…..news letter #1024 – late…..

Ok, I take it back, last week wasn’t bad, this week is bad. So much new stuff! It’s just ridiculous. So, I’ll just leave you to it…

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 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)

…..picks of a week…..

Sofie Birch & Johan Carøe: Repair Techniques (Stroom) LP
An album evolving around disruptive and chaotic life events. A testament to putting the pieces back together through love and support from friends and loved ones. All tracks are built on two improvised live sessions recorded on a Roland Juno-60, Moog Sub 37, Roland XP 30 by Sofie Birch and Johan Carøe in Copenhagen in 2019. Edited and reworked to 11 tracks during residency at Andersabo in Sweden the summer of 2020 with new recordings of acoustic elements.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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Nothing Runs Like Nadir: Improv Yields (Saw-Whet) LP
11 tracks ranging from contemplative drones to heartfelt narratives, to experimental improvisation. Nadir Bellahmer draws sound with the colours of his own experience and perspectives. Nadir Bellahmer plays the violin & viola to microphones and empty rooms. Born & raised in Edmonton, his formal training consisted of group lessons on the violin offered by the Edmonton Public School Board in the 1980’s & 1990’s. During the 2000’s & 2010’s, he played with the Middle Eastern & North African Ensemble as well as one of Edmonton’s only Klezmer bands. Performing as Nothing Runs Like Nadir, Nadir relies on both a violin & viola, via a looper to improvise solos & drones & often combining solos over drones & loops. Having played alongside musicians from around the world including 35 years of performances, Nadir combines & switches freely between musical traditions to produce a unique freestyle of play. His debut album, Improv Yields, is a largely improvised body of work spanning styles & expression recorded in single takes. This album is a collection of largely, improvised recordings. All songs written, performed & recorded by Nadir Bellahmer between 2011-2020 in Edmonton with minimal editing. Mixed and mastered by Rhodes Recordings for Berberophone Recordings.

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

Abigail: Intercourse & Lust (Nuclear War Now) LP
Japan’s ABIGAIL has been a flagship band in the NWN! camp since the beginning of the label’s existence. In the more than 20 years of Abigail’s existence the bands has undergone a noticeable stylistic evolution from sinister Yakuza Black Metal to the band’s later period of sexualcoholic Street Metal Thrash. Up until the mid-1990s, Abigail was known exclusively for its Black Metal sound and ranked alongside Sabbat and Sigh among Japan’s most evil exports. The handful of demos Abigail released between 1992 and 1996 saw Abigail ushering in its malefic strain of Black Metal and securing for the band a prominent position among the elite bands within the genre’s Second Wave emanation. Abigail’s debut album, released by Modern Invasion in 1996, highlights the manner in which Abigail infused its traditionalist Black/Thrash approach with eccentric embellishments. The album, Intercourse and Lust, stands as a monument to the Far East Black Metal sound. When NWN! was still in its infancy, YK Insulter reached out to Abigail to seek approval to commit this legendary album to vinyl. Abigail agreed and, in 2002, NWN! released the LP, which became one of the first and most highly regarded releases on the label. Later that year, with the assistance of NWN!, Abigail made its first landing on U.S. soil and committed unholy acts before American audiences – monumental gigs that secured Abigail’s prominence in the West. Intercourse and Lust has stood the test of time and is as relevant in 2013 as it was when it was initially released.

File Under: Metal
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Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color Deluxe Edition (ATO) LP
Resisting any notion of a sophomore slump, and putting to bed the “revivalist soul” label, Alabama Shakes returned in 2015 with a humdinger. Replete with moody vibes, intricate textures, atmospheric grooves, and confident playing, Sound & Color encompasses blues, psychedelia, R&B, and garage rock while ceding the floor to powerhouse singer Brittany Howard. The record not only topped the Billboard 200 chart but took home four Grammy Awards along the way (Best Alternative Music Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, and Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Don’t Wanna Fight”). Expanding on the soulful blues-rock base that made their name, they defy predictable expectations and map an exciting, surprising, and innovative new direction. The album’s twelve songs reveal a band honed by years on the road, and drawing from a wide range of influences. This Deluxe Edition colored vinyl 2LP reissue features seven bonus tracks pulled from unreleased studio material, B-sides, and live songs cut at the world-renowned Capitol Records Studio A plus revised artwork and new photos!

File Under: Rock, R&B
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Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble: Le Le (Jazz Room) LP
Recorded in the 1980’s and snapped up upon arrival in Europe by the Soho Boho’s, Acid Jazzuals,Cuboppers, Jazz Massivists and Mojo Jazzmuziker, “Le-Le” by The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble is a unique one off Spiritual Soul-Jazz outing with Avant Garde touches and more than a hint of Afro-Cuban Orientalism. The percussion drenched title track has that special Worldwide Sound and the Cool Jazz Get Down Groove of “Wet Walnuts and Whipped Cream” is a DJ’s delight, whether played over the Airwaves or to a crowded Dancefloor. An adventurous jazz outfit that has been playing around Philadelphia since its formation in 1979. The Ensemble was founded by Warren Oree, an acoustic bassist, producer and composer who continues to lead the band. Eclectic and far from predictable, on this album the Ensemble has embraced a variety of acoustic and electric jazz styles combining them with African and Middle Eastern influences and mixed together with the “New Thing” have managed to make a timeless underground classic.

File Under: Jazz
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Roger Baudet: Musique Electronique Pour La Scene et L’image 1976-1992 (Dee Dee’s Picks) LP
Awesome compilation from this swiss producer – very versatile stylewise – going from cosmic rock to new age, proto techno, avant-garde, & musique concrete. Described by Swiss press as an “inventive genius marked by total unpredictability,” Roger Baudet’s music has preserved its freshness and spontaneity. Provoking feelings of surprise, anxiety and subjugation, he ends up bewitching you completely through his bizarre non-conformity. The oddity of the sounds is a choice of heterogeneity: the works gathered, although coming from one person, have little to do with each other. Forming a mosaic that provides a fragmented vision of atmospheres without apparent links, his music multiplies diverse rhythms and combinations, rejecting any principle of hierarchy in the musicality of the moment. The decorative music was composed as the soundtrack for theatre and ballet performances, documentaries, short films and exhibitions of paintings – a context that inevitably shines through the twenty-two pieces. Despite these classical settings, the music had a forward-facing, futuristic cadence – a precursor to the electronic genres that would later become techno or trance. This compilation from the past century is a collage of ornaments made out of sounds; stripped down, yet undoubtedly imbued with sensitivity, with hints of classical training, all suitable for contemplation.

File Under: Psych, Ambient, Experimental
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Beherit: At The Devil’s Studio 1990 (Nuclear War Now) LP
1990 was an extraordinarily prolific year for BEHERIT, who were still just teenagers at the time and had only been playing music together for a few months. That year they released three demos, catching the attention of the fledgling German label Shithouse Records, which released Beherit’s Dawn of Satan’s Millennium pic disc EP later that same year. Shithouse, which later became Turbo Music, commissioned the band’s debut album, but a dispute between band and label ultimately led Turbo to release a compilation, instead, under the name The Oath of Black Blood. A proper debut album would not appear until 1993, with the release of Drawing Down the Moon. However, Beherit did enter the studio in 1990 with the intention of recording an album, but it was discarded and the tapes went missing until 2011 when drummer SODOMATIC SLAUGHTER unearthed them for release. While its historic value is undeniable, At the Devil’s Studio is a remarkable recording in its own right. Like Beherit’s other pre-DDTM recordings, At the Devil’s Studio is a visceral explosion of bestial carnage.

File Under: Metal
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James Blake: Friends the Break Your Heart (Republic) LP
Coloured vinyl! With over two years having passed since the release of his critically acclaimed 2019 album Assume Form, UK singer, and electronic musician James Blake returns with his fifth studio album Friends That Break Your Heart. Said to be a concept album, it features 12 tracks including collaborations with SZA, JID, SwaVay, and Monica Martin. As the first taste of the album, the projects lead single “Say What You Will” hooks listeners into what Blake has to come. The song’s deep production glides in and out as the focus of the track to make room for Blake’s stunning vocals. “The song is about finding peace with who you are and where you’re at regardless of how well other people seem to be doing,” Blake says. “Comparison really is the thief of joy.”

