Author Archives: listenrecords

… letter #764 – disco disco dj…..

This might be a tad last minute for some of y’all, but I’m not one for a lot of self promotion, but…. I’m heading to the Black Dog to DJ tonight after I close up the shop. I’ll be upstairs spinning records with Yuri for the final installment of Dig It! Thursdays. If you find yourself bored and on the southside, you should come hang out and have a beer while I play some wild and wonderful things!

…..pick of the week…..


Deuter: Kundalini Meditation (Deuter) LP
New age masterpiece from krautrock mystic Deuter, this album contains the music for the first two stages of an hour long kundalini meditation developed for westerners by Rajneesh (later known as Osho). The stages involve listening to the music and “Shaking” (stage one), “Dancing” (stage two), and “Witnessing” (stage three). These stages are not really meditations but a sort of preparation to facilitate meditation. Rajneesh had been trying to teach the practice of direct meditation for ten years before he realized his effort was futile: “I would say, ‘Relax’, to those I was teaching. They would appear to understand the meaning of the word, but they could not relax.” He developed a technique that would activate the body with intense movement, creating tension in order to allow for the stillness of the meditation. Deuter and Rajneesh (along with a team of disciples that tested and consulted on these methods) collaborated to make music that would (in stage one and two) occupy the mind and compel the body. The music of stage three was designed to relax the body and compel the mind to awareness, acting as a transition to stage four, which is silent, with the person lying down, (actually) meditating. Speaking about music, Rajneesh wrote, “Between sounds of music there are gaps of silence. The authentic music consists not of sounds, but of the gaps. Music can make you aware of those gaps more beautifully than anything else.” While living at the ashram as a disciple of Rajneesh, Deuter produced a series of compositions to be used in these “active” meditations. They were recorded using a multitrack tape machine and an assortment of acoustic and electronic instruments – guitar, tambura, bells, percussion, and synthesizers. The playing style is repetitious yet dynamic, incorporating loops, Indian classical motifs, musique concrète, and pastoral acoustic passages. Kundalini Meditation, never released on vinyl in the states, is presented here for the first time with the full length tracks. It was originally released in 1979.

File Under: Krautrock, New Age, Kosmische

… arrivals…..


Tony Allen: HomeCooking (Comet) LP
Originally released in 2002, Comet presents the legendary album from Tony Allen, HomeCooking, reissued with a remastered version. Tony Allen talks about the album: “After Black Voices and Psyco On Da Bus albums, I came back with HomeCooking which was an album filled with guests. I brought in Ty, who had remixed some of my work previously, to rap on the record, and Damon Albarn, who had already sung about me on ‘Music Is My Radar’. On the first day in the studio, Damon didn’t record anything because we were enjoying ourselves too much. He came with two boxes of champagne and everyone got boozed and he decided he’d take the music back to his own studio and finish it there. That was the beginning of our friendship and since then we’ve done a lot of different things. Since the early days I’ve been trying to find things that everybody will want to listen to. I’ve always been pushing Afrobeat in different directions. Here’s another one again, another style, almost clean but still rough, raggedy and radical.” Also features: Mary & Norman and Eska.

File Under: Afrobeat, Funk, Jazz
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Oren Ambarchi: Hubris (Editions Mego) LP
“Hubris continues the exploration of relentless, driving rhythms heard on Oren Ambarchi’s Sagittarian Domain and Quixotism. Where those records looked to krautrock and techno for their starting points, the side-long opening track on Hubris begins from the perhaps unlikely inspirations of disco and new wave, drawing particularly from Ambarchi’s love of Wang Chung’s soundtrack to William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. (1985). Leaving behind the song-forms of these reference points, Ambarchi weaves a sustained and pulsating web of layered palm-muted guitars from which individual voices rise up and recede, eventually setting the stage for some lush guitar synth from Jim O’Rourke. Arnold Dreyblatt collaborator Konrad Sprenger contributes overtone-rich motorized guitar, pushing the piece into a satisfying intersection of shimmering minimalism and rhythmic drive that smoothly builds up until the entrance of Mark Fell’s electronic percussion in its final section. After a short second part, in which Ambarchi, O’Rourke and Crys Cole pay tribute to the skewed harmonic sense of Albert Marcoeur with a track built from layered bass guitar figures and abstracted speech, the long final piece pushes the concept of the first side into darker and denser areas. Joined by electronic rhythms from Ricardo Villalobos and the twin drums of Joe Talia and Will Guthrie, the layered guitars of the first piece are transformed into a raw and tumbling fusion-funk groove that calls to mind early Weather Report or even the first Golden Palominos LP (1983). As this stellar rhythm section rides a single repeated chord change into oblivion, a series of spectacular events emerge in the foreground: first, aleatoric synthesizer burbles from Keith Fullerton Whitman, then slashing skronk guitar from Arto Lindsay, until finally Ambarchi’s own fuzzed-out guitar harmonics take center stage as the piece builds to an ecstatic frenzy. Few artists could hope to include such an incredible variety of collaborators on one record and still hope for it to have a unique identity, but Ambarchi manages to do just that, crafting three pieces that emerge directly out of his previous work while also pushing ahead into new dimensions.” — Francis Plagne. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin, April 2016. Photography by Estelle Hanania. Sculptures by Daniel Druet. Design by Stephen O’Malley.

File Under: Electronic, Krautrock, Minimal
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aycockDylan Golden Aycock: Church of Level Tracks (Scissor Tail) LP
“Dylan Golden Aycock is part of the new generation of guitar pickers young enough to first have been influenced by early volumes of Tompkins Square Records’ Imaginational Anthem series and then to be anthologized on a later one. The Oklahoma native is on Volume 7, should you feel like looking, playing an early version of ‘Red Bud Valley,’ which sits in the middle of the B-side of the LP under consideration here. Aycock’s composing on Church Of Level Track offers evidence that he’s well studied in a lineage of American Primitive pickers that stretches back decades before he was born. ‘Lord It Over’ puts it right out there by opening with a double-thumbed bass line right out of John Fahey’s bag of tricks. But this quotation is merely an opening gambit, and one that is quickly followed by moves that prove Aycock is no parrot but a bird with his own song to sing. The steel guitar that sails in over his picking evokes first the bucolic playfulness of Jim O’Rourke’s Bad Timing and then keeps going back into the deep back shelves of country-rock lyricism. At the same time a virtual band (Aycock plays everything on the track and nearly everything on the LP) sets up a subtle undertow of entropic drumming and echo-laden feedback. . . .” –Bill Meyer (Dusted Magazine, Chicago Reader)

File Under: Folk, Blues, Guitar Soli
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Bitori: Legend of Funana (Analog Africa) LP
In 1997, an unassuming 59-year-old man named Victor Tavares — better known since the late 1950s as Bitori — walked into a studio for the very first time to record a work that many Cabo Verdeans consider to be the best funaná album ever made. Analog Africa’s Legend Of Funaná marks the first time that these recordings, originally issued as Bitori Nha Bibinha & Chando Graciosa in 1998, have been available outside of Cape Verde, bringing Bitori’s beloved accordion-based sound to the world. In 1954, Bitori embarked on a journey across the seas to the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe with the hopes of returning with an accordion. Following two years of hard labor, Bitori had saved enough money to acquire what was to become his most valued possession. The two-month journey back to Cape Verde provided time enough for him to master the instrument. Self-taught, Bitori developed his own style, an infectious blaze that quickly caught the attention of the older generation. Before long Bitori was asked to perform at local festivities around Praia, the capital of Cape Verde. But not everybody welcomed the rural accordion-based sound of the funaná. Perceived as a symbol of the struggle for Cabo Verdean independence and frowned upon as music of uneducated peasants, the funaná was prohibited by Portuguese colonial rulers. Performing it in public or in urban centers had serious consequences — often jail time and torture. As a result, the funaná began to slowly disappear. In 1975, Cape Verde achieved independence from Portuguese colonial rule, and the ban on the funaná was lifted. Many artists embraced the funaná, translating and adapting its musical form in new ways. It was not until the mid-1990s, however, that the funaná in its traditional form was actually recorded. A young singer from the Cabo Verdean town of Tarrafal, Chando Graciosa, heard Bitori and immediately felt drawn to his playing style — a raw, passionate sound accompanied by honest lyrics that reflected the harsh reality of the Cabo Verdean working class. He approached Bitori suggesting they join forces and travel overseas to take the funaná beyond its rural roots. After introducing a receptive European audience to the vibrant energy of the funaná, Bitori eventually returned to his beloved Cape Verde, while Graciosa settled in Rotterdam. Graciosa vowed, however, to bring Bitori to Holland to eventually record an album. In 1997, the time was ripe to immortalize the sound Bitori had shaped over four decades. Drummer Grace Evora and bassist Danilo Tavares helped record “Bitori Nha Bibinha,” which catapulted Graciosa to stardom, establishing him Cape Verde’s foremost interpreter of the funaná. Bitori’s songs quickly became standards — classics known and loved throughout the country.

