Alright, too much to see and do this week so…
First off, this Saturday, July 17th is the second RSD Drop. Items will go live for purchase at 11am on the 17th. We’ve split the RSD1 & RSD2 items into two separate pages to make things a little easier. We’ll be here pulling your orders on Saturday, but please, don’t show up for pick ups until you have received notification emails that all of your orders are ready for pick up. To avoid errors, we can’t pull orders out of sequence. Good Luck!
Secondly, and possibly more importantly… REOPENING! On Monday, July 19th, we will be reopening for instore browsing. However, due to changes in how we are running the shop/webshop and just the fact that we haven’t had customers in the store for a good while, we’ll be taking things a bit slow and easing into it and following some health protocols for the health, safety, and peace of mind of both staff and other shoppers… so…
– pick-ups – 11 am – 6 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 4 pm Saturday
(if you don’t want to come into the store for a pick up, call and/or use the back door)
– in-store shopping – Noon – 5 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 4 pm Saturday
– Max 4 people in the store at a time
– Wear a mask (if you don’t have one, we’ll have some)
– Sanitize your hands (we’ll have some)
Hopefully the reduced hours won’t last too long, but we do need to feel out how things will go, so bear with us. We’re looking forward to seeing you all inside again!
…..picks of the week…..
Cochemea: Vol. 2: Baca Sewa (Daptone) LP
OH MAN! I totally forgot to put this one in the email! Been jamming it all week so hard and been so busy I totally spaced on putting it in the email. But here it is! The Dap-Kings’ electro-sax space warrior returns with a groove-heavy sequel to All My Relations, Vol. II: Baca Sewa, an expressive, transcendental voyage through the archives of his indigenous roots and beyond. Drawing on ancestral memories and family histories to wrap new flesh around the bones of history, this album is a bold, semi-autobiographical work that leads us deeper into the annals of family histories, mythology and the cultural imaginary. “Baca Sewa” is Cochemea’s original family name prior to Spanish colonization. The melody was composed by Anthony Gastelum and features vocals and drumming by the Baca Sewa Singers- a group composed of several generations of family members. The album runs thick with sonic tributes and remembrances. “Chito’s Song” is a contemplative, ethereal tribute to a beloved uncle. “Curandera” conjures the memory of the irrepressible healing power of medicine women. “Black Pearl” recalls his great grandfather, heir to a legacy of indigenous peoples enslaved as pearl divers in the Sea of Cortez. Leading a 7-piece ensemble composed of New York’s top percussionists and members of Daptone’s rhythm section, Cochemea has created his own world of emotional textures and rhythmic possibilities, a musical and spiritual synthesis made possible through his deep reverence of the horn and the music and traditions preceding him. Vol II: Baca Sewa – is an offering and continuation of Cochemea’s explorations, part of a musical process of cultural reclamation and healing through connection, relations, memory and imagination.
File Under: Funk, Jazz, Spiritual Jazz
Various: Written on the Wall: American Soul Music 1958-1974 (Cairo) LP
A great overview of classic soul music – done in the best style of this Cairo Records series from Mississippi – which means a fantastic choice of cuts, and a beautiful booklet of notes and photos to accompany the music! The set is almost worth the price of the book alone – full color, and filled with scans of rare albums and singles, discographical information, and other details on the music – all in support of a 36 track set that mixes familiar names with much more obscure artists – in order to present a really wide range of classic soul. Titles include “I Pledge” by Lonnie & Lloyd, “My Baby Waited Too Long” by Mamie Perry, “I Found You” by James Hamm, “I’ve Been Pushed Around” by Blue River & The Maroons, “Please Don’t Desert Me Baby” by Gloria Walker, “Helping Hand” by Little Genie Brooks, “Where Is Love” by Eldridge Holmes, “I Still Love You” by Jean Stanback, “Should I Take You Home” by Aztlan, “Don’t Make Me What You Don’t Want Me To Be” by Nick Allen, “Sippin A Cup Of Coffee” by The Ordells, “Let Me Be The Man” by The Fabulous Vents, “I’m Too Far Gone To Turn Around” by Irene Reid, “I Can’t Stop” by Kenny Wells, and “I Wonder If I Had Your Love” by Leroy Smith.
File Under: Soul, Funk
Various: Wallahi Le Zein! (Mississippi) LP
Originally released as a double CD in 2010, Wallahi Le Zein! has persisted as a cult classic, a collection of a rarely heard and utterly unique underground music scene, raw and unfiltered. The LP, cassette & digital version we now present is intended as an immersive entry into this music: gnarled and virtuosic electric guitars weave hypnotically throughout melismatic sung poetry and exclamations, pulsing hand drums, party chatter, buzzing rigged desert sound systems, and all manner of the ambient sounds of Nouakchott wedded to oversaturated cassette in all its swirling, breathing, psychedelic glory. Operating entirely outside of any local recording industry, these songs were collected from bootleg tape stalls, wedding souveniers, and networks of musicians, expertly curated, researched and produced by Matthew Lavoie. Drawing from the deep well of Mauritanian classical music, the gamut of musical modes and the tidinitt lute repertoire are transposed to the electric guitar – often with frets removed or additional frets installed, “heavy metal” distortion pedals and phasers built into guitar bodies, blurring the lines between Haratine and Beydane musical cultures, the ancient and the futuristic. At times transcendent and transfixing, and conversely a furious and cascading intensity that commands jaw-dropping attention. 160 gram black vinyl LP comes packaged in 2 color, reverse-board jacket with 8 page booklet with extensive notes on the musicians and songs, as well as a history of Mauritanian guitar music.
