..news letter #966 – dropping…..

Alright! Not only have we received a BUNCH of RSD exclusives this week, we’ve also received a bunch of just great stuff in general. Everything is up on the site now for your click ‘n buy pleasures. 

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.


This Saturday, Sept 26th is the second of three Record Store Day Drops. They’ve split the list up and spread it out. Our August Remote Drop was a huge success and people seemed really happy wtih not having to line up and stay safe, so we’re going do things the same..  

All our RSD exclusives will be available to purchase at 11am on Sept 26th, THIS SATURDAY we’ll bag ’em and tag ’em for you to pick up at your convenience. Check our RSD page on our site for more details and a peak at what we’re going to have available, more items being added daily until the big day!

I’ll pop on Instagram live shortly before 11am for when I set the items to go live. If you were with us last time, you now know, it takes a few minutes for everything to go propagate, so feel free to put in multiple orders as things pop up to snag what you’re after. We’ll email you when your order is ready to be picked up.

As usual, some items, our orders have been cut, in some cases to a meager one copy, if any, I wish it wasn’t this way, but that sadly isn’t how RSD seems to work, so, sorry if you don’t get what you’re looking for. Some things may still be coming, if I have confirmed quantities, I will put it up for pre-purchase on the site with a note that it is en route.

 …..rsd picks…..

Lee Fields: Let’s Get A Groove On (Daptone) LP
Freshly unleashed from the vaults of Desco Records and remastered for the first time since its 1998 release, it is an honor to announce the re-release of one of the finest and most satisfying needle drops of the last 40 years. An album that needs no introduction, yet one is required…we’re talking raw soul and heavy, heavy funk sung with aplomb by one of the best in the biz…Ladies and Gentlemen…Presenting! the Lee Fields’ classic, “Let’s Get a Groove”. And groove you shall, for this is supernova of soulful superiority. This album will feature an exclusive green splatter vinyl, has been out-of-print for over a decade, and never made available digitally.

File Under: Funk, Soul, RSD
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Emerald Web: Valley of the Birds (Trading Places) LP
A rarefied blend of vintage synthesizers and acoustic instruments, the Valley Of The Birds album by Emerald Web was created in 1981 by two pioneers in electronic music, space music, and audio technology, Bob Stohl and Kat Epple. Originally recorded and composed in their 4-track, reel-to-reel home studio, they created their signature thickly-layered timbres by serving as recording engineers, and simultaneously playing an array of monophonic synthesizers, flutes, other acoustic instruments, and Lyricons. The Lyricon Electronic Wind Instrument is a remarkable hybrid synthesizer/woodwind instrument that uses additive synthesis, and a bass clarinet mouthpiece. The album liner notes, written by Kat Epple, lists music instruments and recounts some of the band’s experiences in 1981, in the San Francisco Bay Area where the couple lived. 180 gram vinyl; Gatefold sleeve; edition of 500.

File Under: Ambient, New Age, RSD
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Various: Hi Tide Groove (Fat Possum) LP
Kickin presents Hi Tide Groove, DJ’s Choice 1969 – 1981, a collection of Hi Records singles from the famous (Al Green and Ann Peebles) to the obscure (Africano and Jean Plum). Released for Record Store Day 2020 on 180g colored vinyl.  
1. Larry “T-Byrd” Gordon “Contact Off Funk”, 2. Al Green “Love Ritual”, 3. Ann Peebles “Come To Mama”, 4. Syl Johnson “The Love You Left Behind”, 5. Ann Peebles “Somebody’s On Your Case”, 6. O.V. Wright “Into Something (Can’t Shake Loose)”, 7. Veneice “Stepchild”, 8. Ann Peebles “Slipped, Tripped and Fell In Love”, 9. Africano “Satisfactorize Your Mind”, 10. Africano “Open Your Hearts Pts. 1&2”, 11. Majik “Back Into Your Heart”, 12. Al Green “Full of Fire”, 13. Bobby McClure “She’s Miss Wonderful”, 14. George Jackson “Let Them Know You Care”, 15. Phillip Mitchell “Little Things”, 16. Jean Plum “Look At That Boy”, 17. Ann Peebles “It’s Your Thing”, 18. Al Green “Get Back Baby”, 19. Willie Mitchell “My Babe”, 20. Ann Peebles “I Don’t Lend My Man”, 21.Iota “Love Come Weekend”, 22. Odyssey “No One Else Pts. 1&2”, 23. Donna Rhodes “Where’s Your Love Been”, 24. Jean Plum “Pour On The Loving”, 25. Ann Peebles featuring Don Bryant “Man Belle-Amour”

File Under: Funk, Soul, RSD
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…..picks of the week…..

Sarah Davachi: Cantus, Descant (Late Music) LP
The new Sarah Davachi record is an 80 minute, 17 track double album meditation on impermanence and endings, framed by minimalistic organ études and careful harmonic layering. On two tracks the artist’s own vocals are also heard for the first time. This is the first release on the artist’s own label, Late Music. The title of the record – Cantus, Descant – has both literal and metaphorical meaning and is something of a concept album that addresses the relationship between the two. Davachi comments: “The pervading affect on the album is one that gives reverence to the suspension, the epoché, a space where we welcome and attempt to reconcile impermanence. It is an opportunity to go inside – oneself, one’s sound – in order to simultaneously commune with our comforts and that which we mourn, perhaps not unlike the function of a hymn.”

