Not a ton in this week, thankfully, since I missed a day yesterday and am a bit behind. So here’s what’s new!
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
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…..pick of the week…..
Joseph Shabason: The Fellowship (Western Vinyl) LP
Coloured vinyl! Across eight tracks that mesh spacious, jazz-laced composition with fourth-world and adult-contemporary tonality, Toronto saxophonist Joseph Shabason sketches an auditory map of the transcendence, unity, conditioning, and eventual renunciation of his upbringing in an Islamic and Jewish dual-faith household. The resulting album The Fellowship bears the name of the insular Islamic community Shabason’s traditionally Jewish parents belonged to from a time before he was even born; a mental and spiritual push-pull which continued shaping, even controlling, his outlook well into his adulthood. As a listening experience The Fellowship follows a chronological arc that spans three generations covering his parents’ early lives, his own spiritual and physical adolescence, and his subsequent struggle to eschew the problematic habituations of such a conflicted past. On The Fellowship, as on prior albums that bear his name, Shabason does what only the best instrumental music makers can: tell a story with emotional clarity that conveys even the subtlest of feelings, all without singing a single word. As wordless as ever – with as complex a theme as ever – this album may be his most emotionally articulate yet. Most importantly, those lost in the woods of repression and self-doubt that organized religion can be at its worst now have The Fellowship to help guide them into a softer light.
File Under: Ambient, New Age, Jazz
Animal Collective: Crestone OST (Domino) LP
The debut feature written, produced and directed by Marnie Ellen Hertzler. Set in the desert of Crestone, Colorado over the course of eight days and set to an original score composed by Animal Collective’s Geologist & Deakin. Crestone follows a group of SoundCloud rappers who live in solitude, growing weed and making music for the internet. When an old friend arrives to make a movie, reality and fiction begin to blur.
File Under: Ost, Indie Rock
Bell Orchestre: House Music (Erased Tapes) LP
Erased Tapes announce Bell Orchestre’s House Music ‘ an immersive ecosystem of an album to be released on March 19, and the first full-length work released by the acclaimed Montreal-based outfit in over a decade. House Music unfolds as one long piece, a recorded-then-sculpted improvisation that vastly expands their work, coalescing classical and electronic instrumentation in the creation of genre-defying musical worlds.
File Under: Classical, Electronic
Matthew Cardinal: Asterisms (Arts & Crafts) LP
Asterisms is a dazzling collection of ambient electronic music that crystallizes moments in the amiskwaciy (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) based musician’s life. Known for his work in nêhiyawak – the moccasingaze trio whose debut album nipiy is currently nominated on the 2020 Polaris Music Prize Shortlist – Cardinal’s first solo full-length is an audio journal that explores “captured moments of experimentation and expression” in eleven entries, “asterisms drawing attention to where I was musically, mentally and emotionally at very brief passages of my life.” Each piece contemplates emotional textures with an often gentle, dreamy, and melodic palette – constellations of synthesizers dancing around atmospheric themes and rhythmic punctuations. Bedroom ambient music created with analogue synthesizers, a small modular system, samplers, electric piano, and processed voice, each sonic entry came out naturally in improvisational waves, recorded often in single takes or single days. Calling to mind the gradual melodies of Brian Eno, and the weightless flights of Fennesz, with Asterisms Cardinal creates a glacial, airy sonic universe that is personal yet evocative, fleeting yet impressive: a catalyst and companion to reading, studying, working, walking, dancing, hand holding, sleeping, and skygazing.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Fruit Bats: The Pet Parade (Merge) LP
The Pet Parade marks a milestone for Eric D. Johnson, who celebrates 20 years of Fruit Bats in 2021. In some ways still a cult band, in other ways a time-tested act, Fruit Bats has consistently earned enough small victories to carve out a career in a notoriously fickle scene. While many of the songs on The Pet Parade were actually written before the pandemic, it’s impossible to disassociate the record from the times. As an example, producer Josh Kaufman (The Hold Steady, Bob Weir, The National, and Bonny Light Horseman, in which he plays with Johnson and Anaïs Mitchell) was brought in for his deep emotional touch and bandleading abilities. However, Johnson, Kaufman, and the other musicians on The Pet Parade – drummers Joe Russo and Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Fleet Foxes, Muzz), singer-songwriter Johanna Samuels, pianist Thomas Bartlett (Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens), and fiddler Jim Becker (Califone, Iron & Wine) – were forced to self-record their parts in bedrooms and home studios across America.
