…..news letter #959 – more hot…..

A reup on the hot new El Michels Affair. And much needed shipment from our pals at Finders Keepers with the new Suzanne Ciani! Scored some nice used stuff recently that will start making it’s way up on the site as well. Just did some back end tweaking. The USED VINYL should no longer show up in the NEW VINYL section, so when we add USED VINYL, it will only show up there.

Some scheduling notes… We will be closed Aug 10th, no pick-ups that day, but we’ll be back on Tuesday.

Lastly, as you probably know, the first RSD Drop is coming up on Aug 29th. We are debating HOW this will work. RSD draws a pretty big crowd, which we are not looking for these days. We’ll keep you posted.

Still closed. It seems our customers are pretty happy with this decision. We seem to be getting busier and busier with new customers ordering through the website every day. If you haven’t yet ordered through the site, you should check it out! Loads of new and used stuff going up every day. 

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!

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


…..pick of the week…..

Suzanne Ciani: Music for Denali (Finders Keepers) LP
Finders Keepers Records’ continued and unwaning commitment to preserving the archives of composer Suzanne Ciani pays off in an avalanche of dividends with this latest master tape discovery, placing further markers in the historical development of electronic music and cinematic composition. Developed at a lesser-documented axis combining Ciani’s key disciplines as a revolutionary synthesist and an accomplished pianist, these early works from 1973 capture a rare glimpse of one of the world’s most important electronic music figures embarking on the early throes of a fruitful career as a film composer and sound designer with this rare and previously unheard documentary music illustrating the first-ever skiers’ decent from the peak of the tallest mountain in Alaska. Capturing innocence and optimism in its composition, but never less than masterful in its realisation, Denali takes what would later become the yin and yang in Ciani’s versatile musical personality and provides unrivalled vistas from both side of the mountain, scaling a treacherous and fine creative line. Within the context of Suzanne Ciani’s achievements the words “maverick” and “pioneer” have regularly shared sentences amongst a list of “firsts” when documenting her expansive CV as a Grammy nominated, million-selling recording artist, and genuine revolutionary in the progression of future music in all its early capacities. But it is with this important release of uncovered recordings from early 1973 that Ciani’s “exploratory” compositions from her formative years find kinship alongside the exploits of other radical and historic trailblazers, as the music for the film known only as Denali finally achieves a wider vantage point. Commissioned in the early years of Suzanne’s “professional” life, in a period that bridged her activities with art installations, experimental theatre and her rising reputation as a film composer and sound designer, the Denali tape reels preceed Suzanne’s film work such as Lloyd Michael Williams Rainbow’s Children (1975) and Bryan Forbe’s The Stepford Wives (1975) by just 18 months, and capture Suzanne at her wide-eyed best two years after scoring her first-ever paid work providing synthesiser loops for aquariums in Middle America shopping malls (Fish Music, FKSP011). It was in 1972, whilst occupying a studio space in San Francisco, as one of a small group of prophets then celebrating the interpolation of Don Buchla’s electronic instruments, that Suzanne was approached by a French speaking ski enthusiast and short film producer called Patrick Derouin to create “forward-thinking” and “otherworldly” themes and sound design for some amazing unseen footage of the first-ever people to ski down the death-defying face of Mount Mckinley in Alaska. Recognised as one of the tallest mountains in the world, this footage would mark a significant historic feat previously inconceivable outside the hat stand notions of a small group of French speaking European explorers and would also coincide with cultural pressure within the Alaska state legislature to lobby for the United States Board On Geographic Names to reinstate the mountain’s traditional name Denali (a decision widely supported by The Koyukon Athabaskans who inhabit the area around the mountain for centuries). Given what is now widely recognised about Suzanne Ciani as a composer, it is plain to see that Derouin came to the correct place and as you will hear, for the first time, within the grooves of this record the collective aura of challenge and enlightenment is almost breathtaking in its precise narrative ability; striking similarities with Eno, Kraftwerk and Neu! at their melodic best but from a very different vantage point, with polar opposite means of execution, whilst operating on Ciani’s unique and all-important feminine “wave” length. The music on this record was also commissioned two years before Suzanne’s first Buchla concerts in 1974 and 1975, which were accompanied by her seminal National Endowment Paper, and would reveal Suzanne’s proud commitment to the developed Buchla instrument and her confidence in its place in modern music, thus proving the likes of Denali to be an earlier showcase of the instrument in it’s advanced infancy although still robust enough to carry the emotive and ambitious songwriting skills of the classically trained Ciani. After hearing this record it will come as little surprise that the track known as Ski Song would later be reappropriated (and rerecorded) on Ciani’s globally critically acclaimed debut album Seven Waves (as the Fourth Wave), which was initially released exclusively in Japan before Turkish-born electronic music pioneer _lhan Mimaro_lu signed the record to his Finnidar imprint at Atlantic records, thus making musical history for Suzanne as a widely celebrated American-Italian female composer. It stands as testimony to the composer’s determination and inventive nature that this single track, which would later make its way on to every future music best-seller list in the country, was originally composed on just piano and the modular synth model which she had helped to assemble on Buchla’s production line ten years before her Tokyo debut. “Denali was composed using just Buchla and piano,” explains Suzanne in 2020. “It was recorded at Rainbow Recording, which is the studio I found and shared with recording engineer Richard Beggs, who then sold it to Francis Ford Coppola after I fell in love and quickly moved to LA,” she laments. “If I had stuck around I would have probably ended up doing sound for Coppola,” she jokes. Instead, Suzanne would in a short time find her filmic feet in Hollywood (providing sound design for Michael Small’s aforementioned The Stepford Wives soundtrack) which would later lead to her winning the accolade of first female film composer to single-handedly record a major motion picture with The Incredible Shrinking Woman in 1982. But it was ten years earlier with Denali that the ball had started rolling alongside the film reel sprockets at Rainbow Recordings. “I have very fond memories of first meeting Patrick and his thick French accent,” Suzanne explained. “He was a rugged looking young man who literally looked like he had just stepped down from the mountain himself.” The basic brief around Suzanne’s musical journey was to be “The story of the arduous ascent and joyous descent of the mountain,” which, with one of her most melodic and dynamic projects from her early years, she successfully illustrated with utmost aplomb. Although Suzanne would only see the short film a handful of times, mostly during intense late night recording sessions (“I used to dress like a sailor so I wouldn’t get street hassle on the way home”), and never meet to actual cast of the film, she can still remember mind-blowing shots of the skier cascading down the mountains, images that have remained with her throughout the subsequent five decades as a composer. As mountaineering history denotes the first-ever skier to descend from the tip of Denali was indeed in 1972, in dates that correlate directly to Suzanne’s meticulously kept tape library and studio diaries. The explorer’s name was French speaking Swiss skier Sylvain Saudan, a celebrated household name amongst enthusiasts to this day. Like Suzanne, like Saudan, neither artist have diverted from their path, turned their back on a challenge, nor lost their footing in the face of adversity.

