Yow! What a week. Just swimming in new stuff, and a power outage today to really cack up getting this news letter out in a timely manner. So no used goodies today, sorry. Just buy all this dope stuff instead!
If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen our informal poll on how we will deal with the Aug 29th RSD Drop. So far it’s looking like we’ll be posting our RSD titles online for purchase at 1pm. If you’ve got better ideas, let us know!
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.
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…..pick of the week…..
Sir Richard Bishop: Oneiric Formulary (Drag City) LP
Five years after Tangier Sessions, Sir Richard Bishop, we presume, is back from his travels around the world. With Oneiric Formulary, he’s dug deeper into his bag of extra-musical gestures from the eternal and unknowable, along with a few sounds we might recognize, all transmuted for our mortal ears’ enjoyment. The last couple of Sir Richard Bishop releases on Drag City were genre exercises of sorts—The Freak of Araby explored the musical legacy of late Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid while Tangier Sessions explored the sound of an obscure 19th century guitar that Rick had acquired from a mysterious Swiss luthier. The title Oneiric Formulary, may sit contrarily on the tongue—but we may refer to it as representing “a collection of dream states”—which means we like it! With such a lofty goal in mind and at his fingertips, Sir Rick returns to the approach of his DC debut, Polytheistic Fragments—a different sound, a different instrument, for nearly every track, drawing from the music of all nations, including and especially that infamous republic with only one person on the census roll (initials SRB).
File Under: Experimental, Guitar, Sun City Girls
Steve Albini/Alison Chesley/Tim Midyett: Music from the film: Girl on the Third Floor (Touch & Go) LP
When director Travis Stevens called about composing music for his new horror film, Steve Albini (Shellac) found himself with a new creative challenge. After meeting with Stevens and Greg Newman from Queensbury Pictures, Steve signed on and recruited Tim Midyett (Mint Mile, Silkworm) and Alison Chesley (Helen Money) to complete the ensemble that would compose and record the soundtrack for Girl on the Third Floor. Guest vocals on “Irish” were performed by Gaelynn Lea. Upon completion of the soundtrack, Albini reflected, “Tim and Alison are a joy to work with, very open-minded and eager, and master musicians. Just great. That whole part of it, writing and playing with them, was fucking fantastic and effortless, and I wish I could do it all the time.” Vinyl 2LP-set with full-color gatefold jacket featuring cover art drawn by Jay Ryan.
File Under: OST, Shellac
Roy Ayers/Adrian Younge;Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Roy Ayers (Jazz Is Dead 2)
(Jazz is Dead) LP
In February 2018, Roy Ayers performed four sold out shows in Los Angeles as part of the Jazz Is Dead Black History Month series. It wasn’t until 2020 that fans of Ayers discovered that in addition to those shows, the legendary vibraphone player had also recorded an entire album of new material with Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Over the course of its eight original compositions, written collaboratively by Younge, Shaheed Muhammad and Ayers and recorded at Younge’s Linear Labs in Los Angeles, the resulting album sounds both like an unearthed an unreleased album from Ayers’ classic period in the 1970s (which produced the oft-sampled “Red, Black & Green,” “We Live In Brooklyn, Baby,” “Everybody Loves The Sunshine,” and “Running Away), as well as something startling, new and unexpected. Joining Ayers, Younge and Shaheed Muhammad on this musical journey are drummer Greg Paul, vocalists Loren Oden, Joy Gilliam, Saudia Yasmein, Elgin Clark and Anitra Castleberry, as well as Phil Ranelin and Wendell Harrison of the legendary Spiritual Jazz label Tribe Records. The eight tracks on this album testify to the love not only of a legendary musician’s legacy, but to the vitality and necessity of this music and these sounds in the present era, a thread that will likely run throughout all of the upcoming releases from Jazz Is Dead Records.
File Under: Jazz
Bedsore: Hypnagogic Hallucinations
(20 Buck Spin) LP
Sea blue inside ultra clear w/ blood red splatter vinyl version!!! Warping minds and matter with their two track 2018 demo, Bedsore came to the attention of 20 Buck Spin, who, together in a twisting conspiracy, now issue the full length album Hypnagogic Hallucinations. A fitting title for the dark, lucid dreamscapes and obscure fantasia Bedsore deliver on their debut. Like an Argento film, the Roman band paint the canvas of death metal in vivid, bright washes of ornamented color and stabs of inventive horror that belies the corporeal grotesquery of the band’s name. Probing into the brain through psychedelic digression and winding hypnotic prog, a protean world of weird organic contours and mysterious meaning takes shape. A debut album of considerable imagination and subconscious peculiarity, Hypnagogic Hallucinations is an uninhibited first step for a band emboldened to travel to the farthest reaches of the possible within the celestial spheres of death metal.
File Under: Metal
Jon Benjamin: The Soundtrack Collection
(Sub Pop) LP
Sub Pop presents The Soundtrack Collection, the latest musical venture by Jon Benjamin, the visionary who brought you 2015’s jazz-piano masterpiece Well I Should Have… Learned How to Play Piano (and who also has a side-hustle voicing the titular roles of Bob and Archer in the TV shows Bob’s Burgers and Archer). The Soundtrack Collection finds Benjamin striding boldly into the rarefied worlds of classic film music, and the Moog synthesizer. Hear themes from cinema classics 2001: A Space Odyssey, Halloween, Beverly Hills Cop, and more brought to life by Jon’s ambitious hands!