File Under: Electronic
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Blut Aud Nord: Memoria Vetusta I – Fathers of the Icy Age (Debemur Morti) LP
Coloured vinyl! The legendary Memoria Vetusta I – Fathers of the Icy Age captures Blut Aus Nord in the remarkable embryonic phase of an evolutionary process that would culminate in one of black metal’s great enigmas. Nearly 25 years since its genesis, the sinister surrealism contained herein remains frozen in time; chilling, breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Universally hailed as a trailblazing classic of the genre, MVI is steeped in the tumultuous youthful passion threaded-red through the very best second-wave black metal – a mystical synthesis of soaring melodicism and avant-experimentation which protagonists Vindsval and W.D. Feld have exemplified throughout their storied career. Finally available again with its original front cover, Memoria Vetusta I – Fathers of the Icy Age is canonical primeval black metal from another age.

File Under: Metal
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Germán Bringas: Tunel Hacia Tí (Smiling C) LP
Sixteen unheard works from Mexican jazz synesthete, Germán Bringas. Bringas plays with a delicate balance between experiment & pastoral spaciousness, sounding like Coltrane scoring a Tarkovsky film. To Accompany this release, we’ve made a documentary about Germán’s life. Tunel Hacia Tí (Tunnel Toward You) is a collection of early compositions by Germán Bringas of Portales, Mexico City. This album features songs from his lost cassette ambient jazz opus, “Caminatas” (Hikes), it’s spiritual successor, “Exposción Al Vacio” (Vacuum Exposure), and unreleased works created between ’91-’00. Every instrument heard on this release was played by Bringas, and recorded in a studio in the back of his home. Germán’s pieces are informed by his synesthetic experience. As he plays, he witnesses color coordinating with each note. His earliest experience of this cross-sensory ability came from playing his parents piano when he was young. Exploring the keys, a spectrum of color presented itself, and he began searching for colors he preferred. He discovered an enticing shade of blue, which unbeknownst to him at the time, was a jazz chord. In the following years, he attended school at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música and was classically trained in piano and composition. The Conservatorio was extremely demanding, and didn’t appreciate his innate talents to play by ear. He was fed up with the indoctrinating way they taught, which coincided with a lecture he attended by Carlos Casteñeda. Inspired by the teachings, he left school behind to start a group with his friends to practice meditative exercises loosely based off Casteñeda’s Tensegrity movements to expand the body and mind. His friends and he spent years going into the woods and training as quasi-disciples of the Castañedian path. In those times, Germán developed a new approach to music, letting go of the formality of his classical training, and rediscovering his childhood experience to play from feeling. Learning trumpet, saxophone, and native Mexican instruments all to his own design, he followed his synesthetic experience to guide his compositions. He was compelled to record the discoveries he was making, so he produced a string of cassettes, only enough to pass around to friends & local collectors. In his earliest works, you can hear the influence of his time spent in the tranquility of the woods colliding with the frenzy of the city he grew up in. Combining inspiration he obtained from ECM Records virtuosos, Mexican Rock-in-opposition, visionary jazz artists, and otherworldly sci-fi films like Blade Runner and Stalker, his songs ebb and flow between serene synths and chaotic bursts of emotive horns. In addition to these compositions, he started an experimental music club in his house in Portales called Jazzorca. At Jazzorca, which is still running to this day, he would share his pensive movements with a small group of dedicated music lovers. Germán truly created a world of his own through these works, and his sound is singular when held up to Mexican music from the same era. Currently, Germán makes drums out of propane tanks in his backyard, he produces experimental CDs under his own label, and plays live regularly at Jazzorca. You might catch him strolling through his neighborhood in Portales at sunset, soaking in the influence of the city sounds and their associated colors he witnesses.

File Under: Jazz, Electronic, Ambient
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Cannabis Corpse: Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shall Rise (Season of Mist) LP
Following in the tradition laid down by Cannabis Corpse’s earlier releases, each song on 2011’s Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise is inspired by a classic death metal track – this time around Morbid Angel and Deicide get the Cannabis treatment! Cannabis Corpse are not a joke band. Sure, they’ll fire up a bowl and chug a beer, but then they’ll rip your face off with a brutal old-school death metal assault, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the seeds of the genre first began to grow.

File Under: Metal
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Ben Chasny: The Intimate Landscape (Drag City) LP
A new instrumental album of acoustic guitar playing from Six Organs of Admittance’s Ben Chasny! Everybody knows it’s been far too long since 2004’s much-beloved For Octavio Paz; even as the landscape has crowded with acoustic players, we’ve all been dying to hear Ben’s distinctive virtuosity again in this format. But The Intimate Landscape is so much more, KPM Music, the legendary British library music company, extended an offer to Ben to make some songs for their library. Well aware of their history, he immediately agreed. The field of library music (music made for hire, for use in placement in films and advertising) is one that’s come to public consciousness only relatively recently in the long century of record-making, but the influence of such records has been felt for years in the aesthetics of many diverse artists, including several who’ve recorded for Drag City. So it’s a special thing for Drag City, whose appreciation for Ben’s unique artistry has been borne out over a countless variety of releases, to issue this really amazing entry in both the KPM Music tradition and the ever-expanding Ben Chasny/Six Organs of Admittance ouvre. Ben chose the acoustic guitar for these recordings after considering the width and breadth of possible music he could make for the occasion. His approach while playing it was simple—deceptively so: to make music as present and immediate and beautiful as possible. This type of playing requires a deep breath before beginning, as it has to generate from within, as well as at the fingertips. The resulting music is inventive and engaging, both in and out of the astral style of Ben’s music and the utilitarian genre of music to which he’s contributing.

File Under: Psych, Guitar, Library
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Suzanne Ciani: Improvisation on Four Sequences Live at Festival Antigel (Atmospheric) LP
180gram vinyl, + insert ft. liner notes from Andy Votel (Finders Keepers, Cacophonic Records). This is the first release in 25 years on Suzanne Ciani’s own Atmospheric label, which focuses on her live electronic music. Improvisation on Four Sequences was performed live in quadraphonic sound on the Buchla 200e and the Animoog at Festival Antigel in Geneva, Switzerland on January 25th, 2020. This record is specially encoded to be played back in quadraphonic sound and is also stereo compatible.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Steve Earle & The Dukes: Low Highway (New West) LP
The Low Highway was the follow-up to 2011’s Grammy Award-nominated album I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive and was the first billed as “Steve Earle & The Dukes (& Duchesses).” The album is also the first to feature “The Dukes” band name since 1987’s Exit 0. This is the first color pressing for this record.

File Under: Folk, Country
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Steve Earle & The Dukes: Ghosts of West Virginia (New West) LP
Ghosts of West Virginia centers on the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion that killed twenty-nine men in that state in 2010, making it one of the worst mining disasters in American history. When asked about what drove him to craft his deeply evocative new album, Steve Earle says, “I thought that, given the way things are now, it was maybe my responsibility to make a record that spoke to and for people who didn’t vote the way that I did,” he says. “One of the dangers that we’re in is if people like me keep thinking that everybody who voted for Trump is a racist or an asshole, then we’re fucked, because it’s simply not true. So this is one move toward something that might take a generation to change. I wanted to do something where that dialogue could begin.” In ten deftly drawn, roughly eloquent, powerfully conveyed sonic portraits, Earle and his long-time band the Dukes explore the historical role of coal in rural communities. More than merely a question of jobs and income, mining has provided a sense of unity and meaning, patriotic pride and purpose. “I said I wanted to speak to people that didn’t necessarily vote the way that I did,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything in common. We need to learn how to communicate with each other. My involvement in this project is my little contribution to that effort. And the way to do that – and to do it impeccably – is simply to honor those guys who died at Upper Big Branch.”

