…..news letter #994 – parts…..

A beautiful day out there today! Perfect weather to sit inside writing a news letter. But it’s full of all sorts of wonderful sounding things to stick in your ear! As always, these are all up on the website for purchase now so grab a drink, go sit on your porch and have a read.

Oh, and same as a couple weeks back… some of this is arriving tomorrow, if it says in tomorrow, please be sure to wait for your email confirmation that your order is ready for pick up. 

Also! Like the Other Music Documentary, we are again teaming up with Oscilloscope Labs for the distribution/viewing of the new documentary TRUTH TO POWER, about System of a Down’s frontman Serj Tankian. Click the link to rent the film and we’ll get a cut of the proceeds. Rent it HERE

As always, big thanks to everyone who’s been hitting up our webstore and placing orders! It’s getting competitive around 6 pm 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. We’ll be at the shop 11-6 Monday – Friday & Saturday 11-4. Stay safe!

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


…..picks of the week…..

Natural Information Society with Evan Parker: Descension (Out of Our Constrictions) (Eremite) LP
In tomorrow!
Rich in musical associations yet utterly singular in its voice, joyous with an inner tranquility, the music of Natural Information Society is unlike any other being made today. Their sixth album in eleven years for eremite records, descension (Out of Our Constrictions) is the first to be recorded live, featuring a set from London’s Cafe OTO with veteran English free-improv great Evan Parker, & the first to feature just one extended composition. The 75-minute performance, inspired by the galvanizing presence of Parker, is a sustained bacchanalia of collective ecstasy. You could call it their party album. This was the second time Parker played with NIS. Joshua Abrams: “Both times we played compositions with Evan in mind. I don’t tell Evan anything. He’s a free agent.” The music is focused & malleable, energized & even-keeled, drawing on concepts of ensemble playing common to musics from many locations & eras without any one specific aesthetic realization completely defining it. “The rhythms that Mikel plays are not an exact reference to Chicago house, but that’s in there,” Abrams says. “I like to take a cyclic view of music history, can we take that four-on-the-floor, & consider how it connects to swing-era music? Can we articulate a through line? I dee-jayed for years in Chicago & lessons I learned from playing records for dancing inform how I think about the group’s music. The listener can make connections to aspects of soul music, electronic music, minimalism, traditional folk musics, & other musics of the diaspora as well. It’s about these aspects coming together. I don’t need to mimic something, I need to embody it to get to the spirit, to get to the living thing.” For jazz fans, the sound of Parker’s soprano & Jason Stein’s bass clarinet might evoke Coltrane & Dolphy, even though they didn’t necessarily set out to do that & they play with complete individuality. Abrams sees a bridge to the historical precedent, too. “Since we first met in the 1990s, one of the things that Evan and I connected on was Coltrane’s music,” he says. “I hoped that we would tap into that sound world intuitively. In this case, I think that level of evocation adds another layer of depth, versus a layer of reference.” Indeed, this is a performance in which the connections among the ensemble & the creative tension between improvisation and composition build into a complex mesh of associations & interactions. While the band confines itself to the territory mapped out by Abrams’ composition, they are remarkably attentive & responsive, making adjustments to Parker’s improvisations. When Parker’s intricate patterns of notes interweave with the band, the parts reinforce one another & the music rockets upward. Sometimes, Parker’s lines are cradled by the group’s gentle pulse & an unearthly lyrical balance is struck. Drummer Mikel Patrick Avery is locked-in, playing with hellacious long-form discipline, feel & responsiveness. Jason Stein’s animated, vocalized bass clarinet weaves in & out with Lisa Alvarado’s harmonium to state the piece’s thematic material; the pulsing tremolo on the harmonium brings a Spacemen 3 vibe to the party. Abrams ties together melody & rhythm on guimbri, a presence that leads without seeming to. Like his bandmates, he shifts modes of playing frequently, improvising & then returning to the composed structure. “As specific as the composition is, the goal is to internalize it & mix it up,” Abrams says. “The idea is to get so comfortable that we can make spontaneous changes, find new routes of activity, stasis & byways every gig. It’s like a web we’re spinning. If someone makes a move, we all aim to be aware of it, make room for it. Experiencing & listening is what it’s about, & Evan supercharges that.” & “supercharged” is the word for this album. With Parker further opening up their music, descension (Out of Our Constrictions) is the sound of Natural Information Society growing both more disciplined and freer, one of the great bands of its time on a deep run. Mastered by Helge Sten, Audio Virus, Oslo. Lacquers by Kevin Gray, Cohearent Audio, So Cal. Liner Notes by Theaster Gates. LPs pressed on premium audiophile-quality vinyl at RTI.

File Under: Jazz
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Various: Heisei No Oto: Japanese Left-Field Pop From the CD Age 1989-1996 (Music From Memory) LP
Music From Memory is excited to announce a special compilation that they’ve been working on for some time now; MFM053 – VA – Heisei No Oto – Japanese Left-field Pop From The CD Age (1989-1996). Compiled by long-time friends of the label, Eiji Taniguchi and Norio Sato, Heisei No Oto delves into a world of music released almost exclusively on CD and brings together a fascinating selection of discoveries from a little known and overlooked part of Japan’s musical history. The last ten or so years have seen a global wave of interest in Japanese music encompassing ambient, jazz, new wave and pop records from the 1980s, some of which is increasingly considered the most innovative and visionary music of that time. Although some music from this period, in the form of ‘City Pop’ or ‘rare groove’ records, had been coveted by collectors and DJs for a number of years, most Japanese music from the time was little known outside and often even within Japan. Sometime around the mid 2000s, two Osaka record store owners, Eiji Taniguchi of Revelation Time and Norio Sato of Rare Groove, along with a handful of deep Japanese diggers such as Chee Shimizu of Organic Music records in Tokyo, began to explore beyond the typical ‘grooves’ or ‘breaks’. Much like their counterparts in Europe and the US, they began delving into home-grown ambient, jazz, new wave and pop records, discovering visionary music, often driven by synthesizers or drum computers, that broke beyond the typical confines of their genres. Spending tireless hours in local record stores and embarking on digging trips across the country, Eiji Taniguchi and Norio Sato, much like Chee Shimizu, have been at the forefront of unearthing and introducing many of the very Japanese records now loved and sought after around the world. Yet as YouTube algorithms and vinyl reissues would transport such music into the global consciousness and demand and therefore scarcity intensified for such records, so Eiji and Norio have recently begun to turn their attention to CDs. The title of the compilation Heisei No Oto refers to the sound of the Heisei era, which began in 1989 and corresponds to the reign of Emperor Akihito until his abdication in 2019. Marking the culmination of one of the most rapid economic growths in Japanese history, 1989 also coincided with the music industry’s final shift away from vinyl in favour of CDs. And, although compact discs were first introduced seven years earlier it wasn’t until late into the ‘80s that, beyond dance music labels, CDs became the exclusive format for major and independent labels in Japan and throughout the world. This however didn’t signal the end of the innovation in Japan. Many of those same musicians who have become known for their work in the ‘80s would continue to produce outstanding music well into the mid ‘90s, as greater innovation and advances in musical equipment allowed Japanese musicians and producers to refine and explore new sounds. While musicians such as the seminal Haruomi Hosono, whose productions feature on a number of tracks, would continue to push the boundaries of these new technologies, these technological advances also meant less established musicians were able to make use of increasingly affordable but state-of-the-art equipment. Including music by Haruomi Hosono as well as Yasuaki Shimizu, Toshifumi Hinata and Ichiko Hashimoto who have become known and loved around the world in recent years, Hesei No Oto also features Japanese pop star Yosui Inoue, producers Jun Sato and Keisuke Kikuchi in addition to less established artists from the contemporary, jazz, new wave, pop and dance music scenes. Bringing together a selection of tracks that seem to define these specific genres and in fact move fluidly between a number of them, the music on the compilation is again underscored by experimentations with synthesizers and drum computers though with something of a gentle Pop sensibility. Reimagined here then under the encompassing term ‘Left-field Pop’, this is an exciting chapter in Japanese musical history that has only just begun to be fully explored.

