Well, probably many of you are currently in Calgary at Sled Island, but the good news is that you can still purchase any and all of the fine records on offer below are also available on our site for pick up when you get back. Despite it being late June, there’s still loads of new stuff coming out. A couple of killer new comps from Numero bookend this weeks’ list. The first an 18 track overview of new age label Valley of the Sun, and the last, a collection of private press covers of 70s classics. Also ANOTHER Vox Populi, this one, an unreleased archival material from their prime era. 3 Dengue Fever reissues of their Cambodian psych stylings. Another Blue Note and another Bill Evans Acoustic Sounds reissue. Vinyl reissues of Vancouver’s Hotham Sound head honch’s project Mount Maxwell. Two other cool African reissues on Numero as well. And a good stack of restocks. Lastly, a small clutch of fresh used slabs up on the site as well!
– 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…..
Various: Valley of the Sun: Field Guide to Inner Harmony (Numero) LP
Both a marketing firm and metaphysical mission, Valley of the Sun synthesized style and spirituality to produce an extensive catalog that at once defines and defies new age music. Founder Dick Sutphen worked with tireless devotion to spread a message he believed could change the world for the better. This 18-track Double LP overview of VOTS’ fertile 1977-1990 period includes music from Upper Astral, Robert Slap & Steve Powell, David Naegele, David Storrs, Steven Cooper, and Gloria Thomas, a 24-page booklet with extensive liner notes, J-card scans, and a hint of Sedona sand. Subliminal hypnosis likely.
File Under: New Age, Ambient, Kris’s Picks
Vox Populi!: Psycko Tropix (Touch Sensitive) LP
Touch Sensitive is honoured to dig into the vaults of legendary cult French group Vox Populi! with a collection primarily pulling from their creative highpoint of 1986-1990. The vast majority of the works are unreleased and all make their first appearance on vinyl. The recordings have been licensed from the group’s extensive archive, mastered by Rupert Clervaux and cut by Andreas Kauffelt at Schnitstelle. The release is completed by liner notes focusing on Vox Populi!’s creative process and prolific output. Springing from the rip it up restart of post-punk in 1980 and primarily active throughout that decade, Vox Populi!’s discography is a perfect showcase of an almost unclassifiable group. The often-used ‘ethno-industrial’ tag – even if not approved by the group – goes some way to describing a melting pot of primarily self-taught techniques and vast cultural influences. Founding member Axel Kyrou’s parents were avant-garde musicians and filmmakers resulting in a heavy cultural immersion from a young age. His partner and bandmate Mitra moved from Iran to Paris in 1978 – followed a few years later by her virtuoso brother Arash who joined the group at the age of 14. Based in their 14th arronidissement studio – previously Axel and his b rother’s family playroom – Vox Populi! quickly became a lynchpin in the Parisian experimental scene and beyond through the burgeoning mail-art scene. The group contributed work to a huge number of independent labels. Their music and approach quickly progressed from rudimentary experiments to harness transcendental spiritual qualities and moments of intense beauty. In this collection, we can feel the vibrations of Don Cherry’s Organic Music Society, Faust’s communal explorations and King Tubby’s forward-thinking studio experimentation. “We recorded everything – every idea. We would always have a cassette or a reel running. We made such different styles – freaky, alternative, experimental, industrial etc. We had no rules and no plans – our main motives were play and pleasure. I think that many people can feel that in the music.” Three tracks recorded in 2017 by a reconfigured Vox Populi! sit perfectly with music from 30 years previous – “We were never defined by fashion or the zeitgeist. So we remained ourselves. Our sound is still natural. We had to be turned on by our own music and we wanted the music to have an impact on consciousness. We were the subjects of our own experiments and there was also a kind of mystery – even for us.” The Psyko Tropix collection is another magical and mysterious addition to the open-hearted and open-eared world of Vox Populi!