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

Johnny Cash: Easy Rider: The Best of the Mercury Years (Mercury) LP
Johnny Cash is one of music’s true legends and a titan in the music pantheon. While his recordings for Sun, Columbia and American have been well serviced over the years, his Mercury Records catalogue has been conspicuous in its absence in the reissue market. With the new compilation Easy Rider: The Best of the Mercury Recordings and the box set The Complete Mercury Albums 1986-1991 plus stand alone releases of Class of 55: Memphis Rock and Roll Homecoming (1986), Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town (1987), Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series (1988), Water from the Wells of Home (1988), Boom Chicka Boom (1990), and The Mystery of Life (1991) on offer in 2020, the project is expected to deliver some richly deserved profile to an important but under-served slice of The Man In Black’s repertoire.  This deep dive into a lesser-discussed period of Cash’s career provides an important link to the celebrated resurgence he enjoyed under the production of Rick Rubin with the American Recordings series, from 1994. Respected music journalist Scott Schinder notes that the recordings “stand as a notable transitional body of work, and an illuminating prelude to the full-blown creative resurgence that Cash would experience in the 1990s.” This prolific period for the Man In Black, after the end of his 30-year association with Columbia Records, encompassed six albums in five years, at a time when he was also still touring extensively. Easy Rider: The Best of The Mercury Recordings is a 24 track, 180g vinyl 2LP collection highlighting Cash’s fruitful years on the label. Featuring such tracks as “Waymore Blues” (with Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins), “We Remember The King,” “The Big Light,” “Tennessee Flat Top Box,” “Cats In The Cradle,” “I Shall Be Free” and many more!

File Under: Country
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Philip Corner/Charles Santos: Chord/Gong!
(Unseen Worlds) LP

New York, 1978, kindred composers Philip Corner and Carles Santos meet at the Bösendorfer piano of Charlemagne Palestine to record four-hand piano versions of Corner’s pieces “Chord” and “Gong!” The result is a long-flowing distillation of the source of the two composers’ affinity: avant-garde practice of austere artistic devotion at play with perfect imperfections of the uncontainable human spirit. A small cassette edition appeared in the late 1980’s and is now presented in a new digital restoration by Stephan Mathieu, alongside a vinyl LP pressing cut by Lupo.