File Under: African, Latin, Funk
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Darkthrone: Arctic Thunder (Peaceville) LP
Norwegian duo, Darkthrone, return with their first new studio material since 2013’s triumphant The Underground Resistance; the album becoming the band’s most successful release in recent years. Darkthrone’s new album Arctic Thunder is due for release in October 2016 through Peaceville. A new heavy metal odyssey now awaits fans as Fenriz and Nocturno Culto once more show their mastery of “the riff,” demonstrating why Darkthrone remain one of the most respected and enduring acts in the history of extreme metal. An eclectic mix of free-spirited 80’s fueled blackened heavy metal, all executed in Darkthrone’s trademark raw and organic style, Arctic Thunder was recorded and produced by the band themselves, with the sessions conducted at Darkthrone’s old rehearsal unit, The Bomb Shelter, which they had originally used during 1988-1990. With themes based around hate, contempt, and the inner mind and soul, and with the notable presence of Nocturno Culto on vocal duties across all songs for the first time in recent years, Arctic Thunder retains a grim atmosphere throughout the album’s 8 tracks, with mastering once again handled by Jack Control at Enormous Door.

File Under: Black Metal
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Eddy Detroit: Black Crow Gazebo (Assophon) LP
Eddy Detroit returns with a brand-new LP! The legend refuses to diminish. Eddy Detroit crafts eight new songs full of his trademark twisted folk, satanic Americana, and trance voodoo magic. This album ventures into the deranged psychosis of the Phoenix AZ characters that inhibit Eddy’s world. Multiple-personality girlfriends, twisted and rouge hanger-goners, and life as a street musician in the infernal Arizona summer heat. Another cast of local musicians are on board for this record that features cello, ocean drum, piano, guitar, bongos, and violin. This is all capped off by the B-side, a deep, trance-inducing descent into Dante’s Inferno that features Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls) on vocals, Doug Clark (Victory Acres/Feederz) on synthesizer, and Eddy Detroit on bongos — overlaid with a recording of Eddy Detroit waxing on about his extraordinary life. “Toe Sucker Beach” is meant as an homage to The Velvet Underground’s “The Gift” — a track that can be listened to as a whole or as a hard pan, with the demented instrumental in one channel and Eddy’s reminiscences in the other channel. This record is another swan dive into the brilliant mind of one of the most original outsider musicians out there. Limited edition of 400. Released to coincide with Eddy’s Detroit’s first European tour in the fall of 2016.

File Under: Outsider, Exotica
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Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein: Stranger Things OST (Lakeshore) LP
We’ve got a bunch en route, either they’ll all show up tomorrow, or a few tomorrow and the rest early next week… A love letter to the ’80s classics that captivated a generation, Stranger Things is set in 1983 Indiana, where a young boy vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl. Lakeshore Records has partnered with UK’s Invada Records founded by Geoff Barrow to press and release Stranger Things Vol. 1 Soundtrack (composed by S U R V I V E’s Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein) on vinyl for a release date in October 2016 just in time for Halloween. The release will be a double disc gatefold package with a printed insert featuring album credits and additional art. Michael Stein explained to Noisey: “We discussed having a classic tone and feel to the music for the show but being reserved enough that it wasn’t ’80s cheese, while offering a refreshing quality so that felt modern as well – which is one of the qualities that drew them to our music in the first place. Having a familiarity with classic synths works but with an overall modern and forward thinking approach.”

File Under: OST, Electronic, Synth
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Betty Harris: Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul (Soul Jazz) LP
Betty Harris’ The Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul collects together the steady stream of amazing soul and funk singles she issued from 1964 to 1969, under the musical guidance of legendary composer, musician and producer extraordinaire Allen Toussaint, a collection which truly captures the heart and soul of the city of New Orleans during this era. Harris’ powerful, fiery soulful vocals found a perfect accompaniment with the New Orleans’ players that Toussaint put together to back her, which by the time of her funk classic “There’s A Break In The Road” were the legendary supertight, super-funk New Orleans group The Meters. With the extraordinary song-writing skills of Toussaint alongside the powerful, soaring, confident and emotive singer and the groove of The Meters, you have an unbeatable combination. That Harris never in fact lived in New Orleans (she flew in from Florida for all her sessions with Toussaint’s local in-house players) seems almost an irrelevance, a geographical aside to the defining New Orleans sound captured on the recordings featured here. All of the singles featured here were released on Toussaint and his business partner Marshal Sehorn’s local New Orleans label Sansu, widely distributed in the southern city but in only limited quantities elsewhere. As a consequence, Harris’ music failed to achieve the commercial success of other New Orleans artists such as Lee Dorsey (who she recorded with) and The Meters (who backed her). And so at the end of the decade she stopped recording, retired from the music business to raise her family in Florida. This is no reflection of the stunning musical quality of all these songs which encompass everything from southern soul, heavy funk, deep soul ballads and northern soul. Harris has been a cornerstone of Soul Jazz Records’ New Orleans Funk and New Orleans Soul compilations. Always soulful and always funky, Betty’s music contains the essence of New Orleans music. She is the Lost Soul Queen of New Orleans. This collection is released on heavyweight gatefold double LP vinyl (with download code).

 File Under: Soul
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Xander Harris: California Chrome (Rock Action) LP
In his 5th album as Xander Harris, the bloke off Buffy The Vampire Slayer continues to pursue a horror disco sound for Mogwai’s Rock Action label, picking up precisely where he left us with the Cry Havoc 7” back in 2014 with a pensively slow suite of EBM and Italo grooves galvanised with cinematic synth mettle. Perhaps not your typical Rock Action fayre, but it’s not difficult to draw lines between Harris’ taste for layered melodic progressions and Mogwai’s post rock architectures and windswept atmospheres, especially in the motorik shift of Basilisk Stare, or the stacked reverbs of Predator State and the album’s panoramic closer, Dirts. But that’s only one half of his sound, and the other is well looked after here with dancefloor-strength EBM in the epic drive of Nervous Serpents and the gritted momentum of The Eye In The Triangle.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Jung An Tagen: Das Fest Der Reichen (Editions Mego) LP
Jung An Tagen, aka Stefan Juster, presents Das Fest Der Reichen. Jung An Tagen is the primary music act operating inside the Virtual Institute Vienna. By using subtractive synthesis and sampling techniques, Jung An Tagen builds aleatoric arrays, repetitive figures and polyrhythmic moirés circulating around distinctive timbres and haptic fragments. This results in a vision of morphing movements between high energy and zero gravity states. Due to the synaesthesian nature of the VIV, Jung An Tagen is bound very closely to a specific visual grammar and is intertwined with video art, even though the performative settings are usually reduced to music only. Previously, Stefan Juster was mainly present with different bands and monikers on labels like Not Not Fun, Blackest Rainbow, 100% Silk or his own imprint SF Broadcasts. “Lässt Los, Jeder Immer” is the remix of the Jung An Tagen soundtrack for Embargo (2014), a video by Johann Lurf. Artwork and layout by Milica Balubdzic and J. Fröhnel. Mastering by Brian Pyle. Features: Raju Arara, Ensemble Economique, Superskin and Miaux.

File Under: Electronic, Synth
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Mahjun: s/t (1973) (Souffle Continu) LP
First time vinyl reissue of the eponymous classic debut album by Mahjun, one of the most innovative French prog underground bands, on the productive Saravah label in 1973. Their music, as you can hear on tracks such as “Les Enfants Sauvages” or “Chez Planos”, is a subtle mix of spiritual jazz, pop music, folk and avant-garde reminiscent of Full Moon Ensemble, Brigitte Fontaine or the Thêatre du Chêne Noir. Standard black vinyl LP version is in an edition of 500. Comes in 350 gram, gatefold sleeve with an obi strip and matte printing.

File Under: French, Prog, Avant-garde
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mahjun-2Mahjun: s/t (1974) (Souffle Continu) LP
On Mahjun’s second eponymous album released by Saravah in 1974, percussionist Nana Vasconcellos joined the line up on the nearly 14 minute long track “La Ville Pue” and “Fin Janvier”. Their politico folk-prog sound moved to an ethnic flavored psychedelic fusion. First time reissue of this classic and influential album. Standard black vinyl LP version is in an edition of 500. Comes in 350 gram sleeve with an obi strip, insert and matte printing.

