…..news letter #1044 – close…..

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun. Just when I was about get this out, a missing box shows up and I had to add all that. But, it makes for a better list so it’s a win right? Anyway, loads of great stuff again…. Firstly, the unreleased follow up to one of our biggest constant sellers, Kikashi… Yasuaki Shimizu’Kiren is a brilliant blend of Japanese electronic, jazz, pop weirdness. And if you don’t want the weird popiness, Masahiro Takahashi’s Flowering Tree, Distant Moon is a beautiful entry into the Japanese ambient world. And the domestic reissue of the killer weird lo-fi Loopsel album is a great treat too. We finally drummed up a source for the pricey but excellent Sam Records releases. Some more coloured Can albums! The Lee Hazlewood produced Sanford Clark is some essential country. Alabaster DePlume is back on the mighty International Anthem. THE best Morricone compilation ever has been given the vinyl treatment as two separate volumes… Crime and Dissonance, they really should both be picks of the week, but that’s just getting out of hand, but trust me, ESSENTIAL. Miguel Noya‘s fourth world Canciones Intactas is amazing. And the new Sure Fire Soul Ensemble is sure to get your ass movin’. All in all, another great week in the crates. Lots of fresh used out in the bins in the store too so come down for a dig! 

OH ALSO, we are extending our Saturday hours out to 5pm now, rather than 4pm. This will be permanent going forward.

Also, they’ve announced the Record Store Day exclusives list. You can find the list HERE or the Canadian list HERE , but it’s also worth noting, that we deal with tons of suppliers so we also can sometimes get some of the UK & European releases. Needless to say we’ll be ordering all the stuff we would stock if it was just a regular release, but if there’s something on the list you hope to find in our shop on that day, be sure to let us know ASAP so we can be sure to order it for you. Don’t worry, we’ll order a ton of Viktor Vaughn, Art Pepper, Karen Dalton, Voivoid. As usual, unfortunately, just because we order 20 doesn’t mean we’ll get 20. So keep an eye out closer to the date to see what we’ll actually have in. Oh and it’s important to note as well, no more Remote RSD, this year, in store only.. good thing we’ve all been practicing standing in line for the last 2 years.

And while there are no longer any health restrictions we are currently operating….

– in-store shopping/pick ups – 11 – 6 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm Saturday
(if you don’t want to come into the store for a pick up, call and/or use the back door)
– We will be wearing masks, if you want to, great! If not, that’s also fine, but please be respectful of other people’s space and decisions.
– Sanitize your hands (we’ll have some)

…..picks of the week…..

Yasuaki Shimizu: Kiren (Palto Flats) LP
Acclaimed saxophonist, producer and composer Yasuaki Shimizu will release Kiren, his unreleased album from 1984, on the Palto Flats record label on February 25, 2022. Liner notes by music historian Chee Shimizu, and credits in both Japanese and English. By the early 1980s Yasuaki Shimizu had established himself on the Japanese new wave scene, producing many important experimental pop records and releasing several albums as the bandleader of Mariah. Following the release of his widely regarded solo classic Kakashi, from 1982, and the otherworldly Utakata No Hibi, by Mariah in 1983, he went into the studio the following year with frequent collaborators, producer Aki Ikuta and Morio Watanabe (bassist of Mariah), to record a mystifying collection of experimental dance music. Utilizing cutting-edge technology and studio trickery, Kiren showcases Shimizu’s trademark playfulness, marrying richly layered production techniques to off-kilter, sometimes traditional sounding rhythms and melodies. Portending his work with the Saxophonettes as well as forecasting trends in techno, new wave, and futuristic rhythmic music, this formerly lost album represents an important period of Shimizu’s artistic expression, an artist at his peak, while successfully exploring the intersections of fusion, synthpop, new wave, and jazz. As Chee Shimizu (no relation) writes in the liner notes, Kiren, and his concurrent release Latin were “born out of a free environment of collaboration that existed between Yasuaki and Aki Ikuta … (exemplifying) his most energetic works.” In listening to Kiren, we might share with Yasuaki Shimizu the joy and excitement of experimentalism and movement that went into the making of this album, now released for the first time many years later.

File Under: Japan, Electronic, Pop, Jazz, Kris’s Picks
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Masahiro Takahashi: Flowering Tree, Distant Moon (Telephone Explosion) LP
Japanese multi-instrumentalist Masahiro Takahashi’s latest album, Flowering Tree, Distant Moon, is a meditation on seasons and distance. Recorded in isolation at his temporary home studio in Toronto, following the coldest winter he’d experienced to date, this is a collection of hushed, lush color wheel electronic vignettes.Flowering Tree, Distant Moon was created using an array of instruments including software synthesizers, granular samplers and a shruti box. The original Not Not Fun cassette run sold out quickly and this Telephone Explosion re-release will be Takahashi’s first official vinyl offering.The songs shimmer and sway, unspooling in sparkling arcs and alternating between reverie and lullaby. Inspired by blooming apple trees, gagaku music, the nostalgia of immigrants and longing for home, Flowering Tree, Distant Moon moves from soothing to surreal, a swirl of quiet melody and imagined landscapes, as transportive for its listeners as its maker.

File Under: Japan, Ambient, Electronic, Kris’s Picks
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Loopsel: The Spiral (Digital Regress) LP
Fans of the Swedish underground should be familiar with Elin Engström from her time playing in Monokultur, Skiftande Enheter, and excellent solo recording project Loopsel. Her debut album The Spiral manifests fragmented pieces of shimmering guitar, organ, and electronics creating a drifting ambiance that evokes a feeling of distance and mystique. An essential entry of the Gothenburg experimental music scene that never seems to run dry. The Spiral was originally released in 2019 as part of a multimedia spatial installation in Copenhagen, and subsequently reissued on Forlag For Fri Musik and Mammas Mysteriska Jukebox. Digital Regress is thrilled to make this record widely available again.

File Under: Electronic, Lo-Fi, Post Punk, Ian’s Picks, Kris’s Picks
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…..new arrivals…..

Altin Gun: Gece (ATO) LP
Repressed on ‘Summer Sky’ wax! Following their 2018 debut album On, Amsterdam-based six-member band Altin Gün returned in 2019 with their sophomore album Gece. The record firmly establishes the band as masterful interpreters of the Anatolian rock and folk legacy, and as a leading voice in the emergent global psych scene. Altin Gün was inspired by founder and bass player Jasper Verhulst’s deep passion for Turkish folk and psychedelia. “The songs come out of a long tradition. This is music that tries to be a voice for a lot of other people,” he explains. While most of the material they present has been a familiar part of Turkish life for many years – some of it associated with the late national icon Neşet Ertaş – it’s never been interpreted like this before. This music is electric Turkish history, shot through with a heady buzz of 21st century intensity, filled with funk-like grooves and explosive psychedelic textures. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ‘60s and ‘70s,” Verhulst admits. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.” And what they create really is their own. Altin Gün radically reimagine an entire tradition. The electric saz (a three-string Turkish lute) and voice of Erdinç Ecevit is urgent and immediately distinctive, while keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, and percussion power the surging rhythms and Merve Daşdemir sings with the mesmerizing power of a young Grace Slick. On Gece, Altin Gün bring together music from many different Anatolian sources (the only original is the improvised piece “Şoför Bey”); echoing new textures and radiating a spectrum of vibrant color (ironic, as Gece means “night” in Turkish). It’s the sound of a band both committed to its sources and excitedly transforming them. It’s the sound of Altın Gün. Incandescent and sweltering.

