorlist, and more—this is one of the most beautiful piano trios you’ll hear in a long times. Shades of Vince Guaraldi and more.
File Under: Jazz
Sephyr: Shaytoon (Dark Entries) LP
Dark Entries is proud to welcome back San Francisco based DJ and producer Sepehr Alimagham for his debut album Shaytoon. Drenched in nostalgia from his upbringing, Shaytoon pays homage to 1970s Iranian albums that were on rotation throughout his youth. Eight tracks of twisted acid, left-of center electro, sludgy psychedelia, and things-you-can-maybe-call-techno are a few of the sonic elements found within. Regular listeners will find Sepehr’s signature perspiratory dance-floor vibe, but some songs also showcase a low-slung, cerebral approach. Sepehr’s unique sonic palette carves an interesting space in the dance music world by harnessing the spirit of his cultural ancestors. The artwork pays tribute to ‘70s Iranian pop and funk albums with bold Farsi calligraphy and portraits by Sahra Jajarmikhayat. In relation to the music, the album cover creates a dichotomy much like Throbbing Gristle’s 20 Funk Jazz Greats.
File Under: Electronic
Mako Sica/Hamid Drake: Balancing Tear (Astral Spirits) LP
Sophomore release from this Chicago supergroup with master drummer HAMID DRAKE!
File Under: Jazz
Solothus: Realm of Ash and Blood (20 Buck Spin) LP
Transparent red / orange merge vinyl version! Realm Of Ash And Blood, the third album from Finland’s Solothus, drops a dripping broadsword of Cimmerian carnage and staggering death-soaked doom delirium on the scorched landscape from which only mounds of skull dust and obsidian shards shall remain. Making its debut on 20 Buck Spin as a band ideally suited for the label, Solothus’ oppressively heavy mid-paced slaughter maintains a sense of unstoppable momentum even when slowing into the glacial. Yet the land of a thousand lakes has also infused the band with an ear for eerie melodic sorcery and tastefully ripping guitar solos to compliment the riff after riff of hammering granite. Touching upon all things doom the Realm Of Ash And Blood luxuriates in both the somber elegance and pained heaviness of the genre, it’s theatrical virtuosity and crushing simplicity. Solothus have stormed the gate, stained it with blood of pretenders and taken the jeweled throne.
File Under: Metal
Josiah Steinbrick: Meeting of Waters (Hands in the Dark) LP
We’ve got something a bit different from usual for our next release: Meeting of Waters by Josiah Steinbrick. Back in 2017 the unassuming Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and producer released his first collection of solo pieces and we’ve been listening to it compulsively since then. Given that its initial release was only in North America, both on cassette with Leaving records and in an extremely limited vinyl self-release via BANANA editions, we felt that this meticulously crafted, essential work righteously deserved to get a proper spin in Europe too! The album is composed of what you could call nine sculptural environments, each a mixture of organic sketches and improvisations, recorded rapidly and more or less free of any processing. Each piece is based on up to five simple elements – electronic and/or (tonal) percussions – used to create subtle evolving patterns and harmonies. The sounds explore the wilderness of jazz in a concrete setting, devotional in nature, creating a timeless cartography. The attention to detail and the depth of the production on this record is magnificent, making the listener’s journey through these personal, cinematic landscapes all the more poignant.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Ambient
Earl Sweatshirt: Feet of Clay (Warner) LP
Earl Sweatshirt drops the new seven-track project Feet of Clay, his first release on Warner Bros. after leaving Columbia Records. Serving as the follow-up to 2018’s excellent Some Rap Songs, it was largely produced by Earl himself and features Haiti’s Mach-Hommy and emerging phenom Mavi plus additional production from Alchemist and Ovrkast. Titled from the Bible’s Book of Daniel, Earl calls Feet of Clay, “a collection of observations and feelings recorded during the death throes of a crumbling empire.”
File Under: Hip Hop
Ulthar: Providence (20 Buck Spin) LP
On limited pink w/ black & magenta splatter vinyl!! With the release of Cosmovore in 2018, Ulthar presented a twisted warped dystopia where furiously paced, inverted death metal and scathing, angular blackness defined a new way forward. Now the band returns with the grotesquely intangible Providence, whereby they stretch the fabric of previously trod worlds into idiosyncratic new forms and elevated levels of primal intellect. The unyielding Ulthar attack doubles down here with figures becoming more sickening and shapes more savage. An immensity like spiraling, ancient monoliths too tall to comprehend and bending inward upon themselves envelops adherents to this realm. Duly diabolic voices guide this odyssey through the incongruous caverns of absurdity, obscure texts and manifold vitriol. Released at a time where the world has devolved into a surrealistic nightmare of viral trepidation and encased solitude, Ulthar’s Providence becomes a prescient view into the strange paradoxes that only months ago seemed unbelievable but now all too possible. Where horizons cease, where grace is dead, where nothing lives, so be it amen.