File Under: French, Prog, Avant-garde
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MF Doom: Operation: Doomsday (Metal Face) LP
“Back again on vinyl where it belongs, MF DOOM’s 1999 classic Operation: Doomsday is now presented on a premium grade LP, with audio re-mastered from the original Fondle’Em Records release, and a poster of the album cover art! Underneath his mysterious metal mask, MF DOOM hides the cachet underground legends are made of. After KMD (his first group)’s 1994 sophomore album Bl_ck B_st_rds was shelved by Elektra in 1994 and his blood brother Subroc (one half of the sibling rap duo) passed away, surviving front-man Zev Love X mutated into the MC Avenger known as MF DOOM and the rap world is better for it. This 19-cut deep album is ridiculously dope, in a bizarro Ol’ Dirty Bastard kind of way. Doom sounds either high or drunk on most of the tracks, his self-produced beats are gritty, and his rhyme styles are almost indecipherable. On arguably the best track, ‘Rhymes Like Dimes,’ Doom weaves some pointed lyrics through his abstract wordplay, spitting ‘only in America could you find a way to earn a healthy buck / And still keep your attitude on self-destruct.’ ‘Who You Think I Am?’ features DOOM’s crew M.onster I.sland C.zars, while on ‘?’ he trades hot verses with former Columbia artist Kurious Jorge. Doom’s avant-garde ghetto-rhyme philosophies take even more intentionally weird twists on ‘Tick, Tick…’ where he and guest MC MF Grimm’s flows warble over a rhythm track whose tempo speeds up and slows down continually. The comic-book themed skits, will help take you deep into the mind of an MC who is as otherworldly as they come. And in today’s bland commercial rap universe, Operation: Doomsday’s left-of-center beats and rhymes are the perfect remedy.”

File Under: Hip Hop
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Roberto Musci: Tower of Silence (Music From Memory) LP
Music From Memory present Tower Of Silence from Roberto Musci. Traveling extensively across Asia and Africa between 1974 and 1985 to study music, Roberto made many field recordings and collected many instruments on his travels which he would then combine with synthesizers and electronics back in Italy.

File Under: Italian, Electronic, World, Field Recording
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The Notwist: Superheroes, Ghostvillains & Stuff (Alien Transistor) LP
Cover with large spine. Includes three printed inner sleeves. Includes download code. The Notwist release their first ever official live recordings with Superheroes, Ghostvillains + Stuff. “Brothers Markus and Micha Acher have launched various musical vessels, bands and free-floating constellations over the past three decades – and yet: amid all these other speedboats and unlikely sonic barges, The Notwist has always remained the mother ship. This new album documents the latest live incarnation of this very band, which also features Andi Haberl, Max Punktezahl, Karl Ivar Refseth, and Cico Beck. Recorded on December 16, 2015 on the second of three consecutive, sold-out nights at UT Connewitz in Leipzig, Germany, Superheroes, Ghostvillains + Stuff indeed feels like a first-hand live experience. That’s why it’s the definitive album of The Notwist’s career. Although there is one song that points to the early, ‘louder years’ of The Notwist, ‘One Dark Love Poem’ off the album Nook (1992), the rest of the night’s set sees the band perform all the major hits off Neon Golden (2001), The Devil, You + Me (2008), and Close To The Glass (2014). However, these are different, organically enhanced versions, new interpretations and combinations that feel much more alive; thanks to Olaf Opal’s incredible mix, they sometimes even outshine the original studio recordings. Listening to Superheroes, Ghostvillains + Stuff feels like watching these songs evolve and change, moving from one frame to the next, much like a baroque triptych. What starts out like ‘wimmelbook’ imagery, the music soon folds and unfolds like a Moebius strip: Sans bottom or top, sans inside or outside, the inside becomes the outside and vice versa. It’s all about sonic interconnection, about music as entanglement, music as reconciliation. The rather majestic, cinematic (indie) pop and experimental, kraut-infused jazz, the spirit of the enlightenment and baroque playfulness, the traces of modernism and minimal music, dub leanings, hip-hop lessons, and even hints of house music: here is where they all come together, reconciled in a sound that’s both melancholy and romantic. The crew’s back at it, working the instruments, the rigging, with sails a-billow, launching the next voyage of discovery, assuming the east in the west and vice versa. And thus the adventure saga continues.” — Pico Be (Das Weiße Pferd).

File Under: Indie Rock, Electronic
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Novo Line: Movements (Ecstatic) LP
Following a limited tape release for Ecstatic, Berlin’s Nat Fowler renders his meticulous Novo Line alias for its second full-length release, a killer marriage of automated EBM and unexpected MIDI disruptions, continuing a life-long quest for esoteric knowledge and a love of archaic computer hardware. Modeled on re-appropriated software, run on two separate Atari ST’s, Movements is the compelling result of obtuse production technique and painstaking trial and error; basically experimentation at the service of discovering a sound that really sounds unlike anything else out there. As he explains: “I like the idea of using restrictions in order to find and push boundaries, from limiting which octaves I use to how many notes at a time. I use the only PC capable of MIDI that had no multitasking, so communication is immediate, a direct mechanical communication from my fingers to the sounds is created. I feel lucky because technology has accelerated so fast since the first digital synthesizers and PCs that nothing since the early 1980s has been really pushed to its limits.” In that sense, he can be placed in a small category of operators – including The Automatics Group, Dave Noyze, Lorenzo Senni and V/VM among them – who persistently gnaw at the boundary between dance-pop and avant-electronics, and with all of whom he shares a capacity for hearing the poetry of singular frequencies, unique pitch combinations and the strange electronic timbres just waiting to be born from overlooked, outmoded equipment. Whilst at times it may recall the saltiest digital tone and gait of early Chicago house and Belgian new-beat, there’s a futuristic funk and idiosyncratic ambiguity to Movements that entirely belongs to Novo Line; whether bubbling up the mutant dembow lacquer of opener, “The Movement 1”, radiating form the tightly-bound, curdled funk of “Hot Piece”, or jabbing like a bag of cyborg slow house cats in “The Movement 2”, it really does make for one of the year’s finest and most addictive dancefloor mutations, bar none. 2016’s most meticulous album of algorithmic body music. Inspired by F.M. Alexander, G.I. Gurdjieff and Pythagoras. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy.

File Under: Electronic, House, Leftfield
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The Orb: COW/Chill Out, World! (Kompakt) LP
The Orb, Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann, have become known for their genre-bending curiosity and surprising sonic detours, exploring experimental soundscapes as well as club-friendly beats. COW / Chill Out, World! is a masterful ambient album that branches out in many directions, but unmistakably sounds like The Orb. In contrast to their much-acclaimed previous full-length Moonbuilding 2703 AD, which took years to prepare and fine-tune, COW / Chill Out, World! was produced over the course of only five sessions in six months, directly following the like-minded Alpine EP. Paterson on recording the album: “It got so spontaneous that a track like ‘9 Elms Over River Eno (Channel 9)’ consisted only of material collected at North Carolina’s Moogfest in May – second-hand records from local stores, field recordings, live samples from gigs that we liked, and of course an excursion to the Eno River, which actually exists. This geographic intimacy and the spontaneity are among the top reasons why we love this album so much.” Fehlmann sees the duo’s relentless gigging schedule as a formative influence on the new album: “the countless performances we’ve played in the last years have brought us closer as a musical unit. The spice of our concerts is improvisation – a fertile process that we’ve brought to the studio, where we operate with very simple rules of engagement and go wherever the flow takes us.” It’s an approach that one might expect from traditional acoustic instrumentation, not necessarily an electronic set-up. Once more, The Orb’s trademark playfulness is on full display on COW / Chill Out, World! and it doesn’t limit itself to the multi-layered sampling and psychedelic sound composites. It’s not so much an obscure trope coming full circle as a perfect example for The Orb’s multi-timbre approach to sound and meaning – a compelling, immersive journey to diverse places and impressions. Each track title is a conceptual work in its own right, playing with multiple references, some of which remain highly personal and mysterious. But the greatest feat of The Orb’s latest outing might just be how all this semantic doodling never gets in the way of the actual listening, at all times directly relating the artists’s sonic vitality and cheerful nosiness.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Bill Orcutt & Chris Corsano: Live At Various (Palilalia) LP
“That guitarist Bill Orcutt & drummer Chris Corsano would play as a duo should come as a surprise to no one. As artists, both of them have bent sonic boundaries to the breaking point, especially as regards rock-based music, and they have long flowed through the same international sub-underground arteries. It was only a matter of time. The first fruit of their union was a brain melting LP called The Raw & The Cooked (2013), recorded on tour in 2012. Live at Various / Various Live is made up of the two Palilalia cassettes that followed it. The tracks were recorded between a couple of tours, one in 2013 and one the following year, in Northampton, Mexico City, Brooklyn, Montreal, Cleveland and Rochester. And they demonstrate the ferocity of Orcutt’s return to the electric guitar. Twinned-up with Corsano, Bill goes for the most distorted and bleeding tones available, whether pouring out frenzied clusters, or slow-bending blue-notes in the tradition of Loren Connors, the raunch of the proceedings is a physical presence. And Corsano goes deep into rolls and splashes with an almost perverted intensity. There ain’t much space here for sweetness or subtlety. The music is driven home with mallets, achieving a near-Beefheartian density in spots. Heard as a whole, this album provides a gush of relentless thug-beauty of a sort that has never been in long supply. Grasp it now or hold your sad peace for now and ever.” — Byron Coley. Double LP with gatefold cover. Recorded by Chris Corsano and Bill Orcutt on tour in 2013 and 2014. Reissue of two cassettes originally released on Palilalia as Live At Various and Various Live. Edition of 500.

