…..news letter #1076 – and cold…..

Weird week for shipments, the missing half of one from last week, another super early, ANYWAY, as all ways GREAT STUFF, also, it’s getting close to Christmas, so lots of reissues! Finally the much needed repress of Captain Beefheart’s essential Trout Mask Replica. David Sylvian’s 2003 self released electronic/ambient pop masterpiece gets reissued by Universal. Finally copies of Chat Pile, although by the time you read this, maybe not. Taylor Swift’s chart topper is finally in on blue wax, other colours in next week. The Stranger Things soundtrack is finally in and The Sadies latest album has finally landed! Many other great slabs in, have a read and come on down for 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. 

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…..

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band: Trout Mask Replica (Third Man) LP
Trout Mask Replica is a touchstone in the history of recorded music. The mix of dada absurdist blues and previously unexplored experimental avenues have long been praised as one of the greatest albums of all time. As so eloquently put by John Peel, “If there has been anything in the history of popular music which could be described as a work of art in a way that people who are involved in other areas of art would understand, then Trout Mask Replica is probably that work.” In full partnership with the Zappa Family Trust and to celebrate the relaunch of the seminal Bizarre label imprint, Third Man Records is proud to announce Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s Trout Mask Replica. Out of print on vinyl for nearly ten years, this remaster was helmed by industry legend Bob Ludwig and cut by the estimable Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Utilizing crystalline-quality safety masters kept in the Zappa family vault for decades by the trustworthy Joe Travers, the audio here is positively glorious. Every last skronk breathes full life into the room. Every twisted guitar figure uncurls onto paths previously unpaved. Every last bark and howl shines resolute through the vast emptiness of your mind. Previous countless Trout Mask Replica repressings used scans of scans of scans of the cover image, but for the Third Man pressing, the original Cal Schenkel cover photo has been tracked down and reproduced here at its clearest — its resolution from the original release in 1969. If you’ve only ever seen a jpg online or fuzzy, smeared-looking CD issues from the 90’s, be prepared to be wowed by the fully engaging spectrum this iconic image casts. This 2xLP is pressed on heavyweight 180-gram black vinyl for that full-on frenetic feeling.

File Under: Psych, Blues, Essential Grooves, Kris’s Picks, Ian’s Picks
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Neutral: s/t (Grapefruit) LP
Neutral’s 2014 1st LP, Grå Våg Gamlestaden, is widely considered ground zero for the explosion of creativity that has transpired in the Swedish Underground ever since. It is the noisy experimental rock album that opened the door and welcomed in so many artists working behind the scenes. Gothenburgers Dan Johansson (Sewer Election) and Sofie Herner had previously made music together in the band Källarbarnen when they started discussing a new methodology and a fresh sound for recordings under a new name as a duo. Grapefruit was proud to reissue that first LP in 2021 and they are equally excited to follow up that sold-out release with two more important Neutral releases, the self-titled sophomore LP from 2016 in a gatefold sleeve and the När mini album EP from 2017 which was originally limited to 300 copies. Grapefruit’s reissue of the När mini album and the 2nd LP is the first time these have been reissued. Both are limited to 400 copies.

File Under: Lofi, Experimental, Post Punk, Ian’s Picks
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David Sylvian: Blemish (Universal) LP
Almost 20 years into his distinguished solo career, which started with 1984’s gold-selling, widely lauded Brilliant Trees, David Sylvian released Blemish as his first solo album to appear on his Samadhisound label. The album first appeared digitally in 2003, with the vinyl version that followed in 2004 now a collector’s item. Blemish saw Sylvian working mainly solo to create an impromptu suite of songs for guitar, electronics and voice. The compositions grew out of improvisational sessions with the acclaimed free jazz guitarist Derek Bailey, on three tracks, and Austrian guitarist-producer Christian Fennesz on “A Fire In A Forest.” “I wanted to get into those difficult emotions, and penetrate them as deeply as I felt I was capable of doing,” said Sylvian at the time, “in the security of that working space. So, although there were elements of my life that were bringing all these negative emotions to the fore, what I was doing in the studio was taking them further – whereas in life we try to restrain them, we hold them back. We don’t allow ourselves to go too far with it because they feel dangerous, they feel threatening. Living through these emotions was very difficult, but finding a voice for them was so cathartic. After that six-week period, I felt I’d worked through some very difficult emotions. I felt an enormous amount of release.” This is Blemish’s first official release on 180-gram vinyl, recut by the highly experienced engineer Tony Cousins at Metropolis Studios.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Kris’s Picks
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Quakers: Supa K: Heavy Tremors (Stones Throw) LP
50-track beat tape from production supergroup Quakers (featuring Portishead’s Geoff Barrow aka Fuzzface, Portishead engineer 7STU7 and Ashley Anderson aka Katalyst. Showcasing the very best in instrumental hip-hop production, Supa K: Heavy Tremors tells the origin story of the beat tape: “They returned to the planet to find humans reaping ecological havoc. From their arsenal of secret weapons comes Heavy Tremors: a sonic assault to help bring the world back into balance. This siege of beats targets the few who systematically pillage the planet and its resources for their own benefit. Play it loud.” Album artwork created by graphic novel artist Joe Currie.

File Under: Hip Hop, Piyush’s Picks
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…..new arrivals…..