File Under: Folk, Country
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Steve Earle & The Dukes: Terraplane (New West) LP
Terraplane takes its title from the 1930s Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit model, which also inspired the Robert Johnson song, “Terraplane Blues.” It is Earle’s 16th studio album since the release of his highly influential 1986 debut Guitar Town. As its title suggests, the album is very much a blues record, some of which was written while Earle toured Europe alone for five weeks with just a guitar, a mandolin and a backpack. Earle, who was raised outside of San Antonio before migrating to Houston, offers about Texas blues, “There was Fort Worth where the model was Freddy King and there was the Houston scene which was dominated by Lightnin’ Hopkins. Two very different styles.” He saw both of these giants and was also exposed to Johnny Winter, Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughn and Billy Gibbons – all of which make their influence heard here within Earle’s masterful storytelling. This is the first time this record has been pressed on color vinyl.

File Under: Folk, Country
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The Embarrassment: Death Travels West (Last Laugh) LP
1983’s Death Travels West finds The Embarrassment as anthemic, angular, and inscrutable as they ever were, with a concept record in the loosest sense of the word. The gangly, jangly Wichita four-piece pack up their harmonies and head west, riding into the sunset and on to Saturn’s rings. Lyrical density meets Manifest Destiny with a chugging rush of guitars that’ll send you pogo-ing across the American landscape. It’s a catchy, smart and ambitious effort from these legendary progenitors of indie rock… err, “Blister Pop”. Third in a series of reissues on Last Laugh Records, Death Travels West is available on vinyl again after almost 40 years, and for the first time on Cassette.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Ella Fitzgerald: Wishes You A Swinging Christmas (Verve) LP
Acoustic Sounds Series! All-Analog 180g Vinyl LP of Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas Remastered from the Original Analog Tapes, Pressed at QRP, and Housed in Stoughton Gatefold Jacket. Ella Fitzgerald’s beloved 1960 holiday album for Verve Records finds the First Lady of Song singing her heart out on a 12-song set of Christmas classics and backed by a sympathetic studio orchestra arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol. She sings (and swings) such timeless holiday fare as “Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Winter Wonderland,” and more! She puts her singular stamp on everything from a sultry vamp like “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” to the sweet and cozy “The Christmas Song.” Even potentially shopworn standards like “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” sound fresher when they’re coming from the great Ella Fitzgerald. 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, Audiophile, Xmas
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Grouper: Shade (Kranky) LP
The 12th full-length by Pacific Northwest artist Liz Harris aka Grouper is a collection of songs spanning fifteen years. She characterizes Shade as an album about respite, and the coast, poetically and literally. How one frames themselves in a landscape, how in turn it frames themselves; memories and experiences carried forward mapping a connection to place—“an ode to blue / what lives in shade.” Songs touch on loss, flaws, hiding places, love. Deep connections to the Bay Area, and the North Coast, with its unique moods of solitude, beauty, and isolation—a place described and transformed by the chaos and power of river-mouth, wild maritime storms, columns of mist that rise up unexpectedly on the road at night. Portions were recorded on Mount Tamalpais during a self-made residency years back, other pieces made longer ago in Portland, while the rest were tracked during more recent sessions in Astoria. Throughout, Harris threads a hidden radiant language of voice, disquiet, and guitar, framed by open space and the sense of being far away—“Echoing a lighthouse, burying the faults of being human / Into things that we project upon the sky at night.”

File Under: Ambient
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Guided By Voices: It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! (GBV Inc) LP
It’s been just a few months since Guided By Voice’s faux rock opera Earth Man Blues garnered four-star and five-star reviews, with Rolling Stone proclaiming that it “squarely hits all the marks that make Guided By Voices great—again and again and again.” “Again and again and again”, is perhaps GBV’s credo, with Robert Pollard’s never-ending supply of fascinating and supremely catchy rock. Just when one thinks one’s got them pinned down, album number thirty-four opens with bizarre percussion, mariachi trumpets, strings and acoustic guitar. The adventurous spirit pervades yet another killer album from the greatest and most versatile GBV line-up. The golden boys (Doug Gillard, Bobby Bare Jr, Mark Shue, Kevin March) can do no wrong. Hooky singles “My (Limited) Engagement”, “High In The Rain” and “Dance of Gurus” intermingle with occasionally dark lyrics and the oddest of GBV oddballs, the ridiculous “Razor Bug”, “Psycho House”, and the “Maintenance Man Of The Haunted House”. The horns and strings return intermittently, with “The Bells Get Out Of The Way” going full Burt Bacharach. It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! is a creative tour-de-force full of surprises from the most prolific and captivating band on the planet.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Halo Benders: Don’t Tell Me Now (K) LP
Heaven sent with a halo bent. Doug Martsch (Built to Spill, Treepeople) joined forces with other underground folks from his past and future on this 1996 release: Steve Fisk Pell Mell, Pigeonhed, Duck Hunt, Calvin Johnson Beat Happening, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Wayne Flower Treepeople, Violent Green, Ralf Youtz Feelings, Built to Spill. The Dub Narcotic studios were the meeting place for this feast of empty headed loudmouth doorbell rock done backwards, from basement to bombshelter.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Kayo Dot: Moss Grew On The Swords and Plowshares Alike (Prophecy) LP
The stark frailty of the human condition is the overall theme running through the veins of KAYO DOT’s 10th regular studio album “Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike”. In the sprawling, churning musical multiverse of mainly multi-instrumentalist Toby Driver’s creation that has never accepted nor cared for any artificial borders of genre and incorporated for example rock, metal, classical music, goth, indie, pop, and jazzy structures, this avant-garde album appears to tilt towards a more harsh as well as heavy approach than on some of the previous recordings – and considering its dark and melancholic undertones may be given the epithet doom. Something of the pagan mind’s cyclic vision of the world appears to have infected “Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike”. This album has been recorded with the original line-up of Toby Driver’s previous band MAUDLIN OF THE WELL. He also recorded the new tracks in the same location as the very first MAUDLIN OF THE WELL tape. In a way, KAYO DOT are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of the landmark double album “Bath/Leaving Your Body Map” and the 25 years since MAUDLIN OF THE WELL’s inception with “Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike”. After the split of much loved MAUDLIN OF THE WELL, charismatic frontman Toby Driver formed the avant-garde music project KAYO DOT as a new outlet for his burgeoning creativity in 2003. The multi-instrumentalist and singer remains the only absolute constant in this band, although there are frequent lyrical contributions from his former band-mate Jason Byron throughout the extensive discography. In the following 18 years, KAYO DOT released an impressive number of full-lengths, EPs, splits, and live recordings that are all marked by considerable stylistic differences and a wide array of instrumentation that included guitars, bass, drums, vibraphone, violin, synthesizers, flutes, clarinets and saxophone. Especially in progressive circles, KAYO DOT has become a household name and is supported by prestigious, forward thinking festivals such as Roadburn. With “Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike”, KAYO DOT deliver another beautiful and essential facet of their complex musical multiverse, although the album can easily stand on its own as a most impressive piece of dark avant-garde metal.

File Under: Metal
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Fela Kuti: London Scene (Knitting Factory) LP
Coloured vinyl! Fela Kuti (1938-1997) was a Nigerian musician, producer, arranger, political radical, outlaw and the originator of Afrobeat. A titanic musical and sociopolitical voice, Fela’s legacy spans, decades and genres, touching on jazz, pop, funk, hip-hop, rock and beyond. After graduating from Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) in London, Fela returned to Nigeria with his band Koola Lobitos. Fusing the sounds of Jazz and Funk with the traditional African music he had been raised on, his star status began to flourish. EMI, his label at the time, saw the true power of his musical creation, what we now know as Afrobeat, and brought Fela and his band back to London. The result was London Scene. While recording, Fela began his friendship with Ginger Baker, who plays uncredited on the track “Egbe Mi O”. London Scene is the beginning of what would become Fela’s signature Afrobeat style and serves as a great introduction to Fela’s music.