File Under: Experimental, Industrial, Electronic, Ian’s Picks, Kris’s Picks
Andrew Bird: Inside Problems (Loma Vista) LP
Though the past three years have seen Andrew Bird busier than ever – between his acting debut in FX limited series Fargo, a long-awaited collaborative LP with Jimbo Mathus, an instant-classic Christmas record, a nonstop series of live streams, an original score for acclaimed PBS documentary Storm Lake, and more – lead single “Atomized” picks up where he left off with 2019’s Grammy-nominated album, My Finest Work Yet. Inside Problems was produced by Mike Viola.
File Under: Indie Rock
C.V.E.: Chillin’ Villains: We Represent Billions (Nyege Nyege Tapes) LP
It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long for a proper retrospective of legendary Los Angeles collective C.V.E. “We Represent Billions” is a crucial portrait of one of the West Coast’s most low-key influential crews – a hydra-like collective of rappers, producers, designers and engineers who were key members of the Good Life Cafe’s open mic scene, going on to inspire artists like Jurassic 5, Kendrick Lamar amongst many other. Initially called Chillin Villain Posse before morphing into Chillin Villain Empire in the late 1980s, they eventually centered around the core trio of Riddlore, NgaFsh and Tray-Loc. The crew were years ahead of their time, self-producing music without samples and pioneering stream of consciousness lyrics that still sound fresh and innovative.
File Under: Hip Hop
Cimafunk: El Alimento (Thirty Tigers) LP
El Alimento (translation: the nutrient) is the monumental second album from Cimafunk, the Cuban medical-student-turned-Latin-funk-star who crash-landed onto the music scene with his debut album Terapia in 2017 and an electric live show that been compared to that of James Brown. The sonically dynamic collection masterfully blends Afro-Cuban sounds and rhythms with global funk, hip hop and soul – resulting in a progressive, head-bopping celebration of black music’s power to eclipse borders and cross-pollinate across cultures. Written and recorded over the previous year, the album served as an alimento for the soul, a motivation to persevere through the pandemic, as Cimafunk spent countless hours studying decades of musical influences to help understand who he is musically and culturally, and thus, where he wanted this album to take him. As innovative funk forefather George Clinton (Parliament-Funkadelic), who sings alongside Cimafunk on the opening track “Funk Aspirin,” says: “Cimafunk takes it back there while keeping it in the now. It’s what we do, always reinventing the Funk to keep it fresh.”
File Under: Latin Funk, Afro-Cuban, Hip Hop, Soul
Mitch Davis: The Haunt (Arbutus) LP
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, and Montréal music scene mainstay Mitch Davis steps out on his own with debut LP The Haunt, blending elements of jazz, funk, sunshine pop, rock, and a host of surprising sonic Easter eggs into a soulful, personal record that brims with musicality and optimism while pondering universal themes of isolation and loneliness. A singer-songwriter tour de force, Davis wrote all the songs and played all the instruments on The Haunt, recorded much of it on equipment that he also built himself, all done in his home studio during the 2020 lockdown. Though thematically inspired by the experience of trying to online date in the midst of the pandemic, The Haunt is a breezy listen, very much in tune with the spirit of 70s pop that Davis loves for the way it strikes a balance between complexity and brevity. Full of warm retro sounds like Rhodes, clavinet, and synth, The Haunt also features lots of playfully modern moments that surprise and delight, like the unexpected chiptune breakdown near the end of “Let it Die,” a cool contrast to the song’s funky marching bass line and lyrics about deciding to give up on a relationship. The baroquely orchestrated “Hope That” achieves a unique interplay between a basic drum machine backbeat and the more acoustic instruments and some lovely synthesized strings. “My City Life” is the album’s centerpiece, a ballad about feeling lost in the big city for which Davis drew on his own experiences moving to Montréal from a town of 3,000. Though it begins as an intimate piano ballad, it soon shifts into smooth and catchy soft rock, becoming a lyrical tale of loneliness that musically reaches for the stars – a song emblematic of the kaleidoscopic talents of Mitch Davis that are on full display on The Haunt.