File Under: Ambient, Classical, Minimalism
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Vox Populi!: Myscitismes (Platform 23) LP
Billing themselves as an ethno-industrial outfit, French group Vox Populi! have more in common with the German kosmische movement than the sound of their own fair land. They came from serious stock, including Axel Kyrou’s mother who was a musique concrete pioneer at GRM, which set them up to make a bold and challenging debut album Myscitismes, originally released on their own Vox Man label in 1985. Combining advanced studio manipulation and liberal FX treatments with a pastoral folk thrum, motorik synth work and a heavy dose of pan-continental mysticism, they created a stunning and forward-thinking work that sounds shockingly relevant in the here and now. Finally reissued after more than 30 years, now is the perfect chance to grab this trailblazing slice of sonic sorcery.

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

Black Magnet: Hallucination Scene (Colour) (20 Buck Spin) LP
ON LIMITED RED / BLACK MERGE W/ RED SPLATTER VINYL!!! While birthed in the late 1980s, it was in the 1990s that the “industrial metal” genre came to full fruition with the likes of Godflesh, Ministry, Pitch Shifter, Fear Factory, Front Line Assembly and even Nine Inch Nails carving out (or in some cases sampling) metal-inspired riffing over a backbone of electronic malevolence and brutal machine-driven percussion. In that tradition, Black Magnet offer the haunted pummeling synthesis that is their debut album Hallucination Scene. From the initial battering of opener “Divination Equipment” it’s clear Black Magnet play heavy guitar-focused music with equal devotion to industrial rhythms and electronic machine thunder. Throughout the punishing lurch, a dark melodic sense throbs with uniform attention paid to the club floor as much as the mosh pit. All the while Black Magnet progenitor James Hammontree guides the hallucinatory torment and ecstasy with his acerbic delivery. The sonic magnitude of industrial metal and post-punk muscularity, heavy synth textures and rhythmic militance imbue Hallucination Scene with a frenetic pulse acutely attuned to the head on collision of alternate dystopian timelines that is 2020.

File Under: Metal
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Bourbonese Qualk: Hope (Mannequin) LP
The second album to be reissued by Mannequin and Platform 23 Records of the music from Bourbonese Qualk, Hope saw the politically active musical entity expand on their mix of music, art and politics. Staunchly independent, doing the recording and design via their Recloose Organisation label, by 1984 the group had occupied a large disused building on the Old Kent Road, becoming the base for the band’s activities as well as other creative and political activism. Recorded at the Ambulance Station, Hope is full of unceasing drum machine rhythms, electro pulses, echoing samples and lo-fi synths matched with strummed guitars and dub bass. The accompanying drones and snarled vocals go beyond any early 80’s industrial tag to be something more unique, with the uncompromising, conceptual and avant flashes showing a more experimental buzz, an awkward quasi-funk noisy nuisance. This is music as much for then and today, a radical, revolutionary cultural force that acts as a positive social charge.

File Under: Industrial
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Bourbonese Qualk: Laughing Afternoon
(Mannequin) LP

Mannequin Records and Platform 23 come together to start a series of stand-alone reissues of the music of post-punk / industrialists Bourbonese Qualk, starting with their 1983 album Laughing Afternoon. Formed in Southport during the late-70s, the band came to prominence out of South London’s squat scene via their own Recloose Organisation. Early releases including the band’s first experiments put to tape and the now highly sought after Sudden Departure compilation featuring luminaries Colin Potter, Eg Oblique Graph (Bryan Jones) and Lol Coxhill, laid the foundations of their burgeoning sound. Recorded and produced at the Recloose Studios in Camberwell in 1983, Simon Crab, Julian Gilbert and Steven Tanza infused their music with politically charged atmospherics, instrumental exploration, heavily laden reverb and dub, all projected by drum machine rhythms to assemble a musical collage which encapsulated strands beyond contemporary music. Track titles decipher little, as with the music, a discourse not belonging to a set style or movement, but crossing boundaries of supposition, pushing distortion and outernational leanings towards something else, a primordial discant. While tape loops warp the ears and spoken vocals propel songs like Blood Orange Bargain Day and To Hell With The Consequences and contrasting guitar acoustics pierce the mood on Qualk Street and Spanner In The Works, the overall embrace is claustrophobic, embedding a foreboding for the times. This unique, indulgent, cross genre melting pot where pounding rhythms, wailing trumpets, mournful melodica and electronic pulses all spiral in a contagious dissonance that heralded Bourbonese Qualk to the wider world.

File Under: Industrial
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Will Butler: Generations (Merge) LP
In the five years since WILL BUTLER released his debut album, Policy, he’s toured the world both solo and as a member of ARCADE FIRE, released the Friday Night live album, recorded and released Arcade Fire’s international #1 album Everything Now, earned his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, hosted a series of touring town halls on local issues (police contracts, prison reform, municipal paid sick leave, voting rights), and spent time raising his three children. He also found the time and inspiration to write and record a new album, Generations. While the songs on Generations contain their fair share of dread and regret, there is ultimately a lightness that shines through Butler’s music. That brightness is at its most intense when he and his solo band—MILES FRANCIS, SARA DOBBS, and JULIE and JENNY SHORE—perform on stage. Their electricity is palpable throughout Generations, with the bulk of the new songs having been worked out live. Wild synth production—gnarly bass synths with livedrums—and anthemic backing vocals as on first single “Surrender” are punctuated by intimate, direct moments: Butler’s voice cracking on “Fine” as he conjures his ancestors, and “Promised,” a meditation on friendship, how lives are built together, and how and why they drift apart. Generations was recorded and produced by Butler in the basement of his home in Brooklyn. Tracking finished in March 2020, as New York closed down for the pandemic. Half the record was mixed in Montreal by longtime Arcade Fire engineer MARK LAWSON, the other half by Brooklyn-based producer SHIFTEE (who is, incidentally, bandmate Julie Shore’s husband and Will’s brother-in-law).

