…..news letter #1019 – truth…..

Out of respect for the thousands of children murdered in the Residential School system I wanted to get our weekly marketing blast out today to leave room for more important voices. But when our shipments leave on time, they show up on time. And I can get everything up on the site and get this news letter out a bit early, and it’s a hefty one!

As for the new restrictions, they don’t really effect us. According to our business association’s clarification of the new restrictions, we are already doing what is required of us, limited capacity and mandatory masks. The vaccine exemption does not apply to retail stores. So mask up and keep your visit brief if it’s busy so no one has to wait outside.

– in-store shopping/pick ups – 11 – 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)
– Max 4people in the store at a time
– Wear a mask(if you don’t have one, we’ll have some)
– Sanitizeyour hands(we’ll have some)

…..picks of the week…..

Sarah Davachi: Antiphonals (Late Music) LP
Silver vinyl! Chock full of humid, resonant soundscapes that bend time and emphasize texture, tone and timbre, Sarah Davachi’s latest is her most defining and rewarding full-length to date. We’re floored, again – there’s nobody else doing it quite like this. Composed using a Mellotron, electric organ, piano and synthesizers, “Antiphonals” takes all the elements we know and love from Davachi’s impressive catalogue to date and refines them into eight tracks of expertly-sculpted deep listening stickiness. If you’re familiar with her work, the content won’t be surprising, but Davachi’s dedication to her craft has resulted in music that feels more and more revelatory each time. Here, she brings her obsession with the tonal and textural character of early music to the fore, playing confidently with sounds that exist two or three steps from the contemporary sonic spectrum. Her favored outpost is a cocoon of soft-focus resonance, where sounds graze lightly and hypnotize rather than scrape or bruise. It’s not background music – this is art that requires attention and understanding to appreciate its layered beauty and subtle complexity. There are no real standouts or big moments, rather “Antiphonals” is a single long-running excerpt of Davachi’s sonic thesis that plays continuously without a defined beginning or a defined end. It’s a privilege to spend time in her world, listening to sacred music melt into prog rock and sensual, experimental drone into blurry neoclassical ambience. There are plenty of musicians who attempt to reach this jewelled nirvana, and precious few who get close – Davachi is currently sitting near the center. Breathtaking.

File Under: Ambient, Classical
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Hiroshi Suzuki: Cat (We Release Jazz) LP
180 gram vinyl, half speed mastered; heavy sleeve with obi and gold ink. We Release Jazz announce the official reissue of Hiroshi Suzuki’s Cat, a glorious jazz-fusion-funk holy grail originally released in 1976. Cat was recorded in October 1975 at Nippon Columbia Studio, while Hiroshi Suzuki was visiting his home country of Japan after moving to Las Vegas in 1971 to play with Buddy Rich and perfect his craft. Back on his old stomping grounds, the man known as Neko (Cat) immediately reunited with his dear friends for an epic two-day session of groove magic. The chemistry was still intact. The skills and style had grown. The result, Cat, is a smooth masterpiece, a deep and soulful affair where stunning trombone solos by Hiroshi Suzuki flirt with Takeru Muraoka’s heavenly saxophone and the sensual rhythm section of Hiromasa Suzuki (keyboards), Kunimitsu Inaba (bass), and Akira Ishikawa (drums). Celebrated in jazz collectors circles, in the lo-fi beat scene, and among music diggers around the world, Cat has become one of the most sought-after Japanese jazz albums of all time and, much like Ryo Fukui’s Scenery, has fascinated old and young generations alike. Sourced from the original masters. Liner notes by Teruo Isono.

File Under: Jazz
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Various: Harmonic Series Vol. 2 (Important) LP
A collection of long-form works in just intonation by Kali Malone, Duane Pitre, Catherine Lamb, Tashi Wada, Byron Westbrook, and Caterina Barbieri. Each artist occupies an entire side of the collection’s three LPs. Curated by Duane Pitre, Important Records returns with its second volume of compiled works in just intonation. The Harmonic Series Volume 2, issued as a triple-LP collection, features a series of long-form compositions by six of the most important emerging voices of contemporary experimental music. Unlike equal temperament, which equally divides an octave into 12 fixed notes, just intonation utilizes intervals of whole number ratios to determine tonal positions. It results in a highly individualized tonal language and holds the potential for more nuanced relationships and striking, sympathetic resonances. Rooted in ideas that trace their way across the last 2500 years, just intonation lays at the foundation for numerous Indian, Persian, and East Asian musical traditions. It was reintroduced into western music during the 20th century by composers like Harry Partch, Ben Johnston, Lou Harrison, James Tenney, Terry Riley, and La Monte Young. An interest in just intonation has continued to swell following the appearance of The Harmonic Series in 2009 inspiring Pitre to curate a second compilation. Kali Malone’s “Pipe Inversions” — played by Malone on a small pipe organ, joined by Isak Hedtjärn on bass clarinet — belongs to a larger body of microtonal organ works that have increasingly placed the composer at the forefront of contemporary minimalism and drone music. Across the length of Duane Pitre’s “Three for Rhodes” — a chamber piece for “unknown instrumentation” – deconstructed rhythms and melodic fragments swell in a dance of harmonic interplay, rising and falling within the work’s engrossing architectural complexity. Catherine Lamb’s “inter sum” — one of a tiny number of available works to encounter the composer and renowned violist working on synthesizer — endeavors to break the visualization of harmony as a vertical reality, rendering it multidimensionally in space. A canon for eight-violins played by Marc Sabat, Tashi Wada’s “Midheaven (Alignment Mix)” — guided by the internal logic of its tuning system — shape-shifts into an elegantly poetic form of musical conceptualism. Byron Westbrook’s “Memory Phasings” — composed and recorded on a combination of computer controlled modular synthesizers and a Yamaha TX802 — employs the ratios of just intonation as harmonic building blocks for texture. Deploying just intonation as a means for psycho-physiological exploration, Caterina Barbieri’s “Firmamento” — composed for synthesizer — deftly intervenes with the expectations of minimalism, durational music, and drone. Cut at Golden and pressed at RTI for maximum fidelity.

