…..news letter #1068 – ceiling…..

Another banging week for tasty slabs! The new Bitchin’ Bajas is… bitchin! The much needed repress of the first JJulius album and Tortoise’s TNT. The first vinyl pressing of Stars of the Lid side project Dead Texan. The first new Mars Volta in ages, the massive Mescaleros boxset, and much more! Bought a few more boxes of killer used slabs and found some more time to price some up this week so come on down for a dig!

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)

…..picks of the week…..

Bitchin’ Bajas: Bajascillators (Drag City) LP/CS
In Friday!
With a tactile clunk, Bajascillators bubbles to the surface. “Amorpha,” a side-long shower of synthetic bells and bass, as patterns interlock and repeat and the beat within the barlines shifts constantly, forms a new, latest miniature of infinity. You flip it, and “Geomancy” resets you, starting anew, with heavy drift and drone leading into a space of shorter broken lines and middle-eastern tonalities, that roll back into ether again – new spaces, but mysteriously consonant with the vibe. And that’s how it goes – side by side, Bajascillators rolls four unique numbers that act on their own and as extensions of each other, phases in perfect flow. Each time, as the needle cradles into the playout groove, you the listener are becalmed, in stasis, forever changed. Until you flip the side – and forever changes again…

File Under: Electronic, Kris’s Picks, Ian’s Picks
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Akusmi: Fleeting Future (Tonal Union) LP
In Friday! Akusmi is the new project moniker of French-born, London based composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Pascal Bideau, who signs to the new Tonal Union imprint for the release of his album ‘Fleeting Future.’ With its hallucinatory, genre-defying blend of minimalism, cosmic jazz and Fourth World influences, and in its quest for optimism in the face of unknown and limitless possibility. ‘Fleeting Future’ stands apart as an inventive and inspirational debut. The creation of the album’s richly colourful and multi-layered sound world was originally inspired by Bideau’s journey to Indonesia, where he immersed himself in traditional Gamelan and gong music. Many of the themes, motifs and melodies on ‘Fleeting Future’ seed from the ‘Slendro’ scale, one of the essential tuning systems used in Gamelan. However it is not musical scales, but scales as in the size or extent of things that most fascinates Bideau, specifically he explains; “the compelling way things dramatically change when you shift from any given scale to another.” The album connects directly to nature and the wider world in its evocation of perceptive shifts and transitions from microscopic to macro scale, as evidenced by the opening title track ‘Fleeting Future’, on which a simple dotted saxophone line morphs and billows into synths, brass and strings, indicating the musical voyage that lies ahead. Like the start of a journey or adventure it is full of anticipation, its arborescent growth conveying the optimism of the unknown and of limitless possibility. The album centrepiece ‘Neo Tokyo’ is a vibrating, ebullient mass of colliding elements which feels like zooming in to the electron level, as it teeters on the edge of chaos. The title is a reference to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, a dizzying work of art set in a sprawling futuristic metropolis. ‘Fleeting Future’ was composed and recorded by Bideau between 2017 and 2019 in his North London studio and features additional contributions recorded in Berlin by Florian Juncker (trombone), Ruth Velten (saxophone) and regular collaborator Daniel Brandt of Brandt Brauer Frick (drums / electronic percussion). Having been living through uncertain times, one thing that keeps spiralling into the unknown is the future. ‘Fleeting Future’ will be the first release on the new London/Berlin based Tonal Union Imprint, founded by Art director and curator Adam Heron. Artwork by Sigrid Calon. Overall packaging design Adam Heron.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Classical, Kris’s Picks
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JJulius: Vol. 1 (DFA) LP
Written and recorded in the depths of the early pandemic, JJULIUS’ first solo album, Vol. 1, is a heavily lidded, subsuming journey into the dark heart DIY and kosmische sounds. There are traditional “songs” here, sure – catchy basslines, little dollops of guitar melody, and words, albeit sung in Swedish – but it’s really more of a complete experience than a collection of tracks, a world you don’t really want to leave even if you have no idea what’s really going on. JJULIUS is Julius Pierstorff, a Götebörg-based musician and producer who has kicked around that city’s incredibly vibrant DIY scene in a variety of projects. He is half of Monokultur with his partner Elin, who also records on her own as Loopsel. Newly signed to DFA, the pair have new records on the way along with this repress of the long-since-sold-out Vol. 1.