Monty Alexander: Montreaux Years (BMG) LP
The Montreux Jazz Festival takes place for two weeks every summer in Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Created in 1967 by Claude Nobs, the Montreux Jazz Festival has become over the years an essential event, generating fantastic stories and legendary performances. In its 50 year plus history, Montreux has hosted iconic performances by artists including Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. This The Montreux Years vinyl 2LP-set showcases some of Monty Alexander’s iconic Montreux performances in 1993, 1995, 1997, 2014 and 2016. Issued here on superior audiophile heavy weight 180g vinyl 2LP with brand new liner notes and rare photos from his Montreux shows.

File Under: Jazz
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Oren Ambarchi: Shebang (Drag City) LP
Extended guitar hero Oren Ambarchi returns with Shebang, the latest in the series of intricately detailed long-form rhythmic workouts that includes Quixotism (2014) and Hubris (2016). Like those records, Shebang features an international all-star cast of musical luminaries, their contributions recorded individually in locations from Sweden to Japan yet threaded together so convincingly (by Ambarchi in collaboration with Konrad Sprenger) that it’s hard to believe they weren’t breathing the same studio air. Picking up from the staccato guitar patterns that ran through Hubris, Shebang’s single 35-minute track begins with a precisely interwoven lattice of chiming guitar figures, expanding Hubris’ monolithic pulse into a joyous, hyper-rhythmic melodicism that calls up points of reference as disparate as Albert Marcoeur, early Pat Metheny Group, and Henry Kaiser’s It’s A Wonderful Life. Building from isolated single notes into densely layered polyrhythms, the muted guitar tones are joined by subtle touches of shimmering Leslie cabinet tones and guitar synth. Simmering down and funneling into a single note, the guitar stew is soon thickened by Joe Talia’s propulsive ride cymbal, which blossoms into a beautifully flowing yet rigorously snapped-to fusion funk, whose ever-shifting details skitter across the kit. An unexpected entry of guttural bass clarinet licks from Sam Dunscombe begins the series of instrumental features that pepper the remainder of the piece. Soon we hear from the legendary British pedal steel player B.J. Cole, whose languorous yet uneasy lines float in and out of a shifting rhythmic foundation supported by a single note bass groove, cut through with aleatoric synth articulations.

File Under: Experimental, Minimalism
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Beat Happening: s/t (Domino) LP
From the band’s earliest days, the music of Beat Happening felt out of time. Infused with a primitivism worthy of the earliest rock and roll and a romance suggestive of the first warm evenings of the year, Bret Lunsford, Calvin Johnson, and Heather Lewis’ songs evoked a mysterious, lovelorn intimacy. When heard in the basements and strobe lit halls of the nascent DIY movement they helped pioneer alongside Johnson’s K Records, the directness of these affairs of the heart seemed revolutionary, if not confrontational. This expanded double LP version of the band’s eponymous 1985 debut (produced by Greg Sage of the Wipers and Patrick Maley) thoroughly documents the band’s first four years of recorded history. Pitchfork calls it “a declaration of their undefined, instinctive, and fearless nature.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Beatles: Revolver: Special Edition (Capitol) LP
Revolver was The Beatles’ 1966 album that changed everything. Spinning popular music off its axis and ushering in a vibrant new era of experimental, avant-garde sonic psychedelia, Revolver brought about a cultural sea change and marked an important turn in The Beatles’ own creative evolution. From “Taxman” to “Tomorrow Never Knows,” The Beatles’ Revolver has been newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and Sam Okell, and sourced directly from the original four-track master tapes with audio brought forth in stunning clarity with the help of cutting-edge technology developed by the award-winning sound team at Peter Jackson’s WingNut Films Productions Ltd. Revolver’s sweeping new Special Edition follows the universally acclaimed remixed and expanded Special Editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017), The Beatles (aka White Album) (2018), Abbey Road (2019), and Let It Be (2021).

File Under: Pop, Rock
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Steven Brown: El Hombre Invisible (Crammed) LP
For his first solo album since the early ‘90s, Tuxedomoon’s co-front man delivers a hypnotic collection of songs, a song cycle of sorts, which draws from his life in Mexico, where he’s been residing for many years now. El Hombre Invisible is centered around Steven’s emblematic vocals, melodies & lyrics, set in an intimate environment, with sparse elegant, arrangements for guitar, bass, occasional horns, and of course Mr Brown’s trademark piano & saxophone playing. The atmosphere and lyrics of the songs reflect some of the experiences & impressions gathered in the course of these latest 28 years, which have included earthquakes, a kidnapping, rubbing shoulders with the Zapatistas in Chiapas, being confronted with the still omnipresent traces of the Spanish conquest five centuries ago (and the effects of “The Most Dangerous Book In The World”, which guided the conquistadores’ steps), Steven’s years of working as a cultural activist, and his enduring love for the general beauty of the nature and the people in his new hometown of Oaxaca. El Hombre Invisible was recorded in Oaxaca by Salvador Rodriguez in the studio El Comalito with local musicians, including Lila Downs, who sings a duet with Steven on the song Familias Ricas. Plus a couple of external guests: Tuxedomoon’s Luc van Lieshout on trumpet, and Chris Haskett (ex-Rollins Band) on guitar. The songs were mixed in Berlin by Steven’s old friend and musical associate Nikolas Klau, and in Oaxaca by Salvador Rodriguez.