File Under: Japan, Pop, Electronic
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…..new arrivals……

William Basinski: Lamentations (Temporary Residence) LP
Finally in after getting shafted on the ‘exclusive coloured version’. William Basinski’s reputation as the foremost producer of profound meditations on death and decay has long been established, but on his new album, Lamentations, he transforms operatic tragedy into abyssal beauty. More than any other work since The Disintegration Loops, there is an ominous grief throughout the album, and that sense of loss lingers like an emotional vapor. Captured and constructed from tape loops and studies from Basinski’s archives – dating back to 1979 – Lamentations is over forty years of mournful sighs meticulously crafted into songs. They are shaped by the inevitable passage of time and the indisputable collapsing of space – and their collective resonance is infinite and eternal.

File Under: Ambient
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Black Market Brass: Omega (Colemine) 7″
Random coloured vinyl! Black Market Brass is a Minneapolis-based group performing their own brand of originally composed Afrobeat/Afrofunk music, as well as completing authentic renditions of the classic 1970’s West African sound. Taking their cues from the godfathers, the band draws on complex polyrhythmic percussion, driving bass lines, dizzying guitar interplay, rolling keyboards, and room-commanding brass. The result? An eclectic blend of cool deep funk and driving Afrobeat grooves that will lure you to the dance floor and never let you leave.

File Under: Funk, Afrobeat
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Cardinal & Nun: Dancing in the Evil (L.I.E.S.) LP
Cardinal & Nun returns to L.I.E.S. now with his debut lp, 8 songs of full on rotten stripped back, fuzzed out, synth punk mayhem. Straight to the head beautifully thrashing anthems, Cardinal & Nun goes in with catchy basslines, dissonant guitar chop ups, and vocals that creep from the shadows throughout the affair. Don’t gas out though, there are some somber cuts on the b-side’s “Whats Goin On Tonite?”, “Pandemonium” and “Day After Day”. A true gem in the French scene, now get in the pit and slamjack! Recommended.

File Under: Electronic, Punk
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Contours: Belafon Sketches (Net of Gems) LP
Would be a pick of the week if we weren’t pretty much sold out… Fresh Stockport label Net Of Gems springs into action with the crucial vinyl run of Contours’ highly-praised self-released 2020 cassette Balafon Sketches.  Long incubated over a series of visits back to his Cumbrian homeland, Manchester producer Contours joins the dots between deep 4th world percussion, classic minimalism and spiritual jazz through this collaboration-heavy release.  It’s a seamless mix of traditional and electronic elements, taking heavy hints from Balinese gamelan and Central African polyrhythms yet steeped in a sense of introspection owing to the deep, isolated soundings in which it was conceived.  Collaborating with local instrument builder / ceramist Seth Sutton, the pair drench a set of balafon pieces in heavy tape delay and reverb pedals, recalling the ethno-percussion trips led by Futuro Antico, whereas ‘Keld’ (featuring renown Cellist Abel Selaocoe) sinks skimming, minimal flute notes into pacifying polyrhythms and stark plucked improvisations that edge towards something more spiritual.  Equally heady is the closer ‘Okutama’, with heavily dubbed chords and hand-drumming immersed in dense field recordings of insect orchestra and nature.  Considering the very home-brewed and DIY nature that underpins the thing, Tom Contours & Co have seriously outdone themselves here and having spent the best over a year now relistening, reabsorbing and getting to know this work inside out, it has every feel of a future classic – a deeply transcendent, organic body of music borne out of spontaneous experimentation with friends.  Manufactured by Pallas – original lithograph artwork by Kitty Hopking

File Under: Ambient, Fourth World
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Chris Cornell: No One Sings Like You Anymore (A&M) LP
No One Sings Like You Anymore is a posthumous collection of ten cover songs which Chris Cornell personally selected and sequenced to celebrate artists and songs that inspired him. Recorded by Cornell in 2016, the album, which is his last fully completed studio album, features his renditions of John Lennon’s “Watching The Wheels,” Ghostland Observatory’s “Sad Sad City,” Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into The Fire,” Carl Hall’s “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love,” Electric Light Orchestra’s “Showdown,” Terry Reid’s “To Be Treated Rite,” Lorraine Ellison’s “Stay With Me Baby” (originally released for HBO’s show Vinyl), “Get It While You Can,” popularized by Janis Joplin, and a new studio recording of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” written by Prince. Cornell’s cover of Gun’s & Roses “Patience,” which earned him his first solo Billboard No.1 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, is also included here. All of the instruments on No One Sings Like You Anymore were played by Chris Cornell and Brendan O’Brien, who also produced and mixed the album. “This album is so special because it is a complete work of art that Chris created from start to finish. His choice of covers provides a personal look into his favorite artists and the songs that touched him. He couldn’t wait to release it,” said the artist’s wife Vicky Cornell.