File Under: Africa, Psych, Fuzz
Atheist: Unquestionable Presence (Season of Mist) LP
Arguably one of the most groundbreaking and influential bands in the metal realm, ATHEIST combined a death metal attack with virtuosic level of playing. This union would create a style of forward thinking, progressive metal that would soon become the benchmark for many influential metal bands (DEATH, CYNIC, PESTILENCE, etc.). ATHEIST’s sophomore record, ‘Unquestionable Presence,’ is what metal legend is made of. Written in large part by deceased bassist Roger Patterson, ‘Unquestionable Presence’ is furious death metal interwoven with jazz and a highly articulated melodic sense to create music of timeless brilliance. Upon its initial release in 1991, it emerged as the most important technical metal record of its time, and to this day remains a crucial yardstick by which daring, ambitious, and progressive metal records are measured. For fans of CYNIC, PESTILENCE, DEATH, SADUS, CORONER, NOCTURNUS, GORGUTS.
File Under: Metal
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band: Expansions (Big Crown) LP
Coloured vinyl! Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, the mysterious steel pan outfit hailing from Hamburg, Germany have amassed a cult following around the globe. With a slew of classic 7″s and two critically acclaimed full length albums, they set a high bar for themselves, one they clearly intend on pushing even higher with this new offering. On their third album, aptly titled Expansions, BRSB are back with more of the same, but more of the same with them is inherently different. Covering songs that span genres and range from mega hits to album cuts, they make them their own with their unique approach to the traditional steel pans of Trinidad and Tobago. Part of the allure of a new record from Bacao is finding out what covers they chose. However, die hard fans are also waiting to hear the original numbers like the stellar album opener “Tough Victory”. Its airtight rhythm section, brass arrangements, and layers of steel pan melodies make the term “cover band” a shoe that could never fit Bacao. Within the next three songs they go from jazz (Galt MacDermot), to hip hop (Slum Village / J Dilla), to a dance floor classic (Grace Jones) taking them all on with their signature style, expanding on the originals. An easy crowd favorite is their gritty, gully, and neck snapping cover of the Timbaland produced Jay-Z club hit “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”. The infamous crushing Bacao drums start the show and the moment they start playing the top line on the pans, all bets are off. Sure to become a dance floor filler is their bottom heavy, four on the floor version of Sylvester’s classic “I Need Somebody To Love Tonight”. They venture into some gutbucket funk with Ike Turner’s “Getting Nasty” and bring the steel pans to Minnie Riperton’s Jazz classic “Les Fleurs”. Digging deeper in the modern canon and paying tribute to a tribute, they cover Erykah Badu’s homage to the late great J Dilla, “The Healer”. This is the type of thing to make Spice Adams jump on his kitchen counter and scream. From the second the beat drops they give the original Madlib production a run for its money, shaking subwoofers with the eerie tremolo bass while the pans play E. Badu’s vocal melodies. By the time the album is through Bacao has taken the listener on a journey that spans a myriad of energies, tempos, and moods while somehow managing to keep it all under one umbrella. For all that, these songs are alive, and they will be taken out of the context of this album and sewn into the fabric of DJ sets around the globe for many years to come. Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is breathing renewed life into the originals and continuing to push the boundaries of steel pan music, or, as the title suggests, expanding on it.
File Under: Funk, Jazz, Hip Hop
Nik Bartsch: Entendre (ECM) LP
A fascinating solo album from the Swiss pianist, composer and conceptualist best known as leader of the bands Ronin and Mobile, Entendre offers deeper insight into Nik Bärtch’s musical thinking. As the album title implies Entendre is about hearing as a creative process, referencing the patient unfolding of Bärtch’s modular polymetric pieces, with alertness to the dynamics of touch, finding freedom in aesthetic restriction, serving the flow of each piece’s development while also taking the music to new places. Recorded at Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano, in September 2020, and produced by Manfred Eicher. Gatefold vinyl 2LP-set.