File Under: Improv, Guitar, Free Rock
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Oval: Popp (UOVOOO) LP
Oval’s album Popp started as a concept album. It was neither meant as a pop record nor as “the Markus Popp signature album”. At first, Popp was all about playing around. And about changing the musical outlook from the earlier hyper-detailed, improvisational Oval style to straight-up sequencing, old-school glitch tricks and beat-making. Popp explains, “Working on these new ‘club tracks’ was like going from cucina povera (my 1990s student-budget glitch style) and hi-tech fusion cuisine (post-2010) to feeling like a vegan who just stumbled into a barbecue seminar.” Popp is a relentless, euphoric love letter to a musical utopia: kaleidoscopic and soulful, optimistic and grandiose. No matter if you choose to trace the many exhilarating, meandering melodies (“RE”, “ID”), or if you prefer to dance to the housy information overload of “AI” and “LO”, Popp is simply a joy to listen to. The newly introduced, intricate “fantasy vocals” are another new through line in Oval’s music: weaving a blissful, sensual, “post-R&B”-narrative beyond words (“KU”, “LO”, “VE”). Ghosts of vintage Oval glitch stylings (“FU”, “MY”, “MO”) are met with swooning strings, dreamy bells, 1990s rave stabs, angular bass lines and polyrhythmic beats. The atmosphere can even border on the solemn (“SA”), cinematic (“CA”) or even hymn-like (“VE”) before dissolving into these unstoppable, multi-layered loop-scapes. Popp explains further, “However complex and insanely technical my tracks may ever be getting, I will always make sure they sound organic, as if they’re running on nothing but sheer imagination.” Popp is released on Uovooo, a new label run by Markus Popp. Markus Popp’s early, now legendary album releases sent shockwaves through the “electronica” landscape in the late 1990’s – introducing a unique, innovative digital sound and production aesthetic. With an undeniable instinct for the pleasantly irritating, the drastic and the dreamy, Popp pioneered “glitch” and “clicks & cuts”, inspiring and provoking an entire generation of musicians to this day. After a long hiatus, Oval returned in 2010, changing the game all over again with a new, groundbreaking “hyperreal” style, blurring the lines between the electronic auteur and (virtual) “band music”. The distinctive, organic appeal of Oval tracks, remixes and albums have brought along several watershed moments for the entire genre.

File Under: Electronic
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Painkiller: Execution Ground (Karlrecords) LP
The seminal 1994 double album Execution Ground, by the original Painkiller with the line-up of Bill Laswell, John Zorn and Mick Harris on vinyl for the first time. When Painkiller started in 1991, their first two albums Guts Of A Virgin (1991) and Buried Secrets (1992) (both released on extreme metal label Earache) were heavy attacks blending grindcore and free jazz that brought together the musical backgrounds of the three protagonists: drummer Mick Harris had just left grindcore legend Napalm Death, John Zorn explored new extremities with his Naked City project while Bill Laswell had as a member of roaring free jazz quartet Last Exit (with Peter Brötzmann, Sonny Sharrock, Ronald Shannon Jackson) proven that he was not only a visionary producer but also an accomplished bassist. But it is their 1994 double album Execution Ground remains the opus magnum of the brilliant trio: Zorn’s unmistakable shrieking saxophone, Harris’s pounding drums and Laswell’s growling sub-bass lines were given heavy mixing desk treatment, resulting in extended tracks that are no less intense than their early works but display the full range of the musicians’s skills. Avant-jazz, grindcore, dub and ambient melt into eerie tracks of haunting atmospheres – even more so in the “ambient” versions of the second disc. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M Berlin. Available here as a double 180 gram vinyl. Includes a download code and insert. Edition of 500.

File Under: Free Jazz, Grindcore, Ambient
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Prurient: Pleasure Ground (Hospital) LP
One of Prurient’s most captivating raids on the borderlands of power noise and symphonic doom rears its furious head once again for this gatefold reissue on Hospital Productions, ten years on from its original release on double tape and then as a single vinyl pressing for the legendary Load Records in 2007. Pleasure Ground stands as a key part of Prurient’s golden quadrant alongside The History Of Aids (2002), Black Vase (2005) and Cocaine Death (2008), its immolating rage renders Ian Dominick Fernow at an early crest of his energies, consolidating the hi-pitch intensity and bile of his idols, Whitehouse, with the majestic, meditative inspirations of black metal and a more personalized bloodlust for unheimlich synth tones and pulsating electronic undercurrents. Its four long tracks are riven with the paradoxes that make Prurient’s music so compelling and practically a genre unto itself, meting out a sound in “Earthworks / Buried In Secret” that’s simultaneously nerve-gnawing yet bleakly tender, or weighing up caustic harshness with a melodic vulnerability in “Apple Tree Victim” that appeals far beyond the bombed-out no-man’s land of pure noise to intersect with the entrails of EBM in the raging but poised thunder of “Military Road” – one of his finest moments, bar none – and cold-wave pop and fetishistic synth themes in “Outdoorsman / Indestructible”. If you’re willing to bite down, you will find a depth of bittersweet flavor submerged beneath the tidal waves of white noise filled with nuance and vulnerability, slowly dragging you into the abyss. Ultimately though, there’s no mistaking that in the end Pleasure Ground is just unflinchingly fucking heavy. Housed in a deluxe, reverse-board gatefold sleeve. Mastered and cut by Barry Grint at Alechemy.

File Under: Noise, Industrial
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Scorch Trio: XXX (Rune Grammofon) LP
XXX is a four LP collection featuring Scorch Trio’s recordings. It includes Scorch Trio (2002), Luggumt (2004), Brolt (2008) and a radio session entitled Oval. In Norway, Scorch Trio was greeted with 6/6 reviews in the two biggest newspapers and The Wire said “the scope of their improvisational ideas is breathtaking”, in spirit comparing the album to The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s The Inner Mounting Flame (1971). Four years after Luggumt, Brolt was to become the final album with Paal Nilssen-Love behind the drums. Following in the tradition of the previous albums, this is a masterful example of passionate improvisation and breathtaking interplay. The joker in this collection is Oval, a radio session done for Yle, the Finnish broadcasting company, two years before their debut album was released. Why this recording has been left on a shelf for so long is anyone’s guess because this is quite a remarkable recording, showing off a new group brimming with energy and new ideas. Paal Nilssen-Love was only 25 at the time, but he and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten already had a reputation as one of the most energetic and creative rhythm sections in Scandinavia. Here the Finnish guitar phenomenon Raoul Björkenheim had found the perfect partners for his new group. Oval is previously unreleased in any form. Scorch Trio has only been available on CD until now, while both Luggumt and Brolt have long been out of print on vinyl.

File Under: Free Jazz, Improv
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She & Him: Christmas Party (Columbia) LP
She & Him (the sublime duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) offer up their second holiday themed collection with Christmas Party, the sequel to their acclaimed 2011 release A Very She & Him Christmas. The uplifting 12-track set features guest appearances by Jenny Lewis, The Chapin Sisters, Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley and Jim Keltner amidst stylized renditions of “Let It Snow,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Run Rudolph Run,” and “Mele Kalikimaka.” Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” is also updated wonderfully here with Deschanel noting, “I’ve always loved this song, and I was like, ‘I’d love to hear it without the digital keyboards. I’d love to hear it recorded in a little more of an old school way.”

File Under: Indie Rock, Holiday
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Shifted: Appropriation Stories (Hospital) LP
Guy Alexander Brewer, aka Shifted, is involved in several projects taking in techno, noise and experimental electronics overlaying a once-hidden past in drum’n’bass. Having shunned his previous work in Commix, more recently Brewer has learned to look back, even making sideways stabs into breakbeat territory with his Covered In Sand alias. The process grows more intricate and subtle on Appropriation Stories for the Hospital Productions imprint helmed by Dominick Fernow (aka Prurient, Vatican Shadow, et al.). On Appropriation Stories, rigorous processing and studio treatments transform classic breaks into deeply hidden components that add new layers of character to his highly-developed techno sound. At first presenting itself as a dense wall-of-sound underpinned by an incessant pulse, Appropriation Stories at length reveals itself to be a much more complex work. In place of the stark minimalism, razor-sharp digital textures and smeared analog surfaces of his previous output, Brewer offers layered tracks with intricate mixes that reveal themselves gradually over time. For long stretches – opener “This Passage”, “For Closure”, “In Respect of Tactics” – the rhythm steps back from insistent to implied, further exposing the careful arrangements of pure sound. As his origins in purist techno grow ever-more distant, Shifted’s sound has progressed from digital clarity to the murky-but-hard middle ground of his sophomore full length on Bed Of Nails, Under A Single Banner, and through a clear evolution on Brewer’s own Avian imprint. Integrating his more searching work as Alexander Lewis and his increasingly introspective work as Shifted while eloquently addressing his past, Appropriation Stories is a comprehensive statement of intent and Brewer’s finest, most mature work to-date. Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy.