File Under: Rock, Soundgarden
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Deftones: White Pony – 20th Anniversary (Reprise) 4LP
To mark the 20th anniversary of their 2000 alt-metal opus, White Pony, Deftones reissue the album with a companion disc of remixes titled Black Stallion on Reprise / Warner Records. The collection features an eclectic cast of contributors that reflects White Pony’s far-reaching impact across the worlds of metal, hip-hop, indie, and electronic music. The first taste of Black Stallion is a reimagining of “Knife Prty” by synth-pop mavericks Purity Ring. Other remixers include icons like Robert Smith of The Cure, DJ Shadow, and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park alongside genre-bending heavyweights: dark-pop favorites Phantogram, electronic experimentalist Squarepusher, beatsmith Clams Casino, renowned record producer Salva and noise artist Blanck Mass, to name just a few. The seed for Black Stallion was planted back in 2000 while writing and recording White Pony, which ended up going platinum and earning a 2001 Grammy for Best Metal Performance. Inspired by the sound-collage aesthetic of fellow Sacramento-area native Shadow, Deftones initially wanted the Endtroducing… architect to remix the entirety of White Pony. Though that plan never came to fruition then, 20 years later, Shadow became a lynchpin of the curated collaboration roster that Deftones assembled for Black Stallion. On top of providing a fresh perspective on a classic album, Black Stallion is the ultimate testament to Deftones’ unparalleled genre-blurring influence. Black Stallion’s radical remixes further cement the vanguard reputation of a band that is always thinking of the future, even as it looks to the past. This Deluxe vinyl 4LP-set features a pair of double LPs including the White Pony (20th Anniversary Edition) and the Black Stallion (Remix album).

File Under: Rock, Metal
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Dinosaur Jr: Sweep It Into Space (Jagjaguwar) LP
Coloured vinyl! Sweep It Into Space is Dinosaur Jr.’s first new collection of music since 2016’s Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, continuing what is perhaps the greatest “second act” of any band ever. Originally scheduled for mid-2020, this record’s temporal trajectory was thwarted by the coming of the Plague. But it would take more than a mere Plague to tamp down the exquisite fury of this trio when they are fully dialed-in. And Sweep It Into Space is a masterpiece of zoned dialing. In the decades since the release of Dinosaur Jr.’s original triptych of foundational albums, it has become clear that their sound, once hailed as a sort of almost-tamed noise, is/was/always-has-been fully functioning pop music of a sort. There had always been melodies at the center of everything they did. What Dinosaur Jr. produce is nothing but a beautiful new version of the rock continuum – riff, power, beat and longing, created with an eye on the infinite future. Recorded, as usual, at Amherst’s Bisquiteen, the sessions for Sweep It Into Space began in the late autumn of 2019, following a West Coast/South East tour. The only extra musician used this time was Kurt Vile, who co-produced the album and played the lead 12 string on the upbeat “I Ran Away.”  J Mascis’s voice is immediately catchy over soaring, electrifying guitar lines. After recording with Kurt got disrupted, Mascis “ended up just mimicking a few things he’d done. I was listening to a lot of Thin Lizzy, so I was trying to get some of that duelling twin lead sound. But the recording session was pretty well finished by the time things really hit the fan. When the lockdown happened in March, that meant I was on my own. But it was cool.” As is typical, Lou Barlow writes and sings two of the album’s dozen tunes (delivering perhaps his finest Dinosaur contribution in “Garden”) and Murph‘s pure-Flinstonian drumming drives the record like a go cart from Hell. Lou’s songs here are as elegant as always. J’s tracks flow and flower in the different directions he often follows. Some are guitar howlers, with a string sound midway between Hendrix and Asheton. Some are power ballads, and there are anomalies, like “Take It Back,” which starts with a blue-beat rhythm putting one in mind of Keith Richards’ Jamaican explorations (at least for a little bit.) But there are very few moments where you wouldn’t know you were hearing Dinosaur Jr. in blindfolded needle drop. They have a signature sound as sure as the Stooges or Sonic Youth or Discharge ever did. They continue to expand their personal universe with Sweep It Into Space, without ever losing their central core.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg (4AD) LP
Dry Cleaning – the South London group of Nick Buxton (drums), Tom Dowse (guitar), Lewis Maynard (bass) and Florence Shaw (vocals) – release their debut album New Long Leg on 4AD. The 10-track long-player, which includes “Strong Feelings” and “Scratchcard Lanyard,” was recorded over two weeks last summer at Rockfield Studios in rural Wales with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding). Following on from their thrillingly taut 2019 EPs Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks and Sweet Princess, New Long Leg is more ambitious and complex, with Shaw’s spoken vocals tightly intertwined with the band’s restless instrumentals. With lyrics preoccupied by themes like dissociation, escapism, daydreaming, complicated feelings of love, anger, revenge, anxiety, the kitchen, lethargy, forgetfulness, and survival, Shaw says, “the title is ambiguous; a new long leg could be an expensive present or a growth or a table repair.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Emtidi: Saat (Pilz) LP
In tomorrow! 180 gram vinyl, gatefold sleeve. A reissue of Emtidi’s Saat, originally released in 1972 as the 14th release on the legendary label PILZ. Producer Dieter Dierks prescribed the folk duo a good portion of cosmic electronic chords. The remaster sounds better than all issues before. “Saatis a little-known gem and krautrock classic, an album full of dreamy and beautiful melodies. The Emtidi duo considerably expanded its instrumentation and style, and played a unique mix of folk, art rock, and psychedelic music. Besides acoustic guitar, the sound is mainly dominated by synthesizers, Mellotron, and other keyboard instruments, which are often played in a classical style. Some softly floating organ parts are comparable to early Tangerine Dream. In contrast stands a song like ‘Love Time Rain,’ which could be written by the British folk band Pentangle. On most tracks, Dolly Holmes sings lead with her high, transfigured voice. Aside from ‘Die Reise,’ a fairy tale story sung by Maik Hirschfeldt, all the songs have English lyrics. The album has a surprisingly full sound for a duo recording, although no drums were used. Most contemporary German bands played with new styles and sounds, but only a few obtained such wonderful music out of their experiments.” –Klaus Kehrle, AllMusic

File Under: Krautrock, Prog, Kosmische
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Gripsweats: G’on Use It (Colemine) 7″
From a funky basement in Nashville, TN comes the third 45 from The Gripsweats. Nasty, vocal shout style NOLA funk. Heavy, dirty, raw, and in the cut. This one is meant for playing loud in the clubs. A classic part 1 / part 2 approach to this sweaty dancefloor burner.

File Under: Funk
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P.J. Harvey: Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (Island) LP
UMC/Island offer up a new reissue of Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, the fifth studio album by PJ Harvey, alongside a collection of unreleased demos. Produced by PJ Harvey with Rob Ellis and Mick Harvey, and originally released in October 2000, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea features the singles “Good Fortune”, “A Place Called Home” and “This Is Love” and includes a duet with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on “This Mess We’re In.” Widely recognized as a career best, with NME declaring it to be “a magnificent, life-affirming opus,” the album won the Mercury Music Prize in 2001. One of Harvey’s most acclaimed albums, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea earned her multiple accolades, including BRIT Award nominations for Best British Female Artist two years in a row, Grammy Award nominations for Best Rock Album and Best Female Rock Performance and, of course, the aforementioned Mercury Music Prize for Best Album. It reached No. 23 in the UK Albums Chart and appeared extensively on end of year lists. The reissue is faithful to the original recording and package and was cut by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of long time PJ Harvey producer Head.

