You know, NOT receiving one box of a big shipment does make for a slightly easier news letter day. Also, blowing through your first batch of one of your all time favorites ALSO helps to lighten the load. However there is still a LOT of great stuff in again this week. I’m sure hoping that things slow down a soon a bit soon. We are running out of room in here! But boy oh boy, some killer sides this week… firstly… the face melting new album from Sweden’s mysterious GOAT, a killer blend of world, psych, post punk, folk, and even a bit of 70s funk. And polar opposite… the new Romeo Poirier, another hazy nostalgic dream world. Another killer slab of kosmische bliss from Tarotplane. A dubbed out reworking of the new Spoon album. A much cheaper of the classic Kings of Punk (Portland Edition), than the original we had on the wall this summer. AND THAT”S JUST OUR PICKS! Big stack of the coloured Alice In Chains “Dirt”, both a new and a reissue from Lee Fields, finally the new(ish) King Giz, a new gut wrenching album from Nina Nastasia, her first in over 10 years! Of course some new Blue Notes. OH and we finally managed to get the TRUE LOVES album a killer self released funk super group featuring members of the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio! Anyway, come have a dig!
OH… and we’re doing something we rarely do… WE ARE HIRING! At least one, maybe two part time positions. Weekend availability is a must! Drop a resume off at the store along with your top ten albums of all time and this year.
– 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…..
Goat: Oh Death (Rocket) LP
Formidable psychic warriors, channelers of the mystic and proponents of a spiritual quest that transcends this realm, Goat remain a band shrouded in mystery. Travelling from their origins in the Swedish village of Korpilombo across the stages and festivals of the world in the last decade, this band has created their incendiary music entirely according to their own co-ordinates and conducted their affairs strictly by their own code. Invigorated by forces we can only guess at the origins of, Oh Death is a party to which all are welcome. Blithely waving away easy classification, these heat-hazed serenades are just as comfortable in the headspace of vicious ‘70s funk as they are in zesty ZE records post-punk. Folk-haunted incantations and free jazz skronk here find common ground, buoyed by relentless raucous energy. This is an auditory realm where seemingly anything can happen, and the uplifting incandescence of Oh Death only multiplies in potency by taking in Thin Lizzy-style twin guitar harmonies (“Blow The Horns”) a fearless-to-ridicule Antmusic stomp (“Do The Dance”) and Eddie Hazel style paintstripping fuzz/wah (the opening “Soon You Die”) along the way. Vocal mantras form righteous calls to arms amidst the dancefloor-friendly fury. Yet whilst dealing in the desert-blues drift of “Passes Like Clouds” or the Tom Tom Club-esque global rhythms of “Remind Yourself,” “Oh Death” is driven by a supernatural charge that unifies, invigorates and transcends borders, whether geographical, musical, or between this world and the next.
File Under: Psych, Fuzz, Kris’s Picks
Romeo Poirier: Living Room (Faitiche) LP
Living Room is the third solo album by Roméo Poirier and, following his much praised Hotel Nota, his debut for Faitiche. The French musician and producer transforms the layering of different times into a free-flowing pulse that sounds both nostalgic and mysteriously ahistorical. Poirier takes music seriously as a time-based art – not just in the sense of duration, but also in the way time is refracted into autobiographical experience, historical dimensions and stages of evolution. By immersing and reflecting himself in these different layers, he creates a succession of new balances between various tempos, iterations and developments. Poirier’s music emerges from a continual questioning and reformulation of his own oeuvre and thus of his own past, drawing on an ever-expanding archive of self-recorded loops. “I always resample myself, using fragments of a track to make a new one, as an ongoing process,” he explains: “The sound is evolving with me in parallel and the loops carry in their DNA all transformational stages, filled with previous tracks, sedimented.” Originally a drummer, Poirier connects his various sources almost without a clearly identifiable beat. He prefers an organic pulse, mutable like the human sense of time and its fluidity. The aquatic feel of certain tracks on Living Room is no coincidence: among other devices, he uses a waterproof loudspeaker and a hydrophone to play back and rerecord tracks in the bathtub. Drawing on a sample collection assembled by his father, also a musician, the human voice enters Poirier’s music for the first time. But it remains free of overly unambiguous signifiers. Besides its link to time, the fascinating thing about music is that it has meaning without needing to be decoded. Living Room goes back to the private but universal origin of human experience: “I liked the idea that a possible quest for a musician could be echoing the first encounter we had with language, in a prenatal state: its prosody, melody and tones, without being cluttered with meaning.”
File Under: Ambient, Fourth World, Electronic, Kris’s Picks
Tarotplane: The Ektacrhome Dawn (Tonight’s Dream) LP
The second release on Tonight’s Dream Records is delivered by Baltimore-based ambient and new-school Kosmische guitar musician PJ Dorsey, better known as Tarotplane. The Ektachrome Dawn follows on from the stunning Horizontology (12th Isle) and Light Self All Others (Impatience). He describes the album as a collage of work collated since 2017. Drawing in on inspirations from guitar-oriented psych and modern ambient music, using elements he values and revere in older 70’s head records and mixes it with modern techniques and influences. The tracks fuse traditional rock music, ethereal ambient textures and downtempo electronica, blended together seamlessly to create an engaging and unique listen throughout. The album has been mastered by prolific producer and mastering engineer Rafael Anton Irisarri at Black Knoll Studio who has worked on album for artists such as Inhmost, Juliana Barwick, Grouper, Steve Hauschildt, Loscil, Telefon Tel Aviv and Tycho amongst hundreds of others.
File Under: Ambient, Kosmische, Electronic, Kris’s Picks, Ian’s Picks
Spoon: Lucifer on the Moon (Matador) LP
Lucifer on the Moon flips Lucifer on the Sofa’s rhythm tracks inside-out, and often rebuilds them wholesale. Sherwood supplied extensive additional instrumentation via ON-U’s extended family of session players, including bassist Doug Wimbish and drummer Keith LeBlanc (both of whom performed in Sugarhill Records’ early ’80s in-house rhythm section). He dug deep into the album’s multi-tracks, surfacing forgotten details and elements not present in the final album mixes. The result airlifts Spoon’s trademark melodies into lush alien terrain, replete with vibrant echo and rumbling low-end. “It wasn’t just a thing where you pick apart this and you stay on the grid and you add a delay,” explains Daniel. “He added so much more instrumentation and it became a different version of the songs. Not a remix, but a companion piece. A ‘Part II.'” Released in February 2022, Lucifer on the Sofa is Spoon’s purest rock ‘n roll record to date. Texas-made, it is the first set of songs that the quintet has put to tape in its hometown of Austin in more than a decade. Written and recorded over the last two years – both in and out of lockdown – the songs mark a shift toward something louder, wilder, and more full-color. “It’s the best thing they’ve ever done,” wrote Rolling Stone. “More than exceeding their usual quotient of fire guitars, killer choruses, and crafty rock-history updates.”
File Under: Indie Rock, Dub, Piyush’s Picks
Poison Idea: Kings of Punk (Portland Edition) (TKO) LP
Out-of-print for nearly a decade, POISON IDEA’s landmark 1986 debut album RETURNS in all its well-deserved glory. TKO could not be more delighted to FINALLY be able to present this newly remasterd edition of Kings Of Punk: inarguably one of the most important Hardcore Punk LPs of all time. AND…for the first time since the original release, the impossibly rare friends and family “Portland Edition” version of Kings Of Punk has been faithfully reproduced for this reissue. At long last, all of us who weren’t taking our lumps on the Satyricon dance floor back in ’86 can now own a copy of the fabled “Portland Edition” without ransoming our firstborn to the dark forces of the Discogs marketplace. Includes two posters, 16-page lyric booklet and sticker. One-time pressing of 2,000 copies.
File Under: Punk, Ian’s Picks
Acephalix: Theothanatology (20 Buck Spin) LP
Clear with oxblood tint vinyl!!! Acephalix wakes from five years in morbid repose with a new offering upon the glistening altar of flesh, a devastatingly tormented study on Theothanatology, the idea or belief that God is dead. Within this cerebrum shattering inquiry lies, as always, a primal spewing forth of vicious death metal malignity and bomb-raid hardcore dispersions. Across a decade and a half lifespan, the evolution of Acephalix into the bludgeoning instrument of discord and dead faith displayed on Theothanatology has never felt so urgent. The crumbling siege-like mentality of modern life leaves no doubt God has left the building and Acephalix adeptly soundtrack the contradictions, atrocity and inner turmoil of such massive loss and decay. From the opening title track to closer “Atheonomist,” Acephalix is razor-focused on its greatest strengths, commanding the unambiguous sonic pulverizing of a bulldozer over the decimated skull pile of a once thriving civilization. Simultaneously more musically complex and savagely barbaric, Theothanatology heralds a collapse already in motion.