File Under: Indie Rock, Arcade Fire
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Bill Callahan: Gold Record (Drag City) LP
For his first record in….uh, well, just a little over a year (!), BILL CALLAHAN’s given us his first Gold Record. You could probably call the album “Gold Records” too: all the songs have a stand-alone feel, like singles, meant for you to have a deep encounter with all of a sudden, from the start of the song to the finish. And what do you got when you have a record full of singles—and let’s face it, hit singles, at that? That’s a Gold Record for you. From the top, it’s clear this is music with an affection for people, as Bill immediately slips easily and deeply into his characters. Among them: a limo driver, a watcher of television, a suitor, a man in a broken-down car, a reader of books, a Ry Cooder superfan, and in the closing number, a wanderer who “notices when people notice things”. The voices of the people, with their ups and downs, their loss and laughter. You can feel the love. Basics were recorded live with MATT KINSEY playing guitars, guitars, guitars and JAIMIE ZURVERZA holding it down “and then letting it go” on bass. Drums and horns were brought in for a couple songs. Spirits were high! Six out of the ten were done first take; overdubs, when needed, came equally quickly. Listening, one hears their intuitive cohesion coming together richly behind Bill’s titanic voice spread across the stereo spectrum: the gentle conversation of Bill and Matt’s guitars, the subtle percussion of the bass and drums, and odd appearances of trumpet, woodwind and synth, striking notes both decorous and discordant, sounding for all the world like the naturally occurring sound meant to accompany and express lives lived everywhere.

File Under: Indie Rock, Folk
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Death Wheelers: Divine Filth (Riding Easy) LP
From beyond the gutter, The Death Wheelers bring you their second album, the soundtrack to the fictional bikesploitation flick that never was: Divine Filth. Drawing inspiration from instrumental rock, proto-metal, punk and funk, the band embalms the listener in their sonic world of decay, groove and debauchery. Surfing the line between Motörhead, The Cramps and Dick Dale, the Canadian quartet uncompromisingly blends rawness and power in their riff-fueled compositions. Recorded entirely in forty-eight hours in a live setting just like in the good old days, this second opus is a testament to what the band stands for: a no BS attitude spiked with a heavy layer of crass. Just like their previous offering, the album is devised to serve as a soundtrack loosely based on a plot synopsis of a B-movie: “It’s 1982. Spurcity is run-down. The crime rate is up and so is drug use. A new kind of kick has hit the streets and it ain’t pretty. DTA, a powerful and highly addictive hallucinogenic drug, is transforming its loyal citizens into undead trash. Its users experience an indescribable high, but it leaves them rotting away within days, craving human flesh. No one knows who is dealing this new potent drug, but rumor has it that the motorcycle cult, The Death Wheelers, is behind this concoction. Could this be the end of civilization as we know it? What is motivating this group of psychotic individuals?” The cycle of violence indeed continues with this sordid slab of sounds. So hop on, and enjoy one last ride with The Death Wheelers.

File Under: Stoner Metal
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Tashi Dorji: Stateless (Drag City) LP
In the past two decades, TASHI DORJI has traveled a long road, recording several dozen albums and touring the world, playing his guitar solo and in collaboration with inspired others. Gifted with a sensitive ear to the clarion call of intuitive artistry, he is forever picking up his instrument and reaching through it to find new sounds. In this, he has distinguished himself among those who listen to improvised music as an incisive, distinctive player of moments. In this music, admission to the kingdom is determined on a daily basis by what’s played. Tomorrow is a new journey. Every time is. This title of this record, though. Stateless. It’s about more than just playing your way into somewhere. It invites us to perceive the hair-raising truth that these are free pieces in more ways than one. Like a sculptor, Tashi flecks away at the guitar, percussive strikes discovering the shades of folkish melodies within, while continuously shaping other contours. A resourceful and vigorous use of techniques suggest discourse and discordance. The scraps and ricochets begin to add up, shots to the head, grazing the side, exposing ribs that grin dully red. Yet moments of his bluntest touch yield fluidly to lithe feathering, or pivot to a quiet focus on selected strings, which threatens to rise up before a moment of gentle subsiding. This is improvisation: the songs playing through Tashi, beyond choices or preference. The result only of sitting and playing, no thoughts in that moment. Yet even the shreddiest, pluckiest, out-of-mindest moments, feel guided, led by a hand from beyond.

