…..news letter #1059 – hottt…..

It must be officially summer, since I’ve been allowed to turn on the a/c at home. But shockingly, LOADS of new stuff in again this week. There’s just no end. Granted, lots of these are reissues, but those still count! Loads of great used stuff hitting the bins in store as well, just too much stuff coming in to keep up with adding slabs to the site, so you’ll have to come in for a dig. Bring a sweater as we like to keep it chill in here. 

Current operations…..

– 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)

…..pick of the week…..

A Happy Return: Drashel (Spillage Fete) LP
A second world-in-a-grain-of-sand LP of domestic cosmic from A Happy Return on the cult Spillage Fete label. When I was a kid I always daydreamed about scale. What if the cracks in the path were river valleys? What if the stains on the skirting board were a mural? What if the dust under my bed contained multitudes? A Happy Return manage the same disorientating imaginary shifts in point of view on this second record. Something tells me we are definitely at home here, on an epic journey around a back bedroom, passing practice amps like blocks of flats and microphone stands like mobile masts. Sometimes the music operates at the usual spillage fete scale. There are minute-and-a-half-long miniatures that seem to hold more unhurried melodic invention that their scant running time can possibly contain. And sometimes when that melody disappears we are pitched right into the warp and weft of the carpet. If you need clues add to what the record actually sounds like I guess the first two Deux Filles records or Plinth’s Winter Songs might get you close. But when you’re trying to hold infinity in the palm of your hand who cares? 

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

Acid Mothers Temple: Absolutely Freak Out (Static Caravan) LP
First ever repress of the definitive Acid Mothers Temple album — their breakthrough release from 2001. Remastered and repressed on color vinyl (one yellow, one orange) in original gatefold sleeve. Absolutely Freak Out! is the set that first got AMT noticed (relatively) big-time in the UK, and for good reason. There’s not a lot of point trying to describe it; just imagine every moment in rock history when psychedelia got out of control, and edit them all together. Or imagine Hawkwind with Hendrix on guitar, playing Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa covers in a large aircraft hangar, with the doors open and a strong wind blowing. Other Acid Mothers Temple recordings offer more folk or more metal or more drone, but this is the band in full-spectrum-retro-cosmic-rock mode and just offers — more. Of everything you could possibly imagine. If you have yet to commence your journey then this is the one to start with.

File Under: Psych, Japan
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Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto: Vrioon (Noton) LP
Pioneers in their own musical approaches, Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto, began their exploration of sound in the evocatively titled V.I.R.U.S series in 2002. After more than a decade from the release of the collection’s final installment with summvs in 2011, NOTON reissues all the five albums between June and October 2022. With its impressionistic atmosphere, in this collaborative project two generations met and shared the idea of electronic music as an inspiration source for new musical structures. Over a series of five albums, Vrioon (2002), Insen (2005), Revep (2006), utp_ (2008), and summvs (2011), the duo has explored blending electronic and acoustic sounds into a meditative whole that is at once expressive, breathing and precision-engineered. Remastered in collaboration with Calyx Mastering, the recordings are made available under the title Remaster, accompanied by exclusive, unreleased compositions and housed in a beautifully designed sleeve with original cover art by Carsten Nicolai. In November 2022, a dedicated, limited edition cardboard slipcase will be available as a separate item from the V.I.R.U.S.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Arp: New Pleasures (Mexican Summer) LP
Arp, a.k.a. Alexis Georgopoulos, makes his anticipated return to Mexican Summer with the second chapter in his ZEBRA trilogy. New Pleasures advances the narrative begun with 2018’s acclaimed ZEBRA; pastoral in mood, expansive in style, the record acted as a dawn on a nascent, Edenic landscape, reminiscent of a beautiful, long-lost Fourth World album. Now, Arp drops us deep into the grid of the city. New Pleasures fast-forwards a few centuries, locating listeners in a post-industrial Sprawl (to borrow an expression from William Gibson’s Neuromancer) of concrete and glass, imbuing the album with the flinty glow of commerce, the sleek rhythms of industrialization, and the cool finesse of brutalism. The result is a vivid, deconstructed take on high-definition pop, avant-garde, and dance music forms; a prismatic inquiry into machine sentience, the economy of desire, and myriad forms of possession. By turns imaginative, cheeky, and energetic, it’s Arp’s most experimental and yet most alluringly accessible work to date.

File Under: Electronic
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Jorge Ben: Dadiva (Vampi Soul) LP
Vampisoul present a reissue of Jorge Ben’s Dádiva, originally released in 1983. Jorge Ben is someone who needs no introduction. Since his first hits in the ’60s, this artist has become one of the greatest icons of Brazilian pop music. His anthems “Mais Que Nada” or “Pais Tropical” are probably two of the most ever-listened Brazilian songs of all time. After being involved in the Tropicalia movement and incorporating the influences of Afro-American funk into his repertoire, with the support of his backing band — Trio Mocotó –, his very personal samba sound also opened up to the new musical trends coming from the States at the edge of the ’70s. Boogie and disco music were making headway and soon became popular in the Brazilian market. Jorge Ben’s albums recorded at the beginning of the ’80s reflect this trend and deliver a good number of outstanding tunes. This masterpiece includes the great boogie joint “Rio Babilonia” as well as the all-time classics “Taj Mahal/Pais Tropical”, the soulful opener “Eu Quero Ver A Rainha” featuring Tim Maia, and many other samba funk jams arranged by Lincoln Olivetti. An essential addition to any Brazilian music collection.

File Under: Brazil
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Big’n: Discipline Through Sound 25 (Computer Students) LP
The 25th anniversary edition of the noise-rock band’s undisputed masterpiece recorded by Steve Albini. Remastered edition including a big booklet and a bonus disc of demos, outtakes, and unreleased tracks. Discipline Through Sound 25 is the new album by Big’n, a noise-rock band from Chicago that formed in 1990. At the time, the band consisted of vocalist William Akins, guitarist Todd Johnson, bassist Mike Chartrand, and drummer Brian Wnukowski. This outstanding expanded reissue was intended to come out in 2021 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Discipline Through Sound, Big’n’s indisputable masterpiece originally released on Gasoline Boost in 1996, but was delayed due to a PVC shortage and the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. DTS 25 is a massive album. It contains two pieces of superb-quality vinyl with a reissue and remaster of Discipline Through Sound on the first disc. Side C contains unreleased demos from the album. As for Side D, it contains three previously CD-only tracks from a split with OXES (1999) — plus two never-before-heard outtakes. Don’t miss your chance to own a brilliant, undersung artifact of ’90s noise-rock in Chicago — refreshed, expanded, and more venomous than ever before. The release is supplemented by a 12-page booklet featuring never-before-seen photos of the band, a foreword by Steve Albini, and writings from Big’n’s associates. 6mm spine gatefold cover with matte finish. Housed in a sleek, tactile, Type-2 aluminum packaging newly developed and designed by Computer Students.

File Under: Punk, Noise Rock
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Blod: Knutna Navar (Aguirre) LP
Originally released in 2018. “Swedish progg is not to be confused with ‘prog’ as in progressive rock music. When we are talking about progg, we are referring to the Swedish music movement influenced by the political climate of the late ’60s, to some extent the hippie movement and in many cases also Swedish folk music. Music highly driven by a political agenda. Blod’s Knutna Nävar, originally released in an edition of 150 copies on Förlag För Fri Musik in 2018 and later a small cassette run, is pretty much a lost progg classic from the ’70s. This is not a case of copying a certain sound though, far from it, neither are ideas really rehashed nor does the album feel nostalgic in that sense. Rather it feels like if someone has read about the progg movement and all the records but never actually heard it, yet decided to do an album and somehow managed to succeed big time. Further developing the sound palette and ambience initiated with parts of the Leendet Från Helvetet recording, the music feels slightly louder and more in your face. It’s like it’s more of everything. The melodies are immediate and it’s quite impossible to resist the brash catchiness of it all. Albeit mentioning progg music and its importance for this recording, the actual musical side of Knutna Nävar has in reality more in common with soundtrack/library music and Swedish composers like the late Björn Isfält when you attempt to break it down. The crude DIY approach and anything-goes mentality just adds an extra dimension to it all and ultimately places the music somewhere else. There’s a rather blunt use of samples throughout the record (sources probably best to leave out, though you don’t have to be an Einstein to figure these out), but then again this is made by the same guy that gave the world the ABBA album. Those samples have managed to become an integral part of the music through the few years that has passed and though well familiar with the records those snippets are now to me genuinely Blod and nothing else. It seems like everyone has their own favorite but Knutna Nävar is the Blod album I have returned to the most. It has that extra something that sets it apart and if I would have to pick up a few records that sums up why Gothenburg has been a pretty damn awesome place to be in the last 10 years or so, this would definitely be one of the top picks.” Includes insert and large poster; edition of 500.