File Under: Electronic, Techno, Ambient
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Various: Cologne Curiosities (Mental Experience) LP
The Nuggets (1972) of krautrock, Cologne Curiosities collects for the first time on vinyl, all the otherwise unpublished/un-reissued material that originally appeared on the three Unknown Deutschland – The Krautrock Archive CDs released on Virgin in 1996. These CD only releases were originally compiled by Trevor Manwaring (Paratactile, Impetus, Virgin, Harmonia Mundi) from tapes supplied to him by Toby Robinson. Toby, aka The Mad Twiddler, aka Genius P. Orridge, is well-known to krautrock collectors as one of a number of engineers working at Stockhausen’s WDR and Dierks Studio in Cologne in the mid-1970s, where he assisted on recordings by many famous kraut bands such as Can, Birth Control, Mythos and Dzyan. The recordings included here were made between 1972 and 1976 using studios in and around Cologne, produced by Toby Robinson for his own amusement. Bands would come in for practice sessions, to record demos, and during slack periods, impromptu jams would happen. Most of these sessions were recorded by Toby, and they feature Toby himself plus a revolving cast of friends and musicians (some of them apparently big kraut names under pseudonym). Including lost-in-time bands/studio projects like Astral Army, Fuerrote, Spirulina and Baal among others, the music here ranges from killer proto-new wave kraut psych to wild space rock, proto-ambient electronic, dark psychedelia and raw kosmische sounds with lots of analog synths/Moog. It was during that time in Cologne, that Toby, along with Fluxus artist Robin Page, gave birth to the mysterious and controversial Pyramid label, for which these tracks were originally made for. 24-bit domain remaster from the original master tapes. Insert with detailed liner notes by Alan Freeman (Ultima Thule, The Crack In The Cosmic Egg (2007)). Also features: Chronos, Neil Andersen and Ten To Zen. RIYL: Pink Floyd, Gila, Cluster, Hawkwind, Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Düül II, Popol Vuh, Cosmic Jokers.

File Under: Krautrock, Kosmische


Various: French Disco Boogie Sounds Vol. 2 (Favorite) LP
After an internationally acclaimed first edition, Favorite Recordings and Charles Maurice follow-up their French Disco Boogie Sounds compilation with this second volume. Pursuing his fine work at digging rare music from around the world, DJ and collector Charles Maurice presents another brilliant selection of great music linked to France and French West-Indies: 12 hidden and forgotten titles, all produced between 1978 and 1985, in France, or by French artists abroad. Again, he perfectly browses and defines the great energy and quality of this specific disco/funk scene at that time, both in the underground market, or through bigger labels. On one hand, tracks by Crystal, Jackie Esam, Ideku Dynasty or Marc Ashy, were produced by small artists and labels from the French Caribbean and African community and are filled with a raw spirit and some tropical influences. On the other hand, tracks by Claude Morgan, Greg Smaha, Roots, or Black Bells Group, were released by major labels such as Phonogram, RCA, Derby, or Carrere, thanks to confirmed independent producers, acting not only in France, but also in Canada and the US. Favorite Recordings and Charles Maurice unearth these 12 gems, amongst them some very hard to find and almost unknown titles. Also features: Charms, Neilo Feel,Nel Oliver and Messan.

File Under: Disco, Boogie


Beach Boys: Good Vibrations (Universal) LP
Beastie Boys: Licensed to Ill (Universal) LP
Broadcast: Noise Made By People (Warp) LP
Califone: Roomsound (Dead Oceans) LP
Alice Coltrane: Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse) LP
Converge: You Fail Me Redux (Deathwish) LP
Lana Del Rey: Born To Die (Universal) LP
Michael Farneti: Good Morning (Companion) LP
Guns n Roses: Use Your Illusion 1 (Geffen) LP
Guns n Roses: Use Your Illusion 2 (Geffen) LP
Intersystems: s/t (Alga Margen) Box
Norah Jones: Day Breaks (Blue Note) LP
Fela Kuti: Expensive Shit (Knitting Factory) LP
Medico Doktor Vibes: Liter Dorker (Companion) LP
Mitski: Puberty 2 (Dead Oceans) LP
Naked & Famous: Simple Forms (Sony) LP
New Creation: Troubled (Companion) LP
Angel Olsen: My Woman (Jagjaguwar) LP
OST: Beyond the Black Rainbow (Jagjaguwar) LP
Pearl Jam: Versus (Legacy) LP
Pearl Jam: Ten (Legacy) LP
Pearl Jam: Vitalogy (Legacy) LP
Pharcyde: Bizarre Ride II (Bicycle Music) LP
Pink Floyd: Meddle (Pink Floyd) LP
Daniel Romano: Mosey (New West) LP
Jack Rose: Kensington Blues (VHF) LP
Semi-Colon: Ndia Egbuo (Comb & Razor) LP
Small Faces: First Step (Rhino) LP
Stooges: s/t (Rhino) LP
S U R V I V E: RR7349 (Relapse) LP
Syrinx: Tumblers from the Vault (ReRVNG) LP/CD
T. Rex: s/t (Rhino) LP
Throbbing Gristle: 2nd Annual Report (Industrial) LP
Throbbing Gristle: DOA (Industrial) LP
Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards: Wreck (Blackest Ever Black) LP
Caetano Veloso: s/t (Lilith) LP
Weezer: Green Album (Universal) LP
Weezer: Red Album (Universal) LP
Various: Brixotica Goes East (Trunk) LP
Various: Psych Funk 101 (World Psych Funk Classics) LP

Tagged , , , , , ,

… letter #763 – boop…..

Another modest list this week, but I have it on good authority that next week is going to be a whopper. Also, our used bins are stuff with killer slabs these days, so get on down for a dig while the weather is warm.

…..pick of the week…..


Lt. Frank Dickens: Sunburned (Jaz) LP
Lt. Frank Dickens is the nom-de-musique of the former singer, guitarist, and songwriter of Vancouver’s shadowy pop band Peace, formerly signed to Suicide Squeeze records. Recorded in pieces over a number of years, his debut album Sunburned was originally released as a limited run cassette in the autumn of 2015. Now the album is being made available with a new cover and two extra songs through JAZ Records in a run of 300 copies. Sunburned is made up of songs that Dickens had been working on for as much as ten years’ time. It is a collection of haunted lullabies informed by the mysterious underbelly of life on the West Coast as much as musical touchstones such as Scott Walker, Syd Barrett and the Television Personalities. The instrumentation differs significantly between songs, but there is unity in the albums wistful tone and Dickens’ baritone sing-speak. Sunburned is a darkly lyrical and hermetic fairy-tale of a record that hints at the deeply personal while maintaining a veil of mystery.

File Under: Indie Rock
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… arrivals…..