File Under: Metal
Alice In Chains: Dirt (Legacy) LP
Yellow wax now in stock! Alice In Chains’ 5x Platinum 1992 masterpiece Dirt was a milestone of the early ’90s grunge-genre and it stands up tall against anything else from that era. The dark 13-song set finds enigmatic frontman Layne Staley and his afflictions perfectly matched by the moody songwriting and tuned down guitars of Jerry Cantrell and company. The band’s ability to document their torment was like no other and most of the rumors that surrounded the album and Staley’s lifestyle have proven to be true which makes it as captivating a listen today as ever. Includes the hit singles “Would?,” “Them Bones” and “Down in a Hole” plus fan favorites “Rooster” and “Angry Chair.”
File Under: Rock, Grunge
Dan Boadi & The African Internationals: Money is the Root of Evil (Numero) 7″
After receiving regional praise for his 1976 debut Abrabo, Dan Boadi set his sights on leaving Ghana and bringing his highlife sensibilities to an American audience. Recorded at Paul Serrano’s namesake studio on E. 23rd St. in Chicago, Boadi’s U.S. debut showcased the true scope of his musical range; weaving in and out of funk, highlife, afrobeat, and reggae. The title track immediately demands the listener’s attention with a chugging drum lead by The African International’s King Tuch, setting the pace for Boadi’s colorful orchestration to follow. Money Is The Root of Evil claims it’s own space as a musical melting pot and reflects the excitement Boadi was learning to harness as a musician in his newfound home of Chicago.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Civilistjävel!: Järnnätter LP
There isn’t much to go on other than the soundscapes when it comes to Civilistjävel! What is rumoured to be a figment of the pre-internet era tapping into a similar consciousness as Biosphere, Chain Reaction or early Fax +49-69/450464 is ultimately left up to second guessing. For the average listener crossing paths with the project, a steady run of small-run, minimally packaged LPs has cemented Civilistjävel! as a leading force in the dub techno/glacial drone scene of present. However niche that may sound, this collection of tracks for Perko’s new FELT imprint navigates the same territories as the previous outings but with the folkloric tag “Iron Night” to help guide our ears. A Swedish expression for long nights of frost that damage plants and crops, the spectral and foreboding atmosphere of the opening cut already hints at the direction of the album. Combining dense ambient synth layers with hard to place industrial motifs (sometimes in rhythm, sometimes chaotically arranged) are what Civilistjävel! does best, indeed Järnnätter unfolds as a piece of work you can really spend time with. At points it feels as if the machines in some old factory complex have spluttered back to life through some unknown force and have begun to sing to one another. Other times the atmosphere is akin to a hydrophone placed deep into an ice-covered lake and the synthetic pulses of ‘A2’ are the only vaguely human touch. However, the sparse melodic flourishes across the record stem from an interest in psalms and early Swedish folk music, the juxtaposition of machine-led intuition and personable studiousness adding a hidden depth to the album.
File Under: Electronic
CoH Meets Abul Mogard: s/t (Houndstooth) LP
Fabled electronic music visionaries CoH & Abul Mogard form a supranatural alchemy of discrete analogue material and digital energies in their extraordinary debut for Houndstooth. Stemming from a chance meeting at a Slovenian festival in 2019, CoH & Abul Mogard’s maiden collaboration focusses stunning new perspectives on the artist’s respective, fiercely singular and widely adored bodies of work. Ivan Pavlov’s CoH, deeply respected for intensely curious original solo work, and in SoiSong with Psychic TV/Coil’s Peter Christophersen, here renders a vital, grayscale fluorescence from Guido Zen’s lushly romantic Buchla 200 and Serge Modular scapes, painted to tape between Stockholm’s EMS studio and at home, under his Abul Mogard nom de synth. You read that correctly – this is the first Abul Mogard release to be disclosed as the work of Italian artist Guido Zen; the late ‘90s electronica pioneer known for work with Gamers In Exile and Goodiepal at turn-of-the-millennium, and more recently in kosmiche unit Brain Machine, plus its parallel club project Vactrol Park, and in trio with NWW dynamo Colin Potter and Alessio Natalizia (Not Waving). As such ‘CoH Meets Abul Mogard’ drops the veil of fictional pretence after a decade of speculation, only to reveal Mogard’s music at its most metaphysically powerful, its allusive majesty heightened and reified by CoH’s computer-based sorcery and allegorically encrypted in the hand-drawn peculiarity of the album artwork, licensed from Nick Blinko (owner of Outer Himalayan Records and co-founder of legendary deathrock catalysts, Rudimentary Peni).
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Dead Cross: II (Ipecac) LP
Supergroup Dead Cross is back with II, their first new album in five years. In the time that has passed since their debut, the world has only gotten colder and harder. Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle), Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Testament), Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox) and Michael Crain (Retox) have responded with the sound of destruction on nine-tracks of thrash metal, punk and hardcore.
File Under: Metal, Punk
Dream Unending: Song Of Salvation (20 Buck Spin) LP
The 2021 Dream Unending debut album Tide Turns Eternal was a marked shift in musical ambition for Derrick Vella (Tomb Mold) and Justin DeTore (Innumerable Forms, Sumerlands). While structured with a foot firmly in death / doom, a far loftier purpose and progressivism was its hallmark, as such distancing itself from others pursuing the style. Now returning only a year later with the stunning Song Of Salvation, that exploratory zeal is given substantially greater allowance to soar and shine. The fourteen minute title-track opener enters like a morning sunrise over a calm sea before ramping up into ethereal heaviness like the richly textured waves of a sudden ocean storm. The songs momentum never retreats into laborious repetition, always opening new doorways, ebbing and flowing like river water from its source. Like solitarily gazing at the downtown lights of the city at night from the window of a darkened room, “Secret Grief” features the guest talents of vocalist Phil Swanson and Leila Abdul-Rauf on trumpet. The tranquil interlude of “Murmur Of Voices” gives way to the evocative “Unrequited” that begins with a lonely solo guitar before transitioning into a drifting daze of afternoon reverie and subconscious meditation. Finally comes the album’s epic bookend, sixteen minute closer “Ecstatic Reign.” It features perhaps the album’s heaviest straight doom moments along with the return of Tide Turns Eternal featured guest voices McKenna Rae and Richard Poe. Tomb Mold drummer / throat Max Klebanoff also appears for a shattering back and forth vocal tradeoff with DeTore. The album’s cinematic vision and painstaking colorful detail are fully encompassed bringing this enthralling journey to its enduring peak. Only a year on from Tide Turns Eternal, Dream Unending’s rapid evolution on the boundless panorama of Song Of Salvation is, crucially and intrinsically, a continued departure from limiting genre norms and an adept redefining of them.