File Under: Electronic, Lo-Fi, Post Punk, Ian’s Picks
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Tortoise: TNT (Thrill Jockey) LP
TNT is Tortoise’s third studio album, originally released in 1998. REPRESSED IN 2022 ON JALAPENO GREEN VINYL. Almost universally derided when it came out in 1998 (I remember, it was shocking), TNT quickly became like a family member we’d listen to it repeatedly, totally entranced by its quirky combination of jazz, post-rock and experimental electronics. Okay so some levelled that it was too ‘light’ and had lost the Kraut intensity of previous records, but it’s an album that takes time to truly appreciate and hearing it now it seems bizarre that anyone could dislike it. With one of the most memorable sleeves of the 90s,  it features ‘Swung from the Gutters’, ‘I Set My Face to the Hillside’ and ‘The Suspension Bridge at Iguazu Falls’ – combining everything that Tortoise do so well. Classic, innit.

File Under: Post Rock, Jazz, Piyush’s Picks
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…..new arrivals…..

Aziz & Friends: Waves of Peace (Morning Trip) LP
1983’s Waves of Peace is an album of gentle reflection. The sound of ocean waves permeates every track. Sitar, tambura, synthesizer, and bamboo flute are among the instruments that Aziz & Friends use to conjure their blissful oceanic meditation. Aziz reminisces: “Waves of Peace was born in the beautiful oceanside town of Santa Cruz, California. Living there in 1982 was the first time had ever lived so close to the ocean. I would walk down to the beach on a daily basis. Nature has always been a major source of inspiration in my quest to create beautiful original music. Equally important to me has been recognizing the healing potential of harmonious sound. This potential was made clear to me through my illuminating work with the Sufi order, as well as various modern dance companies. Finally, my music has always been shaped by my lifelong commitment to peace and non-violence. With all of these things in mind, drawing inspiration from the nearby ocean and the growing popularity of New Age music, I produced Waves of Peace. Waves of Peace was my first album to combine instrumental music with the sounds of nature. Graced by the presence of some truly exceptional local musicians, most of the music was performed and recorded live in the studio. Waves of Peace was created to facilitate relaxation, meditation, healing, and awakening for the body, mind, heart and soul. Let the rhythmic waves of the ocean nourish and inspire you to find your peace within”. – Aziz Paige, 2022

File Under: New Age
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Badge Époque Ensemble: Clouds of Joy (Telephone Explosion) LP
The Badge Époque Ensemble return to Telephone Explosion Records with a new LP, Clouds of Joy. Featuring three vocal-led compositions, three instrumentals and three choral arrangements, this new album presents the Ensemble’s most ambitious, mature and engaging material to date. Clouds represents a shift from the group’s previous sonic excursions into the worlds of vintage soundtrack grooves and early electric jazz towards a more era-ambiguous, complex and all-encompassing approach to arrangement & production.

File Under: Jazz
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Bent Arcana: Live Zebulon (Castle Face) LP
“Recorded at Zebulon in Los Angeles as a warm-up show for a show I had booked in Holland. What was meant to be a jumping point for the ‘first show’ ended up being a real burning set. A slightly more stripped-down version on the ten piece band [Bent Arcana] (for sake of ease) keeps it nice and concise. Nerves sometimes bring out these little lost jewels of which this recording is full of…gotta love improvisation for fleeting moments. “Recorded super-hot by none other than our sound person Liza Boldyreva. Selections of songs from Bent Arcana and Moon-Drenched—cockpit stoned space jazz here you come. Mixed by John Dwyer and mastered by JJ Golden. This hunky double disk sports a zoetropic screen-printed animation of the Death’s Head moth circling on its D side that works with a strobe light off yer phone…fucking cool. Fucking hot. Dig in and be well. ” —John Dwyer

File Under: Psych, Jazz, Experimental, Oh Sees
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Black Angels: Wilderness of Mirrors (Partisan) LP
The best music reflects a wide-screen view of the world back at us, helping distill the universal into something far more personal. Since forming in Austin in 2004, The Black Angels have become standard-bearers for modern psych-rock that does exactly that, which is one of many reasons why the group’s new album, Wilderness of Mirrors, feels so aptly named. Indeed, in the five years since the release of the band’s prior album, Death Song, and the two-plus years spent working on Wilderness of Mirrors, pandemics, political tumult and the ongoing devastation of the environment have provided ample fodder for the Black Angels’ signature sonic approach. If the group’s members were terrified as they honed new music heading into an election year, they realized they didn’t even know how scary things could still get. So, they looked inward, focusing on both their ongoing creative and musical development as well as their own struggles amid the external chaos. Wilderness of Mirrors hits even more close to home, as the group recorded solely in the friendly confines of Austin for the first time in more than a decade and entrusted co-production duties to its longtime front-of-house engineer, Brett Orrison.