File Under: Afro Beat
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Loveshadow: s/t (Music from Memory) LP
Music From Memory are excited to introduce another new group for 2021, this time presenting the self-titled debut album from Loveshadow. Currently based in San Francisco, the duo of Anya and Izaak initially met whilst working in an Oakland cafe in 2016. The two Californians quickly bonded over a track by the ’80s disco band Aurra which was playing over the radio and almost immediately their separate journeys in music became interwoven. They soon began to write music and creating their own work would become a way for the pair to get closer to the sound they were searching for, as well as enabling them to discover the healing power of making and listening to music. ‘Loveshadow’ was recorded predominantly in the Bay Area between 2017-2020 as well as whilst traveling to NYC, Chicago and around Portland. Having released previously as the outfit ‘S Transporter’ alongside Detroit friend Ryan Spencer, Loveshadow is formed of Anya as singer and song writer alongside Izaak on synthesizers, bass and percussion. This eight track album is the duo’s first release; exploring emotive Pop and DIY Funk leanings it stands as a joyful homage to the music they bond over, as well as an ode to their own love and friendship.

File Under: Electronic, Pop, Funk
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Chris Marker: La Jetee (Superior Viaduct) LP
Available again! “This is the story of a man, marked by an image from his childhood.” Thus begins, with deceptive simplicity, Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962). The film, by far Marker’s best-known work, synthesizes many of the elusive filmmaker’s central preoccupations – time and memory, power and resistance, the ephemerality and resilience of love – yet it also undermines the very idea of film. Composed almost entirely of still photographs, La Jetée quite literally pieces together the tale of an unnamed, forsaken protagonist, drafted into a series of time travel experiments in post-apocalyptic Paris. While Marker creates some of the most hauntingly beautiful imagery in cinema, what animates La Jetée’s frozen pictures is its sparse and unsettling soundscape. Whispers, breaths and heartbeats offer an unnerving reminder of bodily rhythms that, inside the film and out, will inevitably cease. Fragments of symphonic music at once capture a love affair and underscore the tragedy awaiting it. The poetic momentum of the narrator’s voice, our only guide: “On the tenth day, images begin to ooze, like confessions.” Superior Viaduct is honored to present the first-time release of the soundtrack from La Jetée. This vinyl album features both French and English voiceover narrations, along with organic textures and Trevor Duncan’s impressionistic score. More than half a century has passed since La Jetée’s theatrical release – now is the time to travel back to the “sudden roar” of this masterpiece in a completely different light.

File Under: OST
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MLO: Oumuamua (Music From Memory) LP
Music From Memory are excited to present the first compilation of works by British electronic pioneers MLO aka Peter Smith and Jon Tye. Titled ‘Oumuamua’ and second up in the Virtual Dreams series, the compilation is an in-depth artist focused release containing twelve thoughtfully selected tracks that touch on highlights from the duo’s discography as well as newly (re)discovered music drawn from a vast archive of unreleased pieces, sketches and extended jams recorded between 1993-1995. MLO’s ambient explorations began when Pete and Jon, having first met in rival punk bands during the late ‘70s, found themselves with unlimited access to an incredibly well-equipped studio, having been hired to produce an Icelandic pop star’s record in the early ‘90s. Particularly charmed by the Korg PS 3300 and an Emulator 2, Smith and Tye were also deeply fascinated by outer space and set about developing a musical landscape informed by both this new state of the art musical equipment and what lay beyond the Earth’s limits. Painting with a palette informed by classical minimalism, new age and the works of Cluster & Eno; the duos primary colours were drones, sustained tones, washes, calming tides, gentle temple bells and soft angelic voices with flickering glimpses of percussion and drums that hinted at the possibilities of a dance floor. ‘Oumuamua’ is a collection of music to get lost-in, a wander down the mazed, mirrored corridors of the subconscious. Peaceful, flowing, fresh-water patterns, drawing the listener toward a mediative, inner space. Not strictly ambient, rather the music rests temporarily within the boundaries between drum ‘n’ bass, library music, soundtracks and Techno. Or how Jon Tye himself puts it: “It really feels like music from a different place, a different time, made by different people.” Artwork by Vica Pacheco, design by Steele Bonus, liner notes by Dr. Rob

File Under: Electronic
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Monolord: Your Time to Shine (Relapse) LP
Swedish power trio Monolord return with their highly anticipated new album, Your Time to Shine. Recorded by drummer Esben Willems at Studio Berserk, Your Time to Shine sees the trio looking inward, cultivating the elements that take their monstrous, heavy riffing to new heights with a darker edge. A five-track journey that spans across crushing doom rock to more spacey, groove laden opuses, Your Time to Shine is Monolord at their most unfiltered and focused. Out of the gate, Monolord kick-off a wild ride with the soaring, fist-raising opener “The Weary” and its insanely catchy melodies. Elsewhere, the stop/start switch between sweetness and abrasiveness of “To Each Their Own” showcases a new element to the band’s repertoire. Monolord embraces the power of the riff with pulsating chugs on “I’ll Be Damned” and the mind-expanding title-track, whose final section brings back some of the band’s spaced-out rock n’ roll beginnings. Everything culminates in their new epic, “The Siren Of Yersinia”, whose lonesome call can be heard in each feedback-ridden note and in each pained, buried vocal line.

File Under: Metal
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Moor Mother: Black Encyclopedia of the Air (Anti) LP
Black Encyclopedia of the Air is here, not to save but to drown you. Heads better learn how to swim cause listen, this record is beat soup, hearty yet still minimal, a sonic mirage of prophetic soul that drop kicks your “chill beats to study to” Youtube playlist and hyper-intellectual rap podcasts into a hadron collider; it’s only black matter on the other side – 13 mesmerizing tracks about memory and imprinting and the future, all of them wafting through untouched space like the ghostly cinders of a world on fire, unbound and uncharted, vast and stretching across the universe.Moor Mother is a holographic figment of an Afrotopian dream, all at once goddess and warrior, mystic and cyborg, griot and future time traveller, etching noisy pieces of reverie into our consciousness for decades now. But check it: on Black Encyclopedia… she’s joined by a wide-range of friends, collaborators and co-conspirators on a trip through the murky cosmos, navigating the black universe with stardust as currency. In these times, they’ll say, as they click and mash their way through the same inter-webs that seek to strangle them, Black Encyclopedia of the Air is just what we need: a post-everything, 12:01 on the doomsday clock, anti-trip hop type of situation. “We ain’t gotta fight no more,” they’ll say; the rest of us, we’ll put this record on and imagine again that it’s real.

File Under: Electronic
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Mr. Bungle: The Night They Came Home (Ipecac) LP
This 14-track vinyl 2LP-set from Ipecac Recordings gathers the audio of Mr. Bungle’s 2020 livestream event, The Night They Came Home. Includes performances of songs from their album, The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo along with cover songs and more. This version of Mr. Bungle is original members Mike Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn, joined by Scott Ian of Anthrax and Dave Lombardo of Slayer/Dead Cross.

File Under: Metal
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New Mexican Stargazers: Highway Dreamscape (Not Not Fun) CS
The latest by liminal lo-fi trawler New Mexican Stargazers is an ode to hypnagogic horizons and interstate bliss, nodding off in the backseat while desert midnight radio whispers on the wind: Highway Dreamscape. Streaked in hiss and spliced with jump cuts, the songs snake through moonlit vistas and nameless neon truck stops, a mix of blasted keyboard cruising and planetarium parking lot raga. It’s music of delirium and dusty airwaves, homegrown and half-conscious, revved up road trip anthems melted into woozy astral Americana. A roamer’s paradise, ripping and dipping through lost lands of enchantment, until the infinite grid of freeway lights dissolves into the grainy glow of meteor showers.