File Under: Indie Rock
Gang of Four: 77 – 81 (Matador) BOX
Matador Records will release GANG OF FOUR: 77-81, a stunning, limited edition box set curated by Jon King, Hugo Burnham and Dave Allen gathering Gang of Four’s influential early work. The box set contains Entertainment! and Solid Gold (both remastered from the original analog tapes), an exclusive singles LP, and an exclusive double LP of the never officially released Live at American Indian Center 1980. Additionally, the package includes two new badges, a C90 cassette tape compiling 26 never-before-issued outtakes, rarities and studio demos from Entertainment! and Solid Gold, and an epic 100-page, full-color handbound book. The book details the history and legacy of the original Gang of Four with never before seen photos, contributions from surviving original band members, rare posters, ephemera, flyers, essays, artwork, liner notes and more. It also marks the first official publication of their lyrics. Gang of Four was formed in Leeds in 1976 by bassist Dave Allen, drummer Hugo Burnham, guitarist Andy Gill, and singer Jon King. The band pioneered a style of music that inverted punk’s blunt and explosive energies — favoring tense rhythms, percussive guitars, and lyrics that traded in Marxist theory and situationism. They put every element of the traditional “rock band” format to question, from notions of harmony and rhythm to presentation and performance. This original lineup of the band released two monumental albums, Entertainment! (1979) and Solid Gold (1981). A third, Songs of the Free (1982), was recorded with bassist Sara Lee replacing Dave Allen. After Songs Of The Free, Burnham departed the band and Andy Gill and Jon King continued on to release Hard in 1983. After this release, the band broke up. In 2004, the original quartet reformed for tour dates and released Return The Gift (2005). Gill’s untimely death in February 2020 was cause for many to once again re-examine the group’s catalog and the legacy of these early releases was widely cited. Not only did Gang of Four’s music speak to the generation of musicians, activists, writers, and visual artists that emerged in the group’s immediate wake, but the generation after that. And the generation after that, even. In the last few years, their songs have continued to resonate with and been sampled by artists far afield from “post-punk,” including Run the Jewels (“The Ground Below”) and Frank Ocean (“Futura Free”). Now forty years since the original release of Entertainment!, Gang of Four’s legacy cannot be overstated.
File Under: Post Punk
Ghost: Opus Eponymous (Rise Above) LP
A daringly beautiful combination of satanic rock music with an almost unthinkable pop sensibility, 2010’s Opus Eponymous (Latin for self-titled work) is where it all began for the beautifully dark global phenomena Ghost! Standing motionless and anonymous beneath the painted faces, hoods and robes, the nameless ghouls of Ghost deliver litanies of sexually pulsating heavy rock music and romantic lyrics, which glorify and glamorize the disgusting and sacrilegious. The simple intention to communicate a message of pure evil via the most effective device they can find: Entertainment. This is black metal at it’s most original and deceiving; compositions such as “Ritual” and “Death Knell” majestically weave their melodic spell of evil through the senses until the listener finds themselves utterly possessed and open to any diabolical suggestion.
File Under: Metal
Sonic Boom: Almost Nothing Is Nearly Enough (Carpark) LP
To Sonic Boom’s Pete Kember, re-imagining the past can lead to ways forward on life’s natural, interconnected path. In April of 2020, he released his first album in over 20 years called All Things Being Equal, a lush and psychedelic record full of interwoven synthesizers and droning vocal melodies, concerned with the state of humanity and the natural world. An entire year later, Kember has re-imagined his last release and created an album of self-remixes of six tracks from ATBE and two tracks previously released exclusively on CD in Japan, called Almost Nothing Is Nearly Enough, inspired by the spirit of late 70s, early 80s records by artists like Kraftwerk, Blondie and Eddy Grant. His new album, set up to be a grooving, night-time record is hypnotic and moody, holding onto the existential framework of the original, but exposes a fresh, beating realm of possibility.