FIle Under: Psych
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Bleed: Somebody’s Closer (20 Buck Spin) LP
The up-and-coming Dallas, Texas based four-piece Bleed digitally self-released their debut EP Somebody’s Closer in 2021. With no label backing and only a handful of shows (thus far) the four track introduction left a huge impression on nearly all that happened upon it, racking up tens of thousands of streams simply by word of mouth. With seemingly effortless self-assurance Bleed’s music harkens back to a period of time when the ‘90s were going from mid- to late and grunge and more mainstream metal were converging in a flurry of credibly hard-hitting, melodic heaviness that played equally well on college and mainstream rock radio. Bleed’s songs hit with a visceral heavy impact and infectious alt-rock hooks, then are given further shape by singer Ryan Hughes, whose airy vocals glide fluidly overhead. As the band continue the work of crafting their full length album, to be eventually released by 20 Buck Spin, the label will first finally issue Somebody’s Closer in physical form. In the meantime the EP is streaming in full via all platforms and demanding repeat spins.

FIle Under: Metal
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Castrator: Defiled in Oblivion (Dark Descent) LP
ON LIMITED GOLD WITH BLACK GALAXY VINYL!!! This summer, furious old school mastery returns to Dark Descent Records in the form of Castrator’s long-awaited debut album Defiled In Oblivion. Nearly seven years have passed since their No Victim EP set the scene aflame…yet these were mere warning shots across the bow. With their third release to date, the New York four-piece have perfected their blend of fierce old-school USDM to a fault. More uncompromising and ruthless than ever before, Castrator’s zero-fucks-given approach rips and shreds across nine hypnotically violent new tracks (alongside a cover of Venom’s “Countess Bathory”) and makes Defiled In Oblivion a release to be reckoned with. Boys club beware!

FIle Under: Metal
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Charley Crockett: The Man From Waco (Son of Davy) LP
Charley Crockett wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on his new album The Man From Waco, and in many ways it’s the purest distillation of his artistry to date. What started as a demo session with producer Bruce Robison at Robison’s studio The Bunker outside Austin, TX turned into the first album Crockett has ever made with his band The Blue Drifters backing him from start to finish. Mostly first takes with only a handful of overdubs, The Man From Waco finds Crockett refining his singular “Gulf & Western” sound which continues to captivate an ever-growing legion of fans. “I just wanted an honest partnership: do it at your place, live to tape, everybody in the room,” Crockett says of the recording experience, and Robison was happy to accommodate. “The magic is in the performances on that tape. That’s what Bruce wanted to do, that’s what I wanted to do. When we were done, I said ‘these are masters, not demos.'”

File Under: Country
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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Déjà Vu (Rhino) LP
First time on colored vinyl. Déjà Vu is the first album by the rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and the second by the trio configuration of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Released in March of 1970 by Atlantic Records, it topped the pop album chart for one week and generated three Top 40 singles: “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” and “Woodstock.” Without a doubt – Essential.

File Under: Rock
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Miles Davis: Bootleg Series Vol. 7: That’s What Happened (Legacy) LP
The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7: That’s What Happened 1982-1985 is the next installment in the celebrated, award-winning archival series that began in 2011, shining an in-depth light onto different eras of the legendary career of Miles Davis. In the 1980s, popular music had moved to a smoother, electronic-based sound that traded the steam of previous years for subdued arrangements meant to elicit peace and deep reflection. Miles embraced this era, pulling inspiration from FM radio and an upstart music video channel called MTV. He was searching for the next frontier, letting his creativity roam. This music on The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 captures that exploration, and finds Miles beginning to re-emerge in a creative landscape far different than the one he left in 1975. He’s touched every inch of pop culture while keeping true to his iconoclastic vision of jazz as amorphous art that’s supposed to bend and flow and mutate to something else. On The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7, we get to play in the rubble of what would become yet another period of unprecedented innovation. Beauty resides in evolution. This double LP collects highlights of Bootleg Volume 7 with over 80 minutes of unreleased studio material from 1982 to 1985 on colored vinyl. Side men include a multi-generational who’s who of jazz talent from JJ Johnson, Al Foster and John Scofield to Mike Stern, Marcus Miller and Daryl Jones.

