And yet another hefty week of new arrivals. Firstly, the absolutely brilliant neon retro vibes of Tony Rolando’s debut album. A much needed vinyl version of Ignatz’s cosmic blues tape. O Yuki Conjugate’s second album, and arguably best album from 1987 gets a much needed reissue, essential post-industrial ambient. Finally, Montrel stark folk songstress Myriam Gendron’s long awaited second album is now available on vinyl. The first new Pink Mountaintops album in 8 years! And another nice stack of jazz reissues, both classics, and crazy Japanese free jazz. And of course all the new big titles from Weeknd, Florence & The Machine, Neil Young, Roxy Music, etc. Lot’s to listen to.
– 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…..
Tony Ronaldo: Breakin’ Is A Memory (Important) LP
Tony Rolando’s debut Breakin’ Is A Memory could be your soundtrack. This worldbuilding album of electronic music leaves room for the listener to make big personal connections through subtly complex music resembling a sonic mobile which, as it spins, reveals new forms and colors. This is a collection of very human music with a deceptive simplicity and relaxed intensity. The listener gets the feeling that only the instrument designer could play with such flexible expression, unencumbered by the electronic element. These is cleverly assembled music that you want to flip over and play again, like Rolando’s recent cassette on Important Records’ Cassauna label. As with all Imprec vinyl releases, great care has been taken to ensure that this is a high quality pressing with low noise floor and loads of sonic detail. On Breakin’ is a Memory, Tony Rolando invites the listener on tiny adventures questing insignificant treasures. Minimal percussion only suggests rhythm, allowing your mind to wander the crystalline lattices Tony weaves from handfuls of simple arpeggios. Soft analog bass frequencies make your travels more comfortable and the Strega instrument, a recurring recognizable character, is there to lead when you are too lost. The pace of Breakin’ is a Memory oscillates from restless roadway motion to meditative exploration. The record closes with a celebratory decimation of the graphic memories of these tiny adventures. Play it again to rekindle them. For more than a decade, Tony Rolando has composed electricity into musical instruments at Make Noise. When he collaborated with Alessandro Cortini in 2019 to create the Strega instrument, the experience rekindled Tony’s love of composing and recording music. In 2021 he released Old Cool Echoes with on Cassauna (SAUNA 066CS). A third release of music composed entirely for the Shared System instrument he designed will follow in 2022. RIYL: Early Oneohtrix Point Never, Alessandro Cortini, Caterina Barbieri, Tangerine Dream.
File Under: Electronic, Kris’s Picks
Ignatz: I Live in a Utopia (Aguirre) LP
A sprawling collection by Belgian loner blues savant Bram Devens aka Ignatz encapsulating the mystery, murk, and melancholy of his uncanny craft at its most windswept and wayward. Originally issued via Goaty Tapes in September of 2015, this long-anticipated vinyl edition expands the saga with an additional 17 minutes of archival material. Deven’s palette remains constant throughout: feathery fingerpicking, modal loops, and intuitive six-string navigations interspersed with candlelit passages of mournful voice, alternately whispered, mumbled, moaned. His is an aesthetic of embers and resin, cracked masks and distant lights, of what’s left behind and what lingers on. I Live In A Utopia was recorded following a relocation from his longtime base of Brussels to Landen, with a second child due soon: “I remember the weather being nice and having just bought a hammock.” The change of scenery seeded a promise of slower days and lighter times — no utopia perhaps, but a sense of faint hope glowing on the horizon. The songs slide between loose acoustic spirituals and smoky basement ragas, late afternoon haze and midnight moons, a seesawing restlessness reflected in the titles (“I Have Found True Love”, “Time Does Not Bring Relief”, “We Used To Smoke Inside”). The fidelity is grainy but vivid, refracted by tape warp and Flemish dust. As always, Deven’s playing is deceptively elegant, raw but precise, attuned to resonance, radiance, and negative space. Echoes of Fahey and Jandek reverberate in certain moments but ultimately the world Ignatz maps is one incomparably his own. A landscape both doomed and dawning, weary but undefeated, tracing outlines of lengthening shadows. “I walk in the sunshine,” he sings, uneasily. This is music of a rare inner wilderness, poised at cryptic crossroads, devoted to its ghosts. I Live In A Utopia stands as an apex work by one of the underground’s most veiled and visionary talents. Double album in gatefold sleeve with artwork by Zully Adler. In co-production with House Rules. Edition of 500.
File Under: Blues, Folk, Psych, Kris’s Picks
O Yuki Conjugate: Into Dark Water (Emotional Rescue) LP
Emotional Rescue reissue ‘Into Dark Water’, the second album from UK post-industrial ambient pioneers O Yuki Conjugate (OYC). The willfully obscure OYC formed in Nottingham in 1982 and have had a sporadic career on the outskirts of musical culture ever since. Initially associated with the early 80s post-industrial scene – along with Soviet France and Muslimgauze – OYC quietly forged their own brand of ambient music at a time when it was distinctly unfashionable to do so. Always reluctant to categorise their sounds, OYC have been variously described as post-industrial, ambient, darkwave, tribal ambient, chill out, electronica and Fourth World. Take your pick. ‘Into Dark Water’ was recorded in 1986 over four days in an eight-track garage studio in Nottingham. Produced and engineered by John Kaukis, the result was a blend of flutes, percussion, electronics and loops that focused their sound and became for many the definitive OYC album. Originally released in 1987 on the Leeds-based Final Image label, ‘Into Dark Water’ quickly sold out and has been highly sought after ever since. The re-issue, featuring a lovingly recreated sleeve, makes a vinyl version of this classic available again for the first time in over 30 years.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Fourth World, Ian’s Picks, Kris’s Picks
Acid Mothers Reynols: Vol. 2 (Hive Mind) LP
Hive Mind Records present the second volume of the explosive collaboration between two legendary collectives of the ecstatic music underground. In 2017, Kawabata Makoto and his Acid Mothers Temple embarked on an extensive tour of South America. During the tour they carved out time to record and play shows with Argentine “disembodied” music provocateurs Reynols and the results of these improvised sessions are a unique and exhilarating leap into the infinite… ecstatic, shamanic, truly free psychedelic music, beyond language and beyond all rational thought. “Viva Acid Mothers Reynols!” –The Wire “These are the tunes to get your soul flowing!” –Anti: Music Review “where rock’n’roll meets the outer space” –aLive Reports.
File Under: Psych, Japan
Tony Allen: Secret Agent (World Circuit) LP
Tony Allen has long been acknowledged as Africa’s finest drummer and one of the continent’s most influential musicians. Together with Fela Kuti (with whom he played for 15 years) Allen co-created Afrobeat – the hard-driving, horns-rich, funk-infused, politically insurrectionary style which became such a dominant force in African music and such an influence worldwide. His iconic drumming has since underpinned an extensive catalogue of solo works as well as collaborations with the likes of Damon Albarn (as part of The Good, The Bad and The Queen), Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sebastien Tellier, Grace Jones, Malian superstar Oumou Sangaré, Jeff Mills and Hugh Masekela. His 2009 World Circuit debut, the raw and uncut Secret Agent, has all the ingredients that combine to make Afrobeat so special – fat, full-throated, hard riffing horns; nagging tenor guitars; jazz- and funk-informed saxophone and trumpet work outs; effervescent chicken-shack keyboards; lyrics rich in folk metaphors and proverbs, some of which confront state corruption and oppression (Kuti’s most frequent targets); deep-soul call and response vocals; and, of course, energizing everything around it, Allen’s majestic drumming. In 2022 World Circuit will re-release this classic album on double 180g heavyweight vinyl. The audio has been remastered and the package features the original 2009 sleeve notes in a 4-page 12″ booklet.