File Under: Jazz, ECM
Bohren & Der Club of Gore: Geisterfaust (PIAS) LP
PIAS presents a reissue of the excellent 2005 album from Germany’s doom jazz cult band Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. Geisterfaust captures the slowest band on earth in an even more reduced and slow motion style, back in full glory with 58 minutes of playtime over five astonishing tracks. “Geisterfaust” translates as “the fist of a ghost” while the individual tracks translate as “Trigger Finger,” “Ring Finger,” “Middle Finger,” “Thumb” and “Little Finger.” The group, who is much beloved by musicians like Mike Patton (of Faith No More who releases their albums on the Ipecac label) and Stephen O’Malley (SunnO), deliver outstanding instrumental music of the highest caliber here for fans of SunnO, OM, Max Richter, Fennesz and David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti. “The music of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore opens up remarkable rooms of association, from a warm burrow to a pristine secret lodge, from a dusky woodland tavern to a smoky quayside dive… These sinister crackling songs are invitations to secrete oneself in darkness.” – Lars Brinkman
File Under: Jazz, Doom
Brainstory: Ripe (Big Crown) LP
Coloured vinyl! Recorded during the thick of the Covid lockdown, Kevin, Tony, & Eric hunkered down in their studio and turned their energy inward. With all live shows and future tours canceled, Brainstory had no other outlet besides their rehearsal space which had been converted into a makeshift studio. Stepping up to the obstacles of the moment, they recorded and produced an EP of brand new music. They were already highly skilled musicians two years ago, but time in the studio with Leon Michels producing Buck and playing alongside bands like Holy Hive and Chicano Batman had a profound effect on them. Their ears have developed, their ethos and their drive has matured, their musicianship is full-blown; hence the name of the EP, Ripe. Ripe is a seven song journey into who Brainstory are as people and as a band. They are lighthearted and fun but never anything less than dead serious about their artistry. In choosing to record a mostly instrumental record, they have departed from their 2019 debut Buck and are showing more of their Jazz roots. Ripe pulls from Jazz, Hip Hop, 70s Funk, 60s Soul, and life in Southern California in the year 2021. Kev’s intro to the EP is a testament to their thing, his goofy and charming “let’s go baby….less go baby” is welcoming and fun and then “Scissors” drops–serious as can be. The first vocal number we hear is “Seasons”, a song about maintaining through the challenges of 2020 that would make Roy Ayers proud. “Long Day” and “Rogers” are drenched in reefer and psychedelia and promise a moment away from reality if listened to in headphones. “Bye Bye” is another stone cold ballad from the group that is destined to be a staple in sweet soul sets around the globe. Ripe is a welcome ray of sunshine as we all shake off the darkness of 2020 and will hold fans over while they finish recording their full length sophomore album due out in 2022.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Cedric Burnside: I Be Trying (Single Lock) LP
Coloured vinyl! I Be Trying might be the title of the new record from two-time Grammy nominee Cedric Burnside, but it’s also a mission statement in an era when plenty of us have discovered what “the blues” really means. Recorded over three days at Royal Studios in Memphis (the home studio of Al Green and Hi Records in the 60s and 70s), this album is the ultimate statement of purpose for a critically acclaimed artist who has proudly carried the mantle of Mississippi Hill Country blues around the world. Over thirteen tracks, Burnside delivers his bruised but unfettered truth over blistering guitar and deep pocket drums – a sound birthed in his soul but developed and perfected on the road. But no matter how far he travels, the righteous sound he makes could only come from one place. I Be Trying is the sound of modern Mississippi. Produced by second-generation Memphis soul trailblazer Boo Mitchell (“Uptown Funk”) and featuring guest appearances from Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) and Zac Cockrell (Brittany Howard), I Be Trying takes the sound that Burnside learned from his grandfather, blues legend R.L. Burnside, and reinterprets it into a modern, bold Black American sound that expands the sonic landscape while respecting and honoring its roots.
File Under: Blues
Sonny Clark: Cool Struttin’ (Blue Note) LP
Blue Note Records is pleased to present the Blue Note Classic Vinyl Reissue Series, a continuation of their acclaimed Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series which was launched in celebration of the label’s 80th anniversary in 2019. The Classic Series will once again feature all-analog 180g vinyl pressings in standard packaging that are mastered by Kevin Gray directly from the original master tapes and manufactured at Optimal in Germany. The first 16 titles of the Classic Series will focus on the enduring classics of the Blue Note catalog. The Classic Series will be on-going, running alongside the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series which is produced by Joe Harley. Conrad Yeatis Clark, otherwise known as Sonny Clark, was in many ways the quintessential hard bop pianist. Possessed of an enviable lyrical flow and a wealth of inventive melodic ideas that unfurled with clarity and without fuss, Clark had a deeply rooted feeling for the blues. After moving from his hometown of Pittsburgh to New York, Clark emerged as a ubiquitous presence on Blue Note starting in 1957. It was on his fifth Blue Note date as a leader that Clark arrived at his masterwork, Cool Struttin’, recorded in January 1958 with a top-shelf quintet featuring Art Farmer on trumpet, Jackie McLean on alto saxophone, Paul Chambers on bass, and ‘Philly’ Joe Jones on drums. The album has only grown in stature as a timeless hard bop classic since Clark’s premature death at age 31 in 1963.
File Under: Jazz
Eddie and Ernie: Time Waits for No One (Cairo) LP
The first ever vinyl LP compilation of songs by the great Eddie and Ernie! The duo produced tons of great singles throughout the 60’s and early 70’s. This LP features a couple dance numbers, but mostly slow dramatic soul ballads reminiscent of the best moments of more well known acts like Sam and Dave and Otis Redding. Some pretty eerie soaring vocals and existential lyrics of the highest order. Under appreciated in their time, Eddie and Ernie are two of soul musics greatest talents! Old school “tip on” record cover and classy black inner sleeve.
File Under: Soul
Neal Francis: Don’t Call Me No More (Karma Chief) 7″
On the heels of a critically acclaimed debut LP Changes, we are proud to present the two bonus cuts from those sessions run by Orgone’s Sergio Rios on this sexy little 7″ single.
File Under: Soul
Frank & His Sisters: s/t (Mississippi) LP
The world’s first collection of gorgeous pop songs from Frank and His Sisters, a family band from Moshi, Tanzania. Formed in the early 1950s by Frank Humplick, Thecla Clara and Maria Regina, the trio recorded and toured throughout East Africa and issued a string of instant classics, capturing fans with their beautifully harmonized singing, clever lyrics, and Frank’s stunning guitar work. Imagine the fingerstyle finesse of John Fahey with a pure pop melodicism, combined with the family harmony of groups like The Carter Family, The Roches, and The Beach Boys, set in the golden age of Tanzanian music! Frank composed many of his songs while working the land on his beloved tractor (really), and once instigated a house-to-house search to destroy all copies of his record “Yes/No” due to political lyrics. He went on to record and tour with the Jambo Boys band before retiring from the music industry in the early 1960s, to focus on his passion for agriculture. But his favorite songs were always the ones he created with his sisters, and we are proud to present 12 of their best. Previously only heard on painfully rare 78 rpm discs and Tanzanian oldies radio, this album collects the trio’s finest songs, lovingly restored and remastered. We love this music so much that in late 2018 we traveled to Tanzania to meet Frank’s family and collaborate on this album. The result is a colorful 8-page booklet featuring complete lyrics in English, Swahili and Chaga, as well as previously unpublished photographs, extensive interviews and anecdotes, and a biography by Tanzanian musician and radio host John Kitime. All tracks fully licensed from the Humplick family.