File Under: Indie Rock, Jazz, Funk
Dengue Fever: s/t (Tuk Tuk) LP
Los Angeles based Cambodian and American band Dengue Fever released their first album (2003’s self-titled) with no idea how it would be received. Was Khmer-rock, or the very idea of covering lost classic Cambodian songs, even something that would resonate with music fans? Would anyone in the indie community want to hear songs in Khmer? Would anyone in the world music community want to hear psych or garage rock? More than a decade and many releases later, the answer to all those questions is an emphatic yes.
File Under: Psych, Asia, Khmer
Dengue Fever: Escape from Dragon House (Tuk Tuk) LP
Los Angeles based Cambodian and American band Dengue Fever released their first album (2003’s self-titled) with no idea how it would be received. Was Khmer-rock, or the very idea of covering lost classic Cambodian songs, even something that would resonate with music fans? Would anyone in the indie community want to hear songs in Khmer? Would anyone in the world music community want to hear psych or garage rock? More than a decade and many releases later, the answer to all those questions is an emphatic yes. In fact, the reaction to Dengue Fever’s music was so strong in the early 2000s that the band’s sophomore album, 2005’s Escape from Dragon House was an attempt to steady the waves their debut caused by expanding their boundaries writing original material. All the while, they still needed to keep the key elements of their debut intact. Oh, and could you dance to it? Again, an emphatic and resounding “Yes!” from the sweaty bodies and revelry at shows from Europe to Asia, Russia to Brazil, and from the United Arab Emirates to Australia and New Zealand.
File Under: Psych, Asia, Khmer
Dengue Fever: Venus on Earth (Tuk Tuk) LP
Los Angeles based Cambodian and American band Dengue Fever released their first album (2003’s self-titled) with no idea how it would be received. Was Khmer-rock, or the very idea of covering lost classic Cambodian songs, even something that would resonate with music fans? Would anyone in the indie community want to hear songs in Khmer? Would anyone in the world music community want to hear psych or garage rock? More than a decade and many releases later, the answer to all those questions is an emphatic yes. In fact, the reaction to Dengue Fever’s music was so strong in the early 2000s that the band’s sophomore album, 2005’s Escape from Dragon House was an attempt to steady the waves their debut caused by expanding their boundaries writing original material. All the while, they still needed to keep the key elements of their debut intact. Oh, and could you dance to it? Again, an emphatic and resounding “Yes!” from the sweaty bodies and revelry at shows from Europe to Asia, Russia to Brazil, and from the United Arab Emirates to Australia and New Zealand. Today, partly because of those first two albums, Dengue Fever are recognized for their trademark blend of sixties Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock. Later, albums like Venus on Earth (2008), Cannibal Courtship (2011) and the lesser known In The Ley Lines (2009), cemented the band as true global pioneers who are constantly evolving their sound forward.
File Under: Psych, Asia, Khmer
Kenny Dorham: Quiet Kenny (Public Domain) LP
One of the most active bebop trumpeters, Kenny Dorham started in the big bands of Mercer, Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie and eventually landed in the Charlie Parker Quintet. In addition, he was a charter member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, recorded as a sideman with Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins and replaced Clifford Brown in the Max Roach Quintet. Throughout his career he can be heard playing trumpet on various recordings with Lou Donaldson, Sonny Stitt, Fats Navarro, Kenny Clarke, Mary Lou Williams and many more musical legends. “Quiet Kenny” is a jazz masterpiece. Recorded by the great Rudy Van Gelder with a group of musicians playing at the top of their game, this title continues to be one of the most collectible Jazz LPs due to its high demand and short supply. One of the most active bebop trumpeters, Kenny Dorham started in the big bands of Mercer, Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie and eventually landed in the Charlie Parker Quintet. In addition, he was a charter member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, recorded as a sideman with Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins and replaced Clifford Brown in the Max Roach Quintet. Throughout his career he can be heard playing trumpet on various recordings with Lou Donaldson, Sonny Stitt, Fats Navarro, Kenny Clarke, Mary Lou Williams and many more musical legends. “Quiet Kenny” is a jazz masterpiece. Recorded by the great Rudy Van Gelder with a group of musicians playing at the top of their game, this title continues to be one of the most collectible Jazz LPs due to its high demand and short supply.