File Under: Afrobeat
Amyl & The Sniffers: Comfort to Me (Expanded Edition) (ATO) LP
Already renowned for a ball-tearing live show, The Sniffers made their international debut as one of the hottest tipped acts at The Great Escape in 2018. Soon afterwards, they signed deals with both Rough Trade Records and ATO Records, made a massively hyped appearance at SXSW, and finally released their self-titled debut album in 2019, landing them an ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Award for Best Rock Album, capping off a wild year for the lunatic, likeable punks. Late in 2020, Amyl and The Sniffers went into the studio with producer Dan Luscombe to record their sophomore album, Comfort To Me. Written over a long year of lockdown, the album was influenced by and expanded on a heavier pool of references – old-school rock ‘n’ roll (AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Motörhead, Wendy O Williams), modern hardcore (Warthog and Power Trip) and the steady homeland heroes (Coloured Balls and Cosmic Psychos). Lyrically, the album was influenced by Taylor’s rap idols and countless garage bands and in her words “I had all this energy inside of me and nowhere to put it, because I couldn’t perform, and it had a hectic effect on my brain. My brain evolved and warped and my way of thinking about the world completely changed.” Seventeen songs were recorded in the Comfort to Me sessions and the top 13 made the cut. They were mixed long-distance by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, IDLES, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and mastered by Bernie Grundman (Michael Jackson, Prince, Dr Dre). Comfort To Me demonstrates the same irrepressible smarts, integrity and fearless candor as their debut but as you’d expect of any young band five years on, their sound has evolved, in Amy’s words it’s “raw self expression, defiant energy and unapologetic vulnerability.” This expanded edition colored vinyl 2LP reissue features a bonus LP recorded live on a dock in Melbourne, Australia.
File Under: Punk
And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: Century of Self (Svart) LP
A brand new color vinyl press of this 2009 art rock classic. The Giants Causeway/The Far Pavillions/Isis Unveiled/Halcyon Days/Bells Of Creation/Fields Of Coal/Inland Sea/Luna Park/Pictures Of An Only Child/Insatiable (One)/Ascending/An August Theme/Insatiable (Two)/Festival Thyme
File Under: Indie Rock
Les Baxter: Soul of the Drums (Real Gone) LP
If Les Baxter’s 1951 album Ritual of the Savage invented exotica, his 1963 album The Soul of the Drums perfected it. Here was the sonic Space Age journey to far-flung musical ports that the genre promised: samba and cha-cha-cha rhythms played by African, Brazilian, Cuban and Haitian “voodoo” drums propel Baxter’s typically masterful string and vocal arrangements, colored by some of the most downright fun instruments (glockenspiel, harp, Chinese gong, marimba, and vibraphone) in all of creation. It’s a sultry and gently swaying ride to the bottom of an umbrella drink, crafted by one of the best musical bartenders ever to wave a swizzle stick, er, baton. Our first-ever reissue of this classic record comes in bright green vinyl that matches the alluring cover art…limited to 1500 copies!
File Under: Exotica
Black Children Sledge Funk: Love is Fair (Cinedelic) LP
Nigerian classic Black Children Sledge Funk Group 1976’s debut album full of positive vibrations and feel-good grooves! A sunny blend of Reggae and Afro-Funk with a lot of percussions, psychedelic and rhythmic guitar and organ. In the mid-seventies in Nigeria everybody loved them; they were a symbol and pride of Africa. Michael Hammedatha Moore sang and played congas and percussion. Daniel Carlos Yakubu played guitar. Jerry Freeman Nwokolo was on keyboards. Ricky Hardnar on bass and And Benson Teteh played the drums. Everyone in the band changed their last name to Black. Repressed for the first time. Limited Edition.
File Under: Afrobeat, Funk, Reggae, Psych
Alessandro Bosetti: Plane/Talea 31-34 (Holidays) LP
For a few years, Alessandro Bosetti has been collecting voices that become part of the Plane/Talea archive. The creation of the archive stems from dozens of individual meetings and recording sessions, in which each voice is detached from its owner or originator and anonymized. With each new iteration and performance, Bosetti plays the archive as if it were an instrument. He searches for hidden details and correspondences through exploration, immersion and contemplation. Each re-activation of the archive results in a dense and swarming polyphony made up of thousands of short utterances — shorter than any word bearing a meaning — recombined and interwoven into complex textures. The particularity of the grain of Plane/Talea lies in the autonomous and darting life that each of these fragments lives in a teeming community of voices. Such polyphonies are rich in microtonal detail emerging from the incessant juxtaposition of vocal objets trouvés. Harmonic relationships are sometimes rough and chaotic, other times surprisingly just. The voices are never treated electronically but only recombined and musical tension is provided by the particular grain, inflection, energy of each one of them in counterpoint to the others and to a frugally used instrumentation (harpsichord, Ondes Martenot, Cristal Baschet, grand piano, analog synth, Hammond organ). Implicit reference goes to ancient, modern and postmodern forms of vocal polyphony. Plane/Talea 31-34 — the continuation of the homonymous 2016 LP — is a work of sampling that projects an imaginary community and a disembodied choir. The four arching and extensive tracks were created between 2017 and 2018 and bear the trace of two specific moments: August nights in a country house in Vicobarone, in the hills of Piacenza (31-32) and a week-long residency at the “Studio Venezia”, an environment created by French artist Xavier Veilhan in the French pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale (33-34). “Encounters of this sort did happen, with the voice still clinging onto its own origin, and then seen, as it were, coming out of the original mouth and caught saying other things, with a slightly different intonation, a slightly different timbre, maybe due to a little aging, an extra cigarette, a cold. At that point we would come out unsettled, or maybe convinced that it was not the same voice anymore, but another.” Edition of 300.
File Under: Avant Garde, Experimental
Jean-Yves Bosseur: Musiques Vertes (Holidays) LP
First ever vinyl reissue of Jean-Yves Bosseur’s visionary LP Musiques Vertes, recorded by the legendary French ornithologist and wildlife field recordist Jean-Claude Roché, originally issued by Atelier 82 in 1982. Utilizing handmade instruments constructed from plants and other natural materials, played by a collective of children and untrained musicians, its radically experimental sounds build a revelatory bridge between the avant-garde and ancient forms of folk. Jean-Yves Bosseur is a relatively obscure figure in the history of the French avant-garde. A student of Henri Pousseur and Karlheinz Stockhausen, as well as a close associate of Knud Viktor, he belonged to the legendary collective Groupe d’Etude et Réalisation Musicale GERM, widely celebrated for their realization of Terry Riley’s Keyboard Study 2, issued by BYG/Actuel in 1970. The Musiques Vertes project began in South East France during the late 1970s, spearheaded by Christine Armengaud, who was investigating, via elderly people in the region, a long tradition of musical instruments made with organic materials and plants. With their help, she was able to construct 240 instruments, collected in her book Musiques Vertes, published in 1978 by Christine Bonneton éditeur, that had long been used for bird calls, dancing, toys of young shepherds and children, and much more, but had been lost to common usage following the First World War. In 1980, the Direction de la Musique awarded the composer Jean-Yves Bosseur a grant to start a collective practice of music using the instrument constructed/reconstructed by Armengaud. He chose to use locals and children he encountered in Aix-en-Provence between 1981 and 1982. The Musiques Vertes album is the result of hours of practice and recording by these players, in each case, within the album 11 musical excursions, utilizing a series of instructions or games set up by the composer in an attempt to create collective musical exchange, as well as a dialogic exchange between this practice and active listening within a natural environment. While the acoustic practices that underscore Musiques Vertes display a deep resonance with those embarked upon by artists like Akio Suzuki, Toshiya Tsunoda, and Jeph Jerman, the structural resemblance, held deeply within utopian avant-garde principles, falls far closer to experimental electronic works that might have emerged from experimental electronic studios like Groupe de Recherches Musicales or EMS, or subtle object oriented efforts in free improvisation. Bubbling textures and atonalities, blended with sounds from the natural environment, intermingle with staggering birdsong-alike tonalities and rattling percussive passages. A document of pure sonic magic and stunningly organic creativity. Includes 20-page booklet; edition of 300.
File Under: Avant Garde, Experimental
Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet: Ultraman vs Alien Metron (Corbett vs. Dempsey) LP
In the first years of its existence, starting in 1997, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet worked as a collective, inviting all and any of its participants to contribute compositions to the band’s repertoire. Eventually, the Tentet would jettison scores and pre-planned structures altogether, opting for free improvisation, but on their early tours and initial recordings they played pieces written by the various band members. A marathon set of summer studio sessions in 2002, just off a US tour, yielded two CDs for Okka Disk, A Short Visit to Nowhere and Broken English. Of two Mars Williams compositions from the session, one was recorded but never issued… until now. Featuring the original line-up of the band, which combined seven stellar Chicagoans — Williams, Ken Vandermark, Jeb Bishop, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Kent Kessler, Michael Zerang, and Hamid Drake — with Mats Gustafsson, Joe McPhee, and the band’s namesake, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet was a sensationally versatile free music ensemble, capable of going into all sorts of unexpected territory. The group sports a four-saxophone frontline, with twin trombones (McPhee is on valve trombone here), two strings, and a ferocious drum section featuring Zerang and Drake, who had already worked together intimately for more than 25 years at this point. Recently rediscovered in his vaults by Williams, newly mixed by original engineer John McCortney, Ultraman vs. Alien Metron is a lost classic of improvised music by one of the premier improvised music bands of its era. With preposterous juxtapositions of mood, from monstrous lurching heavy rock (underpinning the Japanese Godzilla-esque theme) to hard-swinging free bop and even an incredibly delicate, poignant ballad section, this feature-length track (18+ minutes) is chock full of rock ’em sock ’em goodness. For its maiden voyage on vinyl, Corbett vs. Dempsey has prepared a special package, with artwork and design by Brötzmann, a one-sided LP, the other side featuring a silkscreened work by Brötzmann.
