So swamped this week! So many great things in, which if you’ve been watching the site, you might already know. We’re already sold out of some of my favorites that came in before I could put them in the news letter, so maybe when they come back in you’ll see about them here. Anyway, thanks for another successful Remote RSD. I’m gonna finish this up and go home. Stay safe!
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…..picks of the week…..
Elevator: August Extra (Blue Fog) LP
Welcome to the newly remastered and much expanded version of ELEVATOR’s final album “August” released on CD and Vinyl through Blue Fog Recordings in 2004. We originally hoped to do a double album but soon realized we couldn’t afford it so we cut it down to 12 songs, leaving some favourites in the can until now. For this special release, all the songs from the original album plus the 11 “Extra” tracks were remastered from the original DAT stereo masters in spring 2020. Work on the album began in Moncton when Mark and i recorded 4-track demos while i was home visiting in August 2003. Once back in Toronto i played with the demos until Mark came up for some shows in October and we re-recorded the drums better with our 1/2″ 8-track. Tara’s bass and vocals were added as well as several extra guitar tracks by Dallas before i moved back to Moncton in December and continued to work on the 20 plus songs we’d started through the winter and spring. A couple of the tunes were either/or picks, like “She Warms” which is written over the same drum track as “Memories of you”, and “Why ask again” which is an alternate version of the concept we had for “Where is the end?”. A few other songs included in the Extra’s here are straight from the summer 2003 demos and “The Seed” is built up from a looped section of drums made from the middle of “The Change” demo. “Buried” was the last song we recorded as Elevator, actually done shortly after finishing the album. Kind of a perfectly symbolic tune to end on really. I’ve also included some of the short remixed clips that i originally planned to have sit between all the tracks of the album but decided against at the last minute. Hope you dig hearing all the extra tunes, it’s nice to have them all together again. -Rick
File Under: Indie Rock, Can Con
Kikagaku Moyo: Mammatus Clouds (Guruguru Brain) LP
This EP was originally released in a limited run of 100 cassettes in early 2014 and on vinyl also in 2014 on Captcha and Cardinal Fuzz. Each song builds on a direct, yet otherworldly folk/psych vibe, evolving into a joyous, haunting, far-out and totally colorful tribal sound. “KIKAGAKU MOYO state that with improvisation they can freely explore beyond consciousness as they make ‘free music’ and you can well imagine this as they take you on a journey through inner space with Mammatus Clouds. Here we are treated to meditative waves of ritualistic music as sitar player Ryu is to the fore on these recordings as the band stretch out to infinity, falling somewhere between the collected works of Bo Anders Perrson, George Harrison’s sitar exploits and The Taj Mahal Travellers”
File Under: Psych, Japan
Fiona Apple: Fetch the Boltcutters (Epic) LP
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and alt-rock icon Fiona Apple returns with her first album in nearly eight years! Following up 2012’s The Idler Wheel, the raw and percussion-heavy Fetch the Bolt Cutters has earned instant acclaim as one of the best records of the year and some of the finest work of her career. It takes its name from a line in the British police procedural The Fall spoken by star Gillian Anderson, but Apple explains that, “Really, what it’s about is not being afraid to speak.” She produced the adventurous 13-track collection herself and recorded it at her Venice Beach, CA home studio with drummer Amy Aileen Wood, bassist Sebastian Steinberg, guitarist Davíd Garza and Cara Delevingne singing harmonies. Biting yet buoyant, Fiona’s elastic turns of phrase are supported by intoxicating melodic hooks throughout with visceral tracks like “I Want You to Love Me,” “Shameika” and “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” serving as standouts. “Fetch the Bolt Cutters is a strange and exceptional record, even within the context of an uncommon career…whimsical and hardcore at the same time…” (The Guardian).
File Under: Rock, Pop
Jorge Ben: Africa Brazil (Polysom) LP
África Brasil is a 1976 release by Brazilian artist Jorge Ben, recording at the time as Jorge Ben. It was Ben’s 14th studio album. África Brasil represented a milestone in Ben’s career with Ben’s switch to electric guitar and incorporation of both Afro-Brazilian and African-American pop music styles into his sound. Known for its funkiness, África Brasil is one of Ben’s best-known recordings. For África Brasil, Ben reworked three of his earlier compositions: “A Princesa e o Plebeu” from Sacundin Ben Samba, “Taj Mahal” from Ben, and “Zumbi” from A Tábua de Esmeralda. The album’s opening track “Ponta de Lança Africano (Umbabarauma)”, a song about an African football striker, became a well known soccer-associated track. It was later included on David Byrne’s 1989 compilation Brazil Classics Beleza Tropical, prompting rotation of a video for the track on VH-1.
File Under: Brazil, Tropicalia
John Bence: Kill (Thrill Jockey) LP
John Bence is a composer and producer from Bristol, UK, whose work tackles epic narrative themes and uncompromising sonics with a juddering emotional punch. Over just a handful of releases including those for Nicholas Jaar’s Other People imprint and Yves Tumor’s label Grooming, Bence has built up a striking body of work, utilizing music-making practices that span centuries in order to probe the full spectrum of the human psyche, its tragedies, ecstasies and all posts between. Written during a residency at Zaragoza’s FUGA space, Kill unfurls as a captivating and unnerving three-part suite, which as Bence explains, “tells the story of a murderer who kills his lover, commits suicide and then accelerates towards God to be judged.” Throughout Bence sings like a man possessed, shifting from aching operatic vocals and Gregorian chant to chilling screams, with symphonic instrumentation pounding, swelling and resolving into transfigurative calm behind him.
File Under: Experimental, Avant Garde
Walter Bishop Jr: Coral Keys (Real Gone) LP
The first release on Black Jazz was by pianist and label producer Gene Russell; for the label’s second release, Russell chose another piano man of impeccable taste, Walter Bishop, Jr. But while much of Russell’s record consisted of songs composed by others, Bishop’s record features all originals, most notably “Soul Turn Around,” a groover that later turned up on Freddie Hubbard’s 1969 LP A Soul Experiment. Bishop had helmed several releases before this one, including dates with John Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison and Miles Davis drummer Jimmy Cobb among others, so it’s not surprising he assembled a heavy hitting line-up for Coral Keys, including Woody Shaw on trumpet, Reggie Jackson on bass, Idris Muhammad on drums, and Harold Vick on flute, tenor, and soprano sax. Think Herbie Hancock’s ‘60s Blue Note recordings gently polished with a soul jazz sheen; this is some tasty stuff that’s been hard to find for way too long. Remastered by Mike Milchner at Sonic Vision, and pressed at Gotta Groove Records in black vinyl with lacquer cutting by Clint Holley and Dave Polster at Well Made Music, this long-awaited release includes notes by Pat Thomas, author of Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975, which place both the Black Jazz label and this album in a broader musical and societal context. Produced for reissue by Real Gone Music’s own Gordon Anderson and decorated jazz archivist Zev Feldman.
File Under: Jazz
Blight: Temple of Wounds (Svart) LP
Enter the Temple of Wounds, unleashed from the clandestine Canadians Blight. Rising out of obscurity to share their violent, radical, and illuminating vision, Blight’s new album is a 52-minute exercise in galvanizing, and relentless black metal. Temple of Wounds will find a home within the ashen hearts of listeners of luminaries such as Behemoth, Marduk, and Rotting Christ, while also embracing the contemporary, underground zeal of bands such as Bölzer, Cobalt, Light of the Morning Star, and Kriegsmachine. Yet the sound that Blight shapes out of chaos and calamity is uniquely their own: grand choirs and fiery chants pepper the band’s powerful and dynamic approach to black metal, where claustrophobic, menacing riffs threaten to suffocate, percussive elements merge violence with technological prowess, and vocals are delivered with a cathartic intensity. Blight’s lyrical themes explore deep facets of inner alchemical transmutation, which lends their music substantial literary weight. Temple of Wounds is allied with a higher intelligence, creating a state-of-the-art sound-war of black metal that is at once fresh and familiar, primitive, and epic in scope. This gatefold colored vinyl 2LP version features a 16 minute bonus track on side D.