File Under: Experimental, Electronic
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Blod: Leendet Fran Helvetet (Aguirre) LP
Originally released in 2017 on Förlag För Fri Musik. “It’s been a true pleasure but also a rather chaotic experience to follow the progress of Blod from a close distance since the beginning. I have fond memories of receiving the odd cassettes from the early days, like the severely fucked up Unga Röster (later issued as an LP on Förlag För Fri Musik) and the awfully mesmerizing Prat Om Depression recording. Returning to Leendet Från Helvetet for the first time for long a while, it’s quite evident that the album marked a new phase in the troubled Blod universe. There’s few traces left of the found tapes/audial voyeurism and brutish stop/rec editing that made up the first few releases, instead we are served with what is pretty much a proper album in a, sort of, traditional sense. The record opens with a sole beat from a hand drum soon accompanied by a beautiful and very Blod-ish subtle melody from a glockenspiel but it only takes a few minutes before Gustaf’s past as a free jazz aficionado is noticeable with the rather rough saxophone burst of ‘Natten’. It’s not until the title track that things kicks off for real though, most likely the first example of the sound and, maybe more so, very special feeling that I would say most people associate Blod with nowadays. To me, it’s the sound of growing up in Sweden in the ’80s; having two channels on the TV, eating brown food, rainy summers, taping commercial stuff on the radio, playing D&D in a purple tent in the garden . . . Arguably, Blod has never sounded more Blod than on this track, this is the very essence of the man’s work right here. The progam continues on side B with the solemn piano piece ‘Lust’, another saxophone rager and then the flipside’s centerpiece ‘Tro, Hopp & Kärlek’ which pretty much mirrors the title track in its larger-than-life scope and pure beauty. A couple of years has passed since its initial release back in 2017 and I think it’s safe to say that Leendet Från Helvetet is by far the most overlooked album in the Blod discography (well, if you can say that about a record that was only pressed in a mere 100 copies to begin with!) The blueprint to what would later evolve into the bombastic Knuta Nävar (2018), the intimate Tusen Bitar (2020), the highly confusing medieval masterpiece Missväxt (2021), not to mention all the self-released cassettes and CD-rs.” Includes insert; edition of 500.

File Under: Experimental, Electronic
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Burning Hell: Garbage Island (You’ve Changed) LP
The Burning Hell perform a densely populated, genre-shifting music, packed with an abundance of literary, historical, cultural, and pop-cultural forebears, heroes and villains, subjects and objects, stories and hooks. They move with heavy rhyme and a light step, incorporating a frequent fixation on apocalypse and ruin into work that ultimately enacts a potent celebration of participation in a mutually created, ever surprising, delightful, and even occasionally beautiful world. Garbage Island is an album about what we lose when things fall apart, and what we can gain from collaborative regeneration. It takes place in a crumbling near-future world that bears a distinct resemblance to our own, beginning with the violence of collapse, loosely narrating the escape of the album’s unnamed protagonists on a pedal-boat swan, as they trade doom for danger on their way to a future home built from the detritus of the old world. Along the way, the band narrates both the need for action and the joys of refusing the hustle, nostalgically pines for the days of post-apocalyptic touring life, celebrates escape and solitude, and ends with the hesitant suggestion that the end of the world can’t last forever. Garbage Island showcases songwriter Mathias Kom’s irreverent, surrealist lyricism, but while there is humour, there are few jokes. It’s either the darkest record The Burning Hell has made, the most reassuring, or the most fun. It might be all three. RIYL: Silver Jews, Talking Heads, B-52’s, Magnetic Fields

File Under: Indie Rock
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Cake: Fashion Nugget (Legacy) LP
Originally formed as a somewhat antagonistic answer to grunge, CAKE’s democratic processes, defiant self-reliance, and lucid yet ever-inventive music has made them a nation-state unto themselves, with no obvious peers, belonging to no school. In addition to writing, arranging, producing, and performing their own music, they have taught themselves to engineer their recording projects in their solar-powered studio, which actually generates more power than is needed to run it, causing the building’s electrical meter to run in reverse. CAKE’s second studio album Fashion Nugget, originally released in 1996, reissued on 180 gram vinyl. Remastered audio of the 14-track album includes the hits “The Distance,” “Frank Sinatra,” and “I Will Survive”.

File Under: Rock
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The Dance: Do Dada (Modern Harmonic) LP
Groundbreaking Post-Punk Art-Funk! Do Dada captures The Dance surfing the emerging No Wave scene across their earliest recordings, featuring cuts from their early EPs paired with previously unissued gems! Pressed on colored vinyl!

File Under: Post Punk
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The Dance: In Lust (Modern Harmonic) LP
Sensual Post-Punk Funk! Emerging at the turn of the decade from punk’s three-chord nihilism, The Dance brings a free-wheeling, jagged, dissonant art-funk stomp you can’t help but move your body to! This first ever US release is pressed on colored vinyl!

File Under: Post Punk
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The Dance: Soul Force (Modern Harmonic) LP
Sensual No Wave Glamor! 40 years later, the angular beats, pulsating grooves and Film Noir romanticism of Soul Force sounds like it was recorded yesterday. This first ever US release is pressed on colored vinyl!

File Under: Post Punk
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Death: Non:Analog On:Stage Series, Belgium 12-23-1991 (Relapse) LP
Non: Analog – On: Stage Series, Belgium 12-23-1991 captures Death during the Inhuman Tour of the World! The On: Stage Series collection unearths various Death performances across the United States, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and more. Whether its an underground, old-school rager upon the release of Scream Bloody Gore in ’87, or a tour-de-force in California circa ’95 on the Symbolic tour, Death keeps the spirit of metal alive!

File Under: Metal
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Death: Non:Analog On:Stage Series, Tijuana 10-06-1990 (Relapse) LP
Non: Analog – On: Stage Series, Tijuana 10-06-1990 captures Death live during the infamous Spiritual Healing tour! The On: Stage Series collection unearths various Death performances across the United States, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and more. Whether its an underground, old-school rager upon the release of Scream Bloody Gore in ’87, or a tour-de-force in California circa ’95 on the Symbolic tour, Death keeps the spirit of metal alive!

File Under: Metal
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Death: Non:Analog On:Stage Series, Montreal 06-22-1995 (Relapse) LP
Non: Analog – On: Stage Series, Montreal 06-22-1995 captures Death during the Symbolic tour! The On: Stage Series collection unearths various Death performances across the United States, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and more. Whether its an underground, old-school rager upon the release of Scream Bloody Gore in ’87, or a tour-de-force in California circa ’95 on the Symbolic tour, Death keeps the spirit of metal alive and then some!

File Under: Metal
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Death: Non:Analog On:Stage Series, New Rochelle, NY 12-03-1988 (Relapse) LP
Non: Analog – On: Stage Series, New Rochelle, NY 12-03-1988 captures Death during the Leprosy tour! The On: Stage Series collection unearths various Death performances across the United States, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and more. Whether its an underground, old-school rager upon the release of Scream Bloody Gore in ’87, or a tour-de-force in California circa ’95 on the Symbolic tour, Death keeps the spirit of metal alive!

File Under: Metal
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Dillinger Escape Plan: Irony is a Dead Scene (Epitaph) LP
A 2002 collaboration between Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas,) and The Dillinger Escape Plan, this four song EP is a wildly progressive amalgam of musical styles that combines the feral intensity of hardcore, the technical precision of metal, mind-boggling tempo changes and sonic textures usually associated only with experimental electronic music. Irony Is A Dead Scene pushes the limits of speed, composition and complexity. Perhaps the most extraordinary track is a cover of Aphex Twin’s “Come To Daddy” which brilliantly and significantly serves to blur the distinction between “electronic” and “live” music. 20th Anniversary Edition pressed on colored vinyl LP.

File Under: Metal
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Distillers: Sing Sing Death House (Epitaph) LP
Sing Sing Death House is the second studio album from punk rock power trio The Distillers, originally released in 2002. A life raft of heartfelt punk amid a sea of nu metal dreck, the record chronicles Australian singer/guitarist Brody Dalle, drummer Andy Outbreak and bassist Ryan playing music as they define it – a salvation from the anger, alienation, abuse and resentment in the world. Dalle’s autobiographical anthem, “The Young Crazed Peeling,” attests to that outlook. It’s the story of an unhappy young woman who leaves behind a broken, working class Melbourne home and an abuse-addled past for the liberating California sun. Oh yeah, she finds a man who treats her right along the way. The song “Seneca Falls” was featured in the game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. 20th anniversary colored vinyl LP pressing from Epitaph Records!