File Under: Jazz
Lou Donaldson: Blues Walk (Blue Note) LP
Blue Note Records has announced the continuation of the Classic Vinyl Reissue Series which presents 180g vinyl LP reissues in standard packaging mastered by Kevin Gray and manufactured at Optimal. Lou Donaldson had already been at the helm of seven Blue Note sessions by the time he made his undisputed masterpiece Blues Walk in 1958. The alto saxophonist quickly became a fixture on the Blue Note scene after he first played on a Milt Jackson date in 1952 with sideman appearance on sessions led by Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, and Jimmy Smith, as well as a co-led date with Clifford Brown. On Blues Walk, Donaldson reconvened the line-up from his 1957 album Swing and Soul with Herman Foster on piano, Peck Morrison on bass, Dave Bailey on drums, and Ray Barretto on congas. The excellent six-song set yielded one of his most memorable themes with the cool struttin’ title track, a laid-back minor blues that opens the album with a standout performance by the leader. Donaldson keeps it bluesy on his tune “Play Ray,” showcases his bop chops on uptempo numbers like “Denzil Best’s “Move” and his own “Callin’ All Cats,” and delivers stunning renditions of the standards “Autumn Nocturne” and “The Masquerade Is Over.”
File Under: Jazz
File Under: Jazz
Bill Evans: Trio ’65 (Verve) LP
This 1965 Verve date from jazz luminary Bill Evans may feature eight numbers that were all previously recorded at one time or another, but this time around he’s accompanied by bassist Chuck Israels and drummer Larry Bunker, who were members of his regular working trio at the time, and it makes a world of difference. Together they offer up definitive takes on half of the set including “Israel,” “How My Heart Sings,” “Who Can I Turn To,” and “If You Could See Me Now,” all captured seamlessly by producer Creed Taylor. This all-analog 180g vinyl LP reissue was mastered from the original analog tapes by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound, pressed at QRP, and comes housed in a Stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket.
File Under: Jazz
Jonny Greenwood: The Power of the Dog (Invada) LP
Jane Campion’s masterful The Power of the Dog is the most honored film of the year. The critically-acclaimed original score by Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated composer Jonny Greenwood has won ‘Best Score’ at 13 major critics organizations and is now SCL nominated for Outstanding Original Score for a Studio Film. “The year’s indisputable soundtrack pinnacle”. – Peter Travers “The year’s best film score.” – The New Yorker “Greenwood’s latest score – and the one that might be likeliest to finally win him an Oscar.” – Stereogum
File Under: OST
Yves Jarvis: The Zug (Flemish Eye) LP
Elastic artist Yves Jarvis has announced his new album ‘The Zug’. Like the many works under Jarvis’ belt, ‘The Zug’ is an entirely self-produced venture. From instrumentation to engineering to artwork, the autodidact has forged a bastion for vanguard exploration within which no holds are barred. These creative mediums coalesce into a higher order of consciousness, depicting the cosmic dance we both represent inwardly and engage with outwardly.