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

Alessandro Alessandroni: Formula 1 (Beat) LP
Beat Records present the original score by Alessandro Alessandroni for Formula 1 nell inferno del Grand Prix (aka Maniacs On Wheels) a comedy with dramatic undertones directed in 1970 by Guido Malatesta, with a screenplay by Guido Malatesta and Gianfranco Clerici, photography by Mario Mancini, and editing by Jolanda Benvenuti. The cast includes Olga Berová, Giacomo Agostini, Agostina Belli, Graham Hill, Brad Harris, Irio Fantini, Silvana Jachino, Marianne Hoffmann, Fulvio Mingozzi, Gioiella Minicardi, Franco Ressel, Franca Sciutto, Rafael Santos, Ivano Staccioli, Hans von Borsody, and Gigi Bonos. Alessandro Alessandroni is a 360-degree musician, having linked his name to the famous choir of Cantori Moderni in countless soundtracks and to Italian television (Studio Uno, Sabato sera, Canzonissima’68, Canzonissima’69), not to mention composing music for movies as well as many themes for libraries. Beat Records releasing this soundtrack assembled from the mono master tapes of the recording sessions. Maestro Alessandroni composed a soundtrack where lounge music is prominent, starting with the “Main Titles,” a rhythmic motif for orchestra and choir that provides the background to a car race, but also both instrumental and vocal dancefloor themes (that accompany dance scenes during house parties or at night clubs) and even a beat-like march. The composer also wrote pieces where the solo organ creates sensual atmospheres alternating with suspense music for strings and a romantic love theme for orchestra and choir. This OST is another rescue and preservation of Italian film music and a tribute to the great talent of Alessandro Alessandroni, a musician loved by fans all over the world. Mastering and liner notes by Claudio Fuiano. Graphic layout by Daniele De Gemini.

File Under: Library
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Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Moanin’ (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. More than any other album in the canon of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, 1958’s Moanin’ – featuring the great drummer with trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, pianist Bobby Timmons, and bassist Jymie Merritt – was the perfect crystallization of the band’s bluesy, soulful sound, and it still stands today as perhaps the most quintessential hard bop recording of all-time. Originally self-titled, the album was later renamed Moanin’ due to the popularity of Timmons’ unforgettable opening track. The album also introduced several indelible Golson compositions that would become standards of the jazz songbook including “Along Came Betty” and “Blues March.”

File Under: Jazz
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Blue Stingrays: Surf-n-Burn (Epitone) LP
Surf-N-Burn – the bodacious debut record by the Blue Stingrays – has rocked, rattled, and rolled since its original 1997 release on Epitone Records. Now 24 years later and long out of print, Epitone will re-release this classic surf rock album on vinyl in 2021! Upon its original release, the members of Blue Stingrays were touted as iconic yet anonymous surf rock pioneers. Now, after decades of whispers and speculation, the identities of these mysterious musicians have been officially confirmed as guitarist Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, The Dirty Knobs), bassist Ron Blair (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers), and drummer Randall Marsh (Mudcrutch). Like those who roamed the globe and found the perfect wave, Blue Stingrays nailed the perfect sound when their first twang rang ‘round the world on their now legendary debut. To quote the original Surf-N-Burn vinyl jacket sleeve: “The most profound expression of the human condition ever communicated through art, the passion in man’s soul expressed through surf guitar and captured on record!” Over the past two-plus decades, wave breakers and beachcombers alike have demanded that the genius swell of sound that is Surf-N-Burn become available again. California’s Epitone Records are happy to oblige!

File Under: Surf
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Buena Vista Social Club: s/t – 25th Anniversary (World Circuit) LP
Buena Vista Social Club is both the name given to this extraordinary group of musicians and the album, recorded in just seven days in 1996 in Havana’s 1950s vintage EGREM studios. It was clear from the atmosphere of the recording sessions that something very special was taking place. However, no one could have predicted that Buena Vista Social Club would become a worldwide phenomenon – awarded a Grammy in 1997 and, at 8 million copies, outselling any other record in the same genre. The acclaim of the original album has elevated the artists (including Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González and Omara Portuondo) to superstar status, inspired an award-winning film by Wim Wenders, and has contributed to popularizing Cuba’s rich musical heritage. Produced by Ry Cooder for World Circuit, the timeless quality of the music and the sheer verve of the veteran performers have ensured that this will go down as one of the landmark recordings of the 20th century. To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the album’s recording, producer Ry Cooder and World Circuit’s Nick Gold have gone back to the original tapes and into the archive to produce this 180g vinyl 2LP reissue, remastered by Bernie Grundman, and featuring previously unheard tracks from the original 1996 recording sessions plus previously unseen photos and new liner notes.