File Under: Metal
Ekkehard Ehlers: Plays (Keplar) LP
Ekkehard Ehlers’ seminal plays series was originally released on three 12inches (Staubgold) and two 7inches (Bottrop-Boy) in very limited runs. The entire series was previously only available as a CD compilation or digitally. Keplar finally presents it on double vinyl for the first time, featuring a new cover artwork. Domestic ethnology: Ekkehard Ehlers plays. ‘Play’ is a word in English with many meanings attached. Each one sends you down a different cognitive pathway. When I think of ‘playing’, in the sense of a game, I think of an activity involving more than one person. When Ekkehard Ehlers plays, he is very much on his own. Or, at least, alone but at the same time keeping intimate company with the artistic innovators named in his titles. Robert Johnson. John Cassavetes. Albert Ayler. Cornelius Cardew. Hubert Fichte. Is he playing with them, against them, about them, for them, to them? This can never be known. It is certainly a mistake to try to hear the ‘work’ of these originals in the sounds played by Ekkehard. They’re not cover versions. They’re hardly tributes in the conventional sense. Cassavetes and Fichte are not even musicians, although music played an important part in both their careers. Sure, there are little nods and flashes of recognition – tiny guitar licks among the minimal beats of ‘Robert Johnson 2’; rich bowed instruments in ‘Albert Ayler’, recalling the violin, cello and double bass arrangements on Ayler’s 1967 Live in Greenwich Village LP; the elongated organ lines of ‘Cornelius Cardew 1’ gesturing towards passages in Paragraph 1 of the British composer’s 1971 Marxist monolith, The Great Learning. Ekkehard is not so much playing these figures as allowing himself to be played by them. Playing as an activity also suggests freedom. Maybe the only thing all five named persons have in common is that they were all quiet radicals. In music, literature and cinema, they all stepped, without self-promotion or fanfare, into unmapped territories. Once there they found it necessary to invent new languages in order to survive. Necessity was the mother of their inventiveness. They were also uncomfortable avant gardists. Lonely types, fighting their corners out on the margins, with little reward, often misunderstood, ridiculed or ignored. All died unfairly young. Fichte a victim of HIV/AIDS, Cassavetes of cirrhosis of the liver. (‘Cassavetes 2’ sounds like a tender farewell played across the 59 year old alcoholic director’s death bed.) The deaths of Johnson, Ayler and Cardew have never been satisfactorily explained, and remain shrouded in myths and conspiracy theories. The pioneering expeditions of all five began in that spirit of playful freedom, but inexorably drew them towards the heart of darkness. So these ‘plays’ are micro-dramas, sonic soliloquies, monolog-ins to the private accounts of various geniuses in Ekkehard’s ‘follow’ list. Hacked sensibilities. Artistic manifestos boiled down and distilled, skinned and dried in the digital smokehouse. (Ekkehard Ehlers Flays.) Each of these plays was originally floated out into the world alone on its own disc. The collected works play well as a team – a tranquil, introspective experience where each artist has his own identifiably unique sound character. As an album, Plays is a ‘Plattenragout’ – a ‘record stew’ – which was the title of Hubert Fichte’s LP review column in the leftist culture magazine konkret in the 1960s. The novelist’s work investigating the cultures of South America and the Caribbean islands has been called ‘domestic ethnology’. The writer himself referred to his ‘ethnopoesie’. Ekkehard Ehlers’s intuitive electronic portraits are a form of domestic ethnology in themselves. Invoking another of Ekkehard’s musical aliases, they are portraits of cultural ‘autopoiesies’ – creators whose works were strong enough to have their own self-regenerating life force. (by Rob Young)
File Under: Electronic
El-P: I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead (Fat Possum) LP
Fantastic Damage marked the beginning of El-P’s career as a solo artist, following a groundbreaking career as frontman and producer of legendary NYC underground hip hop crew, Company Flow. Fan Dam was a foundational release for his fledgling record label Definitive Jux, which would soon establish itself as an iconic juggernaut of independent rap in the wake of trailblazing solo records by El-P and label mates Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox, RJD2, Murs, and more. The template El-P established on Fantastic Damage – a singular aesthetic pairing futuristic, post B-Boy production style with insightful, provocative and often prescient subject matter – was met with accolades across the media landscape. After nearly four years of work, El-P released his second proper production album, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, featuring contributions from the Mars Volta, Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails, and Cat Power. The album has been widely unavailable since El-P put Def Jux on hiatus in 2010, making it ripe for rediscovery in the new music ecosystem due to El-P’s monumental success with Run The Jewels. 15th anniversary vinyl 2LP reissue.
File Under: Hip Hop
Lee Fields: Faithful Man (Truth & Soul) LP
10th anniversary reissue of the 2012 album from the veteran Soul/R&B vocalist. With a career spanning over four decades at the time, it’s mind-blowing that the music he made with Brooklyn’s Truth & Soul Records is some of the best of his career. While drawing comparisons to the Moments, the Delfonics, the Stylistics, and-of course, James Brown, Faithful Man is able to create a space of it’s own due to the group’s desire to interpret and further the formulas of good soul music rather than imitate them. Chalk that up to Truth & Soul producers and co-owners Jeff Silverman and Leon Michels. These are the same individuals that co-wrote, produced, and played on Aloe Blacc’s global smash “I Need a Dollar,” and have provided the back drop for records by Adele, GhostfaceKillah, and Jay-Z to name a few.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Lee Fields: Sentimental Fool (Daptone) LP
Lee Fields is arguably the greatest soul singer alive today. In an age when the shelf life of an artist largely depends on posturing and trends, he has proven to be an unassailable force of nature. His prolific, decade-spanning career continues to reign supreme on the modern soul scene. In early 2022, Lee reunited with Daptone Records and producer Gabriel Roth to record Sentimental Fool, a deep, blues-tinged, wholly-conceived soul album. From his first line to his final plaintive lyric, the beauty, power, and raw humanity of Lee’s voice is on full display here; the culmination of an astounding career that has seemed to defy gravity, rising to only greater and greater heights.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Foo Fighters: Essential (Legacy) LP
The Essential Foo Fighters is a double vinyl LP collection gathering 21 signature tracks from the beloved Dave Grohl led outfit. Pulled from their studio album discography, the compilation includes a selection of fan favorites and hit singles including “Everlong,” “Best of You,” “All My Life,” “Walk,” “These Days” and many more!
File Under: Rock
Forbidden Overture: Turned On! (Dark Entries) LP
The master sleuths at Dark Entries bring us Forbidden Overture, another tantalizing mystery from the hidden depths of sleaze. It all began years ago when Bijou Video’s Jules Zinn introduced the label to the soundtracks of the pornographic films of legendary filmmaker Steve Scott and gay superstar Al Parker. It wasn’t until The Magazine’s Bob Mainardi gifted a cassette copy of the soundtrack to the film Turned On!—a bathhouse fantasy from 1982—that the wheels started turning. The steamy, hypnotic sounds were credited only to “Forbidden Overture…” but who was that? This question remained unanswered for some time, and countless hours of research, Venn diagramming, and elaborate flow charts all proved fruitless. It wasn’t until a chance screening of Bad Girls Dormitory, a 1986 women-in-prison movie from gay porn director Joe Gage that happened to reuse some of the same music did the answer become clear: Forbidden Overture was none other than the mighty Man Parrish!The soundtrack to Turned On! consists of two epic side-long pieces, both of which employ classic Man Parrish production techniques. “Primal Overture” slinks along with brooding pads and ominous chords, building and oozing throughout its 27 minute runtime like a sultrier Goblin soundtrack. “Strictly Forbidden” takes a similar groove to a major key, but it’s optimistic chirp conceals a wry, mysterious wink. Says director Steve Scott: “It took us about two weeks to find the right piece for the jockstrap scene. But it’s like anything else—you know when it’s right.” Turned On! is an exciting musical rediscovery as well as a vital document of queer history.
File Under: Electronic, OST
Cheryl Glasgow: Glued to the Spot (Numero) 7″
It’s always summer somewhere, but especially so wherever Cheryl Glasgow’s carefree clubber “Glued To The Spot” plays. An absolute ear-worm from its first nylon strums, Glasgow’s Sade-adjacent, jazz vocalese sweeps into a warm-up tempo groove and never quite breaks a sweat. Issued on Ross Anderson’s short-lived, London-based Live label, “Glued To The Spot” swept through the club scene briefly in 1987, disembarking for warmer shores when the season changed.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Heydarian, Mohammad: Songs Of Horaman (Centripetal Force) LP
Mohammad Mostafa Heydarian is a young Kurdish tanbur player from Kermanshah, a city in the mountainous western Iranian region of Horaman. The son of a local instrument builder, he grew up surrounded by the local traditional music styles, studying with a number of well-known master musicians before recently entering university to study Persian classical music. Heydarian currently resides in Tehran and has deep affection for the land of his upbringing. Whenever he is feeling down, he thinks about Horaman and the role his home has played in making him who he is today. For Heydarian, it seemed only appropriate to title his album accordingly. Recorded in the city of Karaj with the percussive assistance of family friend and long-time collaborator Behzad Varesteh, Heydarian’s debut includes a mixture of traditional tasnifs and maqams—thrilling and gorgeous tanbur pieces centered in the two musicians’ talent for extended improvisation and feeling. Songs of Horaman was initially released on cassette by the European label Radio Khiyaban in November of 2021. It was immediately met with praise and positive energy, and it became clear that Heydarian’s music deserved to reach more ears. Plans to broadly distribute the album on the vinyl format came together quickly with Centripetal Force (North America), Cardinal Fuzz (UK), and Ramble Records (Australia) joining the project. In an era of production delays, supply chain shortages, increased shipping fees, heavy taxation, and other complications, these four labels hope this effort serves as a model for how DIY culture can continue to grow and thrive in cooperative ways. And they are all certainly grateful to be part of what Heydarian has to offer. A special note of recognition and appreciation also goes out to musician and producer Valentin Portron, a friend of Heydarian who helped facilitate and coordinate this release- and who also mixed the results you hear on the album.