File Under: Experimental, Guitar
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John Dwyer, etc.: Bent Arcana (Castle Face) LP
“This is the first interstellar transmission from five days of electrified and improvised sessions recorded at Stu-Stu-Studio, edited down to forty minutes for your earballs. “Bent Arcana is the inceptive chapter in what I hope to be several releases showcasing these types of off-the-cuff musical compositions. So you can try your fry on and turn off. This one is very much on the ECM / ’70s hard fusion / prog-kraut tip. It is a many pronged weapon, swung by the spontaneous sentinel.” —John Dwyer

File Under: Psych, Prog, Jammin’, Oh Sees
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The Hives: Live at Third Man (Third Man) LP
In celebration of their string of sold-out dates in the US in 2019, The Hives kicked things off in Nashville and blew up the Blue Room. The band incited full arena-pit pogo energy, busting out career-spanning hits from “Tick Tick Boom” to the unforgettable, fresh-as-ever “Hate To Say I Told You So.” The evening began with the buzz of the band’s neatly-penned neon backdrop: all cool, sleek and electrified. The Hives then breezed into the room in smartly-tailored white dinner jackets, looking like RNR double-O agents, erupting right into a 1-2 punch of “Come On!” and “Walk Idiot Walk.” And for the rest of the set, the band didn’t miss a beat. It all felt like a rare moment of full attention and participation, something that we miss so badly in a time when live shows just aren’t an option. The Hives are one of the best live bands in the rock n roll game and this direct-to-acetate album is proof. “We’d been talking forever about doing a show in The Blue Room,” notes the band. “Feels good when words are put into action and that action – like always with The Hives – is Rock’n Roll perfection.”

File Under: Rock
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MJ Guider: Sour Cherry Bell (Kranky) LP
Melissa Guion’s second offering for Kranky retains the glassy gauze of her debut, 2016’s Precious Systems, but shaded starker and darker, framed by mechanical rhythms and humid industrial moods. She speaks of Sour Cherry Bell as something of a reckoning with her tools of creation: “I was curious to see how far I could go with them, even if that meant reaching the ends of their capacity to do what I wanted. But I never exhausted them and they never exhausted me.” Utilizing her trusted combination of instrumentation, Guion tracked the record between her New Orleans home and rehearsal space, capturing chemistries both intimate and expansive. The songs sway between twilit shoegaze, downer ballads, and gothic pop, mapping a delicate palette of electric melancholies, though in retrospect she cites as her primary muse the notion of power: “lost and found, corporeal and cerebral, harnessed and exploited, of one and many, in this reality and the next.” Sour Cherry Bell reverberates beyond the here and now into scenes unseen, worlds unheard

File Under: Electronic, Shoegaze
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PJ: Harvey: 4 Track Demos (Island) LP
Vinyl reissue of 1993 collection of demos written and recorded at PJ Harvey’s home in 1991-1992. It includes eight demos of songs from her art-punk classic, Rid of Me, released earlier in that year along with six demos of additional songs. Without producer Steve Albini and her band in tow, Harvey’s music is stripped to its barest essence here and the results are fascinating. This period also firmly established Harvey’s creative relationship with photographer and director Maria Mochnacz who shot the artwork for Rid Of Me and 4-Track Demos and directed the videos for “50ft Queenie” and “Man-Size.” “4-Track Demos was partly encouraged by Steve Albini [producer of Rid of Me],” Harvey told Filter. “He loved the demos for that album so much he thought they should be out there and I tended to agree with him. It seemed like showing another side of what I do and introducing new songs that I hadn’t recorded on a record. It was a lovely thing to do and it felt like the right time because my three-piece band had fallen apart and I was kind of in limbo before deciding where I was gonna be going again. So, it was just like a small interjection piece of me before I knew where I was going to be next.” This reissue of 4-Track Demos is faithful to the original package, with vinyl cutting by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish. UMC/Island’s comprehensive reissue campaign will see PJ Harvey’s entire back catalogue – plus her two albums in collaboration with John Parish – released on vinyl over the next 12 months. For the first time, each of Harvey’s album demos will also be available on stand-alone vinyl.

File Under: Rock, Pop
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PJ Harvey: To Bring You My Love (Demos) (Island) LP
PJ Harvey’s third album To Bring You My Love, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2020, receives a heavyweight vinyl LP reissue alongside an album of previously unreleased demos. The 10 track collection of Bring You My Love: Demos includes early versions of the singles “Down By The Water,” “C’mon Billy” and “Send His Love To Me.” The audio has been mastered by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish. The release also features new artwork with previously unseen photos by original photographer and designer Maria Mochnacz. Produced by Harvey with Flood and John Parish, the same stylistic evolution which separated Dry (1992) from Rid Of Me (1993) is taken a step further on 1995’s To Bring You My Love. No longer relying on the guitar, bass and drum format of standard rock, Harvey takes cues from the likes of indie instigator Trent Reznor to define the new vibe in alternative rock. To Bring You My Love’s casual mix of organic and inorganic sounds replaces Harvey’s earlier electric precision with a deadlier, more brooding sound. Marking a departure for Harvey, she plays many of the instruments herself, creating a collage of sound that seemed impossible on past recordings. Where the material on those albums was built on driving guitar lines and band interaction, To Bring You My Love flavors dancier grooves, decorated with bass and rhythm patterns. The guitar is more orchestrated, as opposed to obvious, making the 10-song set a dramatic feat of arrangement and poise. Once again Harvey far surpasses even the most confident expectations placed upon her as a performer and songwriter, to produce a wholly original and daring album. The critically adored To Bring You My Love received two Grammy Award nominations for ‘Best Alternative Music Performance’ and ‘Best Female Rock Vocal’ for the single “Down by the Water,” as well as a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize.