File Under: Latin American, Afro-Cuban, Jazz
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Brandi Carlile: In These Silent Days (Elektra) LP
Gold vinyl! Brandi Carlile follows up 2018’s Grammy-winning By The Way, I Forgive You with the highly anticipated new album In These Silent Days. The ten songs chronicle acceptance, faith, loss and love and channel icons like David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Elton John and Joni Mitchell – the latter two who, by some sort of cosmic alignment of the stars, have turned out to be close friends in addition to being her biggest heroes and inspirations. Recorded once again at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A with producers Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, the album features Carlile (vocals, guitar, piano), Tim Hanseroth (vocals, bass), Phil Hanseroth (vocals, guitar), Cobb (guitar, percussion) and Jennings (piano, organ, synth) as well as Chris Powell (drums, percussion), Josh Neumann (strings) and special guests Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius on backing vocals on the track “You And Me On The Rock.” Of the album, Carlile shares, “Never before have the twins and I written an album during a time of such uncertainty and quiet solitude. I never imagined that I’d feel so exposed and weird as an artist without the armor of a costume, the thrill of an applause and the platform of the sacred stage. Despite all this, the songs flowed through – pure and unperformed, loud and proud, joyful and mournful. Written in my barn during a time of deep and personal reckoning. There’s plenty reflection…but mostly it’s a celebration. This album is what drama mixed with joy sounds like. It’s resistance and gratitude, righteous anger and radical forgiveness. It’s the sound of these silent days.”

File Under: Country, Folk
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Loren Connors: Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations Vol. 2 (Feeding Tube) LP
“Here is the second volume of protean solo improvisations recorded by Loren Connors in his artist’s garret in New Haven, Connecticut. Like the first volume, it was committed to tape and pressed to vinyl in 1979. Never having seen a copy of this record, and having pressed it before we discovered a master cassette exists, this is as good a transfer as can be had for the nonce. Loren’s chair creaks like rusty crow and the amount of random tapping and thumping during the original session just about drove Jim O’Rourke and Jeremy Lemos crazy when they were working on it. But they persisted, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude. Although most people cannot help themselves from believing all nine volumes of this series are of a piece, the second volume sounds quite different from its predecessor. For one thing, it is truly solo. There’s no sign of Kath Bloom’s voice or recorder to be found. The guitar attack is much more active here, as is the vocalizing. Loren gives off a vibe most easily compared to Bud Powell’s manner of vocally emphasizing his piano runs. This style of accompaniment has much less of a blues-counterpoint to it, serving more as way to amplify the strange melodic arc of the guitar as it moves through dark space. Some of the instrumental phrases and tag-lines here are surprisingly similar to elements of Eugene Chadbourne’s Parachute-era solo improvisations, although Loren is usually reluctant to describe his efforts in terms of overt avant gardism. He was, however, cavorting and collaborating during this period with known avant gardists, so perhaps we are best left to draw our own aesthetic conclusions from just listening. Whatever it is he was doing in the dark of Daggett Street, I think we can agree it was incredible. And if you can’t dig it, well… have a nice life.” –Byron Coley, 2021

File Under: Ambient, Guitar
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Cosmic Jokers: Galactic Supermarket (Die Kosmischen Kuriere) LP
In 1974, the Cosmic Jokers were basically Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, various Ash Ra Tempel and Wallenstein members doing late night jamming. Galactic Supermarket is one of them, and is more rock-oriented than many others. It’s no surprise the music bears more than a passing resemblance to Ash Ra Tempel, because of Manuel Göttsching and his guitar playing. Also, Jürgen Dollase gives some nice keyboard work, particularly the piano, Farfisa electric piano, synths, and even a little Mellotron. Klaus Schulze were more responsible for the more droning organ and synth end of things, it’s pretty obvious when he plays it. The legendary producer Dieter Dierks plays bass on these nearly never-ending improvisations. The recording was transferred from the original analog tapes at the Dierks Studios in Germany. Carefully remastered for an incredible result. Released on the label Die Kosmischen Kuriere (The Cosmic Couriers)

File Under: Psych, Krautrock, Kosmische
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Dengue Dengue Dengue: Serpiente Dorada (Enchufada) LP
After more than a decade at the forefront of the global club music scene with several celebrated albums and EPs under their belt, Peruvian duo Dengue Dengue Dengue’s seminal 2014 Enchufada EP Serpiente Dorada is still one of the most impactful of their exciting career. Capturing the vitality of their early genre-defining work, where the traditional and hypnotic rhythms of cumbia were modernized through a collage of electronic music styles, Serpiente Dorada is still at the top of their most played music on streaming platforms to this day, and has motivated their fanbase to continuously demand a physical edition since its initial digital release. The wait is finally over as in 2021, just as the band completed ten years of activity, Enchufaded press a beautiful 12″ vinyl, freshly remastered for vinyl to give this essential release the quality it deserves. Serpiente Dorada remains an absolutely infectious and colorful mixture of global sounds, where genres and styles are used as a starting point on their ongoing hybrid exploration of the interaction between traditional Latin American music and modern electronic music, where the total is much more than the sum of its parts.