File Under: Metal
Bob Moses: Desire (Domino) LP
Bob Moses—the electronic duo of Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance—wrote a concept record for the club. Presented over six continuously mixed tracks, Desire is a love tale for the digital age: all about the positives and pitfalls of humanity’s driving wants, especially in these technology-driven times.
File Under: Electronic, Pop
Lo Borges: s/t (Polysom) LP
Lô Borges is the debut solo album from 1972 by Brazilian songwriter Lô Borges. While recording Clube da Esquina alongside Milton Nascimento and Beto Guedes, Lô Borges was pressured by Odeon Records to release a solo album. Borges, only nineteen years old at the time, wrote the album very quickly, sometimes writing a song in the morning and recording it that night. The album did not achieve much success at its release, although it gained cult status in the following decades. After the release of this album, Borges would not release another album until 1979’s A Via Lactea.
File Under: Brazil, Tropicalia
Gal Costa: s/t (1969) (Polysom) LP
Gal or Gal Costa is the second album by Brazilian singer Gal Costa, released in 1969 months after the first album Gal Costa. To distinguish it from Costa’s previous release, the album is sometimes referred to as Cinema Olympia, the title of its first track. It is considered by the public and critics alike as her most psychedelic and experimental album. The music in the album has been considered unprecedented. Andy Beta of The Pitchfork Review described the album as “the equivalent of Barbra Streisand recording with Boredoms” and “one of the heaviest documents of Tropicália”.
File Under: Brazil, Tropicalia
Betty Davis: Nasty Gal (Light in the Attic) LP
Betty Davis was riding high in the 70s. A new record label, a series of high profile relationships, and intensely sexualized live performances made her a rising star. It seemed like everything was aligned to take the music world by storm. So Betty and band got back into the studio where she would act as writer, producer, and performer, creating what she thought would be her definitive release… What emerged was the unapologetically uncompromising, self-referential 1975 album Nasty Gal. Now – over forty years later – Light In The Attic Records is proud to announce the vinyl reissue of this final Island Records-release by unparalleled funkstress Betty Davis. The re-release features liner notes by John Ballon (writer of the Wax Poetics Betty Davis cover story in 2007), original album art, complete lyrics, rare photos, and interviews. Ahead of its time, Nasty Gal shows Betty digging deeper into her musical and cultural expression than ever before, and delivers from every angle. This is Hendrix and Sly Stone inspired funk-rock at its finest. From the title tracks mutant groove and grunt to her onetime husband and jazz legend Miles Davis co-written ballad “You and I”, this lady will tear your heart out! Betty’s time is now…
File Under: Funk
Roger & Brian Eno: Luminous (Deutsche Grammophon) LP
The Mixing Colours story continues with the EP Luminous, adding to Roger Eno and Brian Eno’s first duo album on Deutsche Grammophon. Includes “Pewter,” formerly a Japan-only bonus track, as well as six brand new tracks. As with the Mixing Colours album, the artist Dom Theobald has supplied the original cover artwork.
File Under: Ambient
Greyboy Allstars: West Coast Boogaloo (Knowledge Room) LP
The band’s revelatory and electrifying debut LP, recorded in a single blistering session with J.B.’s trombonist Fred Wesley. This 2020 West Coast Boogaloo remastered is pressed on tri-color (purple/maroon/orange) vinyl, available for the first time on vinyl since 1994. When The Greyboy Allstars convened in 1994, the legendary California jazz-funk revivalists flaunted the carefree essence of their collective youth. Their fabled residency at San Diego’s Green Circle Bar spiraled into a series of concerts that stretched toward dawn, as they triangulated their take on the revolutionary funk of Grant Green and Idris Muhammad, Leon Spencer and, of course, James Brown’s infamous J.B.’s. In subsequent years, they played hundreds of shows, becoming a tireless party syndicate that delivered a new brand of spirited instrumental exploration. When The Greyboy Allstars self-released West Coast Boogaloo in 1994, its eight tunes felt both anachronistic and urgent. This was the golden era of hip-hop crate diggers, after all, with DJs plundering rare groove records to shape the perfect beat. Here was a band who had dug into those same crates and returned with anthems of their own. They floss their old-school knowledge with dope versions of Rusty Bryant’s classic “Fire Eater,” Leon Spencer’s “Miss Riverside,” and Kool & The Gang’s “Let The Music Take Your Mind,” inspired by Grant Green’s cover of the same cut. They are no slouches with the pen, as the orginals are as dope, if not doper, than the covers. Standouts are the soulful acid-jazzy “Soul Dream,” the brisk, Tower of Power-esque “Fried Grease,” and the angular groover “Gravee” all featuring guest shots from the legendary Fred Wesley
File Under: Funk
Herbie Hancock: My Point of View
(Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
My Point Of View is pianist/composer Herbie Hancock’s remarkable second Blue Note album. The 1963 session has an all-star cast including Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, Grachan Moncur III, Grant Green, Chuck Israels and Tony Williams. The sheer musicality is breathtaking, with Hancock fully demonstrating his arranging prowess. Contains his truly essential compositions such as “King Cobra,” “A Tribute To Someone,” and more. Blue Note Records has announced the continuation of the acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series in 2020. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by Joe Harley (from Music Matters) and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version. “The LPs are mastered directly from the original analog master tapes by Kevin at his incredible facility called Cohearent Mastering. We go about it in the exact same way that we did for so many years for the Music Matters Blue Note reissues. We do not roll off the low end, boost the top or do any limiting of any kind. We allow the full glory of the original Blue Note masters to come though unimpeded! Short of having an actual time machine, this is as close as you can get to going back and being a fly on the wall for an original Blue Note recording session.” – Joe Harley
File Under: Jazz
Idles: Ultra Mono: Deluxe Edition (Partisan) LP
Following Brutalism (2017) and Joy as an Act of Resistance (2018), two releases that garnered global critical acclaim, Idles return with their highly anticipated third album – Ultra Mono. Sonically constructed to capture the feeling of a hip-hop record (including production contribution from Kenny Beats), the album doubles down on the vitriolic sneer and blunt social commentary of their past work. Not far beneath the surface of their self-admitted sloganeering lies a deeply complex and brutally relevant album that chews up clichés and spits them out as high art for the masses. This is momentary acceptance of the self. This is Ultra Mono. Deluxe Edition vinyl LP with gatefold packaging and 28 page debossed Ultra Mono catalogue.
File Under: Rock
Jonsi: Shiver (Krunk) LP
Shiver is the exciting and boundary pushing second record from LA-based Icelandic musician Jónsi following the Sigur Rós frontman’s 2010 solo debut, Go. Co-produced by A. G. Cook (PC Music, Charlie XCX) and recorded in Berlin, Reykjavik, London and Helsinki, the long awaited album features tracks with Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins) and pop icon Robyn. Not too long ago Jónsi was traveling through London, where he met up with iconoclastic producer A.G. Cook, who he admired for his boundary-breaking work with the PC music collective. He had no expectation for the meeting, but the more they talked, the more he realized they might be perfect collaborators. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Jónsi says. “I get tired of everything really easily. I always want things to be fun and exciting and fresh, and doing another album…I just wanted to have a different approach.” Jónsi had made a career on sweeping music that plumbed the depths of the human experience and our connection to the natural world. Cook’s production exists at the opposite end of the spectrum: synthetic, sometimes abrasive, and often on the cutting edge of experimentalism. On paper, their collaboration is surprising, but Shiver is a beautiful record that pushes Jónsi’s otherworldly voice into startling new territories.