File Under: Rock, Pop
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Irena and Vojtěch Havlovi: Melodies in the Sand (Melody As Truth) LP
Melody As Truth present “Melodies In The Sand”, a collection of works from Czech artists Irena and Vojtěch Havlovi. The husband-and-wife duo began working together in the mid 80’s as part of experimental ensemble Capella Antiqua e Moderna, a unique association of musicians whose repertoire spanned various styles of European classical music. With an inventive and unorthodox approach to both historical and modern compositional techniques and interpretive procedures, the Havel’s have steadfastly developed a unique and musically autonomous language which continues to expand to this day. Spanning their early work in Capella Antique e Moderna to recent pieces recorded for Viola De Gamba, ‘Melodies In The Sand’ is presented to the listener with the simple aim of shining a light on these incredible musicians. Their work has within it the ability to penetrate and enrich the innermost corners of a perceptive human soul, a gift which they share with sincerity and humbleness.

File Under: Ambient, Classical
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Hypnosonics: Drums Were Beating: Fort Apache Studios 1996 (Modern Harmonic) LP
Prior to founding the band Morphine, Mark Sandman launched Hypnosonics, built around a stripped down drum kit with no toms and a piece of plywood in place of cymbals, played by Jay Hilt. With funk in its heart, Hypnosonics was originally a five piece with Sandman on guitar and organ, Tom Halter and Russ Gershon of the Either/Orchestra on trumpet and sax, and Mike Rivard, who later founded Club d’Elf, on bass. After Morphine took off, Dana Colley joined Hypnosonics, Hilt added hi-hat cymbals to his kit, and the horn section started singing. In 1996, the same year that Morphine recorded Like Swimming at the legendary Cambridge, MA studio Fort Apache, Hypnosonics visited the Fort to play a live-in-the-studio radio broadcast on beloved local rock station WFNX.

File Under: Rock, Morphine
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Hypnosonics: Someone Stole My Shoes: Beyond The Q Division Sessions (Modern Harmonic) LP
In 1986, while Mark Sandman was still touring with his first major label band, Treat Her Right, and before he convened the now-mythical Morphine, he assembled what is often referred to as his “”secret band.”” Hypnosonics remained a favorite side project, and performed for the last time two weeks before Sandman’s death in 1999. Playing guitar and organ as well as singing, Mark was joined by members of the large jazz ensemble Either/Orchestra for the funkiest excursions of his diverse career. An edition of the band which included future founding drummer of Morphine, Jerome Deupree, and future bassist/leader of Club d’Elf, Mike Rivard, recorded five songs at Q Division Studio in Boston in 1989. Also included are two more tracks by the 1996 edition of the group featuring original drummer Jay Hilt along with Morphine’s Dana Colley, trumpeter Tom Halter, and saxman Russ Gershon.

File Under: Rock, Morphine
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Lieven Martens: The Habu (Poole) LP
Poole Music is thrilled to announce its inaugural commission, the Habu, the latest full-length from Belgium’s Lieven Martens. For the better part of two decades, Martens has been expanding his Aloha-bedecked musical vision, transitioning from the basement tape environments of his Dolphins into the Future project to the rich compositional tapestries of more recent post-exotica modernist works. The Habu represents a true culmination of these identities in one of his most ambitious works to date. The album’s three pieces cast an omniverous net that explores those fragile tendriles between imagined and real, natural and fabricated, unity and chaos; concrete sounds enabling abstract inner landscapes. With the ecstatic revelry of Marco Polo returning to his queen, Lieven brings us gems from all corners of the navigable world: tales of an impossibly guilded Portugese palace, a fertility tonic conjured from a poisionous serpent, a simulacrum of Honolulu. At a moment when the world is more geographically isolated than it has been in generations, Martens’ the Habu is a welcome odyssey, a Charybdian travelogue of the psyche. About face.

File Under: Ambient
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Rob Mazurek – Exploding Star Orchestra: Dimensional Stardust
(International Anthem) LP

Multidisciplinary abstractivist Rob Mazurek has made an indelible impact on creative music over the past 30 years. Emerging from the musical nexus of the 1990s Chicago scene, he’s written more than 400 compositions and is featured on more than 70 recordings (including International Anthem’s very first, IARC0001, Alternate Moon Cycles). He’s led many ensembles – including the Chicago Underground (Duo, Trio, Quartet & Orchestra), Isotope 217 (alongside members of Tortoise), Pharoah and the Underground (feat. Pharoah Sanders), and a duo with Jeff Parker. He’s been on the cover of WIRE Magazine twice and is well-known as one of the prime 21st century progenitors of “The Chicago Sound.”  Commissioned by the Chicago Cultural Center in 2005 to assemble a group representing the diversityof the city’s avant-garde, Mazurek began composing for what became his Exploding Star Orchestra (ESO). Including musicians from the often-segregated North, South, and West sides, ESO debuted in the urban epicenter of Chicago’s Millennium Park and, shortly after, recorded We Are All From Somewhere Else (Thrill Jockey, 2007). By the time of Galactic Parables Vol. 1, ESO’s 2015 triple LP on Cuneiform Records, Mazurek reflected to Pop Matters that “Exploding Star Orchestra is the conceptual, compositional and philosophical center of all my work… a life star of musical and visual and ideas.” In 2018 JazzFest Berlin invited Mazurek to present a new iteration of ESO. Meeting the commission with the boundless ambition characteristic of his approach, he imagined a jubilee of musicians – true to ESO’s essence in their widely diverse backgrounds and voices, but more tightly arranged than ever before. Mazurek’s debut was an ecstatic and wholly original program that marked a pinnacle in his distinction as a composer and conductor of Contemporary Music. When he returned to Chicago, International Anthem took the opportunity to capture these new ESO compositions with a cast of collaborators from their collective constellation of artists. In the studio between August 2019-March 2020, Mazurek channeled his arrangements through 11 musicians – Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Jaimie Branch, Joel Ross, Mikel Patrick Avery, Tomeka Reid, Chad Taylor, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Macie Stewart, Angelica Sanchez, and John Herndon – and commissioned his long-time collaborator Damon Locks to do lyrics and vocals. After 3 months of rigorous post-production, editing and assembly, Mazurek completed Dimensional Stardust.