File Under: Cumbia, Peru
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Robert Fripp & The Grid: Leviathan (Panegyric) LP
A 2021 collaborative album from electronic duo The Grid (aka Richard Norris and Dave Ball) and Robert Fripp, combining Fripp Soundscapes with synth, drums, programming and effects by The Grid. ‘Robert (Fripp) turned up with a truck load of amps and effects, two great big stacks including delay units with a 76 second delay and played and played and played.’ Though not intended as such, in some respects Leviathan and its creators represent between them one version of the history of British electronic music. In 1973, the curiosity of a significant chunk of the King Crimson and Roxy Music fan bases, along with an attractive price, propelled Fripp & Eno’s No Pussyfooting into many thousands of homes where no such recording had previously registered a single sleeve, much less a gatefold. By the early 80s Dave Ball & Marc Almond’s Soft Cell were at the forefront of a wave of synth based bands who dominated the singles and albums charts. In the 1990s, The Grid – Dave Ball (again) & Richard Norris formed a key act in what was sometimes referred to as Electronica, sometimes herded under the (almost meaningless) “Dance music” category, occasionally (equally inaccurately/narrowly) described as “ambient” music, the struggles of music industry name-taggers never quite catching either the breadth of the music involved, nor recognising – until much later – the scope of its influence. The Grid were managed at the time (1992) by David Enthoven who had also managed King Crimson and Roxy Music from inception for many years and by now with a Sylvian/Fripp remix among their producing credits, it is no surprise that the duo and Fripp were keen to see if mutual recordings would produce interesting results – hence the arrival of the equipment described by Richard Norris above at Eastcote Studios in West London.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Prog
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Maalem Mahmoud Gania: Aicha (Hive Mind) LP
Hive Mind Records celebrate their tenth release by bringing the label full circle, right back where they started. They once again have worked with the Gania family of Essaouira to offer another reissue of the music of the undisputed King of Gnawa music, the late Maalem Mahmoud Gania. It feels like the perfect time to release this spiritual music, specifically played to heal and to cure us of our ills, as the world is in the grip of a viral pandemic and powerful forces seem to be polarizing people all around the globe. The label hopes that Aicha will enable you to carve out some healing space in amongst the chaos of the world. Aicha was previously released on cassette in Morocco only in the late 1990s. Maalem Mahmoud Gania was a particularly prolific artist recording for many labels in Morocco and many details about the recording of this particular album or the people involved are destined to remain a mystery. However, the album was recorded in the Gania’s home town of Essaouira with only a small and intimate group of supporting musicians. The resulting album, after the dizzying intensity of the opening song, offers more relaxed, laidback interpretations of the Gnawa ritual repertoire, and a deeper, more gentle sound than Hive Mind Records’ previous Gania release, Colours of the Night (2017). The album shines a light on Mahmoud’s virtuoso guimbri playing and mastery of Gnawa songcraft, and is a standout amongst his many cassette releases. The album comes with extensive sleeve notes written by Tim Abdellah Fuson, Berkeley scholar and curator of the excellent Moroccan Tape Stash blog. First pressing of this release comes with a print of the album cover.

File Under: Morocco, Folk
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Tubby Hayes Quartet: Grits, Beans & Greens (Decca) LP
“… Grits, Beans and Greens ? made in 1969 just before Hayes’ health declined, long-lost and now finally mastered and released on vinyl and CD ? captures his astonishing fluency as a tenor-sax improviser, and canny craftsmanship as a composer. Rugged modal themes unfold over hurtling bass-walks (from the excellent Ron Mathewson) that suggest Coltrane’s Impressions or Giant Steps but with chirpy Latin-ballroom countermelodies. There are fast blues, and smoky ballads.” –John Fordham, The Guardian

File Under: Jazz
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Keith Hudson: Jammy’s Dub Encounter (VP) LP
Never-heard work from the legendary Keith Hudson — material recorded with the Wailers Band at Tuff Gong studios shortly before his too-early death — finally seeing the light of day after all these years! This set features dub tracks from the sessions, with studio work from King Jammy — less lead vocals from Hudson, but some amazing production that really stretches things out — and wicked rhythms from Aston Barrett on bass, Junior Marvin on guitar, Tyrone Downie on keyboards, and Carlton Barrett on drums — on titles that include ‘Rites Of Dub’, ‘Dub Africa’, ‘Run The Version’, ‘Rasta Dub’, ‘Rites Of Version’, and ‘Star Dub’.”

File Under: Reggae
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Humble Bee: A Miscellany for the Quiet Hours (Astral Industries) LP
Another uncovering arrives from Astral Industries by the name of The Humble Bee. The alias of industrious, multi-talented UK artist Craig Tattersall, The Humble Bee’s A Miscellany For the Quiet Hours was the inaugural release on Tattersall’s now discontinued Cotton Goods imprint. This beautifully intimate work resurfaces after more than a decade since its initial release, now available on vinyl for the first time. Constructed entirely of tape loops, fragile tapestries of forgotten artifacts canter with teetering rhythmic pulses. Melodic counterpoints drift in soft bucolic reverie, as hazy recollections of undefined pasts seep out in blurs of nostalgic color. The album is imbued with a close tactile quality, lovingly crafted as a result of both manned and unmanned decay experiments. Undeniably tender yet willfully introspective, something speaks immediately of those magic sonic moments, illuminated by the quiver of late-night candlelight.