File Under: Experimental
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Kenny Dorham: Trompeta Toccata (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 May 2020 with Part 4 of the Great Reid Miles Covers theme – Larry Young – Into Somethin’ (1964), Kenny Dorham – Trompeta Toccata (1965), and Andrew Hill – Smoke Stack (1966). Kenny Dorham’s 1965 album Trompeta Toccata would be the final album that the great underrated trumpeter and composer would record as a leader, and it stands as a fitting testament to his prodigious talent. The album featured a stellar quintet with Dorham and his frequent collaborator Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone along with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath. The brilliant album cover design by Reid Miles featured the bold typography that made his style so influential. This Blue Note 80 Vinyl Edition is all-analog, mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, and pressed on 180g vinyl at Optimal.

File Under: Folk, Country
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Fontaines D.C.: A Hero’s Death (Partisan) LP/2LP
Barely a year after the release of their acclaimed debut album Dogrel (which charted Top 10 in the UK, earned a Mercury Prize nomination, and No. 1 Album of the Year positions for BBC 6Music and Rough Trade), Dublin, Ireland post-punk outfit Fontaines DC return with an intensely confident, patient, and complex sophomore album. A Hero’s Death arrives battered and bruised, albeit beautiful – a heady and philosophical take on the modern world, and its great uncertainty. Available as single LP or deluxe 180g 45RPM 2LP version cut at Abbey Road Studios. Gatefold packaging comes with a 12″ x 12″ photo/lyric book.

File Under: Punk
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Andrew Hill: Smoke Stack (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 May 2020 with Part 4 of the Great Reid Miles Covers theme – Larry Young – Into Somethin’ (1964), Kenny Dorham – Trompeta Toccata (1965), and Andrew Hill – Smoke Stack (1966). On his second Blue Note album Smoke Stack (1966), pianist and composer Andrew Hill used an unusual line-up of two bassists (Richard Davis and Eddie Khan) along with the masterful Roy Haynes on drums. Blue Note founder Alfred Lion considered Hill to have as distinct and important a compositional voice as Thelonious Monk, and the seven Hill compositions that the quartet explore here contain all the rare beauty to be found in his music. Designer Reid Miles photographed Hill himself for the striking album cover design.

File Under: Jazz
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Joy Division: Atmosphere (Rhino) LP
Joy Division recorded only two albums before singer Ian Curtis tragically took his own life in 1980. But what the Manchester quartet lacked in longevity, they more than made up for in quality. The two albums were pioneering and helped shape the sound and mood of the alternative music that followed in the band’s wake. Joy Division will be re-releasing a 40th anniversary edition of their sophomore album Closer in July 2020. The release follows 2019’s reissue of the group’s ground-breaking debut album Unknown Pleasures. Complementing the Closer 40th re-release are three non-album singles “Transmission,” “Atmosphere” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” which will be reissued with 2020 remastered audio. Since the demise of Factory records, these singles have never been repressed or reissued before and are cut on 180g vinyl, featuring the original artwork on heavyweight board.

File Under: Punk
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Paul McCartney: Flaming Pie (Capitol) LP
Paul McCartney’s critically acclaimed and universally beloved tenth solo album Flaming Pie is the latest to receive the Archive Collection treatment. Originally released on May 5, 1997, Flaming Pie ended a four-year gap between McCartney studio albums. Recorded largely in the wake of Paul’s involvement in the curation and release of The Beatles Anthology series, Flaming Pie was shaped and inspired by that experience, with Paul remarking at the time, “(The Beatles Anthology) reminded me of The Beatles’ standards and the standards that we reached with the songs. So in a way it was a refresher course that set the framework for this album.” Produced by Paul, Jeff Lynne and George Martin and featuring a supporting cast of family and friends including Ringo Starr, Steve Miller, Linda McCartney and son James, Flaming Pie is equal parts a masterclass in songcraft and a sustained burst of joyful spontaneity. With highlights ranging from the uplifting and inspirational opener “The Song We Were Singing” to the raucous title track (named for a quote from an early John Lennon interview on the origin of The Beatles’ name: “It came in a vision – a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them, ‘from this day on you are Beatles with an A.'”) to the pensive “Calico Skies,” and featuring singles “Young Boy,” “The World Tonight” and “Beautiful Night,” Flaming Pie would represent yet another pinnacle in Paul’s solo catalogue: Released to rapturous reviews, the album would be Paul’s most commercially successful release of the ‘90s, achieving his highest chart positions since the ‘80s and would receive gold certifications in the US, UK, Japan and more. As the thirteenth release in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, Flaming Pie will be available in multiple configurations including this 180g vinyl 2LP edition with the remastered album cut at half speed and housed in a gatefold sleeve with an accompanying booklet. Flaming Pie is additionally available as 180g 3LP-set with a bonus LP of unreleased home recordings, a Deluxe 5CD + 2DVD Box Set comprised of the original remastered album, 32 bonus audio tracks, video content and a 128-page book, and a 4LP/5CD/2DVD Collector’s Edition featuring everything in the Deluxe Edition plus a marbled art print portfolio of six silkscreened Linda McCartney art prints, exclusive vinyl versions of the remastered album cut at half speed across 2LPs in an exclusive gatefold sleeve, an LP of home recordings in a hand-stamped white label sleeve, and “The Ballad of the Skeletons” – Paul’s 1996 collaboration with Allen Ginsberg – released for the first time on vinyl and cut at 45 RPM with vinyl etching and poster.