File Under: Jazz
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Merope: Salos (Stroom) LP
Haunting Lithuanian folk songs and choral works from Merope, latest lambs to the Stroom flock shepherded by Ziggy Devriendt aka Nosedrip, a big big tip to fans of Kara-Lis Coverdale. Immediately calling to mind strains of the Fonal label circa the mid ‘00s (Islaja, Paavoharju, et al), and likewise lilting, worldly traces of the label’s NSRD/Hardijs Lediņš releases; ’Salos’ is a very non-Sadian suite of pastoralism from the top shelf of Lithuanian music. It’s an effortlessly enchanting listen that never tests the listeners’s patience, carrying us through seven immaculate scenes centred on the lead voice of Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė, and harmonised with the Vilnius Municipal Choir Jauna Muzika, known for their performances of Arvo Pärt’s music. Perhaps most intriguing is the inclusion of American Pakistani multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily lending electric piano to the fractal bliss of ‘El Dvipa’ and  wistful dreaminess of ‘Luliomoj’ that bookend the set, but if any one song should make you fall for them, try the melt-on-mind delicacy of ‘Vilnia’ and go from there, we reckon.

File Under: Classical, Ambient, Latvia
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Metro Area: s/t (Environ) LP
In the late nineties, the budding producers Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani bonded over their shared love of slower tempos and ’70s and ’80s New York City club culture. Obsessed with record digging and the sounds they heard on late-night “club classics” radio shows — and turned off by current releases they saw as artlessly “updating” sublime disco by sampling, filtering, and subjugating them with huge kick drums — the duo set out to discover how their favorite old 12″ records were made. They naturally gravitated towards extended dubs of songs — full of strange mistakes and echoing backing tracks — instead of the better-known vocal versions. Lacking the big budgets and gear that made so many of their favorite classic records come together, they were forced to take a guerrilla approach. They reprogrammed their techno-oriented arsenal of secondhand synths and samplers, using novel digital recording technology to capture live instrumentation and prioritized mood over hooks, and the resulting music was just wrong enough to sound unlike anything else being released at the time. After just four underground 12″ releases, the duo — now well-known as Metro Area — released their first and only album, Metro Area, in the fall of 2002. Fifteen years later, it’s time to celebrate the culmination of their shared history and inspiration once again. Environ is proud to present the 15th Anniversary Edition of Metro Area, Metro Area’s eponymous debut album, meticulously remastered using the original source tapes and generously spread across three slabs of vinyl. The 12-track triple LP and included download card combines all the songs from both the original US and licensed European releases, and features new commemorative artwork unique to this edition.

File Under: Electronic
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Mirah: Advisory Committee (Double Double Whammy) LP
Coloured vinyl! “Advisory Committee” is a long out of press Mirah fan favorite, including some of her most well known tracks, “The Garden”, “Cold Cold Water”, and “Special Death”. This rerelease joins last years deluxe reissue of her seminal “You Think It’s Like This But Really It’s Like This”, and releases in tandem with a rerelease of another Mirah favorite, “C’mon Miracle”.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Mirah: C’mon Miracle (Double Double Whammy) LP
Coloured vinyl! “C’mon Miracle”, Mirah’s most critically acclaimed album, is finally back in press on vinyl. Receiving the “best new music” tag, Pitchfork said about the album, “‘C’mon Miracle’ is it. Mirah, it appears, has made the album we’ve been waiting for.” Offered on color vinyl for the first time, “C’mon Miracle” will resonate with fans today as much as it did nearly two decades after its initial release.

File Under: Indie Rock
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The Mirrors: Lost 3rd Album (Feeding Tube) LP
The singer and songwriter Greg Ashley has made a name for himself both as a member of notable underground bands The Gris Gris, The Mirrors, and Strate Coats, as well as a solo artist. As a fixture in the underground music scene, his musical abilities span a range of genres including garage punk, psychedelia, and folk. In addition to his own music, he works as a producer and sound engineer, previously running his own Oakland-based studio, Creamery Studio and now rebuilding his home studio in Texas. After high school, Greg Ashley took to perusing the work of the original ’60s artists, immersing himself in the Rolling Stones’ bluesy early material, the Beatles’ midperiod psychedelia, the crazed noise of the 13th Floor Elevators, and the fuzzy surf of the Ventures. Assimilating these influences, Ashley formed a quintet called the Mirrors and released two scruffy, all-over-the-map albums. The Mirrors were Greg Ashley’s post-Strate Coats (7″ also available on Hook or Crook) and pre Gris-Gris outfit. In 2001 they self-released the A Green Dream LP in an edition of 500. Though hard to imagine in retrospect, in 2001 it was unlike anything else being created at the time, fusing well played, well written freaky psychedelia with groovy ballads, tinny xylophone, feng shui recitations and occasionally a confusion that approaches the Sun City Girls. Pervading it all is an acid-drenched folky psychedelia that would make fellow Texan Roky Erickson proud. This Lost 3rd Album is the missing bridge between The Mirrors and what was to come in The Gris Gris. Includes full size double-sided insert; edition of 300. “There have been hundreds of bands since 2001 that have attempted to sound this good at being high. None have.” “You know that old ‘This is your brain on drugs’ egg-frying commercial? Well, these discs are 10-egg omelets.” “Nobody gave a sh*t about my garage band in Houston, People liked my music out here. I got to meet one of heroes, Russell Quan of the Mummies, and he was a fan of my band.” –Greg Ashley

File Under: Psych, Garage
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Molero: Ficciones Del Tropico (Holuzam) LP
Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Alexander Molero is no stranger to the exotic idealism that westerners have towards South America. A move to Barcelona a few years ago gave him new notions of how the Amazon was imagined by the west. The inspiration for this record came from the book by Anton Goering “Vom tropischen Tieflande bis zum ewigen Schnee” and was also influenced by the writings of Victor Segalen and the visions of Werner Herzog in “Fitzcarraldo” and “Aguirre”. The way that these artists explored and romanticised ideas of the unknown were the trigger for the creation of the sounds heard in “Ficciones Del Trópico”. Using a Yamaha CS-60 Synthesizer, Molero creates an enigmatic and utopian voyage inspired by the tropical and exotic desire of European’s first contact with these foreign and unexplored sites. For his first record, he wanted to create soundscapes for the wilderness reminiscent of the European’s that faced the unknown and beyond of the Amazon forest in the 19th century. Eight pieces, 44 minutes, with titles referencing birds, animals and landscapes that simulate a continuous discovery. The spirited patterns of the pieces invite you into Molero’s mind and to explore the way his imagination materialises into sound. Developed and recorded during 2017 and 2018, “Ficciones del Trópico” resonates references and soundscapes that Molero has conceptualised over the last decade. The constant structure and rhythms created a unique – and continuous – sound-aesthetic. Molero’s tropical fiction is like diving into the sea with Jürgen Müller, exploring Alpha Centauri with Tangerine Dream or building new exotica through the lens of Mike Cooper. But this time everything happens in a jungle.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Monophonics: It’s Only Us (Colemine) 7″
“It’s Only Us” is the sound of Monophonics continuing to grow as songwriters, musicians, performers and people — reflecting on where they’ve been, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the years to come. The title track from their most recent album is arguably the song that epitomizes the album’s sonic palette best: soulful, psychedelic, and looking forward. It is now available as a 7-inch single. Including a bonus B-side titled “Get The Gold”.