File Under: Indie Rock
Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart (Rhino) LP
Joy Division recorded only two albums before singer Ian Curtis tragically took his own life in 1980. But what the Manchester quartet lacked in longevity, they more than made up for in quality. The two albums were pioneering and helped shape the sound and mood of the alternative music that followed in the band’s wake. Joy Division will be re-releasing a 40th anniversary edition of their sophomore album Closer in July 2020. The release follows 2019’s reissue of the group’s ground-breaking debut album Unknown Pleasures. Complementing the Closer 40th re-release are three non-album singles “Transmission,” “Atmosphere” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” which will be reissued with 2020 remastered audio. Since the demise of Factory records, these singles have never been repressed or reissued before and are cut on 180g vinyl, featuring the original artwork on heavyweight board.
File Under: Post Punk
Kate NV: Room for the Moon (RVNG Intl) LP
“Music knows what she wants,” says Moscow-based artist, Kate NV. On Room for the Moon, the lyrical follow up to the buoyant minimalism of 2018’s для FOR, NV follows this muse in fluid expression, harmonizing her lunar lullabies with a starry compositional choreography. NV says, “I always let music express herself without pressure, and with or without voice.” NV began sketching the music of Room for the Moon sometime before для FOR, but the album did not take its full shape until the artist entered a new physiological phase. After trying to make a Buchla synthesizer mirror human imperfections, she was compelled to look past the patch bay and reconnect with her own voice. “I spent almost a year and half sitting, at best, or bending over the table. In the end it, my body rebelled, on some kind of physical level.” No longer concerned with demonstrating a traditional composer’s craft of для FOR, the return to vocal forms first found on her debut album Binasu was liberating and gleeful. NV’s vocals contour through screens of tulle or jars of glitter, the entire collection composed and produced by her at home and studio spaces throughout Moscow. “I finished this record during the loneliest period of my life,” confides NV, with hints of melancholy, or fabled life lessons, adding even more depth to songs of cheery disposition. Her songs, sung in Russian, French and English, each carry unique features, like ten personas or ten scenes in a play where each character has its own keynote. Room for the Moon was conjured from unlived memories of 70s and 80s Russian and Japanese pop music and film, a 20th century fairy tale suspended in time like a moon torn from a paper sky. NV is accompanied by long-time music collaborators: Jenya Gorbunov on bass guitar, Vladimir Luchanskiy on saxophone, and Quinn Oulton on both instruments. Musician Nami Sato’s gentle words lift and lilt over synth for one piece, too. These friendly contributions are in service of NV’s singular vision; the album is personal and particular in its construction. Filled with warm and sweet memories of her own invention, NV says, “these songs are now my closest friends.” The LP could be made from chiffon ripples, night sky transmissions and long shadows. With each song we enter another chamber of illusion, NV’s vocals tiptoe through one track, toy with riddles on another and try to save time in a polka-dotted pocket. On “Plans,” NV, through some sort of sorcery, created a sax solo using only samples from the Found Sound Nation’s “Broken Orchestra” sample pack. A laugh slips from the sheets of music in “Ca Commence Par” like a misplaced photo. Mallet and marimba converse over mushroom tea on “Du Na.” “Tea” herself borrows melody from Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and “Telefon” teases us that “there’s nowhere to hide from the song.”
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Khotin: Finds You Well (Ghostly) LP
Indie only coloured vinyl! Since debuting his Khotin project in 2014, Edmonton’s Dylan Khotin-Foote has fine-tuned an impressionistic, dream-like style of music that straddles multiple sonic worlds. His output often sways from gentle synthesized atmospherics to hypnotic, dance-minded frameworks. His self-released 2018 LP, Beautiful You, offered a study on melody and memory; the album’s nostalgia-nudging use of passing environments, voices, and abstractions captivated a cult following and the attention of Ghostly International, who pressed the cassette on vinyl for wider circulation in 2019. Now, Khotin reveals his first collection of new material since the signing. The album is a fluid continuation of his blissful and melancholic songcraft, extended humbly and warmly, Finds You Well. Finds You Well can be heard in near-symmetrical halves: its 10 tracks represent the selections from a bounty of demos that, with less modesty, could have filled two records, one active and the other ambient. The resulting set isn’t an even split but it’s close. The A-side centers on the album’s steadiest sequence of beat-centric material. “Ivory Tower” is inextricably tied to benchmarks set by late ‘90s downtempo forerunners, spilling luscious and narcotic synth modulations across a sprinkler’s spray of breakbeats. Khotin’s sprightly melodic noodling brings that touchstone sound into vogue, bubbling up in free-form spurts. The sequence continues through the propulsive “Heavyball,” into “Groove 32,” which begins with a funky bit-clipped drum and bongo boogie. A tight bass-line plugs into place, building a grid for square-wave pads, shimmering melodic textures, and stuttering vocal samples to percolate in. Khotin’s tone stabilizes on the B-side, balancing decidedly bucolic terrain with suspiciously eerie melancholy. Voices wander in the sprawling frequency sweeps. Organic textures sizzle and sputter in the clouds. “WEM Lagoon Jump” references local West Edmonton folklore, the time a kid jumped from a shopping mall’s second-floor balcony into the main pavilion’s fountain. After the splash, we land in the record’s most satisfying stasis, “Your Favorite Building.” A brittle clave and muffled kick hover in a wobbly mist of organ chords; the building is gorgeous, but seen at night, and empty, and from this angle, those shadows seem to crop up more of those subdued tremors, those nostalgic creeps, those droll musings. From behind a wall of melody, a kid peeks their head and softly sings, “you must love the world because it’s wonderful,” the vocal snippet comes courtesy of Khotin-Foote’s sister, Amaris. For much of Find You Well’s second half, Khotin dabbles in a dusty and slightly detuned piano sound, revealing an artist unafraid to change shapes but maintain course. This set of chimeric visions sidesteps the subdued bombast that fills the A-side; instead, it suggests a counterpoint emphasizing the uncanny overlap between well wishes and empty promises.
File Under: Electronic
Kikagaku Moyo: Stone Garden (Guruguru Brain) LP
Stone Garden started in a basement studio in Prague with a nearly continuous session over several days and nights. The original concept was influenced by the raw and seemingly endless jams of psychedelic pioneers. The freeform songs that emerged from these sessions were refined over several months at the band’s home in Tokyo where each song was sculpted into an uncommon form. Compared to the relatively song-based House In The Tall Grass (2016), Stone Garden is a window into Kikagaku Moyo’s more experimental side. While improvisation is essential to their songwriting process it can take on many forms. This record enabled the band to experiment not only with instrumentation but also atonality and a playful approach to mixing. The unexpected results have become five unique songs each woven together through the same process.
File Under: Japan, Psych
Momoko Kikuchi: Adventure (Ship to Shore) LP
Unavailable on vinyl since its original release in Japan and Hong Kong circa 1986, Ship to Shore PhonoCo. is very proud to present Momoko Kikuchi’s J-Pop masterpiece Adventure back on wax where it belongs! Momoko Kikuchi – already a bonafide pop idol in her native Japan – released Adventure a mere two months after her eighteenth birthday, her smooth vocals complimenting the electronic music like caramel sauce over vanilla ice cream. When people talk about the sound of 80’s Japanese City Pop, this is what they’re referring to. Newly remastered from original archival material and pressed onto limited edition purple vinyl, this is a must-have for collectors and music aficionados alike!