File Under: Rock, Pop
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PJ Harvey: To Bring You My Love (Island) LP
PJ Harvey’s third album To Bring You My Love, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2020, receives a heavyweight vinyl LP reissue alongside an album of previously unreleased demos. Produced by Harvey with Flood and John Parish, the same stylistic evolution which separated Dry (1992) from Rid Of Me (1993) is taken a step further on 1995’s To Bring You My Love. No longer relying on the guitar, bass and drum format of standard rock, Harvey takes cues from the likes of indie instigator Trent Reznor to define the new vibe in alternative rock. To Bring You My Love’s casual mix of organic and inorganic sounds replaces Harvey’s earlier electric precision with a deadlier, more brooding sound. Marking a departure for Harvey, she plays many of the instruments herself, creating a collage of sound that seemed impossible on past recordings. Where the material on those albums was built on driving guitar lines and band interaction, To Bring You My Love flavors dancier grooves, decorated with bass and rhythm patterns. The guitar is more orchestrated, as opposed to obvious, making the 10-song set a dramatic feat of arrangement and poise. Once again Harvey far surpasses even the most confident expectations placed upon her as a performer and songwriter, to produce a wholly original and daring album. The critically adored To Bring You My Love received two Grammy Award nominations for ‘Best Alternative Music Performance’ and ‘Best Female Rock Vocal’ for the single “Down by the Water,” as well as a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize. The new reissue stays faithful to the original recording and package with cutting by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish.

File Under: Rock, Pop
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Marilyn Manson: We Are Chaos (Loma Vista) LP
As chaos envelopes the world, Marilyn Manson penned the perfect prescription with the aptly titled concept album, We Are Chaos. Co-produced by Manson and Grammy Award winner Shooter Jennings (Brandi Carlile, Tanya Tucker), the ten-track opus was written, recorded, and finished before the pandemic blanketed us all. Manson’s painting, Infinite Darkness, which can be seen on the album cover, was specifically created to accompany the music. We Are Chaos is the follow up to Marilyn Manson’s 2017 album, Heaven Upside Down, which marked his seventh consecutive Top 10 debut on the album charts. Manson on working with Shooter Jennings: “When Shooter and I decided to start making this album almost two years ago, we were both doing tours so we had to work around our schedules. Shooter and I had a shared love for Bowie’s era with Brian Eno. And I wasn’t afraid to try new things with him writing the music. He also helped me to be unafraid to try old things. As a producer he really pushed me to be both new and still true to what the core of Marilyn Manson is. His perspective added the trans-dimensional element that I was always looking to tap into.” And on the album he adds, “This was recorded to its completion without anyone hearing it until it was finished. There is most definitely a side A and side B in the traditional sense. But just like an LP, it is a flat circle and it’s up to the listener to put the last piece of the puzzle into the picture of songs. This concept album is the mirror Shooter and I built for the listener – it’s the one we won’t stare into. There are so many rooms, closets, safes and drawers. But in the soul or your museum of memories, the worst are always the mirrors. I explore ideas on the album, such as perfume. Something so beautiful, the scent can be remembered forever. But it is also flammable enough to burn down a house. It’s the fragile balance of power and the ones who hold the match or smell the loveliest. The paintings I did specifically to accompany the music…those are my reflections.”

File Under: Rock
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Thelonious Monk: Palo Alto (Impulse) LP
Palo Alto, a previously unheard recording of a 1968 high school performance by jazz great Thelonius Monk, also marks his posthumous debut on the revered Impulse! label. The surprise set came about after 16-year-old high school student Danny Scher had a dream to invite the storied pianist and composer and his all-star quartet to perform a concert at his local high school in Palo Alto, California. Against a backdrop of racial tension and political volatility, the concert took place on October 27, 1968, and was recorded by the school’s janitor. The 47-minute album features Monk’s regular touring band of tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist Larry Gales and drummer Ben Riley. It also highlights his touring repertoire, which constituted his finest compositions. The vinyl LP also comes with two booklets and a poster. The teenage Scher was a “jazzhead” with a sense of idealism that was set against the political and social turmoil of the day. That was framed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, unsettling revelations about the Vietnam War and violent uprisings across the country. The mood was mirrored in Palo Alto and its neighboring, primarily African-American town of East Palo Alto. “I always looked at music as a way to put issues on hold or up to a mirror, whether they be political or social,” says Scher. His flair for concert promotion later led him to work with one of the profession’s most famous exponents, Bill Graham, and to become a well-known promoter in his own right. He continues: “On 27 October 1968, there was a truce between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. And that is what music does.” Monk, who had appeared on the cover of Time magazine two years earlier, was still prominent in the public eye at the time of the concert. Even though he was in poor physical and financial health, he was taken by the telephone call he received from Scher in the middle of his three-week run at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco. So it was, that night, that Monk and his band climbed out of the Scher family van, across the rainy parking lot and into the Palo Alto High School auditorium. Their set included Monk’s lyrical love song “Ruby, My Dear,” on which Rouse took the melodic lead on tenor sax before Monk’s dazzling solo. “Well, You Needn’t” was given a 13-minute workout with solos by the whole band. Also included was Monk’s captivating solo reading of Jimmy McHugh’s “Don’t Blame Me”; the signature “Blue Monk” and a playful run through the aforementioned “Epistrophy.” Then came a truncated encore of Monk’s slow stride through Rudy Vallee’s 1925 Tin Pan Alley hit “I Love You Sweetheart of All My Dreams.” After a standing ovation, Monk made their goodbyes by explaining that they had to make their date in San Francisco that evening. The recording remained in the attic of Scher’s family home for many years, and after he contacted T.S. Monk with a view to its release, they chose Impulse! Records, label home of Thelonius’ longtime collaborator and fellow jazz staple John Coltrane. “The house that Trane built” was the perfect home for the new release, almost forty years after Monk’s death. Palo Alto is the first of a series of joint releases to come over the next five years from Impulse! Records in conjunction with the Monk estate’s Rhythm-A-Ning Entertainment, which is led by T.S. Monk who says: “That performance is the one of the best live recordings I’ve ever heard by Thelonious. I wasn’t even aware of my dad playing a high school gig, but he and the band were on it. When I first heard the tape, from the first measure, I knew my father was feeling really good.”

