…..news letter #1005 – big news…..

Alright.. if you’ve talked to us you probably know we haven’t really had much information about when we’d be reopening. And then our gov’t decided that the pandemic is over as of next week. Unfortunately, we’ve been pretty busy running the store curbside and while reopening has been a constant thought, filling orders and servicing pickups has been our priority. Who knew running a closed store would be so much work! So we just aren’t quite ready in here. 

If you’ve been paying attention, we’ve been buying a lot of used stuff and the store is a bit over run. We’ve got a shipping/packing station that makes this model work well, but it’s really in the way for in store traffic. And then there’s the next RSD Drop, which also takes a lot of time to prepare for, and the general consensus is that everyone really would like to see us to do that drop online as well… with that in mind, we feel that our best option that gives us some time to prepare to reopen and avoiding RSD confusion is our goal will be to reopen on July 19th. 

The support for us being closed and continuing to be close has frankly been overwhelming and shocking, it’s made it really easy to stay closed, too easy. So we’re gonna buckle down and get ready, get through RSD and welcome y’all back in to browse as of July 19th. We’ll update with what our hours will be like closer to then. We’ll probably ease back into it to find a balance of maintaining the web/pickup business as well as in-store shoppers. Thanks for your support and understanding! 

…..pick of the week…..

Sarah Davachi: All My Circles Run
(Late Music) LP
Finally available in Canada! Limited Gold vinyl reissue! ‘All My Circles Run’ is the fourth full length release by Montreal-based electroacoustic composer Sarah Davachi and her second outing for Students of Decay. In a move which may surprise followers of her previous output, the five compositions on this record eschew synthesizer entirely, each focusing on a different instrument, including strings, voice, organ and piano. What remains consistent however is the striking attention to detail and commitment to investigating tonal possibility that characterizes all of her work. The sinewy “For Strings” opens the album, with keening overtones stretching out in all directions to form a mass of slow moving, radiant sound. “For Voice” charts an even more celestial course, as wordless vocals ebb and flow to awe-inspiring effect. The stunning, melancholic “For Piano” closes the record and is something of a high watermark in Davachi’s oeuvre to date, with plaintive piano figures nestled atop a shimmering string drone to create a richly emotive, reverent atmosphere. Ultimately, ‘All My Circles Run’ is a confident step forward from an exciting artist whose compositional and aesthetic tendencies steer her steadfastly towards both the subjunctive and the sublime.

File Under: Ambient, Classical
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.….new arrivals…..

Enfant Magique: Le Temps Lent (Tresor National) LP
Enfant magique is a psychedelic folk project by Eric Gingras (Fly Pan Am, Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche, Pas Chic Chic). “Le temps lent” is Enfant magique’s third album and now available for the first time on vinyl. This release is limited to 500 copies and is accompanied by a risograph-printed insert and a digital download card. Humbly whimsical and deceptively simple, like a lost child from the seventies, in “Le temps lent” Gingras crafts his music from the freedom and shamelessness of youth. Acoustic guitars and synthesizers welcome woolly sheep, dilapidated robots, tiny synthetic drums, minimalist jaw harps, obsessive alarms, light footsteps on a dirt road, propellers overhead in a many-faceted celebration of slowness. Tresor National is a Montreal-based record label dedicated to celebrating Quebec’s lesser known musical legacies on vinyl. “Le temps lent” is the label’s first contemporary release.

File Under: Psych, Fly Pan Am
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Engine Kid: Everything Left Inside (Southern Lord) BOX
6 LP box set of every recording from ‘90s metal/punk/indie band Engine Kid featuring sunn O))), Thor’s Hammer and Goatsnake member (and Southern Lord owner) Greg Anderson. Everything has been remastered and there are a lot of unreleased/unheard recordings as well as stuff that is long gone and impossible to find. Printed at Stoughton printing with gatefold jackets and foil stamped embossed box, with extensive 12-page booklet.