File Under: Rock, Experimental, Remixes
Spiritualized: Lazer Guided Melodies (Fat Possum) LP
White vinyl! The Jason Pierce-led space-rock group, Spiritualized, will take you on a voyage into the unknown with this aptly-titled 1992 debut. All the sounds on Lazer Guided Melodies are perfectly placed in space making it a masterpiece of economy and expression. It is authentically emotional as silence and simplicity are as crucial as the more complex instrumentation. An album to be heard with a set of headphones in a dark room and, above all, in its entirety. A pinnacle of the dream pop genre. The Spaceman Reissue Program edition of Lazer Guided Melodies promises to give these recordings the fullest spectrum audio and physical treatment they’ve deserved since 1992. It will be the first in this series of 180g double vinyl LP albums mastered from a half speed lacquer cut from original sources by Alchemy Mastering, presented in a gatefold jacket adorned by reworked art by Mark Farrow.
File Under: Rock
Yob: The Illusion of Motion (Metal Blade) LP
Eugene, OR’s YOB has an accomplished song craft that is as much their own sound as it is paying homage to the doom metal greats of both times of yore and present. 2004’s The Illusion of Motion served as the doom metal merchants’ first for Metal Blade Records. “It has the extremes that our fans expect of YOB, only more,” explained singer/guitarist Mike Scheidt. “Our slow riffs are much slower and crushing and our faster tunes are more jagged and chaotic. Our melodic parts are more atmospheric and our discordant riffs are angular and throttling. The Illusion Of Motion has YOB’s shortest tune ever clocking in a just over 6 minutes and our longest tune clocking in at over 26 minutes. And the vocal extremes that are displayed on our earlier records are even more over the top. Plus this is our first recording with our new(ish) drummer extraordinaire Travis Foster who has been crushing skulls with us for almost two years now. It is by far our best record yet in songwriting as well as production and we are very happy to release it with Metal Blade Records.”
File Under: Metal
Neil Young: Young Shakespeare (Reprise) LP
Just two months after the release of his seminal album After The Gold Rush, Neil Young played a solo show at The Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, CT on January 22, 1971. The show was filmed and recorded, and the concert shown on German TV later in 1971. In 2020, while Neil and his team were reviewing his Archive for future projects, Neil re-visited the 16mm film and audio recording of this show that had been preserved in the Archive for almost 50 years. Piecing together the tapes and footage, Neil realized that he had the full concert – the film of which is the earliest live footage of Neil performing that is known to exist. Neil wrote on NYA that this show is “superior to our beloved ‘Massey Hall’. A more calm performance, without the celebratory atmosphere of Massey Hall, captured live on 16mm. ‘Young Shakespeare’ is a very special event. To my fans, I say this is the best ever.” As an insight into Neil’s prolific song writing at the time, the concert features two songs from the recently released After The Gold Rush but four songs from the classic Harvest album that was still over a year away from being released. The wonderful set list also includes acoustic renditions of favorites such as “Ohio,” “Cowgirl In the Sand,” “Helpless,” “Down By The River” and “Sugar Mountain.” The ancient analog tapes have been lovingly restored – resulting in (as Neil also says on NYA) “one of the most pure sounding acoustic performances we have in the Archive.” Released almost exactly 50 years after the original performance, this beautiful concert is presented here on vinyl LP for the first time!
File Under: Rock, FOlk
Various: Wilcovered (BMG) LP
A loving tribute to Wilco from the November 2019 issue of Uncut magazine, this collection comprises 19 Wilco covers recorded by notable artists such as Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile, Sharon Van Etten, Low, Cate Le Bon, Parquet Courts, Whitney, Low, Twin Peaks and Yo La Tengo, including one previously released version of “Jesus, Etc.” by Norah Jones’ band Puss N Boots and one recently unearthed (but never released) cover of “Casino Queen” by Billy F Gibbons of ZZ Top fame. There is not a weak moment on this album and many outstanding ones. Sure to appeal to the rabid Wilco fan base, the CD which accompanied the magazine sold out quickly and is no longer available. Presented here on colored vinyl 2LP.
File Under: Rock, Pop
Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore: Ghost Forests (Three Lobed) LP
Guided By Voices: Alien Lanes (Matador) LP
Hypnosonics: Someone Stole My Shoes (Modern Harmonic) LP
Iron Maiden: Killers (Sanctuary) LP
Lamb of God: s/t (Epic) LP
Ministry: Psalm 69 (Rhino) LP
Nas: Illmatic (Columbia) LP
Outkast: Stankonia (Arista) LP
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd) LP
Raymond Scott: Soothing Sounds for Baby (Music on Vinyl) 3LP
Weezer: Ok Human (Atlantic) LP
Gillian Welch: Soul Journey (Acony) LP