File Under: Jazz, OST
Booker T: Note by Note (Edith Street) LP
Orange vinyl pressing of this late 2019 release. In an emotional musical journey, Booker T explores new takes on the songs that make up the fabric of his musical identity. Largely mirroring the chapter titles from his forthcoming memoir “Time Is Tight”, “Note By Note” serves as a musical companion. Stax staples like “Cause I Love You” and “These Arms Of Mine” are woven into defining musical moments from Booker’s journey after Stax, when he produced and recorded with artists as diverse as Willie Nelson and Carlos Santana. Booker T & The MG’s fans will enjoy a new ending to the song “Time Is Tight”, a Romanesque coda that has been played live yet never recorded. The album culminates with new original music, highlighting the soaring guitar and vocals of Booker’s son and collaborator Teddy Jones. Booker T is a 4 time Grammy Award winner (including the Lifetime Achievement Award), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, and arguably the most famous Hammond B3 player in history.
File Under: Funk, Soul, RnB
C418: Minecraft Volume Beta (coloured vinyl/lenticular cover) (Ghostly) LP
As C418, composer and producer Daniel Rosenfeld designs sounds to resonate in both physical and pixelated realms. Best known for his original soundtracks to Minecraft, the single best-selling video game of all time, he’s developed a discography of instrumental music over the last decade that traverses electronic pop patterns, neo-classical dreamscapes, and sparse ambient motifs. The latter element has broken from the “8-bit” pigeonholing of game music and earned him accolades that reference artists like Erik Satie and Brian Eno. In 2015, after quietly self-releasing Minecraft Volume Alpha and Minecraft Volume Beta, Rosenfeld partnered with Ghostly International to reissue Minecraft Volume Alpha. The release garnered attention from proper music critics and the gaming community alike, becoming one of the most sought after records in the Ghostly catalog. Now, following several restocks of Alpha to fervent fan response, it is time for the soundtrack’s second installment to shine. For the legion of listeners and players to, at long last, have Minecraft Volume Beta on double vinyl LP. Originally self-released in 2013, Minecraft Volume Beta was C418’s longest batch of music to date at nearly 140 minutes. The collection features tracks that were “silently” added to Minecraft during its music updates and a few that never officially entered the game. The run time is now adapted to fit the double LP format. Rosenfeld’s unmistakable abilities are on display; he creates a sweeping variety of musical ideas that mirror the limitless universe of Minecraft. Ghostly International is thrilled to give this unique collaboration its due treatment and hopes to see the creative inspiration which drives Minecraft and Rosenfeld continue to disperse by virtue of this unexpectedly universal music.
File Under: OST, Ambient
Shirley Collins: Heart’s Ease (Domino) LP
Heart’s Ease follows 2017’s Lodestar, Shirley Collins’ first record in 38 years, and one that brought Shirley’s widely missed voice back to fans. An album broader & brighter in tone than Lodestar, it finds Shirley exploring warmer themes and features three songs less rooted within the folk tradition.
File Under: Folk
Coloured Balls: Liberate Rock (Just Add Water) LP
COLOURED BALLS by the barrel-full, a double album with 16 tracks clocking in at 77 minutes. This collects all six of their singles released on the Havoc and EMI labels between ’72 and ’74, two live tracks recorded at their legendary Sunbury ’73 festival appearance, and a canceled single from their final recording session in early ’75, shortly before the group split. This set has everything that is not on their three studio albums. Most of the songs on this compilation have been out of print on vinyl for 45+ years. “Flying” is making it’s vinyl debut on this collection. Liner notes by Aussie Rock expert IAN McFARLANE. Mastered by Aztecs drummer and engineer/producer extraordinaire GIL MATTHEWS straight from the master tapes. 100% analog—start to finish. Fold-out poster with an unpublished image inside every copy.
File Under: Punk, Power Pop
Loren Connors: Beautiful Dreamer (Family Vineyard) 10″
“Beautiful Dreamer” is a two-part suite dedicated to Steve Dalachinsky – an original among New Yorkers and everyone else; an indefatigable supporter of the avant garde; an ingenious poet; and a close friend to Loren Connors. Connors recorded these two solo guitar pieces shortly before Dalachinsky’s passing in September 2019. Afterward, Connors returned to the music, and for the first time, used post-production to transform his real-time improvisations into an ethereal soundwork. It is unmistakably Connors – a rich, ghostly tone birthed from the blues – yet a new direction where slowness reveals a spectrum of shifting notes like a small choir, from rumbling baritones to vibrating sopranos. “Beautiful Dreamer” equally honors the dreams of Dalachinsky and captures the suspension of the Auguste Rodin dancer on the cover. Limited to 500 copies.