File Under: Metal, Sunn o)))
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Aretha Frankling: Knew You Were Waiting (Legacy) LP
Knew You Were Waiting is a vinyl 2LP collection of Aretha Franklin’s greatest hits from 1980-2014, including The Queen of Soul’s versions of songs with George Benson, Eurythmics, George Michael, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Michael McDonald and C+C Music Factory. Knew You Were Waiting also puts the spotlight on Aretha’s hitmaking years as an Arista Records artist, working closely with label founder and president Clive Davis. These range from her label debut, 1980’s No. 3 comeback R&B smash “United Together” (her first Top 5 hit in over three and a half years), to the iconic 1998 No. 5 R&B entry, “A Rose Is Still A Rose,” written, produced and arranged by Lauryn Hill of the Fugees.

File Under: Soul, R&B
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High on Fire: Blessed Black Wings (Relapse) LP
Coloured vinyl! With a heavy-handed approach and a sound that crashes like thunder, High On Fire has put the power back in ‘power-trio’. Less a band than a supersonic exercise in conquest by volume and sheer heaviness, the group has burned the metal rulebook and forged a new archetype. In the summer of 2004, High On Fire entered Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago, IL with engineer Steve Albini (Neurosis, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Nirvana) to record their third full-length Blessed Black Wings. Equal parts molten metal and earthquake panic, the band’s Motorhead-meets-Slayer roar is outrageously loud and absolutely punishing. Matt Pike unleashes a devastating combination of bombastic guitar and howling vocals, weaving fantastical tales of supernatural beasts, forgotten battles and rivers of blood over an unstoppable bass and drum assault. Blessed Black Wings was named one of 2005’s best releases by publications around the world. Additionally, Pike was named one of the 20 best guitarists by Rolling Stone Magazine.

File Under: Metal
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High on Fire: Surrounded By Thieves (Relapse) LP
Coloured vinyl! With a heavy-handed approach and a sound that crashes like thunder, High On Fire has put the power back in ‘power-trio’. Less a band than a supersonic exercise in conquest by volume and sheer heaviness, the band has burned the metal rulebook and forged a new archetype. Before the band had even made it’s first live appearance, labels flocked to get a piece of the trio. In the end the band chose to record with the Mans Ruin label. Their 2000 debut, The Art of Self Defense, was welcome respite from commercialized rap-metal and warmed-over stoner-rock cliches of the time. It served up a rock hard, unorthodox form of modern metal cloaked in strange religious theology and the trio’s style was unique, distinct, and absolutely crushing. Accolades poured in the world over. Almost overnight, High On Fire were the unassuming heroes of the riff and the most celebrated metal band on the planet. Summer 2001 saw Man’s Ruin close up shop, leaving the group with no label and no distribution. Relapse offered, the trio accepted, and found themselves a new home and new full-length effort titled Surrounded By Thieves with gargantuan songs such as “Hung, Drawn and Quartered,” “Nemesis” and “Razorhoof.” Burning down the pillars of time with quadrupled intensity, High on Fire inject tonal infectiousness as the mammoth, plaster-cracking guitar and throaty war cries of founding member Matt Pike interlock with elephantine bass grooves and cannon-like percussion, rarely has metal been as powerful and pure in its ability to translate primal fury and aggression.

File Under: Metal
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Hiss Golden Messenger: Quietly Blowing It (Merge) LP
Coloured Vinyl! Hiss Golden Messenger’s Quietly Blowing It was written and arranged by M.C. Taylor in his home studio – his 8′ × 10′ sanctuary packed floor to ceiling with books, records, and old guitars – as he watched the chaotic world spin outside his window. Between March and June 2020, Taylor wrote and recorded upwards of two dozen songs – in most cases playing all of the instruments himself – before winnowing the collection down and bringing them to the Hiss band. In July, the group of musicians, with Taylor in the production seat, went into Overdub Lane in Durham, NC, for a week, where they recorded Quietly Blowing It as an organic unit honed to a fine edge from their years together on the road. Throughout Quietly Blowing It, Taylor brings his keen eye to our “broken American moment” – as he first sang on Hiss Golden Messenger’s critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated Terms of Surrender – in ways that feel devastatingly intimate and human.