File Under: Indie Rock
Karate: Bed is in the Ocean (Numero) LP
A lingering guitar note. A cushion of a bassline nudging along a hushed cadence unspooling impressionistic poeticism one halting line at a time; the sparse snap of a snare providing punctuation. This is how Boston’s Karate opened their third full-length, 1998’s The Bed Is In The Ocean. Perhaps this was a reaction to the aggressive punk tones that marked their previous album, or maybe they hoped to capture the somnambulant dusk on one of those pristine fall days that make living in a town whose population swells when colleges welcome back students all worthwhile. Then again, Karate never made a point of chasing the same idea twice, and “There Are Ghosts” remains in line with the band’s stylistic intrepidness and unpredictability. Even the group’s lineup appeared constantly in flux. After expanding from a trio to a quartet and employing a dual-guitar attack with 1997’s In Place of Real Insight, founding member Eamonn Vitt hung up his axe to attend medical school. Karate soldiered on as a trio, with mid-stream addition Jeff Goddard’s bass work helping establish a sidewinding path forward through the smoky jazz melodicism and sun-beaten blues brushstrokes that hung in the background of the band’s catalog. In their short time together, Karate helped bolster the national punk ecosystem, a scene in which individual artistic vision was prized but rarely achieved. Their exacting precision and emotive interplay helped recombine the DNA of the dignified grace of slowcore, the hot-and-sweaty atmospherics of the blues, and the high-wire tension of post-hardcore to deliver drawling instrumental curveballs and a furtive riptide climax with a controlled grace on “Outside Is The Drama.” Singer-guitarist Geoff Farina frequently teased out the emotional nuances of each song, his worn-in voice shading in the complexities of his enigmatic lyrics; no matter how difficult it may be to parse his snatched-from-daily-life wisdoms, on The Bed Is In The Ocean Farina sounded like a guy who knew exactly the right thing to tell whoever may be listening. And with Karate’s snaking turns through quasi-punk reveries no one else appeared capable of mustering, it’s comforting to hear it accomplished by a band that knew exactly what they were doing.
File Under: Indie Rock, Slowcore
Kreator: Hate Uber Alles (Nuclear Blast) LP
World renowned extreme metal titans Kreator are back! Five years after their incredibly successful Gods Of Violence album, the genre-defining band presents their most political effort to date. Hate Über Alles is a bold statement against hate and the division of society in today’s world.
File Under: Metal
Mount Maxwell: Only Children (Cardinal Fuzz) LP
A founding member of Vancouver Island’s MMR Collective, and head of the Canadian experimental electronic label Hotham Sound, artist and musician Jamie Tolagson (Mount Maxwell) currently lives and works in Vancouver, BC. His music is a unique blend of analog synths and acoustic instrumentation, calling to mind such artists as Boards of Canada, Bruce Langhorne, and Tangerine Dream. A preoccupation with childhood perception, utopian thinking, and the landscape of the Pacific Northwest runs throughout his work, which has been featured in Discorder Magazine, Tabs Out, Cassette Gods, Retromania, Free Form Freakout, Last FM, and NTS Radio. Only Children is his fourth album. “Mount Maxwell continues his run of 1970s themed releases with a full-length meditation on the perceptual experiences of children born in the wake of the 1960s cultural revolution. Highly ambivalent in tone, Only Children marks a departure from earlier MM releases both in its use of acoustic instruments and in a newfound sense of criticality towards its subject matter; the back-to-the-land optimism of tracks like ‘Nature ID’ in uneasy proximity to the skeptical disquiet of ‘Weird Places’ and ‘Nomad’. A beautiful, emotionally complex examination of the ‘Me’ generation’s dubious decision to treat children like adults, and a haunting continuation of the Mount Maxwell experience.” –Hotham Sound
File Under: Electronic, Downtempo, Ambient
Mount Maxwell: People’s Forest (Cardinal Fuzz) LP
Whether evoking the lost utopian communities of the Gulf Islands, eulogizing the socialist origins of the BC Ferries system, or exploring the aftermath of 60s idealism, Mount Maxwell albums have always arrived with an expansive backstory. On first listen, the narrative of ‘The People’s Forest’ seems to be a kind of pagan celebration of British Columbia as it exists in the artist’s imagination, but closer examination reveals enough ambiguous sonic references (to midwifery, whale research, communal living, ghosts) to keep any listener guessing. Expanding on the approach of last year’s ‘Only Children’, keyboards and drum machines are again complimented by a host of flutes, thumb pianos, hand drums and noisemakers, resulting in a distinctly playful form of electronic music. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, this is a breathless EP – filled to the brim with glittering synth miniatures and bouyant electro-acoustic beats that bump and jostle against one another like toys in a bathtub. After a long and disheartening year, a much needed offering of light and warmth from the Mount Maxwell camp.