File Under: Turkish, Psych, Piyush’s Picks
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Antena: Camino Del Sol (Numero) LP
1982, Brussels: The former au pair for Rick Wakeman of Yes and two of her teenage friends are at the doorstep of Les Disques Du Crepuscule, ready to cut an album with Gilles Martin. Living on busking wages and next door to Tuxedomoon, their work results in a contemporary bossanova record that would provide a missing link between Antonio Carlos Jobim and Kraftwerk. Camino Del Sol was issued and promptly forgotten, with Isabelle Antena moving toward jazz in Asia and the others returning to France. 20 years later, it was findable only as a VG+ LP with a sticker price of $4.99. Intrigued by the striking cover’s sunlit patio furniture emptiness basking in the south of France, we scooped up Camino Del Sol and grouped the extant Antena recordings from that exceptional period by session. Numero’s definitive 2LP reissue of the original five-song mini-LP adds the group’s first 12″ (a cover of Jobim’s “Girl From Ipanema,” naturally), the Seaside Weekend 12″, compilation tracks, and two previously unissued cuts, recasting this short-lived combo’s forward-thinking milemarker as a modern-day masterstroke.

File Under: Electronic, Lo-Fi
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Chet Baker Quartet: Chet Baker in Paris, Vol 1 (Sam Records) LP
This session, recorded at Studio Pathé-Magellan October 11 and 14, 1955 in Paris, is the first of three recordings released for the Barclay label between 1955 and 1956. For his first recording-date in Paris Chet decided to tackle Bob Zieff’s compositions, the same ones that Dick Twardzik had picked up in a hurry at the Alvin Hotel on his way to board the liner Ile-de-France. Violonist Dick Wetmore had just recorded the eight tunes, and Bob Zieff had had just enough time to revise the arrangements. Chet neither a champion sight-reader nor a big fan of rehearsals, hadn’t yet played them in front of an audience. From that first French session only the reel referred to as a ‘production tape’ remains. This ‘complete Bob Zieff’ gives an impression of unity that wellmatches the suite concept intended by the composer; as for “The Girl From Greenland”, its role comes as a codicil. The record of Chet’s quartet with Twardzik has now appeared in Ben Ratliff’s book “Jazz, a Critic’s Guide to The 100 Most Important Recordings” (The New York Times Essential Library); it’s a fitting mention for an album that was long-unrecognized in the the United States…

File Under: Jazz
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Chet Baker Quartet: Chet Baker in Paris, Vol 2 (Sam) LP
On October 24th only Jimmy Bond was still with Chet : Peter littman had returned to America, and his seat was now accupied by Nils-Bertil ‘Bert’ Dahlander, a Swedish drummer who’d accompanied Lars Gullin. At the Keyboard was an almost-unknown pianist named Gérard Gustin who’d just been signed to a contract by Eddie Barclay. Given the context, they were obliged to fall back on standards. Chet knew how to play these better than anyone. He chose eight : ‘These Foolish Things’, wich stayed in his quartet’s répertoire for a while ; five others, wich the trumpeter performs here for the first time – ‘There’s a Small  Hotel, Autumn In New York, Summertime, You Go To My Head, Tenderly – and two –  I’ll Remember April and Lover Man – that he’d done less than tend ays earlier together with Lars Gullin and Dick Twardzik, whose disappearance was still something Chet refused to accept. Given this state of affairs, the whole session exudes a kind of sadness that’s impossible to put down, whatever the choice of tune or tempo.

File Under: Jazz
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Chet Baker Quartet with Bobby Jaspar: Chet Baker in Paris, Vol 3 (Sam) LP
This session was recorded at Studio Pathé-Magellan in Paris, between Tuesday October, 25th, 1955 and February, 10th, 1956. This record is the third and last record for the Barclay label. In answer to an offer from Nicole Barclay, Chet Baker arrived in Paris early in September 1955. On the 22nd – or maybe the 23rd – he signed a contract to make seven records… (The figure was later erased and replaced by «three», which turned out to be correct). Released after the trumpeter’s return to the USA, this last volume was construed as rather a poor relation opposite the others in the trilogy, all the more so because, hurriedly drafted, the sleeve-notes did little to render unto Caesar the things which were Caesar’s. Unlike the earlier opuses, this one was in no way a concept-album: it contented itself with a simple overview of Chet’s Parisian associations, depending on where his fancies took him in the course of his stay. When Chet entered the Studio Pathé-Magellan on October 25th, only one member of his original accompanying trio was still present: pianist Dick Twardzik had died of an overdose, and drummer Peter Littman had returned home after selling his kit for whatever it would fetch. Jimmy Bond and his contrabass, however, were both still there, and in the ensuing octet session Chet’s melodic gifts were magnified by (remarkable) scores penned by Pierre Michelot – ‘Chet’, ‘Dinah’ – and Christian Chevalier ‘Vline’. The three pièces were mini-concertos, and the trumpeter loved them so much that he decided to do them again back in America… but not so successfully. On November 28th Chet went back into the same studio, this time with Raymond Fol on piano, Benoît Quersin on bass and Jean-Louis Viale on drums. They recorded two improvisations: the first was based on a 1932 standard from Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, ‘Alone Together’, while the second began with ‘Exitu’s, a composition written by one of Baker’s friends, Phil Urso. The performances are among the most beautiful that Chet produced during this period, along with ‘Chekeetah’ – or ‘Chik-Etah’ – and ‘How about You?’ which put the seal on a partnership that had first come to light at the Club Saint-Germain, temporarily rechristened for the occasion: «Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 16h30 to 19h30 at the Barclay’s Club – 13 rue Saint-Benoît, Paris – Bobby Jaspar Quintet with American trumpeter Chet Baker,» read the sign. The format was stylistically ideal, leading Chet to abandon the quartet format he’d preferred up until then. To respect his next bookings, Chet had to get a stable band together, and as his pianist he chose Raph Schecroun – later known as Errol Parker – who was himself replaced by Francy Boland. Alongside him were bassist Eddie de Haas, who’d previously been with Martial Solal and Henri Renaud (the latter, in the adventure, also lost his regular drummer, Charles Saudrais, who was just seventeen. According to Jean-Louis Chautemps, “When Bobby Jaspar couldn’t do it or just wanted too much, they looked for someone cheaper; and that was me. There wasn’t really an audition: we were in the Tabou, I played with Chet, he said OK and, two days later, we found ourselves in Reykjavik, Iceland.” The tune ‘Tasty Puddin’g written by Al Cohn and ‘Anticipated Blues’, one of the rare pieces Chet claimed to have written, were in the repertoire played by this last Baker-led formation on the Old Continent.