File Under: Jazz
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Dead Texan: s/t (Kranky) LP
This is the first vinyl issue of the sole The Dead Texan album originally released in May of 2004! “Another sweeping album from STARS OF THE LID and AIX EM KLEMM member ADAM WILTZIE, this time under his new DEAD TEXAN moniker. Eleven mini-symphonies of nocturnal psychedelia and reverie-inducing soundcraft, propelled with piano, strings, and Wiltzie’s surreal smear of guitars.” “Stars Of The Lid’s Adam Wiltzie presents a collection of drone compositions that he considered too aggressive for his parent band—which means they range somewhere between a whisper and a shout. The sense of cathedral-like reverence is balanced with extreme intimacy.” —Pitchfork “This is quite possibly the best music available for slowly drifting into dreamland. Equal parts intrigue and sedative, The Dead Texan is an elegantly hypnotic album that manages to freeze time in addition to passing it.” —Tinymixtapes “The Dead Texan remains a remarkably subtle and tranquil work. Disarmingly lovely…” —Textura

File Under: Ambient, Stars Of The Lid
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Duster: Together (Numero) LP
Gather your loved ones, Together is here. Duster’s fourth album is a 13-song exploration of comfortable, interplanetary goth. A sonic vaseline of submerged guitars, solder-burned synths, and over-driven rhythm tracks. “I know people say, ‘Oh Duster music is so sad, we’ve even said it ourselves before,” Clay Parton said. “But it’s a lot more like absurdism than nihilism.”

File Under: Indie Rock, Slowcore
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Goat: World Music (Rocket) LP
When the mysterious masked collective calling themselves Goat first emerged in 2012, armed with an incendiary debut album ‘World Music’ and a backstory for the ages – the band’s anonymous members hailing from the remote village of Korpilombo in northern Sweden, where inhabitants had for centuries been devoted to a form of voodoo introduced by a travelling witch doctor – there was, and there still isn’t, anyone else on earth quite like them. Their mythology enticing, their music full of sinuous grooves and manic explosions of fuzz, Goat were outliers from the very beginning. ‘World Music’, received an avalanche of acclaim with critics, psych heads, outernational crate diggers etc, all left enraptured by its thunderous intensity, conjured from a singular mix of sounds from across the globe. Now, exactly a decade later, Rocket Recordings and the band have decided to dust-off the original recordings of ‘World Music’ and pass them over to the capable hands of the team at the legendary Abbey Road Studios to remaster the tracks and make them shine like they have never before. The results are better than we could have hoped. New details within the tracks have been revealed and – most importantly – the fuzz is even more explosive than before. You hear every crackle of electricity as it flows through the pedals. ‘World Music’s famous die-cut sleeve has been updated too, the colours of the eye-popping pattern have been reversed from the original, making this package even more desirable. The album is brimming with tracks now seen as ‘classic’ Goat live favourites. Tracks that have been wowing audiences all over the world; the afrobeat stomp of ‘Disco Fever’, the fuzz abuse of ‘Goathead’, the post-punk groove of ‘Let it Bleed’, the sing-along repetitive pop of ‘Run to your Mama’… From the first note to the last, ‘World Music’ oozes with a sonic confidence rarely seen on a debut album. Over the last 10 years many bands have tried to recreate the addictive ingredients which make up Goat’s cosmic soup, but none have ever come close to getting the recipe right. What Goat have is unique. They have an unsurpassed level of authenticity and honesty that makes them stand head and shoulders above all their imitators. They’ve managed to create a sound unrestrained by genre boundaries. There literally is still no other band on earth that sounds quite like them.

File Under: Psych
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Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas (Craft) LP
Limited snowstorm vinyl (in September… oh boy). With such iconic tracks as “Christmas Time is Here” and the instantly recognizable “Linus and Lucy”, the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas remains the second–best-selling jazz title in history, and was certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA in late 2016.