File Under: Experimental, Tuxedomoon
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Chat Pile: God’s Country (Flenser) LP
There’s a sick irony to how a country that extols rhetoric of individual freedom, in the same gasp, has no problem commodifying human life as if it were meat to feed the insatiable hunger of capitalism. If this is American nihilism taken to its absolute zenith, then God’s Country, the first full length record from Oklahoma City noise rock quartet Chat Pile is the aural embodiment of such a concept. Having lived alongside the heaps of toxic refuse that the band derives its name from, the fatalism of daily life in the American Midwest permeates throughout the works of Chat Pile, and especially so on its debut album. Exasperated by the pandemic, the hopelessness of climate change, the cattle shoot of global capitalism, and fueled by “…lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of THC,” God’s Country is as much of an acknowledgement of the Earth’s most assured demise as it is a snarling violent act of defiance against it. Within its over forty minute runtime, the album displays both Chat Pile’s most aggressively unhinged and contemplatively nuanced moments to date, drawing from its preceding two EPs and its score for the 2021 film, Tenkiller. In the band’s own words, the album is, at its heart, “Oklahoma’s specific brand of misery.” A misery intent on taking all down with it and its cacophonous chaos on its own terms as opposed to idly accepting its otherwise assured fall. This is what the end of the world sounds like.

File Under: Noise Rock, Punk, Metal
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Darkthrone: Astral Fortress (Peaceville) LP
From their formation back in 1986, to becoming one of Norway’s finest musical exports (with several highly revered black metal masterpieces released in the early 90’s helping to solidify their legacy), Darkthrone has continued to evolve and challenge in equal measure, throughout their illustrious recording career spanning over three decades. And now, the ever-productive duo of Nocturno and Fenriz continue their own metallic saga with a new selection of fine, vintage sounding headbanging classics in the making. Astral Fortress is itself a swift follow-up to 2021’s Eternal Hails opus, because of Darkthrone’s consistent and ongoing writing process, which has been in force for some years now. For Darkthrone does not sleep – it only waits. Carried on the brisk wind of eager rock, with foundations in black, thrash, doom and heavy metal, Astral Fortress is the latest album of stellar, eclectic old metal in the Darkthrone odyssey. With a seemingly endless dungeon full of heavy metal influences channelled through Darkthrone’s dynamic riff-machine, plus also with many increasing inspirations taken from their own past catalogue, Darkthrone has truly become its own beast within the metal world. Even though sprinkled with atmospheric touches such as synthesizers and mellotron on Astral Fortress to great effect, the Darkthrone sound remains stripped down to the core; always primitive & organic. Astral Fortress was recorded at Chaka Khan Studios in Oslo, the same location used for the Eternal Hails album, with Ole Øvstedal & Silje Høgevold.

File Under: Metal
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Death Cab For Cutie: Asphalt Meadows (Atlantic) LP
Death Cab for Cutie return on Barsuk Records with their highly-anticipated tenth studio album, Asphalt Meadows which is introduced by lead single “Roman Candles.” The band notes that the track “is about the crippling, existential dread that goes hand in hand with living in a nervous city on a dying planet. And that the only way to be in the moment is to let it all go.” The follow-up to 2018’s Thank You For Today is produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Wallows).

File Under: Indie Rock
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Glenn Fallows & Mark Treffel: Globeflower Masters Vol. 2 (Mr. Bongo) LP
Glenn Fallows and Mark Treffel released their first album, ‘The Globeflower Master Vol. 1’, on Mr Bongo in September 2021. With its lush, warm and timeless productions paying homage to classic 60s and 70s soundtrack composers, it was very well received and struck a chord with the scene’s connoisseurs. Louder Than War emphatically stated, “It’s impossible not to like The Globeflower Masters Vol. 1.”, with Gigwise echoing that praise “slickly compelling retro vibes”. The Globeflower Master Vol. 2 is the slightly edgier and more grown-up sequel to Mark and Glenn’s 2021 debut album. For this excursion, the Brighton-based duo wanted to lean a little further into their European film soundtrack influences, with particular inspiration mined from the works of Stefano Torossi, David Shire, and Roger Webb. This expansion of their sound builds upon the rich tapestry of cinematic funk à la David Axelrod, Serge Gainsbourg and Morricone that fashioned Vol. 1. Here the arrangements, melodies, and harmonies have been refined; only what is needed is left. The recordings are drenched in visual imagery; they stimulate the senses and invite the imagination to roam. Ethereal, hazy memories of lost summers are triggered; the beauty of listening to music when driving along a deserted road in the Italian countryside lined with cypress trees heading towards the sun, and beyond. As the musical journey progresses, we even take a voyage to another planet. Whether these memories are real or constructed recollections of scenes from film and television, the tracks evoke a feeling of nostalgia and comfort. Like all the best music, ‘The Globeflower Masters Vol. 2’ takes us out of ourselves even if it’s only temporarily. To consolidate the shape of the sound, drummers Timmy Rickard and Ollie Boorman (who also featured on Vol. 1) and John Maiden (Tricky collaborator) sprinkled their magic and forged their stamps onto the recordings. Collaborating with other talented musicians contributed to the picture Mark and Glenn wanted to paint. The ‘Globeflower Master Vol. 2’ is a fitting tribute to the music they love and care deeply about and a glorious addition to their musical world.