File Under: Folk, Country
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Hypnotic Brass Ensemble: This is a Mindfulness (Jagjaguwar) LP
“Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that Richard Youngs’s ‘Sapphie’ was all about a dead dog. I don’t know if someone insinuated this idea in front of me or if I psychologically tethered the title to the tenderly printed dog paw on its cover, not to mention the raw and plaintive vocalizations of the three-song set. Either way, I’ve gone over a decade thinking this remarkable, windswept album of torch songs was about a dearly departed pet. “And yet, as we approached a reissue of this Jagjaguwar classic and a new, reimagined version by artists Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Moses Sumney, Sharon Van Etten and Perfume Genius, Richard Youngs was straightforward and unsentimental about its meanings – or lack thereof. “The lyrics are not about anything in particular,” Youngs wrote. And I had to just cackle at his note, the rest of which was much more interested in the technical and studio aspects of the recording. He wrote about how “Soon It Will Be Fire” is a first-take cut recorded on a SM57 mic for a Glasgow pirate radio station called Sub City, run by a man named John Hogarty. “We both sensed there was more to this project,” Richard wrote plainly. “So, next week, I went round John’s place again. Using the same approach, we recorded the remaining two tracks that would be ‘Sapphie.'” That’s that. Nothing mystical, nothing poetic. The paw prints on the cover are, in fact, that of a friend’s dog (“The first dog I ever loved,” Richard said.), but there is no devastating loss at its center. He also attached a .jpg of his current pet: a happy, poodle-looking thing. “And so, I want to tell Richard what this album has really meant to me and a great many friends, artists and fellow travelers over the years, dead dog or no. I want to tell him how it’s become a centering album for a great many of us, a transcendent and meditative piece of art, a place we go for a rare little bit of peace, or maybe even for a good, private, cleansing cry. I want to share with him this other record by Hypnotic Brass Ensemble called ‘Book of Sound’ that, in its own heavy way, hits the same nerve as ‘Sapphie.’ Richard should know that in a heroically stoned moment in 2018, two friends said to one another “Hypnotic Brass Ensemble should cover ‘Sapphie.'” And that Hypnotic Brass Ensemble just sweetly and immediately agreed to do it in a matter of one phone call. Nothing mystical, nothing poetic. And how, now, three years later, it’s all coming together on the occasion of Jagjaguwar’s 25th anniversary. “What does ‘the mindfulness drill’ have to do with it?” Richard asks dryly me in a note. It’s about being relentlessly present, Richard. It’s how when we listen to your album, we feel like a lonely traveler in a foreign country. How everything has a newness to it and there’s no one to share it with but the you inside of you. And then, how maybe we all feel like that most of the time in our lives. Drawing shapes on water with our fingertips, watching those shapes ripple out into a stillness, wandering the halls of a quiet museum. How goddamn close mindfulness is to mindlessness when it’s all said and done. And that fine, fine line is where ‘Sapphie’ lives, Richard. Thank you for this, Richard. This is our resounding and heartfelt thank you for ‘Sapphie,’ don’t you see? “After considering this heartfelt tribute, this miracle of an album, Richard replied: “Reimagining anything is, well, unimaginable.” – Darius Van Arman

File Under: Jazz, Funk
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Etta James: the Montreux Years (BMG) LP
Etta James: The Montreux Years is a treasure trove of timeless classics, powerful and electrifying performances and raw, soaring vocals by one of the greatest ever female vocalists. The collection, featuring recordings from James’ Montreux Jazz Festival concerts in 1977, 1978, 1989 1990 and 1993, encapsulates and reflects Etta’s dynamic artistry and long-lasting impact. Spanning performances from across three decades, Etta James: The Montreux Years offers deeply personal and intimate snapshots into James’ acclaimed musical journey, highlights and her phenomenal career. From one of Etta James’ earliest successes, the infectious and endlessly elegant “Something’s Got A Hold On Me,” a medley that consist of “At Last,” “Trust In Me” and “Sunday Kind of Love,” which is a fusion of highlights from the early 60s, to the raw and emotional “I’d Rather Go Blind” and soulful horn-driven “Tell Mama.” The collection closes with “Baby What You Want Me To Do,” James’ homage to Jimmy Reed and the encore of her 1979 concert. In 1975, Montreux Jazz Festival captured a significant moment of musical history – Etta James’ very first concert in Europe, performing at the festival’s 9th edition.