File Under: Africa, Pop
Aaron Frazer: Over You (Colemine) 7″
We’re so excited to present this burner of a 45 from Aaron Frazer, both tracks taken from his debut album Introducing… produced by Dan Auerbach. It’s hard to ask more from a 45: an absolute scorcher of an A-side in “Over You” and the soft plead on the B-side in “Have Mercy”. “Over You” is telling of the collaboration between Frazer and Auerbach. “‘Over You’ is inspired by the legendary northern soul 45s that electrified dance floors across the UK in the 1960s,” says Aaron. “Breakneck speeds and breakbeat drums challenged even the best dancers to pull out all the stops. Lyrically, ‘Over You’ captures a moment of despair in the darkest hour of a breakup. But sometimes to feel better, you just gotta shake your ass.”
File Under: Soul
Goon Sax: Mirror II (Matador) LP
Coloured vinyl! Since forming in high school, Brisbane band The Goon Sax – the trio of Riley Jones, Louis Forster, and James Harrison, best friends who take turns writing, singing, and playing each instrument – have been celebrated for their unpretentious, kinetic homemade pop. Mirror ll, The Goon Sax’s first album for Matador, is something else entirely: a new beginning, a multi-dimensional eclectic journey of musical craftsmanship that moves from disco to folk to no wave skronk with staggering cohesion. Gone are the first-person insecurities of their school days – they’ve been made expansive, more universal, more weird. Mirror II is intense, the sum of everything that has always made The Goon Sax great: robust sprechgesang, raw lyrical candor, ascending guitar pop structures that would make the most storied jangle bands blush, elevated into their newfound narrative verisimilitude and expanded sonic experimentations. Each member’s idiosyncratic style comes across on record: Riley’s bubblegum noise is more present than ever before, Louis’ moody, super- natural avant-pop, and James’ psychedelic folk.
File Under: Indie Rock
The Group: The Feed-Back (Schema) LP
The Feed-Back, by Italy’s Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (aka the Group), is a wild ride along the seams of free jazz, 20th century avant-garde classical music, psychedelic rock, and emerging funk. While no members of the unit are credited we know that on this recording, the revolving ensemble of composers/studio musicians include Ennio Morricone (trumpet), bassist Walter Branchi, drummer Enzo Restuccia, guitarist Bruno Battisti D’Amario, percussionist Egisto Macchi, percussionist/pianist Mario Bertoncini, and trombonist and violinist John Heineman. (On different recordings, Franco Evangelisti — who penned the liner notes here — and Frederic Rzewski were also in the band). These three extended pieces get pretty outside, but are always circular due to grooving drums and basslines. On the opening title cut, dissonant harmonies on trumpet, violin, reverbed electric guitar, and trombone are brought together by breaking snares and a funky bassline, even as other instruments, such as an angular piano played in the middle-lower register, channel-to-channel psych guitar, and near droning horns dialogue together. This is where Stockhausen and Don Cherry meet Idris Muhammad and Melvin Sparks. “Quasars” is more on the psych rock tip. A tribal, chant-like pulse swirls in the foreground as the violin takes the front line. But the near-Motorik drums and one-note bassline hold the individual elements in tension — think the Velvets in their freer moments. The set’s longest cut, the side-long “Kumâlo,” is the spaciest thing here, developing with incremental piano played on the keys and its strings, and disjointed sounds from myriad instruments and sound effects are layered in, appearing and disappearing. They are moved forward initially by a hypnotic breakbeat. Morricone’s trumpet is played in the high register with a mute before unwinding itself in full tone atop restrained feedback, taut violin, dissonant guitar, and rumbling piano. The drums pick up the tempo in dialogue with the guitar — using a sitar-like effect — and the interplay of the other instruments becomes more frequent and dizzying, all before it turns around on itself and Eastern modalism and Krautrock psych take the center. The disaster quotient for this date was high; there are times when it feels as if the entire proceeding will just collapse in on itself. Instead it spirals out, rippling across genre lines, textures, and dynamics like water. The Feed-Back is a timeless classic, as relevant in the 21st century — it shows younger players how improvisation is done — as it was in 1970 when, if anything, it was ahead of its time.
File Under: Library, Morricone
Koreless: Agor (Young) LP
There is an idea of hidden depths suggested by the title of Koreless’ debut album. Agor is the Welsh word for open and it’s an apt name for a recording which exists at sensory thresholds, helping guide the listener from one realm to another less visited. Agor sits at the intersection between technology, nature and humor, and the ways in which these worlds collide vary throughout the project. Through Koreless’ impressive and meticulous production, the music on Agor conjures images of mythology, fantasy, cult, dance and wonder, and provokes juxtaposed feelings of pure serenity and complete chaos, of mind-boggling complexity and of sheer simplicity. It is a human electronic record, with a personal touch buried within each element, and blood and guts where the wires should be.