File Under: Funk, Library
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Robert Lester Folsom: Sunshine Only Sometimes (Anthology) LP
Sunshine Only Sometimes: Archives Vol. 2, 1972–1975 continues Anthology Recordings’ exploration, and excavation, of southern singer, songwriter, and psychedelic serviceman Robert Lester Folsom’s bountiful archives. Recorded across Georgia in various bedrooms, a barn, and a motel room with a Sears 2-track reel-to-reel and a revolving cast of whip smart studio musicians in the first half of a dazed and confused decade, Sunshine Only Sometimes furthers Folsom’s place in the canon of long lost but eventually found independently spirited, high-flying American folk rock. Transferred from the original session reels, restored and mastered by Jessica Thompson, and made available on vinyl for the first time, Sunshine Only Sometimes also features essays from Folsom and the players that helped make his music and dreams a reality.

File Under: Folk
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Diamanda Galas: s/t (Intravenal) LP
Diamanda Galás’ second album is sometimes referred to as Panoptikon (the composition on the A-side of the album). The album consists of two pieces: ‘Panoptikon’, which was inspired by Jack Henry Abbott, whose 1981 autobiographical book In the Belly of the Beast chronicled his experiences in the prison system, and ‘ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙ ΑΠΟ ΤΟ ΑΙΜΑ ΤΩΝ ΔΟΛΟΦΟΝΗΜΕΝΩΝ ‘ (‘Song from the Blood of Those Murdered’), a work dedicated to the political prisoners who were tortured and executed during the 1967-74 Greek military junta. The album, originally released on the label Metalanguage (founded by Henry Kaiser and Larry Ochs in 1978), has long been out of print. It will now be available for the first time on CD and via streaming. Remastered by Heba Kadry, with updated artwork overseen by Galás, it follows the recent reissue of Galás’ 1982 solo debut The Litanies of Satan (2020) and De-formation (2021) on Intravenal Sound Operations.

File Under: Experimental
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Guided By Voices: Scalping the Guru (GBV Inc) LP
Scalping The Guru is an archival Guided By Voices release, envisioned and sequenced by Robert Pollard as a cohesive album, featuring select tracks from four GBV EPs released in 1993-1994 by Domino, City Slang, Siltbreeze and Engine Records. These hard to find records are essential for fans of Vampire On Titus and Bee Thousand, with classics including “My Impression Now,” “Matter Eater Lad,” and “Big School.” They feature the line-up that includes Robert Pollard with Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Kevin Fennell, Jim Pollard, Dan Toohey, Greg Demos, and Larry Keller. Recorded on four-track cassette by Tobin Sprout, with some songs lovingly fucked with by Mike Hummel.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Robert Haigh: Human Remains (Unseen Worlds) LP
Human Remains follows Creatures of the Deep and Black Sarabande as the final installment of a trilogy of piano based recordings by Robert Haigh for Unseen Worlds. The trilogy marks the end of the late era of solo albums by Haigh before he steps away from music production. The title, Human Remains, was initially based on a painting of the same name by Haigh that is suggestive of an ancient structure resolute in the wake of overwhelming forces. As a metaphor for our current times, it could be interpreted as human frailty in the face of nature’s unyielding dominion. Conversely, it could represent the persistence of human spirit and resourcefulness in the midst of catastrophe and upheaval.

File Under: Piano, Ambient
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Haunter: Discarnate Ails (Profound Lore) LP
Discarnate Ails, the new album from Texas-based progressive death / black metal band Haunter is the follow-up to 2019’s acclaimed Sacramental Death Qualia (named as Stereogum’s 2019 Metal Album of the Year) and will unveil them as one of the most enlightening and dynamic bands and one of the pioneering prospects within the current movement. With this latest, Haunter have tapped into the next level, unparalleled, with their most complex, advanced, and most furious and heaviest release to date. The three epic chapters that comprise Discarnate Ails weave through intricate, dissonant and vitriolic passages that find a notable balance between challenging melodious movements and parts while maintaining the band’s sense of creating epochal songs of triumph and mastery.

File Under: Metal
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Mamaleek: Diner Coffee (Flenser) LP
Of all things, it’s laughter that pervades Mamaleek’s Diner Coffee, the San Francisco metal deconstructionists’ sonically crushing ode to the humor found within catastrophe, American diners, and “the little things.” Featuring a mix of live performances, samples, and field recordings, Diner Coffee laughs through its harsh songs in an attempt to reflect the camaraderie found at the heart of global calamities and changing personal situations. It’s an homage to the quotidian set to the backdrop of the mythologized, sanctuary-like properties of a diner, reveling in irony-less nostalgia. Mamaleek embodies this ethos on and off the record. Originally two anonymous brothers, the past few years have seen Mamaleek adding members and venturing into live performance. Diner Coffee, following in the footsteps of 2020’s Come & See, features new, unfamiliar, unknown voices—including expanded experiments with horns, woodwinds, and strings and a Bay Area-local blues harmonica player who improvised recorded selections during practices. The resulting tracks touch on signifiers from black metal, blues, ambient, and more. Diner Coffee simultaneously represents the band’s artistic progression and the state of the world. Taking a surprisingly optimistic perspective, Mamaleek once again puts forward a project of left-field, wholly unique compositions, eluding easy categorization and furthering their abstraction of genre. “The group cloaks its music in the kind of warm, hypnotic distortion that defines shoegaze, and underneath that haze is a style that’s conceptually abrasive yet altogether beautiful.” —Forbes

File Under: Industrial, Shoe Gaze, Metal
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Mount Kimbie: MK 3.5: Die Cut | City Planning (Warp) LP
The musical duo Mount Kimbie present a the double album, MK 3.5: Die Cut | City Planning, highlighting the individual work and production styles of Dom Maker and Kai Campos. Die Cuts showcases Dom’s work as a producer; skipping between hip-hop, RnB, and electronic pop, the album combines high class songcraft with a delicate leftfield touch, and featuring a cast of vocalists. Kai’s City Planning twists avant-garde signifiers into a deft and refined statement with sleek beats and stuttering arpeggios layered with scuzz and personality, making for an album that’s warm and inviting even at its most confrontational. MK 3.5: Die Cut | City Planning shows how Dom and Kai have grown over the past decade, and demonstrates the two sides of Mount Kimbie’s aesthetic coin.