File Under: Metal
Uniques: Absolutely The Uniques (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
Long before the fusion of dancehall and reggae, there was a time when vocal trios dominated Jamaica’s music scene. From the early ’60s, three-part harmony ensembles peppered the charts with driving ska hits. By the time the lilting rhythms of rocksteady emerged in late 1966, an outfit made some of the most popular and enduring music ever issued on the island. They were, of course, The Uniques. The Uniques’ classic line-up of Slim Smith, Lloyd Charmers and Jimmy Riley would record a series of superior sides with legendary producer Bunny Lee, most notably The Impressions’ “Gypsy Woman,” the soulful original “Speak No Evil” and the haunting “My Conversation” (which may be one of the most “versioned” tracks of all time). Charmers produced the cover of Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 hit “For What It’s Worth” (aka “Watch This Sound”), which was originally released on the group’s own Tramp label. As 1968 drew to a close, these recordings (along with the remainder of their best-known songs to date) were compiled for The Uniques’ debut album, Absolutely The Uniques, which unusual for the time was released as a full-price collection by Trojan in the UK. Antarctica Starts Here presents the long out-of-print domestic release of Absolutely The Uniques. Reproducing the original sleeve design, this reissue is part of an archival series that focuses on Trojan’s essential ’60s and ’70s catalogue. Liner notes by Laurence Cane-Honeysett.
File Under: Reggae
UT: In Gut’s House (Out) LP
Radical No Wave pioneers Ut reissue their critically acclaimed In Gut’s House album—their second studio album originally released in 1988 on Blast First Records, now fully remastered with original cover artwork, song lyrics and band photos. It made the year’s NME ‘Top 50 Albums’. Ut is a radical rock group founded by Nina Canal, Jacqui Ham and Sally Young in Dec ’78. Originating in the downtown NYC No Wave scene and inheritors of the collision between rock, free jazz and the avant-garde, they exploded the rigidity of conventional rock, constructing songs through collective improvisation, swapping instruments and rotating the role of singer / director. Migrating to London in 1981, Ut played with bands like The Fall and The Birthday Party and released music on their own label Out Records, including Live At The Venue In 1982, the Ut EP in 1984, the Confidential 12-inch in 1985 and their first studio album Conviction in 1986. Ut became a favorite of BBC’s John Peel and recorded sessions for his show in 1984, 1985 and 1987. “In Gut’s House, from beginning to end, is a chance seized and transported?. Their vision is a total vision. Ut make unreasonably adult music, with raw complex emotions! There’s no one like them.” —Mark Sinker, NME
File Under: Post Punk
Voidceremony: Entropic Reflections: Dimensional Unravel (20 buck Spin) LP
On gold inside ultra clear w/ black smoke limited vinyl!!! Circulating in the pits of the deepest underground for nearly seven years, Ramona, CA’s Voidceremony present their long awaited first full length album, Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel. While earlier releases hinted at the band’s unique potential and frenzied imagination, on this it takes its most actualized form thus far, looking ahead to darker visions of indefinable cosmic obscurity. Furiously fragmented death metal rips though the reflective fabric of reality, sinking deep memory-hooks into the innermost cerebral chasms. Out of the technically warped twists and unpredictable turns emerge progressively skyward guitar leads and mercilessly precise percussion work. Concurrently, the fretless bass mastery on display permeates the entire framework with an otherworldly time-bending defiance. Voidceremony reach well beyond the confines of the typical to create a methodically accelerating chaos, an orchestral maelstrom of esoteric profundity. And while nowadays “technical death metal” has become synonymous with banal machine-like acrobatics for its own sake, Voidceremony instead maintain a principled continuum of arcane alchemy and increasing internal entropy.