American Football: s/t (Polyvinyl) LP
Not long after Polyvinyl Records released American Football’s self-titled debut album in 1999, the band called it quits, having only played a smattering of Champaign-Urbana college house parties and sets at small clubs like Chicago’s legendary Fireside Bowl. Such an inauspicious turn of events made what followed all the more incredible. Over time, the record went on to become one of Polyvinyl’s best selling releases to date, and ended up serving as “one of the single most influential rock records of its time” according to Noisey and many others. To most everyone that found them after the fact, the band was no more than an apparition. The record the only artifact left behind as a timeless snapshot of a group of individuals in transition, newly discovered each year by a fresh crop of music fans reaching a similar inflection point in their own lives. When American Football announced in 2014 that they would play live for the first time in 15 years, the built up appreciation for that eponymous LP physically manifested itself as they sold out three nights at Webster Hall in New York City in a matter of hours, and then went on to do the same at venues around the world. A quarter of a lifetime removed, and at times thousands of miles away from the house on the sleepy street in the middle of Illinois depicted on their debut album’s iconic cover, they found themselves playing to sold out crowds that numbered in the thousands in London, Tokyo, Barcelona and beyond. The again self-titled American Football finds the band with new material that takes them on a serendipitous detour down a familiar road. It is replete with the swelling emotions that might be spurred on by locked away memories unearthed by a familiar scent or crack in the concrete, or the rush of warm apprehension when coming face to face with a lover left before the fire was close to going out. “The past still present tense” sings Mike Kinsella on “Home Is Where The Haunt Is,” but while the house on the cover and the title of the album are the same, they are made strange by time and new found perspective. “We’ve been here before,” he declares on album opener “Where Are We Now?”, “but I don’t remember a lock on the door.” At a time when reunions have become rote, American Football is decidedly an anomaly. There is no past glory to relive or reignite, nor the burden to branch out and break from a well worn formula. Seventeen years later everything still feels brand new, because for them it is. They are a band that for one reason or another closed the lid on their creative output just as they were beginning an unforeseeable upswing, and are just now after a stasis returning to uncork it with the benefit of greater maturity and better musicianship. The sound is even more expansive, the lyrics less naive and more world weary, the songs have greater depths to explore and layers to peel back throughout. “You can’t just forget all the other lives you’ve lived,” Kinsella sings, and every single one of the nearly two decades worth of experiences since they last put pen to paper as American Football seem to bleed through on this record.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Angel Witch: s/t (Real Gone) LP
One of the first and greatest “black metal” albums, and one of the records that helped launch the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, the 1980 self-titled debut from Angel Witch still packs a wallop some 36 years later. Unlike, say, Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, songwriter Kevin Heybourne’s lyrical imagery just doesn’t dabble in the occult, it lives (dies?) there, with abundant sword and sorcery themes and tales (e.g. “Angel of Death”) of damnation. Yet, as on the title track, the band is not above crafting some catchy hooks, though the raw production ensures that those hooks have barbs. Real Gone Music is proud to present the first vinyl reissue of this classic metal album, in limited edition (of 600 copies) colored vinyl. Buy or be eternally condemned!

File Under: Metal
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Loren Connors: The Departing of a Dream Vol VI (Family Vineyard) 10″
Just months after reviving The Departing of a Dream series from a ten-year hiatus with the release of Volume V — Loren Connors issues another movement of saturated guitar tones, dissonance and impermanence. Volume Six begins with the percussive sound of struck, muted strings, it’s an unusually rhythmic effect for one of Connors solo recordings, writes Kurt Gottschalk in The Wire. But from there, Connors’ guitar notes morph into gentle wisps of guitar sounds — or as Connors himself describes: “just like the wind scattering the notes around.” The mini-album is presented as a 10-inch with artwork by Connors — a faint, nearly transparent drawing of a woman’s face. Audio mastering by Taylor Deupree at 12k and vinyl mastering by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering. One-time edition of 550 copies, includes download coupon.

File Under: Ambient, Guitar
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Cyrillic Typewriter: Your True Emblem (Jaz) LP
Your True Emblem is the latest offering from Vancouver’s Cyrillic Typewriter, the enigmatic mantle of Jason Zumpano, joined here with fellow Destroyer alumna Scott Morgan (Loscil) and Nic Bragg, and recent recruit Terri Upton of Frog Eyes. Maintaining the suite-like format of 2015’s Best Suit, it assumes a sci-fi cinema stance: delicate, capsule-like intervals of mellow post-rock spaciousness – a sonic depth of field that gives a vibey sense of flotation – which are then interrupted by abrasive and agitated interludes of redirection that signal a narrative of tense anticipation: we are waiting for a message from outer space, and this is either the soundtrack to the waiting, or the message itself. LPs with art from frequent Cyrillic Typewriter collaborator Jason McLean; each comes with one of three 5×5 matte cardstock photo inserts.

File Under: Ambient, CanCon
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Duchess Says: Sciences Nouvelle (Bonsound) LP
Slovenly Recordings, in conjunction with Bonsound (CA), is proud to present the latest orb from Duchess Says, re-entering the Earthen atmosphere to soil your sweet dreams with their third astral opus Sciences Nouvelles. Faithfully endorsed by the Church of Budgerigars, this antagonistic workout features chanteuse maniaque Annie-Claude Deschenes and her band of desensitized robot cronies clawing their way through ten tracks of Moog saturated cold / new / dark wave blasters, besmirching your cherished optimism and grinding it into dust. Duchess Says drops science in a heady amalgam of tracks in English, French and also of the wordless persuasion, with fudgy bass and fuzz propelled by slinky punk beats and fat synth bleeps delaying for eons, projecting a Giorgio Moroder vs. Devo dance-off on space station Italo-Q: A:.

File Under: Electro Punk
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D.D Dumbo: Utopia Defeated (4AD) LP
D.D Dumbo’s long-awaited debut LP Utopia Defeated is set for worldwide release via 4AD. The album is a collision of blues licks, echoes of world music, strident ‘80’s pop, the kinetic energy of dance music, and splashes of outsider art akin to Captain Beefheart, one of D.D Dumbo’s touchstones. D.D Dumbo’s fantastical debut album conjures a vivid, wide-eyed musical landscape teeming with nervous energy and exotic evocations of the world at large. Backed by skittering sounds, Utopia Defeated hinges on Oliver Hugh Perry expressive voice, and the dissonance of an artist compelled to question his position in the natural world. Written and performed almost entirely by Perry, the album was recorded at 4AD’s London Studios, with recording, engineering and production by Perry and 4AD’s Fabian Prynn. The 10 track album hurdles effortlessly over the expectations set by his intriguing debut EP, Tropical Oceans.

File Under: Pop
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hieroHieroglyphic Being: The Disco’s of Imhotep (Technicolour) LP
Jamal Moss aka Hieroglyphic Being issues his definitive solo album, The Disco’s Of Imhotep, via Ninja Tune’s Technicolour imprint. He has built a sterling reputation both as a producer and live performer of deep, mesmeric experimental electronics and free jazz rooted in his native Chicago and his relationship with the city’s fertile underground club scene. Inspired by the likes of Ron Trent, DJ Rush (residents at The Reactor where he danced week in week out) and Ron Hardy, Moss was mentored by visionary producers Steve Pointdexter and Adonis, who showed him the drum machines that were the backbone of the Movement and whom encouraged his early forays into music production. Releasing prolifically on his own Mathematics Recordings imprint and a clutch of other imprints including RVNG Intl. and Soul Jazz / SOTU; collaborating with Marshall Allen of Sun Ra’s Arkestra and Noleian Reusse (as Africans With Mainframes) – Moss has cemented his stature as a unique creative force. He balances his ancient heritage and musical DNA with a passion to experiment, create and channel music as a healing force, which has resulted in his art being tagged “Afrofuturist”. Moss, however, prefers to describe his output as Synth Expressionism / Rhythmic Cubism and would rather be viewed simply as a promoter of Nubian Rights.

File Under: Techno, Acid
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NxWorries (Anderson.Paak & Knxwledge): Yes Lawd! (Stones Throw) LP
Yes Lawd! As temping as it may be to just let that exclamation suffice as your sole introduction to NxWorries, we should go a little deeper. The men at the heart of this LP – soul styler Anderson .Paak and loop beast Knxwledge – make an exceedingly clean pair, even as they deal almost entirely in the gritty: vocals that sound lived in for a couple of lifetimes; beats that kick up dust as they bump; and an 19-track set that plays like a mixtape merging skits, songs, and snippets into a package of fluid groove and rough-cut rap ‘n’ soul gems. You may have heard these two out in the world, on their own or sprinkling some of their musical gold dust on someone else’s songs, but this is what happens when .Paak and Knx get home, lay back, light up, and let it go. If there’s a Blaxploitation vibe to Yes Lawd!, that’s just the depth of NxWorries’ funk and strut showing. If there’s gospel in the grits, that’s the history of the cooks. Each grew up with religion. It was Knxwledge’s job to tidy up the family church in Jersey as a kid, and when he was done, he got to play on the instruments. Better still, when those instruments went bad, he kept them. Similarly, he’d soon find sounds in his growing vinyl cache, and when he moved to Los Angeles in 2008 as a beat maker, his compositions ensured he’d be home at Stones Throw. His hypnotically dank 2015 LP Hud Dreems was the tip of an iceberg – 75 Bandcamp collections, and counting.  Paak was neck deep in those songs when Knxwledge reached out. The singer grew up in Oxnard drumming in his own family’s church. His folks got locked up when he was a teen, and while he’d eke by on odd jobs (grocer, trimmer, personal assistant), he was homeless for a spell with a newborn son. But .Paak pushed forward, building a career via imaginative albums (2016’s Malibu), and collaborations that always seem to make him the star, even when he’s just there to sing the hook. On Yes Lawd!, .Paak – who calls the album “my best work” – plays theatrically brash version of himself who sings like a ‘70s superstar and talks shit like a stone cold player. But the performance is seeded with details from his life, which has seen a fair share of struggle and hardwon triumph. Meanwhile, Knx weaves a tapestry of sampled bits and live fragments – bass, brass and violin – that smooths everything over, reminding us that despite whatever struggle it took to get here… well, you already know the name: NxWorries.