File Under: Jazz
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Beirut: Artifacts (Pompeii) LP
Artifacts began humbly as a means of compiling a few early Beirut EPs for a proper physical release. However, as Zach Condon explains in the album’s excellent liner notes, reconnecting with old recordings through fresh ears turned a simple re-issue project into something much more expansive. “When the decision came to re-release this collection, I found myself digging through hard drives looking for something extra to add to the compilation,” he notes. “What started as a few extra unreleased tracks from my formative recording years quickly grew into an entire extra records-worth of music from my past, and a larger project of remixing and remastering everything I found for good measure.” Artifacts is a phylogenetic tree. A double-LP’s worth music that traces the evolution of Beirut from a 14-year old Condon’s first attempts at bringing the music he heard in his mind to life, to the fully formed Beirut we know today.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Donald Byrd & Bobby Jaspar: Cannes ’58 (Sam) LP
Donald Byrd’s residency in Paris in 1958 to study with composer Nadia Boulanger gave rise to one of the greatest bands of his career with Bobby Jaspar on tenor sax and flute, Walter Davis, Jr. on piano, Doug Watkins on bass and Art Taylor on drums. Sam Records is proud to present this previously unreleased concert by the Donald Byrd/Bobby Jaspar Quintet recorded during the evening dedicated to ‘Modern Jazz’ during the 1st and only Cannes Jazz Festival on July 11th 1958. The initiative for this festival was taken by Yvonne Blanc, a lady of good society who played the piano and lived between Paris and Cannes. This festival was organised in partnership with the festival of Knokke-le-Zoute, in Belgium.

File Under: Jazz
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Can: Monster Movie (Mute) LP
Mute presents a colored vinyl LP reissue of Can’s debut album Monster Movie. With the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Captain Beefheart and The Velvet Underground ringing in their ears, Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt left behind their careers in academia to form the influential group in the late 60s. Together with Michael Karoli, Jaki Liebezeit and American singer Malcolm Mooney, they recorded Monster Movie in a castle near Cologne in 1968. The record was then remastered in 2004 from the original master tape for a CD release. It was overseen by Holger, Irmin and Jono Podmore to refine it to how it was always intended to be heard. Can’s powerful influence has never diminished, and their indelible mark is apparent in the bands who freely acknowledge their importance – from Portishead, James Murphy, Sonic Youth, New Order, Factory Floor, Public Image Ltd, Mogwai, Madlib and Radiohead – as well as across other disciplines such as visual art and literature “Monster Movie, sounds like nothing else released in 1969 – and still acts as a template for the future” – Sound Affects

File Under: Prog, Kraut, Psych
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Can: Soundtracks (Mute) LP
Mute presents a colored vinyl LP reissue of Can’s Soundtracks, a compilation of songs the band had composed for different movies which was released in 1970 before they started work on their second album. This record said goodbye to the group’s original vocalist Malcolm Mooney, who features on “Soul Desert” and “She Brings The Rain,” to be replaced by Japanese singer Damo Suzuki. Bridging the gap between the improvisatory rock jams of their earlier recordings, Monster Movie and Delay 1968, Soundtracks also laid the foundations for their more electronic and experimental sounding work, such as Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi.

File Under: Prog, Krautrock
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Caroline No: s/t (Grapefruit) LP
“Caroline No’s third album was built around a set of songs I was writing in the summer of 2019. I built the songs around real events, but looped these narratives into stories from song histories. The result is like an intersection of Brill Building characters such as Carole King and Neil Sedaka with the bedroom fanaticism of historical music projects like Virgin Insanity. After a year of playing the songs live in various formations, we aimed to record in the Australian summer. We knew Jim [White] (Dirty Three, Crime & The City Solution, Venom P. Stinger, etc) was going to be in Melbourne, and soon after he arrived in Australia, we met at Mick [Turner]’s (Dirty Three, Venom P. Stinger, etc) studio. Nick [Imfeld] and Mick engineered, with Ian [Wadley] (Small World Experience, Mad Nanna, etc) on bass, Jim on drums, Mick, Dee [Hannah] and me [Caroline Kennedy] on guitars, and Dee and me singing. The sense of intuitive knowledge and performance was exhilarating as we played. We spent two days in the studio, and when we listened back later, it seemed a compelling representation of what had happened, captured live. “The band on this album are artists I grew up with. We were friends first, and engaging with the material, there was no formal structure to follow. Our interpretive approach meant the songs grew from simple structural frames and narrative poetics into full sonic landscapes, engaging across pop, folk, psychedelia and improvisation. Caroline No became—for this iteration—a shifting sonic space tied to intimacy, musical conversation and relationship, expressed in an open improvisatory way. The sound of the record is the result of trust, responsiveness and mutual knowledge. “The name Caroline No was an imaginary character through much of the work, arising from the Beach Boys’ melancholic paen to encountering a past lover who has cut her hair off. My idea was for Caroline No to become the locus for an ongoing composition project where I would write back into songs’ history the perspective of patriarchal song’s subjects. “This is a recuperative project of easeful making; attempting reclamations of lost narratives, exploring love, loss and the psychedelic of the everyday.” —Caroline Kennedy

File Under: Indie Rock
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Sanford Clark: They Call Me Country (Numero) LP
Propelled by his 1956 Lee Hazlewood-produced hit “The Fool,” Sanford Clark was already a rockabilly legend in his own right by the time he swapped his hair gel and switchblade for a pair of cowboy boots on They Call Me Country. Recorded between 1965-67 and originally released as a series of singles for Phoenix’s Ramco label, the 12 tracks on this LP borrow Bakersfield’s outlaw sound and ignore Nashville’s countrypolitan flair, standing as a true lost masterpiece of country music’s third generation. Clark’s booming baritone tells tales of bar fights, heartaches, and drinking til you can’t stand, while Waylon Jennings provides a backdrop of fuzzed out guitar twang. Mastered from the original session tapes and back on vinyl for the first time since the Nixon administration.

File Under: Country
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Com Truise: Galactic Melt – 10th Anniversary (Ghostly) LP
A decade ago, the static signal of “Terminal” booting-up sounded and Galactic Melt launched into the atmosphere for the first time; Seth Haley’s Com Truise project arrived in full. A graphic designer based in New Jersey at the time, Haley found a sound on his synthesizers that sparked an immediate nostalgia response, tapping into classic sci-fi and proto-electro in a way that felt early ‘80s in scope, but also remarkably weird – stutter-step proggy and intoxicatingly psychedelic. Unknowingly he had stepped into a genre prism; suppose we know it now as synth-wave though the tag never landed squarely. To Haley, this was a space to explore and a story to tell, which he’d do across a saga of releases that would resonate with a legion of fans and send the producer touring the world in perpetual orbit. His full-length debut on Ghostly International, Galactic Melt delivered on the promise of Haley’s Cyanide Sisters EP as well as high-profile remixes for Twin Shadow, Neon Indian, and Daft Punk. Bold, imaginative, and unapologetically cosmic, the set occupies a beloved coordinate in the Com Truise catalog, considered the gateway for many. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Haley and Ghostly have repressed the long-sold out album on colored vinyl 2LP, giving this classic its due treatment as it passes the milestone. From the keyed-up, skyscraping machine love of “VHS Sex” and “Cathode Girls” to pulsing cuts like “Air Cal” and “Ether Drift,” the music on Galactic Melt is mathy, forlorn, funky, and mighty in technical ambition. That they’re all noticeably cinematic is, of course, by design. Haley envisioned Galactic Melt as a “sort of film score…from the mind,” chronicling the life and death of Com Truise, the world’s first synthetic/robotic astronaut, from his creation and time on earth to his subsequent mission to a newly discovered galaxy called Wave 1.