File Under: Jazz, Xmas
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Harlem Gospel Travellers: Look Up! (Colemine) LP
Things are looking up for The Harlem Gospel Travelers, who return here with a new album, a new lineup, and a new lease on life. Produced by Eli Paperboy Reed, Look Up! marks the group’s first full-length release as a trio, as well as their first collection of totally original material, and it couldn’t have come at a more vital moment. The music still draws deeply on the gospel quartet tradition of the ’50s and ’60s, of course, but there’s a distinctly modern edge to the record, an unmistakable reflection of the tumultuous past few years of pandemic anxiety, political chaos, and social unrest. The songs are bold and resilient, facing down doubt and despair with faith and perseverance, and the performances are explosive and ecstatic, fueled by dazzling vocal arrangements punctuated with gritty bursts of guitar and crunchy rhythm breaks.

File Under: Funk, Soul, Gospel
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The Heads: Undersided (Rooster) LP/BOX
Presenting a remastered, 20-year anniversary edition of The Heads’ third album proper, the under-rated gem in their canon that is Undersided! Originally released in 2002 on the Sweet Nothing label, Undersided was recorded in 2001 at WhiteHouse Studios in Weston Super Mare, with Martin Nichols engineering. For this reissue, the original recordings were remastered for vinyl and CD by long time Heads Masterer (!) Shawn Joseph. The resultant eight tracks are some of the best music the band have ever recorded, occurring after a bit of a hiatus following their 2000 US tour / Peel session (included in the boxset / on the 2xCD version here). The band then regrouped and worked out the tracks for Undersided, relentless rehearsing for the recording. This is a pounding sike-nightmare that shows The Heads at the peak of their powers. There’s a flow throughout the album of melding psychedelic noise rock to battering rhythms and creating a bad trip for all listening—even the gentle soothe of “Energy” is enveloped by a white noise fury, and the intensity of some of the other tracks, like the terror inducing “Bedminster” or “False Heavy” (a tour worn riffmonger from 2000) and the Magnet-esque “Heavy Sea,” showed the band as ferocious as any of the insurgent “stoner” genre bands of that time.

File Under: Psych
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London Suede: Autofiction (BMG) LP
As The London Suede began work on the songs that would become their ninth studio album Autofiction, they decided to go back to the basics. Autofiction was recorded live at Konk studios in North London with long-time collaborator, Ed Buller. Brett Anderson said, “Autofiction is our punk record. No whistles and bells. Just the five of us in a room with all the glitches and f-ups revealed; the band themselves exposed in all their primal mess.” Lead single “She Still Leads Me On” is the track that reconfigured what the album could be. A beautiful song written from Brett to his late mother. As its title suggests, Autofiction is one of Anderson’s most personal records yet. Reflecting on the process of writing acclaimed works of memoir Coal Black Mornings and Afternoons With The Blinds Drawn helped Brett get a newfound perspective on himself as a performer and singer in the public eye, much of which has bled into the lyricism of Autofiction.

File Under: Rock
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Mars Volta: s/t (Clouds Hill) LP
Breaking a decade of omertà, The Mars Volta reawaken from their lengthy hiatus with an eponymous album that radically reshapes their paradigm. A year after La Realidad De Los Sueños, a luxurious 18LP box-set compiling their back catalogue, sold out its 5,000 print run in under 24 hours – the duo are back, accompanied this time by founder bassist Eva Gardner, drummer Willy Rodriguez Quiñones and keyboard-player Marcel Rodríguez-López. The record shakes loose some of The Mars Volta’s long-standing shibboleths and the dizzying, abrasive prog stylings of earlier albums absent. Instead, The Mars Volta pulses with subtle brilliance, Caribbean rhythms underpinning sophisticated, turbulent songcraft. This is The Mars Volta at their most mature, most concise, most focused. Their sound and fury channelled to greatest effect, The Mars Volta finds Rodríguez-López’s subterranean pop melodies driving Bixler-Zavala’s dark sci-fi tales of the occult and malevolent governments. Distilling all the passion, poetry and power at their fingertips, The Mars Volta is the most accessible music the group have ever recorded.

File Under: Rock
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Melvins: Bad Moon Rising (Alternative Tentacles) LP
Six brand new songs! The best part about a new Melvins album is that you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. That’s the genius of these guys! With Bad Mood Rising it’s a tuned down rock and roll nightmare. BIG riffs and scary vocals. The album starts with ”Mr Dog is Totally Right” which clocks in at over 12 minutes. This song also features guest guitarist Dylan Carlson from the world famous band Earth. What a treat!! From there it goes into ”Never Say You’re Sorry”. It sounds like the way a big mean dog walks. Great fun! The rest of the album rounds out nicely. ”Hammering” might be one of the catchiest songs the Melvins have ever written.