File Under: Ambient
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Nicolas Jaar: Space is Only Noise (Circus Company) LP
It has been ten years since Nicolas Jaar released his celebrated debut album, Space Is Only Noise here on Circus Company (2011). With countless accolades, forays, and dips into other waters both preceding its arrival one decade ago and since with many musical ventures this LP still stands as not only a unique and verified-classic release in the artist’s own expansive catalog as well as the label’s, but also amongst the general pantheon of electronic music of the 21st century on the whole. What better way to celebrate this milestone than with an immaculate must-have re-release package, with the music now spread out over double discs and cut at 45rpm on 180 gram black vinyl to let the glacial top-end soar as originally intended, and the air of the general proceedings expand, once again, into the ears and consciousness of electronic music lovers the world over. Along with this technical upgrade recut, the distinct artwork has also received a facelift fit for the occasion, and will now be found adorning a full gatefold cover, inked lovingly in reverse on inside-out heavyweight paper including printed inner sleeves for a total collector’s gem front-to-back. While Nicolas Jaar’s own recent online musings of the origin of the album title and lead track has us imagining playful plexiglass-letterings and a fresh sense of abstract calm before soon-to-be career storms, the music itself feels to have not aged a day past its prime of creation. From the unanimous crowd pleaser “Colomb” to “Keep Me There” indeed doing just that, with Jaar keeping us right where he left us last go-round, to the luminous titular track “Space Is Only Noise If You Can See” and omni-prophesy of “Specters Of The Future” — please join in a warm welcoming return to this universally acclaimed classic LP, which garnered coveted spots in both RA’s Album Of The Year and Pitchfork’s Top 20 in 2011, now in its unmissable pristine new vinyl form, sounding as fresh as ever, a solid 10 years later.

File Under: Electronic
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The Killers: Pressure Machine (Island) LP
The Killers’ seventh studio album, Pressure Machine is about the small town of Nephi, Utah where frontman Brandon Flowers spent his youth. The songs are extremely personal and cover a spectrum of emotions in connection to growing up in a rural setting. The album was co-produced by the band, Shawn Everett, and Jonathan Rado (Foxygen), all of whom worked together on 2020’s Imploding The Mirage. When the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the promotional run and worldwide tour for Imploding the Mirage, “everything came to this grinding halt,” says Flowers. “And it was the first time in a long time for me that I was faced with silence. And out of that silence this record began to bloom, full of songs that would have otherwise been too quiet and drowned out by the noise of typical Killers records.” For the first time since 2004, the relentless momentum and pressures of being in a globally-renowned, stadium-shaking band stopped. Enter Pressure Machine: a view into the everyday realities of a small American town with a stark, tough beauty, and The Killers’ most restrained and resonant album yet. A quieter, character-study-driven album, Pressure Machine lives squarely in Flowers’ hometown of Nephi, Utah, a close-knit community of 5300 people with no traffic lights, a rubber plant, wheat fields, and the West Hills. Nephi is the place Flowers spent his formative years (10-16), saying “had it not been for advancements in the automotive industry, Nephi in the 90s could have been the 1950s.” The album’s songs are based on the memories and stories of people that impacted him growing up, interspersed with commentary from current Nephi locals about their town. “We were discussing [Brandon] moving to Nephi as a kid and being stuck in the middle of nowhere,” says the band’s drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. “And during Covid-19, it started to feel like we were all in the middle of nowhere.” Concurs Flowers, “I discovered this grief that I hadn’t dealt with,” he says, “many memories of my time in Nephi are tender. But the ones tied to fear or great sadness were emotionally charged. I’ve got more understanding now than when we started the band, and hopefully I was able to do justice to these stories and these lives in this little town that I grew up in.”

File Under: Rock
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Lee Konitz: Plays With The Gerry Mulligan Quartet (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Three giants of West Coast Jazz came together in this deeply swinging session recorded for the Pacific Jazz/World Pacific label in 1953. Alto saxophone master Lee Konitz joins with the great Gerry Mulligan on baritone saxophone and legendary trumpeter Chet Baker on a half-live, half-studio program of standards along with one Mulligan original. The group is supported by bassists Carson Smith and Joe Mondragon with Larry Bunker on drums for this spontaneous and inventive jazz treasure. Blue Note Records’ acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series continues in 2021. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by Joe Harley (from Music Matters) and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version.

File Under: Jazz
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Mac McCaughan: The Sound of Yourself (Merge) LP
Throughout his musical career fronting Superchunk and Portastatic, Mac McCaughan has channeled more than his share of angst and tumult into a microphone, resulting in straight-up undeniable rock anthems. So how can a voice so familiar to others still seem foreign to its owner? On The Sound of Yourself, McCaughan’s second record released under his own name, he explores that question fully, shooting his voice through a prism and refracting it across these songs in new and rewarding ways. In January 2021, McCaughan found himself at his home studio in Chapel Hill staring down a clean slate after wrapping up a film score and several other music projects. This setting – a distant light at the end of a figurative tunnel, and a literal room full of instruments – was integral to The Sound of Yourself. His thought process was simple: “Each day is blurring into the next, so what are we doing today? How can I disrupt this? I think what resulted was a theme of subdued… ‘joy’ is the wrong word, but it’s at least comforting if not propulsive to have something open-ended to work on every day without any kind of structure or deadline or rules.” For a record titled The Sound of Yourself, the irony in having many contributions from friends near and far is not lost on McCaughan: “I’m constantly inspired by the work of my peers. I feel lucky to be able to collaborate with them despite the distances between us. Sending off a song into the ether and having it returned greatly improved and in often surprising and moving ways was one of the most satisfying aspects of making this record.” Michael Benjamin Lerner (Telekinesis) and Annie Hayden (Spent) provide shimmering vocal harmonies on “I Hear a Radio.” Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit) sings on “Sleep Donor” and Mackenzie Scott of Torres lends her voice to “Burn a Fax,” a song that also features three moody saxophone tracks that Matt Douglas of the Mountain Goats offered McCaughan, layered on top of one another. Mary Lattimore introduces and concludes The Sound of Yourself with her singular harp playing. The bittersweet single “Dawn Bends” is bolstered not only by Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster but the esteemed trio of Yo La Tengo on bass, organ, guitar, and vocals.