File Under: Rock, Beatles
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Miquela: I A De Sers (Finders Keepers) LP
Weaving a fragile thread through collectible outsider genres such as acid folk, French jazz, Braziliana and world music it is virtually incomprehensible that this incredible one-off solo album by mononymous Occitan language singer, songwriter and activist Miquela has managed to evade notoriety and wider affection zover five decades. Captured via a humble makeshift studio set-up in a classroom in 1977, this startlingly crystalline recording is one of the best examples you are likely to hear, not shying from ambitious small string arrangements and intimate Gallic jazz infusions this LP represents the quiet storm erupting from the pride and protection of the ancient “romance” language known as Occitan, as spoken by less than 1.5 million people in Southern France (as well as parts of Italy and Spain). Naturally combining a wide range of influences, and fuelled by the same impassioned fervour found in privately pressed minority language records from Britanny, Catalonia and Wales, Miquela’s first and only solo record was recorded by request of poet Ives Roqueta for his exclusively Occitan language label Ventadorn. Including players from Miquela’s surrounding area of Toulon the album also enlisted arrangements from important musicians such as co-author Jean-Michel Mariou, jazz contrabass player Didier Capeille (later affiliate of Marseilles’ Etron Fou Leloublan), and guitarist Gilles Cardon, who would regularly play for Britanny based label Nevenoe (knotting the ties between both French language rehabilitation movements). Released and well-received by a supportive and emotional Occitan fan base, this would be Miquela’s only ever solo LP (preceded by a 7″ picture sleeve EP, drawing similarities to Welsh label Sain) and laid the foundations for future releases with her folk rock girl group Lei Chapacans (The Vagabonds) which led to tours as far as Sardinia, Yemen and Moscow. As a vital forerunner of a maligned genre of Occitan femme-folk singers such as Estela, Nicòla, Jacmelina, Rosina De Peira E Martina and Claudia Galibert, this LP marks the start of a journey that would eventually find its beloved protagonist at the heart of the galvanised Occitan language media.