File Under: Electronic, Downtempo, Ambient
Orchestra Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero) LP
From the landlocked tropical savanna of Upper Volta, an ever-evolving cast of musicians brought the world’s rhythms to the streets of their native Bobo-Dioulasso. Combining Congolese rhumba, American R&B, French yé-yé, Cuban son, and regional Senufo and Mandingo traditions, Orchestre Volta Jazz was at the epicenter of the West African musical explosion of the ’60s and ’70s. Air Volta compiles nine original songs originally issued on the Disques France-Afrique and Sonafric labels, a peerless primer of a group that turned the brutality of colonialism into something beautiful and enduring. “Boisterous and simmering in equal measure.”—Pitchfork “Infectious and filled with joy.”—The New Yorker
File Under: Jazz, Africa
Perfume Genius: Ugly Season (Matador) LP
The music of Ugly Season was written for Perfume Genius and choreographer Kate Wallich’s immersive dance piece, The Sun Still Burns Here. “It’s the sound of dancefloor euphoria,” said Pitchfork. “The color of lights flashing as you move through a crowd, the touch of skin damp and warm against everyone else’s.” Now the entirety of the project’s original music can be heard in Ugly Season. The album was produced by Perfume Genius and Grammy-winning producer and long-time collaborator Blake Mills and was created in collaboration with Hadreas’ long-time partner Alan Wyffels.
File Under: Indie Rock, OST
Redd Kross: Neurotica (Merge) LP
Merge Records is thrilled to reissue Neurotica by Redd Kross, the 1987 power pop and alternative rock opus celebrating 35 years in 2022. Remastered by JJ Golden (Pearl Jam, Thee Oh Sees) and paired with 12 unreleased demos rediscovered in the archive of original A&R guy Geoffrey Weiss. The double vinyl edition—the album on translucent turquoise, the demos on translucent orange—arrives in a slick gatefold jacket. Neurotica could be viewed as a This Is Your Life-esque document of what brothers Jeff & Steve McDonald had been working toward creatively since starting Redd Kross in their Hawthorne, CA living room circa 1978. The songs quake with punk rock fury. And how could they possibly have shaken off the untamed energy of their early Red Cross years which laid a foundation for Southern California hardcore punk & DIY culture alongside bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Descendants? But fury is only part of their formula. To find the other parts, travel back to the ‘70s, when the McDonald boys lived for nothing but Saturday morning cartoons, sugary cereal, bubblegum pop singles, Beach Boys LPs, Partridge Family TV specials and the arena rock guitars of KISS & Cheap Trick. Whereas most self-respecting punk rockers would have sneered at ‘60s/‘70s radio and pop culture schmaltz (even if they secretly liked it), that was all a tremendous part of the Redd Kross DNA. And the McDonalds wore those influences on their dayglo sleeves. They decontextualized the macho, sometimes saccharine, sound of classic rock, celebrating its bombast without falling into its pretentious pitfalls. They played what sounded good to them. If along the way they could convince you that those David Cassidy AM radio singles were actually great & subversive in their own way, that was just an added bonus.