File Under: Free Jazz
The Clash: Combat Rock + The People’s Hall (Epic) 3LP
Combat Rock gets a special edition expanded 180g vinyl 3LP reissue in celebration of its 40th anniversary! Originally released in 1982, Combat Rock is the Clash’s best-selling album – the final featuring the ‘classic’ line up of Mick Jones, Joe Strummer, Topper Headon and Paul Simonon. The new edition includes an additional 12 tracks curated by the band – charting the band’s story from the final performance of the Bonds Casino residency via their People’s Hall rehearsals in West London to the release of the album. It will include previously unheard, rare and early versions of tracks which act as a bridge and prelude to Combat Rock. The additional disc highlights a new version of “Know Your Rights” which was recorded at The People’s Hall on the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, and the previously unreleased instrumental “He Who Dares Or Is Tired.” Other notable tracks include “Futura 2000,” an unreleased original mix of “The Escapades of Futura 2000,” Mikey Dread’s “Radio One,” and the outtakes “The Fulham Connection,” previously known as “The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too” as well as “Idle in Kangaroo Court.” Combat Rock is indicative of The Clash’s constant evolution and was influenced in part by the relatively recent end of the Vietnam War, particularly on “Sean Flynn,” inspired by the disappearance of the photojournalist and film star’s son. The band’s curiosity and range is illustrated by the many styles and voices here, notably poet Allen Ginsberg’s apocalyptic spoken word on “Ghetto Defendant” and graffiti artist Futura’s rap on “Overpowered By Funk.” The Clash’s influence on punk, post-punk and indie rock is well documented and Combat Rock specifically continues to inspire waves of rediscovery from new audiences, most notably with the use of “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” as a prominent plot device in the first season of the Netflix smash Stranger Things. Meanwhile, “Straight To Hell” remains instantly recognizable having been used in “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
File Under: Punk
Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio (Audio Clarity) LP
Born Alice McLeod into a musical Detroit family, Alice Coltrane began playing piano at age seven and later studied with Bud Powell in Paris. Upon returning to the States, she joined vibraphonist Terry Gibbs’s group and eventually shared a bill with the John Coltrane Quartet. In 1965, the two wed in Juárez, Mexico, and played alongside one another until her husband’s last performance in May, 1967. A Monastic Trio, created in the year following her husband’s passing, is Coltrane’s first recording as a band leader and features six original compositions. While John’s spirit can be felt throughout – from the song titles (“Ohnedaruth” was his adopted Hindu name) to the personnel (Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali, and Pharoah Sanders were frequent collaborators) – the album showcases Alice’s immense talent for fusing spiritual free jazz and new age with classical, Eastern, post-bop and gospel.
File Under: Jazz
John Coltrane: My Favorite Things 60th Anniversary (Atlantic) LP
Released in 1961, My Favorite Things made John Coltrane a star with box-office pull previously reserved for the likes of Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis. The dazzling quartet treatment of the Richard Rodgers hit song features Coltrane on soprano saxophone for the first time on record and became an instant hit single in its own right. The album also became a major commercial success, receiving the Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1998 and attaining gold record status in 2018. The recently uncovered mono version of this album – once believed to be lost forever – is included in this deluxe package along with the stereo version, both having been mastered from the original tapes. This 60th Anniversary deluxe edition also includes liner notes by award-winning writer Ben Ratliff, as well as photos and Atlantic Records ephemera.
File Under: Jazz
Dalek: Precipice (Ipecac) LP
Forged in the fires of the East Coast underground music scene in the 90s, experimental hip hop pioneers Dälek have spent decades carving out a unique niche fusing hardcore hip hop, noise and a radical approach to sound. Although Dälek came out the gate following in the footsteps of their predecessors Public Enemy and drawing from influences as varied as My Bloody Valentine and German experimentalists Faust, they’ve succeeded in adding completely new textural and structural dimensions to rap music. For their eight album, Precipice, Dälek unleashes a work that is practically bristling with fury and power. Predominantly the work of core duo, Will Brooks and Mike Manteca, Precipice also features a guest appearance from Tool’s Adam Jones. The band enlisted Paul Romano (Mastodon) for the striking cover art, and the package also features the art of Mikel Elam.
File Under: Hip Hop
Al Doum & The Faryds: Freaky People (Black Sweat) LP
Al Doum and the Faryds continue their journey toward a new direction. Now, they live in a futuristic garden of delights, inhabited by strange bright bubbles, golden wheels, water secrets and mysterious plants. From their home of love and nature, they set out to travel the universe to forge a new being together. Their typical blend of spiritual-jazz, psychedelia and Afro-Latin rock remains on the same wave, accentuating the collective rite of liberation and expansion of the spirit. There’s certainly a greater lightness and airiness, especially in the most immediate and direct arrangements to convey the message of brotherhood; because the absolute weapon lies in female voices and choirs. These chants are incisive gospel and soul sermons and their narration magically permeates throughout the album. Everything is always supported by the balance between robust and biting guitar riffs, raga-rock incursions, tribal rhythm sections and impregnable and captivating sax drifts; and echoes of the soft lysergic sound of the ’60s cannot be missing. This is music of multiple forces, a sacred harmony to overcome barriers, which sees no enemies and breaks down egos. It’s the playfulness and the power in making music together, the true magic recipe of these Freaky People: we are what the universe wants!
File Under: Jazz, Psych, Afrobeat
Duke Ellington: Meets Coleman Hawkins (Impulse) LP
Collaborative albums such as this one have always been something of a stunt on the part of the record label, with the artists themselves usually stuck with too little time to work out something that would easily act as a functional compromise. Many of these albums, then, have faded away with time. Impulse, however, had more than its share of solid collaborations including this lone encounter from jazz giants Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins. Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins is a lot of fun, whether it’s the daffy cut-up of “Limbo Jazz” or the slow New Orleans smoke of “Wanderlust.” All present turn in nice performances on this set of evergreen Ellington numbers. 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. “One of the great Ellington albums, one of the great Hawkins albums and one of the great albums of the 1960s.” – The New York Times
File Under: Jazz
Florence & the Machine: Dance Fever (Republic) LP
Grey vinyl! Florence + The Machine’s fifth studio album, Dance Fever was written and produced through the haze of two lockdowns in London and NYC with producers Jack Antonoff and Dave Bayley (Glass Animals). It sees Florence at the peak of her powers, coming into a fully realized self-knowledge, poking sly fun at her own self-created persona, playing with ideas of identity, masculine and feminine, redemptive, celebratory, stepping into her place in the iconic pantheon. The LP nods to dance, folk, ‘70s Iggy Pop, longing-for-the-road folk tracks a la Lucinda Williams or Emmylou Harris and more, ultimately arriving somewhere that Florence describes as “Nick Cave at the club.” Lyrically, she took inspiration from the tragic heroines of pre-Raphaelite art, the gothic fiction of Carmen Maria Machado and Julia Armfield, the visceral wave of folk horror film from The Wicker Man and The Witch to Midsommar. Gatefold vinyl 2LP-set with printed inner sleeve and etching on 4th side.