File Under: Folk, Psych
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Jason Molina: Eight Gates (Secretly Canadian) LP
Eight Gates is the last collection of solo recordings Jason Molina made before he passed away from complications related to alcoholism in 2013. Sometime in 2006, or 2007, Molina moved from the Midwest to London. Separated from his bandmates and friends, and never one for idleness, Molina explored his new home with fervor. He’d pick up on arcane trivia about London’s rich history, and if the historical factoids weren’t available – or weren’t quite to his liking – Molina was quite comfortable conjuring his own history. When he learned of the London Wall’s seven gates, Molina went ahead and called it eight, carving out a gate just for himself. The eighth gate was Molina’s way into London, a gate only passable in the mind. Fast-forward to 2008, Molina set off on an experimental solo tour through Europe. While in Northern Italy, Molina claimed to have been bitten by a rare, poisonous spider. A debilitating bout of illness ensued. “I was in the hospital here in London,” Molina wrote in a letter. “Saw six doctors and a Dr. House-type guy. They are all mystified by it, but I am allowed to be at home, where I am taking a dozen scary Hantavirus type pills a day that are all to supposedly help – but they make me feel like shit.” There is no record of a single doctor visit, not any prescription record for these medications. It is entirely plausible there was no spider and that whatever was keeping him indoors during this time was entirely self-induced. While at home, he of course wrote songs. Molina also claimed that during this time, he fed several bright green parrots that would gather in his yard and made short, crude field recordings of them with his trusty four-track. Only once Molina was officially on the mend and re-exploring the streets of London would he learn that those parrots had their own fabled tale. Back in the 60s, Jimi Hendrix – in a moment of psychedelic clarity – released his pair of lime green ring-necked parakeets from their cage, setting them free into the London sky. Now, their descendants are spotted regularly around certain parts of the city. Or so we’re told. Recorded in London around the time of the supposed spider bite and Jimi’s supposed parakeets, some of the songs on Eight Gates (“Whispered Away,” “Thistle Blue”) are fully-realized – dark, moody textures that call to mind his earlier work on The Lioness. Knowing what we know about those parakeets and their peppered presence on the recordings, one can’t help but think of that colorful tree of birds on Talk Talk’s classic Laughing Stock, certainly a spiritual guide for much of the set. Other songs (“She Says,” “The Crossroads and The Emptiness”) lay in a more unfinished states, acoustic takes that call to mind Molina’s Let Me Go Let Me Go Let Me Go, and still tethered to Molina’s humorous studio banter. You remember how young Molina was, and how weighty this art was for such a young man. On the closer, “The Crossroads and The Emptiness,” Molina snaps at the engineer before tearing into a song in which he sings of his birthday (30th December), a palm reading and the great emptiness with which he always wrestled. It is a perfect closer and, in many ways, the eighth gate incarnate: mythical, passable only in the mind, built for himself and partway imaginary but shared, thankfully, with us.

File Under: Indie Rock, Folk
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OST: Parasite (Sacred Bones) LP
Parasite, the seventh feature film by Korean director Bong Joon Ho, premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it took the coveted Palme d’Or for best film in competition. Since then, it has become the most critically acclaimed film of the year. For the film’s bracingly original score, Bong turned to Jung Jae Il, who brings the world of Parasite to life with plaintive piano and stirring strings.

File Under: OST
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J.M. Pagan: Kiu I Els Seus Amics
(Finders Keepers) LP

From the cosmic creative musical mind of Swiss/Catalan studio whizz, Zeleste Nightclub engineer, Video Nasty film composer, occasional Jaume Sisa (Música Dispersa) collaborator and future electronic music therapy pioneer comes the synth- ridden vocoder-loaded 1984 sci-funk soundtrack to Barcelona’s daytime TV response to the universal E.T. phenomena. Get ready to meet your new alienígena amic and the unidentified flying object of thousands of Catalonian kids affections through the 1980s as Finders Keepers present J. M. Pagan’s lost lunar modular synth score to Kiu I Els Seus Amics (Kiu And Friends aka Kiu Is Your Friend). From the same intergalactic phenomenon that brought such delights as Turkey’s exploito cash-in “Badi” or South Africa’s lo-rent homage “Nukie” to our unregulated small screens, and the same craze which filled international airwaves with the likes of Extra T’S electro smash single “E.T. Boogie” or the million selling Columbian “Cumbia De E.T. El Extraterrestre” smash hit… not to mention a wide range of unofficial theme- tune cover versions from Holland, Austria, France and Germany (lest we forget an inspired late period Lee Scratch Perry Album) the creators of the movie which inspire the music on the album you are about to hear made no bones about their intergalactic muse. In 1982 the diaspora from Steven Spielberg’s small fictional mid-American neighbourhood that played host to everyone’s favourite torch fingered, three toed, Skittle scoffing space goblin touched virtually every family home in every major city resulting in one of the biggest cinematic merchandise phenomenas of the 21st century, resulting in an unexpected high-demand/short-supply play-off in which bootleggers, copyists and counterfeiters rose to the challenge like never before. At the precise moment that international audiences saw that cute little baldy poke his retractable neck around the corner and started stealing beer from the fridge, demanding long distance phone calls while circuit bending kids toys and frankly not looking after the plants… the human race was hooked! and we wanted more! more! more! When Spielberg regrettably told interviewers that he had no intention of making a sequel to E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, it instantly became open-season for the imitators… but way before somebody squeezed- out, Mac & Me, ALF and The Purple People Eater a team of kid’s TV executives in Catalunya were ready to fill the widening gap in the market without haste. Created in 1983 by Luna Films and Televisió de Catalunya (TV3) and screened exclusively in Catalunya, Kiu I Els Seus Amics was one of the first E.T. “tributes” to make it out of the gate, and with a crew of five individual directors and writers to ensure that the five episode, one-off series hit the wave of phone-home-fever, “Kiu” has since remained a short but sweet micro-memory in the hearts of an entire generation of Catalonian cosmonauts.