File Under: Metal
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Gerry Mulligan: Night Lights (New Land) LP
Baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan was a true icon of jazz, being one of the prominent figures in the West Coast scene through the “50s all the way until his death in 1996. Voted the number one musician on his instrument by Downbeat Magazine for 42 years in a row, Mulligan was one of the key players of his time and a figurehead who help shape the sound of jazz to come. From periods in the Birth Of The Cool era Miles Davis line up as well as forming a piano-less quartet with Chet Baker, Gerry was always on the frontline of what was hip and happening in America’s one true art form. With its striking Oliver Hardimon designed cover, Night Lights is the very definition of refined cool jazz. Shimmering with a late-night beauty that perfectly evokes a sophisticated New York City in the early 1960s, Gerry and his Sextet fuse slow burning jazz noir alongside emerging, contemporary Brazilian rhythms with the interplay between Mulligan and guitarist Jim Hall a particular standout throughout. The title track is a wonderfully smooth, low light tune, while the Latin tinged “Morning Of The Carnival” really finds the band in their finest and most swinging form. A cover of jazz standard “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” followed by Chopin’s “Prelude In E Minor” continues the delightful groove before we finish out with Mulligan originals “Festival Minor” and “Tell Me When.” For this deluxe 180g vinyl LP reissue, New Land has included the 1965 version of the title track, which gives an interesting comparison, performed by his later day Quintet featuring the Wrecking Crew’s legendary Hal Blaine on drums amongst others. Remastered using transfers from the original tapes lifted from the Phillips vault by mastering legend Kevin Gray and pressed at Pallas. Housed in a thick reverse-board sleeve with additional insert featuring photographs and words by bassist on the session Bill Crow.

File Under: Jazz
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Multi-Surface: Aesthetics of Inequality Triangles (Not Not Fun) CS
Yamaguchi electronic landscaper Tomokazu Fujimoto aka Multi-Surface returns from an eight-year hiatus with a slow-blooming suite of radiant terrains and looping lullabies, named for a geometric technique utilized in Japanese gardening: Aesthetics of Inequality Triangles. Prior tapes for Lillerne and Patient Sounds explored parallel spheres of smeared tranquility, but his recent work skews even more sun-flared and crystalline, percolating patterns of texture, melody, and circuitry into states of suspended transience. The album’s 10 tracks lull, unspool, and refract, lapping like waves against aerial shores, flickering rainbows glimpsed in raindrops. The titles offer further clues, mapping a morning walk beneath too blue skies along a path lined with ceramics and stones, pastel flowers gently billowing in a breeze blowing from tomorrow.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Tapes
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Pink Floyd: Animals (2018 Remix) (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd’s iconic 1977 album Animals is a concept album, focusing on the social-political conditions of mid-1970s Britain, and was a change from the style of the band’s earlier work. The album was developed from a collection of unrelated songs into a concept which describes the apparent social and moral decay of society, likening the human condition to that of animals. Taking inspiration from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the album depicts the different classes of people as animals with pigs being at the top of the social chain, dropping down to the sheep as the mindless herd following what they are told, with dogs as the business bosses getting fat on the money and power they hold over the other. Although it’s been a long time since 1977, the narrative of the album still resonates today as our social and economic situation mirrors that of the time. The 2018 remix by long time Pink Floyd producer/engineer James Guthrie is available here on heavyweight 180g vinyl LP mastered by Guthrie, Joel Plante and Bernie Grundman and presented in gatefold packaging with a 28-page booklet.

File Under: Rock
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Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers: Rock n Roll with the Modern Lovers (Omnivore) LP
While his desire was for his band to be more of an acoustic/harmony based endeavor, Jonathan Richman was blindsided when his true debut was overtaken by a compilation of early recordings. Singles like “Roadrunner” and “Pablo Picasso” were in the forefront – but that did not deter Jonathan. After original drummer David Robinson left, (eventually finding success with Hall of Famers, The Cars), Richman hired D. Sharpe, and the band recorded and released the aptly titled Rock ‘n’ Roll With The Modern Lovers. Now, one might wonder how “rock ‘n’ roll” and album with songs titled “Ice Cream Man,” “Dodge Veg-O-Matic,” and a version of “Wheels On The Bus” is – but, Greil Marcus called it “the purist Rock and Roll album I’ve heard this year.” And, due to the UK fascination with the band’s perceived debut, “Egyptian Reggae” hit No. 5 on the singles charts! The date is 1977. Revel in where the “real” Jonathan Richman story started, and how it evolves.