File Under: Ambient, Superchunk
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Hank Mobley: Soul Station (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. Tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley had already led nine dates for Blue Note Records by the time he arrived at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio on February 7, 1960 with pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Blakey, but on that day the quartet laid down what would become his masterpiece: Soul Station. The crystalline six-song set was a showcase for Mobley’s lyrical flow from the breezy opening take on Irving Berlin’s “Remember” through bluesy originals like “Dig Dis” and the title track, and the swinging up-tempo numbers “This I Dig of You” and “Split Feelin’s.” Soul Station endures as a jazz classic for the ages!

File Under: Jazz
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William Parker: Mayan Space Station (Aum) LP
“Following the release of the Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World: Volumes 1-10 10CD Box and his first book-length biography, Universal Tonality: The Life and Music of William Parker earlier this year, composer, multi-instrumentalist, poet, griot, improviser and community leader William Parker presents a pair of brand-new studio trio albums which bountifully expound on his vision. One of the most iconic and enduring music leaders to emerge in the world over the last half century, William Parker continues to raise the bar higher. Mayan Space Station is his first electric guitar trio album, and features Ava Mendoza — electric guitar, William Parker — bass, and Gerald Cleaver — drums. Cosmic multi-hued blues, perfect for space and time travel. The unparalleled rhythmic firmament created by Parker & Cleaver is matched by Mendoza in full flight. All of the promise imagined by a trio recording of these musicians with compositions by Parker is delivered to the fullest. William Parker first worked with Ava Mendoza on a project entitled Thunder and Flowers for his July 2019 residency at The Stone in NYC. Her prodigious talents have illuminated many projects and recordings as both leader and collaborator over the past decade. As is abundantly clear here, she is committed to bringing expressivity, energy and a wide sonic range to the music. Gerald Cleaver is an exceptionally gifted poet of drum sound who can play in the deepest of pockets and manifest all manner of sound to perfectly fit contours within the most open of forms. Cleaver & Parker have worked closely on numerous projects, notably within the nonpareil full-improvising trio, Farmers By Nature, together with Craig Taborn. William Parker is in vibrant grandmaster blossom here on double bass — in both pizzicato & bow-as-prism modes. Regarding the album title, Parker offers: ‘Mayan Space Station is a conduit for peace and inspiration. It is an oasis where sound and silence navigators stop for sustenance to replenish their imaginations. It is a reality that important to the myth structure of the Tone World chronicle. In a way, musicians, and definitely these particular musicians, belong to the blood line of sonic travelers who, as Sun Ra described it, ‘travel the space ways.’ Re-inventing the process, allowing music to flow through their instruments.'”

File Under: Jazz
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Rudimentary Peni: Great War (Sealed) LP
Recorded several years ago before Rudimentary Peni engaged in another mysterious hiatus, Great War has finally emerged to kiss the gas-tinged light of a mustered morn. Expanding on the skeletal sounds and subject of 2009’s Wilfred Owen single the band has seen fit to concentrate on a more mechanized approach doing away with even more of the humanizing aspects in their music this time delivering ten painful familiar shards fraught with brittle anxiety and anguished simplicity. Great War cements new phase in the ever-crawling metamorphic madness that is Rudimentary Peni. The record comes with brand new Nick Blinko artwork.

File Under: Punk
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Riyuichi Sakamoto/David Toop: Garden of Shadows and Light (Thirtythree Thirtythree) LP
Garden of Shadows and Light is the first collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Toop, presenting the entirety of a concert performed in London in August 2018. With their collective musical experience encompassing collaborative work with figures as diverse as Evan Parker, Akiko Yano, Arto Lindsay and Christian Fennesz, in contexts ranging from pop session work to film scores to sound installation, no one could be sure how Sakamoto and Toop would approach their first concert together as a duo. From the opening moments, in which Sakamoto’s delicate inside-piano work is paired with distant scrapes and moans from Toop’s prepared lap steel guitar, it became immediately clear that a subtle, at times hushed, form of free improvisation is being practiced here, one in which space, pause and silence often take on heightened importance. The album’s title takes inspiration from the aesthetics of Japanese gardening, and the spatial metaphor this suggests is apt, as listeners can imagine themselves wandering through a subtly changing environment, chancing on beautiful details and admiring them before moving on. You are led through a series of discrete moments, each uniquely shaded, whether by highly amplified small percussive sounds, austere electronic tones or the mournful tones of Toop’s bass recorder. The course of the music follows a non-teleological drift, in which Sakamoto and Toop seem less concerned with establishing an overarching structure than in allowing each moment the space it needs to develop and breathe. When Sakamoto eventually turns to the piano’s keyboard in the performance’s second half, the music becomes lushly enveloping, as his jaggedly lyrical lines float against a backdrop of prepared guitar and field recordings. The music takes a radical, unexpected turn when Sakamoto picks up an electric guitar, with both players turning up the volume for a passage of distorted roar and shuddering feedback — bracing evidence of the unfettered, exploratory approach shared by these two uncategorisable musicians, beautifully documented here.

File Under: Ambient, Experimental
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Wayne Shorter: The All Seeing Eye (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
On October 15, 1965, tenor saxophone master and composer Wayne Shorter recorded The All Seeing Eye, a brilliant and ambitiously multi-layered album for Blue Note. Shorter’s goal for the album was to use “a wider range of colors and textures” while continuing his explorations of “life and the universe and God.” Joining Shorter in his quest are Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Grachan Moncur III on trombone, James Spaulding on alto saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, Joe Chambers on drums, and, on one track, Wayne’s brother Alan Shorter on flugelhorn. Blue Note Records’ acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series continues in 2021. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by Joe Harley (from Music Matters) and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version.