File Under: Punk
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Faust: Punkt (Bureau B) LP
“The band called it 5½, fans referred to it as the ‘Munich album’ and for almost fifty years it’s been the missing chapter in Faustian mythology. Now for the first time, the German iconoclasts’ previously unreleased fifth album sees the light of day as Punkt . . . Punkt is Faust at their most unhindered, untethered and unstoppable. Returning to Germany after a loss-making U.K. tour and after their manager Uwe Nettelbeck had split with them, the group dusted themselves down and planned their next project, what would have been their second for Richard Branson’s Virgin. Joined as always by their engineering genius Kurt Graupner, the band took residence in the Arabella High Rise Building, the luxury hotel which housed Giorgio Moroder’s Musicland Studio in its basement . . . Faust spent their nights below ground, creating the sublime cacophony which courses through these seven tracks. Driven by Diermaier’s primitive repetition and Péron’s rabid low-end growl, ‘Morning Land’ stomps its way through almost ten minutes of heavy psychedelia . . . A Luciferian spirit courses through the beatless ‘Crapolino’, a tumult of scorched guitar chords, strident FXs and disembodied vocals which bares all the hallmarks of a black mass. And just like that, the group summon some demonic hunting party for ‘Knochentanz’ (bone dance), arguably their most immersive creation . . . The storm clears for a second to allow a celestial chord progression to emerge from the darkness before the heavens open and Sosna’s snarling, sawing guitar rains down from above, carrying ‘Knochentanz’ through its final iteration, a collision of muscular fretwork, percussion freakout and bleeping organ which completes the most psychedelic recording you’ve never heard. The frazzled optimism of ‘Fernlicht’ buzzes away like an acid Beethoven bathed in neons, before the breathless ‘Juggernaut’ stretches the definition of blues rock to its limit as squirming sine waves, clattering cymbals and corrosive guitars pan, reverse and overlap, each following its own unhinged rhythm. Then for a time the sound and the fury abate, making space for the frankly sublime ‘Schön Rund’, a piano-led diversion into the soul-swelling realms of ECM jazz and fin de siècle impressionism, which rivals anything else in their catalogue for pure beauty. And in case you thought they’d gone soft, Faust sign off with the guttural groans and course drones of ‘Prends Ton Temps’…” –Patrick Ryder

File Under: Prog, Psych, Krautrock
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Fennesz: Hotel Paral.lel (Editions Mego) LP
Hotel Paral.lel, originally released by MEGO in 1997, marks the full-length debut release from Austrian Christian Fennesz. The album followed the twitching drone as found on the 1995 EP Instrument, also included in this deluxe double-LP reissue. Once launched, Hotel Paral.lel was to instigate a sublime exploration of a wide variety of forms, from formal abstraction to shimmering drone around to ground zero glitch pop. Recorded just before mobile computing devices became omnipresent it was an investigation into the sonic possibilities residing in guitar based digital music. “Sz” launches the career with a constantly buzzing sound that resembles a fax machine encountering a G3 laptop for the first time, realizing the game is up. “Nebenraum” is the first foray into the style for which one would attribute to Fennesz. A glacial drone unexpectedly morphs into a gorgeous melody and microscopic groove. Adding pulse and melody was hearsay in the radical end of experimental music up until this point and with this single gesture, everything changed, for everyone. “Blok M” nails this trajectory home with a straight up 4/4 beat. Such rhythm also features on “Fa” with a euphoric mix of a thudding beat, sharp splinters of noise and a devastating exploding melody. Repetition plays heavily through this album as the hyper metronomic beat on traxdata lays a bed for all manner of buzzing electronics. On the closing “Aus” we see a glimpse of what was to come in the future works of Fennesz, an experiment in popping, bubbling pulse pop. A far more darker and experimental work than Fennesz’s subsequent work. This is an exquisite radical field of freeform noise, sliced techno beats and subtle ambient texture all coming together to create a timeless work. There’s little out there in the world of music, still to this day, that sounds remotely like Hotel Paral.lel. With a radical reinvention of music Hotel Paral.lel is an essential addition to collectors of pioneering music in the late 20th century and sounds as enthralling today as it did to the shocked ears occupying 1997. Remastered by Stephan Mathieu. Vinyl cut by Andreas Kauffelt at Schnittstelle. Artwork by Tina Frank. First time on vinyl. Gatefold sleeve; includes download code.

File Under: Electronic
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Ferkat La Ard: Oghneya (Habibi Funk) LP
“An absolutely legendary album from Lebanon by Issam Hajali’s group Ferkat Al Ard, Oghneya stands out as one of the great musical gems of the Arab world. A groundbreaking release from 1978 that represents the meeting point of Arab, jazz, folk and Brazilian styles with the talent of Ziad Rahbani, who did the albums arrangements. Filled with a variety of sounds and genres, from Baroque pop to psych-folk to flashes of bossa nova, Tropicalia and MPB, Oghneya is like if Arthur Verocai took a trip to Beirut in the ’70s to record an album. In 2015 we heard Ferkat Al Ard’s music for the first time, a Lebanese trio compromised of Issam Hajali, Toufic Farroukh and Elia Saba. It is a stunningly unique release that blends traditional Arabic elements, jazz and Brazilian rhythms hand in hand with poetic-yet-politically engaged lyrics. The band was active in the left-wing movement of Lebanon of the time and they communicated their political ideas candidly through their songwriting. As always both vinyl and CD come with an extensive booklet with an interview with Issam as well as unseen photos from the recording sessions.”

File Under: Middle East, Psych
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Gabbard Brothers: s/t (Karma Chief) LP
From the ashes of the acclaimed Ohio rock band Buffalo Killers, singers/ songwriters/siblings Zachary and Andrew Gabbard have re-emerged as The Gabbard Brothers. And while there are still similarities to their previous band – with nods to greats like Neil Young, James Gang and Buffalo Springfield – there’s a hazier, organic, earthy-psych vibe running through the brothers’ new music. The duo released their two debut singles “Sell Your Gun Buy A Guitar” and “Too Much To Feel” in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and are now deliver their self-titled debut album via Colemine Records’ imprint Karma Chief. They traverse through a dozen tracks that effortlessly mix upbeat pop rock (“Hang On, Mama,” “Little Mama, “Yer A Rockstar”) with twangy country-fried rock (“Easter’s Child”) and even hearken back to the heavy swagger of their former band (“Gimme Some Of That,” “Feel Better Love Better”). While comparisons to so many greats have always come easy with their previous work, the brothers seem to be settling into their own signature sound.

File Under: Psych, Rock
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Francoise Hardy: s/t (Destination Moon) LP
Destination Moon present a reissue of Françoise Hardy’s self-titled album, originally released in 1962. Françoise Hardy became an international sensation during the early 1960s through her albums on Disques Vogue, the French jazz label that then began showcasing chanson. She signed to the label at seventeen after answering a newspaper advertisement recruiting unknown singers while she was a freshman at the Sorbonne, the B-side of debut single, “Tous Les Garçons Et Les Filles”, brought her to the forefront of the yé-yé movement, mixing chanson with Anglophone rock and pop, and paving the way for this debut LP, which was lauded by the likes of Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger. This first offering is still arguably her best — grab it now to understand why! Clear vinyl.