File Under: Electronic
Legendary Beyons: s/t (Albina Music Trust) LP
As with The Gangsters LP in 2018, Albina Music Trust now returns with another buried treasure from Portland’s past: the first ever release of this 1977 album by soul/funk group The Legendary Beyons. For over fifty years, The Legendary Beyons have delighted Portlanders with their music. And now, for the first time, their work has been documented in this high fidelity LP accompanied by a detailed oral history of the group. The album’s well-designed booklet features a wide range of archival photography, serving as a period piece for the uninitiated. On the cover of this previously unreleased 1977 album, there’s an image that tells you nearly everything you need to know: four Black men, resplendent in custom-tailored suits, are working it with synchronized steps before the rushing falls of Portland’s Fourcourt Fountain. In their joyous faces is written a brotherhood that began when this core of singers—Jeddy Beasley, Thurtis Channel, James Tims, and Ira Hammon—endeavored to harmonize as The Legendary Beyons. The group’s presence in this image reveals the richness of their soulful, Motown-inspired vocal sound. These songs are the culmination of a story that began when these young men began singing in the locker room after basketball games at Jefferson High School. As their reputation grew, The Beyons––with the help of a crack backing band featuring arranger Dan Brewster and The Soul Masters––aspired for greatness in Albina’s club scene. A litany of touring acts on the Chitlin Circuit stopped through the area, performing side-by-side with The Beyons: The Whispers, Bloodstone, Blue Magic…the list is deep. But without a local recording industry or sustainable income for gigging Black musicians, The Beyons never released a recording in their heyday. This session represents a seasoned group roughly a decade into their career. It is their only 20th-century recording that has survived. These songs, ranging from the jazzed “Dreaming You In My Mind” to the quiet storm of sweet soul ballad “There We Were, Here We Are,” spotlight the group’s tightly knit harmonies––pleading, sensual, playful, and romantic. Meanwhile, album single “Love Notes” comes as a burst of energy and “Let’s Talk About Love” begets a cosmic intro calling upon Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle to assist in sharing the band’s take on a topic called L-O-V-E. To put it simply: put this record on and look inside the jacket. There is a booklet with classic photography and an oral history that provides not only a snapshot of this great group but a well-portioned inquiry into the experiences of Portland’s Black musician community in historic Albina––a truly unique project from Albina Music Trust. AMT is a unique taxpayer-funded initiative of arts and education non-profit, World Arts Foundation. This initiative serves the underrepresented musician community in Albina, Portland’s historically Black neighborhood.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Little Bob and the Lollipops: Nobody But You (Mississippi) LP
Great retrospective of Little Bob and the Lollipop’s discography. Classic Louisiana swamp soul / R&B, recorded in the early to mid 1960’s. Includes the popular dance floor fillers “I Got Loaded” and “Stop” as well as some real beautiful obscurities. Ballads and stompers to make life better.
File Under: R&B, Soul
Liturgy: Origin of the Alimonies (YLYLCYN) LP
Origin of the Alimonies is Liturgy’s fifth full-length album and their first to fully integrate Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s vision of total art, or what she calls Perichoresis, with her musical compositions. The music amplifies a dramatic narrative addressing the question of the origin of all things, which itself aesthetically grounds the content of Hunt-Hendrix’s ongoing philosophical YouTube series on her System of Transcendental Qabala. The album is by far Liturgy’s most meticulous and radical statement, pushing their characteristic synthesis between black metal, minimalism, experimental club music, and 19th–century romanticism to new extremes. Exploring microtonality, free improvisation, polymetric structures and Richard Wagner’s ideas of musikdrama and leitmotif, Hunt-Hendrix employs her unique “burst beat” technique to bind together the rhythmic signatures of metal, experimental club and classical music in the service of speech patterns and narrative flow. Featuring the virtuosic playing of bandmates Leo Didkovsky, Tia Vincent-Clark and Bernard Gann, the entire album also includes flute, piano, harp, strings and horns performed by a 8-piece chamber ensemble drawn from New York’s various avant-garde music scenes. Influenced by kabbalah, German Idealism and French post-structuralism, the opera tells the story of a cosmogonical traumatic explosion between OIOION and SIHEYMN, a pair of divine beings whose thwarted love tears a wound from which civilization is generated, producing the Four Alimonies of the intelligible universe and the task of collective emancipation. Outside the narrative frame, the piece is meant to foster productive discord between the modes of attention and political commitments that implicitly accompany its various genres, as well as to hover in the liminal territory between the music industry, the art world and the contemporary philosophy community, reiterating the message of Jesus via William Blake by belonging nowhere, only half-comprehensible within any established framework, puncturing hypocritical ideologies while crying out in the name of love. The album is accompanied by a new, eponymous album-length operatic video written, directed, shot, edited by and starring Hunt-Hendrix, who uses her evolving body, in the wake of her recent gender affirmation as a trans woman, as the medium for the story.
File Under: Metal
Oliver Nelson: The Blues and Abstract Truth (Acoustic Sounds Series) (Impulse) LP
Primarily known as a big band leader and arranger, on this landmark 1961 Creed Taylor recorded set Oliver Nelson provides and arranges all of the material while holding down alto and tenor saxophone duties to boot. He also assembled one of jazz’s most potent modern jazz sextets here which included such jazz heavyweights as Bill Evans (piano), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Paul Chambers (bass), Roy Haynes (drums) and Eric Dolphy (alto sax & flute). Featuring incredible tunes (“Stolen Moments”), phenomenal players and amazing performances, The Blues And The Abstract Truth is unequivocally Nelson’s high water mark and is as breathtaking and balanced a recording as they come! This all-analog 180g vinyl LP reissue was mastered from the original analog tapes by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound, pressed at QRP, and comes housed in a Stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket.