File Under: Hip Hop
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Powell: Sport (XL) LP
Powell announces his debut full length album Sport on XL Recordings. Touring to commence late summer / early fall and continue into the exciting and unforeseeable future. Sport is music for both the mind and the body. Sure, it’s physical and you can dance to it, but Powell wants to drag people’s brains along for the ride too. “Standing apart from many less singular producers is Powell, whose music has become clearly distinct and attributable only to him.” – Ad Hoc. “Oscar Powell belongs to a very small pool of dance artists whose music is a style in itself… His tracks combine the attitude of post-punk with the physicality of techno and the adventurous spirit of experimental music.” – Resident Advisor. “Powell…traverses the same spectrum from brilliant to dumb, from super to stoopid as The Beastie Boys circa Intergalactic, and proposes the same kind of grand unifying theory of funk as Basement Jaxx circa Red Alert.” – The Wire.

File Under: Electronic, Techno
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Prince: Sign ‘O’ The Times (Warner) LP
Prince’s Grammy Nominated 1987 Album Following the Dissolution of The Revolution Back in Print! Prince arrived on the scene in the late-70s, and it didn’t take long for him to upend the music world with his startling music and arresting demeanor. He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the ’80s. He made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative. His colorful image and revolutionary music made him a figure comparable in paradigm-shifting impact to Little Richard, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and George Clinton. Prince hit an artistic peak with Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987), his first album since 1999 not to be co-credited to the Revolution. A double album that was trimmed down from an intended triple, Sign ‘O’ the Times was Prince’s most musically expansive and lyrically incisive album. On the sobering “Sign ‘O’ the Times” (No. 6), Prince enumerated a catalog of social ills (AIDS, crack, gang violence) over a skeletal funk track. Other hits from the album included “U Got the Look” (No. 2), a duet with Sheena Easton, and “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” (No. 10).

File Under: Pop, Funk, Electronic
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John K. Samson: Winter Wheat (Anti) LP
Singer/songwriter John K. Samson enlists the rhythm section from his renowned band The Weakerthans for much of his second solo album, Winter Wheat. Inspired by the search for connection and community, his hometown of Winnipeg, and our individual and collective struggles with addictions to drugs, screens, and fossil fuels – Winter Wheat is a sprawling, masterful and timely work by a writer at the peak of his powers. Winter Wheat was produced in garages and homes through a Winnipeg winter by Samson’s partner and collaborator, Christine Fellows, and his Weakerthans co-founder and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Tait, and mixed in the spring in Toronto by Robbie Lackritz (Bahamas, Feist). The spare and thoughtful arrangements also feature Greg Smith of The Weakerthans on electric bass, Ashley Au on double and electric bass, Leanne Zacharias on cello, and Shotgun Jimmie on electric guitar. Like the crop itself, which is planted in the fall, sprouts, goes dormant through months of snow and rises in the spring, Winter Wheat is a determined, beautiful, resilient response to difficult and extraordinary times. Double Vinyl includes three sides of music and an etching on Side D. For fans of the Weakerthans, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Elliott Smith, and Built to Spill.

File Under: Indie Rock
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sleafordSleaford Mods: T.C.R. (Rough Trade) LP
Equal parts classic-era punk, casio minimalism, slam poetry, growling protest chant, and poison ivy rash, Sleaford Mods are singular, and always powerful. And with their TCR 12″, particularly its title track, named for the 1970s auto toy “Total Control Racing,” the Mods are surprisingly…tuneful? The 12″ leads into the duo’s Rough Trade debut, planned for 2017, and don’t worry they still manage to raise as much hell and throw as many punches as ever here!

File Under: Hip Hop


Sonic Youth: NYC Ghosts & Flowers (Geffen) LP
For more than a quarter century, Sonic Youth – featuring Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley – ruled the New York underground as the reigning post-punk experimental noise band of its era, releasing 15 full-length albums, from 1983’s Confusion Is Sex to 2009’s The Eternal. Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is re-releasing the entire nine-album DGC/Geffen catalog – which ranges from 1990’s Goo to 2006’s Rather Ripped – remastered from the original stereo analog master tapes on high-grade vinyl. All vinyl album releases will also include an accompanying digital download card. 2000’s NYC Ghosts & Flowers is Sonic Youth’s thirteenth album, and yet manages to sound fresh and familiar at the same time – probably largely due to the theft of an extensive amount of their gear directly prior to the album’s composition. It was also their shortest record in years, a fact that shouldn’t be interpreted as lack of new ideas – instead, Sonic Youth offer a fury of chaotic, melodic, and psychotic soundwaves that leave you wanting more. Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune exclaimed: “Though Sonic Youth flirted with alternative-rock songcraft in the early ’90s, these noise-rock renegades are once again happily viewing their guitars as hunks of wood, wire and infinite possibility…No rock band makes the avant-garde sound quite this tactile and sensual.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Yann Tiersen: Eusa (Mute) LP
To North Americans who know him only as the mastermind behind the Amélie score, it might come as a surprise that French songwriter Yann Tiersen’s new album, EUSA, is the first minimal piano album of his storied career. That’s right: the man behind “Comptine d’un autre été : L’après-midi” — maybe the prettiest piano composition of all-time — has never made a piano album. That’s a shame, because EUSA is a consistently gorgeous work that extrapolates nicely on his past handful of piano-based compositions. It almost didn’t exist. EUSA, named after Tiersen’s Breton island homeland (Ushant in English), was originally conceived as ten pieces inspired by and named after places on the island, to be released only as sheet music. It was only after Tiersen played the work live at a series of French shows, augmenting it with improvised musical “pathways” between songs, that he realized he wanted to release it as an album. EUSA begins with the first of that series of loose piano interludes, “Hent I,” which builds tension perfectly around just two chords before resolving with “Pern.” The early highlight rises and falls beautifully, feeling somehow sprightly and melancholy at the same time, while “Porz Goret,” a more straightforward ballad, evokes “Comptine” in its sweet, sad elegance. Elsewhere, songs like “Penn ar Roc’h,” “Yuzin” and “Roc’h ar Vugale” provide a perfect soundtrack for bright mornings or rainy afternoons.

File Under: Classical
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Tragically Hip: s/t (Caroline) LP
Critically acclaimed for over two decades, The Tragically Hip has been at the heart of the Canadian musical zeitgeist for evoking a strong emotional connection between their music and their fans that remains unrivaled. A five-piece group of friends including Robby Baker (guitar), Gord Downie (vocals, guitar), Johnny Fay (drums), Paul Langlois (guitar) and Gord Sinclair (bass), who grew up in Kingston, Ontario, The Hip has achieved the enviable status of a band that enjoys both mass popularity with over 8 million albums sold worldwide, as well as peer recognition with 14 Juno Awards via a dozen recordings. Originally issued in 1987, the band’s auspicious 8-track debut self-titled EP was produced by Ken Greer of Red Rider and includes the raw and impassioned early offerings “Small Town Bringdown” and “Last American Exit.”

File Under: Classic CanCon
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Tragically Hip: Up to Here (Caroline) LP
Critically acclaimed for over two decades, The Tragically Hip has been at the heart of the Canadian musical zeitgeist for evoking a strong emotional connection between their music and their fans that remains unrivaled. A five-piece group of friends including Robby Baker (guitar), Gord Downie (vocals, guitar), Johnny Fay (drums), Paul Langlois (guitar) and Gord Sinclair (bass), who grew up in Kingston, Ontario, The Hip has achieved the enviable status of a band that enjoys both mass popularity with over 8 million albums sold worldwide, as well as peer recognition with 14 Juno Awards via a dozen recordings. 1989’s Up To Here is the debut full-length recording from the Tragically Hip following the release of their 1987 self-titled EP. Recorded with Don Smith and Bruce Barris at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee the promising 11-song set is awash in driving rhythms, effective riffs, subtle soloing and the heartfelt vocals and poetics of singer Gordon Downie. Standout tracks on Up In Here include “Boots Or Hearts,” “38 Years Old” and “Blow At High Dough” which became the theme song to the CBC comedy-drama Made in Canada.

File Under: Classic CanCon
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Tragically Hip: Road Apples (Caroline) LP
Critically acclaimed for over two decades, The Tragically Hip has been at the heart of the Canadian musical zeitgeist for evoking a strong emotional connection between their music and their fans that remains unrivaled. A five-piece group of friends including Robby Baker (guitar), Gord Downie (vocals, guitar), Johnny Fay (drums), Paul Langlois (guitar) and Gord Sinclair (bass), who grew up in Kingston, Ontario, The Hip has achieved the enviable status of a band that enjoys both mass popularity with over 8 million albums sold worldwide, as well as peer recognition with 14 Juno Awards via a dozen recordings. Originally issued in 1991, Road Apples is the second full-length effort from the Tragically Hip and the band’s first Number One album in their home country. Recorded in New Orleans, LA with Bruce Barris and Don Smith, the energetic, emotional and poetic 12-song journey stands as one of the group’s best and is highlighted by such fully realized catalog gems as “Little Bones,” “Twist My Arm” and “Long Time Running.”