File Under: Ambient
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Nicolini: Penni’s Palace (South of North) LP
Welcome to Nicolini’s wonderful world of surprise – Penni’s Palace. Here you will find zebra-chairs and matchbox countachs, colourful tv-screens and Penni the cat presiding over proceedings. You will also find Nicolini, hunched over his MPC or Casio keyboards, sweeping the EQs to make the sounds move, jamming out his songs in heavy microdoses. They are the sounds of machines and the city – Amsterdam centre to be precise – brought to life with volts of electricity. These songs started out as a live show on the terrace of Garage Noord nightclub, and over the following months Nicolini tweaked and re-recorded them into the collection of tracks you have before you. Bristling with energy, these live jams have a loose, almost mystical feeling – you never know quite what’s around the corner. Sounds jump out of the speakers at you, from car engines to reverb crashes. Opposites face off against each other – the mechanical meets the organic, and the cold emptiness of the city contrasts with the warm timbres of tropical climes. Nicolini is quite used to combining disparate elements, particularly as a member of the re-configured Zamrock band WITCH. As pioneers of some of the heaviest space fuzz back in the ‘70s, WITCH combined garage-psych guitars with Zambian dialects and culture to create a wildly unique sound. Nicolini joined the band during their resurgence over the last few years, as they toured far-flung corners of the world. It’s an experience that undoubtedly helped Nicolini hone one skill set in particular – combining unexpected sounds together in unusual ways – and it’s on full display across these nine tracks.

FIle Under: Electronic
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Gideon Nxumalo: Gideon Plays (Matsuli) LP
Long lost 1968 album from visionary South African jazz composer incorporating traditional African music sources and instruments, officially licensed from the Nxumalo family and reissued with inner sleeve containing archival photographs and new liner notes by Francis Gooding. Gideon Nxumalo’s Gideon Plays might just be the most mythologised and sought-after LP in the whole South African canon. A sophisticated bop excursion with a distinctive African edge, it was only Nxumalo’s second LP as leader, despite his crucial place in South African jazz history. Pianist Nxumalo was a visionary jazz composer who had recorded regularly during the 1950s, and his 1962 Jazz Fantasia album was the first South African jazz recording to incorporate traditional African musical sources and instruments. But he was also the country’s most significant radio presenter and jazz tastemaker – from 1954 onwards, he had worn the nickname ‘Mgibe’ to introduce ‘This Is Bantu Jazz’, South African radio’s premier jazz show. But in the aftermath of the Sharpeville Massacre in 1961, Nxumalo had been side-lined from radio play, and was eventually sacked for playing records with political meanings. By 1968, he had not been heard on record or airwave for several years. Gideon Plays was a celebrated return to the studio for one of South Africa’s best loved and most forward-thinking jazzmen, and it showcases Nxumalo’s deep understanding of jazz, his brilliant touch as a composer, and his commitment to bringing South Africa’s indigenous sound into the music. However, it was released on the tiny JAS Pride label owned by production impresario Ray Nkwe, and after one pressing in 1968, Gideon Plays fell into the undeserved silence that has obscured so much of the South African jazz discography. It has since become a legend: hardly more than a rumour, it has been bootlegged by the unscrupulous, changed hands for eye-watering sums, and has scarcely been heard outside the circles of the most committed South African jazz devotees. It goes without saying that it has never been released outside South Africa, and even now only a handful of original copies are known to have survived. Over the last ten years, Matsuli Music has been proud to present some of the greatest lost and found jazz recordings in South African history – but we have never presented a rarer, lesser known album than the mighty Gideon ‘Mgibe’ Nxumalo’s Gideon Plays.

File Under: Jazz, Africa
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Ominous Circle: Appalling Ascension (20 Buck Spin) LP
With membership from the blinding light regions of Portugal, The Ominous Circle is a burning black sphere of sinuous torment taking shape over their native land. Appalling Ascension is their initiation into this upper physical world, undulating like a prophesied curse into the increasing chaos of modern “life.” While the reverent tropes of contemporary Death Metal will be recognizable to Circle adherents, the cauldron is mixed in myriad conjurations that stray from the safety where inferior forces are prone to linger. Moments of oppressive Death Doom, grinding blasts of mania, rancid melodies and mid-tempo dynamic necromancy on tracks like “From Endless Chasms” and “As The Worm Descends” canonize these odious psalms into timeless lore. The obsession of late by some to ignore songwriting in favor of cavernous ambient suffocating “evil” doesn’t play on Appalling Ascension—here instead, and most welcome, are crushing and barbarous Dark Death Metal songs to which initiates may devote themselves, as it enters into the pantheon of memorable debut recordings. And in the fashion of the most auspicious horror, this is only the beginning…

File Under: Metal
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Lena Platonos: Balancers (Dark Entries) LP
Greek electronic music legend Lena Platonos returns to Dark Entries with Balancers, an LP of previously unreleased material recorded between 1982-1985. Athens-based Platonos has worked with the label previously to reissue her three solo LPs – Gallop, Sun Masks, and Lepidoptera – as well as to release three accompanying 12” EPs featuring modern remixes of her work. She is renowned for her forays into cutting-edge electronic experimentation as well as her striking, impressionistic poetry and lyrics, always recited in Greek. The twelve tracks on Balancers reveal a murkier side of Lena, one draped in tenebrous washes and oneiric utterances. Ragged analog rhythms feature on several tracks, even breaking into a brooding electro groove on “A Cat in the Corner”, but the predominant tone is sparse and somber. Mournful instrumental “Phaethon” swells to mythological proportions, while “In September” feels small enough to fit in your pocket. Lena’s poetry sits amidst lush pads and Radiophonic Workshop-esque squiggles, her voice setting an intimate tone in the shifting electronic sea. Inspiration is drawn from Greek mythology and architecture, and lyrics evoke a soft sorrow, an ambivalence towards love, life, and the passage of time. Although the material here spans 3 years and features a range of recording fidelities and synthesis techniques, the collection possesses the heft of a singular artist’s vision. Balancers was remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Eloise Leigh designed the sleeve, which features a doubled Lena in washed-out burgundy hues, channeling the femininity and mystery of the album. Also included is an insert with lyrics in both Greek and English.

File Under: Electronic
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Pro-Teens: I Flip My Life Everytime I Fly (Mr. Bongo) LP
Within Melbourne’s burgeoning cinematic-soul scene, which includes breakout acts Surprise Chef and Karate Boogaloo, mysteriously sit The Pro-Teens. Helmed by prolific drummer and percussionist Hudson Whitlock, who also plays in both aforementioned bands, this breakaway studio project involves an interchangeable collective of incognito, Melbourne-based, esteemed instrumentalists playing under outlandish pseudonyms such as “‘Dead Honest’ Dean Amazing” and “Libby Clique-Baite”. Symbolically led by keyboardist “Snooch Dodd”, new album ‘I Flip My Life Every Time I Fly’ is the latest musical concoction from Whitlock’s eccentric brain, marrying the soul/funk roots of sample culture with the principles of boom-bap hip hop. Incorporating the colourful comic book stylings of MF DOOM and Kool Keith, or the dark and exotic flavours of Gravediggaz and The Wu-Tang Clan, The Pro-Teens also take cues from their composing heroes Galt MacDermot, Richard Evans and Marc Moulin. The Pro-Teens bop, zip, whip and fling on this phantasmagorical journey – an unorthodox patchwork of cinematic soul, hip hop-guided funk breaks, vivid instrumental textures and film score-esque moods. The Pro-Teens work on the same analogue recording model adopted by the tight-knit College Of Knowledge label, self-recorded and produced with the rag-tag crew of musicians putting tracks down live to tape in crammed attic studios and sharehouse recording spaces. The first limited pressing of ‘I Flip My Life Every Time I Fly’ was released on the ‘College Of Knowledge’ imprint in late 2020. It was one of the highlights of the year at Mr Bongo HQ who loved the concept and felt this tripped out masterpiece from Melbourne needed to be heard well beyond those lucky enough to have bagged those limited first copies.