File Under: Ambient, Experimental
Crack Cloud: Pain Olympics (Meat Machine) LP
Like Psychic TV before them, Crack Cloud have a philosophy, and one that they are not afraid to wear on their sleeves. While their anarchic, phantasmagorical visuals, heavy use of symbology, and seemingly never-ending cast of colorful collaborators have often invited cult comparisons, this really does the collective no justice. There is no apocalyptic death drive here; no cult of personality; no hierarchy of power. While frontman and lyricist Zach Choy is in many ways the face of the group, the collective is one founded on equality, and in his cryptic lyrical blending of poetics, polemics and personal experience, Choy is truly the mouthpiece of something far larger than himself. Nowhere else is this more apparent than on the album’s first single, “The Next Fix.” What begins as a caustic, claustrophobic account of addiction swells into a sprawling, euphoric hymn as Choy is joined by a choir of seemingly endless celestial voices. Less a cult then; more a church. Listening to this song is a truly spiritual experience, and in its building, jubilant movement it offers a glimpse of Crack Cloud’s most vital message: using community to turn adversity into hope. This isn’t just bravado; its a story born of deep, personal experience. Crack Cloud operate on the frontline of Canada’s out-of-control opiate crisis, mobilizing and organizing in Vancouver’s harm reduction programs. The group themselves have had their fair share of trauma, and the collective offers its members a vital vehicle for rehabilitation and recovery. As the tagline on the album’s back cover makes clear then, this is absolutely ‘based on true shit.’
File Under: Punk
Damaged Bug: Bug on Yonkers
(Castle Face) LP
“I first heard Michael Yonkers via the Microminature Love reissue (Sub Pop) and was immediately hooked. I started collecting any piece of his legend that I could… some true, some likely not. He had hand-built all of his gear. He had broken his back. He was part of experimental surgery that left him in lifelong pain. He was a dancer. He was still kicking around making some of the oddest and most contrary-to-contemporary-popular-norms type of music. (A man after my own heart) And then I heard Goodby Sunball, recorded and released in 1974, the year I was born. I had and have a very deep connection with this set of songs. I wasn’t sure why, but when I finally met Michael, I understood. He was kind and seemingly a pretty regular guy. But he was also a weirdo. A rare bird, waving the true freak music flag, and it didn’t matter what kind of music he made, I loved it all. So, this record was recorded as a way to reboot and reconnect with some songs that have heavily inspired me over the years. It was hard to pick from his vast catalog, so I just sort of jumped in, with Tom Dolas, Nick Murray, and Brigid Dawson as my band (along with a bevy of others along the way) and these are the tunes that stuck to the wall. I will forever be grateful to Mr Yonkers for bringing me a little joy with his music and inspiring weirdos everywhere.” –John Dwyer, Feb 2020
File Under: Psych
Brigid Dawson & the Mother’s Network: Ballet of Apes (Castle Face) LP
“Tip-top of Castle Face’s osmosis list is the first quiver of tunes from Brigid Dawson and her newly minted Mothers Network: wise warnings dyed in dark hues, knotted and hard-won torch songs from the edge of a turbulent sea, bittersweet balladry spun in defense against evils familiar and unknown. Lovely though it may seem from a distance, the striation of loss quicksilvered throughout provides weighty balance to her contralto lilt. Those familiar with her harmonic counterpoint from her time in Thee Oh Sees or in OCS know she can belt as well as lullaby but there’s a fresh and smolderingly heavy swing in her step on display here that Castle Face mightily digs. Ballet Of Apes tapestries together sessions that read like a who’s who from outside the label’s castle walls — in Australia with Mikey Young (Total Control/Eddy Current Suppression Ring), in San Francisco with Mike Donovan (ex-Sic Alps), Shayde Sartin (ex-Fresh & Onlys/lifetime ringer) and Mike Shoun (ex-Oh Sees/Peacers), and in Brooklyn with instrumental heavy-weights Sunwatchers — and the results are spellbinding. At the focal point of this maelstrom, the lady, as if illumed by candlelight, intones, pleads, consoles — white magic perhaps, but it carries with it the anodized tang of blood.”
File Under: Punk
Guided By Voices: Vampire on Titus
“We are pleased to announce a new vinyl pressing of the classic Guided By Voices album, Vampire on Titus. Although there were several different pressings in the 1990s, this is the first since 1998. This edition features a new master cut at Golden, is packaged in a sturdy tip-on jacket, and includes Bob’s original insert, now enlarged to a more readable size. A limited quantity will be available on opaque yellow vinyl, the remainder virgin black. Originally released in 1993, Vampire was not unique at that time in its 4 track recording methodology, but it was perhaps the first to garner major media attention. Many minds were blown, and a few were baffled enough to return the album to the store, believing the crude sound meant their copy was defective. Vampire occupies a unique place in the GBV discography. The album is a snapshot of a brief time in the band’s history, a turning point after having broken up the previous year. It does not include any older or last-minute material. Although sonically consistent, the songs exhibit tremendous variety, skirting several genres and many moods. The lineup is just a trio: Robert Pollard and brother Jimmy with Tobin Sprout. Although it could be described as one of GBV’s ‘difficult’ LPs, it has several songs that could’ve been standouts on Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes. It was their first album that was not self-released. It is an innocent album, unaware of its audience, and fearless to the core as only true outsiders can be. As such, Vampire on Titus is an essential piece for even the more casual fan of the band. It’s also just a damn good album that’s held up to repeated listens for a quarter century.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Lantern: Dimensions (Dark Descent) LP
Finland’s Lantern have been illuminating death metal’s dark passages since 2007. Fresh off 2019’s Lost Paragraphs EP (also on Dark Descent Records), they returns with their third full-length of timeless death metal, Dimensions. Dimensions sees the band continuing on their established path by incorporating melodic lead work and memorable riffs with the distinctive vocals of Necrophilos. It’s the perfect balance between the band’s 2013 debut Below and 2017’s II: Morphosis. The six new tracks here further entrenches the band as one of death metal’s elite.