File Under: French, Ye-Ye
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Hot Chocolate: s/t (Numero Group) LP
Combined with the planet’s leading Afrocentric confectionary and its derivative beverage, more than a few light bulbs were set to go off in newly christened practice spaces globally upon Hot Chocolate’s inevitable suggestion. Little did Ragland know, an interracial band of musical Englishmen were eyeballing the same nom de chanson in their native Brixton. They approached John Lennon for clearance for their reggae cover of “Give Peace a Chance,” but the powerful Beatle liked their interpretation so much, he added them to the band’s Apple Records roster, thrusting the Brits ahead in the race to make Hot Chocolate a household name for something other than dark, sweet beverages. Despite the potential confusion—and perhaps in hope of capitalizing on it—Lou Ragland began filling his mug with a host of recordings that would make up his Hot Chocolate’s eponymous debut. The album would be released on the oh-so-cleverly-named Co-Co label in 1971 and bankrolled by a five-pointed council that included Ragland, Lyman Moffat, Loretta Walker, Tom Threat, and Leonard Jackson. Executed at Agency Recording and engineered by longtime Ragland associate Don White, the seven-song affair is a team of vocal numbers and instrumentals in search of a leader. Volcanic Eruption’s James McClain showed up to provide vocals for the chorus to “Ain’t That A Groove,” but the rest of the record is all Hot Chocolate. After a solid year on stage, the group had many originals in their repertoire, but they chose to mint songs that Trina’s patrons had indicated, by ballot, they’d like to hear on the LP. Designed to capture the impulsive nature of the live show, most of the material ignores the industry-standard three-minute mark, a feature that might’ve appealed to disc jockeys craving a cigarette or sandwich—had the record been serviced to anyone outside of Cleveland. Dick Dugan, the Cleveland Plain Dealer sports illustrator who’d later conceive iconic mascots for the pro baseball Indians and pro football Browns during his career, was commissioned to sketch out the Hot Chocolate cover for a paltry $100. Working from a photograph, Dugan penned an imaginative rendering of the group, performing in a mugfull of their namesake dessert drink. The album was intended primarily as a keepsake for Trina’s patrons, who scooped up the 1000-copy pressing before slamming down another round.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Interpol: Other Side of Make Believe (Matador) LP
If fate didn’t quite ordain the circumstances for Interpol’s seventh album, it was at least fortunate that the band had happily concluded their Marauder cycle on stage in front of 30 thousand-odd Peruvian fans. Rather than be sent scrambling like so many other musicians on tour or promoting new music, when lockdown clamped in March 2020, Interpol quickly got into a productive mood. Coming from a group whose early work was characterized by Polish knife-wielders and incarcerated serial killers, you might expect Interpol’s pandemic record to be an emotional tar pit – doubly so, given the presence of towering producer-engineer duo Flood and Alan Moulder on the boards. But Paul Banks felt the call to push in a “counterbalancing” direction, with paeans to mental resilience and the quiet power of going easy. “The nobility of the human spirit is to recover and rebound,” he says. “Yeah, I could focus on how fucked everything is, but I feel now is the time when being hopeful is necessary, and a still-believable emotion within what makes Interpol Interpol.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Damien Jurado: Reggae Film Star (Maraqopa) LP
Reggae Film Star is Damien Jurado’s 18th full length studio album and the second on his own record label Maraqopa Records. 25 years since his debut album Waters Ave S. came out, Jurado is more prolific, driven and creative than ever. The twelve mystical songs on Reggae Film Star are gorgeously cinematic and feature a rich production and diverse sonic textures. Reggae Film Star was produced by Damien Jurado at Sonikwire in Irvine, CA, with invaluable help from the dream team of multi instrumentalist Josh Gordon and recording engineer Alex Bush. The album was mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Spencer Krug: Twenty Twenty Twenty Twenty One (Pronounced Kroog) LP
Since the start of 2019, Spencer Krug has posted a new song to his Patreon page every month. The songs on the aptly named Twenty Twenty Twenty Twenty One are selected from those posted throughout 2020 and 2021. They’ve been remixed and remastered into a single album, one laced with the vague sense of anxiety the world provided for so many of us during that time, but also made while Krug entered into the chaotic, blissful fog of parenthood, and so contains a necessary dose of optimism. While no stranger to self-producing, 2020 and 2021 found Krug diving deeper than ever into the possibilities of his home setup, and therein refining a distinct blend of richly analog-acoustic and unabashedly artificial sounds. This self-aware and apparently self-pleasing juxtaposition is the texture making up a lot of the album, adorned with Krug’s half-baked confessionalist poetry; ill-informed takes and recluse-revelations sung out from within his cave-ish backyard studio. Living in rural Vancouver Island, loosely watching humankind unravel and gather itself over and over again from the safe, sleepy vantage point of a new father keeping himself and his family away from most others, locked in a beautiful, boring, perfect bubble, wherein every day, every month, is a kind of recurring dream, bright yet slightly troubled, a quiet walk down a too-familiar road, the cooing of the baby who doesn’t yet know… Krug has unwittingly made a collection of sonic journal entries in Twenty Twenty Twenty Twenty One, each simultaneously guarded and celebratory, cynical and hopeful.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Oksana Linde: Aquatic and Other Worlds (1983 – 1989) (Buh) LP
Oksana Linde belongs to the same creative trail started by artists such as Delia Derbyshire, Suzanne Ciani, or Laurie Spiegel, because like them she knew how to create a personal universe by exploring electronic sounds and to find a place in an eminently masculine environment. Aquatic And Other Worlds is her first album, which compiles electronic synthesizer pieces recorded between 1983 and 1989. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1948, into a family of Ukrainian immigrants, Oksana Linde’s work became known at the beginning of the ’80s, coinciding with the emergence of a new scene of Venezuelan electronic synthesizer music, with names such as Ángel Rada, Miguel Noya, Musikautomatika, Vinicio Adames, Oscar Caraballo, Aitor Goyarrola, and Jacky Schreiber. In 1981, at the age of 33, Oksana Linde left her job as a researcher due to health issues and began to devote more time to music and painting. She borrowed a Polymoog synthesizer, then a TEAC open reel tape recorder and a Moog Source. With this equipment she set up her small home studio and began to compose her first pieces around 1983-1984. She eventually expanded her equipment, acquiring a 16-channel mixer, a Roland Tape Echo, a TR-505 drum machine, a Korg M1, and years later a Korg TR-88. Between 1984 and 1986 she recorded more than 30 pieces. Between 1989 and 1996 she continued to produce another 30 pieces, thus accumulating a large archive that has remained unpublished. Oksana Linde’s music can be intensely hypnotic and psychedelic, but also melodic and playful. Linde programs and plays all the instruments and develops melodic lines that are superimposed on loops and sequences, as well as various layers of reverberant and floating sounds that come and go, and always establish a very cinematic narrative, very typical of the tradition of synthesizer music. The early work of women in electronic music in Latin America is one of those areas that has yet to be worked in depth. In Latin America, the introduction of the synthesizer in experimental, progressive and electronic music from the ’70s on, is associated almost exclusively with male figures, which is why the work of Oksana Linde gains particular relevance, as she establishes herself as a figure who breaks that hegemony, and whose extensive production in turn places her as one of the most prolific and notable exponents of synthesizer music in Latin America. Compiled by Luis Alvarado. Includes notes by Oksana Linde, Ale Hop, and Luis Alvarado. Art by René Sánchez. Edition of 300.

File Under: Electronic
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Charles Lloyd: Trios: Chapel (Blue Note) LP
Charles Lloyd has long been a free spirit, master musician, and visionary. For more than six decades the legendary saxophonist and composer has loomed large over the music world, and at 84 years old he remains both at the height of his powers and as prolific as ever. Early on Lloyd saw how placing the improvised solo in interesting and original contexts could provoke greater freedom of expression and inspire creativity. And while he has recorded many classics of jazz in a piano, bass, and drums combination – the latest Passin’ Thru from 2017 – all the while he has been open to, and has searched for, alternative ways to frame his improvisational skills. This has formed a fascinating counterpoint to his work with his quartet; a few examples might include his early days in Memphis when he regularly jammed with pedal steel guitarist Al Vescovo. Later, during his period as music director for the Chico Hamilton Quintet he used flute (and tenor), trombone, guitar, bass, and drums. More recently there has been an album in duet with drummer Billy Higgins, while the configuration of one of his current groups, The Marvels, has both guitar and pedal steel guitar with bass and drums. As a sound seeker, Lloyd’s restless creativity has perhaps found no greater manifestation than on his latest masterwork, an expansive project that encompasses three individual albums that are connected by an overarching theme with each presenting him in a different trio setting – a Trio of Trios. The first, Trios: Chapel, features Lloyd with guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan. The second, Trios: Ocean, with guitarist Anthony Wilson and pianist Gerald Clayton. The third, Trios: Sacred Thread, with guitarist Julian Lage and percussionist Zakir Hussain. Opening with Billy Strayhorn’s “Blood Count,” originally a feature for the late Johnny Hodges with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, it is a performance that can only be described as heartfelt. Lloyd’s mother ran a rooming house in Memphis, and Lloyd’s childhood memories are filled with impressions of musicians from the touring big bands who stayed there – the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra, and Duke Ellington’s Famous Orchestra especially. His memories of meeting Johnny Hodges as a youngster are particularly vivid. While the present thinks it knows it all, the past – here in terms of memories, dreams, and reflections – had a casting vote in shaping the destiny of this performance. Frisell’s accompaniment is perfect for this trio setting; the essence of his unique sound signature lies less in what he does, more the manner in which he does it. He introduces “Song My Lady Sings,” a Lloyd original dating from 1966, allowing Morgan to share the foreground before Lloyd’s entrance outlining the graceful melody that mutates into a series of eloquent musical arabesques that culminate in a double-time coda and the realization this has been Lloyd’s finest performance of the song. “Ay Amor” is by the Cuban singer, songwriter, and pianist Bola de Nieve, born Ignacio Jacinto Villa Fernández, who was a top cabaret singer and a composer fluent in many languages. His version of “Ay Amor” was recorded in Spanish as a rhapsodic lament. Lloyd obliquely acknowledges the composer’s intent in his exposition of the melody before re-imagining it in new contours, subtly implying the exotic in terms of melody and rhythm as he claims the song as his own. The unspoken rule about the trio’s collective improvisation seems to be that no-one refuses what another proposes, so that “Beyond Darkness,” featuring Lloyd on flute, begins as a fractured melodic line, but as it is embellished, extended, and developed it grows into a pinnacle of dramatic possibilities, climaxed by a flute cadenza as coda. “Dorotea’s Studio” is the workspace of Lloyd’s partner and soul mate, Dorothy Darr. Introduced by Frisell, Lloyd’s exposition of the melody to an implied Latin rhythm is developed through a series of motifs, inversions, and inter-connecting phrases that are here, perhaps, richer and more varied, forming the basis of a graceful climax to a memorable concert.

File Under: Jazz
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Haki R. Madhubuti And Nation: Medasi (P-Vine) LP
If being the founder and chairman of Third World Press Organisation – the largest independent black-owned publishers – wasn’t enough for activist and poet Haki R Madhubuti, he is also credited with a lesser-known yet remarkable music career. As the bandleader of Haki R. Madhubuti and Nation: Afrikan Liberation Arts Ensemble, Madhubuti combined his razor-sharp spoken-word poetry with a band of incredible musicians to create an unforgettable experience of avant-garde and spiritual jazz. The second album by the group Medasi was released in 1984, and features among others Geri Allen on piano, Clarence Seay on bass and Agyei Akoto on saxophone and flute. It features 5 tracks including the eleven minute second track “Children,” a great example what to expect from the record. It opens with a full-voice choir of children momentarily taking over Madhubuti’s duties, and when their role disperses into the spirit in the music, the percussion then kicks up the tempo with operatic vocals dancing with lead instruments. Over the top, Madhubuti reflects on the cyclical nature of life, and the importance to “be what you want your children to be”. A prominent name in the Black Arts Movement, Haki R Madhubuti to date has published over 20 books with his direct and illuminating form of poetry having shared the same halls as other vital voices in the movement like Audre Lorde and Maya Angelou. P-VINE is thrilled to reissue Medasi on limited-edition vinyl with a unique Japanese obi strip, and celebrate the music of Madhubuti’s extraordinary career.