File Under: Middle Eastern
Hulder: De Oproeping Van Middeleeuwse Duisternis (20 Buck Spin) LP
Limited ultra clear w/ black smoke vinyl!!! De Oproeping Van Middeleeuwse Duisternis collects two early releases from one woman black metal band Hulder. The disc’s first five tracks comprise what was the Rehearsal 8/13/18 tape release, collecting an intro- and truncated rehearsal versions of the early demo tracks, indulging in the spontaneous harshness and pacing of a live recording. A Celtic Frost cover shows a primary influence. Tracks six through eight are the original Ascending The Raven Stone demo tracks proper that were Hulder’s first recorded release, immediately embracing the icy traditional black metal style of her forbears in both the Scandinavian and French scenes of the 1990s. An already well-developed sense of songwriting and atmosphere signal toward the dark future to come. These are the earliest raw steps of the project that would before long coalesce into evolved but no less bewitching form on the Hulder debut full length.
File Under: Metal
Jackson / Hoogland / Abrahms / Avery: These Things Happen (Astral Spirits) LP
Keefe Jackson – Tenor and Sopranino Saxophone / Oscar Jan Hoogland – Piano / Joshua Abrams – Double Bass / Mikel Patrick Avery – Drums / “Epistrophy” & “Bemsha Swing” written by Thelonious Monk / “Gotta Get Some Sleep” written by Dewey Redman / “The Happenings” written by Herbie Nichols / “Wimpel” & “Aanhanghuis” written by Oscar Jan Hoogland / Arrangements on “Gotta Get Some Sleep,” “The Happenings” & “Bemsha Swing” by Oscar Jan Hoogland / Recorded at Bimhuis Amsterdam on April 29, 2016
File Under: Jazz
Jigen: Blood’s Finality (^ ^) LP
After whipping imaginations into a brittle frenzy with the reissue of Jigen’s ‘Stone Drum Avantgardism’ of the same year, the reticulated breaks and ghostly extended guitar tekkerz of Jigen’s ‘Blood’s Finality’ only deepen the mystery of this short-lived but deeply enchanting late ‘90s project. Filling a blindspot for lots of listeners, and living up to many stoned fantasies of jungle’s unfulfilled possibilities, Jigen’s work appeared at a point when jungle was on the cusp of calcifying into formulaic structures after an unprecedented run of innovations. Geographically detached from jungle/D&B’s UK epicentres, Jigen, like Christoph De Babalon in Germany, or – as we now know – Derek Bailey in South London, took license to head for the hills, splicing the style’s snaking breakbeats with possessed guitar and wind expressions while it was shaping into nth degree darkside, jazzier or aggro forms back at source. Nearly a quarter century later, its reemergence into a scene that has been thoroughly raked over and cyclically reappraised, is nothing short of thrilling for anyone who thought they’d heard it all. Crashing in with a passage of avant bloody clatter, the set’s room recorded textures and flinty sampler lick ’n spittle chops feel even more radical in 2022. The all-important restless funk is there, unpredictably moving in the shadows agist backdrops of wind-played chimes and scraped strings on ‘対不破 (野弦太刀無銘)’ or rattling against trash can percussion and hauntingly beautiful pipes in ‘空蝉半機’, with lingering lacunæ on ‘迎火狂雲’ really recalling the atmospheres of prime period Photek or his acolytes SD, whereas ‘万年番外地’ tilts into pure free jazz noise territory, and the final 11 minute beauty ‘無季’ perhaps most uncannily parallels Derek Bailey’s off-the-cuff riffs on pirate radio of that era. Un-bloody-missable! –Boomkat
File Under: Electronic
Junei’: Let’s Ride (Numero) 7″
Willie “Junei” Lee spent the first half of the 1970s playing guitar with his older brother Robert Lee in the self-contained band Lost Weekend, recording a handful of singles and a still unreleased LP. The back half of the decade was spent touring with Albert King, Curtis Mayfield, and The Emotions, before returning home to Gary, Indiana, to focus on his own sound. In 1985, Junei’s girlfriend brought home a suite of Fostex home studio gear, including a 12 channel board, 8-track tape machine, and a halftrack for mix downs. He added a Yamaha drum machine and a Maestro echoplex and started his solo project. “The only artists I listened to was Hendrix and Santana,” Junei said. The emissions coming from his home studio were entirely different, however, as “Let’s Ride” channels the Euro sensibilities of Kraftwerk or Italo over virtuosic guitar. “I just didn’t want to sound like anyone else,” he continued. “Let’s Ride” achieved that differentiation, and managed to anticipate Chicago house by a few years. Pressed in minuscule numbers in 1987 on Pharaohs Records, the 45 never connected with the nearby scenes in Chicago and Detroit where it might have found purchase in fertile soils. Decades later “Let’s Ride” found new life as the bed for KAYTRANADA’s “Scared To Death,” and the track has slowly worked its way through the algorithm to a new generation of vapor huffers. “I am all for experimentation, trying new things, etc,” Junei said. “Kaytranada is a visionary and a talented producer. He has my respect.”
File Under: Funk, Soul
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Omnium Gatherum (Virgin) LP
Omnium Gatherum’s sprawling 16 tracks of gonzoid prog jams, dizzying pop nuggets, rubber-legged hip-hop odysseys and passages of pure thrash-metal abandon offer plenty for King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard fans and neophytes alike to chew on. Typically, Gizzard albums pursue a single theme or style – but part of the thrill of O.G. for the group was the opportunity to present new ideas without committing the entire album to just one. It’s both the perfect entry point for newcomers, and a solid treat for the faithful. Gatefold 180-gram vinyl 2LP-set with artwork by Jason Galea.
File Under: Psych
Bobby Krlic: Returnal OST (Milan) LP
After crash-landing on a shape-shifting alien planet, Selene must search through the barren landscape of an ancient civilization for her escape. Isolated and alone, she finds herself fighting tooth and nail for survival. Again and again, she’s defeated – forced to restart her journey every time she dies. Through relentless roguelike gameplay, you’ll discover that just as the planet changes with every cycle, so do the items at your disposal. Every loop offers new combinations, forcing you to push your boundaries and approach combat with a different strategy each time. Brought to life by stunning visual effects, the dark beauty of the decaying world around you is packed with explosive surprises. From high stakes, bullet hell-fueled combat, to visceral twists and turns through stark and contrasting environments. You’ll explore, discover and fight your way through an unforgiving journey, where mystery stalks your every move. Designed for extreme replayability, the procedural world of Returnal invites you to dust yourself off in the face of defeat and take on new, evolving challenges with every rebirth. Best known for his work as The Haxan Cloak, Bobby Krlic brings his experience as an award-winning composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist to Returnal, imbuing the score with a gritty and experimental quality that matches the tone of the third-person shooter game. The album marks Krlic’s first-ever video game title as lead composer and follows his critically acclaimed, award-winning scores for director Ari Aster’s Midsommar, Hulu’s Reprisal, TNT’s Snowpiercer and The Alienist, and more.
File Under: OST
Kulku: Fahren (Phase Group) LP
Acoustic, no-age krautrock from Berlin releasing on Glasgow label, Phase Group. The next release on Phase Group unearths a truly unique project that has existed as an outlier in the Berlin underground since 2002. A stage decked out with xylophones, tambourines, timpani, wooden percussion, two drum kits, a cello, harmonicas, saxophones and pieces of scrap metal. Eight unassuming musicians playing repetitive, trance-inducing phrases, at times serene, fragile and dream-like and at others wild, primitive and driving. This isn’t a scene you might associate with hazy nights out in Berlin but it’s what you’d find if you ended up at a Kulku show. Kulku’s music is a hard to define blend of percussive minimalism, folk, krautrock, post-punk and no wave, almost exclusively derived from acoustic sound sources. Their debut album ‘Fahren!’ presents this unique sound-identity that they have been crafting for the best part of two decades. The A-side presents 3 tracks of percussive propulsion, minimalist xylophone motifs and repetitive drums alongside monotone organ, dramatic narration and woodwind instruments moving in and out of dissonant howls and melodic improvisation. The B-side is devoted to lighter tones, beginning with the glockenspiel minimalism of ‘Unterm Himmel’ and rounding the record out with trance inducing drone of the album’s title track which builds up into a cacophony of snare drums, dissonant accordion and melodica before fading out like dream.