File Under: Electronic
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Nathan Davis with George Arvanitas Trio: Live in Paris – The ORTF Recordings 1966-67 (Sam) 3LP
Style is not a given. Not many musicians reach the level of artistic personality where you can unmistakably recognize them. It takes character, roots, honesty, soulfulness. Nathan Davis had style. His tone on tenor was unique. So was his soprano sound and his distinctive approach to flute. His musical world was equally original and knew no boundaries. This concert in Paris is audible proof that as a performer, his fluid phrasing, distinct articulation, booming bottom register, growls and shrieks were fuelled by tremendous drive and furious invention—the man was on fire! These live sessions demonstrate the limitless invention of Nathan’s solos. Holding no punches, weaving signature phrases, shouts and riffs into his solos, he was a fierce and fervid performer. With a sort of hollow resonance at the heart of his reedy and warm sound, Nathan Davis was a highly original artist, from an era when having a distinct sound on your instrument was the grail of jazz artistry. Harold Land, Jimmy Heath, John Gilmore, Paul Gonsalves, Charlie Rouse, George Coleman, Booker Ervin, Clifford Jordan… Jazz is made of such giants and Nathan Davis was one of them. – Jean Szlamowicz –

File Under: Jazz
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Alabaster DePlume: GOLD (International Anthem) LP
GOLD, the follow-up to Alabaster DePlume’s widely-acclaimed, 2020-released cinematic instrumental LP To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1, introduces the world to the artist’s truest self. That is… though DePlume’s now known across the globe as the saxophonist who created that collection of wonderful, wordless music, he’s most known to fervent fans in his home zone of London, UK, as an outspoken poet and orator, beloved for his inspiring words of encouragement and sing-a-long-able songs about vulnerability, humanity, and courage.

File Under: Jazz
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Earthless: Sonic Prayer (Nuclear Blast) LP
Earthless are a band from San Diego, ca with Mario R. drummer of Clikatat Ikatowi (Gravity) and Hot Snakes (Swami), and Mike E. on bass from Electric Nazarene (Slowdance), and Isaih M. a touring member of Nebula, on guitar. They play 20-30 minute, loud, epic songs. Producing a bombastic stew of druggie bass drone, pulsating rhythmic sex beats, and brain piercing acid flashback guitar leads. Earthless draw influences from bands such as the Groundhogs, the Heads, Amon Duul2, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind and Jimi Hendrix’s more freaked out instrumentals.

File Under: Metal, Psych, Stoner
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Ghost: Impera (Loma Vista) LP
Grammy-winning Swedish theatrical rock outfit Ghost, one of the most esteemed and celebrated bands in the world today, return with their fifth psalm, Impera, fronted by the newly anointed Papa Emeritus IV. Produced by Klas Åhlund and mixed by Andy Wallace, its dozen songs take on themes of isolation and demigod worship, as well as colonization of both space and mind. And all with the infectious hooky brand of rock their fans have grown accustomed to. Impera finds Ghost transported hundreds of years forward from the 14th century Europe Black Plague era of its previous album, 2018’s Best Rock Album, the Grammy-nominated Prequelle. The result is the most ambitious and lyrically incisive entry in the Ghost canon: Over the course of Impera’s song cycle, empires rise and fall, would-be messiahs ply their hype (financial and spiritual alike), prophecies are foretold as the skies fill with celestial bodies divine and man-made…All in all, the most current and topical Ghost subject matter to date is set against a hypnotic and darkly colorful melodic backdrop making Impera a listen like no other, yet still quintessentially Ghost. Impera is heralded by the sublime and haunting lead single “Call Me Little Sunshine.” The album will also feature “Hunter’s Moon,” Ghost’s fourth consecutive Active Rock No.1 radio single, as heard over the end credits of the horror smash Halloween Kills. Gatefold jacket packaging with an accompanying 28-page illustrated booklet.

File Under: Metal
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Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain (Mute) LP
Felt Mountain is the melodic and moody debut album by English electronic duo Goldfrapp featuring Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory. Originally issued in 2000 by Mute Records, the influential album takes inspiration from a variety of musical styles including 1960s pop, cabaret, folk and electronica. Shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, Felt Mountain peaked at number No. 57 in Goldfrapp’s native United Kingdom, and was certified gold in October 2001. Gatefold colored vinyl LP reissue with exclusive sleeve notes.

File Under: Pop
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Grateful Dead: Dick’s Picks Vol 19 – 10/19/73 Oklahoma (Real Gone) 6LP BOX
Our previous LP releases of Grateful Dead concerts from the Dick’s Picks series have encompassed the years of 1969, 1972, 1974, and 1977…but there’s one year on that list that is conspicuous by its absence. That’s right…we have yet to release a concert on vinyl from what is arguably the peak year of Dead touring, 1973! And what was the peak tour from that year? Yup, the fall Midwest tour. So, the choice of Dick’s Picks Vol. 19 as our next vinyl “trip” was an easy one. It was the first concert of the tour, and in fact at the time it was the first full 1973 concert to be released. More importantly, with the release of Wake of the Flood just a few days prior, it finds the band invigorated with a wealth of fresh material to explore, highlighted by stellar (no pun intended) renditions of “Stella Blue” and “Eyes of the World.” And the two sidelong numbers on the set, “Playing in the Band” and “Dark Star” (which leads into a dazzling “Mind Left Body Jam” and a stirring “Morning Dew”), achieve sheer improvisational bliss. The original sound mix on this one is superb, and we’ve taken great care to preserve it and even improve upon it for this release, with mastering for vinyl from the original tapes by the set’s original mastering engineer, Jeffrey Norman, lacquer cutting by Clint Holley and Dave Polster at Well Made Music, and a 180-gram black vinyl pressing at Gotta Groove Records. We’ve also included an insert sporting the graphics from the original release, housed inside a two-piece hardshell box that we’ve hand-numbered. Limited to 4500 6-LP sets…and if previous experience is any guide, they’re gonna go fast!

File Under: Rock
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Guided By Voices: Devil Between My Toes (Scat) LP
Devil Between My Toes was the debut album by Guided By Voices, originally self-released by the group in February 1987 in an edition of 300 copies. Disillusioned by the lukewarm reception to the band’s debut EP the previous year, Robert Pollard resolved that this record would be conceived for an audience of one: “(it) is strictly for me and me only. Because no one’s going to buy it, no one gives a fuck, but I’m still gonna do it. So I might as well put only what I want on it, for me. An album for me.” Even amongst the 30-odd proper GBV albums, Devil Between My Toes remains unique, and not simply because it was the first to be released. Much like its out-of-focus cover photo of the mean rooster next door (Big Daddy), the album’s vibe is dark, minimalist, and mysterious. Most of the album was recorded as a trio, and it contains more instrumentals than any other GBV album, but like the best LPs in their catalog, the sequencing renders these tracks essential to the flow and mood of the LP. While there are the expected Brit Invasion hook-fests sprinkled throughout, we’re also treated to career highlights like the monolithic “A Portrait Destroyed by Fire” (Tobin Sprout’s first GBV appearance) and “Cyclops,” a track that would be right at home on Vampire On Titus had it been recorded more crudely..

File Under: Indie Rock
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Aldous Harding: Warm Chris (4AD) LP
An artist of rare caliber, Aldous Harding does more than sing; she conjures a singular intensity. Her body and face a weapon of theatre, Harding dances with steeled fervor, baring her teeth like a Bunraku puppet’s gnashing grin. Her debut release with 4AD, Party (produced with the award-winning John Parish; PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse) introduced a new pulse to the stark and unpopulated dramatic realm where the likes of Kate Bush and Scott Walker reside. Harding’s 2019 album Designer found the New Zealander hitting her creative stride, touring the world, and making her American television debut. For Warm Chris, the New Zealand musician reunited with Parish. All ten tracks were recorded at Rockfield Studios and includes contributions from H. Hawkline, Seb Rochford, Gavin Fitzjohn, John and Hopey Parish and Jason Williamson (Sleaford Mods).