File Under: Jazz
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Lewis Taylor: s/t (Be With) LP
Be With Records present a reissue of Lewis Taylor’s self-titled album, originally released in 1996. D’Angelo lost his shit over it. Aaliyah’s third favorite track of all time is on it. David Bowie rocked up with it to a TV interview, declaring it “the most exciting sound of contemporary soul music.” In 1996, Lewis Taylor released his self-titled masterpiece. An effortless blend of neo-soul, sophisticated pop, smart grooves and laid-back white funk, it enjoyed rapturous reviews from critics and music legends alike. But the album never managed to make an impact and given what was likely a token vinyl release at the time, the original records have long since been near-impossible to find. Lewis Taylor’s impeccable influences created a dazzling sonic palette: the LP as a whole suggests the visionary brilliance of Prince; the vocal stylings evoke the yearning power of Marvin Gaye; the effortless guitar playing shares the virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix; the haunting tones conjure Tricky; the innovative production and engineering invite comparisons to studio mavericks like Todd Rundgren and Brian Eno; the multi-layered, complex harmonies flash on Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson; the dark, drama is reminiscent of both Scott Walker and Stevie Wonder; the complex arrangements create textures and moods with the feel of Shuggie Otis on Inspiration Information; the bold experimentation is akin to progressive artists like Faust and Tangerine Dream; the atmosphere is in conversation with Jeff Buckley’s Grace. Sabina Smyth gets an executive producer credit on the original sleeve, but in fact she worked with Lewis on the production and arrangements, did a lot of the backing vocals and she co-wrote “Track”, “Song”, “Lucky”, and “Damn” with Lewis. Together they created an exquisite and sensually-charged record, with a freshness to the writing that makes the songs catchy, melodic-yet-deep and sometimes even funky. The music is predominantly guitar-led and a mixture of organs and synths, live drum loops and electronic percussion make for a sort of modern soul backing orchestra. On the surface the album is gorgeously laidback, but beneath the lush, sometimes slick, production there’s a murkiness in the seriously gritty funk/hip-hop instrumentation. This sprawling psychedelic soul opus really is a forgotten should-be-classic. Cut by Pete Norman and pressed at Record Industry.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Mike Taylor Quartet: Preparation (Sunbeam) LP
Featuring Mike Taylor (piano), Dave Tomlin (soprano saxophone), Tony Reeves (double bass), and Jon Hiseman (drums), this is the first ever release of a newly discovered tape of this legendary British jazz quartet’s final rehearsal before going into the studio to make their fabled Pendulum album in October 1965. Recorded in Taylor’s grandparents’ London living room by Reeves, it’s has striking presence and immediacy, and will fascinate all admirers of this most enigmatic of composers and musicians. It comes in a hand-numbered gatefold sleeve, with a large-format booklet describing Taylor’s life and work, full of rare images and memorabilia. 180 gram black vinyl.

File Under: Jazz
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Vouna: Atropos (Profound Lore) LP
Vouna is the project of multi-instrumentalist and composer Yianna Bekris. With her second full-length album Atropos, she unveils a towering and singular doom metal wonder in a unique visioning, reminiscent of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, and Evoken. Upon this thick foundation of doom, multiple musical textures intertwine: atmospheric black metal, dungeon synth, darkwave, film scores, and rebetiko. It is through these woven sonic tapestries that Bekris creates vivid atmospheres expressing the myriad emotions surrounding death, mourning, and suicidal ideation. Atropos, named for the Greek fate who cut the thread of life thus determining the final fate for mortals, not only conveys the inevitability of death, but also explores its contrasting and dynamic nature through immersive compositions representing despair, loneliness, anxiety, peace, and dignity. Vouna’s debut was recorded at the Owl Lodge in Olympia, WA in 2017 and subsequently released by Artemisia Records in 2018. Though her debut was synth-focused, this release gives the guitars more weight and space while retaining an abundance of vintage ’90s synthesizers, and additionally utilizes analog synths and folk and orchestral instrumentation for dramatic effect. Atropos sees her further expand her sound through the collaboration with several guest musicians, including Nathan Weaver (Wolves In The Throne Room) on vocals, Asia Kindred Moore (Sangre de Muerdago, Solace) on the harp, Entrail on violin, and members of the Vouna live lineup playing synth and electric lap steel.