File Under: Rock
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Endless Rooms (Sub Pop) LP
While initial ideas for Endless Rooms were traded online during long spells spent separated by Australia’s strict lockdowns, the album was truly born during small windows of freedom in which the band would decamp to a mud-brick house in the bush around two hours north of Melbourne built by the extended Russo family in the 1970s. There, its 12 tracks took shape, informed to such an extent by the acoustics and ambience of the rambling lakeside house that they decided to record the album there (and put the house on the album cover). For the first time, the band self-produced the record (alongside engineer, collaborator and old friend, Matt Duffy). The result is a collection of songs permeated by the spirit of the place; punctuated by field recordings of rain, fire, birds, and wind. “It’s almost an anti-concept album,” says the band. “The Endless Rooms of the title reflects our love of creating worlds in our songs. We treat each of them as a bare room to be built up with infinite possibilities.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Stars: From Capelton Hill (Last Gang) LP
Montreal’s Stars deliver their first new album in five years entitled From Capelton Hill! Stars’ ninth album and follow-up to 2017’s acclaimed There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light, was composed between Seligman and Cranley over the first half of 2020. After a first attempt to assemble the record remotely with mixed results, the band convened in Montreal to record with Marcus Paquin and Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes) at Studio MixArts, Lasek’s Breakglass Studio, and the band’s own space, Zoomer. McGee says once they finally gathered in a room together, everything clicked – first as friends, then as a working band. From Capelton Hill is ultimately about a group of people who have spent more than 20 years together, and who have now started to face the awful, necessary calculus each human eventually must do: when will all of this end? The album’s two lead singles showcase the band of Torquil Campbell, Evan Cranley, Amy Millan, Chris McCarron, Patty McGee, and Chris Seligman, at their very best. Triumphant and romantic, “Pretenders” embraces a Thelma and Louise-level commitment to seeing things through, and was written by Millan as a “love letter” to Campbell and her memories of the band’s origins. “Snowy Owl,” the album’s tender, acoustic closer, finds Millan and Campbell swapping verses and once again taking the role of two characters that try to stay together but instead keep destroying one another. Campbell says the track is the epilogue to their stories: “I don’t know what comes after,” he says. “I just make records about other people and in the end, they turn out to be about me.”
File Under: Indie Rock
Super Djata Band: En Super Forme Vol. 1 (Numero) LP
Connecting Wasulu hunter music, griot praises, Senufo pastoral dances, Fula and Mandingo repertoire alongside Western psychedelia, blues and afro-beat, Zani Diabaté’s Super Djata Band de Bamako was among Mali’s top orchestras by the late 1970’s well into the mid-1980’s. Tracked live inside Radio Mali’s raw but inspiring studio in January 1982, En Super Forme was briefly available via Côte d’Ivoire’s Musique Mondiale imprint. The album centers around Diabaté and his electric guitar’s pyrotechnics, a relentless shredder that stands shoulder to shoulder with Mali’s fingerstyle gods Ali Farka Touré and Rail Band’s legendary Djelimady Tounkara.
File Under: Africa, Folk
Zola Jesus: Arkhon (Sacred Bones) LP
Nika Roza Danilova AKA singer, songwriter and producer Zola Jesus, is here with her newest album, Arkhon. While previous works were all forged through meticulous detail and control, she approached this release in a direction she had never taken before, with more spontaneity and treading into the unknown. Arkhon is a collaborative album which features contributions from percussionist Matt Chamberlain (Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan and David Bowie). Zola Jesus drew the album’s name from the ancient Greek term which means “power” or “ruler.” She shared, “Arkhons are a Gnostic idea of power wielded through a flawed god. They taint and tarnish humanity, keeping them corrupted instead of letting them find their harmonious selves. I do feel like we are living in an arkhonic time; these negative influences are weighing extremely heavy on all of us. We’re in a time of arkhons. There’s power in naming that.”