File Under: Metal
Laraaji: Sun Piano (All Saints) LP
Spiritual keyboard improvisations performed by Laraaji and recorded in a Brooklyn Church by Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs, Mary Lattimore). Sun Piano finds Laraaji fulfilling a lifelong ambition to return to his first instrument, learnt whilst growing up in 1950s New Jersey. A departure from his FX-soaked cosmic zither jams, these elegant miniatures nevertheless reveal enough personality and inner light to be clearly identifiable as ‘Laraaji Music’. This release is the latest step in something of a late career renaissance for the New York City based musician and mystic. He first came to public attention in the late 70s via his entry in the legendary Brian Eno-produced Ambient series of albums, Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance. In the last few years his music has been re-discovered by a whole new generation of fans via reissues from the likes of the Numero Group, Light In The Attic and Leaving Records; new collaborations with underground musicians Dallas Acid and Sun Araw; and a revitalized live presence that has seen him share concert stages worldwide with the likes of Solange and Jonathan Wilson. This latest musical side step introduces a new chapter to the story of a much-loved cult icon.
File Under: New Age
Laura Marling: Song for Our Daughter
Marble Purple & White Vinyl. Laura Marling’s exquisite seventh album ‘Song For Our Daughter’ arrives almost without pre-amble or warning in the midst of uncharted global chaos, and yet instantly and tenderly offers a sense of purpose, clarity and calm. As a balm for the soul, this full-blooded new collection could be posited as Laura’s richest to date, but in truth it’s another incredibly fine record by a British artist who rarely strays from delivering incredibly fine records. Taking much of the production reins herself, alongside long-time collaborators Ethan Johns and Dom Monks, Laura has layered up lush string arrangements and a broad sense of scale to these songs without losing any of the intimacy or reverence we’ve come to anticipate and almost take for granted from her throughout the past decade.
File Under: Indie Rock
OST: The Doll Squad (Modern Harmonic) LP
Bass, organ, wah wah, va-va-voom! The alleged inspiration for the hit television series Charlie’s Angels, Ted V. Mikels’ ‘73 spy thriller looks much better than it has any right to, with brash color, gorgeously attired babes, and some visually appealing shooting locations. Composer Nicholas Carras’ score for the film provided the perfect mix of Big Band, 1960s James Bond, and 1970s “wacka-wacka” funk filtered through the mind of a son of Greek immigrants. On vinyl for the first time, and including a DVD of the entire film with a special Modern Harmonic edit made to sync with the LP! The Doll Squad is probably writer/director/ editor/producer/special effects technician/etcetera Ted V. Mikels’ most mainstream film, as he clearly had commercial intentions for his 1973 escapist action flick. The plot doesn’t make you think too much, other than thinking about a bevy of voluptuous women who kick, shoot, and kill evil males bent on taking over the world. Exploitation doesn’t get any better than this! Carras composed a rousing score using an augmented jazz band featuring brass, woodwinds, percussion, piano, organ, electric guitar, and a few electronic devices to manipulate some of the sounds. This ensemble provided everything from seventies action music with wah-wah guitar to lovely melodies accentuating the gun-toting lovelies.
File Under: OST
OST: Psychedelic Sex Kicks (Modern Harmonic) LP
This 1967 sleazealogue about the sex and drug crazed San Francisco hippie underground is a strange trip soundtracked by the psychedelic sounds of sitar and tabla, backwards vocals, heavy breathing, satanic flutes bathed in tape delay, all underscoring the thoughts and hallucinations of the film’s plastered protagonists. It’s a sensual, id-shaking, mind-bending experience that may leave you forever changed! Pressed on colored vinyl, and includes a DVD of the entire film!
File Under: OST
Pissgrave: Demo (Profound Lore) LP
The infamous Pissgrave demo from 2014 sees its re-release, since its initial cassette release, for the first time on vinyl format. This demo was where it all began for what has become recognized as one of the most notorious, repulsive, and abhorrent death metal bands of these times. Easily dismissed upon its release because of the band name and cover artwork (and pretty much its lack of any kind of “artistic” merit), once Pissgrave became recognized as one of the most important death metal bands emerging today, people have been clamoring for some sort of repressing of their 2014 demo and now its finally being presented once again, this time on a limited / one-time pressing vinyl edition.