File Under: Psych, Krautrock, Post Punk
Liai: Pome (Quiet Time) LP
On their debut LP “Pome” for Quiet Time, Liai has given us a stunning work of expertly crafted rhythmic ambience, inspired by the intimacy and solitude of the midwestern countryside. Having grown up in rural Missouri, Liai channels the mixed feelings that can accompany solo contemplation in nature – expansiveness, sentimentality, vulnerability and eeriness. This deeply personal set of tracks took 3 years to make, revealed in the precision of sound design and use of space. The work feels at once familiar and organic, yet technical and futuristic, almost alien – a product of digital melodies, granular processing and frequent sampling of their own previous works.
File Under: Ambient
Local Artist: Expanding Horizon (Mood Hut) LP
Up next from Mood Hut we have the debut LP from Local Artist aka Ian Wyatt. Previously known for his underground party starters Dancer and Touch Tone. This time Ian takes us further towards the intimate end of the radio dial, recording music as a way of processing the emotions of watching his father and partner battle cancer pre-pandemic. Themes of love, loss and life emerge in a moody brew to help you through. In Local Artist’s world, the sun is setting on our old selves. Tonight is a slow ritual of letting go to gradually make room for the new. We’ve been up all night. It’s almost dawn and beyond the horizon, we can trust the light that morning brings. RIYL – Jon Hassell, Laurie Anderson, Loose Ends, Sade, slow burns, ambient RnB, hypnotic funk, feeling better when you’re feeling bad.
File Under: Electronic, Pop
Love Battery: Dayglo (Jackpot) LP
In the middle of the wonderful sludge that was coming out of Seattle in the late ’80s/early ’90s, Love Battery pierced through with something different to offer. They were more psychedelic, more tuneful, and even more… dare we say… British sounding than what Sub-Pop was releasing at the time. We were listening. The results are crystal clear on the record Jackpot Records is reissuing, Dayglo. And like many of the Sub-Pop records of the day, this has not been available on vinyl in the U.S. Until now. On Dayglo, inventive and underrated guitar wizard Kevin Whitworth and vocalist / guitarist Ron Nine slash and burn through 10 songs that would give bands like Blur, Swervedriver, and yes, Nirvana, a run for their money. It doesn’t hurt that the focused driven energy of drummer Jason Finn (soon to be of The Presidents Of The United States) and ex-U-Men bass monster Jim Tillman add more than their weight to the sonic mystery of these songs. From the melodic battle cry of opener ‘Out Of Focus’ with its slippery, infectious chorus, it’s obvious that Love Battery had an incredible knack for hypnotic hooks, cryptic lyrics, and propulsive grooves–ones that record obsessives still drool over when the needle hits the turntable. The record is as mysterious as early R.E.M., with equal hints of 13th Floor Elevators and Screaming Trees sprinkled throughout. “Two years later, Oasis made the same record and were called geniuses” – SPIN Magazine
File Under: Rock, Grunge
Mister Water Wet: Top Natural Drum (Soda Gong) LP
Following releases on West Mineral and Lillerne Tapes, Iggy Romeu’s inimitable Mister Water Wet project makes its Soda Gong debut. “Top Natural Drum” feels like a double entendre ode to digging culture, drawing equally from the plantlife in the dirt and the grooves in the stacks. Tracks like opener “Soak” concoct a haze of resonant ceramic/wooden percs, skittering drum programming, and addictive yet diffuse melodic and harmonic textures. Dusty-fingered nodders like “Caged at Last”, “Classicfit,” and “Gossamer Hits Softly Spun” harken back to the glory days of instrumental hiphop and downtempo, sounding a bit like transmissions from some lost Landspeed Records or Mo’ Wax comp, or like field recordings from the courtyard at Scribble Jam that have been infused with the slippery sonic signatures and sleights of hand that define MWW productions. What links these two distinctive tonal registers is a sort of lingering warmth – warmth like the saturation of natural dye or sunlight on a brisk, clear Midwestern autumn day.
File Under: Electronic
Astrid Mortensen: Gro Mig En Blomst (Grapefruit) LP
One first heard the Danish artist Astrid Øster Mortensen as a surprise guest vocalist on Gustaf Dicksson’s Blod album, Missväxt, which Grapefruit released in 2021. New in Gothenburg, the Denmark-born Mortensen had been frequenting the Discreet Music shop where various musicians of the underground scene communed and shared their latest projects. Learning that she was a musician too, Dicksson asked Mortensen to contribute vocals to Missväxt and it wasn’t long before she handed over a master of her own music which completely floored everyone in the scene who heard it. The recordings eventually materialized as Gro Mig En Blomst. An LP which was released in a very small edition on Dicksson’s Förlag För Fri Musik label in March of 2021, causing a sensation of wonder and well-earned praise and some panic due to its scarcity. Gro Mig En Blomst is at once wholly immersive and something quite rare—an infectious collection of essentially experimental music derived from familiar organic sounds stitched together with delicate, sometimes improvised music, poetry, and haunting folk melodies. Akin to the pastiches composed by the equally enchanting Gothenburg collective, Enhet For Fri Musik, Mortensen’s album is mysteriously irresistible despite offering what most would consider a challenging listen. It immediately became an essential release and sold through its 300 copies quickly before the ink was even dry on the superlative reviews. So, it was with great pride and pleasure that Grapefruit worked closely with her to offer this new reissue. Herein one will find songs which often begin with chatter and ambient sound, with Mortensen seemingly extracting beauty from the random and chaotic, splicing in snippets of birdsong and rainfall as well as electronic noises. It might be tempting to assume these songs are accidental, wholly improvised, or captured moments due to the ephemeral qualities of the music and the ease of execution which lure us into the world Mortensen has created. But, it is actually evidence of the skill and finesse of a confident artist in full command of her medium.
File Under: Experimental, Ambient, Sweden
Mournful Congregation: The June Frost (20 Buck Spin) LP
Out of print for more than 10 years!!! With their third full-length, 2009’s The June Frost (referring to the Winter season in the band’s home of Australia, of course), Mournful Congregation finally secured a proper North American release on the small Enucleation Records label. And though this helped to increase the band’s status in the States, the label unfortunately ceased to operate not long after the album came out and Mournful Congregation were once again without support—until joining forces with 20 Buck Spin in 2011. Thankfully, the quality of material on The June Frost—another eight tracks of freezing white, solemn and progressive funereal doom—achieved the first real accolades for the band from the wider metal press. Consisting of four primary extended songs and four shorter instrumental passages in between, it echoes elements of the earliest Anathema recordings in terms of both heaviness and heartbreak. Plenty of acoustic passages, drawn-out single notes and creative arranging make Mournful’s refined, classical sound the epitome of the genre, leading up to their 2011 masterpiece The Book of Kings. The June Frost is finally back in print as part of 20 Buck Spin’s series of Mournful Congregation back-catalog pressings.
File Under: Metal
Nina Nastasia: Riderless Horse (Temporary Residence) LP
Riderless Horse is my first solo record, and it’s the first record my former partner, Kennan Gudjonsson, didn’t produce. I haven’t made an album since 2010. I decided to stop pursuing music several years after my sixth record, Outlaster, because of unhappiness, overwhelming chaos, mental illness, and my tragically dysfunctional relationship with Kennan. Creating music had always been a positive outlet during difficult times, but eventually it became a source of absolute misery. Kennan, a cat and I lived in a studio apartment in NYC for 25 years, finding ways to survive while making records and going on tours. Our apartment was the place where people would come stay, eat, drink, play music, and use our tub. It was quite a home we had created, but it was decaying steadily from the moment we moved in, and in the end, it was as if black mold was growing beneath the surface, undetected, and the two of us were dying and getting too weak to ever leave. We loved each other. We were each other’s family, but there was ongoing abuse, control and manipulation. We hid. We didn’t want anyone to see how ugly things could get, so we increasingly isolated from our friends and family. We were lost. On January 26, 2020, I made the decision to separate and live apart, and on January 27, Kennan died by suicide. What a thing, suicide. I can only feel sadness and guilt about it. Maybe I’ll have other reactions to it later on. Riderless Horse documents the grief, but it also marks moments of empowerment and a real happiness in discovering my own capability. Steve Albini produced this record with me, and Greg Norman assisted. The three of us are old friends, and we did a field recording in a guesthouse built like a lighthouse that two very dear friends of mine have in Esopus, NY. It was exactly the right environment to work on this record. We all had meals together, cried, laughed, and told stories. It was perfect. It made me realize how much I love writing, playing and recording music. Terrible things happen. These were some terrible things. So, what to do – learn something valuable, connect with people, move the fuck out of that apartment, remember the humor, find the humor, tell the truth, and make a record. I made a record.