File Under: Jazz
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Haki R. Madhubuti And Nation: Rise Vision Comin (P-Vine) LP
If being the founder and chairman of Third World Press Organisation – the largest independent black-owned publishers – wasn’t enough for activist and poet Haki R Madhubuti, he is also credited with a lesser-known yet remarkable music career. As the bandleader of Haki R. Madhubuti and Nation: Afrikan Liberation Arts Ensemble, Madhubuti combined his razor-sharp spoken-word poetry with a band of incredible musicians to create an unforgettable experience of avant-garde and spiritual jazz. The first album by the group Rise Vision Comin was released in 1976, and features among others Wallace Roney on trumpet, Clarence Seay on bass and Agyei Akoto on saxophone who also served as creative director. It features 9 tracks with the title track, “Rise, Vision, Comin” a great example of the adhesive comradery between instrumentation and Madhubuti’s spoken-word. On the track, they match each other pace for pace and build into frenzy where they finally reach Madhubuti’s prophetic words, “We are what we are, We are what we are not, we are what we are going to be”. A prominent name in the Black Arts Movement, Haki R Madhubuti to date has published over 20 books with his direct and illuminating form of poetry having shared the same halls as other vital voices in the movement like Audre Lorde and Maya Angelou. P-VINE is thrilled to reissue Rise Vision Comin on limited-edition vinyl with a unique Japanese obi strip, and celebrate the music of Madhubuti’s extraordinary career.

File Under: Jazz
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Madlib: Medicine Show #5 – History of the Loop Digga (MMS) LP
This was produced by Madlib in the 1990s. Each track contains several sections within it, half of which feature the crew of MCs known collectively as CDP — the rappers who worked side by side with Madlib during the days of his Oxnard CA-based “Crate Diggas Palace” studios. Artwork by the guy who did that Gangsta Rap Coloring Book.

File Under: Hip Hop
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Stephen Mallinder: Tick Tick Tick (Dais) LP
Cabaret Voltaire co-founder Stephen Mallinder’s second solo outing for Dais further distills his signature fusion of minimal synth, oblique wordplay, and “wonky disco” into a riveting rhythm suite ripe for our age of escalation: Tick Tick Tick. Channeling the temporal malaise of lockdown through a lusher palette of modular electronics and stereo strings, the songs embrace ambiguity and plasticity, loose systems of percolating circuitry and airless funk. Recorded across a handful of sessions at MemeTune Studios in Cornwall with frequent collaborator Benge (aka Ben Edwards), Mallinder cites no guiding aesthetic premise for the collection beyond “cowbell on every track, and entirely no reverb.” From the first coiled cybernetic groove of opener “Contact,” the album’s spatial dynamics are disorienting and asymmetrical, alternately cold and sensual, opiated and claustrophobic. But, throughout, “rhythm is the default, the bedrock, the building block – even the melodies are rhythmic.” Across 40-plus years of electronic musicianship, Mallinder’s sense of timing and tempo has honed into a rare tier of mastery, limber and fluid but knotted with strange frictions. Shades of Detroit technoid industrial (“Ringdropp,” “Shock to the Body”) crossfade into no wavy punk-funk (“Guernica Gallery,” “Galaxy,” “The Trial”), bad trip IDM (“Wasteland”), and jittery vapor house (“Hush”), at the threshold of modes both familiar and foreign. Lyrically the record is equally evasive, rich with allusions and associative linguistics, surveying liquid notions of societal noise, ecological ruin, art world pretension, and the trials of daily life. But the lack of fixed meaning remains Mallinder’s main muse: “Music should draw you in; lyrics should make you think. Most interpretation is misinterpretation.” This is music of countdowns and comedowns, fleeting pleasures and opaque futures, observing the great decline while dancing on its ashes. Flux is deathless and forever; the rest, illusion: “I will be a constant figure / Flickering a moving picture / Turning in your head forever / Split apart but held together.”

File Under: Electronic, Cabaret Voltaire
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Dan Mangan: Oh Fortune (Arts & Crafts) LP
This deluxe 10th Anniversary edition of Oh Fortune features a bonus LP of 10 (mostly unheard) album outtakes, demos, and live versions of tracks from that era, including the b-sides “Faults” (previously released on the 2013 A&C 10th Anniversary compilation) and “We Want To Be Pleasantly Surprised Not Expectedly Let Down” (previously released on 2012 Radicals 7-inch). This gatefold package also features a retrospective essay by Dan Mangan, new artwork and layout by Jud Haynes, and a collage of photos from that era.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Jackie Mitto: Organ Super Powered (Kingston Sounds) LP
Jackie Mittoo, organ and piano maestro, was not only a founding member of the legendary Jamaican ska group The Skatalites, but through the course of Jamaican music’s long history has produced a body of work under his own name and of that with his various group incarnations including, the Soul Brothers, Soul Vendors, and the Sound Dimension. His distinctive organ and piano sound and musical arrangements have all played a major part in Jamaica’s musical history. Two Kingston bands that he played with, the Rivals and the Sheiks, brought Mittoo to the attention of Studio 1’s founder Coxsone Dodd. Dodd was putting a group of musicians together to be his studio band and asked Jackie to join what would become Jamaica’s foremost band, The Skatalites. The band ruled the Jamaican scene between 1964-1965 and is credited as inventing the ska sound. 1965 saw The Skatalites disband, and Jackie Mittoo move on to his next musical project, The Soul Brothers. Formed with fellow Skatalite, Roland Alphonso, this band would back all of Mittoo’s hits coming out of Studio 1 for the next three years. Around this time Jackie also had his own single released, a ska underground classic called “Got My Bugaloo”. It also features Jackie in the unusual role for him, as lead singer. 1966 saw the ska sound evolve into rocksteady, again with Jackie’s band at the helm, and his first hit single the rocksteady cut “Ram Jam”. The single’s success led to a solo career and album releases under his own name. In 1967, the hits at Studio 1 were still flowing when The Soul Brothers morphed into the Soul Venders and began backing such luminaries as Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, The Heptones, The Wailers, and more. By 1968, Jamaican music was ready for another change, and rocksteady rolled into a slower groove soon to be called reggae. Jackie Mittoo would be at the forefront with his latest band the Sound Dimension. Being the house band at Studio 1 they backed all the leading names of the time. Jackie Mittoo emigrated in the late ’60s to Canada but traveled to Jamaica and London to record with many of the big names. Producers such as Bunny Lee and Sugar Minott used Jackie Mittoo’s services. For this release, Kingston Sounds have put together a selection of some of his finest recordings done with legendary reggae producer Bunny Lee. 1970s cuts that feature Jackie’s numerous talents, showing his ability to embellish tracks with a feel few could better.

File Under: Reggae
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Moderat: More D4T4 (Monkeytown) LP
For bands, a “hiatus” is usually just a polite way of announcing a break-up, but sometimes, a hiatus is just that — a hiatus. Back in 2017, when Moderat announced that they’d be taking an extended break following a final concert in their hometown of Berlin, many assumed that the group was basically calling it quits. After all, they’d already completed a celebrated trilogy of albums, repeatedly broken into the pop charts and performed all around the globe (including Mainstage sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals including Coachella, Roskilde, Rock Werchter, Glastonbury, Primavera, Sónar. and many many more) — what else was left for the German trio to accomplish? Moderat, however, always knew that they’d find their way back to one another. MORE D4TA, the group’s fourth album, arrives more than six years after its predecessor (2016’s III), yet its contents are quintessentially Moderat. Although the trio’s hiatus was absolutely real — exhausted after years of touring, Apparat (aka Sascha Ring) and Modeselektor (aka Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) spent two years away from one another, focusing instead on their own respective projects — once they decided to resume working together, the music (eventually) started flowing again. MORE D4TA is an album that wrestles with feelings of isolation and information overload — issues that have become particularly pronounced. Many of its lyrics are rooted in Ring’s frequent trips to Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie museum (often with his infant daughter in tow), where he’d seek refuge in the great paintings of the past while worrying about the future.

File Under: Electronic
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Pauline Oliveros: Accordion & Voice (Important) LP
Pauline Oliveros’ Accordion & Voice is available on LP for the first time since it was originally released in 1982. Cut at Golden and pressed at RTI for maximum fidelity. Pauline Oliveros was an electronic music pioneer, accordionist, composer and educator who resided in Kingston, New York. Her instrument was tuned in Just Intonation and she often included it in her meditative improvisational music. Her music is not meditative in the sense that it is intended for listening to while meditating, rather each piece is a form of meditation, such as her aptly titled Sonic Meditations. A central figure in post-war electronic art music, Oliveros is one of the original members of the San Francisco Tape Music Center (along with Morton Subotnick, Ramon Sender, Terry Riley, and Anthony Martin), which was the resource on the US West coast for electronic music during the 1960s. The Center later moved to Mills College, where she was its first director, and is now called the Center for Contemporary Music. Oliveros often improvises with the Expanded Instrument System, an electronic signal processing system she designed, in her performances and recordings.