File Under: Metal
Robert Rental: Paralysis (Dark Entries) LP
Robert Rental is an artist as influential as he is overlooked. An anchor of the early British DIY and post-punk scene, his name is most frequently uttered alongside illustrious collaborators such as Thomas Leer and Daniel Miller. Dark Entries and Optimo ally to illuminate some of Rental’s early solo works with an expanded reissue of his debut 7” “Paralysis/A.C.C.” Both labels have previously excavated Rental’s catalog; we reissued the collaborative LP with Glenn Wallis in 2017, and Optimo released a collection of demos in 2018. The double A-side “Paralysis /A.C.C.” 7” was self-released on Regular Records in 1978, around the same time as Leer’s “Private Plane/Internationa”l 7”. The record is a perfect document of the DIY ethos. It was recorded with the assistance of Leer in the council flat that Robert lived in, using an assortment of budget electronics: a Roland drum machine, a Stylophone, an Electroharmonix DrQ, and a TEAC A3440 4-track recorder. The record’s sleeves were surreptitiously photocopied after hours at the offices of Virgin Records by Robert’s partner Hilary Farrow, and the labels were hand-stamped The initial print run was a scant 650 copies. With its prominent notes of Krautrock, prog, dub, and ambient, “Paralysis/A.C.C.” points to a then-emergent musical form. “Paralysis” makes its four and a half minute runtime feel like an eon, an endless morass of processed vocals and mournful melodies underpinned by the static whirrings of synthesizers. “A.C.C.” is an angular pop song that is at once both fractured and droning, like a skipping record that sounds incrementally more warped with each iteration. The original 7” material is joined here by three previously unreleased tracks. Instrumentals “G.B.D.” and “Ugly Talk” evidence Rental’s outre-prog and melodic electronic sides, respectively. Sitting between the instrumentals is “Untitled,” a sparse gem that layers Rental’s gently processed vox with guitar and drum machine, beautiful in its simplicity. The Paralysis EP has been remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy studios. The record comes in a sleeve with the original xeroxed 7” artwork. Also included is a four page booklet with lyrics, photos, and archival press material.
File Under: Electronic
Lingo Seini et Son Groupe: Musique Hauka (Sahel) LP
One of the first full-length recordings of Hauka ritual music. Praise songs and sacred incantations to the spirits to inhabit the body. Call and response chants, the pluck of a monochord lute and relentless pounding percussion combine in a dizzying nonstop session. The Hauka movement started nearly a century ago and has persisted on the fringes of Nigerien society. Documented in the 1955 Jean Rouch film Les maîtres fous, the Hauka are a pantheon on spirits mirrored on colonial and military figures. Central to the religion is the “Holley Hori” possession ceremony, a ritual driven by militaristic percussive music, wherein spirits come into the body in powerful and violent manifestations. Lingo Seini has played ritual music for almost 60 years, learning from his father. He is joined by his son Youssouf on the calabash and Issaka Moulla, playing his homemade kuntigi. The group regularly accompanies Hauka priests in ceremonies. Recorded with a single microphone in the outskirts of Niamey.
File Under: Africa
Skeleton: s/t (20 Buck Spin) LP
ON LIMITED SILVER / GOLD MARBLE W/ BLACK & WHITE SPLATTER VINYL!!! Ripping forth like a dagger from the flesh of Austin, Texas, comes the self-titled debut album from the lone star state’s new wreckers of civilization, Skeleton. Having plied their black market trade for several years in grime-infested underground dungeons and sub-basements, 20 Buck Spin was called forth to issue their first album, a cataclysmic expansion of the band’s unhallowed vision, venturing well beyond its earlier borders. Though some might be prone to lazily apply simplistic genre tags to Skeleton’s style, the reality is far more sweeping as this debut immediately reveals an excessively sharp metallic-charged juggernaut of severe force and high plains mayhem. Contained within are war-like hymns for the soldiers of a scorched apocalypse to come, from which a bleak alternate future will no doubt emerge. The eleven tracks comprising Skeleton signal the black dawn of a new breed, and when the final somber strains of “Catacombs” close out the album, an eerie sense of the end as the beginning lingers like a morbid premonition…
File Under: Metal
Sparks: A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip (BMG) LP
Brothers Ron and Russell Mael aka art-pop outfit Sparks return in 2020 with their twenty-fourth studio album, A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip. Since storming into the charts, minds and airwaves in 1974 with “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both of Us” from their third album Kimono My House, the musically vital pop pioneers have created a unique legacy both on record and in their live performances. A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip follows Sparks’ 2017 album Hippopotamus, an extraordinary record which saw them return to the Top 10 and was universally acclaimed with many critics declaring it to be one of the finest albums of the year and the pinnacle of the band’s career – until now. Includes the bombastic, tongue-in-cheek new single “Self-Effacing.”
File Under: Rock
Spoon: Girls Can Tell (Matador) LP
Girls Can Tell served as Spoon’s stunning follow-up to 1998’s A Series of Sneaks as well as their full-length debut for Merge in 2001. The Austin, Texas indie rock outfit’s third studio album overall finds the extremely talented Britt Daniel developing into one of the most unique voices in rock n’ roll with a remarkable maturity and economy to his songwriting. The perfect blend of craft and cool, Rolling Stone hailed Girls Can Tell as “A start-to-finish triumph!” Upon the album’s 15th anniversary, Under The Mag noted that, “Spoon have gone on to make some very good albums since Girls Can Tell, but they’ve never made one as great and one that expertly weaves their accessible and experimental sides quite as well.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Spoon: A Series of Sneaks (Matador) LP
Originally released on Elektra in 1998, Spoon’s cult-classic sophomore full length, A Series of Sneaks hinted at the deconstructed pop perfection that was to come and earned the enigmatic Texas-based band comparisons to guitar-heavy post-punk forefathers like Wire, The Pixies and Guided By Voices. Produced with Austin legend John Croslin, the ever efficient Britt Daniel/Jim Eno battery is already at play here offering up charming pop melodies and energetic rhythms galore with plenty of hooks and vitriol to spare. “For all the blood-pumping punk “Utilitarian” and “The Guestlist/The Execution” offer, the more nuanced performances of “Reservations” and “The Minor Tough” show the band’s true growth. A Series of Sneaks most notable song is fan favorite “Metal Detektor,” a lo-fi ballad about desperately trying to reach beyond rock bottom” (Paste).