File Under: Funk
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Steve Moore: Analog Sensitivity (KPM) (Be With) LP
In tomorrow! When a synth master like Steve Moore joins forces with the legendary KPM, magic must materialize. And so it does with Analog Sensitivity: cinematic, enigmatic synth scapes to both haunt and heal. New York-based multi-instrumentalist/producer/film composer Steve Moore is probably best known for his synthesizer and bass guitar work as Zombi, together with Anthony Paterra. But he is also part of Miracle and Titan as well as being a prolific solo artist releasing music as Gianni Rossi, Lovelock, and under his own name. Rather than being commissioned by KPM, Analog Sensitivity comes from music Steve was recording sporadically and tinkering with for over three years during the downtime between his film projects. After Jon Tye invited him to play on the Ocean Moon project for KPM, Steve realized that the hallowed library label might be the perfect home for what he had been working on. Finishing production in late 2019 in Albany, NY, he came up with the track sequencing and suddenly, he had an album: Analog Sensitivity. The LP opens with the dystopian electronic minimalism of “Eldborg”, its dark synth bass unfolding to ominous synth pads, shadowy sustains, and glistening arpeggios. “At The Edge Of Perception” brings an unsettling retro-future of edgy analog leads and desolate FX. The sound of a robotic core tears through the sparse textures of the enigmatic “Rose Of Charon”. A chilling breeze blows through a persistent, hypnotic synth sequence on “Time Freeze”. Title track “Analog Sensitivity” is a sparkling transcendental synth scape of melody, drones, and celestial synth. The brooding “Behind The Waterfall” winds down the first side, building subtle strings and a desolate sound beneath its haunting organ. “Mirror Mountain” ushers in side two, its woozy bass and arpeggio unfolding to envelop the muffled, muted echoes of its organic leads. “Syzygy” emerges you in bubbling sequences, airiness, and ambient electric guitar tones. It’s followed by the cinematic minimalism of “Pentagram Of Venus” and its trickling FX. The wind swirls through the otherworldly “Of Dust Thou Art” kicking up clouds of unsettling, plodding synth sequences leading to the uneasy atmosphere of “Message From The Beast”. Closing track “Urge Surfing” is as cool a climax as you’d hope from something so brilliantly titled, riding along hushed waves of brooding electronics. Mastering by Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman, pressed in the Netherlands by Record Industry.

File Under: Electronic, Library
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Peter Murphy: Love Hysteria (Beggars) LP
Coloured vinyl! Beggars Arkive is excited to announce vinyl reissues for all five Peter Murphy solo releases on Beggars Banquet, plus the release of a brand new rarities album titled The Last And Only Star. Each album is pressed on colored vinyl, and the pressings are limited. The albums will be released in a series of three beginning in April. Love Hysteria is Murphy’s second studio album, originally released in 1988. For this album, Murphy collaborated with keyboardist Paul Statham (of B-Movie). Love Hysteria was produced by Simon Rogers, a former member of The Fall.

File Under: Rock, Bauhaus
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Peter Murphy: Should the World Fail to Fall Apart (Beggars) LP
Coloured vinyl! Peter Murphy’s solo career began in 1986 with the release of Should The World Fail To Fall Apart and continues to this day. In addition to his work as the frontman of the legendary and groundbreaking Bauhaus, he has issued ten solo albums and several live releases. Beggars Arkive presents 2021 colored vinyl reissues for all five Peter Murphy solo releases on Beggars Banquet, plus the release of the brand new rarities album, The Last And Only Star. Produced by Ivo Watts-Russell, who was chosen by Murphy due to his This Mortal Coil production, Should The World Fail To Fall Apart is a collection of singles written and recorded in 1986 with hopes of finding Peter a post-Bauhaus identity. Awash in somber and reflective tones and spacious atmospherics, the sounds here are soft and orchestrated while the lyrics are poetic and deep. A review by Melody Maker declared: “the man with everything to prove has just proved everything.”