File Under: Jazz
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Osees: Protean Threat (Castle Face) LP
Coloured vinyl! Witness the ever-changing, ever-mutating threat that is reality. Perception is under duress; sensibility is bending everyday under the barrage of nonsense. One must make note of whom one is and what one has become: look into the mirror of the planet-killers—psychic cannibals infiltrate and contaminate once familiar and seemingly secure territories… formidable foes indeed! What powers these beasts? What fuels discord and hatred? The behemoth of a “civil” society? What are the weapons at one’s disposal? Generosity is the aegis against greed, empathy is the armor to deflect apathy, love is the club to abate hate…the fog is lifting and humans are opening their eyes.And so Castle Face offers this field recording, the Osees Protean Threat, from the pits as a quick booster between protein pills and recycled sweat beverage anthems to assist the listener to not worship at the altar of violence and greed, to not offer oneself up for free, to stand up and be vigilant! Truth will not be found in the speeches and photo ops of the overlords— stand strong and together under the gaze of the oppressors.Stand vigilant, united with those who don’t have the same privileges. Demand respect and a peaceful life for all.This recording is at the apogee of scuzz—punk anthem amulets for the ears and heart, a battery for one’s core. Be strong. Be human. Be love.

File Under: Psych, Punk
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Primitive Man: Immersion (Relapse) LP
Primitive Man return with the extreme, terrifying and confrontational new album, Immersion. True to the band’s ethos, every moment on Immersion is overwhelming; from the sonic pummeling on the album opener “The Lifer” to the brooding, unnerving guitars whirring throughout “Entity,” Immersion builds and builds. The tension throughout the record is palpable – hair raising tracks such as “Menacing” push and pull constantly, shifting from passages of harsh doom to an endless corridor of horrid screaming, blast beats, and a formidable low end. Adding to the album’s darkness, a pervasive lyrical anxiety erodes throughout Immersion. A stark look at a mirror, Immersion’s themes tackle sobering views on existential crises, a general distrust among another, and the current state of the world. “Souring your view on your existence and everything you had worked towards. Allowing you to become possessed by the darkest parts of your mind that you have carried around your entire life and not dealt with,” Primitive Man’s Ethan McCarthy elaborates. True to these dark times, Primitive Man’s Immersion is an introspective look into ruin and undoing. As McCarthy explains, Immersion dives into the point of no return, “Now you’re a grown man and you’re fucked.”

File Under: Metal
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Prince: Sign o’ The Times (Warner) 4LP Box
Overflowing with musical ideas and topical lyrics that sound just as relevant today as they did when they were initially released, Prince’s iconic double album Sign O’ The Times captured the artist in a period of complete reinvention. The final 16-track album included just some of the countless songs Prince recorded in the prolific period of 1985-1987, which saw the dissolution of his band The Revolution, the construction of his innovative recording complex, Paisley Park, and the creation (and ultimate abandonment) of the albums Dream Factory, Camille, and Crystal Ball. This Deluxe Edition includes the original album remastered plus another 2LP set of single mixes and edits. It shines a forensic light on the creative output of this truly unique musician, songwriter, producer, and performer at a pivotal point in his career and demonstrates why his unsurpassed body of work continues to generate so much love and passion around the world.

File Under: Pop, Funk
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Prince: Sign O’ The Times (Warner) 2LP
Overflowing with musical ideas and topical lyrics that sound just as relevant today as they did when they were initially released, Prince’s iconic double album Sign O’ The Times captures the artist in a period of complete reinvention and innovation. The final 16-track album included just some of the countless songs Prince recorded in the prolific period of 1985-1987, which saw the dissolution of his band The Revolution, the construction of his innovative recording complex, Paisley Park, and the creation (and ultimate abandonment) of the albums Dream Factory, Camille, and Crystal Ball. The Prince Estate, in partnership with Warner Bros. Records, reissues Sign O’ The Times in remastered form on 180g 2LP. The color variant is limited to the first pressing – subsequent pressing will be on black vinyl.

File Under: Pop, Funk
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John Prine: Souvenirs (Oh Boy) LP
Fittingly for a former mailman, John Prine delivered songs that are both literate and personal. The skilled and compassionate storyteller enjoyed widespread critical acclaim in the wake of his groundbreaking eponymous debut and continued to write and perform songs that became central to our American musical heritage for nearly five decades. Among the English language’s premier phrase-turners with music relevant to any age, Prine’s 2000 release Souvenirs was a reimagining and re-recording of some of the late singer/songwriter’s favorite songs throughout the years including “Angel From Montgomery,” “Sam Stone,” “Grandpa Was A Carpenter,” “Six O’Clock News,” and “Please Don’t Bury Me.” Co-produced with Jim Rooney, the spare arrangements and Prine’s added experience embolden the heavy-hearted folk tunes beautifully and the fact that he was now able to own master recordings of some of the signature songs from his first three albums only sweetened the deal. This 180g 2LP pressing marks its first appearance on vinyl!