File Under: Indie Rock
Spoon: Kill the Moonlight (Matador) LP
2002’s Kill the Moonlight finds Britt Daniel and long time musical conspirator Jim Eno destroying the form book and branching into uncharted territory. It is a staggering achievement, with stylistic range and emotional depth far beyond that of prior Spoon works. Far less linear than Girls Can Tell (2001), Kill the Moonlight is as sonically advanced as it is lyrically daring; no longer rooted to a strict guitar-bass-drum format, Spoon’s increased use of keyboards, self-created samples and implementation of studio effects is in stark contrast to the more traditionalist Girls Can Tell. That said, there is no killer gimmick at play, the weapon wielded most often is Daniel’s brain. There are no precedents for Britt’s channeling of Alan Vega on the claustrophobic opener “Small Stakes,” much as the falsetto vocal with minimalist backing of “Stay Don’t Go” sounds like nothing else in the band’s oeuvre. But if there is a common thread running through each of Spoon’s albums, it is in the way their songs are instantly memorable and impossible to shake. Cuts like “Jonathan Fisk,” “Someone, Something” and “The Way We Get By” certainly fit that bill here.
File Under: Indie Rock
Stooges: Live at Goose Lake (Third Man) LP
The apocryphal tale of the Stooges performance at the Goose Lake festival has been told countless times over the past five decades. Bassist Dave Alexander, due to nerves or overindulgence or whatever you choose to fill in the blank, absolutely spaces in front of 200,000 attendees. He does not play a single note on stage. He is summarily fired by Iggy Pop immediately following the gig. Here starts the beginning of the end of the Stooges. But what if that simply…wasn’t the case? What if you could prove otherwise? Well, it’d be the proto-punk equivalent of having an immediate, on-the-scene, man on the street report of all those folkies booing Dylan’s electric set at Newport in ‘65. Irrefutable evidence of what actually went down. Found buried in the basement of a Michigan farmhouse amongst other tasty analog artifacts of the same era, the 1/4″ stereo two-track tape of the Stooges complete performance at Goose Lake on August 8th, 1970 is the Rosetta Stone for fans of this seminal band. Not only is this the last ever performance of the original godhead Stooges line-up, but it is the only known soundboard recording of said line-up. Playing the entirety of their canonical 1970 masterpiece Fun House, the sound, the performance, everything about this record is revelatory. Would you believe that…Alexander actually did play bass on this occasion? Or that, despite a handful of flubs, he manages to hold his own? Especially on the bass-led songs “Dirt” and “Fun House”? Does Iggy provoke the crowd to tear down festival barriers? Did the powers that be pull the plug on the Stooges? So many questions are answered only to have more arise. Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the performance, Live at Goose Lake: August 8th, 1970, is the rare release that literally rewrites the history of these Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees!
File Under: Rock
Sun Ra: Celestial Love (Modern Harmonic) LP
True studio albums of Ra with the Arkestra are rare on this planet or beyond. This studio saucer is an interplanetary interpreter, here to convert even the faintest of heart to the sounds of Sun Ra. Recorded with Arkestra veterans at the same NY studio that hosted countless Sun Ra sessions since the late 60s, this first ever reissue of Celestial Love contains the only known recordings of the titular track and “Blue Intensity,” plus a cut not on the original Saturn LP!
File Under: Jazz
Sunwatchers: Brave Rats (Amish) LP
Amish is pleased to announce a new EP from SUNWATHERS, the band’s third Amish-related release. Quick on the heels of the band’s fourth full-length, Oh Yeah? (Trouble in Mind) out April 2020, Brave Rats celebrates Sunwatchers and the EP format, well after the moment of the latter’s extinction. The title track delivers Sunwatchers’ most anthemic pop music to date, while the other five tracks mix the political with the punk, street toughs aligning with the avant-garde. Features covers of Sonny Sharrock’s “Blind Willie” and a live version of Alice Coltrane’s “Ptah, the El Daoud.” One-time pressing of 500 copies housed in die-cut jackets.