File Under: Metal
Wasted Shirt: Fungus II (Famous Class) LP
“Rarely when formulating combinations of musicians you would like to hear play together do you get to actually hear it. If Brian Chippendale and Ty Segall made a record, would you want to hear it? If the answer is yes, read on. If the answer is no, it’s too bad you ended up canned, suspended in syrup with nothing but other peaches to keep you company. “Ty’s 2019 album First Taste and the new Lighting Bolt album Sonic Citadel are easily some of the best material either entity has ever released so if these two happened to find themselves in the same recording studio, a fan just might entertain elevated expectation levels. In fact, some might actually show signs of enthusiasm, even excitement at the fact that from July 5th -13th 2018, in the air-conditioning free environs of Ty’s home studio, the duo, eventually calling themselves Wasted Shirt, wrecked the joint as thoroughly as you hoped they would. “Prepare To Be Stoked Dept.: The album is exploding euphoria from start to finish. A morphing day-glo rainbow that will bring a smile to your face like if you were on your way to Washington DC for the Million Puppy March. Upon first spin, all boxes are checked and any previously held doubts are completely obliterated. The more you play it, the better it kabongs you upside your head. Hectic doesn’t even begin to describe it. Brian and Ty, two mere particles in the grand scheme, collide at high speed, the technicians dive for cover, the reaction is recorded. Mutation is achieved. This is Freedom Rock. Turn up the volume. Hasten your emancipation. Sonic joy awaits.” —Henry Rollins
File Under: Noise Rock, Punk, Ty Segall, Lightning Bolt
Woods: Strange to Explain (Woodsist) LP
“Dreaming doesn’t come easy these shadowed days, which is why Strange To Explain by Woods is such a welcome turning of new colors. It presents an extended moment of sweet reflection for the 15-year-old band, bouncing back to earth as something hopeful and weird and resolute. Like everything else they’ve recorded, it sounds exactly like themselves, but with subtly different shades and breaths and rhythmic feels and everything else that changes, the natural march of time and the intentional decisions of the musicians moving in what feels like an uncommonly organic alignment. “Strange To Explain trades in a different kind of dependability, maintaining a steady connection to the voice on the other side of the record needle. After quickly recording and releasing 2017’s Love Is Love in response to the tumultuous events of their (and our) 2016, Jeremy Earl and company took their time with what came next. Parenthood arrived, as did a short songwriting pause. The band went bicoastal when Jarvis Taveniere headed west. And when they returned to their posts, there on the other side of this particular mirror, they made this, an album that not only catches and holds and shares the light in yet another new way, but recognizes that there’s still light to be caught, which is also no small thing. “A bend beyond the last bend beyond, Woods keep on changing, thoughtfully and beautifully. The colors were always there, like trees blossoming just slightly differently each season, a synesthetic message coded in slow-motion. Recorded in Stinson Beach, the kind of place that seems like an AI simulation of an idyllic northern California coastal escape, the familiar jangling guitars recede to the background. John Andrews’s warm keyboards and twining Mellotron rise around Earl’s songs and dance across the chord changes like warm sunlight off the Pacific. The music feels a karmic landmass away from the creepiness of the uncanny valley.” —Jesse Jarnow
File Under: Indie Rock
Big Thief: Two Hands (4AD) LP
Black Market Brass: Undying Thirst (Colemine) LP
Blood Incantation: Hidden History of the Human Race (Dark Descent) LP
Tina Brooks: Minor Move (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Marion Brown: Three for Shepp (Superior Viaduct) LP
Butthole Surfers: Hairway to Steven (Latino Bugger Veil) LP
Butthole Surfers: Rembrandt Pussyhorse (Latino Bugger Veil) LP
Chromatics: Closer To Grey (Italians Do It Better) LP
Cindy Lee: What’s Tonight to Eternity (W.25th) LP
Sarah Davachi: Dominions (JAZ) LP
Miles Davis: Miles in the Sky (Music on Vinyl) LP
Death Grips: Money Store (Sony) LP
Eddy Current Suppression Ring: All in Good Time (Goner) LP
The Fall: Hex Enduction Hour (Superior Viaduct) LP
Brian Fallon: Local Honey (Thirty Tigers) LP
Guided By Voices: Bee Thousand (Scat) LP
Heliocentrics: Infinity of Now (MMS) LP
Holy Hive: Float Back To You (Big Crown) LP
Jason Isbell: Southeastern (Southeastern) LP
Jason Isbell: Nashville Sound (Southeastern) LP
Rafael Anton Irisarri: Peripeteia (Dais) LP
Khruangbin: Con Todo El Mundo (Dead Oceans) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Quarters (Castle Face) LP
Madlib & Freddie Gibbs: Bandana (RCA) LP
The Microphones: The Glow Pt. 2 (PW Elverum) LP
Mission of Burma: Signals, Calls & Marches (Matador) LP
Mr. Elevator: Goodbye, Blue Sky (Castle Face) LP
Perfume Genius: Set My Heart on Fire Immediately (Matador) LP
Pink Floyd: Animals (Pink Floyd) LP
Redd Kross: Phaseshifter (Third Man) LP
Steve Reich: Four Organs/Phase (Superior Viaduct) LP
Scientist: In the Kingdom of Dub (Superior Viaduct) LP
Paul Simon: Graceland (Legacy) LP
Stars of the Lid: And Their Refinement of the Decline (Kranky) 3LP
Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (EMI) LP
Tomb Mold: Planetary Clairvoyance (20 Buck Spin) LP
Traffik Island: Nature Strip (Flightless) LP
Yoshi Wada: Lament for the Rise and Fall of the Elephantine Crocodile (Etat-Unis) LP
Ween: 12 Golden Country Greats (Plain) LP
X: Los Angeles (Fat Possum) LP