File Under: J-Pop, City Pop
L7: Smell the Magic (Sub Pop) LP
This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic Smell the Magic (which originally came out as a six-track 12″/nine-track CD) includes all nine songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time ever! A multitude of rock music scenes populated the expanse of Los Angeles in 1989: hardcore punk, industrial goth, roots rock, and Sunset Strip hair metal, to name a few. L7 fit into none of them, creating their own unique blend of punk and hard, hooky rock loaded with humor and cultural commentary. Originally released in 1990, Smell the Magic is a a landmark of ’90s feminist rock.
File Under: Punk, Grunge
Tim Maia: s/t (1973) (Polysom) LP
The fourth album from Tim Maia, who is internationally recognised as one of the biggest icons of the Brazilian music. This 1973 release includes “Réu Confesso” and “Gostava Tanto de Você” and is an impeccable combination of funk, soul and samba – a tasteful mixture of old and new.
File Under: Brazil, Funk, Samba, Tropicalia
Makaya McCraven: Universal Beings E&F Sides (International Anthem) LP
An addendum to Makaya McCraven’s critically-lauded 2018 release, the “Universal Beings E&F Sides” presents fourteen new pieces of organic beat music cut from the original sessions, prepared and produced by Makaya as a soundtrack to the “Universal Beings” documentary film.
File Under: Jazz
New Order: Confusion (Rhino) 12″
The massively influential band New Order formed in Manchester, England, in 1980, rising from the ashes of U.K. post-punk pioneers Joy Division. Successfully fusing new wave, electronica, synth-pop, and club music earlier than many bands now seen as contemporaries, their unique sound was as insightful and soulful as it was perfectly suited for the dance floor. From their earliest singles to their latest hits, New Order remains one of the most enduring and distinctive bands in modern rock. Produced by influential New York DJ Arthur Baker and featuring both Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner playing bass, “Confusion” was a stand-alone single released by the band in August 1983 as the follow-up to their breakthrough hit “Blue Monday.” However, it didn’t appear on New Order’s 1983 studio album Power Corruption and Lies nor 1985’s Low-Life. Newly remastered in 2020 from the original master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, “Confusion” is presented here on 12″ vinyl with the three original remixes (“Confused Beats,” “Confusion (Instrumental)” and “Confusion (Rough Mix).”)
File Under: Electronic, Rock, Pop
New Order: Thieves Like Us (Rhino) 12″
The massively influential band New Order formed in Manchester, England, in 1980, rising from the ashes of U.K. post-punk pioneers Joy Division. Successfully fusing new wave, electronica, synth-pop, and club music earlier than many bands now seen as contemporaries, their unique sound was as insightful and soulful as it was perfectly suited for the dance floor. From their earliest singles to their latest hits, New Order remains one of the most enduring and distinctive bands in modern rock. Written by New Order (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, and Gillian Gilbert) and Arthur Baker and named after the Robert Altman film, “Thieves Like Us” arrived on the heels of “Confusion,” a stand-alone single released by the band in August 1983. Neither song had appeared on their 1983 studio album Power Corruption and Lies, nor would they turn up on their 1985 album Low-Life. The cover design by Peter Saville is based on a painting by Giorgio de Chirico. Newly remastered in 2020, “Thieves Like Us” is presented here on 12″ vinyl with its original B-side “Lonesome Tonight.”
File Under: Electronic, Rock, Pop
New Order: Blue Monday (Rhino) 12″
The massively influential band New Order formed in Manchester, England, in 1980, rising from the ashes of U.K. post-punk pioneers Joy Division. Successfully fusing new wave, electronica, synth-pop, and club music earlier than many bands now seen as contemporaries, their unique sound was as insightful and soulful as it was perfectly suited for the dance floor. From their earliest singles to their latest hits, New Order remains one of the most enduring and distinctive bands in modern rock. Released in 1983, “Blue Monday” is not only the biggest selling 12″ single of all time in the U.K., but also one of the longest clocking in at well over seven minutes. One might also argue that it’s the song that truly helped New Order escape from the shadow of Joy Division and stand on their own. Bernard Sumner, the group’s lead singer, has said that there were four cardinal influences that helped create “Blue Monday,” and given that those tracks are Klein + M.B.O.’s “Dirty Talk,” Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” Donna Summer’s “Our Love,” and Kraftwerk’s “Uranium,” it’s easy to see why BBC Radio 2 once suggested that the end result was “a crucial link between ’70s disco and the dance/house boom that took off at the end of the ’80s.” Newly remastered in 2020 from the original master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, “Blue Monday” is presented here on 12″ vinyl with the original accompanying B-side “The Beach.”
File Under: Electronic, Rock, Pop
New Order: Murder (Rhino) 12″
The massively influential band New Order formed in Manchester, England, in 1980, rising from the ashes of U.K. post-punk pioneers Joy Division. Successfully fusing new wave, electronica, synth-pop, and club music earlier than many bands now seen as contemporaries, their unique sound was as insightful and soulful as it was perfectly suited for the dance floor. From their earliest singles to their latest hits, New Order remains one of the most enduring and distinctive bands in modern rock. Recorded in the winter of 1982 during the sessions for the band’s second album Power, Corruption & Lies (1983), “Murder” is an instrumental piece which sampled dialogue from the films 2001: A Space Odyssey and Caligula. The B-side is an instrumental version of previous single “Thieves Like Us.” Peter Saville’s cover art is a “night-time” version of the “Thieves Like Us” sleeve. Newly remastered in 2020, “Murder” is presented here on 12″ vinyl with the original accompanying B-side “Thieves Like Us (Instrumental).”
File Under: Electronic, Pop, Rock
Oasis: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (Big Brother) LP
25th Anniversary Colored Vinyl 2LP Reissue with Remastered Audio! With October 2020 marking 25 years since Oasis released their iconic second album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, Big Brother Recordings celebrates the milestone with a colored vinyl 2LP reissue featuring remastered audio. The landmark collection was recorded at the fabled Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales, completed in a staggeringly brief two-week period during May and June 1995. Standing as the British act’s biggest-selling album to date with 22 million copies sold worldwide, the Owen Morris/Noel Gallagher-produced masterwork spent 10 weeks at No. 1, is the fifth biggest-selling album in UK chart history, and became the band’s breakthrough album in the US where it sold four million copies. An undeniably superlative rock record, it includes several of Oasis’ biggest selling UK singles – the legendary, universally loved anthem “Wonderwall,” “Don’t Look Back In Anger,” “Roll With It,” “Some Might Say” together with tracks like “She’s Electric,” “Morning Glory” and “Champagne Supernova,” which are all timeless radio staples known to every generation of music fan. (What’s The Story) Morning Glory established Oasis as a national and international phenomenon, the most universally popular British guitar band since the glory days of The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and the album’s enduring and omnipresent appeal was demonstrated when it was awarded Best British Album of 30 Years at The BRIT Awards 2010. In the years since its release, the album has inspired thousands of young guns to pick up guitars and form bands, and is counted by dozens of successful bands and songwriters as a major influence on their careers.