File Under: Funk
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QRIXKUOR: Poison Palinopsia (Dark Descent) LP
The recrudescent scourge of Qrixkuor returns to unleash its debut full-length album, entitled Poison Palinopsia. Following 2016’s enigmatic Three Devils Dance EP, Poison Palinopsia is a sordid wound in reality’s distorted veil that spent five restless years aching for a blade to grant it life. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Greg Chandler at Priory Recording Studios in Birmingham, England, and with cover art contributed once again by the inimitable Daniel Corcuera, the album is a furious and fanatically channeled tempest of feral energy, synonymous in its nightmarish aural attack that seeks to chisel avenues to black inner worlds—a truly fitting soundscape for man’s current state of despondent dissonance. A forty-eight minute, two-part labyrinthine descent into the demented depths of the divine, Poison Palinopsia is less a listening experience and more a voyage—a summoning to scale the treacherous terrains of merciless mountains of madness. The images remain with the light long slain….

File Under: Metal
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Severed Heads: Dead Eyes Opened (Dark Entires) LP
Severed Heads are one of the longest standing bands to have emerged from the Australian post-punk and experimental scene. They began in Sydney in 1979, and were an early outfit to incorporate elements of industrial noise-generation, tape-cutting and looping, and electronic sound synthesis. As the project developed, song-structures and vocals were employed in a more-or-less recognizable mutant electro pop style. After many lineup changes featuring Gary Bradbury and psychedelic guitarist Simon Knuckey, the project became the solo vehicle for composer Tom Ellard. In 1983 Severed Heads released a C-60 cassette called Since the Accident that grabbed the attention of Ink Records, a subsidiary of Virgin in the UK. Ellard added a throwaway track at the last minute to fill out the cassette, not wanting to leave an unseemly gap at the end. The song, “Dead Eyes Opened,” was catchy enough to get a lot of airplay on the main noncommercial radio station in Sydney, and the band was asked to make it into a 12-inch single. For this extended version, Ellard and producer Patrick Gibson went to M-Squared studio and passed the multi-tracked recordings through various EQs and delays. “Dead Eyes Opened” features samples from a radio program narrated by Edgar Lustgarten, a crime journalist from England, referencing a double-murder case that occurred in 1924. The rhythms are made by a TR-808 drum machine and an SH-1 synthesizer. A KORG PolySix was used for strings and additional atmospheric elements. The lead solo was a Casiotone run through an Octaver foot pedal. On the B-side are two solo compositions, “Bullet” and “Mount,” that Ellard recorded at Terse Tapes in 1982. All songs are remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Housed in the original jacket featuring the iconic photograph of a girl with a painted face wrapped in some cloth by Juilee Pryor, each copy includes a foldout newsprint poster with a large photo of the band wearing Art Unit skull shirts on one side and liner notes and press clippings on the other. 30 years later, Severed Heads are still paving the way for powerful, imaginative and challenging music.

File Under: Electronic
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Spectral Wound: A Diabolic Thirst (Profound Lore) LP
Montreal, QC black metal band Spectral Wound play virulent, searing, primal towering melancholic black metal. With their new album A Diabolic Thirst, which follows 2018’s Infernal Decadence, the band take their own methodology of Quebecois black metal through vicious sonic layers that culminate in six triumphant, ferocious hymns, resplendent with blood freezing melodies and harsh-yet-massive overtones that bring a decadent and euphoric flow to this glorious masterwork the band have conjured. Another black metal triumph emanating from Canadian soil, one exposing once again the richness of Quebec’s unparalled black metal scene, A Diabolic Thirst not only captures that pure classic melodic black metal essence that was eminent in the late ’90s / very early ’00s, but also serves its purpose as a present day release of glorious blackened magnitude.

File Under: Metal
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Spirits Rejoice: African Spaces (Matsuli) LP
A defining musical statement in South Africa’s jazz canon – pinpointing the moment of social and musical ferment in which the country’s terms of engagement with jazz were irreversibly changed. Comes on heavyweight 180g vinyl with remastered audio, inner sleeve with new photographs and additional liner notes by Francis Gooding. At a distance of more than forty years, the radicalism and significance of African Spaces can be seen more clearly. Ambitious, uncompromising, and resolutely progressive, it represents a unique high-water mark in South Africa’s long musical engagement with the newest developments in American jazz – a response to the cosmic call of Return To Forever, and an answer to Miles’ On the Corner. Spirits Rejoice drew together some of South Africa’s most abundantly talented and forward-thinking jazz players and created a complex and challenging jazz fusion that shifted the terms of South Africa’s engagement with jazz towards new music being made by pioneers such as Chick Corea, Weather Report, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny and others. African Spaces, their debut recording, is one of the key documents in the South African jazz canon. Emerging in the aftermath of the 1976 Soweto uprising, and taking its place alongside the crucial mid-1970s music of Malombo, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Batsumi, it is a defining but unsung musical statement of its era.

File Under: Jazz, Africa
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Suburban Lawns: s/t (Superior Viaduct) LP
If your brain has a shortlist of bands that instantly evoke New Wave, Suburban Lawns deserve a slot right next to the likes of Devo, Talking Heads and the B-52’s. After putting out two singles on their own Suburban Industrial imprint, the Lawns signed to I.R.S. Records and released their debut LP in 1981. While the band gained cult status thanks in part to a Jonathan Demme-produced music video which aired on Saturday Night Live, their self-titled album would sadly be the five-piece’s only full-length statement. Suburban Lawns’ asymmetrical aesthetic is personified by co-vocalist Su Tissue, whose mesmerizing stage persona was at once childlike and terrifying. Her unique style embodies the awkward/arty female singer of the Reagan era, while the group’s male vocals—courtesy of Frankie Ennui, Vex Billingsgate and John McBurney—maintain the satirical themes of Southern California’s postwar mirage of limitless sprawl. Suburban Lawns’ catchiness can be attributed to their drum-tight performance and taut songwriting. Listen to the vocal trade-offs on “Anything,” which could have easily come out on any purely Punk label from LA at the time, while Tissue’s deadpan delivery on “Janitor” glides into the best art-warble this side of Lene Lovich, broaching the possibility of nuclear annihilation with a murmured “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom.” From a West Coast scene dominated by 7-inch singles and EPs, the Suburban Lawns’ lone LP remains in a class with precious few. It’s not surprising that they found acceptance in the Hollywood punk scene, despite their Long Beach roots, and would influence other bands such as Minutemen. This is not a disc that will get parked in your collection hoping to get pulled once in a while; this is a record you will play.

File Under: Punk
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Steve Summers: Generation Loss (L.I.E.S.) LP
Steve Summers delivers his long anticipated debut double lp for L.I.E.S.   Stepping up with 13 tracks, Summers goes across the board exploring all ends of the long lineage of Chicago House music. As a member of Mutant Beat Dance with Traxx and Beau Wanzer or under his Rhythm Based Lovers alias Summers has always managed to tread the line between classic Chicago styles and modern psychedelic Jakbeat floor beaters. On the aptly titled “Generation Loss” we get the the full spectrum; from the old school 80s acid of  “Who Knows” to the long form lysergic blackhole of “Boxed In” or the dx funk of “Unknown Origin” Summers cements his signature style which he has refined over years throughout this LP.

File Under: Electronic
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The System: s/t (Music From Memory) 12″
Music From Memory continue their 12″ series with the release of an EP. This 4 track comp holds 3 tracks from the LP and one unreleased.. Tip!Music From Memory continue their 12′ series with the release of an EP. This 4 track comp holds 3 tracks from the LP and one unreleased.. Tip! Music From Memory’s latest release in their 12′ series focuses on the little known UK band The System. A project masterminded by Bob Lamb, a somewhat cult figure in Birmingham’s music history; the short lived group released only one album”Logic’ and a single in 1983 on the somewhat obscure French label”Romantic Records’. This distinctively forward thinking new wave/synth pop album met with poor distribution and with almost no promotion to speak of at the time and quickly dwindled into obscurity. The albums sense of technological exploration, outstanding production value coupled with the band’s gift of writing deeply emotive, yearning pop tunes, make it sound though perhaps more relevant today than many other far more successful albums of it’s time. Whilst the band and the album might have sunk into obscurity, the band were no novices to the music business. In fact the highly regarded producer Bob Lamb had played as a drummer throughout the late sixties and into the late seventies for a number of progressive rock bands. The last of which, The Steve Gibbons Band, found moderate success both at home and in US, even opening up for The Who on their world tours. Having travelled the world as a musician, in 1979 Lamb would set up a 4-track recording and mixing studio in his basement flat to focus on production. In this state of the art Birmingham studio he would work with Duran Duran on their earliest work as well as producing UB40’s very first album. With this highly developed sense of production, it was here in Bob Lamb’s s studio that the four members of The System set out to make a pop record very much driven by the new possibilities of technology and developments within studio recording. With instrumental tracks”Vampirella’, sounding almost prophetic of Detroit techno tracks that would not be made until some 10 years later and”Pendy! You’re In Some Awful Danger’ a vaporous synth excursion and anthemic drum-heavy vocal track”Almost Grown’, this 12″ also features the unreleased end of the night jam”Find It In Your Eyes’, a track which somehow never made it on to the original LP release.