File Under: Avant Garde
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Pauline Oliveros: The Wanderer (Important) LP
Pauline Oliveros’s The Wanderer is available on LP for the first time since it was originally released in 1984. Cut at Golden and pressed at RTI for maximum fidelity. An utterly essential document of early American minimalism from Pauline Oliveros. The Wanderer is the sister record to Accordion & Voice (IMPREC 140LP). “The Wanderer” is based on a single modal scale (B C# D D# E F# G#) and rhythmic modes based on a meter consisting of ¾ and ⅜. Part I, “Song”, is intended to explore the unique resonant qualities of accordion reeds through long sounds. Subtle variations come about from differences in tuning and air pressure. Part II, “Dance”, demonstrates the sharp accenting power of the accordion bellows in a mixture of cross-rhythms characteristic of jigs, reels, batucadas, Bulgars, klezmer forms, Cajun dances, and music of other diverse cultures. The Wanderer was composed in November, 1982 especially for the Springfield Accordion Orchestra, directed by Sam Falcetti. This recording documents The Wanderer’s world premiere, as it was performed January 27, 1983 at Marymount Manhattan Theatre. The orchestra consists of twenty accordions, two bass accordions, and five percussionists, with Pauline Oliveros as soloist, Sam Falcetti conducting. “Horse Sings From Cloud”, written in 1975, is one of Oliveros’ best known works. Like most of her Sonic Meditations, it can be performed vocally and/or instrumentally, solo or in collaboration. A solo version of “Horse Sings From Cloud” has been recorded on Accordion & Voice. An early version of the score reads, “Sustain a tone or sound until any desire to change it disappears. When there is no longer any desire to change the tone or sound, then change it.” This time, “Horse Sings From Cloud” is performed in ensemble. Joining Pauline Oliveros on bandoneon are Heloise Gold on Harmonium, Julia Haines on accordion, and Linda Montano on concertina. This quartet version incorporates the microtonal differences in tuning of the selected instruments, creating shimmering reed sounds somewhat similar to the shimmering of a Balinese gamelan.

File Under: Avant Garde
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OST: The Northman (Sacred Bones) LP
“Rob wanted the world of The Northman to feel harsh and uncomfortable, and for everything to feel like it was caked in mud and dry blood, so it was crucial for the score to mirror that.” Composers Robin Carolan (Tri-Angle Records) and Sebastian Gainsborough (Vessel) were given a task of epic proportions when director Rob Eggers (The VVitch, The Lighthouse) asked them to create the score for his ambitious new film The Northman. They needed to make a score that both honored the immense research that had gone into the authenticity of this Viking era period piece and complimented the cinematic maximalism of the film for a modern audience. The artists stretched themselves to the depths of their creativity and the resulting album is a gorgeous sonic tableaux that places the listener right in the center of the film. While arranging the score the composers consulted musician and ethnographer Poul Høxbro for inspiration and insight into the history of Viking music. Having backgrounds in left field electronic music, Robin and Sebastian felt liberated by the constraint of using a small selection of musical tools for this piece. “Electronic music has almost limitless potential when it comes to making sounds and that’s obviously an incredible thing, but you can also go down the wormhole and get lost in it sometimes. There’s no risk of that happening when you only have a few primary instruments to draw upon,” Robin remarked. They utilized traditional instruments such as the tagelharpa, langspil, kravik lyre, and säckpip to build the cinematic world of The Northman but they also took creative freedoms in adding instruments likes drums, which some academics believe wouldn’t have played a big part in Viking musical culture, simply due to the lack of archaeological evidence of actual drums. “One of the pieces we wrote was intended to emulate the sound of a bullroarer; an ancient instrument used in sacred rituals or in battle to intimidate enemies. It makes a really disorienting roaring vibrato sound and low frequencies capable of traveling insane distances,” Robin says when asked about one of the more unique aspects of the score. Everyone involved put so much effort into both their research and their creativity and this richness is evident in every track. The album as a whole is a cinematic masterpiece of sound and ambiance, both gorgeous and disturbing, like the film it so beautifully accompanies.

File Under: OST
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Shuggie Otis: Here Comes.. (Music on Vinyl) LP
The son of renowned bandleader and musician Johnny Otis, Shuggie Otis began his incredible career at the tender age of 15, playing as a session guitarist alongside Al Kooper before releasing his first solo album Here Comes Shuggie Otis in 1970. The auspicious album was produced and arranged by his father and features a well executed set divided evenly between vibrant vocal numbers and tight instrumentals. The cast for the sessions included Wilton Felder, Stix Hooper, Al McKibbon, Preson Love, Jackie Kelso, Plas Johnson and a string section.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Pavement: Westing (By Musket & Sextant) (Matador) LP
1993’s Westing (By Musket and Sextant) compiles Pavement’s early singles and rarities showcasing the band’s growth from their initial Slay Tracks EP through to the singles and EPs from their first two albums. The 23-track collection features all of the cuts from their first three EPs, Slay Tracks (1933-1969), Demolition Plot J-7, and Perfect Sound Forever, as well as the single mix of “Summer Babe,” its B-sides, and more. This marks Matador’s first pressing issued around the release of the Terror Twilight box set and 30th anniversary Slanted & Enchanted repress.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Lou Ragland: Is the Conveyor “Understand Each Other” (Numero) LP
The last chapter of Lou Ragland’s Cleveland career was perhaps the most monumental. By its completion, Understand Each Other – more often referred to as The ConVeyor, with that uppercase V intentional but unexplained – featured generations of Cleveland luminaries, and representation from most scenes, both sexes, and several ethnicities. The album’s credits read like the guest list for a Ragland episode of This Is Your Life. Kathy Grant was brought in to arrange the massive Cleveland Orchestra, inviting her father Frank in as first chair cello. A pre-O’Jays Dunn Pearson handled keys, and Richard Shann, the man who Pearson would replace in the O’Jays, got an arranger’s credit as well. The horn section was rounded out by Mother Brain Tree trombonist Ulysses Young, Bell Telefunk trumpeter Watson Vaughn, and future Dazz Band trumpeter Pierre Demudd. Lou’s live-in girlfriend Elaine Hines and her First Light singing mate Joyce Jenkins, both on break from stints with Terry Knight’s Grand Funk Railroad project, contributed backing vocals. One-time Co-Co co-owner Leonard Jackson brought his Temps knock-off the True Movement in as a male counter to First Light. In the middle of his stumbling career on the Miystic Insight label, Sonny Lovall adds another voice. Hot Chocolateers past and Seven Miles Highers present Tony Roberson, Herbert Pruitt, R. C. Johnson, Tom Tichar, James Johnson III, Joe Jenkins, and Pam Hamilton are all accounted for.

File Under: Soul, Funk
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Rap: Export (Jolly Discs) LP
Hazy, smeared DIY synth / blues from Thomas Bush and JD label head Guy Gormley’s joint RAP project.  Elegantly strung-out, lonesome pop that yokes an equal measure of techno, dub and synth-pop into something undeniably fresh, unique and London.

FIle Under: Electronic, Experimental
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Rap: Junction (Jolly Discs) LP
Down at heel club-not-club sleep-paralysis realism from Thomas Bush and Guy Gormley/. Could it be that some time in 2010, via goofy art-guy humour and drugged-out pop ritual, Hype Williams managed to open up some kind of gate to a parallel Unbritain? And since then have a bunch of associated artists (Gast, Lolina, Dean Blunt, Thomas Bush etc etc) been able to slip back and forth bringing the news from nowhere with them? If so this record, by Bush and Guy Gormley as RAP, starts to make a lot more sense… Rhythms that owe a debt to grime, drill, hard techno and trap prop up wheezy White-Dwarf synths, bleary eyed Dondestan-worshipping vocals and some serious bass weight. There’s a dystopian malaise at work. Black mould creeps up the wall, condensation smears the windows and wet books refuse to burn. At first this doomed atmosphere seems all encompassing, but dig deeper and new levels of addictive detail emerge along with a certain arch but inclusive playfulness. Maybe all pop sounds like this on the other side?

File Under: Electronic, Experimental
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Roxy Music: Flesh + Blood (Republic) LP
Roxy Music, the art rock band synonymous with both style and substance, intoxicated with its cool cocktail of fashion, romance, nostalgia and futurism. Their album covers are also legendary and became an integral part of what Roxy Music represented: cinematic imagery set to startling, otherworldly music. For all their imitators and admirers, no one has ever successfully cloned the unique and indefinable fusion of elements that made Roxy Music icons. 1980’s Flesh + Blood found the group trying their hand at a couple of well-chosen and disparate covers in the shape of the Wilson Pickett/Steve Cropper soul classic “In The Midnight Hour” and The Byrds’ equally pristine psych-rock gem “Eight Miles High,” alongside the original compositions “Oh Yeah” and “Over You.” The album peaked at No. 1 in the UK, spending 60 weeks in total on the albums chart, while also climbing to No. 35 in the U.S. This vinyl reissue is mastered at half-speed and cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. It also features revised artwork with a gloss laminated finish.