File Under: Rock
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Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros: 002 The Mescaleros Years (BMG) BOX
2022 marks 20 years since the passing of the legendary Joe Strummer. While best known as the frontman for The Clash, between 1999-2002 Strummer produced some of his most exciting work alongside The Mescaleros. Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years is the first comprehensive collection highlighting this intense period of creativity and brings together the albums Rock Art and the X-Ray Style (1999), Global A Go-Go (2001), the posthumous Streetcore (2003), and Vibes Compass, a brand new compilation of 15 B-sides and rarities, including never before heard tracks like “Ocean of Dreams” (featuring Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols on guitar) and early demos of some of the Mescaleros best-loved tracks (“The Road To Rock ‘N’ Roll,” “X-Ray Style” and more), through to some of the original recordings from Joe’s last ever sessions (“Coma Girl (Outtake),” “Fantastic” and “Get Down Moses (Outtake)”), all in one complete box set. All of the albums have been remastered by Grammy Award winner Paul Hicks (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, David Bowie) and are packaged in a richly curated boxset, featuring extensive new liner notes and interviews with Joe’s friends, collaborators and The Mescaleros band members, plus never-before-seen handwritten notes, lyrics, and drawings by Joe taken from the Joe Strummer Archive. The vinyl 7LP box set also includes four reproduction lyric sheets and chord charts, and an exclusive 12″ x 12″ art print. Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years serves as a loving tribute to Strummer’s final musical output, released in celebration of what would have been his 70th birthday year.

File Under: Rock, Punk, Clash
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Supergrass: s/t (BMG) LP
Orange vinyl! Formed in Oxford, U.K. in 1993, Supergrass scored an unbroken run of five Top 10 albums, among them three platinum sellers generating millions of worldwide sales spawning ten Top 20 singles. The Brit, Q, NME and Ivor Novello-winning group’s hugely successful third album, 1999’s Supergrass (aka The X-ray Album), reached No. 3 on the UK album charts and No. 13 on the US Heatseekers chart. Home to the classics “Pumping On Your Stereo” (No. 11 U.K.), “Moving” (No. 9 U.K.) and “Mary” (No. 36 U.K.), this 2022 vinyl LP reissue has been fully remastered from original sources.

File Under: Rock
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Vieux Farka Toure & Khruangbin: Ali (Dead Oceans) LP
Ali Farka Touré is well known as one of the most influential and talented guitarists that Africa has ever produced. His legacy and impact are hard to overstate. Ali’s sound merged his much-loved traditional Malian musical styles with distinct elements of the blues, singing in the local languages of Fulfulde, Tamasheq, Songhay and Bambara. The result was the creation of a groundbreaking new genre, now well known as the ‘desert blues’, earning him three Grammy awards, widespread reverence and the nickname of the ‘African John Lee Hooker’. Though he transcended in 2006, Ali’s musical legacy lives on through his son, Vieux aka “the Hendrix of the Sahara,” an accomplished guitarist and champion of Malian music in his own right. On Ali, his collaborative album with Khruangbin, Vieux pays homage to his father by recreating some of his most resonant work, putting new twists on it while maintaining the original’s integrity. The result is a rightful ode to a legend. Ali isn’t just a greatest hits compilation. It’s a lullaby, a remembrance of Ali’s life through known highlights and B-sides from his catalog. It is a testament to what happens when creativity is approached through open arms and open hearts. “To me, music is magic, it is spontaneous, it is the energy between people,” Vieux says. “I think Khruangbin understands this very well.” The genesis of the album dates back to 2019, when Khruangbin, coming off their breakthrough album Con Todo el Mundo, was beginning to play to bigger crowds. The record was finished in 2021, as a global pandemic shuttered businesses and forced us to take stock of what Earth was becoming. Indirectly, Ali captures this as a moment of peace within a raging storm, a conversation between past and present without allegiance to suffering. Now, given Khruangbin’s reach as a unit with legions of fans (including the likes of Jay-Z and Paul McCartney), they’re poised to bring Malian music to broader groups of listeners. Ali is a masterful work in which the love surrounding it is just as vital as the music itself, driving it to unforeseen places; Vieux and Khruangbin are spreading the good word to a completely new generation. “I hope it takes them somewhere new, or puts them in a place they haven’t felt or heard,” Lee says. “It is about the love of new friendship and making something beautiful together,” Vieux continues. “It is about pouring your love into something old to make it new again. In the end and in a word it is love, that’s all.”