File Under: Electronic
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Soichi Terada Presents: Sounds from the Far East (Rush Hour) LP
Compiled by Hunee, ‘Sounds from the Far East’ features highly sought after material by legendary Japanese house producer Soichi Terada and fellow producers Shinichiro Yokota, Manabu Nagayama! Soichi Terada is an adventurous multitalent and over all a good sport. He was born in the sixties, and as a child he loved to play on his fathers’ electric organ. Terada majored in Computer Science and Electric Organ and after he graduated, he founded his Far East Recording in 1989, because he couldn’t find a label for his compositions at that time. The sound of Far East Recording is very much inspired by early nineties US deep house. Soichi Terada went out to parties in the late eighties, were he was equally influenced by house and hip-hop. A few years later, Terada took on producing music by using digital sampling. In the early nineties he occasionally DJ-ed with a DAT player and some reel tapes, instead of using records and turntables. “Sounds From The Far East” shines new light on Soichi Terada’s label and consists of material that was originally released in the early nineties. Next to Terada’s music, Hunee also selected a few tracks by fellow artist Shinichiro Yokota for this compilation, as well as ‘Sun Showered’, a track based on the incredible Paradise Garage gem called ‘Sunshower’, by Terada and Nami Shimada.

File Under: Electronic, Asia
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Tropical Fuck Storm: Deep States (Joyful Noise) LP
Most of us have lived some inner Tropical Fuck Storm over this past year and a half. Even for a band that’s made a career out of crafting songs attuned to political and social crisis, there was a new bleak in the air for Tropical Fuck Storm, what the band calls “give-a-fuck fatigue.” The third album from the avant-punk quad—aptly titled Deep States—mines familiar ground as well as new cultural terrains, while digging deeper into the subjective state of contemporary panic. While not quite a protest album, Deep States comes complete with Q drops, nods to the January 6th Capitol Riot, a riff on pizzagate, MAGAs squaring off with Antifas, waterboarded Martians, dangerous cults from Heaven’s Gate to The Shining Path and, not to be outdone, Romeo agents who bed us at night only to betray us by morning. We live in a world in which the bizarre has become the normative, and Tropical Fuck Storm plumbs that paradox. That said, the band is far too wary of the self-importance attached to songs in the didactic mode. “We make pop records,” front man Gareth Liddiard says, “that don’t deny we’re all in a bit of trouble here.” What makes Tropical Fuck Storm so great is the intersection between their dark but satiric storytelling and musical arrangements intent on perverting received canons and wisdoms. These are songs as experiment, advancing and retreating at their own idiosyncratic, deeply unsettling pace. They hang on the slant beat and slide into jazzy, distortion-packed jams so tumultuous they’d make Charlie Mingus proud. Musically, Deep States goes wherever it wants, riffing on pop, R&B, Talking Heads-style new wave, Delta blues, Tom Waits, and some of the band’s hip-hop favorites such as Woo-Tang Clan and Missy Elliot. Barriers aren’t just broken, they seem to have completely fallen away. In this present moment, parts of the world are opening up, or trying to. But Tropical Fuck Storm is here to remind us that many of our most urgent political and social problems have been around a long time now. Same as it ever was, as another genre bending band once sang. As the signs of the latest crisis subside, and the dull ache of awareness with it, Deep States is here to remind us that there is no foreseeable end to human folly, nor, fortunately, to the creativity that resists it. Over the past few years we’ve all heard the noise in our own heads — Tropical Fuck Storm has made music of it.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Hana Vu: Public Storage (Ghostly) LP
Storage units hold possessions on pause from the outside world, objects capable of reconnecting us to a time or place. Hana Vu grew up with her family making regular use of public storage spaces in Los Angeles, moving every few years, leaving a mix of the sacred and the mundane to sit inside concrete and steel. The 21-year-old musician sees the art of making and releasing songs in a similar sense. She lived next to one of these buildings when she started writing her full-length Ghostly International debut, Public Storage, and its towering presence lends a metaphor to a record that sounds far bigger than the bedroom it came from. The emotional chattels of these guitar-driven pop songs are scattered in different boxes, but they all belonged to one person at one point. Being left behind gives these vignettes a tone of brooding introspection. Across the album, Vu excavates an internal universe, loading and unpacking memories, moods, and imagined scenes with agency, charisma, and conviction. Public Storage builds on the sound of Vu’s early work underscoring her strengths as a songwriter with a deeper sense of luster, sophistication, and urgency. She calls it “very invasive and intense sounding music,” refreshingly out of step with contemporary trends; this is music to engage with rather than lean back to. For the first time, she welcomes a co-producer, Jackson Phillips (Day Wave), who helps Vu create a vast, grainy, multifaceted world to stretch into vocally, her distinct contralto drifting freely between evocative low-lit ruminations and soulful, skyward bursts. Vu opens the album fixed on a force that recurs throughout. The first sounds we hear are charming: isolated piano keys cycle into warm strums and self-harmonies on “April Fool,” as Vu’s protagonist dismisses her surroundings and ability to communicate. The soft amber glow diffuses into the album’s title track, a darker, murkier, louder place. Vu rips through “Public Storage” with a series of defiant rejections (failure, family, magic) and cathartic demands. It’s a rare and powerful display of vulnerability from a lyricist who favors abstractly personal over directly autobiographical. Built on a disco synth pattern and grooving bass stabs, “Aubade” has the bright bounce of its morning namesake, cleverly at odds with its downbeat subject. The contrast continues on “Keeper,” a pulsating new wave cut, replete with soaring dreamy synths and a cooly snarling narrator, again challenging that force. “Gutter” returns to the grungy lowlight, with muscular guitar riffs striating above a bed of feedback, swelling alongside orchestral strings to a roaring finish. The back half of Public Storage features some of its most striking moments: the rhythmic, hook-heavy “Everybody’s Birthday” speaks to the evil absurdity of the present, the end of times. The night is red, the mood is blue, and her character’s shame is painted gold. Vu saves “Maker” for last, a final go at the existential. That long-lost trinket, enormously meaningful, buried at the bottom of a box at the back of the unit. Tender banjo plucks and piano keys serve as the base for Vu’s escalating harmonies, overcome by remorseful exhalations, the song culminates on the lines: “save me oh my angel / are you angry / cos I’m not stronger and I crumble / oh that’s my nature / just like you.” In that address, in finding something lost along the way in too many shuffles from place to place, Vu finds a tarnished token of solace and a logical conclusion for Public Storage: we are all fucked up, scattered, prone to getting lost, and whoever, whatever made us is fucked up, scattered and lost too.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Weather Station: All Of It Was Mine (Fat Possum) LP
Coloured wax! Originally released August 16, 2011, on You’ve Changed Records, Fat Possum Records is releasing a 10th anniversary edition on limited edition, bone colored vinyl. The 10th anniversary edition comes with updated art and new liner notes from Tamara Lindeman, reflecting on the ten years since “All Of It Was Mine” was released.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Witch Vomit: Abhorrent Rapture (20 Buck Spin) LP
Coloured wax! A new level of barbaric mastery was achieved on 2019’s Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave, Witch Vomit’s second full length from. It was now undeniable that the band was not merely another “OSDM” (stale terminology) band when they’d evolved a maximal and rarely achieved synthesis of European and American death metal styles into a flawless melange of horrific gore-soaked splendor. Though bands tend to simmer down as they evolve, Witch Vomit reverse this tendency, getting only more extreme with each release. This momentum continues on the band’s latest, Abhorrent Rapture. Like 2017’s Poisoned Blood, Abhorrent Rapture showcases the band in the more immediate and intense MLP format. Four tracks in roughly eighteen minutes of pure savagery but always with that eerie mood, creeping melodic sense and grisly intimidation essential to proper death metal. Though not a full length proper, Abhorrent Rapture will sate, temporarily, the cannibalistic appetite of the many clamoring for the next Witch Vomit burial mound to come.