File Under: Brit Rock
Odyssey: Setting Forth (Lion) LP
Once upon a time, when the music business was more music than business (but only just), there was a band that created a quintessential dose of New York ’60s psychedelia: one perfect album, loaded with fuzz guitar riffs of the greatest ferocity, heavy swirling organ, pulsating drums, and intense vocals. That band was Odyssey. It is true that their album, Setting Forth, did not take them from support slots in their native Long Island to the major label heights of other local bands like Vanilla Fudge. That could be because there were only a few copies made, and they came in a plain white jacket. Yet it is that same Odyssey Setting Forth album that is one of the greatest guitar-heavy psychedelic records in the world, and as a result is one of the most sought after and rare (expensive) LPs of the era. The last original vinyl copy to hit the open market was back in 2005, it’s that rare. Now Setting Forth is available on vinyl again for the for the first time in a decade, ready for true psych fans to devour. This is truly one of the cornerstones of underground psychedelic music, recorded in 1969 and released as we have said in a minuscule private edition. It is an album that jumps right out of the speakers at you, from its opening blasts of “In-a-gadda-da-vida” fuzz guitar riffs, right to the very end. Color insert has a suitably kaleidoscopic band history by Odyssey leader Vinny Kusy, as well as rare photos from his own archive. One of the most important psychedelic rarities ever pressed on wax – back on wax!
File Under: Psych
Nelson, Oliver: Skull Session (Tidal Waves) LP
Oliver Nelson was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger, composer and bandleader. Oliver was born into a musical family in Missouri (his brother was a saxophonist who played with Cootie Williams in the 1940s, and his sister sang and played piano) so he began learning to play the piano when he was six and started on the saxophone at the age of eleven. In 1947 Nelson already started playing in local bands in and around the Saint Louis area. After his military service Nelson returned to Missouri to study music composition and theory. Upon completing his education and getting his degree, Oliver moved to New York City, playing with Erskine Hawkins and Wild Bill Davis, and working as the house arranger for the Apollo Theater. In the late 1950s, he was the leader of various groups and began recording for Prestige Records. From 1960 to 1961, he played with legendary artists such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington before joining the Quincy Jones big band (touring both in the U.S. and in Europe). After recording many successful records on various labels he had already made a name for himself as a distinctive composer/arranger and moved to Los Angeles where he started composing background music for television and films (including large productions such as Columbo and The Six Million Dollar Man). He also arranged Gato Barbieri’s music for Last Tango in Paris. Next to his own recordings…in the following decade Oliver Nelson has worked as an arranger, writer and instrumentalist on large ensemble albums for artists such as Thelonious Monk, Leon Thomas, Burning Spear and Louis Armstrong. Next to his Prestige and Impulse! albums he also recorded for big labels such as Capitol, Columbia and Verve Records. Nelson produced albums for big acts from the likes of James Brown, The Temptations and Diana Ross. Oliver Nelson’s work was sampled on records by Moby, Beastie Boys, DJ Shadow, J Dilla and countless others. But he is perhaps best remembered for his 1960 Impulse! album The Blues and the Abstract Truth, often regarded as being among the most significant recordings of its era. Oliver Nelson was unfortunately lost to the world of Jazz in 1975 when he died aged 43 from a heart attack. He left us with an impressive legacy…to say the least. Today we present to you another classic recording by Mr. Nelson (Skull Session) recorded in 1975 for the ‘Flying Dutchman’ label. Here on this album, Oliver Nelson plays with a HUGE all-star line-up consisting of Jerome Richardson (Miles Davis-Alice Coltrane), Bud Shank (Ravi Shankar-Astrud Gilberto), Bill Perkins (Dizzy Gillespie-Charlie Parker), Chuck Domanico (Prince-Mary J. Blige), Maurice Spears (Herbie Hancock-Betty Davis), Buddy Collette (Charles Mingus-Chet Baker), Shelly Manne (Ornette Coleman), Bobby Bryant (Lalo Schifrin-Dennis Coffey), Oscar Brashear (Count Basie-Marvin Gaye), David Duke (Ella Fitzgerald-Lionel Richie), Vincent DeRosa (Jim Sullivan-Pharoah Sanders) and on the keyboards Mr. Cosmic funk himself: Lonnie Liston Smith! Skull Session is a monster of an album that keeps Nelson’s 1960s trademark sound but takes a deep dive into Jazz-funk and adds disco, groovy soul, Bossa nova and electronic funk in the process. Oliver Nelson successfully included electronic instruments (like the Moog & ARP) and the incorporation of the rhythms that are often associated with them…all this without detracting in any way from the high-quality recordings he became known for. Every track is an original composition with a strong melody line and an imaginative arrangement…all living up to Oliver Nelson’s tremendous reputation as an arranger and composer. A sonic testament in every sense of the word. This is a GEM that is a must-own for any kind of Bop fan. Today we are proud to present to you the much-needed vinyl reissue of this outstanding album originally released in 1975 on the Flying Dutchman label. This reissue is now available as a deluxe 180g vinyl edition, packaged in a gatefold jacket featuring the original artwork and sleeve notes by jazz novelist Nat Hentoff.
File Under: Jazz, Funk
OST: Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil
In 1997 director Clint Eastwood made a big-screen adaptation of John Berendt’s 1994 New York Times Best-Seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil which was based on real-life events. Its satisfying musical counterpart is a virtual Johnny Mercer songbook featuring stunning new versions of classic songs plus a few vintage oldies, underlining the role that Mercer’s music plays in the film’s story. Featuring an all-star team of jazz players including Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Joshua Redman, Kevin Eubanks and Christian McBride flanked by an equally as impressive line-up of vocalists such as k.d. lang, Paula Cole, Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Cassandra Wilson, Alison Krauss, Diana Krall and Kevin Mahogany. Colored vinyl 2LP-set.
File Under: OST
Kellee Patterson: Maiden Voyage
(Real Gone) LP
As purportedly the first Black-owned jazz imprint since the ‘20s, the Black Jazz label had its roots in the Black Power movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. But not every album on the label had a social message. Kellee Patterson’s Maiden Voyage was simply an extremely tasteful, mellow jazz vocal album, recorded with the top-notch sidemen that characterized Black Jazz sessions. Patterson first gained fame as the first Black woman (entered under her real name Pat Patterson) to win the Miss Indiana contest, culminating in a performance of “My Funny Valentine” at the Miss America pageant. Her success led to some acting gigs (the TV shows The Streets of San Francisco and The Dukes of Hazzard, and the movie Demolition Man), a brief brush with Hollywood fame (she was briefly linked romantically to talk show host Johnny Carson), and her signing with Gene Russell for her recording debut on Black Jazz (Russell went on to produce subsequent LPs for Patterson on the Shadybrook label). 1973’s Maiden Voyage is highlighted by a beautiful vocal performance by Patterson of Herbie Hancock’s title tune, backed with such premium players as long-time George Duke sideman John Heard on acoustic bass and Ray Charles touring band member George Harper on flute. Our Real Gone reissue is remastered for CD and vinyl by Mike Milchner at Sonic Vision, with LP lacquer cutting by Clint Holley and Dave Polster at Well Made Music, and features new liner notes by Pat Thomas, ,author of Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975. An essential, though uncharacteristic, entry in the Black Jazz catalog!