File Under: Indie Rock
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Billy Harper Quintet: Antibes ’75 (Sam) LP
Two days after recording the first album ever issued on the Black Saint label, Billy Harper and his quintet were onstage at the Antibes Juan-Les-Pins jazz festival. Though Black Saint is a phenomenal album and is rightfully considered as one of the finest jazz releases of the period, Antibes ’75 shows that Billy and his men gathered momentum to push the boundaries of their studio effort even further. That night, surrounded by stars, pine woods and a captivated audience, the quintet delivered a powerful and inspired performance. Never had Harper’s signature tunes “Cry of Hunger” and “Croquet Ballet” reached such a soulful expression, and we only wish that this moment of truth would have lasted a little longer. We are honored to present to you this concert for the first time on record, a 180g LP including a 6-page insert with previously unseen photos by Gérard Rouy and Thierry Trombert and an essay by Bernard Loupias.

File Under: Jazz
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Heavenly Bodies: Universal Resurrection (Petty Bunco) LP
As any casual student of astronomy will tell you, the heavens move at their own pace. A certain slowness and deliberateness marks each tug and shove of any given celestial object. To push too hard is to upset creation’s harmony. Such a folly is at best unsettling; at worst, cataclysmic. Our vast unearthly soup swirls with a patience largely unknown to mere humans who burn out and rot in the blink of a lunar eclipse. Heavenly Bodies, the slow-simmering trio from Philadelphia, seem to follow their namesake’s temporal sense as a goddamn mission statement. With Universal Resurrection (PB011), the inscrutable trio suggests a creeping theme, sets it free in zero-gravity, and dares the listener to outpace the patience of its black hole crawl. Best of luck to those who try, the rest of us await the only universal resurrection we deserve. For fans of grounding issues, psychedelic discomfort, and patient anxiety. Recorded 2020 at Jerry’s on Front by Heavenly Bodies, mastered by John Dawson.

File Under: Psych
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Hellacopters: Eyes of Oblivion (Nuclear Blast) CS
Legendary Swedish high energy rock’n’roll band The Hellacopters were formed in 1994 by Nicke Andersson (vocals and guitar), Andreas Tyrone “Dregen” Svensson (guitar), Kenny Håkansson (bass) and Robert Eriksson (drums). Andersson is renowned for his work in death metal band ENTOMBED and Dregen from his main band BACKYARD BABIES. Together with THE HIVES, The Hellacopters are considered one of the most important and influential Swedish rock bands – they achieved two Gold certifications, won the Swedish grammy and a Kerrang! Award, and have amassed 100 million streams to date. The Hellacopters reunited in 2016 and have proven an unstoppable force ever since, performing at Sweden Rock Festival, Psycho Las Vegas, Download, Hellfest, Roskilde, Ilosaarirock, and many more. In 2021, The Hellacopters signed a deal with Nuclear Blast Records and will return in Spring 2022 with their first studio album since over a decade.

File Under: Rock, Tapes
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Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound) LP
A new Son House album of previously unreleased recordings from the legendary “Father Of The Delta Blues” features the never before recorded track, “Forever On My Mind.” The album comes from noted blues manager and historian Dick Waterman’s archives which were the first upon Son House’s 1964 re-discovery. Restored to remarkable clarity, by producer Dan Auerbach for Easy Eye Sound, these recordings represent the earliest recordings of House upon his return to the limelight after 20 plus years away.

File Under: Blues
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James Hunter Six: With Love (Daptone) LP
It is our distinct pleasure to present The James Hunter Six’s latest offering, With Love: a heart-shaped collection of candle-lit ballads and love songs. Plucked like so many “he loves you” petals from the vast and sumptuous garden of his Daptone Recordings, these twelve lilting melodies have been selected and sequenced with great care, tenderness, and intention by Daptone staff for the solitary purpose of compiling some of the criminally overlooked treasures in the James Hunter Six’s critically acclaimed catalog.

File Under: Soul, RnB
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Kraftwerk: Remixes (Parlophone) LP
This compilation showcases Kraftwerk’s immense influence on club & DJ culture, techno and all forms of electronic dance music. Featuring 19 official remixes, it collates Kraftwerk’s own remixes alongside contributions from some of the world’s biggest DJ’s and producers including François Kervorkian, William Orbit, Étienne de Crécy, Orbital, Underground Resistance, DJ Rolando and Hot Chip. The remixes are taken from various Kraftwerk 12″ singles, CD singles and digital releases from 1991-2021. The album also plays host to Kraftwerk’s very latest Kling Klang studio output with “Non Stop,” and remixes of “Home Computer” and “Tour De France (Etape 2).” “Non Stop” actually began life as a soundbite recorded for MTV in the 1980s, but in 2020, Kraftwerk took the original 30 second sound clip and then transformed it into a full 8 minute odyssey as it appears here.

File Under: Electronic, Kraut Rock
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Isik Kural: In February (RVNG Intl.) LP
On In February, Isik Kural works like a photographer of sound, documenting the passing and returning of time as if material snapshots of life’s temporality. Across the album’s twelve songs, each composed from chance loops and cocooned within the soft container of Isik’s memorable voice and melody play, time is held on to hopefully, impossibly, eternally. It was during a brief trip home to Istanbul in 2019 that the invisible details of In February were first exposed. While assisting on a session at his old haunt Babajim Recording Studios, Isik happened upon a beautiful piano, the kind “in which you hear a melody with the touch of a single note.” A looped segment from a recording of improvised tinkering on the instrument formed the basis “pillow of a thought,” which christens Isik’s new album. A bed for a passing notion, image, moment. Adopting this novel way of working, Isik produced another twelve passages made from loops of unexpected recordings, nothing over three minutes. Eschewing both compositional plans and live performance proclivities, which had informed previous creative explorations, Isik sought a more instantaneous effect. Minute nylon string refrains, lilting synthesizer hums, and a scrap of a chamber recital are collaged with sympathetic verse and synesthetic details captured around Glasgow and activated at Green Door Studios. Literary images also accompany the sensory of In February, weaving wanderlust symbolism through these spiraling studio and field documents. At the center of the album, “lo si aspetta” and “che si aspetta,” are titled after a telling line from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Long Road of Sand. Other word works are yoked to this promise. A verse by Turkish poet Gulten Akin, which connects the weather to lost friendship, meets a translation of Sophokles by Anne Carson in “yeniden,” one of three collaborations with vocalist Stephanie Roxanne Ward, pka spefy, on in february. Isik treads lightly between the streams of poetry, sound and photography across In February, together impressing an imagistic lightness and immediacy. Although quick as the blink of a camera’s eye or the brush of two hands in passing, the brevity of these works should not be taken for granted: they whisper into each other with elaborate detail, intuitively papered over old and new stories of love and longing.