File Under: Metal
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X.Y.R.: Labyrinth (Not Not Fun) CS
St. Petersburg pathfinder Vladimir Karpov coaxes hushed auras of keys, metronomes, fog, and feeling to evoke hazed and isolated realms, traced in altered states. His latest collection—and vinyl debut—maps the maze at “the bottom of self,” subterranean consciousness manifested from decaying synthesizer and shadowed pulse: music for fading torchlight. Labyrinth leads through six misty, mystic chambers of dreams, drones, delirium, and phaser’d percussion, spiraling in slow, sacred arcs, in quest of “the inner world.” Tosya Chaikina’s ghost vocals on “False Angel Lullaby” and “Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors” bring a whispered hymnal mood, but otherwise the album is ambient and abandoned, obscure meditations along corridors of candlelit runes, “to find the right path, to find the true answer.”

File Under: Ambient
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Sisonke Xonti: Ugaba the Migration (As Shams) LP
Highly anticipated sophomore release from saxophonist and composer Sisonke Xonti, winner of South Africa’s 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz. At the centre of the album, Xonti’s four-part “Migration Suite” is his boldest work to date, exploring rural and urban identity and the perilous spiritual journey from homeland to the global village. Produced by Xonti and pianist Yonela Mnana and featuring photography by Mandisa Buthelezi, the album appears on As-Shams/The Sun as part of a roster of new artist releases on the cusp of the iconic South African jazz label’s 50th anniversary.

File Under: Jazz
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Various: After Dark 3 (Italians Do It Better) LP
Every seven years, we release an After Dark label sampler, the long awaited third edition is finally here. Produced by Johnny Jewel, ‘After Dark 3’ features label mainstays DESIRE, CHROMATICS, FARAH and introduces fresh blood from around the globe. A glimpse beyond the curtain, into what the new year sounds like for Italians Do It Better. In the tradition of our spaced out cinema disco, we present After Dark 3…The wallpaper of your dreams & the stardust of the future. With ORION, JOHNNY JEWEL, DOUBLE MIXTE, ATRIP, LOVE OBJECT, JOON, GLÜME, MOTHERMARY, GUy GERBER, CAUSEWAY, CLUB INTL, and PINK GLOVES.

File Under: Electronic
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Various: I’ll Be Your Mirror (Verve) LP
I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground & Nico, is a contemporary tribute to the Velvets legendary debut, with each of the album’s songs performed by one of the band’s noteworthy artistic descendants. Featured artists include Kurt Vile & the Violators, Sharon Van Etten, Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney, Michael Stipe, Matt Berninger of The National, Courtney Barnett, St. Vincent & Thomas Bartlett, Thurston Moore & Bobby Gillespie, King Princess, Fontaines D.C. and Andrew Bird & Lucious. Issued on Verve Records, the original label home of The Velvet Underground, I’ll Be Your Mirror was overseen and executive produced by Hal Willner, Lou Reed’s dear friend, and producer who passed away last year. Willner was a master of the tribute album, with each project he worked on extending the magnitude of the artist or work under consideration. In particular, he very much viewed himself as a primary curator of Reed’s legacy, and the care and love he felt for his friend’s work is evident in every note on I’ll Be Your Mirror. Fittingly – and sadly – it is the last album he worked on.

File Under: Indie Rock, Velvet Underground
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Various: Second Wave (Random Numbers) LP
Random Numbers is proud to present its newest V.A. release, the most ambitious to date, which sees the contributions of 16 producers close to the label and kindred to the sonic quest Random Numbers has been pursuing since 2015. “Second Wave” is the organic continuation of the journey initiated with the V.A. Parallel Routes, released at the beginning of the 2020 lockdown. This collection of 12 tracks – like the 12 months that have just passed, delivers a multi-faceted testimony of our experience with the pandemic, translating feelings of absence, desire and necessity into a mind-bending sound exploration. Despite crossing a wide range of tempos and genres, a common thread is found in the mystic, trippy and ritualistic atmospheres that populate this release. The metamorphic nature of each track continuously surprises the ears, blurring the boundaries between heady listening experience and dance floor bliss.

File Under: Electronic
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Various: V4 Visions Label Sampler (Numero) LP
Numero Group and Rush Hour present: the V4 Visions label sampler, 1990-1994. A five-song overview of the pioneering UK street soul label that lived at the confluence of lovers rock, deep house, swing beat and jungle. In anticipation of the the forthcoming 2xLP label-spanning compilation. Limited edition of 500 copies.

…..restocks…..

Bauhaus: Crackle: Best of  (4AD) LP
Beherit: The Oath of Black Blood (Nuclear War Now) LP
Bitchin’ Bajas: Baja Fresh (Drag City) CS
Blood Incantation: Starspawn (Dark Descent) LP
Butthole Surfers: Hairway to Steven (Latino Bugger Veil) LP
Butthole Surfers: Locust Abortion Technician (Latino Bugger Veil) LP
Butthole Surfers: Psych, Powerless (Latino Bugger Veil) LP
Cannibal Corpse: Butchered at Birth (Metal Blade) LP
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle 1965 (Impulse) LP
Lula Cortes E Ze Ramalho: Paebiru (Mr. Bongo) LP
Craven Idol: Forked Tongues (Dark Descent) LP
Sarah Davachi: Cantus, Descant (Late) LP
Death: Spiritual Healing (Relapse) CS
Death: Scream Bloody Gore (Relapse) CS
Death: Leprosy (Relapse) CS
Death: Individual Thought Patterns (Relapse) CS
Death: Sound of Perseverance (Relapse) CS
Electric Wizard: Dopethrone (Rise Above) LP
Guided By Voices: Bee Thousand (Scat)
Helado Negro: Far In (4AD) LP
Low: Hey What (Sub Pop) LP
Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime (Matador) LP
Oh Sees: Master’s Bedroom… (In The Red) LP
Parquet Courts: Sympathy for Life (Rough Trade) LP
Pearl Jam: Riot Act (Legacy) LP
Radiohead: Pablo Honey (XL) LP
Vito Ricci: I Was Crossing A Bridge (Music From Memory) LP
Rugged Nuggets: Odds & Ends (Colemine) LP
Yasuaki Shimizu: Kakashi (Palto Flats) LP
Horace Silver: Doin’ The Thing (Blue Note) LP
Silver Jews: Bright Flight (Drag City) LP
Silver Jews: Starlight Walker (Drag City) LP
Silver Jews: Tanglewood Numbers (Drag City) LP
Silver Mt. Zion: He Has Left Us Alone… (Constellation) LP
Sinoia Caves: Beyond the Black Rainbow OST (Jagjaguwar) LP
Smog: Doctor Came At Dawn (Drag City) LP
Sonic Youth: Evol (Goofin) LP
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Stanley Turrentine: Hustlin’ (Blue Note) LP
Wye Oak: Civilian + Cut All The Wires (Merge) LP
Various: Outro Tempo – Electronic & Contemporary Music from Brazil 1978 – 1992 (Music From Memory) LP
Various: Outro Tempo II – Electronic & Contemporary Music from Brazil 1984 – 1996 (Music From Memory) LP

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