File Under: Folk
OST: The Crow Original Score (Varese Sarabande) LP
The Crow (1994) became famous before it was even released, due to the tragic death of star Brandon Lee in an on-set accident. Alex Proyas’ supernatural revenge thriller, based on a comic book, was met with critical and fan acclaim. It became a box-office hit and tribute to its fallen star, leading to a franchise of sequels and a television series. The Crow features a masterful score by Graeme Revell (Dead Calm, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle). With a background in what is typically called “world music,” Revell radically reinvented the grammar of film scoring by incorporating the authentic sonorities of non-Western cultures far more extensively and adroitly than had ever been attempted. Under Revell’s expert hand, the score is a unique mélange of synthesized, industrial, vocal, non-Western and Western elements – with everything from tribal drumming to rock guitars, children’s choir, blues riffs and bird samples, to a 50-piece string orchestra. It is dramatically impeccable, sonically inspired and beautifully produced. “The uses of ‘world music’ in film history had most often been direct references to location, race or culture,” writes Revell in a new introduction to this Deluxe Edition. “The opportunity instead to use all these sound sources in a fantasy setting like The Crow could release them from these confines. I heard them as universals. The key was my love of this music – especially Middle-Eastern – and my respect for it both within and outside of its regional or ethnic context. In the same way Western music had penetrated other cultures, it was clear to me that the inverse was bound to happen.” This Deluxe Edition vinyl 2LP set contains the original score album release plus 30 minutes of unreleased music. The records are housed in full color inner-sleeves with movie stills and new notes and placed along-side a fold out 16 x 24 movie poster within a beautiful wide-spine embossed jacket featuring new artwork. The Deluxe Edition greatly expands the program, and includes Revell’s end title song, “It Can’t Rain All the Time,” performed by Jane Siberry.
File Under: OST
Big John Patton: Oh Baby! (Blue Note) LP
Following the success of Jimmy Smith, Blue Note expanded its stable of Hammond B3 organ wizards in the 1960s with several master practitioners of the instrument, including the soulful Kansas City-born dynamo Big John Patton, who first appeared as a sideman on Lou Donaldson’s albums The Natural Soul and Good Gracious. Patton debuted as a leader on Blue Note in 1963 and went on to release a stellar run of soul jazz dates of his own throughout the decade including Oh Baby!, which was recorded in 1965. The dynamic quintet he assembled for the session packed a punch with a two-horn frontline of Blue Mitchell on trumpet and Harold Vick on tenor saxophone plus Grant Green on guitar and Ben Dixon on drums. The band keeps it firmly in the pocket on Patton originals like “Oh Baby,” “One to Twelve,” and “Good Juice,” and hits the ground swinging on Vick’s up-tempo burner “Night Flight.”
File Under: Jazz
picnic: creaky little branch (Daisart) LP
picnic follow up their self-titled debut album with ‘creaky little branch’. “A love for early 00’s electronica guides the listener as it sits somewhere between familiarity and the unknown. However, this isn’t an exercise in nostalgia, instead foreground for the here and now. With contributions from Alejandra & Aeron, el2, Kindtree, Nico Callaghan, samb_rules, Craig Tattersall (The Humble Bee, Hood, The Boats, etc.), Theodore Cale Schafer and Ultrafog.”
File Under: Ambient
Plains: I Walked With You a Ways (Anti) LP
Hitting play on the debut album from Plains, the duo composed of Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson, we’re immediately teleported into a world of Southern sunsets, wide open spaces, and the unapologetic nature of Country music. Plains began out of Crutchfield’s and Williamson’s mutual love for each other’s music and after trading albums (Saint Cloud and Sorceress, respectively) in early 2020. Feeling that it was time to have a separate project that could reflect a different side of her creative inspirations, Katie felt that Jess was the perfect fit for a collaboration, and they set off to create I Walked With You A Ways. Written between Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Marfa, the album was recorded in Durham, NC with collaborator and producer Brad Cook. The creative magic of only a few vocal takes, tracking with a band comprised of Spencer Tweedy and Phil Cook, gives the album a feel of fresh, on-the-spot conception. The trust and history of Crutchfield and Cook’s collaborations (Saint Cloud, Great Thunder EP) set the tone for this new container of spontaneity and experimentation. And that’s the thing about Country music, and what so much of this album nods to – from Waylon and Willie, to The Judds, The Chicks, Trio, and beyond – these are groups that are formed out of family and friendship, that lyrically take their listeners on a voyage of sorrow and hope. Crutchfield’s sharp, honest edge of truth telling paired with Williamson’s ability to paint the scene with candles, plains, sunsets, and small Texas towns is one of the strongest parts of this album. We’re in the backseat with these two, truck windows open, wide open spaces in front of us. The feeling of being both a mess and unstoppable at our fingertips. May this album bring us all closer to ourselves and to each other.
File Under: Country
Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (Def Jam) LP
Pusha T scored his first US No. 1 album with his critically acclaimed fourth LP, It’s Almost Dry. Picking up where his Grammy-nominated 2018 album Daytona left off, Pusha stays true to his roots with his signature snarl, razor-sharp lyrics, and menacing beats. Produced entirely by Pharrell Williams and Kanye West, It’s Almost Dry features an all-star cast including Jay-Z, Ye, Pharrell, Kid Cudi, Lil Uzi and more. Receiving positive reviews across the board, it has been called Pusha’s “best body of work” so far. “A well-balanced portrait of a complex man with some serious burdens on his heart,” Rolling Stone surmised, while The New York Times assessed: “Push’s lyrics pop with poetic detail and riotous cleverness.” “Stellar…with brilliant sample flips, head-spinning wordplay and A-list features, the rapper’s first new full-length in four years is quintessential Pusha T,” NPR added. Speaking to Complex, Pusha explained: “My brand is all about creating masterpieces. This is a legacy thing with me. This is all about being great. This is the realest real estate in hip-hop, and I’m the Martin Scorsese of it.” The “Rap Album Of The Year” has arrived!
File Under: Hip Hop
Revolting Cocks: Beers, Steers + Queers (Cleopatra) LP
Colored vinyl reissue of the most infamous studio album by the notorious side project of Ministry’s Al Jourgensen, Revolting Cocks! Originally released in 1990, this album furthered the degradation of the Cocks audio template of twisted drum loops, industrial synths and distorted vocals! Restored to the original LP running order and packaged with several bonus tracks including the banned original version of RC’s cover of Olivia Newton John’s “(Let’s Get) Physical.”
File Under: Industrial, Ministry
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282: Admonishing the Bishops (Bulbous Monocle) LP
Bulbous Monocle, a new label focused on the legacy of the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 and the scene from which it reveled in between the years 1986-1996, is honored to launch the label with arguably the most lauded and concise testament from the band. 1993’s mini-masterpiece Admonishing the Bishops. Originally released on the Matador Records label, this title and most of the “Fellers” discography has been out of print for over 25 years. Now, newly remastered by Mark Gergis (Sublime Frequencies et.al) this perfect EP is sounding better than ever! “Formed in San Francisco in 1986, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 had the bad luck to display a range of cultural and musical reference points shared by relatively few members of that era’s archconservative “underground culture.” On any given day, you might hear that their records were too manicured or too chaotic, too cerebral or too absurd, too personal or too impersonal, too experimental or too pop. Above all, they were derided as “self-indulgent” by critics who expected artists to tiptoe deferentially around their audience’s blind spots.