File Under: Rock, Pop
Sam Gendel & Antonia Cytrynowicz: Live a Little (Psychic Hotline) LP
Sam Gendel and Antonia Cytrynowicz didn’t set out to make a record – it just happened. Live a Little, a collection of songs resulting from one late summer afternoon in Gendel’s Los Angeles home, is less an album and more a moment. The ten tracks here were recorded mostly in one sitting, fully improvised, in the order in which they appear. It was the first and last time the songs have been played – a snapshot of an idea, an artifact of inspiration, at once both a beginning and an end. At the time of recording, Cytrynowicz was only eleven years old. The younger sister of Gendel’s significant other and creative partner Marcella, Cytrynowicz is an artist in her own way. She has no formal musical training, but is the product of a creative family and is someone who makes art the way many kids do – in the purest way, simply because they are moved to. On Live a Little, she spontaneously crafted all the melodies and lyrics on the spot as Gendel played alongside her. Cytrynowicz’s musicality is sophisticated, strange, and other-worldly, and the resulting record is experimental jazz colliding with some sort of fantasy universe. Because of that, Live a Little is a stand-out amidst Gendel’s extensive and varied catalog. Cytrynowicz is the ideal collaborator for Gendel, who throughout his career has remained largely unconcerned with the pageantry and presentation of the music business, instead focused solely on the music-making itself. Here, he found the purest sort of writing partner – he admires Cytrynowicz’ “supreme openness,” explaining: “Whatever is happening, she’s there with you. We really meet right where we are. She’s all ears, I’m all ears. I don’t even know how to explain what it is. It just works out somehow.” Live A Little is a series of “what ifs” cascading into one another, off-kilter and experimental, a kaleidoscope of spontaneity and imagination. It’s a sweet distillation of the musical present, of daring to follow through on an impulse – what happens when a project is helmed by someone who doesn’t have time for second thoughts or self-doubt.
File Under: Jazz
Myriam Gendron: Ma Delire – Songs of Love Lost & Found (Feeding Tube) LP
“It has been a while since the release Myriam’s acclaimed 2014 debut album, Not So Deep as a Well (FTR 146-4LP). The intervening years have brought a smattering of live performances, a bouquet of children, Trump’s Pandemic, and much more . . . Different concepts for a new album were broached, but the seed of Ma Délire was planted when Myriam recalled a paper she written in university. It was about Leonard Cohen’s recording of “The Lost Canadian (Un canadien errant)” from Recent Songs. Ostensibly a cover of an old Quebecois ballad, Cohen stripped away the specificity of the lyrics, tying the song’s titular figure to the archetype of ‘The Wandering Jew’. The theme of this paper returned to Myriam when she had a residency at the Old Mill in Le Bic, QC in August 2016. Benoit Chaput had turned her on to the traditional tune ‘Au Coeur de ma Délire,’ from a 1971 album by Dominique Tremblay and Philippe Gagnon. The song was so haunting, she decided to record it right there in the Mill’s boat repair workshop. That is the very recording used here . . . This started Myriam musing about how the end of the Catholic hegemony in Quebec had the unanticipated consequence of making people think less of traditional Quebecois folk music, because so much of it was soaked in the blood of the lamb. It made sense this music should be explored and updated despite its dogmatic origins which Cohen had proved could be effectively expunged . . . Just as the world was shutting down, Myriam was awarded a grant which allowed her the time and space to fully investigate and develop this material. She had spent years sifting through traditional music from Quebec, France and the U.S., highlighting parts of songs and ideas she liked, discarding some she found abhorrent, and merging the good bits with her own writing or other cannibalized shards. At some juncture she flashed on this work’s common thread — its thematic roots were always in one type of romantic longing or another. And so, this album came together during the dark days of the General Lockdown. Mixing vocal tracks with instrumentals, singing in both French and English, using a syncretic blend of original, modern and traditional lyrics, Ma Délire fearlessly wanders through a universe of its own invention, daring us to open our minds wide enough to take it all in. Myriam initially recorded with just guitar and vocals. But when she began working with the sound engineer Tonio Morin-Vargas, he had some insightful suggestions about additional instrumentation that might broaden the album’s sound without confounding it. Myriam had already planned to ask her friends, Bill Nace and Chris Corsano, to add some things, so the whole shebang evolved as organically as most great records do…” –Byron Coley, 2021
File Under: Folk
Wendell Harrison: Evening With The Devil (Now Again) LP
“The Tribe co-founder’s debut, remixed from the original mutli-track master tapes under the direction of its creator and lacquered by Bernie Grundman. Now-Again presents the defi¬nitive Tribe Records reissues. Deep, spiritual jazz of the highest order. The Tribe label, one of the brightest lights of America’s 1970s jazz underground, receives the Now-Again reissue treatment. This is your chance to indulge in the music and story of one of the most meaningful, local movements of the 20th Century Black American experience, one that expanded outwards towards the cosmos. In the words of the collective themselves, ‘Music is the healing force of the universe.’ Included in an extensive, oversized booklet, Larry Gabriel and Jeff ‘Chairman’ Mao take us through the history of the Tribe, in a compelling story that delves not just into the history of the label and its principals, but into the story of Black American empowerment in the latter half of the 20th Century. The booklet features never-before-seen archival photos and rare ephemera from Tribe’s mid-1970s heyday.”
File Under: Jazz
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit: Georgia Blue (Southeastern) LP
“Georgia Blue is a labor of love. On election day 2020, when I saw that there was a good chance the state of Georgia might go blue, I came up with an idea: to record an album of Georgia-related songs as a thank you to the state and donate the money to a Georgia based non-profit organization. I will admit my motivations were a bit selfish. For years, I’ve been looking for an excuse to record these songs with my band and some friends. “The songs on this album are some of my favorite Georgia-related songs, but the tracklist is not meant to be comprehensive. I would love to cover Outkast and 2 Chainz, but I don’t think the finished product would be very good. We’re a rock band, so we covered rock songs. We have roots in blues and R&B, so we enlisted some brilliant artists to help us pull off songs by Precious Bryant, James Brown, and Gladys Knight. My favorite part of the Georgia Blue recording process was having the opportunity to work with these very special artists, and I thank them: Amanda Shires, Brittney Spencer, Adia Victoria, Brandi Carlile, Julien Baker, Bèla Fleck, Chris Thile, Steve Gorman, Peter Levin, and John Paul White.
File Under: Country, Folk
Jr. Gone Wild: Still Got the Jacket (Stony Plain) LP
For 12 years starting in the 1980s Jr. Gone Wild would hone its own version of alt-country on albums that have become cornerstones of Canadian music culture: Less Art, More Pop!, Folk You, Too Dumb To Quit, Pull The Goalie and Simple Little Wish. After a reunion concert in 2013 the band began thinking about a new album, reflective of all they’ve learned and experienced over a lifetime in the music biz. The result is Still Got The Jacket, a 16 track album that makes it clear that the band’s chemistry still thrives, and is still steeped in twangy rock and melodic country-punk. For fans hearing the power pop of “Dodge” and “Girl In The Crowd,” it’s as if no time has passed, while the raucous energy that fueled so many beer-soaked nights still glows brightly on “Him Or Me (What’s It Gonna Be)” and “Old And Ugly”. Now with McDonald’s nephew Quinton Herbert on drums, replacing drummer Larry Shelast who passed away in 2019, the band is still fronted by the immediately recognizable vocals of Mike McDonald, lead guitarist Steve Loree and bassist Dave “Dove” Brown. A stand-out track on the album is a cover of “Fly At Night” that features the original Chilliwack founder Bill Hendersen recreating the memorable guitar riffs from one of his most beloved songs.