File Under: Folk
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Terry Riley: Reed Streams (Endless Happiness) LP
Long awaited reissue for Terry Riley’s 1966 debut album, and one of the greatest pieces of minimal music ever created on Philip Ornstein’s iconic MassArt imprint, which also brought us Max Neuhaus & John Cage’s Fontana Mix-Feed and Allan Kaprow’s How to Make a Happening, is among the most sought after in Terry Riley vast discography. It is also the first recordings Riley made using his two personal Revox reel-to-reel tape machines (or “Time Lag Accumulators”) later heard on his groundbreaking release Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band All Night Flight. “Riley’s untitled piece for organ is a series of four- and eight-note patterns, exchanged and interchanged without standard modulation over a series of fluid musical “events” in which they interact with one another but contain their own identities. While the music may have been regarded as “simple” by the tired leftovers of serialism’s last gasp for a while (it took the Americans from Cage onward to try and put the nail in the coffin that is still not buried as some Europeans try to bring it back as part of their heritage — despite the fact that musically the genre is bankrupt), the physicality of it is just plain rigorous. Riley moves through this 20-minute work of hypnotic interval and repetition with a fluidity that is nothing less than remarkable. Even today, nearly 40 years later, the piece sounds fresh, original, and not a little off-putting in its intensity. “Dorian Reeds” is a similar work that employs a different method to move into similar territory, employing the soprano saxophone and a small bevy of tape recorders — since the reed instrument is not capable of producing the same multi-toned streams as an organ. Here four-, eight-, and 12-note streams are played and looped over one another via tape recorders — no editing was done, as this was all recorded as performed — and a long soprano saxophone deviates and acts as a percussive and thematic anchor for the streams of sound coming forth from the tape boxes. Here, modulation both happens and doesn’t as everything is fixed around the notion of a non-fixed interval. The single-note horn that punches through the streamed mix is notable for its ability to play accents and create the sensation of rhythm from a solo instrument. ” AllMusicGuide

File Under: Drone, Avant Garde
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Spoon: Transference (Matador) LP
Produced by the band, 2010’s Transference is made up of 11 gems that honor the Spoon tradition while pushing the envelope of the Texas art-pop group’s sound ever further. “Before Destruction” opens proceedings with a transfixing air of foreboding before “Is Love Forever?” and “The Mystery Zone” kick in the door with the hooks that the band has made its name on. Piano heavy lead single “Written in Reverse” is deconstructed pop at its finest. “The group’s best songs sound effortless, almost tossed off, and you only realize that they’re also brilliant and irresistible when you find yourself still humming them six months or six years later… This is another welcome example of the band’s casual genius” (Jim Derogatis, Chicago Sun-Times).

File Under: Indie Rock
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Brother Theotis Taylor: s/t (Mississippi) LP
Brother Theotis Taylor is a 92-year-old spiritual singer and piano player known throughout South Georgia and beyond for his powerful voice and heavenly falsetto. His music took him from his home in Fitzgerald, Georgia, to the stage with Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, to Harlem’s Apollo, and even to Carnegie Hall. Though his releases are limited to six stunning and rare singles on the Pitch label and a single small-press LP, his recorded archive is vast. For much of his life, Brother Taylor kept a reel-to-reel recorder atop his piano at home. “The music just comes down on you,” Brother Taylor told us late last year. “You always have your machine where you can catch everything. ‘Cause what you can catch today you can’t remember tomorrow.” Brother Taylor recorded himself on his DIY home setup only when he was inspired by a higher power, often fasting and praying for days before recording. These intimate home recordings were digitized in 2020 and are being heard for the first time with this release. Revisiting these old songs brought Brother Taylor to tears. “[When I hear this music] I pick up the same spirit that I did it in. And you see me cryin’. It made me feel good ‘cause I know I did it and I did it well. And I want to see it get out, because if it made me feel good, it make somebody else feel good. Right? This is spiritual music.” Download comes with three bonus tracks and 8-page large format liners with oral history interview and archival photos. Housed in gold foil embossed jackets.

File Under: Gospel, Soul, RnB
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Vatican Shadow: Persian Pillars of the Gasoline Era (20 Buck Spin) LP
ON LIMITED ULTRA CLEAR W/ BLACK SMOKE & GOLD / SILVER SPLATTER VINYL!!! For a decade now, Vatican Shadow, one of the many guises of Dominick Fernow, has blurred the lines of rhythmic industrial, ambient and soundscapes to weave throbbing frontline communiques of war, terror, media manipulation and anxiety disorder. One of the most prolific underground artists of the 21st century, living his art down to minute detail, Fernow’s penchant for seamlessly spanning underground sub-cultures finds Vatican Shadow now aligned with 20 Buck Spin for the first time. On the new full length album Persian Pillars Of The Gasoline Era, the deconstruction continues, with layers of collaged synth stabs, low end pulsing dread and ominous sand-swept melodies. And where Vatican Shadow often sets a rigid musical focus with each release, here the full multi-faceted embodiment of the project comes to fruition from hypnotic dance floor repetition, cold metallic percussion, martial bass strikes, and dark melodic noise. To further intensify the album Fernow brought aboard Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu, JK Flesh, etc) for the painstakingly detailed mastering process, adding the mysterious vibrance of cold morning mountain light that presages a conspiracy about to unfold. An unquestionable heaviness permeates the organizational structure of Vatican Shadow, never more apparent than on Persian Pillars…, and while prior devotees of the scripture will continue to find it approachable, here now the doors have been flung wide open to an entirely new realm of memorialist iconography.