File Under: Electronic
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Nebular Wave: A Polarized Planetoid (Zounds of Sounds) LP
“swaddled in disinformation, with the blathering of a million quacks for a cradle, we spin ever wider in the spiritual gyre, until we can no longer conceive the center, with wild eyes we try to make sense of it, but our voices are drowned out, drawn to the left and to the right, as we spiral closer to the irresistible pull of a polarized planetoid.”  -anonymous.  Edmonton Alberta’s Psychedelic Progressive Rock duo Nebular Wave returns with their third full length LP, A Polarized Planetoid.  Over the course of the six instrumental tracks, the band melds keyboard and synth loops with organic elements of guitar and percussion to  create a true multidimensional space out. “In the end, Nebular Wave is both the name of the band and an apt description of the listening experience–spacey, dystopian–frantic at times, tranquil at others, enigmatic, yet precise, rising and cresting and collapsing in any given moment as the sound morphs and evolves over the 40+ minutes.  Enjoy the ride, I say.”  — Dan Kennard, The Spill Magazine    

File Under: Psych, Prog, Local
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Neutral: När (Grapefruit) LP
Neutral’s 2014 1st LP, Grå Våg Gamlestaden, is widely considered ground zero for the explosion of creativity that has transpired in the Swedish Underground ever since. It is the noisy experimental rock album that opened the door and welcomed in so many artists working behind the scenes. Gothenburgers Dan Johansson (Sewer Election) and Sofie Herner had previously made music together in the band Källarbarnen when they started discussing a new methodology and a fresh sound for recordings under a new name as a duo. Grapefruit was proud to reissue that first LP in 2021 and they are equally excited to follow up that sold-out release with two more important Neutral releases, the self-titled sophomore LP from 2016 in a gatefold sleeve and the När mini album EP from 2017 which was originally limited to 300 copies. Grapefruit’s reissue of the När mini album and the 2nd LP is the first time these have been reissued. Both are limited to 400 copies.

File Under: Experimental, LoFi, Post Punk
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Jeb Loy Nichols: United States of the Broken Hearted (On-U) LP
The new Jeb Loy Nichols album is twelve sombre but beautiful tracks, with longtime friend and producer Adrian Sherwood swapping his trademark dubwise approach for carefully stripped back arrangements. Acoustic guitar and Jeb’s voice are framed by subtle splashes of horns, cello and percussion, plus keyboard contributions from Martin Duffy (Primal Scream/Felt). Politically charged cover versions (“I Hate The Capitalist System”, “Deportees”) sit amongst more introspective material, including some of the finest songs that Nichols has written to date.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Notorious B.I.G.: Life After Death (Atlantic) LP
The Notorious B.I.G. is widely recognized as one of the world’s most influential rappers and has sold more than 17 million albums in the U.S. alone. Before his murder in 1997, Christopher Wallace recorded two classic albums as The Notorious B.I.G. His debut Ready to Die arrived in 1994 and helped revitalize the East Coast rap scene with massive hits like “Big Poppa” and “Juicy.” Life After Death was released in March 1997 just weeks after he was shot and killed in Los Angeles. The record topped the U.S. album charts and featured the hits “Hypnotize” and “Mo Money Mo Problems.” It remains one of the few hip-hop albums to ever achieve Diamond certification from the RIAA.

File Under: Hip Hop
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Oh Sees: The Chapel, SF 10.2.19 (Silver Current) LP
AVAILABLE AGAIN!!! The OH SEES at the peak of their prog obsession, super jammed out and totally dominating. The Chapel, SF 10.2.19 is a fifty-three minute, beautifully recorded, hi-fi-delity live explosion of orc puke and kraut-gone-punk rock dominance by one of the rippingest bands of the 21st century. Two record set on limited orange/red cloud colored vinyl with side D etching and faithfully (re)created TMOQ-style bootleg album art. Originally released for RSD 2021.

File Under: Psych, Punk
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OST: Stranger Things 4 (Legacy) LP
Stranger Things Season 4: Soundtrack from the Netflix Series includes essential music tracks evoking various classic eras and styles as featured in Stranger Things 4. Like all of the previous soundtracks, The Duffer Brothers utilize specific songs to augment aspects of the story. The trailer notably features the explosive Bryce Miller/Alloy Tracks Remix of Journey’s “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” which opens the soundtrack while a new Steve Perry & Bryce Miller Extended Remix of “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” closes the album with hit after hit rounding out the tracklist. From KISS’ “Detroit Rock City” soundtracking an intense game of D&D to Argyle’s arrival music, “Pass The Dutchie” by Musical Youth, to Kate Bush’s defining track of the season “Running Up The Hill (A Deal With God)” the music featured on Season 4’s soundtrack is perfectly woven into show moments to remember. The soundtrack album is conceptualized and produced by The Duffer Brothers and Nora Felder. Gatefold vinyl 2LP package with a 12″ x 12″ insert.