File Under: Rock, Country
Ariel Kalma: Osmose (Black Sweat) LP
Born and raised in Paris, Ariel Kalma studied electronics, computer science, music and art in Paris, he performed with several bands, then toured the world and visited Europe, Japan, India, Eastern Canada, and parts of the USA. Apart from rhythm & blues, pop and jazz, he acquired assorted experiences in Middle Age French, electro-acoustic, and modal music. All the travels broadened Ariel’s musical horizons tremendously; listening to and playing with different styles, people, and instruments, intricate scales, techniques, timing and rhythms. After learning circular breathing from a snake charmer in India, Ariel practiced it on soprano sax (for many sleepless nights) in the basement of a cathedral in New York, when he was not playing upstairs on the large harmonium. Returning to France in late ’76, Ariel could include those endless notes into his own long-delay-effect system with which he toured, playing solo concerts. Ariel contributed to the birth of (then) new music genres: minimalist, space, ambient, new age, and electronic. In 1977, Paris, Ariel Kalma was preparing an album of new music. Through an INA connection, Ariel was recommended to Richard Tinti, who had just come back from Borneo (Papua New Guinea) with hours of rainforest ambiences in high quality recordings (on a Nagra recorder). To their amazement, birds and keyboards, flutes and crickets, saxophones and frogs, war drums and (very vintage) drum machines had much in common in terms of pitch, rhythms, effects (i.e. crickets and fast flanged synthesizer). Ariel decided to blend his new compositions with the rainforest atmosphere, and thus Osmose was created.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Jazz
Lola Kirke: Lady For Sale (Third Man) LP
Lola Kirke stands out like a flash of neon magenta in this nostalgic landscape of Americana tin-types. While many of her singing, songwriting peers look further back for inspiration, Kirke’s sweet spot is decidedly in the excess of the 80’s. Anyone only familiar with Kirke through her on-screen performances (Mistress America, Gone Girl, Mozart in the Jungle) may be surprised by just how dazzling Lola-playing-Lola can be. Just a few lines into “Better Than Any Drug,” it’s clear no written role could reveal more of Kirke’s wit, lust for life, and sense of humor than this record captures with the help of producer Austin Jenkins (White Denim, Leon Bridges). The 10-song sophomore full-length LP showcases Kirke’s unselfconscious, country-twinged vocals alongside a brightly colored candy shop of glam-twang guitar riffs, department store TV commercial synth stylings, and swooping, lilting, unabashedly feminine background vocals. Lady For Sale channels a high-spirited insouciance that feels invigorating and familiar, decidedly more easy-going and fun-loving than what we’ve come to expect from its genre (and the world in general) in recent years. This is a party you’ll want to attend.
File Under: Country
Takayanagi Masayuki New Direction for the Art: La Grima (Aguirre) LP
Famed free jazz concert registration of an early New Direction for the Art performance. Recorded in 1971. The performance by Takayanagi Masayuki New Direction for the Art at the Gen’yasai festival on August 14, 1971 was an intense, bruising collision between the radical, anti-establishment politics of the period in Japan and the febrile avant-garde music that had begun to emerge a few years before. 1962, Takayanagi, bassist Kanai Hideto and painter Kageyama Isamu went on to form an AACM-style musicians’ collective called the New Century Music Research Institute. Every Friday, members gathered at Gin-Paris, a chanson bar in the fashionable Ginza district of Tokyo, to push the outer limits of jazz creativity. But the pivotal moment for his music was the creation a new trio version of his New Directions group in August 1969, with the free bassist Yoshizawa Motoharu and a young drummer Toyozumi (Sabu) Yoshisaburō. Experiments eventually led to the creation of two basic frameworks for improvisation that Takayagi referred to as “Mass Projection” and “Gradually Projection”. La Grima (tears), the piece that was played at the Gen’yasai festival, is a mass projection and listening to it, you can get a clear sense of what Takayanagi was aiming at. Mass projection involves a dense, speedy and chaotic coloring in of space that destroys the listener’s perception of time, and thus of musical development. The ferocity of the performance of La Grima at the Gen’yasai Festival in Sanrizuka on August 14, 1971 was consciously grounded by Takayanagi in a particular historical moment, ripe with conflict and violence. A month after the festival, on September 16, three policemen would die during struggles at the site. This was the context that the three-day Gen’yasai Festival existed within. The line-up reflected the radical politics of the movement, with leading free jazz musicians like Takayanagi, Abe Kaoru, and Takagi Mototeru appearing alongside radical ur-punkers Zuno Keisatsu, heavy electric blues bands like Blues Creation, and Haino Keiji’s scream-jazz unit Lost Aaraaff. New Direction for the Arts trio topped the bill on the opening day, playing an aggressive, uncompromising “mass projection” set of polyphonic improvisation. Alongside drummer Hiroshi Yamazaki and saxophonist Kenji Mori, Takayanagi soloed hard and continuously for forty minutes. This was performance as precisely calibrated metaphor: three musicians responding to the demands of the moment with instinctive force and fury, untethered by rules, leaderless yet not rudderless (the direction part of the group’s name was no accident). The piece was entitled La Grima and the fusion between the palpable anger of the performance and hopeless sadness of its title were also perfectly apt for the situation. This was a fight that the state was always going to win. A union of anger, sorrow and malevolence that can be placed nowhere effective, all it can do is find expression and channeling. Old-style gatefold with rare photographs and extensive liner notes by Alan Cummings.
File Under: Japan, Jazz
Merzbow: Hybrid Noisebloom (Urashima) LP
Merzbow stands as the most important artist in noise music. The moniker of Japanese artist Masami Akita was born in Tokyo in 1979. Inspired by dadaism and surrealism, Akita took the name for his project from German artist Kurt Schwitters’s pre-war architectural assemblage The Cathedral of Erotic Misery or Merzbau. Working in his home, he quickly gained notoriety as a purveyor of a musical genre composed solely of pure, unadulterated noise. Embracing technology and the machine, first in an absolutely analog way and then welcoming digital innovation, Merzbow broke boundaries and pushed toward new territories of the extreme. Hybrid Noisebloom, originally issued by Vinyl Communications on CD in 1997, is the latest in this trilling bread crumb trail. It is also the first time that this seminal document from Merzbow’s ’90s period has ever appeared on vinyl. Composed and performed on EMS and Moog Synthesizers, Theremin, metal devices, noise electronics, and voice, all recorded at extreme volumes, Hybrid Noisebloom’s five tracks present a fascinating sonic assault, heavily driven by the presence of electronic sounds, played against the sparse interjections of Akita’s heavily processed vocals, that push toward new territories of the extreme, while subtly nodding toward historical gestures from the early years of the avant-garde. “Plasma Birds” investigates timbral relationships, the fragmentation of melody, and abrasive, provocative noise — shifting from the sparse, airy, and restrained, to dance clusters of interplay and back again. “Minotaurus” finds a strange middle ground between the intuitive logics of their instruments; synth and electronics taking on decidedly percussive approaches, while metal device’s fractured polyrhythms and beats often veer toward the presence of a notable tonality. “Mouse Of Superconcetion”, formed by screeches and from swinging and chugging to stepped back and sparse combinations of rhythm and tone, moves from the lingering sensibilities of straight-ahead synth to radically out hard blow fire. Launching from a total wall of sound, “Neuro Electric Butterfly” takes the listening on an endlessly surprising journey through its devices’ inner world, shifting between airy open passages that feature endless combinations of one or more effects, to furious moments of sonorous lashings where the sound falls in together in brilliant dialogical periods of conversant texture and psychedelic intervention. “The Imaginary Coversation Of Blue” embeds bristling fragments, percolating tones, and poignant dissonances within a sweeping field of echoes rumbles and drones. First vinyl release; edition of 299.
File Under: Noise
Necks: Vertigo (RER) LP
Vinyl reissue of an album originally released in 2015. While most ensembles are driven by personalities, the Necks are powered by an idea. A very large and simple idea — which now seems completely obvious… but only because the Necks thought of it and made it work. Now their pleasure is sequentially to re-imagine and explore that idea — the prime directive of which seems to be to be that each unfolding step and every passing detail of any performance be allowed to evolve organically out of the musical conditions established at its moment of departure. In other words, you are in the territory of chaos and catastrophe theory; of hurricanes and butterfly wings… And, since one can never step twice into the same river, each beginning has led to wildly unpredictable and variant outcomes; and imperceptibly: you never hear the changes until somehow they have already happened. “We end up,” Lloyd Swanton writes, “in a very different place from whatever our initial notion … had been.” In the case of Vertigo, you are dropped straight into an almost Feldmanesque musical universe, in which sounds — seemingly disconnected — are already there; creating space rather than inhabiting it. Then, without trying, they mutate. Not mechanically and not according to any pre-determined process — because it’s always clear that what you hear is being played by human beings; that it’s music. A special kind of music that is not pushy or demanding or demonstrative, but rather co-operative, spatial, ambiguous. A music that leaves room for its listeners.
File Under: Ambient, Jazz
Papé Nziengui: Kadi Yombo (Awesome Tapes From Africa) LP
“Kadi Yombo”, published in 1989, is the most successful album in the quest for a fusion between tradition and modernity in Bwiti harp music of the Tsogho people of Gabon. Combining beating rattles with a layer of synthesizers, Papé Nziengui blends in a contrapuntal dialogue characteristic of harp playing: male song in appeal and female choir in response, male voice of the musical arc and rhythms of female worship. But above all, it’s Tsogho ritual music and modern studio orchestration. The result is an initiatory itinerary of 10 musical pieces which are all milestones likely to be simultaneously listened to, danced, meditated on, and soon acclaimed. Like Bob Dylan, “electrifying” folk and Bob Marley mixing rock with reggae, some purists have criticized Nziengui for having distorted the music of harp by imposing a cross with modern instruments. But instead of allowing himself to be distorted, Papé Nziengui has always tried to produce music that is not a caricature, worthy in its expression as in its content, of the sacredness and transcendence of the music of the Origins.