File Under: Jazz
Maggot Brain #5
We’re very excited about our new cover story: Why feminist punk pioneers the Raincoats still matter and finally, we hinted at this in the previous issue and now it’s here – unseen, amazing photos of AC/DC from their first US tour in 1977. You’ll get rare look at celebrated indie auteur filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s playful newspaper collages — great interview plus lots of never before seen images! We have brilliant Americana guitarists Marisa Anderson and William Tyler on their debut collaboration and then composer Terry Riley and percussionist Hamid Drake on the importance of husband and wife spiritual jazzers Moki and Don Cherry. We continue our unstapled series with 14 pages of rare comics by Pee Wee’s Playhouse designer Gary Panter — Jimbo goes to jail! Mike Turner talks to rising Colombian BMX star Julian Molina. And there’s a Spectacular tribute to jazz drummer Milford Graves by Detroiter Ben Hall. Plus features on vocalist Merry Clayton; New Hampshire’s neo-shoegazers Headroom; The Clean’s fiery 1980s offshoot band Stephen; catching up with the great band Califone’s main force Tim Rutili; a three-page comic on electronics weirdo Mort Garson, who made music to talk to your plants; America’s finest essayist Luc Sante takes a gallows turn in this issue’s column; and way more.
Ennio Morricone/Bruno Nicolai: Dimensioni Sonore Musiche per l’Immagine e l’Immaginazione (Dialogo) 10LP BOX
Widely celebrated and easily among the most ambitious and beautiful endeavors of the last year, Dialogo’s ‘Dimensioni Sonore’ box, – the first ever reissue of one of the great holy grails of Italian Library music by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai – is truly a stunning thing to behold. Issued in a super deluxe fabric-woven box-set with 10 LPs + 10 CDs, reproducing the original liner notes, it sold out faster than any release that’s passed through our hands. Thankfully, Dialogo has repressed this wonder in a brand-new edition of 250 copies on red vinyl. It’s truly stunning! If you weren’t able to grab a copy the first time around, this is a once in a lifetime chance that can’t be missed! Almost entirely distinct in scale and content, Dimensioni Sonore, originally issued by RCA in 1972, towers in the history of library music, gathering 103 works by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai, offering 5 LPs of material to each. Among the most important figures in 20th Century Italian music, Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai each forged distinct and unexpected creative paths that were entirely tuned to the eras through which they worked; radical and forward-thinking composers, who activated vast new worlds of possibility via the mediums of film and television. Morricone has long held legendary status for his soundtrack and library music work, as well as his explicitly avant-garde and experimental endeavours within the seminal collective, Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, but Dimensioni Sonore – a sprawling body of recordings originally issued by RCA in 1972 – holds equal distinction as a historically prescient illumination into the slightly lesser-known efforts of Nicolai, and the groundbreaking importance of his work. Regular collaborators over the course of their respective careers, Morricone and Nicolai met as students during the early 1950s at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome, fostering a friendship that would yield, from the mid 1960s on, hundreds of albums that bear both of their names. Each of these is incredible and worthy of note, but none is as astounding, distinct, or ambitious as Dimensioni Sonore, regarded by many as the crown jewel in RCA’s legendary library music series, Catalogo di Musiche per Sonorizzazioni. Deploying a startling range of acoustic and electronic instrumentation and techniques, and conceived in sequential order, across the 10 LPs Morricone and Nicolai – working far more like avant-garde composers than the creators of film scores – set out to create a body of expressive and dynamic work which explored constant timbric exploitations and multiform musical parameters, and their possibilities for utilization, titling each composition with no direct relation to its form, intentionally leaving the meaning entirely to the listener’s mind. Sheets of pointillistic ambience bristle with details of synthetic and organic tones and textures, generating a fields of abstraction that could be mistaken for any number of avant-garde and experimental gestures of the ’60s and ’70s, were it not for the unifying, cracking rhythm section that drives it forward and pushes into entirely unexpected realms, which gave Sergio Leone, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Elio Petri, Gillo Pontecorvo, and Giuliano Montaldo plenty to explore in their original liner notes for the release. A true genre defying marvel, Dialogo’s repress of their first ever vinyl reissue of Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai’s masterstroke, Dimensioni Sonore, comes in a super deluxe fabric-woven box-set with 10 LPs on red vinyl + 10 CDs, reproducing the original liner notes by the incredible cast mentioned above. This is the last chance to grab a copy of one of the seminal documents of Italian library music and avant-garde exploration, by two of the most important composers the country has ever produced. Don’t sleep, there are only 250 copies and they’re going to fly!
File Under: Library, Morricone
Liz Phair: Soberish (Chysalis) LP
Liz Phair brashly but effortlessly drops lyrical nuggets into her melody-driven, lo-fi songs. It makes for a devastating back catalogue; from the peerless Exile In Guyville to Whip-Smart, Whitechocolatespaceegg to the self-titled Liz Phair, each of her records acts as another timely klaxon call for a generation not prepared to sit back nor shut up. It’s a career that’s heralded her Grammy Award nominations, a spot on Rolling Stone’s albums of all-time list, and decades of critical acclaim that has inspired and influenced some of the brightest new faces of yesterday and today, veering from cult icon to mainstream concern. Over a decade since her last record was released, Phair now returns with another bagful of fireworks already fizzing to be let off in the shape of her new Brad Wood (Exile in Guyville, Whip-Smart and Whitechocolatespaceegg) produced album Soberish. Liz maintains the sass that propelled her to become such a critical darling, and that innate ear for melody and razor sharp way with words. “I found my inspiration for Soberish by delving into an early era of my music development, my art school years spent listening to Art Rock and New Wave music non-stop on my Walkman,” says Phair. “The English Beat, The Specials, Madness, R.E.M.s Automatic for the People, Yazoo, The Psychedelic Furs, Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, Laurie Anderson, and the Cars. The city came alive for me as a young person, the bands in my headphones lending me the courage to explore.”