File Under: OST
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Pixies: Bossanova: 30th Anniversary (4AD) LP
2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of Bossanova, the third studio album by Pixies. To celebrate Bossanova hitting its third decade, 4AD present a colored vinyl LP edition with the original 16-page booklet being reinserted, having previously only been available with the initial UK LP pressing. The band continued to work with Gil Norton after collaborating to such success on their platinum-selling second album Doolittle; this time choosing to record in Los Angeles over their native Boston (the track “Blown Away,” however, was recorded at the Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin during a European tour in 1989). Their third album in as many years, 1990 was a particularly fertile time for the band with Kim Deal also having success with The Breeders, who released their debut album Pod just a few months prior. Featuring the singles “Allison” (a tribute to jazz and blues pianist Mose Allison), “Dig For Fire” and “Velouria,” plus the first cover to feature on one of their albums “Cecilia Ann” (originally by The Surftones), Bossanova showed a less primal side to the band, with surf and space rock rising to the fore. Lyrically, Black Francis is even more cryptic with a recurring sci-fi theme running throughout, which in turn influenced Vaughan Oliver’s classic planet design for the sleeve.

File Under: Rock
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Mike Polizze: Long Lost Solace Find (Paradise of Bachelors) LP
The debut solo album by Mike Polizze – and his first release for Paradise of Bachelors – finds the erstwhile Purling Hiss frontman and Birds of Maya shredder stepping out from behind the wall of guitar noise into the bright sunshine. Performed entirely by Polizze with longtime friend Kurt Vile (largely live and acoustic) and recorded by War on Drugs engineer Jeff Zeigler, this intimate Philadelphia affair clarifies the bittersweet earworm melodicism of Dizzy Polizzy’s songwriting, revealing bona fide folk-pop chops. Long Lost Solace Find finally harvests the wild local honey from the buzzing hive of Hiss. With very little electric guitar and few effects audible, Polizze’s expressiveness and dexterity as a fingerstyle player (not to mention a singer) emerges, especially on unadorned tunes like “Wishing Well” and the instrumental “D’Modal,” both of which bring to mind friend and fellow Delco native Steve Gunn. An amiably languid mood prevails, offhandedly achieving an atmosphere of quiet bliss and charming nonchalance that belies the morass of contradictions, bruising anxieties, nostalgia and nauseous stasis suggested by the elliptical lyrics. The lyrical content sometimes dissolves into the simple, childlike pleasures of rhymes and phonemic play, dispensing with parsable grammar entirely, as in the chorus of “Do Do Do” and the “Bam-bam a rambling man, a midnight sham” bit in infectious lead single “Revelation,” an instantly winsome number which features Kurt on backing vocals and surprise trumpet. The way Polizze sings the banal title of “Bainmarie” – literally, from the French, “Mary’s bath,” a kind of double-boiler kitchen device, a reference to the hardships of past jobs – like “memory” gets at the remarkable way these lilting melodies unfold with gorgeous, unpretentiously Proustian grace and ease. The endless hooks here sound casual, almost shrugged-off, despite their carefully constructed recursive and ramifying nature. Long Lost Solace Find demonstrates Polizze as a fount of perfectly turned little melodies and riffs and guilelessly sung ditties – glassychords – not unlike the way that Ben Franklin was a fount of indelible, perfectly phrased aphorisms. Here’s one that feels rather relevant to Mike’s move from the shadows into the sun: “Hide not your Talents, they for Use were made. What’s a sun-dial in the shade!” Long Lost Solace Find represents the apotheosis of Polizze’s evolving craft.

File Under: Rock
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Max Richter: Voices (Decca) LP
Over a decade after its inception, ground-breaking composer Max Richter releases Voices – a major new recording project inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In a time of dramatic global change, Voices offers a musical message of hope. Richter invited people around the world to be part of the piece, crowd-sourcing readings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be interwoven into the work, which features an ‘upside-down’ orchestra. He received hundreds of submissions in over 70 languages. These readings form the aural landscape that the music flows through: they are the Voices of the title. Richter explains, “I like the idea of a piece of music as a place to think, and it is clear we all have some thinking to do at the moment. We live in a hugely challenging time and, looking around at the world we have made, it’s easy to feel hopeless or angry. But, just as the problems we face are of our own making, so their solutions are within our reach, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is something that offers us a way forward. Although it isn’t a perfect document, the declaration does represent an inspiring vision for the possibility of better and kinder world.” Voices is comprised of 56 minutes (10 tracks) of material featuring orchestra, choir, solo soprano, solo violin, solo piano and electronics. The narrated text has been adapted from the UN Declaration and is read by acclaimed US actor Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk). It also features the 1949 Recording of the preamble to the declaration by Eleanor Roosevelt.