File Under: Psych, Kosmische
Terminal Nation: Holocene Extinction
(20 Buck Spin) LP
ON LIMITED RED / NEON GREEN MERGE W/ NEON YELLOW SPLATTER VINYL!!! America is a tinderbox. Lockdowns, pandemic, police brutality, kleptocracy, the orange menace. The injustice system is alive and well. Since day one Terminal Nation has been shining a light on it all through their crushing music, point blank lyrics, merch and media, lashing out at institutional corruption and racist power structures. And not from a liberal coastal enclave where it’s a generally welcome message but from Deep Red Arkansas. Now with the new album Holocene Extinction at hand, Terminal Nation return at a pivotal moment, where lines are being drawn and the possibilities of compromise are going up in smoke. Like fuel to the fires of dissent the band’s brutally heavy amalgam of metallic hardcore, death metal and power violence eviscerates with unforgiving sincerity the recognizable and the insidious forces propping up the White Supremacy machine. Events are moving fast now, the dominoes are falling and everyday it’s more apparent a reckoning is at hand. War is upon us and a Holocene Extinction is a likely outcome, because one cannot save a world that refuses to be saved…
File Under: Metal
That Dog: Retreat from the Sun (Third Man) LP
Originally conceived as a solo album from that dog. frontwoman Anna Waronker, the third studio LP from the band arrived polished, constructed and aerodynamic for the late 90’s post-grunge haze it emerged from. While gems like “Hawthorne” quaintly imagine punk rock shows in car garages and “Minneapolis” recalls the “I only saw her for one second” ephemeral beauty of Citizen Kane, The album itself traverses a myriad of emotions and counts among its fans both Pat Smear of the Germs and the Vivian Girls. Touring in support for Retreat had that dog sharing stages with the likes of Counting Crows, The Wallflowers and Blur. A deep interview by Matt Pinfield on MTV’s 120 Minutes provided prime underground exposure. Boosted by a glossy music video, “Never Say Never” even found its way onto the Billboard Modern Rock charts. While a picture disc version of alternate mixes was self-released by the band 2017, this is the first-ever vinyl release of this album.
File Under: Indie Rock
Washed Out: Purple Noon (Sub Pop) LP
Washed Out is Atlanta-based producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ernest Greene. Over the course of three uniquely enchanting, critically-lauded albums and an EP, the music he makes has proved both transportive and visual, each new effort inviting listeners into immersive, self-contained universes. With Purple Noon, his fourth album, and return to Sub Pop, he delivers the most accessible Washed Out creation to date. For Purple Noon, Greene again wrote, recorded, and produced the entirety of the album, with mixing handled by frequent collaborator Ben H. Allen. Production of the album followed a brief stint of writing for other artists (most notably with Sudan Archives on her debut Athena) which enabled Greene to explore genres like R&B and modern pop for the first time. These brighter, more robust sounds made their way into the songs of Purple Noon and mark a new chapter in Greene’s growth both as a producer and songwriter. The vocals are front and center, tempos are slower, beats bolder, and overall, a more comprehensive depth of dynamics that has yet to be heard on a Washed Out record. One can hear the luxuriousness of Sade, the sonic bombast of Phil Collins, and the lush atmosphere of the great Balearic beat classics. The coastlines of the Mediterranean inspire Purple Noon, and Greene pays tribute to the region’s distinct island culture – with all of its rugged elegance and old-world charm – and uses it as a backdrop to tell the album’s stories of passion, love, and loss (its title comes from the 1960 film directed by Rene Clement, which is based on the novel The Talented Mister Ripley by Patricia Highsmith). Much like the romantic Hollywood epics, the melodrama throughout is strong – a serendipitous first meeting in “Too Late”; the passionate love affair in “Paralyzed”; the disintegration of a relationship in “Time to Walk Away”; the reunion with a lost love in “Game of Chance.” Each Washed Out release has been rooted in a form of escapism, but coupled with this new layer of emotional intensity, Purple Noon takes the project’s music to dazzling new heights.
File Under: Indie Rock
Whitney: Candid (Secretly Canadian) LP
Covers have long been an integral part of Whitney’s ethos. Ever since the band first formed in a Chicago apartment in 2014, tackling songs by the Everly Brothers, Allen Toussaint, and more played an important part in the songwriting process for their breakthrough 2016 debut Light Upon The Lake. Since then, their takes on NRBQ’s “Magnet” and Neil Young’s “On the Way Home” have become live staples, an essential and communal part of their sets. Their love for the music that makes up their deepest influences has always been genuine and tangible. Following their acclaimed sophomore 2019 album Forever Turned Around, Whitney have decided to return with a loving tribute to songs that have been formative and lasting to the entire band. Candid is a 10-song collection boasting covers of artists like Kelela, David Byrne, John Denver, SWV, and others but it’s also a band challenging themselves to explore more than their musical comfort zone. “This could’ve been as simple as saying we really love these songs and we love our bandmates and making a covers record just felt right but it truly became an exploration into how we can evolve as a band going forward,” says drummer/singer Julien Ehrlich. Recorded in January and February of 2020 over multiple sessions at Treehouse Studios in Chicago and Flora Recording and Playback in Portland, Candid finally sees the full touring band in a recording studio together. “This is the first time we really saw what the live