File Under: Electronic, New Age
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Fred Lane: Car Radio Jerome (Goner) LP
As anyone who worked in a record store from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s can relate, the two Shimmy Disc albums released by the Rev. Fred Lane were the weirdest, most bizarre, abstractly enigmatic releases any of them had ever heard. From the dadaist titles and surrealist cover artwork to the absurdly peculiar lyrics and dementedly brilliant musical bent that careened from country to jazz to Morricone-inspired Western soundtracks, From The One That Cut You and Car Radio Jerome bewitched listeners with Lane’s eccentric take on music and, by extension, life in general. Early internet chat rooms and message boards were devoted to solving the mystery. For decades, rumors swirled about them. “We would just stare at the album covers and kinda make up our own stories,” Eric Friedl of Goner Records says of the misleading recording notations, fictitious back catalogs, and vague artistic allusions that dropped mostly fake clues for Lane’s most astute fans to decipher. Then, in 2013, Lane himself surfaced at the University of Alabama for an exposition. Seven years later, Icepick To The Moon, a documentary about Lane by filmmaker Skizz Cyzyk, premiered. The film, which took more than twenty years to piece together, filled in most of the blanks that had stumped generations of fans. Learning the details of Lane’s albums doesn’t change their inscrutability. The alternate Alabama universe that Lane and his compatriots conjured up—in, of all places, the southern college football town of Tuscaloosa—is a metaphysical place as vast and imbued with meaning as Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha. As Friedl raves, “They’re still different from any other record out there.”

File Under: Exotica, Weirdness
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Fred Lane: From the One That Cut You (Goner) LP
As anyone who worked in a record store from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s can relate, the two Shimmy Disc albums released by the Rev. Fred Lane were the weirdest, most bizarre, abstractly enigmatic releases any of them had ever heard. From the dadaist titles and surrealist cover artwork to the absurdly peculiar lyrics and dementedly brilliant musical bent that careened from country to jazz to Morricone-inspired Western soundtracks, From The One That Cut You and Car Radio Jerome bewitched listeners with Lane’s eccentric take on music and, by extension, life in general. Early internet chat rooms and message boards were devoted to solving the mystery. For decades, rumors swirled about them. “We would just stare at the album covers and kinda make up our own stories,” Eric Friedl of Goner Records says of the misleading recording notations, fictitious back catalogs, and vague artistic allusions that dropped mostly fake clues for Lane’s most astute fans to decipher. Then, in 2013, Lane himself surfaced at the University of Alabama for an exposition. Seven years later, Icepick To The Moon, a documentary about Lane by filmmaker Skizz Cyzyk, premiered. The film, which took more than twenty years to piece together, filled in most of the blanks that had stumped generations of fans. Learning the details of Lane’s albums doesn’t change their inscrutability. The alternate Alabama universe that Lane and his compatriots conjured up—in, of all places, the southern college football town of Tuscaloosa—is a metaphysical place as vast and imbued with meaning as Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha. As Friedl raves, “They’re still different from any other record out there.”

File Under: Exotica, Weirdness
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Ennio Morricone: Crime (Klimt) LP
Originally released as a 2CD set. Easily one of the most prolific film composers of all time, Ennio Morricone enjoys a revered status in the world of eccentric music lovers second to no other. While he is probably best known for his unmistakable music in Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy, much of his work has been of a subtler and somewhat less broadly accessible variety. Because of this, his oeuvre represents a treasure trove for film music lovers, and now, with Crime, Klimt Ipecac label have made available some of the quirkier gems from among a diverse catalogue. Compiled by Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls. Essential!

File Under: OST, Italian, Essential Grooves, Kris’s Picks
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Ennio Morricone: Dissonance (Klimt) LP
Originally released as a 2CD set. Easily one of the most prolific film composers of all time, Ennio Morricone enjoys a revered status in the world of eccentric music lovers second to no other. While he is probably best known for his unmistakable music in Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy, much of his work has been of a subtler and somewhat less broadly accessible variety. Because of this, his oeuvre represents a treasure trove for film music lovers, and now, with Crime, Klimt Ipecac label have made available some of the quirkier gems from among a diverse catalogue. Compiled by Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls. Essential!

File Under: OST, Italian, Essential Grooves, Kris’s Picks
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Miguel Noya: Canciones Intactas (Phantom Limb) LP
Early Venezuelan synthesist and ambient-electronic composer Miguel Noya reissues career highlights as a remastered double LP compilation through Phantom Limb. Beginning his career as a pioneering early synthesist and teacher of computer music, over the past four decades Miguel Noya has contributed greatly to the cultural landscape of Venezuela, and yet before this reissue his music has been largely underheard outside his homeland. His transcendental, deeply intellectual take on MIDI sequencing represents a fiercely singular approach, imbibing the 1980’s Western world’s then-burgeoning ambient-electronic scene with a unique environmental gravitas and vibrant tropical colour. A brand new compilation of highlights, Canciónes Intactas finally allows us a rare and invaluable window into the strange, isolated lands from which so many uncommon, synthetic, delicate gems have been formed, made of magical and mythologic Latin American secrets. Largely written during a time of crushing economic and political turbulence, Noya’s music responds to an environment steeped in disharmony. In the 1980’s Venezuela endured ballooning hyperinflation, violent riots, government corruption and brutal economic crises. Miguel writes “many places have an idea of how hard is to keep the centre to create ambient or beautiful aesthetics within such trying psychological and social environments.” Yet, powerfully, the material here acts as an antidote to this chaos. A calm, blissful, protective shield against the dangers and stresses of this unrest. Noya – a graduate of both Berklee College of Music and MIT (he holds degrees in Electronic Music and Digital Sound Synthesis, respectively) – held his own teaching position in Caracas throughout this period, protecting himself from the trauma with his music. His solo albums – ranging from 1984’s deep sci-fi-synthesis exploration Gran Sabana to 1990 installation soundscape (scarce finds of the original cassette issue sell, at the time of writing, for three figures) Ángeles Enviados – were all self-released. And as such short-run, private releases, most original copies have either been sequestered away into collectors’ vaults or, perhaps inevitably, have disappeared altogether. Musically, you could reference Brian Eno, Jon Hassell or Tangerine Dream, but only in their trailblazing world-forming. Just like Japanese ambient composers of the era were crucially distinct from their Western counterparts, Miguel Noya’s Latin American slant is unique, vital and mesmerizing.

File Under: Electronic, Fourth World
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Pearl Jam: Rearviewmirror Vol 1 (Epic) LP
Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003) is a two-part compilation album by American rock band Pearl Jam, originally released on November 16, 2004 through Epic Records. The album’s two discs are both devoted to different sides of the band’s catalogue: the first disc, or “Up Side”, contains heavier rock songs while the second disc or “Down Side” consists of slower songs and ballads. Both discs are in chronological order, with the exception of the last song on the “Down Side”, regular show closer “Yellow Ledbetter”.

File Under: Rock
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Pearl Jam: Rearviewmirror Vol 2 (Epic) LP
Pressed on standard black vinyl. Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003) is a two-part compilation album by American rock band Pearl Jam, originally released on November 16, 2004 through Epic Records. The album’s two discs are both devoted to different sides of the band’s catalogue: Volume 1, the “Up” side, contains the band’s heavier rock songs while the Volume 2, the “Down” side consists of slower songs and ballads. Both discs are in chronological order, with the exception of the last song on Volume 2 which is regular show closer “Yellow Ledbetter”. Sony. 2022.