File Under: Classical
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Stanley Turrentine: Comin’ Your Way (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
When it comes to playing powerful tenor solos full of the grit of life’s experiences mixed with joyful and optimistic shouts, Stanley Turrentine was Mr. Soul Jazz. Recognizable at any part of his career within two notes, Turrentine was in his own musical category no matter what the setting. A master at caressing melodies and making them his own, Turrentine, with his passionate musical personality, could turn any song into the blues. There is plenty of evidence of his brilliance throughout the warm and bluesy 1961 recorded/1987 released Comin’ Your Way which finds Stan The Man leading a five star quintet with his brother Tommy Turrentine, Horace Parlan, George Tucker and Al Harewood. The Blue Note Tone Poet Series was born out of Blue Note President Don Was’ admiration for the exceptional audiophile Blue Note LP reissues presented by Music Matters. The label brought Joe Harley (from Music Matters), aka the “Tone Poet,” on board to curate and supervise a series of reissues from the Blue Note family of labels. Extreme attention to detail has been paid to getting these right in every conceivable way, from the deluxe gatefold jacket graphics and printing quality to superior mastering (all analog direct from the master tapes) by Kevin Gray to superb 180-gram audiophile LP pressings by Record Technology Inc. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version.

File Under: Jazz
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Francois Tusques: Alors Nosferatu Combina un Ingenieux (Cacophonic) LP
With what was once considered a totally abandoned project French free jazz pioneer and stalwart François Tusques stumbles upon a series of shelved recordings from 1969 which further bolster the discography of historic French improv. Having lurked in the dark shadows for exactly 50 years this mutated micro-vile of youthful elixir and rebellious invention documents what would have undoubtedly been regarded as an important supportive pillar of the movement had it been released on vinyl during those formative years. Entitled Nosferatu as both a reference to a photograph taken by legendary photographer Horace, whilst shrouding a sly wink to film director Jean Rollin, this music is the first glimpse into a wider vampiric vault comprising a host of key figures from the Actuel/Futura/Palm universe… an historical artefact indeed. These newly excavated recordings not only mark the dawn of Tusques’ large group activities, and what would become his inter communal orchestras in the coming decade, but they also see the beginnings of thematic and pictorial free-jazz auto-composition with heavy leanings towards the fantastique trends in film and pulp literature that proliferated in French art at the turn of this important decade. A potential thematic precursor to the Palm Records releases Watch Devil Go by Jacques Thollot or Such A Strange Planet by François Jeannaeu (the latter being decidedly less spontaneous) this release is an essential jigsaw price in one of Europe’s most puzzling anti-genres. Whilst comprising themes taken from Mary Shelley and Lewis Carol amongst others, Nosferatu is the first disque in a wider series of unreleased Tusques tapes scheduled for vinyl editions for Finders Keepers’ Cacophonic label. While capturing the essence of the late 60s tumultuous era and the afformentioned commitment to the fantastique and free-thinking mindsets, Cacophonic are very proud to present this record with a rare archival illustration (from the same 1969 year) by maverick American Bande Designee artist Vaughn Bode whose legacy is indelible but still bequeathes unknown gems like his own “pre-lizard” homage to Nosferatu from an early free-press fanzine. Both artist widely respected and hugely influential in France (and around the world) this package is quite possibly a bona fide match made in heaven… if not elsewhere!

File Under: Avant Garde
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Mal Waldron & Gary Peacock: First Encounter (Alternative Fox) LP
Alternative Fox presents a reissue of Mal Waldron and Gary Peacock’s First Encounter, originally released in 1971. After playing with Mingus, Coltrane, Lady Day, and Abbey Lincoln, inventive jazz pianist Mal Waldron moved to Europe and first reached Japan in 1970, where he met Idaho-born double-bassist Gary Peacock, who had played with Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Bill Evans, and free-jazz giant Albert Ayler before moving to Japan to study Zen Buddhism. First Encounter, recorded in Tokyo in 1971 for French producer Herve Bergerat, shows that the intense pairing was quite natural, the harmonic dissonance of Waldron’s “She Walks In Beauty” contrasted by the up-tempo groove of Peacock’s “What’s That”; future Native Son founder Hiroshi Murakami makes important contribution on drums.