File Under: Electronic, Noise
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Billy Wooten & Special Friends: In this World (P-Vine) LP
In 1979, vibraphonist and percussionist Billy Wooten joined forces with jazz guitarist Steve Wakely to put together a brand-new studio band. Some months later, they’d recorded their sole album, In This World, a suitably conscious affair that mixed narration from the softly spoken and thoughtful Wooten with inspired, partially improvised musical jams that sat somewhere between jazz-funk and jazz-fusion. Original copies of the album are now hard to find – or at least change hands for significant sums online – so Japan’s P-Vine label has decided to reissue it. Rich in mazy vibraphone solos, jazzy guitar solos, and infectious jazz-funk grooves, the album is a delightful obscurity that’s well worth a place in your collection.

File Under: Jazz, Funk
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Various: Alternative Funk Vol 2
(Platform 23) LP

The Alternative Funk series was a hidden weapon for obsessive collectors of 80s obscurities across the spectrum of new wave, minimal wave and other such cult movements in this most creative of eras. With Platform 23 having just dropped the first volume of reissued material from this deep cover collection, they’re right back on the case with another 15 oddball gems for your delectation. Dee Nasty’s “Orientic Groove” is as exotic and funky as it sounds, while 3M create a kind of nightmarish collage of noise, found sound, percussive lurch and a positively unhinged brass section. That gives you just some idea of the scope you can expect to enjoy on this welcome reissue.

File Under: Industrial
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Various: Arabian Disco (Naughty Rhythm) LP
Directly from the Cosmic Discotheque galaxy, here is a brand-new satellite called Arabian Disco. This fine disc will get you through a bizarre sub-world of ’70s disco. This was mostly a European-disco sub-genre clearly inspired by Arabian atmospheres. Now after the so-called classic disco, Afro disco, and space disco you should be ready for this new strand. A unique blend of exotic nuances and typical belly dance rhythms. Thanks to these 12 tracks you will discover a whole new landscape based on the mix of apparently different genres and distant cultures. Only for disco junkies and belly dancers on acid. Features Ismaïl, Slim, The Bumpers, The Sand Flowers, Leila, The Abdul Hassan Orchestra, Pop Concerto Orchestra, Sands, Nowy, Antares, Babylone, and Voyage.

File Under: Disco, Middle Eastern
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Various: Cold Waves of Color Vol 6
(Color Tapes) LP

The highly anticipated sixth volume of the well received electronic compilation series of tracks drawn from the vaults of the Color Tapes label. As with the other volumes you can find great examples of cold wave, minimal wave, and synth electronics made by obscure British bands in the 1980s such as: Berserk In A Hayfield, Lives of Angels, Silicon Valley, Modern Art, Disintegrators, Echophase, The Lord, and Mystery Plane. As with all of the other volumes, this is a co-production between Lion Productions and Color Tapes.

File Under: Cold Wave, Electronic
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Various: How the River Ganges Flows
(Third Man) LP

How The River Ganges Flows is a transcendent collection of Carnatic violin performances captured on 78 rpm disc between 1933 and 1952. Most of these sublime recordings have not been heard since they were first etched in shellac decades ago. These melodies are ethereal and transporting: meditative. The rhythms undulate from despair to ecstasy, often within the same phrase. Remastered from the collection of Christopher King along with a set of deep notes, this music is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Features artwork by R. CRUMB.

File Under: Folk, Middle Eastern
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Nick Cave: Push the Sky Away (Bad Seeds) LP
Nick Cave: Tender Prey (Mute) LP
Cluster: Zuckerzeit (Lilith) LP
Crazy Doberman: Hypnogogic Relapse and Other Penumbral Phenomena (Digital Regress) LP
Martin Denny: Exotica (Jackpot) LP
Martin Denny: Hypnotique (Jackpot) LP
Martin Denny: Quiet Village (Jackpot) LP
El Michels Affair: Enter the 37th Chamber (Fat Beats) LP
Craig Finn: All These Perfect Crosses (Partisan) LP
John Frusciante: Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt (Superior Viaduct) LP
Alain Goraguer: La Planete Sauvage OST (Superior Viaduct) LP
Gorillaz: D-Sides (Parlophone) LP
Gorillaz: G-Sides (Parlophone) LP
Guided By Voices: Mirrored Aztec (GBV) LP
Guided By Voices: Vampire on Titus (Scat) LP
Erkin Koray: s/t (Got It) LP
Mogard, Abul/Harmonious Thelonious: Schleiben 1 (Emotional Rescue) LP
Oh Sees: Floating Coffin (Castle Face) LP
Richard Pinhas: Iceland (Superior Viaduct) LP
Quintron: Erotomania (Mind Meld) LP
Weingarten, Carl/Walter Whitney: Dreaming In Colors (Emotional Rescue) LP
Neil Young: Harvest Moon (Reprise) LP
Various: The Emotional, Cosmic & Occult World of Joe Meek (Mississippi) LP

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