File Under: Rock
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Placebo: Never Let Me Go (Warner) LP
Nine years on from the release of their last outing Loud Like Love, Placebo return with the long awaited eighth studio album, Never Let Me Go. In September 2021, Placebo resurfaced from a long hibernation to release their first single in five years – and first from the new album – “Beautiful James.” A joyous and celebratory song, it came quietly loaded with antagonism for the increasingly prominent, ignorant, factions that have come to litter modern conversation. As Brian Molko commented at the time, “If the song serves to irritate the squares and the uptight, so gleefully be it.” As great masters in cataloguing the human condition, Placebo’s unique way of examining both its flaws and beauty finds fertile ground in 2021. Crawling out of the pandemic into a landscape of intolerance, division, tech-saturation, and imminent eco-catastrophe, theirs is a voice that has rarely felt more significant to contemporary discourse, and more appropriate to sing these stories to the world. Within the magnetic slow-burn of new track “Surrounded By Spies,” no punches are pulled in confronting the erosion of civil liberties, as Molko’s deft lyrical delivery is married to a creeping sense of claustrophobia that fittingly makes the walls feel as though they are closing in from all around.

File Under: Pop
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Red Hot Chili Peppers: Unlimited Love: Deluxe (Warner) LP
Unlimited Love serves as the LA funk-rockers follow-up to 2016’s The Getaway and their first with former guitarist John Frusciante since 2006’s Stadium Arcadium. The 17-track double album is introduced by the meditative lead single “Black Summer.” “It’s been a long time since I made a new friеnd/ Waitin’ on another black summer to end/ It’s been a long timе and you never know when/ Waitin’ on another black summer to end,” Kiedis sings on the track’s yearning chorus. Drummer Chad Smith commented on the direction of the band’s twelfth album, “John hasn’t been in our group in 10 years. That’s a long time. So of course it’s going to sound different, but it’s going to sound like the four of us because we do have this special chemistry together. It sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it’s different and new, and to me that’s great.” John Frusciante adds, “When we got together to start writing material, we began by playing old songs by people like Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, The Kinks, The New York Dolls, Richard Barrett and others. Ever so gradually, we started bringing in new ideas, and turning jams into songs, and after a couple of months the new stuff was all we were playing. The feeling of effortless fun we had when we were playing songs by other people, stayed with us the whole time we were writing. For me, this record represents our love for, and faith in each other.” Exclaims longtime Red Hot Chili Peppers producer Rick Rubin, “Frusciante’s back in the band and it’s unbelievable. I [was invited to] the first rehearsal after John rejoined the band and it made me cry. It was so thrilling to see that group of people back together because they made such great music for so long together and it really hit me in an emotional way.”

File Under: Rock
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Hamid El Shaeri: The SLAM! Years (1983-1988) (Habibi Funk) LP
“Full album dedicated to Hamid El Shaeri’s work on the Egyptian SLAM! label. Hamid El Shaeri is the artist behind Habibi Funk’s most popular song to date, ‘Ayonha’, originally re-released in 2017 on the first Habibi Funk Compilation. If you were to ask for a defining Habibi Funk track, there are a few that come to mind: from Fadoul’s ‘Sid Redad,’ Dalton’s ‘Soul Brother’ to Ahmed Malek’s ‘Omar Gatlato.’ However, none are as widely connected with us at this point as Hamid Al Shaeri’s ‘Ayonha.’ We heard the track for the first time when we were working on selecting tracks for your first compilation and we instantly loved it. We obviously had heard of Hamid El Shaeri’s music before, but only material from his Al Jeel phase when he was already the full-blown superstar he is now. Listening to his releases from the early 1980’s opened a whole new door for us. At the time, Hamid had just left Libya to pursue his career in Egypt via a detour in London, where he recorded his first album. Hamid’s distinct sound of the sound is quintessentially reliant on heavy synths and so it was particularly important to purchase these synths in a timely manner. London also played an important role for Hamid as a musical epicenter. He fondly reminisces about the many live shows he attended there, including some of the biggest international musicians like Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson. After returning to Cairo where he also recorded his following albums, he connected with SLAM! for the release of his debut, laying the foundation of a collaboration that lasted for five albums. Luckily, we were able to connect with Hamid through our friend Youssra El Hawary, whose extensive network has opened many doors for us within the Egyptian music scene . . . While he was down to assist with an interview and his blessing for the project he also told us that for any license we needed to speak with the original label SLAM! who released these songs, still held the rights and also remained in business over the decades though they didn’t actively release any new music. Hany Sabet had started SLAM! Records in the early 1980s and focused on cassette tape releases, the format that expedited the success of a new generation of record labels in Egypt. By the mid 1980s, SLAM! had become one of the most successful and economically dominant record labels in Egypt, with Hamid El Shaeri being just one of their key artists, alongside Mohamed Mounir, Hanan, Hakim, Mustafa Amar and many more. Luckily, Hany Sabet turned out to be a friend of our colleague Malak Makar’s father, which probably helped to warm him to the idea of licensing ‘Ayonha’ to this — in the scale of his world — tiny label from Germany. Eventually ‘Ayonha’ ended up becoming a widely successful release and either Hany or we brought up the idea of a full album dedicated to Hamid El Shaeri’s work on SLAM!…”

File Under: Middle Eastern, Piyush’s Picks
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Spike in Vain: Death Drives a Cadillac (Scat) LP
Death Drives A Cadillac was Spike In Vain’s second album, never officially released and unheard in its final form until now. Like many hardcore bands circa ’84 and ’85, the group was ready to further expand its palette and ease off the thrash tempos. Recorded roughly a year after Disease Is Relative with a bigger budget,  the album is even more wide-ranging, and the songs are more fleshed out. “Despair grew inside her, I grew inside her. She named me Spirit Death, and this is my song” sings Chris Marec, the vocalist on half of this LP. Though less “young” than their debut, that album’s darkness lingers, but here has a more removed, observational quality, with many songs sung in character or in the third person, along with a tendency for anthropomorphic allegory. It has a bit less to do with screaming for death to come than with a growing resignation to being the other, a recognition of inescapable alienation and its relation to childhood trauma. —all with a heaping side of absurdity and a sense of wonder at the gradually unfolding endtimes. That said, many of the tracks wouldn’t be out of place on the debut, and some feature exotic tunings. Bits of roots music come into play as well—gospel, blues, and country figure to some extent in a third of the songs, sometimes in convoluted, Beefheart-esque ways, and at other times toying with genre archetypes as a cat does a mouse.

File Under: Punk
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Suicide: Surrender (Mute) LP
This brand new, remastered collection spans Alan Vega and Marty Rev’s forty year career and serves as an introduction to their raw, eclectic and inspiring catalogue. Although the band barely received any credit during their career, Suicide are cited as one of the most inspirational bands of the 1970s, influencing the likes Soft Cell, Depeche Mode and The Jesus And Mary Chain, whilst garnering fans in Nick Cave, Jim Thirlwell, M.I.A., Spiritualized, Lydia Lunch, Bobby Gillespie and Savages to name a few. Presented as a double album on colored vinyl in an embossed outer and mirror board inner gatefold, this unique package also contains a set of brand new, extensive and extraordinary liner notes by long serving fan/collaborator and NYC stalwart Henry Rollins. The track listing, collated by Marty Rev, Vega’s partner, Liz Lamere, and Rollins, includes tracks from their classic debut album, Suicide (1977), to their final outing, American Supreme (2002). The set also features two brand new, unheard tracks “Girl (Unreleased Version)” and “Frankie Teardrop (First Version).” Audio fully remastered by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering.