File Under: Jazz
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Wye Oak: No Horizon EP (Merge) LP
No Horizon is the latest offering and sound of a project plumbing the depths of an “evolve or die” ethos. For multi-instrumentalists JENN WASNER and ANDY STACK, there is no fear of the unknown, no preciousness about rigidity, no hard definition of what WYE OAK is. The Baltimore-born, Durham-based pair spent 2012–2019 writing music while living in different parts of the country, but the five songs that make up No Horizon mark the first that Stack and Wasner composed while both lived in Durham. The EP was originally composed in a concentrated timeframe at the end of 2018 and early 2019, and then performed at New York’s Merkin Hall as part of Ecstatic Music Festival in collaboration with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The resulting EP is distinctly and recognizably Wye Oak, while simultaneously unlike any other of the band’s studio work. Eerie and dreamy, a complicated, unpredictable amalgamation of thoughtful lyrics, steely glints of synths and effects, lithe guitar lines, and the depth of Wasner’s voice, it all unfurls with the ease of any Wye Oak song, built out by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ presence, their tangle of crystalline voices presenting like an orchestral arrangement. 12” is 45 RPM pink vinyl in a clear, screenprinted picture disc sleeve.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Larry Young: Into Somethin’ (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 May 2020 with Part 4 of the Great Reid Miles Covers theme – Larry Young – Into Somethin’ (1964), Kenny Dorham – Trompeta Toccata (1965), and Andrew Hill – Smoke Stack (1966). On 1964’s Into Somethin’ – his first album for Blue Note – Larry Young made it abundantly clear that he had his own unique approach to the Hammond B-3 organ. Rather than the tried-and-true soul jazz sound so strongly identified with the instrument, Young explored more modal territory over the course of his six Blue Note albums including this tremendous session featuring tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers, guitarist Grant Green, and drummer Elvin Jones. The remarkable album cover design by Reid Miles made excellent use of a memorable photograph by Francis Wolff.

File Under: Jazz
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Various: Pyramid Pieces (Roundtable) LP
Borrowing its title from an infamous Australian jazz composition, Pyramid Pieces is a long overdue compilation which documents a period of Australian modern jazz that flourished during the late 1960s and 70s. A brief yet vital survey which examines an isolated yet thriving vibrant scene that was largely unheard outside of its own country. Whilst many local musicians found success abroad in the UK or the USA, those that remained found limited support for jazz from the commercially-minded mainstream music industry, thus an empowered independent movement was born, represented by labels such as Jazznote and Horst Liepolt’s 44 Records. This compilation is a showcase of this period and the various forms of modern jazz indicative of the scene, from modal and deep spiritual jazz through to avant-jazz film soundtracks and the unique sub-genre ‘Eco Jazz’ (a distinctive style which drew vivid inspiration from Australia’s natural environment). Featuring essential tracks from celebrated Australian jazz icons such as John Sangster and Alan Lee, the collection also asserts the importance of other often overlooked groups including Jazz Co/op and The Brian Brown Quintet amongst others. Pyramid Pieces is the first entry in a new series that will explore the largely unheard yet incredible sound of Australian modernist Jazz.

File Under: Jazz
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  Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band: Serpent’s Mouth (Big Crown) LP
Blanck Mass: s/t (Sacred Bones) LP
David Bowie: Low (Parlophone) LP
Suzanne Ciani: Buchla Concerts 1975 (Finders Keepers) LP
Suzanne Ciani: Flowers of Evil (Finders Keepers) LP
Cosmic Eye: Dream Sequence (Roundtable) LP
El Michels Affair: Adult Themes (Big Crown) LP
Rafael Anton Irisarri: Peripeteia (Dais) LP
Khruangbin: Hasta El Cielo (Dead Oceans) LP
Kraftwerk: Trans Europe Express (EMI) LP
OST: Moomins (Finders Keepers) LP
Popera Cosmic: Les Esclaves (Finders Keepers) LP
Hiroshio Sato: Orient (Wewantsound) LP
Masahiko Sato: Belladonna (Finders Keepers) LP
Earl Sweatshirt: Feet of Clay (Warner) LP
Neil Young: Harvest (Reprise) LP
Various: Musique Concrete (Cacophonic) LP
Various: Musique Experimentale (Cacophonic) LP
Various: Strain, Crack & Break: NWW Vol 1 (Finders Keepers) LP

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