File Under: Metal
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Hassan Wargui: Tiddukla (Hive Mind) LP
Hassan Wargui is a self-taught musician, composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and an expert in the songcraft and poetry of the Tachelhit speaking Amazigh tribes of the Anti-Atlas mountains in the south of Morocco. He was born in 1985 in the rural community of Issafen, which lies between Taroudant and Tafraoute in the Anti-Atlas mountains of Southern Morocco. His music draws from the deep well of Amazigh, or Berber, cultures that have long been suppressed across North Africa after the region underwent a process of Arabization following the Arab invasions of the 7th Century. Hassan grew up in an isolated mountain community in which art and music is embedded into daily life. This allowed him to develop an excellent musical sense, a deep understanding of the complex poly-rhythms that underpin Amazigh music, and time to become proficient on the banjo which, since the ascendency of the popular modern folk movement involving groups such as Nass El Ghiwane and Jil Jilala in the late ’60s and early ’70s, has been the preferred instrument of the region. Like many musicians from the region, Hassan built his first instruments himself, and it wasn’t until he moved to Casablanca in his teens to find work which was scarce in his local community, that he was able to save for his first real banjo. Since then, Hassan has been active in the Amazigh musical community and has worked with a number of groups, notably Groupe Lbouchart, Imanaren and Etran Tiznit, as well as recording prolifically as a solo artist at his home studio. In 2009, Jace Clayton (DJ/Rupture) stumbled across a CD by Imanaren which led to a fruitful series of collaborations in 2009 and 2011. Tiddukla (which translates to “Friendship”) is one of Hassan’s numerous group projects and he recorded the album with friends in 2015 and self-released it through YouTube due to the lack of music infrastructure in Morocco. The Tiddukla album is raw and hypnotic and sees Hassan and his group channeling the deep and contemplative sounds of classic Amazigh groups such as Izenzaren, Archach, Izmaz, all of whom risked their freedom by daring to sing in Tachelhit at a time when the language was still forbidden, and when Amazigh people were fighting for their rights to be recognized. Hive Mind release Hassan’s beautiful music, and to introduce the fascinating rhythms of the Anti-Atlas Mountains into the wider world. Mastered by Julian Tardo at Church Road Studio, Hove. Art & Design by Theo Payne.

File Under: Morocco, Folk
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Mike Westbrook Concert Band: Love Songs (Endless Happiness) LP
Reissue of the Mike Westbrook Concert Band’s Love Songs, originally released in 1970. Highly sought-after British jazz-rock with some vocals thrown in by Norma Winstone. Love Songs was recorded at Tangerine Studios, 1970, and it is so refreshing, choral and utterly distinctive with a staggeringly good group of musicians led by Westbrook and Surman. A mix of the melodic and the wistful, backed by a groovy beat, reissue now available for this classic masterpiece.

File Under: Jazz
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Neil Young: Carnegie Hall 1970 (Reprise) LP
On December 4, 1970, Neil Young played two legendary solo acoustic shows at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The 23 songs in this vinyl 2LP-set have been mixed from the original ¼ inch tapes by Young and Niko Bolas. This is the early show which has never been bootlegged or circulated, and is the first release in Neil’s new Official Bootleg Series. “Listening to existing bootlegs, it seems that all the bootleggers got the second Carnegie Hall show,” Young shares. “There was one at 8:00 pm and one at midnight [about 27 hours later]. No one got that first one – the first time I walked onstage at Carnegie Hall, blowing my own 25-year-old mind…This one – Carnegie Hall, December 4th, 1970, is very special to me.”

File Under: Rock, Folk
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Various: Daptone Super Soul Revue Live! At the Apollo (Daptone) LP
Coloured vinyl with bonus Daptone anniversary slipmat! Daptone celebrates 20 years of soulful music with the release of The Daptone Super Soul Revue “LIVE at the Apollo”. Performed and recorded over three nights in front of a sold-out crowd at The World Famous Theater in Harlem, NY (December 4th – 6th, 2014), this album brings the electrifying performances that helped put Daptone on the map directly to your living room! Featuring live sets from Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, Antibalas, The Budos Band, Menahan Street Band, Saun & Starr, The Sugarman 3, as well as our em-cee, Binky Griptite. This album is lovingly dedicated to the memory of our dear friends Sharon, Charles, Naomi, and Cliff.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Various: Greg Belson’s Divine Funk: Rare American Gospel Funk & Soul (Cultures of Soul) LP
“Following on from the success of Greg Belson’s Divine Disco series Greg Belson and Cultures of Soul team up again to explore the world of gospel funk. Belson is one of the world’s leading collectors and DJs of gospel music. You hold in your hands a collection of some of the rarest Gospel funk records from Belson’s amazing collection featuring everything from the laidback breakbeat laced ‘I Don’t Want to Be Alone’ by Allen Gauff Jr to the high octane and socially-on-point take of the Gospel classic ‘This Little Light Of Mine’ by the Gospel Ambassadors to drum break funk of the Wearyland Singers ‘If You See Me Doing Wrong’ to the sublime soulfulness of Zella Jackson’s ‘Days Are Just Like People.’ Without a doubt though, all of the artists included in this compilation, believed in themselves, the message, and the direction of the gospel funk intensity you hear within these grooves. Gettin’ on the good foot for God? Listen and decide for yourselves

File Under: Funk, Gospel
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Berrocal/Fenech/Epplay: Ice Exposure (Blackest Ever Black) LP
Berrocal/Fenech/Epplay: Exterior Lux (Akuphone) LP
Frank Black: Oddballs (Demon) LP
Built to Spill: Keep It Like A Secret (Warner) LP
Damned: Damned Damned Damned (BMG) LP
Chuck Johnson: Cinder Grove (Vin Du Select Qualitite) LP
Madlib: Sound Ancestors (Madlib Invazion) LP
MF Doom: Special Herbs 1 & 2 (Nature Sounds) LP
Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime (Matador) LP
My Morning Jacket: Live 2015 (ATO) LP
Lee Perry: Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Corn Bread (VP) LP
Pink Floyd: Interstellar Overdrive (Freak Out) LP
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: Flying Fish Ambience (Hospital) LP
Jonathan Richman: Having a Party With (Craft) LP
Silver Jews: Bright Flight (Drag City) LP
Slint: Spiderland (Touch & Go) LP
Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine: A Beginners’ Mind (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Stanley Turrentine: Hustlin’ (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Brent Snyder: Cumulus (Morning Trip) LP
Midori Takada: Through the Looking Glass (WRWTRFWW) LP
Wire: Chairs Missing (Pink Flag) LP

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