File Under: Africa
Art Pepper: + Eleven (Craft) LP
2021 marked 70 years of Contemporary Records, the Los Angeles-based audiophile jazz label that both defined and radically expanded the sound of West Coast jazz. Throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, Lester Koenig’s artist-friendly company released career-defining performances by some of modern jazz’s most influential and accomplished improvisers, including Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Hampton Hawes, Art Pepper, Harold Land, Shelly Manne and Teddy Edwards. In celebrating the history of this essential label and its exceptional catalog, Craft Recordings is releasing a variety of content throughout the coming year. In the aftermath of Charlie Parker, no alto saxophonist blazed a more brilliant alternative path than Art Pepper, who forged a lyrical detour bypassing bebop despite his love of Bird. The L.A. native poured his tormented soul into his horn, recording a series of classic albums between stints in prison due to his addiction to heroin. His Contemporary sessions rank among his very best work. Pepper’s classic big band album +Eleven features modern jazz classics by Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and more. First released in 1960 and recorded by legendary engineers Roy DuNann and Howard Holzer, this new edition features all-analog mastering from the original tapes by Bernie Grundman. The record is pressed on 180-gram vinyl at QRP and presented in a Stoughton Old Style Tip-On Jacket.
File Under: Jazz
Pink Mountaintops: Peacock Pools (ATO) LP
Pink Mountaintops’ first new album in eight years features 12 songs sparked from Stephen McBean’s magpie-like curiosity for a wild expanse of cultural artifacts: David Cronenberg, Disney Read-Along Records from the ’70s, early Pink Floyd, mid-career Gary Numan, John Carpenter movies, and Ornette Coleman live videos. Featuring counterculture icons like Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) and Dale Crover (Melvins), Peacock Pools alchemizes those obsessions into a body of work with its own enchanting power.
File Under: Indie Rock
Jon Porras: Arroyo (Thrill Jockey) LP
Jon Porras draws a staggering array of atmospheres out of even the simplest instrumentation. Across his work as one-half of psych-drone duo Barn Owl and his solo releases, Porras welds monoliths and ether into propulsive music that is deeply felt. Arroyo, named for the Spanish word for ‘stream’ in a nod to Porras’ heritage as a first generation Colombian-Japanese American, drifts gently from one tributary to the next in unhurried contemplation and euphoria. The portentous weight and abrasive textures of Porras’ previous work give way to the trickle of richly detailed acoustic instruments slipping in and out of the fold. On Arroyo, Jon Porras evokes a distinct sense of resplendent anticipation and calm with a fathomless flow and softly gorgeous colors.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Max Richter: Invasion Season 1 OST (Decca) LP
Max Richter provides the stellar score for Apple TV+ series Invasion. “A big part of any scoring project is the process of discovering the musical language that feels like it emanates from the world of the show, like it belongs only to that world, and feels inevitably bound to it,” Richter notes. “In the case of Invasion, with its multiple interlocking storylines and broad emotional canvas, I needed to invent several musical worlds, and this meant multiple toolkits. I used the orchestra in its traditional setup, but also subverted electronically, I used a variety of different vintage synthesisers and processing tools, as well as solo piano and cello as my main colours. The multidimensionality of Invasion is reflected in the eclecticism of the score, which ranges from a directly emotional approach to thunderous and completely abstract brutalism, echoing the psychological dynamics of the show.”
File Under: OST
Roxy Music: Country Life (Republic) LP
Country Life served as Roxy Music’s second release after the departure of Brian Eno and it’s arguably the high point of the band’s ouput from that era. The haunting, melancholic “The Thrill of It All,” the art-rockin’ “Out of the Blue,” the almost-pure ’50s rock of “If It Takes All Night,” the decadent affectations of “A Really Good Time” and the concluding “Prairie Rose,” all offer glimpses of alternative rock before the genre even existed. The combination of textures is exhilarating, and the songwriting which draws on elements of R&B, cabaret music and glam rock is among the band’s most accomplished. This 180g vinyl LP reissue is mastered at half-speed and cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios.
File Under: Rock
Roxy Music: Stranded (Republic) LP
Roxy Music began to reign in its unsettling, quirky art rock on Stranded, the band’s third album. In absence of keyboardist/arranger Brain Eno, vocalist Bryan Ferry assumes full control of Roxy Music’s musical direction, moving toward a less overtly experimental, yet still progressive and eccentric style. Ferry still sings in a camp-styled croon, yet his songwriting is sharper and more nuanced here, as is conveyed by the enigmatic “Psalm” and the multi-part “Mother of Pearl.” Stranded also introduces violinist Eddie Jobson, whose contributions slotted in perfectly alongside reed player Andy Mackay and guitarist Phil Manzanera. There is no denying that this incarnation of the band represents Ferry’s vision and the album provides the ideal structure for Ferry’s quirky themes and style.
File Under: Rock
Satellites: s/t (Batov) LP
Lost somewhere between the mysterious alleys of ’70s Istanbul and the scorching sun and crystal blue sea of Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Şatellites self-titled debut album is set to be released on Batov Records. The Şatellites’ sound shimmers between traditional Turkish folk and instrumentation, ethereal psychedelic guitar leads and groovy dancefloor baselines. The resulting concoction of songs draws on cross continental influence yet at its core is a desire to illuminate the vivid qualities of classic Turkish music, honoring the Anatolian folk and psych artists from this golden era of music. From the funky disco beat of Disko Arabesque to the celestial lead guitar in “Yağmur Yağar Taş Üstüne”, the band add fire and flair to time-honored pieces of Turkish music giving them new meanings. Covering important tracks such as female singer Kamuran Akkor’s track “Olurmu Dersin”, and musician and guitarist Zafer Dilek’s “Yekte”, the album covers an array of original pieces of different musical styles and sounds, that once have and continue to flow out of Turkey. The band boasts six members; Ariel Harrosh (bass), Lotan Yaish (drums), Yuli Shafriri (vocals), Tsuf Mishali (keys and synths), Tal Eyal (percussion), and Itamar Kluger (diwansaz, both electric and acoustic, electric baglama, Greek four double string bouzouki). They came together some years after band leader Itamar Kluger discovered the saz whilst traveling the Kaçkar mountains in Turkey’s eastern region. The saz being a long necked, plucked stringed instrument native to the rural areas of the country, which remains an integral part of Şatellites’ union, and plays predominance throughout the bands’ album and music. In the same way the guitar was electrified in the 1930s, the electrification of the saz in the 1960s led to an explosion of rock music dredged in middle eastern influence, a musical genre fittingly called “Anatolian rock” and based on the principles of Anglo-American and psychedelic rock music, yet incorporating the style, rhythm, and scales of traditional Anatolian folk music. As such, throughout the creation of the album, the band conceived the idea of intertwining differing elements such as the groove of funk, the rhythm of disco, and reverb of psychedelic, with traditional Middle-Eastern rhythm and structure, opening up the wealth of Turkish music to the western world. For fans of: Derya Yildirim, Altin Gün, Liraz, Baba Zula, Yin Yin, Ayyuka, Bab L’bluz.