File Under: Jazz
Revelation: Love Affairs (Tambourine Party) LP
Deep and wicked West African Disco ultra rarity (Recorded in Lagos, 1981) by the band of Cameroonian multi-instrumentalist, Francis Mbilong… Don’t sleep on this winner! Born in 1952 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Francis Mbilong, would go on to lead an exciting and diverse career all across West-Africa. From a very young age at the behest of a family friend, Francis studied harmonium, clarinet, saxophone, and many other instruments. He would eventually funnel most of his talent into the guitar, on which he would write the majority of his body of work. After releasing several recordings under myriad band names during the 1970s, Francis went on to form his longest-standing outfit, Revelation; a name under which he has released recordings as recently as 2020. At the time of the release of Love Affairs by Revelation in 1981, Mbilong would spend most of his time gigging in a club called Phoenicia in Lagos, Nigeria. He preferred the ambiance of a luxury night club to the regular clubs in Lagos, and gigging there afforded him the privilege of sitting in on jam sessions when acts like Kool & The Gang, or Bob Marley were in town. Altogether his career was storied and multitudinous and was made possible by his immense talent as a musician. Love Affairs contains within its seven tracks, a heady, deep, soulful approach to boogie that is seldom tapped by other recordings of its time. Mbilong’s careful and disciplined approach to songwriting sets this album in a tier elevated from the usual four-on-the-floor disco routine. Each song is more engaging than the last, and each pocket respectively deeper. Revelation serves a familiar live-off-the-floor energy with the precision and soulfulness of a group of musicians who are as comfortable with each other as they are talented. The infectious rhythms on this album are the stuff of earworms and dancing is mandatory.
File Under: Africa, Disco, Funk
Daniel Romano’s Outfit: How Ill Thy World is Ordered (You’ve Changed) LP
With your left eye closed, Daniel Romano seems a master synthesizer of sound and genre, a collage artist combining the corrupted influences of a century of so-called popular music forms, a chameleonic acrobat with a near-criminal authenticity. With the other, he’s revealed as a sincerely dedicated, passionately motivated songwriter aghast at the injustices of the world, a caring bandleader and generous collaborator, a spirited and shockingly playful artist tapped into a great, unyielding inspiration. How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is the ninth full-length Daniel Romano album to be released in 2020, but the first to manifest in the physical mediums since the career spanning, era-defining live album Okay Wow. This one too, features the mighty skills of The Outfit, the tightest of tight-knit rock and roll bands: Julianna Riolino (vocals), David Nardi (guitar, vocals), Roddy Rossetti (bass), Ian Romano (drums), supplemented here by Mark Lalama (organ, piano), Briana Salmena (vocals), Victor Belcastro (sax) and Aaron Hutchinson (trumpet). The band assembled in studio in a perfectly tuned geometry to record these new songs following simple guidelines and simple rules: play the whole thing, in sequence, 3 takes or bust, with no overdubs; play “the sound of the feel of a snake bite”; play “a heist on horseback for fool’s gold”. What unexpected anthems emerge! “A Rat Without A Tale,” “Green Eye Shade,” “First Yoke,” “A Secret Still To Be Betrayed,” “No More Disheartened By The Dawn” shock with the full impact of their melodies, the harmonious combination of distinct human voices, the chromed accents of a perfectly arranged horn section, and more guitar playing, real, honest-to-the-core lead guitar playing than Daniel has previously committed to tape. The two-part “Joys Too Often Hollow” and the beautiful closer “Amaretto and Coke” show the band as adept at the swing and sway of softer sentiments, and as quickly tender as brave.
File Under: Indie Rock
Jorge Lopez Ruiz: El Grito (Beat Ball) LP
Bassist, composer, arranger, and film scorer Jorge López Ruiz was the living embodiment of Argentine jazz history. This recording, which was done in 1967 with a big band led by López Ruiz, represents a monumental work in Argentine jazz. The work is a concept album that takes a critical stance on the chaotic political situation and the military regime in Argentina at the time. It was banned upon release and directly led to constraints being placed on López Ruiz’s subsequent activities. Musically, it represents the starting point of López Ruiz’s ‘musical world’, where he wholeheartedly reflects his spirit as a Latin American and Argentine citizen onto his music – jazz. This work is a masterpiece of 60’s big band jazz, which captures López Ruiz’s passion and rage – both as a musician and as a man in the face of an unforgiving reality. Its first vinyl reissue in half a century!
File Under: Jazz
Shock: Electronic Funk (Tidal Waves) LP
Roger Sause (Born in Portland, Oregon) is a musician, songwriter and producer with several gold and platinum recording credits to his name. He started playing the piano as soon he was able to reach for the keys. Turned out he was a natural talent, in 1969 (at the age of 9) he was playing in kiddie garage pop bands and around 1974 (still in his teens) he was already composing his own music! Roger Sause was quickly developing his own sound and started experimenting/recording on the 4-track with local Portland engineer Doug Durbrow…Roger had written a bunch of songs that were ready to Shock the world! Roger Sause then pulled some of his buddies from High School: bassist Joe Plass, drummer Billy Bradford, lead vocalist Malcolm Noble and Terrence Wooten on guitar. Several other renowned artists (like Marlon McClain) were to be included in the recordings and live line-ups through the existence of SHOCK…but these school friends would serve as the core in the early years of the band (including Roger’s brother: Steve Sause). The band SHOCK was now ready to conquer the world…and the rest is what they call “history”. In 1979 and with the financial help and support of their families (and from Doug Durbrow who by now had started the Nebula Circle Records imprint), the band recorded a 7” EP that would serve as an introduction to the public. By handing out copies to stores, promoters, clubs and radio stations word quickly got out about this new sensation called SHOCK. Fired up by the initial success of this 7’’ EP, they released their first full-length album Electronic Funk on the Nebula Circle label in 1980 (this LP also includes longer versions of both tracks from their first 7”EP)…Roger and the band considered this small and unpretentious album just a ‘starting point’…however, no one could predict back then that this ‘first opus’ would become one of the most sought-after and highly-rated Funk albums ever! With SHOCK now having a successful album under their belts (and a hit on local radio) they got signed to Fantasy Records where they released three more albums. Several other singles/hits quickly followed and they would find themselves opening for top acts from the likes of Tina Turner, James Brown and Tower Of Power. Rolling Stone magazine picked SHOCK as one of the top ten new artists of the decade. Although the band did follow up with said subsequent hits, a constellation of factors eventually brought the first chapter of the SHOCK project to a close (there would be reunions eventually, later in the decades to follow). Band leader/ keyboardist Roger Sause, producer/guitarist Marlon Mclain, and bassist Joe Plass began writing, recording and touring with smooth jazz star Kenny G. Over time, Roger would become Kenny’s musical director. The main core-group of SHOCK are still more or less involved in the funk and R&B music scene…some members (including Roger) would eventually form the band ‘Hypertension’ who recorded for Atlantic Records. In the early 1990s Roger Sause and Marlon Mclain both moved to Los Angeles, Roger formed a live music production company called Perfect World Entertainment, and Marlon started to work with the Grammy Award winning Dazz Band, En Vogue, The Ohio Players and a myriad of other elite artists. On the recordings we are presenting you today (Electrophonic Funk from 1980) you can clearly hear the JB & Parliament-Funkadelic grooves Roger Sause and his gang were influenced by. Both critics and fans agree that the songs on this classic album truly stand out because of the raw funk-energy-field that surrounds them…The SHOCK sound was the perfect hybrid of P-Funk and heavy synth bass with falsetto vocals. This album has it all…from the melancholic modern soul in It’s Over, electrifying Boogie Disco shockers as Dance And Have Some Fun and Nite Life, all the way down to nasty P-funk influenced tracks like The Dog. This LP is a total ‘must have’ for any fan or collector! Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the first ever vinyl reissue of this fantastic electronic funk album (originally released as a limited 1000 copies pressing back in 1980 on Nebula Circle Records). This rare record (original copies tend to go for large amounts on the secondary market) is now finally back available as a limited 180g vinyl edition (500 copies) supervised by Roger Sause himself and featuring the original artwork.