File Under: OST
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Pigeon Breeders: Stasis (Pseudo Laboratories) CS
Pigeon Breeders & Ghost Cars is the collaboration between Will Scott and Myles Bartel (Pigeon Breeders) and Matthew Belton (Ghost Cars), formed in 2019. Both projects are based in Edmonton, Alberta and have been notable acts in the experimental music community, since their respective formations – Pigeon Breeders in 2011, Ghost Cars in 2006. As a collaboration, they blend their influences to create an auditory whirlwind with elements of ambient, free improvisation, sound collage, psychedelic rock, and more.  Their first full-length album, Stasis, explores a slow decay of identity, habit, and connectedness and offers an ember of perseverance. The album was recorded over August and September of 2021 and followed the release of the July 19 2020 EP. As with previous releases by both projects, the source material was created out of free improvisation sessions. What sets Stasis apart is a more intensive selection process than on previous albums. The group experimented with and distilled 3 hours’ worth of material in order to reveal the essence of those sessions and the project’s unique dynamics.

File Under: Experimental, Ambient, Local, Tape
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The Sadies: Colder Streams (Dine Alone) LP
‘Colder Streams’ is, by far, the best record that has ever been made by anyone. Ever. As we all know, the ‘press release’ is a tool meant to announce and promote a new recording project. A jaded and unreliable sales-pitch at best, the usual ‘bio’ invariably attempts to describe the project in question as some sort of second coming. But how do you sell sounds? The critics’ voice must be heard at all costs, but this is something else entirely. Obviously, this is an ad. Knowing what you’re getting is all anyone really wants to know. The details of how the recording is made might be interesting, but they aren’t exactly crucial to the listening process. In our case, comparisons can be misleading too, because The Sadies don’t really fit tidily into any genre, or even sub-genre. We aren’t really ‘pre or post’ anything and we don’t have the right hair-cuts or hats for any particular scene. Can’t really call us modern or retro either. We certainly don’t claim to have re-invented the wheel. We just are. And have been for a very long time. So, all that matters is the music itself, right? After making so many records, some things get easier. Most things do not. But just because it’s harder doesn’t mean it isn’t better. I think it’s gotten easier to know when we are onto something and that’s in no small part due to working with Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire/Belle Orchestre) as producer. We put in a lot of hard work but he always made it easy and fun. This is, of course, totally irrelevant to your listening experience. We began this recording well over a year before the plague began and completed it in June 2021. The studio we worked at in Quebec is perfectly calibrated to our claustrophobia. It was mostly engineered by Pietro Amato (Belle Orchestre/etc.), who is great at everything he does when he’s not doing something else. Jon Spencer (Jon Spencer!!!) was kind enough to intervene and rescue a song for us. My folks play on it. There was a church™ involved. Curfews were broken. Borders were crossed stealthily. Sean did all of the artwork. Travis and Mike did a lot of driving. I did the bio. ‘Colder Streams’ is a record made with love by loved ones. The Sadies have released a lot of records. This is one of them. Do any bands make their best work this far along in their career? I can think of artists who still make great music after all these years, but their best? Yet, here we are and that’s what I’m accusing us of. I think it’s our best but I’ve been wrong before. All I ask is that you listen to a few songs and decide for yourself what it sounds like. If you like it, you’ll know what to do. But my description of the music would just be punishing for the both of us. I guess all that really needs to be said here is that if you like The Sadies, you will definitely want to get ‘Colder Streams’. If you disliked or felt indifferent towards The Sadies, you will definitely want to get ‘Colder Streams’. If you’ve never heard The Sadies and yet you’re still reading, you too will definitely want to get ‘Colder Streams’.

File Under: Rock
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Skinshape: Nostalgia (Lewis) LP
Will Dorey aka Skinshape has proven himself time and again as a connoisseur for the cosmopolitan, across a prolific career expertly exploring understated sounds and theatrical textures. Taking his place alongside the likes of Khruangbin, Tame Impala, Bonobo, and Madlib, Skinshape’s global kaleidoscopes are loaded with warmth and wisdom created on vintage analogue equipment applying a perfectionist’s touch. As a former member of indie band Palace, he has played everywhere from Glastonbury and BBC Maida Vale to headlining Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Conversely as a solo artist, Skinshape has never played live preferring to record, releasing an album a year (two in 2020’s lockdown) and keeping away from the trappings of stardom.

File Under: Funk, Hip Hop
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Slift: Levitation Sessions (Reverberation) LP
Next up on Levitation Sessions – Slift! Recorded in what appears to be the engine room of their spaceship, Slift rip through a 70 minute set inside the ultra-high voltage electron microscope at the National Institute of Applied Sciences’s CEMES Laboratory in Toulouse, France. “This set was recorded and filmed at the CEMES laboratory, in Toulouse, south of France. The place is called “La Boule”…The sound turns infinitely in this sphere of aluminum. We wanted to confront our songs with this environment full of endless echoes and noises,” notes the band. “Thank you very much to our crew, Levitation, and all the good people at CEMES, it was an intense sonic and physical experience for us, we hope you’ll enjoy it.”