File Under: Turkish, Psych
Seikatsu Kojyo Iinkai: s/t (Aguirre) LP
Ferocious JP/US free jazz bomb. A rare meeting between the NYC free jazz scene and the Japanese free music scene. Following hot on the heels of the first, mid-sixties generation of Japanese free jazz players like Kaoru Abe, Masayuki Takayanagi, Yōsuke Yamashita, Motoharu Yoshizawa, etc., an exciting second wave of younger players began to emerge in the seventies. Two of its leading members were the saxophonist Kazutoki Umezu and multi-instrumentalist Yoriyuki Harada. Both were post-war babies and immigrants to the city, Umezu from Sendai in the north and Harada from Shimane in the west. They first met as students in the clarinet department at the Kunitachi College of Music in western Tokyo. The two began to play together in an improvised duo, with Umezu on clarinet and bass clarinet and Harada on piano. Experiments led to the creation of a trio, with a high-school student called Tetsuya Morimura on drums, that they decided to name Seikatsu Kōjyō Iinkai (Lifestyle Improvement Committee) in joking reference to the Marxist discourse of the student radicals of the time. Around 1973, Umezu and Harada decided to call it a day and go their separate ways. Umezu began playing with the Toshinori Kondo Unit and Harada with the Tadashi Yoshida Quintet. In 1974 Harada formed his own trio and began to play at jazz coffeehouses across Japan. In September 1974 Umezu travelled alone to New York. Umezu soon became known on the scene as Kappo and he started to make connections with some of the young musicians. Umezu wrote to Harada and invited him to come to New York. He accepted and arrived in the city in July 1975. Harada and Umezu took the opportunity to resume their artistic collaboration. Their first concert together in over two years took place on July 20th at another loft, Sunrise Studios at 122 2nd Avenue. Umezu invited along trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah. Abdullah led his own group and was a long-term Sun Ra sideman. William Parker, one of the key figures in the loft jazz scene of the period, was on bass. Abdullah also brought along Rashid Sinan on drums. Sinan played on Frank Lowe’s immortal Black Beings (1973) and Arthur Doyle’s Alabama Feeling (1978). By all accounts the evening was a huge success, with speed and dynamism of Harada’s piano playing gaining him lots of support. Since they had managed to save some money from their day jobs, Umezu and Harada decided to set up a recording session with the same line-up on August 11 at Studio We, where there was a well-equipped studio on the third floor. On their first recordings, the humor element, which is key to their sound, is not yet present. Instead, there is a febrile sense of joy in creation and connection. Old-style gatefold with rare photographs and liner notes by Alan Cummings
File Under: Japan, Jazz
Sister Ray: Communion (Royal Mountain) LP
Sister Ray, the project of Edmonton-born songwriter Ella Coyes, delivers debut album Communion. It’s a raw, meticulously-crafted portrait of momentous, ordinary moments; experiences that define your past and instruct how you move through the world. It’s also a break-up album invested in exploring the motivations behind actions, rather than attempting moral judgment. It’s about “shitty shit” says Coyes. Backed by Ginla, the Brooklyn-based duo behind early Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker and Lorely Rodriguez (Empress Of), Communion is anchored by guitar melodies that bear an undercurrent of turmoil and echoes with the wisdom of hard-won lessons. The tone that cascades across this tender atmosphere eludes to this nostalgic feeling, the guitar passages bring this familiar warmth to the creation whilst the dynamic vocal harmonies direct the motion of the release and add this influx of emotion. The lyrics build this clear vision for the ensemble, it’s personal, raw and relatable. Sister Ray can easily connect to the listener and with that brings such power. Sister Ray boldly allows such intimate attributes to fuel the path of this release, the end result – explosive.
File Under: Indie Rock
Springtime: s/t (Joyful Noise) LP
“This Springtime record is so full of strange wanderings that are broken and piled up on themselves that the heads have no idea where their tails are. The live recording of Will Oldham’s “West Palm Beach” is treated with love and respect and would certainly be met with open arms by its author. “Jeanie In A Bottle” and “The Viaduct Love Suicide” are magnificent songs originally penned by Gareth Liddiard’s Irish uncle, Ian Duhig. The latter piece is a true story of a woman in the UK who had a disabled child. She jumped off a bridge with her son in her arms. The press were saying she was fucked for doing such a thing, so Ian wrote the poem showing she was not. “”The Island” is a noisy improvisation that’s wicked and wild with a slinky Hammond organ sneaking its way through the clatter. Irish composer Herbert Hughes wrote the tragic and haunting “She Moved Through The Fair” which exists in a number of versions and has been recorded by several artists (this one is best). “The Killing Of The Village Idiot” is about the Australian Special Forces who went around slaughtering civilians in Afghanistan and recently got investigated and busted for it. “The single most important component in collaborative art is the chemistry between the collaborators. Jim White has long been one of my favorite drummers: He reminds me of no one. His ability to keep perfect time while deviating from convention and tossing tambourines and broken cymbals on his kit is as marvelous to watch as it is to listen to. Gareth Liddiard’s guitar playing feels out of control, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. He throws nuanced accents like darts among the filthy din of distortion. And the ferocity his voice reaches is tremendous. Maestro Chris Abrahams’ playing is in a class by itself, ranging from the charm of Erik Satie to the nastiness of a truck-mounted excavator. “These three gentlemen work, play and improvise together in an emotionally volatile universe. You could call it “jazz”, but that word is way too jazzy for what Springtime creates. There is no pompous audacity. No terrible flagrancy. Their music is heartfelt. It’s important.” – David Yow
File Under: Indie Rock, Drones
Sympathy Nervous: s/t (Minimal Wave) LP
Minimal Wave is honored to present a reissue of Sympathy Nervous’ pioneering debut album originally released in 1980 on Vanity Records out of Japan. Sympathy Nervous was Yosihumi Niinuma’s lifelong project which he started in his Tokyo living room in 1979. Through Sympathy Nervous, Niinuma was able to channel his energy into what he loved – building his own synthesizers and speakers from scratch. Niinuma was inspired by German Krautrock and through his music created intense proto-techno soundscapes. Now finally available for the first time ever, remastered from the original tapes used for the 1980 release, is the timeless masterpiece in its entirety. This is a momentous occasion and we are happy that Niinuma and his family have entrusted us with this gem of an album. The Sympathy Nervous LP will be pressed on 180 gram vinyl featuring updated artwork themed from the original release, along with an insert sleeve with an unpublished photograph of Niinuma at work in his studio. About his set up, Niimuma says: “The reason it takes over five hours to set up is because all of our synthesizers’ modules are separate. I take and control each part with a UCG, ‘Universal Character Generator.’ I actually gave it that name myself. There are a lot of people using this technique elsewhere, but it hasn’t been systemized as a popular method here in Japan so I just call it that. In the end, I’m taking everything that used to be done by human hands – like giving it a vibrato or adding sounds – and automating it with a clock. Our system is going to continue growing like plants! I can take my computer and do some lengthy programming, and even clean my echoes. But with the system we have right now, we have to spend time connecting each line. Since it takes four or five wires for each module, it would take up to 70 to 100 wires to do all songs. That’s why the set up takes so long, although of course it’s mostly simply about getting used to it.”
File Under: Japan, Electronic, Vanity
Norma Tanega: I’m the Sky (Anthology) LP
I’m the Sky: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 compiles the enduring and unheard work of Norma Tanega, the musician, painter, activist, teacher, and dreamer. Tanega’s lifelong pursuit of art and individualism was revolutionary in its implicit defiance of societal norms. I’m the Sky represents the unbridled spirit of her California homeland, and exemplifies Tanega’s exceptional song craft and lyricism. This double album edition includes an insert booklet containing liner notes and never-before-seen photos and ephemera.
File Under: Folk
Towa Tei: LP (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records announce the release of the new album from legendary Deee-Lite member Towa Tei, celebrating the 30th year of his career. Available on (orange) vinyl for the first time outside of Japan. The album, simply titled LP features Japanese music icons Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi (Yellow Magic Orchestra), Yasuaki Shimizu (Kakashi), fellow METAFIVE colleagues Tomohiko Gondo and Yoshinori Sunahara, HANA, Wataru Iga, Shunji Mori, Hidefumi Ino, and more. It was mixed by famed engineer Goh Hotoda and the artwork comes from painter Tomoo Gokita. Poppy, catchy, dance-y, and very funky, Towa Tei’s tenth solo album is 100% delirious ride and a testament to the Deee-Lite member’s ever-expanding creativity, combining simplicity and experimentalism in the most feel-good ways. Indoor, outdoor, and every day of the year, this one will make you dance and smile! This release is a collaboration between legendary Japanese label Nippon Columbia/Better Days and WRWTFWW Records.
File Under: Japan, Electronic
Weeknd: FM Dawn (XO) LP
The Weeknd delivers Dawn FM, the hotly-anticipated follow-up to 2020’s widely-acclaimed After Hours. The new album serves as his fifth in addition to three mixtapes released in 2011. A video trailer introduces Dawn FM as “A new sonic universe from the mind of The Weeknd” and namedrops Jim Carrey, Quincy Jones, Tyler, the Creator, Lil Wayne and Oneohtrix Point Never before it closes with a radio-DJ voiceover saying, “You are now listening to 103.5: Dawn FM. You’ve been in the dark for way too long, it’s time to walk into the light and accept your fate with open arms.” The evocative cover art for the project finds Abel Tesfaye aging himself and transforming into a much older man.