File Under: Rock, Bauhaus
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Rob Noyes & Joseph Allred: Avoidance Language (Feeding Tube) LP
In tomorrow! “There have been some very cool guitar duo LPs over the years — Bert Jansch & John Renbourn’s Bert & John, Danny Kalb & Stefan Grossman’s Crosscurrents, Jody Harris & Robert Quine’s Escape, Charalambides’ Joy Shapes, Bill Orcutt & Michael Morley’s Electric Guitar Duets, any comp of Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie, etc. — but there has never been one quite like Avoidance Language. It is a wild-eyed classic from start to finish. Ostensibly a meeting between two guitarists lurking around the Boston area (although Rob has since moved to Japan), Joseph’s mastery of other instruments (harmonium and banjo) affords the pair a wider range of sounds than some of their precedents. But they also eschew vocals here, so that kinda balances things out. At least in my book. The album’s four tracks display brilliance and variety in spades. ‘Feet of Clay and a Crown of Stars’ is a two guitar conversation, with notes initially slurring and sliding against each other, then spreading out like waves of sound hitting a sandy beach. It’s like something you might hear inside your head if John Fahey dunked you in one of the hot tubs at Big Sur. On ‘Stutter Study’ Allred uses his harmonium to soften the rhythmically tangled briar patch improvs by Noyes. ‘A Valid Subspecies’ pairs Noyes’ guitar with Allred’s provocatively original banjo inventions. Rob’s playing on this one mixes ruminative downstrokes with aggressive single string highlighting in a style quite different from his trademark whirlwindery. Finally, on the title track, we are shown another intricate and deftly woven two guitar tapestry. It makes me imagine what Robbie Basho might have done in response to ‘The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace at Versailles’ from John Cale & Terry Riley’s Church of Anthrax album. What can I say, but ‘Wow.’ Avoidance Language is one for the ages. Don’t miss your chance to get ahead of its curve.” –Byron Coley, 2021
File Under: Guitar, Psych, Experimental
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Bill Orcutt/Chris Corsano: Made Out of Sound (Palilialia) LP
In tomorrow! “Sadly, many will hear Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt’s latest LP, Made Out of Sound, as ‘not-jazz,’ though it would be more aptly described as ‘not-not-jazz.’ In a better world, it would warrant above-the-fold reviews in Downbeat, or an appearance on David Sanborn’s late-night show (if someone would only give it back to him). More likely, we can hope for a haiku review on Byron Coley’s Twitter timeline to sufficiently connect the various improvised terrains trodden by this long-time duo — but if you’ve been able to listen past the overmodulated icepick fidelity of Harry Pussy, it should surprise you not an iota that Orcutt’s style is rooted as much in the fractal melodies of Trane and Taylor as it is in Delta syrup or Tin Pan Alley glitz. As for Corsano, well, it may seem daft to call this particular record ‘jazz’ (because duh, it has a drummer), but to me Corsano is beyond jazz, almost beyond music, his ambidextrous, octopoid technique grappling many stylistic levers and spraying a torrent of light from every direction. Corsano’s ferocity has elevated many ‘mere’ improv records to transcendence, but here he’s crafted his polyrhythms within more narrative channels, bringing to mind his ‘mannered’ playing in the lamented Flower-Corsano duo. It’s not ‘groove’ playing precisely, but it follows many grooves simultaneously, much like Orcutt’s own melodic musings — which is why they’re so naturally lock-in-key here. Which maybe makes it all the more surprising that Made Out of Sound was in fact recorded in different rooms on different coasts at different times, and stitched together by Orcutt on his desktop. Corsano recorded the drums in Ithaca, NY, and (as Orcutt states), ‘I didn’t edit them at all. I overdubbed two guitar tracks, panned left/right. I’d listen to the drums a couple times, pick a tuning, then improvise a part, thinking of the first track as backing and the second as the ‘lead’, though those are pretty fluid terms. I was watching the waveforms as I was recording, so I could see when a crescendo was coming or when to bring it down.’ Fluidity ties the tracks together. With a little more groove and a little less around-the-beat maneuvering, one could almost hear the boiling harmonic layers as Miles-oid in ‘Man Carrying Thing,’ but with new-found Sharrockian modalities, Corsano accentuating the tumbling nature of the falling notes. The Sharrock vein continues with ‘How to Cook a Wolf,’ its Blind Willie-esque melodic simplicity and repetition extrapolated 360-style in a repetitive descending riff that falls into Cippolina-isms (by way of Verlaine) until the end crashes upon the shore. Much like Orcutt’s last solo album, Odds Against Tomorrow (PAL 056CD/LP, 2019), there’s a gentler, almost pastoral flow to some tracks (‘Some Tennessee Jar,’ ‘A Port in Air,’ ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking’) that calls to mind the mixolydian swamplands of Lonnie Liston Smith — but unlike Odds, other tracks (‘The Thing Itself’) smash that same lyricism into overdriven, multi-dimensional melodic clumps that push several vector envelopes at once in an Interstellar Space vein. With the help of Corsano, Orcutt has managed to slither even further out of the noise/improv pigeonhole lazy listeners/writers keep trying to shove him into. Looking at the back cover of Made Out of Sound, we should not see Orcutt hurling a guitar into the air with post-punk bravado, Corsano toiling behind him in the engine room — we should witness an instrument levitating from his hands, rising on invisible major-key tendrils of melody, fired by percussion, spiraling into an invisible event horizon…” –Tom Carter

File Under: Guitar, Improv, Jazz
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Orphx: Fragmentation (Hospital) BOX
In tomorrow! Fragmentation was the third full-length album from Orphx, originally released in 1996 on the legendary Malignant Records label. Rich Oddie, Christina Sealey, and Aron West had founded the project three years earlier, creating pitch black noisescapes inspired by early industrial music and the extreme fringes of metal. By 1996, West had departed to focus on his absurdist noise project Tropism, while Oddie and Sealey began to push Orphx in a more rhythmic direction. Cassette releases on their own Xcreteria imprint (reissued by Hospital Productions and Mannequin Records in 2017) quickly attracted the attention of Malignant Records, who offered to release the next album. Fragmentation was made using the same basic tools as the early cassettes: contact microphones, scrap metal, effects pedals, feedback circuits, a drum machine, a couple of synths, and location recordings and found sounds manipulated by Sealey on reel-to-reel machines and an 8-bit sampler. While early Orphx recordings were primarily improvised direct to tape, this album places much greater emphasis on carefully constructed layers of sound, shaping their improvisational energy into powerful compositions that combines death industrial atmospheres and brutal power electronics with relentless, hypnotic percussion. Themes of illness, infection, and psychopathology dominate the album but are intertwined with references to transcendence, suggesting a desperate search for salvation in the midst of social/psychological disintegration. The Fragmentation reissue on Hospital Productions includes the original album, now remastered by Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv), and over an hour of additional rarities and previously unreleased recordings. This includes rare compilation tracks, selections from the Obsession and Progress cassette (BloodLust!, 1996), the Final Moments cassette (Third Force/Isolation, 1997), and live recordings from 1995 and 1996. One of the only acts from the ’90s to originate in the industrial underground, cross over into the rhythmic noise enclave of the early 2000s and attain a leadership role in the contemporary live techno apparatus with total authenticity. Clear vinyl; edition of 290.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial
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Tom Petty: Finding Wildflowers – Alternate Takes (Warner) LP
Gold vinyl! Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) – the latest offering of Tom Petty music, curated with help from his loving family, bandmates and collaborators – features tracks, which were previously released on the Super Deluxe 9LP version of 2020’s Wildflowers & All The Rest. It gathers 16 studio recordings of alternate takes, long cuts and jam versions of Wildflowers songs as Tom, band members and co-producer Rick Rubin worked to finalize the album in 1994. The release offers fans further deep access into the writing and recording of Wildflowers, as well as realizing the full vision of the project as Tom had always intended. The collection was produced by Tom’s longtime engineer and co-producer Ryan Ulyate who listened to 245 reels of 24-track tape, revealing Tom and his collaborators’ evolutionary process, and finding the group willing to do whatever it took to discover the essence and magic in the material.
File Under: Rock
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Sola: Un Muneco De Madera (Be With) LP
In tomorrow! Be With Records present a reissue of Sola’s Un Muñeco De Madera, originally released in 1971. Originally released on RCA in Mexico, it’s kaleidoscopic Acapulcan-funk. The album’s endless grooves are propelled by softly rocking, quasi-library funk breaks. Vocally, Sola is in step with the ’60s French pop-chanteuse style, but of course her lyrics are delivered in sensuous Spanish. Her voice is beautiful. Pillowy soft and tender, it can suddenly explode in mystical anger. These are ten tracks of moody, mysterious vibes that stir the spirit and sooth the soul. The LP was written, arranged, and directed by prolific Spanish composer Manuel Alejandro, the man behind an incredible number of now classic Latin love songs from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. As for Sola herself, next to nothing is known about the Mexican singer except the occasional whisper heard in only the darkest corners of the annals of music history. It’s said that upon growing disillusioned with the music industry she ended up in a convent of Carmelite Sisters. Fitting perhaps, given that Un Muñeco De Madera is a spiritual wonder of a record. Much-loved single and title-track “Un Muñeco De Madera” opens the album. It introduces us to Sola’s sparkling Latin-funk, bursting with swaggering grooves sewn by tight drums, sweeping strings and lush keys. It’s followed by the serene but melancholic bossa groove of “Oye Mamá, Oye Papá” and the strings and guitar of “He Bajado Al Infierno” that hold up vocals reaching for an eternal truth. With full-on soundtrack-y feels, the rolling keys underpinning the Morricone-esque soundscape of “En Ellos Creo” will give you goosebumps. The gorgeous “Soy Rebelde” (“I’m Rebellious”), sets its gentle, piano-led delivery in delicate contrast to the lyrical sentiment. Perhaps Sola’s most well-known track, the exotic bossa of “Tabu, Tabu”, is a formidable groove. Elegant bongos, prominent bass, delicate acoustics, and a persistent flute blend with Sola’s unique voice; sinuous, sassy, and forceful at the same time. The stunning “La Última Palabra”, while not literally the album’s last word, is nevertheless a stirring statement of strutting Latin soul, with more musical ideas packed into this one song than the entirety of most long-players. If you hadn’t decided already, the final two tracks that are the funk-fueled “Bada-Bada-Ba” and the horn-heavy percussive masterclass “Únete A Mi” will leave you in no doubt that this is one very special record. Mastered by Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman. Remastered from the original tapes.