File Under: Psych
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Sol Viator: Starlight Lives Forever (Berberophone) CS
The name “Starlight Lives Forever” may seem like a falsehood–stars are born, live long lives, and inevitably die and pass away like us mortals. While both stars and people do pass away the effects that starlight has had on the universe and the effects our actions can have on other people live on eternally. An improvised performance featuring voice, viola & bass & loopers recorded in a greenhouse in Edmonton on a Monday. Berberophone Recordings is proud to present our 4th release as part of the inaugural Greenhouse Sessions featuring Sol Viator. A forthcoming series featuring artists improvising in an 8’x8′ Greenhouse in Edmonton.

File Under: Experimental, Ambient, Local, Tapes
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Bruce Springsteen: Only the Strong Survive (Columbia) LP
Bruce Springsteen’s new studio album Only The Strong Survive celebrates soul music gems from the legendary catalogues of Motown, Gamble and Huff, Stax and many more. The Boss’ twenty-first studio effort also features guest vocals by Sam Moore, as well as contributions from The E Street Horns, full string arrangements by Rob Mathes, and backing vocals by Soozie Tyrell, Lisa Lowell, Michelle Moore, Curtis King Jr., Dennis Collins and Fonzi Thornton. Springsteen commented: “I wanted to make an album where I just sang. And what better music to work with than the great American songbook of the Sixties and Seventies? I’ve taken my inspiration from Levi Stubbs, David Ruffin, Jimmy Ruffin, the Iceman Jerry Butler, Diana Ross, Dobie Gray, and Scott Walker, among many others. I’ve tried to do justice to them all – and to the fabulous writers of this glorious music. My goal is for the modern audience to experience its beauty and joy, just as I have since I first heard it. I hope you love listening to it as much as I loved making it.” Only The Strong Survive was tracked at Thrill Hill Recording in New Jersey, produced by Ron Aniello, engineered by Rob Lebret and executive produced by Jon Landau. The release will mark Bruce Springsteen’s first studio album since 2020’s Letter To You, which debuted at No. 1 in eleven countries. Gatefold vinyl 2LP-set (with D-side etching), printed inner sleeves and 12″ x 24″ poster.

File Under: Rock
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Taylor Swift: Midnights (Republic) LP
Taylor Swift returns with her highly anticipated tenth studio album Midnights which follows up her two 2020 albums, Folklore and Evermore, as well as 2021’s re-recorded versions of Fearless and Red. The singer/songwriter describes the 13-track collection as, “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life. We lie awake in love and in fear, in turmoil and in tears. We stare at walls and drink until they speak back. We twist in our self-made cages and pray that we aren’t – right this minute – about to make some fateful life-altering mistake. This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The floors we pace and the demons we face. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching – hoping that just maybe, when the clock strikes twelve… we’ll meet ourselves.”

File Under: Pop
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Trashmen: Best of (Sundazed) LP
The Trashmen’s defining moment, 1963’s “Surfin’ Bird,” is perhaps the ultimate lightning-in-a-bottle record. Their first true studio recording, it captures the group’s interminable energy and mastery of live performance. But it also is the culmination of spirit and experiment that turned it into something new and, from the perspective of 50 years, unique. This collection shows them to be variously a first-rate surf band, a great protopunk outfit, solid rockers with the raw essence of the earliest originators of the sound, and adept enough to work in some comedy and country. This scope of ability and interest is probably the true basis of the band’s following now. But “Surfin’ Bird” has more tenacity than other bands’ entire better-performing catalogs, and with it, the Trashmen created a work that is arguably today the most relevant release from that storied decade.

File Under: Surf
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True Loves: Famous Last Words (Color Red) LP
Whoops! Forgot this one in last week’s list… 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
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Sharon Van Etten: We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong DLX (Jagjaguwar) LP
Sharon Van Etten ‘We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong (Deluxe Edition)’ 2xLP on Custard Vinyl. Instant download of ‘Never Gonna Change’ track audio. Digital download code for the deluxe album that includes 2 never-released tracks, ‘Never Gonna Change’ & ‘When I Die’ (as a .zip file containing 320kbps mp3s) redeemable on release day. Bonus elements such as fold-out poster, o-card, & handwriting from Sharon etched on Side D. ‘Porta,’ ‘Used To It,’ ‘Never Gonna Change,’ and ‘When I Die’ available for the first time on vinyl, all in one package.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Winston Brothers: Drift (Colemine) LP
Hot on the heels of their debut 45 released on Colemine Records, German funk powerhouse The Winston Brothers re-up with their first-ever full length LP. “DRIFT” is the name of the game, presenting eleven versatile cuts to invite listeners on an all-instrumental trip back to the future of funk. But make no mistake: Though audibly steeped in the deep funk tradition, this retrophile outfit is anything but dusty. The Winston Brothers are a modular studio project by Hamburg-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Sebastian Nagel (The Mighty Mocambos, Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band) and drummer / percussionist extraordinaire Lucas Kochbeck (The KBCS, Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, Hamburg Spinners). Industry veterans with a penchant for analog music production, the two combine a boom bap state of mind with well-rounded funk acumen and able frequent collaborators to create dynamic arrangements that are both an audible nod to the genre’s past as well as a contemporary blend of like-minded organic styles. Lacing heavy drums with juicy breaks, headnodic grooves, scorching riffs and melodic instrumentation, “DRIFT” draws on the raw energy inherent to ‘60s / ‘70s funk and takes it from there. Catchy, repetitive motifs gain musical momentum as they evolve into vibrant and autonomous soundscapes with a distinct drive of their own, ranging from incendiary to more laid-back and almost dreamlike. Strutting an irresistible bounce to their step, The Winston Brothers are poised to light up dance floors, river cruises and backyard BBQs alike. Catch our drift?