File Under: Pop, Electronic
Wet Tuna: Eau’d to a Fake Bookie Vol 1 & 2 (Hive Mind) LP
Hive Mind Records offer this generous helping of Wet Tuna with their signature deeply fried rural psychedelia. Matt Valentine (MV) and Pat Gubler (PG Six) have been jamming together since the mid ’90s, floating around in the US psych-folk scene, playing together in Tower Recordings and separately with influential underground crews Woods, The Golden Road, Garcia Peoples, and The Weeping Bong Band. Both MV and PG Six have been prolific with their solo work and over the years they’ve recorded for labels such as Ecstatic Peace, Drag City, Woodsist, 3 Lobed, and Crash Symbols. On these recordings, made during the first months of the COVID lockdowns in the forests of the Vermont wilderness, MV and PG Six handle the guitars and synths but they’re joined by fellow forest freaks S. Freyer Esq, Jim Bliss, Coot Moon, and Carson “Smokehound” Arnold on bass and drums. Brought to you in their patented mind-expanding spectrasound, Eau’d To A Fake Bookie Volumes 1 & 2 delivers an irresistible gumbo of deep, cosmic psychedelia, primitive drum-machine grooves and woozy country-funk jams. These six songs are cover versions of artists as diverse as The Blackbyrds, Michael Hurley and Jimmy Cliff, but stretched out over four sides, the album is entirely Wet Tuna — loose, free-flowing and lots of fun!
File Under: Psych, Folk
The Who: A Quick One (Geffen) LP
Produced by Kit Lambert, The Who’s diverse second effort, A Quick One, was issued in December 1966 and finds the band distancing themselves from their R&B roots and experimenting with pop music for the first time. At the behest of their managers all four members of the group provided original material to the 10-song set which helped immediately distinguish the album from its 1965 predecessor My Generation which was largely composed by Pete Townshend. Although Pete still looms large here with the likes of standout cuts, “Run Run Run,” “So Sad About Us” and the mini-opera “A Quick One While He’s Away,” additional highlights come in the form of Keith Moon’s madcap instrumental “Cobwebs and Strange” and John Entwistle’s “Whiskey Man” and “Boris the Spider.” Mastered by longtime Who engineer Jon Astley from the original tapes. Packaged in original sleeve with obi and certificate of authenticity, this vinyl version is engineered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios with a half-speed mastering technique that produces a superior vinyl cut.
File Under: Rock
The Who: My Generation (Geffen) LP
The Who’s explosive debut album My Generation was produced by Shel Talmy with assistance from engineer Glyn Johns and originally issued in December 1965. It was recorded in short bursts in April, October and November 1965, and on many tracks the quartet is joined by Nicky Hopkins on piano. Made during the band’s maximum R&B period, the blazing 12-song set features popular R&B covers of James Brown’s “I Don’t Mind” and “Please, Please, Please” plus Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man” alongside anthemic Pete Townshend-penned staples like the title cut “My Generation” and “The Kids Are Alright.” The album’s iconic front sleeve, taken at Surrey Docks in south east London by Decca Records’ photographer David Wedgbury, features an aerial view of the four members of The Who gazing skywards, a pose that other bands, Blondie, The Jam and The Undertones amongst them, copied in almost perfect pastiches years later. Mastered by longtime Who engineer Jon Astley from the original tapes. Packaged in original sleeve with obi and certificate of authenticity, this vinyl version is engineered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios with a half-speed mastering technique that produces a superior vinyl cut.
File Under: Rock
Patricia Wolf: I’ll Look For You In Others (Past Inside the Present) LP
I’ll Look for You in Others is the bittersweet fruit of a painful time in the Portland, Oregon, electronic musician’s life. Patricia wrote and recorded the album in 2020, in the aftermath of losing her mother-in-law to cancer and then, months later, losing a close friend. Created using her habitual materials—synthesizer and voice—in unfamiliar ways, the album served as a means of processing her feelings of heartbreak. Feeling disconnected from everything around her, including her usual approach to music, Patricia found new inspiration in spectral processors—digital FFT algorithms that pull apart and reconfigure audio. As she reshaped her synthesizers and voice into stark, silvery new forms, she realized that the process functioned as a metaphor for grief itself: a representation of the transformation that happens when our loved ones are no longer with us as a physical presence, but are still alive within us in a beautiful new way. I’ll Look for You in Others is not just a document of loss; it is a testament to the way the loss of loved ones changes our lives, and the way the presence of those we’ve lost changes shape after they are gone. I’ll Look for You in Others marks Wolf’s official debut album, following a long, extensive practice of live performance, sound-design projects, contributions to benefit compilations, and reworks of the music of her friends and peers.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic
Neil Young: Citizen Kane Jr Blues 1974 (Reprise) LP
During Neil Young’s long, illustrious career, certain solo shows have attained mythic status, thanks to the practice of bootlegging. Famously, Young played a surprise set at The Bottom Line in New York after a Ry Cooder show. The only known recording of the show was made on a cassette by an audience member, and the 11-song solo set from May 16, 1974, is now being released for the first time on vinyl. Included here are “Pushed It Over the End,” a song inspired by the kidnapping of Patti Hearst, plus live previews of “Long May You Run,” “On the Beach,” “Motion Pictures” (the only live performance to date), and “Pardon My Heart.” (“Long May You Run” would appear as the title track for a 1976 collaborative LP with Stephen Stills, and “Pardon My Heart” would appear on Young’s 1975 album Zuma.) In the Citizen Kane Jr. Blues liner notes, Young writes: “[Ry] was great…I had a bunch of new songs and was itching to play them… I took my guitar with me to the club and I played a guest set after Ry played. I had just recorded the album On the Beach in LA about a month before and had a bunch of new and even newer songs to play. This is the only recording of that night, recorded from a tabletop in the club on a cassette recorder. We took some of the extraneous noise out of the recording but in order to preserve all the music and vibe, we left quite a bit in. What you hear on this recording is what happened that night.”
File Under: Folk, Country
Maki Asakawa: s/t (Honest Jon’s) LP
Chet Baker: Sings: It Could Happen to You (Craft) LP
Beach House: Teen Dream (Sub Pop) LP
Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Capitol) LP
Black Market Brass: Undying Thirst (Colemine) LP
Bon Iver: 22, A Million (Jagjaguwar) LP
Bon Iver: i, i (Jagjaguwar) LP
Leon Bridges: Gold Diggers Sound (Columbia) LP
Leon Bridges: Good Thing (Columbia) LP
Caribou: Swim (Merge) LP
Coil: Love’s Secret Domain (Wax Trax) 2LP
Coil: Musick to Play in the Dark 2 (Dais) LP
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (Columbia) LP
Miles Davis: Get Up With It (Music On Vinyl) LP
Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg (4AD) LP
Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever (Interscope) LP
Ryo Fukui: A Letter From Slowboat (We Release Jazz) LP
Ryo Fukui: In New York (We Release Jazz) LP
Ryo Fukui: Scenery (We Release Jazz) LP
Intersystems: No 1 (Alga Marghen) LP
Khruangbin: Mordechai (Dead Oceans) LP
King Crimson: Red (Panegyric) LP
Mary Lattimore: At the Dam (Ghostly) LP
MF Doom: Operation: Doomsday (Metal Face) LP
Roberto Musci & Giovanni Venosta: Water Messages on Desert Sand (RER) LP
National: Alligator (XL) LP
National: Boxer (4AD) LP
National: High Violet (4AD) LP
National: Sleep Well Beast (4AD) LP
Oasis: Definitely Maybe (Big Brother) LP
Anderson .Paak: Malibu (Steel Wool) LP
Parliament: Osmium (Demon) LP
Lee Perry & The Upsetters: Return of the Super Ape (Goldenlane) LP
Plastikman & Chilly Gonzales: Consumed in Key (Turbo) LP
Scientist: Wins World Cup (Mir Dub) LP
Taylor Swift: Folklore (Republic) LP
Midori Takada: Through The Looking Glass (WRWTFWW) LP
Ghedalia Tazartes: Diasporas (Dais) LP
Various: Hateful Eight OST (Third Man) LP