File Under: Indie Rock
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282: Strangers from the Universe (Bulbous Monocle) LP
Bulbous Monocle presents a first time vinyl reissue of The TFUL 282 masterpiece LP originally released in 1994 on Matador Records. Even in a catalog that bristles with pinnacles, Strangers from the Universe remains pinnaclier than most. Somehow harnessing influences from Bali to Cinecittà to Memphis to the wobbly Sunday morning organ at Oakland’s Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church without feeling contrived or showoffy, Strangers is possibly and/or indisputably the most successful shotgun marriage of the Fellers’ disparate pop sensibilities with their outlandish song structures, their acre-feet of tape snippets with their hydra-headed arrangements, and their individual compositional and instrumental skills with their congenitally peculiar joint sensorium. Eager as always to experiment with unconventional (i.e., daft and cumbersome) approaches to writing and recording, the Fellers fine-tuned their working methods for Strangers, assigning individual members as “sheriffs” to oversee the arrangement of promising morsels into coherent compositions. Even more daringly, they decided to let Greg Freeman, their long-suffering engineer, control his own mixing board. “The result was a much more cohesive sound than we’d ever gotten with our usual approach,” says TFUL282 multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mark Davies.
File Under: Indie Rock
True Loves: Famous Last Words (Color Red) LP
Famous Last Words is True Loves’ debut LP that was originally released in 2017. The group has become a coveted act in the Pacific Northwest and beyond comprised of accomplished musicians who have cultivated a signature sound of undeniable grooves and classic soul flavors. Focused on creating modern soul music that pays homage to its originators yet always seeks out the next fiery groove, True Loves have catapulted from garnering citywide adoration earning them spots at sought-after festivals like Sasquatch, Doe Bay, and Upstream, to racking up millions of streams across all streaming platforms.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Stanley Turrentine: Common Touch (Blue Note) LP
The great tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine imbued every single note he played with a depth of feeling and soulfulness that still reverberates today. Turrentine made his Blue Note debut in 1960 and had been a stalwart of the label for the better part of a decade when he entered Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in August 1968 to lay down his 21st session as a leader, the lesser-known classic Common Touch featuring his then-wife Shirley Scott on organ. The couple were joined by guitarist Jimmy Ponder, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Leo Morris (aka Idris Muhammad) for this easy-going but varied six song set which included groovy numbers like Turrentine’s “Buster Brown” and Scott’s “Boogaloo” in addition to the gently swinging title track, a slow burning version of Doc Pomus’ “Lonely Avenue,” and a highly-enjoyable take on Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind.”
File Under: Jazz
Van Der Graaf Generator: Pawn Hearts (Universal) LP
A facsimile LP edition of the classic 1971 album from Van der Graaf Generator heralded as one of the groundbreaking albums of the progressive era. Newly remastered from the original first-generation master tapes
File Under: Prog
Christina Vantzou: N. 5 (Kranky) LP
While on the island of Syros in the Aegean Sea for a film festival performance, Christina Vantzou experienced what she characterized as “a moment of focus”—a specific vision for the sprawl of raw recordings she’d been amassing for her fifth album. Upon relocating to the Cycladic island of Ano Koufonisi, she situated herself outside at a patio table with a laptop and headphones, taking brief breaks to swim, and began the “reductive process” of shaving and shaping the source material into uneasy but lyrical movements, alternately austere and adorned with strange inflections: glottal groaning, cavernous water, glittering eddies of modular synth, languorous silences. Mixing the pieces herself without outsourcing to an engineer compounded the intimacy and autobiographical dimension of the music; she refers to Nº5 as “almost like a first album.” Drawing on sessions staged in February 2020, Vantzou’s editing instincts emphasize process and isolation, spotlighting resonance and restraint, liquidity and long tails. Fleeting configurations of piano, wind, strings, synthetics, and field recordings, these are spaces as much as compositions, surreal grottos of shifting light, suffused with a sense of invisible divinity. Although seventeen musicians appear on the record, the proceedings feel minimalist and malleable, sculpted from interstitial moments and oblique synchronicities. The definition of a composer as “one who joins things” is here both plumbed and proven; Vantzou describes Nº5 as “a letting go,” a place of “soft borders,” unfixed and undefinable.
File Under: Ambient
Vio-Lence: Eternal Nightmare (Metal Blade) LP
Formed in 1985, Oakland thrashers Vio-Lence helped define and refine what came to be known as the Bay Area sound. “Eternal Nightmare” originally debuted on June 27th, 1988, and is widely regarded as a thrash masterpiece in the world of heavy music.
File Under: Metal
Alhaji Waziri Oshomah: Vol. 1-5 (1978 – 1984) (Luaka Bop) BOX
On the heels of his already critically acclaimed (yes, already!) retrospective, WORLD SPIRITUALITY CLASSICS 3: THE MUSLIM HIGHLIFE OF ALHAJI WAZIRI OSHOMAH, Alhaji Waziri Oshomah — the Oyoyo King, the Godfather of Afemai Music, the Etsako Super Star, Mr. Please Please Please, Mr. Dynamite — returns with his complete Volume Series, compiled for the first time in a 5 LP box set. Waziri hails from a small part of Edo State in southern Nigeria called Afemailand, known for being a harmonious region where Muslims and Christians live—and dance—together. And there, as a devout Muslim and an exemplar of religious piety in his community, Waziri’s music fuses Etsako/Afemai folk styles with pan-Nigerian highlife and pop to create a sublime vehicle for his Islamic philosophy that gets everyone—Muslims, Christians, whoever—on the dancefloor. This 5 LP set, VOL. 1-5 (1978-1984), focuses on Waziri’s illustrious mid-career output—the music he created during the years leading up to and after he made his first hajj. Every song here (some of which you might recognize from THE MUSLIM HIGHLIFE) strikes his signature balance of traditional music, highlife, and funk, as he entreats you to stay on the straight and narrow, though there’s nothing straight about his beat. Included in the box set is a copy of THE JOURNEY SO FAR, a limited-edition book written and designed by his children, to celebrate Waziri’s remarkable life and career.
File Under: High Life, Africa
Susumu Yokota: Baroque (Modern Obscure) LP
First vinyl pressing of Baroque by Japanese composer and multi-instrumentalist Susumu Yokota. The full-length album was originally released by United Sounds Of Blue in 2004, a subdivision of Frogman Records in CD format. Now it is being re-released by Barcelona-based record label Modern Obscure Music as a double LP and in digital format. Baroque is one of the most significant albums of Susumu signed under his original name, and this is the first time the album will be pressed on a double LP 12”. Yokota, was an eclectic, highly prolific electronic musician and composer from Japan who died in 2015 at 54. “There is always fear, rage, and ugliness existing behind the beauty. I have been trying to express ki-do-ai-raku (the four emotions: joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness) through music. I would like to express even one’s hidden emotion with reality. It’s my eternal goal.” Baroque is a clear example of this, through the deep listening of the album you can experiment with all of that feeling in just one record and feel how his music influenced the next generation of producers during the two next decades till today. The Tokyo-based artist devoted his time and creative energy to achieving this goal, and the result is a vast discography that begins with banging early acid house tracks in the 1990s and moves across the next two decades to include deep house and Detroit-influenced techno, a stunning run of ambient electronic albums and, in his last decade, a glorious confluence that wove his various skills into a series of borderless electronic records. Modern Obscure Music team is really excited to bring this gem to the light, Baroque is remastered and distributed in two 12” to be played in clubs and home sound-system bringing the best quality of sound to have the best experience. Susumu Yokota (横田 進 Yokota Susumu, or ススム·ヨコタ Susumu Yokota (April 22,1960 – March 27, 2015) Also known by the pseudonyms Stevia and Ebi, among others.
File Under: Electronic, Japan
Zombies: Odessey & Oracle (Varese) LP
Odessey and Oracle is a landmark recording that follows Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band as among the most influential British rock records from the 1960’s. Mostly recorded at Abbey Road, (using some of the Beatles’ instruments leftover from the Peppers sessions), the album features “Time of the Season” which went to #1 in both the U.S. and Canada. The album has been cited as a favorite by Dave Grohl, Paul Weller and Tom Petty, who wrote the foreword to The Odessey: The Zombies in Words and Images, a hardcover coffee table book on the album released in 2017. Odessey and Oracle is an essential record by any measurement and directly responsible for The Zombies’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.