File Under: Electronic, Indie Rock
Various: Eccentric Soul: Capsoul Label (Numero) LP
Where everything Numero begins. Three guys in a purple Saturn station wagon drove down to Columbus, Ohio, and came back to Chicago with a lost label – the rest is history. In the early ’70s, Bill Moss’ Capsoul imprint could barely break wind in the larger music marketplace, and yet today the label’s output can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any classic soul of its era. Isolated in central Ohio and lacking the funds to back them, groups like the Four Mints and Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr might’ve easily withstood ten rounds against the Temptations, Smokey, or Otis. The scrappy Capsoul writing team of Dean Francis, Jeff Smith, and Norman Whiteside would’ve thrown blow-for-hook-filled-blow with any Gamble & Huff or Holland/Dozier/Holland thrown at them. From Bill Moss’ civil rights meditation “Sock It To ‘Em Soul Brother” to Marion Black’s future hit about the future “Who Knows” to Kool Blues bounding “I’m Gonna Keep on Loving You,” Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label remains dollar-for-dollar the best soul compilation of its century and the perfect primer for anyone piqued by the Eccentric Soul series – otherwise known around here as the “budding Numero enthusiast.”
FIle Under: Soul, Funk
Various: Super Hits of the 70s (Numero) LP
The ninth installment in Numero’s Cabinet of Curiosities is 100% chart smashes. Culled from the depths of the private press, Super Hits gathers 12 magical adaptations from the Me Decade’s introspective songbook. Pop this oversized 8-Track into your Fleetwood Weltron and enjoy a motley crew of lounge singers, wedding bands, synth enthusiasts, trailer park dreamers, accountants, gym teachers, and more as they bring their own unique energy to classics by Steely Dan, War, Boz Scaggs, Neil Diamond, John Denver, Smokey Robinson, The Carpenters, Redbone, The Box Tops, Fleetwood Mac, and more. Tape warble not included.
File Under: Rock, Covers, Private Press
A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders (Jive) LP
And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead: Century of Self (Svart) LP
Arcade Fire: We (Columbia) LP
Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury, The Insects: Devs OST (Invada) LP
Beach House: Devotion (Carpark) LP
Black Sabbath: s/t (BMG) LP
Black Sabbath: Master of Reality (BMG) LP
Black Sabbath: Paranoid (BMG) LP
Blackalicious: Blazing Arrow (Music on Vinyl) LP
Car Seat Headreast: Twin Fantasy (Matador) LP
Ian Carr: Belladonna (Mr. Bongo) LP
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: No More Shall We Part (Mute) LP
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis: Carnage (Goliath) LP
Clash: London Calling (Epic) LP
Cochemea: All My Relations (Daptone) LP
Czarface: The Odd Czar Against Us (Silver Age) LP
Dangerdoom: The Mouse & The Mask (Lex) LP
Miles Davis: Filles de Kilimanjaro (Music On Vinyl) LP
Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg (4AD) LP
Bill Evans: You Must Believe in Spring (Craft) LP
Idles: Joy As An Act of Resistance (Partisan) LP
Innov Gnawa: Lila (Daptone) LP
Iron Maiden: Piece of Mind (Sanctuary) LP
Kinks: Village Green Preservation Society (Sanctuary) LP
Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (Aftermath) LP
Lemonheads: It’s A Shame About Ray (Fire) LP
Lingua Ignota: Caligula (Profound Lore) LP
Nas: Illmatic (Columbia) LP
NehruvianDOOM: s/t (Lex) LP
Nirvana: In Utero (Geffen) LP
Nirvana: MTV Unplugged in New York (Geffen) LP
Nirvana: Bleach (Sub Pop) LP
Angel Olsen: Big Time (Jagjaguwar) LP
Orville Peck: Pony (Royal Mountain) LP
Iggy Pop: Lust for Life (Virgin) LP
Primal Scream: Screamadelica (Sony) LP
Prince & The Revolution: Live (Legacy) LP
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Californication (Warner) LP
Nala Sinephro: Space 1.8 (Warp) LP
Sister Ray: Communion (Royal Mountain) LP
Harry Styles: Harry’s House (Columbia) LP
T. Rex: s/t (Rhino) LP
Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (EMI) LP
The Smile: A Light for Attracting Attention (XL) LP
Sharon Van Etten: We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong (Jagjaguwar) LP
Various: Soul Slabs Vol. 1 (Colemine) LP
Various: Soul Slabs Vol. 2 (Colemine) LP