File Under: Funk
Horace Silver: Further Explorations
(Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Further Explorations documents hard-bop pioneer Horace Silver’s exceptional quintet with Art Farmer, Clifford Jordan, Teddy Kotick and Louis Hayes. The 1958 session is particularly inspired, with Silver penning all but one of the compositions. “The Outlaw,” one of his most lively creations, has brilliant solos from Silver, Jordan and Farmer while the ballad, “Moon Rays,” gives the band plenty of room to stretch out. Blue Note Records has announced the continuation of the acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series in 2020. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by Joe Harley (from Music Matters) and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version. “The LPs are mastered directly from the original analog master tapes by Kevin at his incredible facility called Cohearent Mastering. We go about it in the exact same way that we did for so many years for the Music Matters Blue Note reissues. We do not roll off the low end, boost the top or do any limiting of any kind. We allow the full glory of the original Blue Note masters to come though unimpeded! Short of having an actual time machine, this is as close as you can get to going back and being a fly on the wall for an original Blue Note recording session.” – Joe Harley
File Under: Jazz
Jimmy Smith: Prayer Meetin’ (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Jimmy Smith revolutionized the use of a Hammond B-3 organ. Arguably his finest moments, the sessions with Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone) helped define jazz. 1964’s Prayer Meetin’ is brimming with the bluesy grooves that made their collaborations classics. Highlights include “Red Top” and the title track’s incredible interplay, while Turrentine delivers a ballad tour-de-force on “I Almost Lost My Mind.” Blue Note Records has announced the continuation of the acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series in 2020. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by Joe Harley (from Music Matters) and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version. “The LPs are mastered directly from the original analog master tapes by Kevin at his incredible facility called Cohearent Mastering. We go about it in the exact same way that we did for so many years for the Music Matters Blue Note reissues. We do not roll off the low end, boost the top or do any limiting of any kind. We allow the full glory of the original Blue Note masters to come though unimpeded! Short of having an actual time machine, this is as close as you can get to going back and being a fly on the wall for an original Blue Note recording session.” – Joe Harley
File Under: Jazz
Melvin Sparks: I’m Funky Now (Tidal Waves) LP
Melvin Sparks (1946–2011) was a talented American Soul Jazz, Hard Bop, Blues and Funk guitarist. The Texas native picked up a guitar at age 11 and was only 13 when he sat in with B.B. King. As a high school student he first joined Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and then the Upsetters (a touring band formed by Little Richard, which also backed Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye). Sparks and his guitar were very much in demand during the 60ies-70ies and he was featured on sessions by Idris Muhammad, Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Ceasar Frazier, Bernard Purdie…and many others. During his career Mr. Sparks recorded multiple albums for renowned labels such as Prestige, Muse & Savant and worked as a session musician for Blue Note Records. Melvin Sparks’ songs were sampled countless times by DJ’s and Hip-Hop outfits (including Grandmaster Flash) over the decades. In 1973 Sparks moved into funkier directions and joined the Westbound/Eastbound family where he recorded some of his all-time classics (‘Texas Twister’ & ‘75’). A third record with Westbound was planned for 1976 (called I’m Funky Now) but was never released (although a sequenced production master & and a limited number of acetates were produced) because of the major changes that took place in the music industry at that particular time…clubs were suddenly going for DJ’s instead of bands and the much loved (but less obvious) genre/scene that Melvin Sparks was part of suddenly fell out of grace. For the I’m Funky Now album Melvin Sparks recorded seven new tracks in Detroit with some of the finest session musicians. Very little is known about the band that backed up Sparks on these recordings, but it’s thought that some of the musicians were from the Funkadelic and Parliament family. The producing credit on this album goes to Westbound/Eastbound veteran Bernie Mendelson, known for his work with Houston Person, Donald Austin and Albert Washington. Over the seven tracks, Melvin Sparks and his band flit seamlessly between soul-jazz, proto-boogie, disco and funk. There are some über-funky dancefloor tracks on this album which would have been destined to become DJ favorites. I’m Funky Now pays lip service to the then-current success of disco-music but doesn’t pander…what you get here is a heavily funky and orchestrated version of his trademark style, with some sweet JB styled basslines and beautiful mellow moments thrown in the mix. Tight rhythm sections, dueling horns, dreamy smooth jazz…Melvin Sparks truly unleashes a genre-melting musical masterclass here. A CD version was produced in 2017 and now after a 45-year wait, Tidal Waves Music is proud to be releasing it for the very FIRST TIME on vinyl. This deluxe 180g vinyl edition is limited to 500 copies and comes with an insert featuring liner notes by Dean Rudland. Unearthed straight from the Westbound vaults…this is a valuable addition to any record collection!
File Under: Funk
Sumac: May You Be Held (Thrill Jockey) LP
Sumac’s work has always been about transition between different states of being. Our sense of normal, and indeed our sense of life, is now being shaken. We don’t know what is coming next. We are looking for pointers towards the future, as well as things to hold onto in the moment. This is a fundamental aspect of May You Be Held’s larger theme. Musically, it’s about continual unification and divergence – and is imbued with the uncertainty inherent in that cycle. In that uncertainty there is also hope, frustration, madness, and a desire for connection. All this too is part of this moment in our history – everything happening at once, the simultaneous emergence of humanity’s best and worst characteristics. Lyrically, May You Be Held follows the humanistic themes explored on Love in Shadow, partially informed by Aaron Turner’s navigation of fatherhood and family life. This compassionate tone stands in stark contrast to the misanthropic and death-obsessed nature of most heavy metal music, and perhaps even seems diametric to the caustic and aggravated tone of May You Be Held. It may make more sense to approach the album as if it were a free jazz record or an abstract noise piece, where the emotional resonance isn’t bound up in melody as much as it is in performance. Here, Turner’s bellows and howls seem less threatening than wounded, primal, and mammalian. On guitar, his subversion of melody and penchant for noise seems less like aural punishment and more like an open horizon for frequencies and timbre. In a traditional metal context, drummer Nick Yacyshyn’s dexterous beats, exhilarating fills, and creative flourishes might seem like the pinnacle of rhythmic ferocity, but on May You Be Held there’s a kind of ecstasy in his performance, a fluidity and ability that conveys both urgency in purpose and joy in execution. Bassist Brian Cook glues it together with a heavy handedness that could be seen as hostile or malicious if it didn’t also provide the clearest path to navigating the band’s thorny arrangements. May You Be Held opens with “A Prayer for Your Path,” a composition culled from improvisational exercises centered on the interplay between Turner’s guitar drones and Yacyshyn’s bowing of a vibraphone. Threaded together with warming bass swells, it serves as the entry point for the album’s increasingly tumultuous and unpredictable strategies. The title track is more in line with Sumac’s established tactics: fusing heavy riffage, knotty structures, and expressionistic forays into an epic narrative arc that winds and weaves through so many peaks and valleys that it spills across two sides of an LP. The band’s free moments hit their apex with “The Iron Chair,” a fully unscripted spontaneous moment in the studio that sounds both completely uninhibited while also locking into some kind of alien logic. From there Sumac launches into their second long-form orchestrated composition – the imposing “Consumed.” The track is perhaps their most ambitious work yet, morphing and evolving across multiple recording sessions at different locations over the course of several years until reaching its final form where Sumac’s troglodyte force slowly ramps it up over its twenty-minute run time to a near panic-inducing frenzy. The album is bookended with a final improvisation exercise, the somber and subdued “Laughter and Silence.”