File Under: Psych, Afrobeat
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Various: Brown Acid – The Fourteenth Trip (Riding Easy) LP
Here’s just a few of the gems on Brown Acid – The Fourteenth Trip, the much beloved series that is the Nuggets of proto-metal, pre-stoner rock: The Legends’ “Fever Games” is a 1969 fever dream of heavy psych on par with Blue Cheer at their heaviest, featuring an incredible intro with whammy-bar gymnastics through an Echoplex. This Harrisburg, PA power trio, featuring Dan Hartman (Edgar Winter Group, et al) and his brother Dave, also name-checks Jimi Hendrix Experience in the midst of the song’s most blatant Hendrix rip. Perhaps that’s how Fever Games work? Transfer’s velvet smooth groove has an almost proto-punk feel like a mashup of the Velvet Underground and The Flamin’ Groovies. But the lyrics referencing tokin’ reefer and the twanging surf lead situate them closer to their heavy rock brethren. This very rare 1974 self- released 45 is this lone archive of the band’s existence—assume they just kept right on playin’ it cool into oblivion. Cox’s Army deploy the grungy rocker “I’m Tired” which sounds like if Jimi Hendrix fronted Mudhoney. Yes, please! Though they hailed from Aurora, IL, it sounds like there’s definitely some Pacific Northwest in their blood. Particularly in the gritty production, which hints at The Sonics’ “bustin’ outta lo-fi” style. Not much is known about the enigmatic Columbus, OH musician known as Raven, whose “Back to Ohio Blues” closes this edition. The mantra-like droning riff of this eight-minute jam is a Black To Comm-style epic, driven by Raven’s hostile, no-bullshit diatribe until it all busts open for an insane two-minute long drum solo soaked in odd effects that sounds like it was copped from a Melvins album.

File Under: Metal, Psych
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Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (R&S) LP
Blood Incantation: Timewave Zero (Century Media) LP
Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City) LP
Bill Callahan: Dream River (Drag City) LP
Chat Pile: God’s Country (Fensler) CS
Childish Gambino: Awaken, My Love! (Glassnote) LP
Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer: Recordings from the Aland Islands (International Anthem) LP
Com Truise: Galactic Melt (Ghostly) LP
Contortions: Buy (Superior Viaduct) LP
Converge: Bloodmoon 1 (Deathwish) LP
Gal Costa: India (Mr. Bongo) LP
John Dwyer & Friends: Gong Splat (Castle Face) LP
Billy Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Interscope) LP
Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises (Luaka Bop) LP
Fugazi: The Argument (Dischord) LP
Mort Garson: Plantasia (Sacred Bones) LP
Guided By Voices: Bee Thousand (Scat) LP
Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (Ndeya) LP
Iron Maiden: s/t (Sanctuary) LP
J Dilla: Donuts (Stones Throw) LP
Anthony Moore: Out (Drag City) LP
Joanna Newsom: YS (Drag City) LP
Oh Sees: Help (In the Red) LP
Oh Sees: Orc (Castle Face) LP
Osees: A Foul Form (Castle Face) LP
Outkast: ATLiens (LeFace) LP
Pearl Jam: Ten (Legacy) LP
Jonathan Richman: I, Jonathan (Craft) LP
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: Let’s Turn It Into Sound (Ghostly) LP
Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (Universal) LP
Terminal Nation/Kruelty: Ruination of Imperialism (20 Buck Spin) LP
Tyler, The Creator: Igor (Columbia) LP
Unwound: Fake Train (Numero) LP
Arthur Verocai: s/t (Mr. Bongo) LP
War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding (Atlantic) LP
War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian) LP
Barney Wilen: Zodiac (We Are Busy Bodies) LP
Wipers: Youth Of America (Jackpot) LP/CS
Wipers: Over the Edge (Jackpot) CS
Various: Brown Acid – First Trip (Riding Easy) LP
Various: Soul Slabs Vol. 2 (Colemine) LP

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