File Under: Punk, Electronic
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Sure Fire Soul Ensemble: Step Down (Colemine) LP
The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble are definitely on a roll coming off of their third LP, Build Bridges, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart. Their new and fourth LP, Step Down, is a direct reflection of the heavy times they were written and recorded in. Covid-19, two Presidential impeachment trials, the George Floyd murder and resulting social unrest, a seditious attempt to subvert the democratic process at The Capitol… With titles like Step Down, The Other Side, Time To Rebuild, Omnificent, Love Age, and In Common, SFSE uses their music to beautifully paint a picture of societal woes, but also points toward the solution and a better world. Heavy Cinematic Soul, spiritual Jazz-Funk, upbeat Afro-Funk, and deeply introspective rare-groove cuts lace this ten-track transmission vessel. SFSE is deeply defined by the sum of their influences, but always have their eye focused beyond the horizon as well. We think this album will capture your heart immediately, but also provide the depth for discovery upon repeated listens. SFSE have made a true statement here, and we are very proud to present Step Down to the world.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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System Exclusive: s/t (Castle Face) LP
“Often when music is constructed with synths and other electronically generated sound makers, their level of exactitude and control is such that the vocalist will either wittingly or otherwise seek to emulate the relative artifice of the soundscape. This is often done to great effect, think Kraftwerk. But what if there was a unit whose music was synth-generated but the vocals were coming from a hot-blooded, singing-for-the-cheap-seats approach? If done well, it’s a case of two great tastes that taste great together, which brings me to System Exclusive. “Their multi genre / time period collision is like a car accident where all parties walk away not only unscathed but sure they had a great time, like two different recording sessions sharing the same space and making it work. Vocalist Ari Blaisdell (previously of Lower Self, The Beat Offs) co-exists excellently amidst the driving beats and synth waves and her guitar further helps to jailbreak the tunes from the often sterile entrapments that synths provide. Matt Jones (previously of Male Gaze, Blasted Canyons, and continuing Castle Face behind-the-scenesman)’s smart use of live drums bring great juxtaposition against the machines. Ari’s irony-free sincere delivery is the perfect closer on this very cool record, recorded ably by Enrique Tena Padilla (Osees, Wand, Beach House) in their backyard studio mid-pandemic and adorned with original artwork by Miles Wintner (L.A. Takedown, Mr. Elevator, Devon Williams). If you don’t get this slab of goodness, well, that act of non-compliance will confirm you as the pain-in-the-ass that many have described you to be in great detail during Zoom chats. How dare they! Prove them wrong! Reduce their snark to mere pseudo-intellectual piffle! Your lifeline arrives in March. Grab it.” —Henry Rollins

File Under: Punk, Electronic
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Barney Wilen: Jazz sur Seine (Sam) LP
Tenor saxophonist Barney Wilen was not quite 21 years old at the time of this meeting with Milt Jackson, Percy Heath, and Kenny Clarke, three veterans of the Modern Jazz Quartet. But the young man is surprising mature and confident throughout the session, interpreting several of Django Reinhardt’s compositions, along with a few by his French contemporaries and a pair of his own works. What’s surprising about this session is the rare opportunity to hear Jackson exclusively as a pianist, as his playing is a bit more reserved than on vibes. The leader digs into his rhythm section’s element with his original “B.B.B. (Bag’s Barney Blues),” giving them a full chorus before making a convincing statement himself. The quartet’s fluid arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy” swings. Percussionist Gana M’Bow is added for both “Swing 39” and “Minor Swing” to add an exotic touch. Barney Wilen easily holds his own on his first major meeting on a record date with major American jazz stars.

File Under: Jazz
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Various: Ritmo Fantasia: Balearic Spanish Synth Pop, Boogie & House (Soundway) LP
The 21 track selection curated by Trujillo, a Venezuelan producer, DJ and record collector based in Berlin, explores the forgotten corners of the 1980s and early 90s Spanish music scene. Veering through early bleep and hip house, electro, boogie, Iberian pop and much more, it has broad appeal to both Balearic heads and diggers alike. Serendipitously, the cover art for the compilation is an original work by Yves Uro, a figurehead of Ibiza’s party scene from the 70s and 80s and whose visionary poster artwork became representative of the white isle. While some of the artists or producers on the compilation went on to have notable careers, many of the tracks selected here represent “one-offs” for the artists, and on occasion the labels as well. These sometimes self-released, privately-pressed productions, on short-lived imprints with names like Cantos and Prismatic, document the nascent clubland communities – from the capital, to major cities to the north, and east, and also smaller locales, coastal towns such as Marbella, Gijón, and Cádiz. Ritmo Fantasía is the result of over a decade’s worth of record collecting by DJ Trujillo, searching out bespoke stores, markets, and dealers. For the first time ever, it brings to light and groups together some gems from an era that without it, would likely remain hidden from view.

File Under: Electonic, Dance, Spain
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A Place to Bury Strangers: Hologram (Dedstrange) LP
.Ataraxia: The Unexplained (Sacred Bones) LP
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile: Lotta Sea Lice (Matador) LP
Courtney Barnett: Things Take Time (Mom + Pop) LP
Big Thief: Two Hands (4AD) LP
Big Thief: U.F.O.F. (4AD) LP
Bloc Party: Silent Alarm (Universal) LP
Phoebe Bridgers: Punisher (Dead Oceans) LP
Alex Cameron: Oxy Music (Secretly Canadian) LP
Jimmy Carter: Summer Brings the Sunshine (Numero) LP
Don Cherry: Brown Rice (A&M) LP
Childish Gambino: Awaken, My Love! (Glassnote) LP
Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer: Recordings from the Aland Islands (International Anthem) LP
Richard Dawson & Circle: Henki (Domino) LP
Destroyer: LABYRINTHITIS (Merge) LP
Earthless: From the Ages (Nuclear Blast) LP
Feelies: Crazy Rhythms (Barnone) LP
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend (Constellation) LP
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny First (Constellation) LP
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Luciferian Towers (Constellation) LP
Gun Club: Fire of Love (Extra Term) LP
Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (Nyeda) LP
Jenny Hval: Classic Objects (4AD) LP
Iron Maiden: Killers (Sanctuary) LP
Iron Maiden: Powerslave (Sanctuary) LP
Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast (Sanctuary) LP
Joy Division: Unknown Pleasure (Rhino) LP
Khruangbin: Con Todo El Mundo (Dead Oceans) LP
King Crimson: Power to Believe (Panegyric) LP
King Crimson: Three of a Perfect Pair (Panegyric) LP
King Geedorah: Take Me To Your Leader (Brainfeeder) LP
KMD: Bl_ck B_st_rds (Metal Face) LP
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio: I Told You So (Colemine) LP
Adrianne Lenker: Songs and Intrumentals (4AD) LP
Leviathan: Scar Sighted (Profound Lore) LP
Midlake: For the Sake of Bethel Woods (ATO) LP
Moon Duo: Occult Architecture Vol. 2 (Sacred Bones) LP
OM: Conference of Birds (Holy Mountain) LP
Parquet Courts: Wide Awake (Rough Trade) LP
Pixies: Bossanova (4AD) LP
Pixies: Come On Pilgrim (4AD) LP
Pixies: Doolittle (4AD) LP
Pixies: Surfer Rosa (4AD) LP
Radiohead: I Might Be Wrong (XL) LP
Tom Rogerson: Retreat to Bliss (Western Vinyl) LP
Sigur Ros: Takk… (Krunk) LP
Sinoia Caves: Beyond the Black Rainbow OST (Jagjaguwar) LP
Spoon: Lucifer on the Sofa (Matador) LP
Television: Marquee Moon (Rhino) LP
Weyes Blood: Titanic Rising (Sub Pop) LP
Windir: 1184 (Season of Mist) LP

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