File Under: Metal
Tin Machine: II (Music on Vinyl) LP
Originally released by Victory Music in 1991, Tin Machine II is the second and final studio album by Tin Machine. After this album and the supporting tour, frontman David Bowie resumed his solo career. Tin Machine II’s reputation has only increased over the years. Uncut magazine placed the album on their list of 50 Great Lost Albums (their list of great albums not currently available for purchase), calling the album “extraordinary”. As with all Bowie albums, there are plenty of strong tracks here to make this a must-have. Opening track “Baby Universal” is pure Bowie. He re-recorded this track in 1996 for his 1997 album Earthling, but the track was not released on the album. It was eventually released in 2020 on the Bowie EP Is it Any Wonder?. The first single “You Belong in Rock n’ Roll” was released ahead of the album and peaked at No. 33 in the UK. The second single “Baby Universal” achieved success on the Modern Rock chart in the USA, where it reached No. 21, and the third and last single “One Shot” became an even bigger hit, reaching No. 3. The album’s cover (which was censored for its original USA release!) was created by Edward Bell, who had previously worked with Bowie in making artwork for Scary Monsters. Music On Vinyl gives Tin Machine II its first vinyl re-release since the 1991 original.
File Under: Rock, Pop, Bowie
Roger Waters: Us + Them (Legacy) LP
Roger Waters: Us + Them chronicles the acclaimed 2017-2018 tour of the iconic Pink Floyd artist. As the founding member, lyricist, composer and creative force behind Pink Floyd, Us + Them presents Waters powerful music in stunning form and highlights its message of human rights, liberty and love. Based around his acclaimed, sold-out Us + Them worldwide tour of 2017-18, comprising a total of 156 shows to 2.3 million people across the globe, it features classic songs from The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Animals, Wish You Were Here as well as his most recent album, Is This The Life We Really Want? Waters powerfully demonstrates that he is at heart, a musical activist and one of the most passionate political commentators of his time. He has dedicated his life to fighting against those who seek to control our lives and destroy our planet. “Welcome To The Machine” and “Another Brick In The Wall Part II,” are a stark reminder of the bleak warnings that he gave decades ago about alienation, displacement, greed, suffering, destruction and loss. And yet the humanity of the songwriter cannot be more plainly seen than in “Wish You Were Here,” because, although he presents a grim picture of the state of the world, ultimately his message is one of hope through unity and love.
File Under: Rock, Pink Floyd
Various: Afro-Peruvian Classics: The Soul of Black Peru (Luaka Bop) LP
This is secret music — a collection of beautiful songs and infectious grooves that’s been hidden for years in the coastal towns and barrios of Peru. It’s not the guys with flutes and drums in woolly hats — it’s music of the black Peruvian communities. Black Peruvians? Yes, Peru was involved in the slave trade too — and this wonderful, funky music is part of that legacy. This music survived (barely) within the black communities, and was not accepted outside of those communities until the spark of black pride, ignited in the 1960s, caught fire in the ’70s and ’80s. Now, in the ’90s, this music is the pride of Peru — cassettes of it are sold on the street alongside techno, Megadeth and Andean folk groups. And while it maintains its funky roots, it has attracted the creative talents of the best contemporary musicians, writers and poets who have furthered the evolution, growth and spread of this music. It’s not a secret anymore — and it’s yours to dance to. “This is secret music — a collection of beautiful songs and infectious grooves that’s been hidden for years in the coastal towns and barrios of Peru. It’s not the guys with flutes and drums in woolly hats — it’s music of the black Peruvian communities. Black Peruvians? Yes, Peru was involved in the slave trade too — and this wonderful, funky music is part of that legacy.” – David Byrne
File Under: Funk, Peru
Various: Black Fire – Soul Love Now: The Black Fire Records Story 1975-19 (Strut) LP
Strut present the first ever compilation bringing together classics and rarities from the seminal spiritual jazz and conscious soul label Black Fire, spanning 1975 to 1993. Formed by DJ and record producer Jimmy Gray in Richmond, VA, and following in the footsteps of other influential black-owned independent labels like Strata-East and Tribe, the foundation of Black Fire coincided with saxophonist James “Plunky” Branch returning to Richmond from New York to form Oneness Of Juju. The band’s African Rhythms album in 1975 was the perfect fusion of jazz, deep African polyrhythms and empowering lyrics and bassist Muzi Branch, a trained artist, created the first of many Black Fire hand-illustrated sleeves for this release. The album set the tone for a series of landmark releases on the label including Oneness Of Juju’s Space Jungle Luv (1976) and debuts from soulman Wayne Davis (1976) and early go go pioneers Experience Unlimited (1977). Gray continued to use his influence and strong A&R instincts to bring in more key artists – great jazz players like Byard Lancaster and Hamiet Bluiett, Ghanaian master percussionist Okyerema Asante and talented collectives including Southern Energy Ensemble and music / drama troupe Theatre West. Due to personal and cashflow issues, many releases had to be canned and only surfaced subsequently on CD releases during the early ‘90s. Soul Love Now brings together some of the many highlights from the label onto one essential compilation. Opening with Theatre West’s powerful soul message “Children of Tomorrow’s Dreams,” the tracks include a Byard Lancaster recording with Tunde Kuboye’s Drummers Of Ibadan in Nigeria and Lon Moshe’s driving jazz dance classic “Doin’ The Carvin’ For Thabo.” Wayne Davis brings the explosive gospel rare groove “Look At The People” while Plunky’s JuJu and Oneness Of Juju offer up a storming previously unreleased version of the classic “African Rhythms” recorded in DC in 1975.
File Under: Jazz
Various: Wamono A to Z Vol. 1: Japanese Jazz Funk & Rare Groove 1968-1980 (180g) LP
Active as a professional DJ in Japan since the late eighties, DJ Yoshizawa Dynamite is also a renowned remixer, compiler and producer. An avid record collector and an expert of the Wamono style, Yoshizawa published the Wamono A to Z records guide book in 2015 which instantly sold-out. The book unveiled a myriad of beautiful and rare records from a highly prolific, but still then unknown, Japanese groove scene. After many years working as a record buyer for several stores, DJ Chintam opened his own Blow Up shop in 2018 in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. A member of the Dayjam Crew and a specialist of soul, funk, rare groove and disco music, Chintam is also an expert of the home-brewed Wamono grooves. He supervised and wrote the Wamono A to Z records guide book together with Yoshizawa. With this first volume of the Wamono series, our two DJs here guide you through some of the best and rarest jazz funk and rare groove tunes produced in Japan between 1968 and 1980. Put the needle on the record, turn up the volume and dig right now into the Wamono sound – the cream of the Japanese funk, soul, rare groove and disco music developed throughout the years since the end of the sixties in Japan!
File Under: Jazz, Funk
Rashied Ali & Frank Lowe: Duo Exchange (Survival Research) LP
Mulatu Astatke & Heliocentrics: Inspiration Information (Strut) LP
Syd Barrett: Barrett (Harvest) LP
Syd Barrett: Madcap Laughs (Harvest) LP
Coil: Swanyard (Infinite Fog) 3LP
Cradle: The History (Modern Harmonic) LP
Far Out: Nihonjin (Everland) LP
Harmonia: Musik Von (Gronland) LP
PJ Harvey: 4 Track Demos (Island) LP
Heliocentrics: Telemetric Sounds (Madlib Invazion) LP
Yusef Kamaal: Black Focus (Brownswood) LP
Linkwood & Foat: s/t (Athens of the North) LP
Lloyd Miller & Heliocentrics: s/t OST (Strut) LP
Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets: Live at the Roadhouse (Legacy) LP
David Pritchard: Nocturnal Earthworm Stew (Artoffact) LP
Protomartyr: Ultimate Success Today (Domino) LP
Slint: Spiderland (Touch & Go) LP
Silvia Tarozzi: Mi Specchio e Rifletto (Unseen Worlds) LP
Chad VanGaalen: Diaper Island (Flemish Eye) LP
Chad VanGaalen: Infiniheart (Flemish Eye) LP
Various: Cold Waves of Color 6 (Lion) LP