iteration of Whitney sounds like in a studio. It was a really celebratory vibe and everyone in the room fed off each other’s energy,” says guitarist Max Kakacek. It’s the band’s best reflection so far of their triumphant live show as most of these renditions were recorded live. Featuring keyboardist Malcolm Brown, bassist Josiah Marshall, trumpeter Will Miller, as well as guitarists Print Chouteau and Ziyad Asrar, the entire live unit is firing at all cylinders thanks to its tight-knit and road-tested relationship. Their chemistry exudes throughout the tracklist but it’s especially apparent when they open up the dynamic to their friends, like Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee joining John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” On the cover of the classic, Ehrlich and Crutchfield’s voices merge for a joyous harmony over the chorus. Over eight days at Treehouse Studios, the band would show up in the morning, learn a song together, and choose an instrument, leading to a freewheeling and adventurous atmosphere. Their renditions of SWV’s ’90s R&B heater “Rain” or David Byrne and Brian Eno’s 2008 track “Strange Overtones” prove this, as they stretch Whitney into new musical directions. “We love these songs and all have an emotional connection to each one, but we really wanted to see if we could take the skeleton of each track and approach it in a way that felt new. We didn’t want to recreate what any of these artists already did,” says Kakacek. This is most evident on Candid opener “Bank Head,” which tackles the sparse and hypnotic electronic single by Kelela. Ehrlich adds, “It’s something we’ve never done before and probably a direction that we want to explore in our future albums” he continues, “We knew we couldn’t beat these songwriters at their own game. Instead, we wanted to find songs that were great at their core and could be reimagined.” At its core, Candid is a celebration of both the songs Whitney has adored throughout its formation and the band’s evolving bond through years of relentless touring and an enduring friendship. “One thing we realized is how these songwriters could make amazing songs with so much simplicity. Taking these skeletons and working with this incredible material means we’re keeping our chops and staying tight as a band,” says Ehrlich. The LP is a sincere snapshot of their evolving and eclectic tastes that’s imbued with a wholly inviting charm. It’s Whitney at their most unvarnished and inventive but most importantly, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the songwriters who’ve helped them most.
File Under: Indie Rock
Various: Kaleidoscope – New Spirits Known and Unknown (Soul Jazz) LP
Soul Jazz Records’ new album ‘Kaleidoscope – New Spirits Known and Unknown’ brings together many of the ground-breaking artists involved in the new jazz scene that has developed in the UK over the last few years. Featured artists include Matthew Halsall, Yazmin Lacey, Ill Considered, Tenderlonious, Theon Cross, Emma-Jean Thackray and many, many more in this ground-breaking release. As well as sharing a pioneering spirit in these new artists’ approach to frontier-crossing musical boundaries, a further theme of this album is that many also share a determination to independent practices – and most of these artists’ recordings featured here are either self-published or released on independent labels. While the attention of this new wave of jazz artists has up until now has been London-based, this album shows how this movement is spread across the whole of Britain (and indeed beyond). ‘Kaleidoscope – New Spirits Known and Unknown’ shows that while there is commonality in these artists approach to music, there is a wide variety of styles – from deep spiritual jazz, electronic experimentalisation, punk-edged funk, uplifting modal righteousness, deep soulful vocals and much more. Soul Jazz Records’ new release comes as a superb one-off pressing special deluxe triple album edition which comes with a bonus limited-edition one-off pressing 7″ single, a standard triple album, and a deluxe double CD pack. This album also comes with extensive sleevenotes, artist interviews and exclusive photography.
File Under: Jazz
Archer of Loaf: Icky Mettle (Merge) LP
Archer of Loaf: White Trash Heroes (Merge) LP
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band: The Serpent’s Mouth (Big Crown) LP
John Bender: Plaster Falling (Superior Viaduct) LP
Blood Incantation: Interdimensional Extinction (Dark Descent) LP
Coriky: s/t (Dischord) LP
Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left (Island) LP
Brian Eno: Ambient 1: Music for Airports (Astralwerks) LP
Brian Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets (Astralwerks) LP
The Fall: Grotesque (After the Gramme) (Superior Viaduct) LP
Ellen Fullman: In the Sea (Superior Viaduct) LP
Jon Gibson: Songs & Melodies 1973 (Superior Viaduct) LP
Randy Holden: Population II (Riding Easy) LP
Idles: Brutalism (Partisan) LP
King Crimson: Islands (Panegyric) LP
King Crimson: Larks Tongues in Aspic (Panegyric) LP
King Crimson: Lizard (Panegyric) LP
King Crimson: Thrak (Panegyric) LP
King Crimson: Three of a Perfect Pair (Panegyric) LP
Fela Kuti: No Agreement (Knitting Factory) LP
Raul Lovisoni/Francesco Messina: Prati Bagnati del Monte (Superior Viaduct) LP
Moondog: On the Streets of New York (Mississippi) LP
Thurston Moore: Trees Outside the Academy (Daydream Library) LP
Ennio Morricone: Un Uomo da Rispettare (Superior Viaduct) LP
Once & Future Band: Deleted Scenes (Castle Face) LP
Portishead: Dummy (Polydor) LP
Arthur Russell: Instrumentals (Audika) LP
Sonic Youth: Sister (Goofin) LP
Spectral Voice: Eroded Corridors of Unbeing (Dark Descent) LP
Sunwatchers: s/t (Castle Face) LP
Tom Waits: Heartattack & Vine (Anti) LP
Tom Waits: Nighthawks at the Diner (Anti) LP
Tom Waits: Small Change (Anti) LP
Tom Waits: Closing Time (Anti) LP
Witch Vomit: Buried Deep in a Bottomless Grave (20 buck Spin) LP