File Under: Rock, Pop
Various: Anime & Manga Synth Pop Soundtracks 1984-1990 (Time Capsule) LP
Trailblazing instrumental synth pop experiments created to soundtrack Japan’s booming 1980s cartoon and comic industries. The brightly futuristic instrumentals on this collection reflect the mindset of composers and musicians who believed in a technological future where everything was possible. In the late 1980s Japan experienced a brief but heady period where societal changes combined with new-found wealth to open up a world of possibilities. A huge influx of cash – artificially created by slashed interest rates after an agreement with the US to weaken the dollar relative to the yen – resulted in the inflation of real estate and stock market at a rapid pace. While the economic bubble it created was unprecedented and impossible to sustain, for a while money was in plentiful supply. The musical genre City Pop reflected the aspirations of the country’s booming leisure class. Video games flourished with Nintendo’s 1983 launch of their Family Computer (or FamiCom). Studio Ghibli was founded 1985 to later became one of the most famous and respected animation studios in the world, and Anime and Manga were established as major forms of entertainment for all generations of the Japanese public. Music was no mere footnote to the anime and manga boom: the two forms of media often went hand in hand, and not simply through the presence of background melodies. With generous budgets available, even two-dimensional static manga comics could be released with an accompanying soundtrack of original music known as an ‘Image Album’. Composer and arranger Kazuhiko Izu was one such beneficiary of this open budget approach. Written to accompany artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga comic Domu, the composer and arranger took advantage of the world-leading (and wallet-busting) Japanese synthesiser technology available at King Records’ fully equipped studio. Featured on this compilation, A3: Act 2 Scene 26 reflected the story’s sci fi themes with a blazingly futuristic yet warmly funky slice of synth pop that presents a joyful celebration of synthesisers and their seemingly endless possibilities. Kan Ogasawara was another composer who made early mastery of the litany of synthesisers, drum machines and sequencers that had become available. Two tracks written to accompany the 1985 period manga Yume No Ishibumi are featured here; Honowo’s experimental electronic textures add spice to a jaunty electro pop melody that recalls the Rah band’s 1983 hit Messages From Stars; the jazz-tinged Utage rounds out Ogasawara’s shimmering synth textures with beautifully crafted backing from legendary musicians Yuji Toriyama (guitar), Pecker (percussion) and Jun Fukamachi (piano). Before becoming one of the pioneers of Japanese Kankyo Ongaku (Ambient Music), Takashi Kokubo worked on the proto techno track Kiki (Jungle At Night). It was put together for the 1984 anime film Shonen Keniya (Kenya Boy) using some of the most expensive music technologies available at the time. This Africa-Inspired dance track offers a contemporary parallel to the early techno music that young Detroit based producers were then creating using cheap Japanese Roland drum machines and synthesisers. This is the first compilation of Japanese anime and manga soundtracks curated by Kay Suzuki and Rintaro Sekizuka from Vinyl Delivery Service (a Tokyo based online record shop which also operates in East London’s renowned wine and hifi shop Idle Moments). With a cover by artist Kazuki Takakura and two pages of liner notes, this vinyl only compilation of music never before released outside of Japan, captures a vital aural snapshot of an era whose forward-thinking sounds went hand in hand with cutting edge technology.
File Under: Electronic, OST
Various: Blue Note Re:Imagined II (Blue Note) LP
Blue Note Re:imagined returns in 2022 with a new 16-track compilation featuring fresh takes on music from the illustrious Blue Note vaults recorded by a heavyweight line-up of the UK jazz, soul and R&B scene’s most hotly-tipped rising stars. Arriving off the back of the widespread international success of the first volume, which topped jazz charts around the globe, Blue Note Re:imagined II once again infuses the spirit of the new UK jazz generation into the legendary label’s iconic catalogue, balancing the genre’s tradition with its future and reflecting the melting pot of talent and diversity within the current scene. Additional tracks on the album will include funk-pop duo Franc Moody’s version of Donald Byrd’s “Cristo Redentor,” fast-emerging vocalist Cherise’s take on Norah Jones’ “Sunrise,” Maya Delilah covering Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” which was recorded by Cassandra Wilson on her 1995 Blue Note album Blue Moon Daughter, Birmingham-born pianist Reuben James’ reimagining of Wayne Shorter’s ballad “Infant Eyes,” London tuba player and Sons of Kemet member Theon Cross with a version of the Thelonious Monk/Kenny Clarke composition “Epistrophy,” and 9-piece afro-jazz outfit Nubiyan Twist’s fresh spin on Donald Byrd’s “Through The Noise (Chant 2).” Blue Note is celebrated almost as much for its visionary album art as for its legendary recordings. Designer for the Blue Note Re:imagined campaign was Jay Vaz: “The Blue Note Re:imagined identity explores an abstract graphic notation score, aiming to represent the exciting energy and diverse range of artists that the new wave of jazz offers. The LP cover pays homage to a selection of legendary Reid Miles covers [in particular, Jackie McLean – It’s Time] that I felt perfectly executed the energy of this compilation.”
File Under: Jazz
Various: Brown Acid – The Fifteenth Trip (Riding Easy) LP
Lo and behold, Brown Acid – The Fifteenth Trip is here, and it’s another mind-melting dose of brilliant long-lost, rare, and unreleased hard rock, heavy psych, and proto-metal tracks from the ’60s -’70s. Riding Easy’s crate-digging mining expeditions, and growing network of the original artists keeps on giving with more and more incredible discoveries every time they go back for more. Like they’ve done throughout this series, all of these tracks were painstakingly licensed legitimately and the artists were paid. Make oneself comfortable and prepare for yet another deep, deep dive into the treasure trove of dank, subterranean, wild-eyed and hairy rock ’n’ roll of yesteryear. Some key examples include: As usual, this Trip opens strong, as “Take The Time” swaggers along with switchblade stabs of guitar twang and frantic drumming that sounds like Nick Cave’s ’80s post-punk barbarians The Birthday Party on this 1969 single from the mysterious Boston area band The Looking Glass. Negative Space toil in the dark web of The Seeds, and dwell in the mystic haze of working class suburbs in Camden, NJ circa 1970. Their angry, nasty guitar sounds and frustration-bogged frontman Rob Russen ensure that the aggro fueled “Forbidden Fruit”—in which he confesses his love for his sister-in-law—will hit one right in the face. Truth & Janey might be familiar from their 45-only “Midnight Horseman” single heard way back on the Sixth Trip, and / or their incredible 1976 album No Rest For The Wicked. Their super-driven soul leaning cover of “Under My Thumb” is almost like The Who had penned the track, with relentless drums, jackhammer rhythm guitar and near-falsetto vocals.
File Under: Metal, Psych
Cannonball Adderley: Somethin’ Else (Blue Note) LP
Bedhead: Beheaded (Numero) LP
Beyonce: Renaissance (Columbia) LP
Bitchin’ Bajas: Bajascillators (Drag City) LP
Black Midi: Hellfire (Rough Trade) LP
Blood Incantation: Interdimensional Extinction (Dark Descent) LP
Blood Incantation: Starspawn (Dark Descent) LP
Cindy Lee: Model Express (W.25th) LP
John Coltrane: Coltrane’s Sound (ORG) LP
Charley Crockett: The Man from Waco (Thirty Tigers) LP
Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Columbia) LP
Lou Donladson: Alligator Bogaloo (Blue Note) LP
Emeralds: Solar Bridge (Ghostly) LP
Bill Evans: Trio ’65 (Verve) LP
Fucked Up: Oberon (Tank Crimes) LP
FUJIIIIIIIITA: Noiseem (Thirty Three Thirty Three) LP
Fuzz: III (In The Red) LP
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib: Pinata – 1984 Version (MMS) LP
Jack J: Opening the Door (Mood Hut) LP
Daniel Johnston: Welcome to My World (Eternal Yip Eye) LP
Ryo Kawasaki: Juice (Mr. Bongo) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: K.G. (ATO) LP
MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (Columbia) LP
Oliver Nelson: Blues & The Abstract Truth (Impulse) LP
Oh Sees: Carrion Crawler (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Castlemania (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Help (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Mutilator Defeated at Last (Castle Face) LP
Om: God is Good (Drag City) LP
Pink Floyd: Division Bell (Columbia) LP
Pretty Things: S.F. Sorrow (Madfish) LP
Rage Against the Machine: s/t (Legacy) LP
Lou Reed: Transformer (Legacy) LP
Salamanda: Ashbalkum (Human Picture) LP
Sorcery: Stunt Rock OST (Riding Easy) LP
Stone Roses: s/t (Sony) LP
Sun Ra: Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra (Craft) LP
Horace Tapscott Quintet: The Quintet (Mr. Bongo) LP
Tyler, The Creator: Goblin (XL) LP
Tom Waits: Mule Variations (Anti) LP