File Under: Rock Pop
Sonny Rollins: On Impulse (Acoustic Sounds Series) (Impulse) LP
Sonny Rollins made some excellent recordings for Impulse! in the mid-1960s, a time when his unassailable skills and acrobatic approach made him a leading saxophonist, and one of the few to rival John Coltrane. Each of the five tracks collected here tell the complex, glorious story of Rollins’ talent, especially in the stretched-out solos where his knack for inventively de- and re-constructing melodies is evident. Highlights include “On Green Dolphin Street,” “Everything Happens to Me” and “Three Little Words.” This all-analog 180g vinyl LP reissue was mastered from the original analog tapes by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound, pressed at QRP, and comes housed in a Stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket.
File Under: Jazz
Same: Sync or Swim (Freedom to Spend) LP
Before there was Rimarimba, Suffolk-born, Felixstowe-based musician and home recording enthusiast Robert Cox assembled a cast of friends, some musicians and some not so much, for an experiment in group exploration and ecstatic expression under the name The Same. Sonically and gravitationally defined by Cox’s collaboration with guitarist Andy Thomas (a partnership which formed in 1976 to record as General Motors), Sync or Swim, The Same’s one and only album, also featured keyboards by Florence Atkinson and Paul Ridout, and vocals by Robert’s sister Rebecca. Originally released in small cassette and vinyl quantities on Unlikely Records, Cox’s imprint and a meeting point for many other musicians found at the fringe, the back cover of the original album jacket is as much a map of the personnel, place, and process fundamental to Sync or Swim as it is a table of contents for DIY music-making at the beginning of the 80s: “Recorded in peaceful Wiltshire between September 18th and October 6th 1981 (using a miscellany of home made devices) onto a Teac A-3300SX via a Teac A-3440. No noise reduction systems were used.” The additional equipment listed – a combination of consumer technology and DIY innovation – speaks to an unpretentious, improvisational ethos that pilots Sync or Swim, and Cox’s career as a whole. Rimarimba, whose near complete discography Freedom To Spend made available again in 2019, showcased Cox’s simultaneously hermetic and prolific creative process, while The Same celebrates making sound for sound’s sake and the serendipity surrounding those moments. Wiltshire, home to the Stonehenge stone circles and a county of empty plains in the southwest of England, is worlds away from the commerce and industry of Glenn Branca’s New York City or Neu’s Düsseldorf. While The Same may feel in some ways like a British blend of these minimalist and motorik machinations, Cox and Thomas were curiously fascinated with The Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa’s brand of psychedelic music. Cox’s own definition of British psychedelia is “folk music meeting technology and going bonkers.” It’s by this definition that Sync or Swim takes unexpected forms, from tape-speed tomfoolery, concrète sound collage and analog delayed marimbas, to the colorful spectrum of interwoven guitar play between Cox and Thomas reminiscent of Ghanaian Highlife but more accurately indebted to Jerry Garcia. On the album’s culminating final track, “E Scapes,” all of these elements are brought together in twenty-minute journey through layers of chiming guitar loops and spritely solos, keyed percussion, and tape experiments, all played as though the sun were rising over the standing stones of Salisbury Plain. Cox would later go to similarly great lengths with certain solo sound endeavors, but the confluence of musicians on “E Scapes” pushes the piece to exceptional, unforgettable heights. Transferred and remastered from the original tapes, The Same’s Sync or Swim arrives in June 2021 on Freedom To Spend, just in time for the album’s 40th anniversary.
File Under: Experimental, Electronic, Minimal
Jimmy Smith: Back at the Chicken Shack (Blue Note Classic) (Blue Note) LP
Blue Note Records is pleased to present the Blue Note Classic Vinyl Reissue Series, a continuation of their acclaimed Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series which was launched in celebration of the label’s 80th anniversary in 2019. The Classic Series will once again feature all-analog 180g vinyl pressings in standard packaging that are mastered by Kevin Gray directly from the original master tapes and manufactured at Optimal in Germany. The first 16 titles of the Classic Series will focus on the enduring classics of the Blue Note catalog. The Classic Series will be on-going, running alongside the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series which is produced by Joe Harley. Jimmy Smith was a self-taught pianist who abandoned the instrument in 1954 in favor of the Hammond B3 organ, renting a Philadelphia warehouse and woodshedding for a year until he emerged with a revolutionary style that immediately caught the ear of Alfred Lion. The Blue Note boss dubbed him The Incredible Jimmy Smith and recorded the B3 innovator as frequently as he could between 1956 and 1963. It’s a testament to Smith’s volcanic creativity that he recorded not one but two soul jazz classics – Midnight Special and Back at the Chicken Shack – when he entered Rudy Van Gelder’s studio on April 25, 1960 with Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Kenny Burrell on guitar, and Donald Bailey on drums.
File Under: Jazz
Spiritualized: Pure Phase (Fat Possum) LP
Glow in the dark vinyl! 1995’s Pure Phase was Spiritualized’s eagerly awaited second album. Pure Phase showcases both a more symphonic sound as well as a dreamy rock grandeur. Think of Brian Wilson and La Monte Young recording together and you’ll have a good idea of the Spiritualized totality here. Pure Phase is both beautiful and innovative; more than just psychedelic, it’s celestial. The Spaceman Reissue Program edition of Pure Phase promises to give the recordings the fullest spectrum audio and physical treatment they’ve deserved since 1995. It will be the second in this series, following Lazer Guided Melodies, with 180g double albums cut from original sources by Alchemy Mastering, presented in a gatefold jacket adorned by reworked art by Mark Farrow.