File Under: Rock
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Soccer Mommy: Sometimes, Forever (Loma Vista) LP
Sometimes, Forever – the immersive and compulsively replayable new Soccer Mommy full-length – cements Sophie Allison’s status as one of the most gifted songwriters making rock music right now. The album finds Sophie broadening the borders of her aesthetic without abandoning the unsparing lyricism and addictive melodies that made earlier songs so easy to obsess over. To support her vision, Sophie enlisted producer Daniel Lopatin, whose recent credits include the Uncut Gems movie score and The Weeknd’s Dawn FM.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Square 9: Tsunami .2 (Unrock) LP
Recorded live on Sept. 22, 1991 and originally released by visionary operator Nick Schultz on Majora Records, Tsunami .2↑ was, still is, and will remain a mysterious album. Because the music didn’t represent or sound like either of the bands involved, they decided to call the group Square 9 and chose to leave everybody’s names off of it. No further information was given, only “Recorded at Grand Theater, Buenos Aires, Argentina”. Until today, nobody knows exactly who was behind the record. Rumors came up that it was part of the Sun City Girls legacy, but the “truth” lingered in the dark. So unusual and experimental the approach to record this album was, so remarkable it finally turned out. By the time it was released back in 1992 only a few dedicated core followers were aware of its existence. Everybody played anything and everything on this recording, no specific instruments are assigned to players. Different instruments, various percussion instruments, a piano and other sound sources. Insiders maybe recognize the voices of Su Ling and Alan Bishop or a piano sounding like Richard Bishop playing it. Some of the live sounds have been treated and processed live by W. David Oliphant. It was an impromptu series of improvisations by Sun City Girls and members of Life Garden (W. David Oliphant’s main working group after Maybe Mental) and probably the last recordings made by members of Sun City Girls before the band fully re-located to Seattle. In retrospect it is a belonging and relevant part of the history of both bands, which needs to be broadcasted to a wider audience. 30 years after the recordings were made, a remastered version of the album is made available through Unrock. While the original release was two side-long tracks, the remastered version is split into six separate tracks, remixed and mastered by W. David Oliphant. Square 9 were (in alphabetic order): Alan Bishop, Richard Bishop, Charles Gocher, Su Ling, W. David Oliphant, Peter Ragan. Vinyl cut by Peter Koerfer at Ivory Tower. Edition of 400.

File Under: Experimental, Sun City Girls
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Midori Takada: Cutting Branches for a Temporary Shelter (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records and MEG Museum (Geneva) present the first new solo album by renowned Japanese percussionist Midori Takada in 23 years, Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter. Recorded in a live setting and played with instruments conserved in the collections of the MEG Museum, Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter is Midori Takada’s very own rendition of “Nhemamusasa”, a traditional work emblematic of the musical repertoire for mbira of the Shona of Zimbabwe, well known worldwide, thanks notably to its version by Paul F. Berliner included on the famed 1973 album The Soul of Mbira. The choice of this title by Midori Takada evokes the links between traditional African and contemporary music which are the foundation of this work, and it also translates the resolutely multicultural vision of the artist. Midori Takada explains: “African music is remarkable for its polyrhythms. Not only are there simultaneously several rhythmic motifs, sometimes as many as ten, but furthermore it may be that the part played by each musician has its own starting point and its own pace, all combining to form a cycle. All the cycles progress at the same time according to a single metrical structure which functions as a reference point, but which is not played by any one person from beginning to end. The structure emerges out of the multi-level parts, all different. With the Shona, the musical system is based on the polymelody: one performs simultaneously several melodic lines which are superimposed, each having its own rhythmic organization. It is truly captivating. In Western classical music, one four-beat rhythm induces some precise temporal framework and regular reference points, which come on the strong beats 1 and 3. But in the logic of the Shona musical system, and in other African music, the melody can begin in the very middle of the cycle and be continued up to some other place in an autonomous manner, as if it had its own personality. It’s very rich.” Includes in-depth liner notes that include an interview with Midori Takada, a point of view by Zimbabwean scholar, musician and activist Forward Mazuruse, and background information on the project by Isabel Garcia Gomez and Madeleine Leclair from MEG Museum. Artwork by celebrated Zimbabwean painter Portia Zvavahera.

File Under: Ambient, Japan, Percussion
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Midori Takada: You Who Are Leaving to Nirvana (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records and MEG Museum (Geneva) announce a new full-length album by celebrated Japanese percussionist Midori Takada, in collaboration with Buddhist monks belonging to the Samgha group of the Shingon school of Koya-san, led by Reverend Syuukoh Ikawa. Recorded at The Premises Studio (London) and in Tokyo in 2019, You Who Are Leaving To Nirvana is a majestic work combining a suite of six Buddhist liturgical chants and a musical creation by Midori Takada. The Buddhist chants come from three types of repertoires: shomyo (“Teisan”, “Unga-Bai”, “Sange”, “Taiyo”), but also goeika (“Kannon-Daiji”) and mantra (“Hannya-Singyo”). After supervising the recording of the Buddhist chants, Midori Takada added her own compositions, with subtle layers of percussion and the melodies of her beloved marimba, giving full life to the sacred texts. Reverend Syuukoh Ikawa explains: “Shomyo is a form of declamation of sacred esoteric texts, inherited over many generations. The power of words goes far beyond their mere pronunciation. I think there is something that words alone cannot really convey. If I recite prayers in a musical way, the feeling transmitted will be even stronger than if I say it normally, in everyday language. I think that the musicality of a work carries a hidden power that cannot be expressed in words alone. The setting of the music has an additional power for you and for those around you who listen to it. The words of a song are not just words set to music. They carry an additional hidden power that cannot be expressed in any other way. Listening to Midori Takada’s musical performance, the words truly seem to come alive.” Original recordings of the Buddhist chants are held in the International Archives of Folk Music (IAFM) at the MEG Museum in Geneva. The album sleeve features an artwork by famed Japanese sculptor Katsura Funakoshi selected by Midori Takada. LP version comes on half speed mastered vinyl.

File Under: Ambient, Japan, Percussion
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Jone Takamaki/Umut Caglar/Fahrettin Aykut: Myth of the Drum. Urban Transformation (Zehra) LP
Multi-instrumentalist Umut Çağlar (Konstrukt, Karkhana), former Baba Zula drummer Fahrettin Aykut and the Finnish saxophone player/shakuhachi specialist Jone Takamäki join forces in a stunning improvised live set that blends free jazz with East-Asian Zen-sounds. The idea for Myth Of The Drum. Urban Transformation dates from an art exhibition in Istanbul 2017 where Fahrettin Aykut exhibited an installation called “Urvban Transformation” that combined painting and music, dealing with the relation of humankind and earth which is symbolized through a tree put upside-down. Aykut, former drummer in the Turkish group Baba Zula and these days a well-known architect in Turkey, asked his longtime friend Umut Caglar, multi-instrumentalist in Konstrukt and Karkhana, to join for an actual performance — Caglar on his side was in touch with Jone Takamäki who has been a central figure of the Finnish free jazz/avantgarde scene since the 1970s. His album Universal Mind (1982) is a sought-after collector’s item of European spiritual jazz, he was a member of the group Roommushklahn (with Raoul Björkenheim a.o.) and in 1991 he joined the ECM signed Finnish jazz/rock/improv collective Krakatau, founded and run by Raoul Björkenheim, and last but not least Takamäki received the first ever Pekka Pöyry Award. Besides being deeply rooted in jazz, he is also a specialist in Japanese shakuhachi and hocchiku flute playing which makes this ad hoc-trio so extraordinary: repetitive drumming, shamanistic throat sounds and plenty of string and reed instruments, a constant ebb-and-flow of sounds and energy — neither pure jazz nor world music but a blend of both, forming a fascinating third! Meditative in its continuously pulsating rhythm, cathartic in the moments of sonic outbursts — a few months after the Istanbul art fair performance, the trio (augmented to a quartet by Alan Wilkinson) played two shows at London’s Cafe OTO and gossip has it saying that Thurston Moore who attended the show confessed afterwards that he was very touched emotionally. 180 gram vinyl; includes insert and download code.

File Under: Jazz
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Talk Talk: The Party’s Over (Parlophone) LP
Talk Talk began as a quartet consisting of Mark Hollis (vocals), Simon Brenner (keyboards), Lee Harris (drums) and Paul Webb (bass guitar). They were generally associated with the New Romantic movement; more specifically, in their early years, they were often compared with Duran Duran, as both bands not only featured a double-barreled name and a Roxy Music-inspired musical direction, but also shared the same record label (EMI) and producer (Colin Thurston). Active from 1981 to 1991, the group had a string of international hit singles. In their later years the band’s commercial appeal receded, and their critical reputation increased as they moved from synth-pop to a more experimental form. Their debut, The Party’s Over, was released in 1982 and was produced by Thurston, who was a former engineer for David Bowie but was better known for producing Duran Duran’s first two albums. A product of its time, the album (featuring the singles “Today” and “Talk Talk”) is classic synth-pop teamed with lyrical depth that went on to be synonymous with lead singer, Mark Hollis.