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Worm: Bluenothing (color) (20 Buck Spin) LP
Limited cyan/bone galaxy vinyl!!! After the massive breakthrough of Foreverglade in 2021, the Floridian swamp winds stir again as Worm conjures the nocturnal evocation of Bluenothing. A four track, twenty-six minute mini album, Bluenothing is an ominous nightside lament demonstrating where the always-evolving fog dwellers have been and the distant domains where they may yet venture. The A-side of Bluenothing features two tracks from the mythic Foreverglade sessions that remained encased in the phantom crypts but are no less masterly than the latter’s ultimate six tracks. Indeed, the title track “Bluenothing” was at one time to be the album closer on Foreverglade and all the crushing weight and mysterious allure that made that opus a new classic remains on these two tracks. Yet these tracks also have the added dimension of pure necromantic shred via new guitarist Wroth Septentrion (Atramentus, VoidCeremony, Chthe-ilist, Hulder live). The B-side reveals a different yet complimentary stylistic command, one alluded to in past incarnations and now fully actualized—that of the clandestine dimensions of black metal’s unfathomable darkness and shrouded mysteries. “Invoking The Dragonmoon” is a ritual gate opening into this obscure galaxy, while “Shadowside Kingdom” denotes the arrival to the remote twilight stronghold at the edge of blackness where Phantom Slaughter’s tyrannical celestial necromancy can flourish undisturbed by mortal disquiet and axe-wielder Nihilistic Manifesto crafts a thousand spires of darkly cascading melodies—simply one of the best symphonic black metal tracks since the styles late ’90s apex. And so with Bluenothing the Foreverglade-era of Worm is ceremoniously put to an end and the next chapter in the fanatical saga opens…

File Under: Metal
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Various: John Sinclair Presents: Detroit Artists Workshop (Strut) LP
Community, Jazz and Art in the Motor City 1965 – 1981. Strut and Art Yard present the culmination of a five-year project researching the archives of author, DJ and activist John Sinclair with the first ever retrospective of the influential Detroit Artists Workshop spanning 1965 to 1978. Vinyl 2LP-set in single sleeve with insert.

File Under: Jazz
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Arctic Monkeys: The Car (Domino) LP
Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (Domino) LP
Beach House: Depression Cherry (Sub Pop) LP
Big Star: #1 Record (Craft) LP
Leon Bridges: Gold-Diggers Sound (Columbia) LP
Leon Bridges: Good Thing (Columbia) LP
Ronnell Bright Trio: s/t (Sam) LP
Butthole Surfers: Psychic, Powerless… Another Man’s Sac (Latino Bugger Veil) LP
Nick Cave: Boatman’s Call (Mute) LP
Coral Club: Lost Cities (Not Not Fun) CS
Curry, Denzel: Melt My Eyez See Your Future (blue smoke/indie exclusive) LP
D’Angelo: Voodoo (Virgin) LP
Daktaris: Soul Explosion (Daptone) LP
Depeche Mode: Violator (Mute) LP
Fugazi: In on the Killtaker (Dischord) LP
Galaxie 500: This is Not Our Music (202020) LP
Al Green: I’m Still in Love With You (Fat Possum) LP
Harmonia: Musik Von Harmonia (Gronland) LP
Khruangbin: The Universe Smiles Upon You (Late Night Tales) LP
Michael Kiwanuka: Home Again (Interscope) LP
Michael Kiwanuka: Kiwanuka (Interscope) LP
Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate (Interscope) LP
Love: Forever Changes (Rhino) LP
Mataja, Branko: Over Fields And Mountains (white blossom) LP
Makaya McCraven: In These Times (Nonesuch) LP
Menahan Street Band: Make The Road by Walking (Daptone) LP
Meters: Cabbage Alley (Music on Vinyl) LP
Oh Sees: Face Stabber (Castle Face) LP
Om: Conference of the Birds (Holy Mountain) LP
Om: Variations of a Theme (Holy Mountain) LP
Lee Scratch Perry: King Scratch (Trojan) LP
Tom Petty: Wildflowers and All the Rest (Warner) LP
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd: Animals (Pink Floyd) LP
Queens Of The Stone Age: Queens Of The Stone Age (Matador) LP
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Return of the Dream Canteen (Warner) LP
Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed (50th Ann. Edition) (Abkco) LP
Run the Jewels: s/t (Seeker) LP
Sault: Nine (Forever Living Originals) LP
Jairus Sharif: Water & Tools (Telephone Explosion) LP
Slits: Cut (Island) LP
Spacemen 3: Playing with Fire (Superior Viaduct) LP
Spoon: They Want My Soul (Republic) LP
Stevens, Sufjan: Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Taking Back Sunday: Tell All Your Friends (w/bonus 10″) 20th Anniversary (Craft) LP
Talking Heads: Remain in Light (Rhino) LP
Tame Impala: Currents (Modular) LP
Turnstile: Glow On (Roadrunner) LP
Tyler, The Creator: Igor (Columbia) LP
Venom: Black Metal (Sanctuary) LP
Winehouse, Amy: Back To Black (Island) LP

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