File Under: Rock, Pop
Wavves: Hideaway (Fat Possum) LP
Featuring Nathan Williams’ most universal and urgent songs yet, Wavves new album Hideaway marks their return to Fat Possum Records. Across its brief but impactful nine tracks, the album, produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, is about what happens when you get old enough to take stock of the world around you and realize that no one is going to save you but yourself, and even that might be a tall order. “It’s real peaks and valleys with me,” Williams says. “I can be super optimistic and I can feel really good, and then I can hit a skid and it’s like an earthquake hits my life, and everything just falls apart. Some of it is my own doing, of course.” It’s this self awareness that permeates each of Hideaway’s songs, marking them each as mature reckonings with who he is. The album is the follow-up to their 2017 album, You’re Welcome and arrives after Consequence of Sound named Wavves one of the 100 Best Pop Punk Bands of All Time.
File Under: Indie Rock
Kamaal Williams: Wu Hen (Warp) LP
Wu Hen is the sophomore album from Peckham visionary Kamaal Williams an invitation to elevate to a higher state. Cinematic strings from Miguel-Atwood Ferguson and virtuoso saxophone from Quinn Mason are textural additions that make for a deeper, multi-layered experience than previous releases. Bringing groove back to the forefront, Wu Hen oscillates between celestial jazz, funk, rap and R&B reinforced with the rugged beat-heavy attitude of grime, jungle, house and garage – a self-styled fusion Kamaal describes as Wu Funk. New players on this record include LA’s Greg Paul on drums (of Kalayst Collective), Rick Leon James on bass, Quinn Mason on saxophone alongside vocal features from Kaytranada collaborator Lauren Faith.
File Under: Electronic, Jazz
Various: Cold Wave #1 (Soul Jazz) LP
Soul Jazz Records Cold Wave is a new collection of current electronic artists who have been shaped by the early European cold wave artists of the late 70s and early 80s. Aside from the first electronic, no wave, and post-punk artists cited as influences – Suicide, Patrick Cowley, The Normal, Martin Hannett, Laurie Anderson, Public Image – this new generation also display an exquisitely open source of electronic and disparate influences, everything from Underground Resistance to Purcell, from Scientist to New Beat. Most of the featured artists are based in Europe and include Krikor Kouchian, Dissemblance and VQOA from France, De Ambassade from the Netherlands, Moisture from Sweden, Kreidler from Germany, Céline Gillian and Carcass Identity from Belgium. One exception is FIT Siegel out of Detroit, connecting the electronic pathways of Europe to the Motor City. Distinctive contemporary music rooted in the 80s cold wave movement – heavyweight double vinyl LP with fanzine.
File Under: Electronic, Minimal, Post Punk
Various: Cold Wave #2 (Soul Jazz) LP
Purple vinyl! Soul Jazz Records’ Cold Wave series is a new collection of current electronic artists who have all been shaped by the early European cold wave artists of the late 70s and early 80s. These first artists created new electronic musical landscapes as well as pursuing a stubborn D-I-Y aesthetic, often releasing material on cassette and pioneering use of lo-fi technology, primitive drum machines and home-recording techniques. As part of this continued evolution today many of the artists featured here also self-release their own material, run labels, publish fanzines, or are part of wider musical collectives. Aside from the first electronic, no wave, and post-punk artists cited as influences – Suicide, Patrick Cowley, The Normal, Martin Hannett, Laurie Anderson, Public Image – this new generation of artists also show an exquisitely open source of electronic and disparate influences, everything from Underground Resistance to Purcell, from Scientist to New Beat and more besides. Most of the featured artists on Cold Wave #2 are based in Europe and include Krikor from France, Beta Evers and L.F.T. from Germany, Lena Willikens, Job Sifre and De Ambassade from the Netherlands, Toulouse Low Trax from Germany, Dave I.D. and Broken English Club from the UK, and V.C.V.S from Georgia. All of the bands featured here make distinctive contemporary music out of the 80s roots of the first cold wave movement.
File Under: Electronic, Minimal, Post Punk
Various: Fire Over Babylon: Dread, Peace and Conscious Sounds at Studio One (Soul Jazz) LP
Soul Jazz Records’ new Studio One collection Fire Over Babylon: Dread, Peace and Conscious Sounds at Studio One features a stellar selection of 70s roots music – classic and rare tracks recorded at Clement Dodd’s musical empire at 13 Brentford Road in the 1970s. Rastafarian-inspired roots music was an ever-important aspect of Studio One’s output from the start of the 1970s onwards and this album features many of the ground-breaking groups and artists that established the sound of Jamaica during this decade and beyond. Featured here are seminal artists such as Freddie McGregor, The Wailing Souls, The Gladiators, Horace Andy, Devon Russell, Cedric Brooks, Count Ossie, Judah Eskender Tafari alongside a host of lesser-known rare cuts made at Studio One from artists such as The Prospectors, Viceroys and Pablove Black. Studio One and founder Clement Dodd’s connection with Rastafarianism dates back to the early 1960s, with Dodd accompanying members of the Skatalites up to the hills of Kingston to listen to the music of the Rastafarianism Count Ossie and his drummers. The album sleeve notes discuss how Dodd’s musical links, as well as his role in heading the most important record label in reggae, are in many ways linked to the beliefs of Rastafarianism.
File Under: Reggae