File Under: Pop
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TV Priest: My Other People (Sub Pop) LP
My Other People intentionally maintains a strong sense of earth-rooted emotion, taking full advantage of the opportunity to physically connect. Using “Saintless” (the closing song from Uppers) as something of a starting point, Charlie Drinkwater set about crafting lyrics that allowed him to articulate a deeper sense of personal truth, using music as a vessel to communicate with his bandmates about his depleting mental health. My Other People relies on the band’s tight-knit working method, with Nic Bueth once again at the self-producing helm. Following their own intuition as part of a “feverish” writing process, they looked inwards for inspiration rather than attempting to ape any sonic heroes, ending up with something that feels much more like affirmingly widescreen alt-rock than it does post-punk. Arrangements give room to let the voice roam; the optimistic melodies of “The Breakers” light flares to accompany Drinkwater’s recognition of the path that leads him back to friendship, while the rumbling pace of “Unravelling” reflects his more fractious state, looking for a safe place to land amidst the detritus of biting guitars. For TV Priest, it is a follow-up that feels truly, properly them; free of bravado, unnecessary bluster or any audience pressure to commit solely to their original sound.

File Under: Post Punk
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Virgin Insanity: Illusion of the Maintenance Man (P-Vine) LP
In an active internet age that has collectively dug up a wealth of lost and hidden classics in recent times, it’s easy to become cynical about the possibility of valuable discoveries still to be made. Illusions Of The Maintenance Man by Virgin Insanity, however, is a stunning record of 70s acid folk and assures us that there will always be a wealth of lost great records as long as there artists who veer off the beaten path. Bob Long formed the band in the 70s in the backdrop of Texas, and there is an eerie, timeless quality to the acoustics of these tracks that spread out and breath life as much today as they did when this album was originally released in 1972. On an earlier version of the album, the late great writer of psychedelic culture Patrick Lundborg wrote glowing liner notes for the album which were sadly never used, but exist in various forms online for those wishing to read more about the album’s background. This is the first release for the band since P-VINE released a CD containing Long’s previously unreleased 2nd and 3rd album in 2006. Modern-day fans of Mount Eerie and Cat Power will surely find something to love in the dream-like rooms and space of Virgin Insanity’s world. All tracks are remastered by frontman Bob Long himself and the jacket will be reproduced from specifications of the original version which is now trading at more than $1,800!

File Under: Psych
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Vladislav Delay: Isoviha (Planet Mu) LP
Isoviha was recorded four years ago, inspired by ideas that Sasu Ripatti (aka Vladislav Delay) had been reflecting on for a long time. This album is a counterpart to his two Rakka albums which were a personal reflection on the nature and sound-world of the northern Arctic wilderness, 1000 kilometres north of where he lives on the Finnish island of Hailuoto. It’s an area he loves to explore, trekking out alone to enjoy its rugged power. However the sound world of Isoviha is a return to man-made civilization. Musically Isoviha presents a more complicated world than Rakka; overloaded and unpredictable, audio archaeology that layers and juxtaposes everyday sounds into intense sculptures of noise and drone. As a musical observation internally and externally, it’s influenced by the heightened anxious intensity Sasu feels when returning from the empty wilderness. The ratcheting up of urban noise on Isoviha is built with insistent loops that seem to malfunction the faster they spiral and the dangerous overwhelming potential of ordinary objects and events: shimmering, hammering, crowds, radio distortion, ancient backfiring engines. It’s hypermodern musique concrète, married to a jazz drummer’s intuitive sense of rhythm. Going back even further in time but still tethered to the local, Isoviha also means ‘the great wrath’ and refers to a time in Finland under Russian occupation in the 1700s. A time when all the Islanders of Hailuoto were killed, apart from a single couple who were left to bury the dead. As if time is non-linear, the response to toxicity and madness that drives the album feels even more appropriate now than when it was written four years ago and confirmation that the horrors of the past still darken the present.

File Under: Electronic
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The Who: Sell Out (Geffen) LP
By early 1968, The Who had been a prominent part of British pop culture for three years. Their reputation as a live force, and Pete Townshend’s growing ambition as a writer, was taking them beyond the bounds of throwaway chart music, and ever closer to the grand concepts of their later work. In January 1968, they took a major step in that direction with their third album, The Who Sell Out, which made its British chart debut. The album was Townshend’s big statement about commercialization and the demands on himself and the band to be presented as a product – and they certainly had some fun with it. Behind the bold front cover images of Pete with his Odorama deodorant and Roger Daltrey with his bathtub of baked beans, the record featured mock commercials, three John Entwistle compositions (for which he performed lead vocals) and an opening track, “Armenia City In The Sky,” written by John ‘Speedy’ Keen of Thunderclap Newman. Keen’s most famous song, the band’s UK No. 1 “Something In The Air,” was of course produced by Townshend. The Who Sell Out also boasted a major hit single, in the form of the somewhat psychedelic “I Can See For Miles,” which preceded it in the Autumn of 1967 and reached No. 10 in the UK. The song also became their only top ten hit single in the US, where it peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album peaked at No. 13 in the UK, well below the top five heights of their first two albums, and stalled at No. 48 in America. But as a forerunner of the big ideas that were soon to emerge from the band, it was a significant release. Mastered by longtime Who engineer Jon Astley from the original tapes and packaged in an original sleeve with an obi and certificate of authenticity. Engineered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios using a half-speed mastering technique which produces a superior vinyl cut.

File Under: Rock
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The Who: Tommy (Geffen) LP
Regarded as the very first rock opera, this 1969 breakthrough recording from the genius of Pete Townshend was highly controversial upon its initial release. The conceptual tale of the “deaf, dumb and blind” Tommy Walker displayed a startling, darker side to the former mod-rockers from Shepherds Bush. With Tommy, Townshend proved to himself and the world he could attempt such a libretto and still rock! It spawned such Who staples as “Pinball Wizard,” “The Acid Queen,” “I’m Free” and “We’re Not Gonna’ Take It” and the movie, Broadway and concertized versions have kept its imaginative story and music in the forefront for decades! Mastered by longtime Who engineer Jon Astley from the original tapes and packaged in an original sleeve with an obi and certificate of authenticity. Engineered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios using a half-speed mastering technique which produces a superior vinyl cut.

File Under: Rock
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Young Guv: III & IV (Run For Cover) LP
In the spring of 2020, Ben Cook (aka Young Governor, Young Guv, or just Guv) was holed up in the New Mexico high desert, his U.S. tour having been abruptly Covid-cancelled during a southwest swing. In a place he never expected to be, under circumstances no one could have predicted, and in the face of physical isolation, emotional desolation, and existential dread, Ben created “GUV III & IV”, a collection of songs dedicated and testifying to the eternal healing power of love – how to find it in the world, in others, and most importantly, in himself.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Various: Hot Nuts (Take It Acid Is) LP
Features Bessie Smith, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Julia Lee, Lillie Mae Kirkman, Sippie Wallace, Lil Johnson, Victoria Spivey, Albinia Jones, and Lucille Bogan

File Under: Exotica
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…..restocks…..

A Tribe Called Quest: Beats, Rhymes & Life (Jive) LP
A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders (Jive) LP
A Tribe Called Quest: We Got it From Here… (Epic) LP
Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society: Mandatory Reality (Eremite) LP
Erykah Badu: Buy You Caint Use My Phone (Motown) LP
Chet Baker: In New York (Craft) LP
Beach House: 7 (Sub Pop) LP
Belle & Sebastian: Tigermilk (Matador) LP
Candy: Heaven Is Here (Relapse) LP
Childish Gambino: Awaken, My Love (Glassnote) LP
Converge: Bloodmoon – 1 (Deathwish) LP
Denzel Curry: Zuu (Loma Vista) LP
Drones: Wait Long By The River… (Bang) LP
Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever (Interscope) LP
Billie Eilish: When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Interscope) LP
Ella Fitzgerald: Ella At the Hollywood Bowl (Verge) LP
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END (Constellation) LP
Gun Club: Fire of Love (Extra Term Audio) LP
Gun Club: Las Vegas Story (Blixa Sound) LP
Heldon: Interface (Bureau B) LP
Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast (Sanctuary) LP
Kenji Kawai: Ghost in the Shell OST (WRWTFWW) LP
Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime (Matador) LP
Nas: Illmatic (Columbia) LP
Orville Peck: Bronco (Columbia) LP
Lee Perry & The Upsetters: Return of the Super Ape (Goldenlane) LP
Richard Pinhas: Iceland (Bureau B) LP
Porcupine Tree: Fear of a Blank Planet (KScope) LP
Prince & The Revolution: Live (Legacy) LP
Radiohead: Kid A Mnesia (XL) LP
Michael Rault: s/t (Wick) LP
Joel Ross; Parable of the Poet (Blue Note) LP
Spoon: Hot Thoughts (Matador) LP
Spoon: Kill the Moonlight (Matador) LP
Strokes: New Abnormal (Epic) LP
Harry Styles: s/t (Columbia) LP
Tragically Hip: Live at the Roxy (Universal) LP
Velvet Underground: Loaded (Universal) LP
Wu-Tang: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (RCA) LP

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