File Under: Funk, Mexico
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Unwound: Challenge for a Civilized Society (Numero) LP
Coloured vinyl! On 1998’s Steve Fisk-produced Challenge For A Civilized Society, the Olympia, Washington trio Unwound toyed with conventional verse/chorus form, stacking layers of noise and distraction on top of tightly constructed melodies. The Mount Everest of punk rock. The Muhammed Ali of guitar noise. The Clash of the Titans of sound. The weirdest song titles in history. The ultimate chapter in the saga of Unwound.
File Under: Punk
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Alan Vega: Mutator (Sacred Bones) LP
Coloured vinyl! Alan Vega’s name is synonymous with unfettered, tireless creativity. Beginning in the late 1950s, when he was a fine art student at Brooklyn College, through his years playing in Suicide, and all the way up until his death in 2016, Vega was constantly creating. That process naturally led to a wealth of material that didn’t see the light of day immediately when it was recorded, which came to be known as the Vega Vault. Mutator is the first in a series of archival releases from the Vault that will come out on Sacred Bones Records. Mutator was recorded alongside Vega’s longtime collaborator Liz Lamere at his NYC studio from 1995-1996, and it serves as a document of a particularly fertile time in his creative life. He had 11 full-length solo albums come out during the ‘80s, ’90s and ‘00s – plus numerous collaborations, and Suicide records A Way of Life and Why Be Blue. Mutator wasn’t shelved intentionally, but Vega’s back-to-the-grindstone M.O. meant that he had moved on to making his next record before this one was finished. Lamere and Vega’s friend and confidante Jared Artaud (The Vacant Lots) rediscovered the raw, unmixed recordings from the Mutator sessions in the Vault in 2019. Soon after, they mixed and produced them into the visionary album that was lurking within those tapes. ”Our primary purpose for going into the studio was to experiment with sound, not to ‘make records,'” Lamere recalls. “I was playing the machines with Alan manipulating sounds. I played riffs while Alan morphed the sounds being channeled through the machines.” At the time of the Mutator sessions, Vega was massively inspired by what was happening in the streets of New York – not only the hip hop scenes that were exploding throughout the outer boroughs, but also the literal sounds of the streets, the traffic noise and industrial ambience of city living. That influence trickled into the sounds he and Lamere captured in those sessions. That sensibility, paired with Vega’s unmistakable voice and force of personality, is what made it the great album it is now. The final piece was the production job, completed by Lamere and Artaud 25 years after the songs were first captured. ”Mutator bridges the gap between the past and present,” Artaud says. “It’s something we feel he would have been really proud of, seeing this lost album released today. In so many ways, his music is needed now more than ever.”

File Under: Electronic, Punk
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Winston Brothers: Winston Theme (Colemine) 7″
The Winston Brothers are taking Colemine back to its roots. Heavy drums, breakbeats, nasty funk, and all instrumental. The debut 45 from this German based funk powerhouse is just a tease for what’s to come from their forthcoming LP.  Very much coming from the boom bap side of things and sharing production credits for Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, that makes sense. This is a 45 tailor made for DJs so grab doubles.

File Under: Funk
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Witch: Lazy Bones!! (Now Again) LP
In tomorrow! “Pressed on opaque orange vinyl. This landmark recording from Now-Again’s comprehensive overview of Zambia’s premier garage-, psych-, prog-, funk-, Afro-rock ensemble WITCH, We Intend To Cause Havoc! is now available in a never before seen color variant. The audio is nigh-perfect — restored and remastered from the original master tapes. WITCH’s musical arc is contained to a five-year span and, in retrospect, is a logical one. The band’s third album, Lazy Bones!!, is the band’s masterpiece — a dark, brooding psychedelic opus that makes equal use of wah-wah and fuzz guitars, that relies as heavily on the stomping feel of hard rock as it does the syncopation of funk.”

File Under: Psych, Zamrock
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Satoshi Ashikawa: Still Way (WRWTFWW) LP
Brainstory: Buck (Big Crown) LP
Phoebe Bridgers: Punisher (Dead Oceans) LP
Clean: Mister Pop (Merge) LP
Clean: Unknown Country (Merge) LP
Cure: Disintegration (Rhino) LP
Neal Francis: Changes (Karma Chief) LP
Fugazi: Red Medicine (Dischord) LP
Ryo Fukui: Mellow Dream (We Release Jazz) LP
Grant Green: Born to Be Blue (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Andrew Hill: Black Fire (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Fern Jones: The Glory Road (Numero) LP
Madlib/Freddie Gibbs: Pinata 74 (Madlib Invazion) LP
Mogwai: As the Love Continues (Temporary Residence) LP
Jonny Nash & Teguh Perman: Poe (Music As Truth) LP
Nu Guinea: Nuova Napoli (NG Records) LP
Ploy: Unlit Signals (L.I.E.S.) LP
Radiohead: Amensiac (XL) LP
Radiohead: Hail to the Thief (XL) LP
Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL) LP
Radiohead: Kid A (XL) LP
Radiohead: Pablo Honey (XL) LP
Wayne Shorter: Etcetera (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Sturgill Simpson: Cuttin’ Grass Vol 2 (Thirty Tigers) LP
Jimmy Smith: Groovin’ at Small’s Paradise (Blue Note) LP
Waxahatchee: Saint Cloud (Merge) LP
Steven Wilson: The Future Bites (Arts & Crafts) LP
Various: Virtual Dreams (Music From Memory) LP

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