File Under: Soul, R&B
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Daniel Lanois: Heavy Sun (eOne) LP
Heavy Sun, the soulful, debut from Daniel Lanois and his invigorating new all-star band. Recorded in Los Angeles and Toronto, the album fuses classic gospel and modern electronics, mixing gritty, human textures with crisp, digital accents and lush, swirling atmospherics to create a sound that’s at once warmly familiar and boldly unexpected. The arrangements here are spacious and dreamy, anchored by rich, righteous organ topped with airy falsetto and mesmerizing four-part harmony, and the writing is buoyant and soulful to match, tapping into the shared uncertainty of the human condition to offer hope, comfort, and connection at a time when all three run in desperately short supply. For RSD Drops this year comes the vinyl debut of this critically acclaimed album. Pressed on Translucent Ruby inside Opaque Orchid colored vinyl, and limited to a worldwide run of 4000.  Includes a download card.

File Under: Rock
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Mastodon: Remission (Relapse) LP
Coloured vinyl! MASTODON exploded onto the scene in 2002 with their debut LP Remission a record that would immediately establish them as one of the most important bands in the history of heavy music. Combining an unparalleled level of musicianship together with songwriting sophistication that simply did not exist amongst their peers, were it to be initially released today Remission would still be nothing short of mindblowing.

File Under: Metal
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Melvins: The Bride Screamed Murder (Ipecac) LP
Coloured vinyl! Alt-rock legends the Melvins keep it exciting by ignoring any set of rules, by their exorbitant ability to make the most beautiful noise ever heard and by their humor, which is an essential brandmark of the band. They never compromise or apply for anything: they just do their own thing in their very own way. They always keep it challenging for themselves and potential listeners. 2010’s The Bride Screamed Murder, the Melvins third release from the reinvigorated line-up Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Big Businesses’ Coady Willis and Jared Warren, finds them both experimenting and offering up their signature warped grooves with highlights coming in the form of “Evil New War God,” “I’ll Finish You Off” and “Inhumanity and Death.”

File under: Metal
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Mountain Goats: Dark in Here (Merge) LP
Coloured Vinyl! When the Mountain Goats got together in early March 2020, it was to make not one album, but two: Getting Into Knives and Dark in Here. That’s how many keepers the band’s superhumanly prolific frontman, John Darnielle, had come up with since they’d recorded In League With Dragons in Nashville back in 2018. “One of the words that John used when we were talking about the direction for Dark in Here was “wild,” which I liked a lot,” explains the band’s Peter Hughes. “Not wild in the sense of abandon – these aren’t those kind of songs. But wild in the sense of something undomesticated, untamable. Wild like the immutability of nature, the way it will take back any piece of untended space as its own, whether amidst the AutoZones and Chick-fil-A’s of Muscle Shoals [home of FAME Studios, where the album was recorded] or among the ruins of a scientific outpost on the Kola Peninsula. Wild like the whale; like a powerful animal. Or a virus – the beast that awakes, emerges from a forest, and stops the world. You can fight the calamity all you want, but either way, it’s going to demand your surrender.”

File Under: Indie Rock, Folk
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Jeb Loy Nichols: Jeb Loy (Timmion) LP
Dip your soul into this new album by Jeb Loy Nichols, full of gritty grooves, mellow melodies and life-fueled lyrics. Timmion Records reintroduces to the world a seasoned wordsmith and singer through 10 shining examples of rootsy modern r&b that fuse together southern soul, folk music and world class balladry. Led by Jeb’s intimate acoustic guitar and raspy incantations, while supported by Cold Diamond & Mink’s tight rhythm section, you are in for a helluva ride. The album, simply named “Jeb Loy” is a testament to the artist’s decades long career, spanning soul, country and r&b. Signed to Capitol Records in the late 90’s and making it as far as MTV with his video for “As The Rain”, Jeb was fairly soon dropped by the major label. Since then, the American-born artist has churned out a steady output of material from his country-side home in Wales. The songs on “Jeb Loy” are clearly drawn out from experiences in life lived, relationships and moments on the road. In tunes like “Living It Up” the listener is pulled inside a mesmerizing groove and Jeb’s understated social commentary, evoking a mood that should sit well with fans of Menahan Street Band. On “Not There Yet” Jeb builds on the motif of crows, which become familiar to the listener through many of the album’s tracks, looking at the birds in the sky as a reflection of his personal state of being.

File Under: Soul, R&B
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Nina Simone: The Montreux Years (BMG) LP
The Montreux Jazz Festival takes place for two weeks every summer in Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Created in 1967 by Claude Nobs, the Montreux Jazz Festival has become over the years an essential event, generating fantastic stories and legendary performances. In its 50 year plus history, Montreux has hosted iconic performances by artists including Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. The High Priestess of Soul made five appearances at the Montreux Festival between 1968 and 1990. The essential vinyl 2LP compilation The Montreux Years gathers material from all five of her storied performances (1968, 1976, 1981, 1987 and 1990) there and serves as one of Simone’s definitive live collections!

File Under: Jazz, Soul
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Six Organs of Admittance: The Veiled Sea (Three Lobed) LP
“The Veiled Sea” is easily one the most viscerally satisfying records in the Six Organs of Admittance discography. As always, Chasny finds the invisible threads between incongruous sound worlds. Here it’s American (electric) guitar heroics and galactic postpunk, Popol Vuh-ish pastoralism and heavy psych. But these disparate musical regions are here rendered so fully and tangibly, one is struck by the sheer mass of them. It is an improbable universe, but somehow it all connects. This is a record a little outside of the standard Six Organs catalog but no less a perfect part of it – one where big, beefy extended electric guitar solos stand proudly on one track and extraterrestrial-seeming rock on the next. Chasny is always one to boldly follow his own muse and the audience has always had the privilege of following. “The Veiled Sea” is no exception and a grand addition to the 6Ø catalog.

File Under: Psych, Folk
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Various: Eccentric Disco (Numero) LP
Coloured Vinyl! Ten Numero-minted, dance floor ready dive bombers from disco’s all-to-brief heyday, previously swept under rug by the whitewashed glitz and glam of the era. Chugging grooves, bubbling synths, soaring strings, and sonorous voices are guaranteed to light up your night, on living room rugs and dance floors alike.

File Under: Disco
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Julien Baker: Little Oblivions (Matador) LP
Julien Baker: Turn Out the Lights (Matador) LP
Bardo Pond: Vol. 1 (Fire) LP
Bardo Pond: Vol. 2 (Fire) LP
Tina Brooks: Minor Move (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Kenny Burrell: Introducing (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Stompin’ Tom Connors: Unreleased Songs Vol 4 (Anthem) LP
Miles Davis: On the Corner (Music on Vinyl) LP
Bill Evans: Everybody Digs… (OJC) LP
Fleet Foxes: Shore (Anti) LP
Grateful Dead: Olympia Theater, Paris, France 5/3/72 (Rhino) BOX
Grant Green: Born to Be Blue (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Haken: Virus (Sony) LP
Incredible Bongo Band: Bongo Rock (Mr. Bongo) LP
Lord Huron: Long Lost (Republic) LP
Hailu Mergia: Yene Mircha (Awesome Tapes from Africa) LP
Modest Mouse: Good News… (Epic) LP
Modest Mouse: Moon & Antarctica (Epic) LP
Thelonious Monk: Palo Alto: The Custodian’s Mix (Impulse) LP
Johnathan Richman: Having a Party With (Craft) LP
Run the Jewels: RTJ4 (Mass Appeal) LP
Wayne Shorter: Etcetera (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Horace Silver: Further Explorations (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Stone Roses: s/t (Sony) LP
Sure Fire Soul Ensemble: s/t (Colemine) LP
Taylor Swift: Evermore (Universal) LP
Stanley Turrentine: Hustlin’ (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Wire: Pink Flag (Pink Flag) LP
Wolf Alice: Blue Weekend (RCA) LP

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