File Under: Classic CanCon
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Videodrones: Mondo Ferox (El Paraiso) LP
Danish synth duo Videdrones are all about simultaneously channeling of the vibes of maestros, ranging from the epic choirs of Popol Vuh or Fabio Frizzi through the smooth gliding arpeggios of Tangerine Dream or Giorgio Moroder, even into Goblin or Morricone at their most abstract. But there’s more to it than mere tribute. Mondo Ferox is the kind of album where electronic instruments take on a life of their own – Constantly in flux, changing direction and pace like that of the lives at the bottom of the sea. It’s like a constant overture. These are sounds that the listener knows, but they’re turning themselves inside out, bleeding into each other and losing themselves in the flow – Favoring emotion and impulse over logic and structure. Rather than repeating what’s already been seen and heard, Videodrones re-melts the voices of cinema into something yet to be imagined.

File Under: Electronic, OST
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Various: Kenya Special Vol. 2 (Soundways) LP
To many outside of East Africa, the Kenya Special Soundway compilation released in 2013 was their introduction to the full spectrum of the musical landscape of 1970s and ‘80s Kenya. The promotion of Kenyan music on an international level from the mid-eighties onwards had often been within a narrative of ‘otherness’, where releases were marketed as world music, focusing on a few genres with clearly defined sounds, such as benga and Swahili rumba. Kenya Special did more or less the opposite by highlighting songs and bands that couldn’t easily be categorized. Many of the featured songs seemed to bend the rules, break away from existing genres and sometimes borrow from foreign music trends. Whereas the world music campaigns of the 1980s were moderately successful in drawing in young audiences, the more recent wave of reissues has caught on with a demographic that’s one or two generations younger than those listeners that were originally interested in the music that was recorded in Kenya from the 1960s to the 1980s. The approach to musical rediscovery that is behind Kenya Special has its origins in a youthful movement of vinyl collecting (and to some extent club culture), which has, in the past decade and a half, carved out its own niche alongside the established music industry. Despite the renewed interest in music from Kenya’s past, finding these tracks and their rights holders hasn’t become any easier. Only a handful of music archives around the world harbour collections of Kenyan music, and just a few private collectors in Kenya and abroad have been sharing catalogue info online or privately. One of the problems with East African music of this era is that much of it was originally released only on 45 rpm, seven-inch vinyl singles, many of which were only ever produced in tiny runs of a few hundred. 45s with their thin, paper sleeves do not age as well as LPs and are often far more susceptible to the elements. The compilers of Kenya Special 2 have gone to great lengths to disclose a small part of what is slowly being accepted as an essential element of East Africa’s cultural heritage: the history of recorded popular music. We hope you enjoy it. As always with Soundway releases Kenya 2 comes with extensive liner notes, photo’s and artwork from each 45. Vinyl is housed in a gatefold sleeve.

File Under: Africa, Afrobeat, Funk
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Various: Studio One Radio Show (Studio One) LP
Studio One Radio Show presents two rare performances recorded for Studio One by the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. Up until the 1970’s there were heated discussions about the amount of U.S. soul hits being played on the radio. It was in this climate that Studio One’s Clement Dodd as well as Duke Reid and Lee Perry, started purchasing time from the radio stations to play their material uninterrupted. The favored radio jock for Studio One was Wintston Williams nicknamed “The Whip With The Solid Kick.” Winston “The Whip” Williams first entered radio in the 1970’s at the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation as a newscaster and disc jockey for the afternoon show ‘Whip with the Solid Kick’. He also helmed the Studio One radio show that was broadcast on JBC on Saturday Mornings. Williams specialty was his rapid-fire jive rhyming delivery alongside his alter-ego Marcus who “ate chicken on Sundays.” To date his career in radio spans four decades as newscaster and radio personality, ‘Winston in Kingston’ continues to excite listeners as the ‘radio rhyme king’ on Power 106FM. Broadcasted on Saturday these shows were intended to showcase recent releases and to advertise the various Studio One locations and their products. The first of the two Studio One Radio Shows was known as the Sound of Young Jamaica and featured Winston Francis, The Boss, Jerry Jones, The Heptones, Ernest Ranglin, Horace Andy and Burning Spear. The second show, known as Soul Power and Sound, features Sugar Minott, Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, The Heptones and Carletone & The Shoes.

File Under: Reggae


Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls (ATO) LP
Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO) LP
Aphex Twin: Cheetah (Warp) LP
Aphex Twin: Syro (Warp) LP
William Basinski: 92982 (Temporary Residence) LP
William Basinski: The Deluge (Temporary Residence) LP
Beastie Boys: Hello Nasty (EMI) LP
Black Sabbath: Paranoid (Rhino) LP
Broadcast: Haha Sound (Warp) LP
Broadcast: Tender Buttons (Warp) LP
Broadcast: Work & Nonwork (Warp) LP
Nick Cave: Abattoir Blues (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: Boatman’s Call (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: Firstborn is Dead (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: Henry’s Dream (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: Kicking Against the Pricks (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: Let Love In (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: No More Shall We Part (Mute) LP
Nick Cave: Your Funeral… My Trial (Mute) LP
City & Colour: If I Should Go Before You Do (Dine Alone) LP
Cure: Pornography (Rhino) LP
J Dilla: Donuts (Stones Throw) LP
Dillinger Escape Plan: Calculating Infinity(Relapse) LP
Eric Dolphy: Outward Bound (Original Jazz Classics) LP
Earthless: Sonic Prayer (Gravity) LP
Earthless: Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky (Tee Pee) LP
Fleetwood Mac: Rumors (Rhino) LP
Flying Lotus: You’re Dead! (Warp) LP
Grizzly Bear: Shields (Warp) LP
Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest (Warp) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Paper Mache Dream ballon (ATO) LP
Fela Kuti: Beasts of No Nation (Knitting Factory) LP
Fela Kuti: Confusion (Knitting Factory) LP
Fela Kuti: He Miss Road (Knitting Factory) LP
Fela Kuti: Sorrow, Tears & Blood (Knitting Factory) LP
Daniel Lanois: Goodbye to Language (Anti) LP
Led Zeppelin: III (Warner) LP
Metallica: Master of Puppets (Blackened) LP
Metallica: Ride the Lightning (Blackened) LP
Metallica: Kill Em All (Blackened) LP
Mumford & Sons: Babel (Glassnote) LP
Mumford & Sons: Sigh No More (Glassnote) LP
Parliament: Mothership Connection (Universal) LP
Joel Plaskett: La De Da (Maplemusic) LP
Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression (Loma Vista) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R (Interscope) LP
Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (Universal) LP
Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed (Abkco) LP
Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers (Universal) LP
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet: Savvy Show Stoppers (Yep Rock) LP
Swans: The Seer (Young God) LP
Talking Heads: 77 (Rhino) LP
Talking Heads: Fear of Music (Rhino) LP
Thor & Friends: s/t (L.M. Duplication) LP
Velvet Underground: s/t (Verve) LP
Stevie Wonder: Innervisions (Tamala) LP
Stevie Wonder: Music of my Mind (Tamala) LP
Stevie Wonder: Talking Book (Motown) LP
Various: Don’t Stop Recording Tap (Numero) LP

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… letter #762 – leftovers…..

Classic short week here, hardly anything new in…. however, if the Fed Ex man delivers tomorrow, the much anticipated, under appreciated Syrinx albums will be available for your ears to munch on.

…..pick of the week…..


Syrinx: Tumblers From The Vault (ReRVNG Intl.) LP
In tomorrow???…..The two instrumental albums that Syrinx issued in the early 1970s sound little like the psychedelic music prevailing Toronto’s rock venues at the time, and are even further removed from the electronic tape experimentations spooled by a younger John Mills-Cockell. Instead, the path of Syrinx whimsically veers away from the dominant mode of ‘70s subculture, charting surprising commercial success. Tumblers From The Vault presents their entire recorded legacy, reviving the story of Syrinx and sharing their memorable, mind-bending melodies. The musicians behind Syrinx were composer and keyboardist John Mills-Cockell, saxophonist Doug Pringle, and percussionist Alan Wells. All three were young veterans of the Toronto creative scene by the beginning of 1970. LSD played a supporting role in their artistic pursuits, but equal guidance also came from Mills-Cockell’s studies at the University of Toronto and Royal Conservatory of Music, where he established an ad-hoc, DIY electronic music course in the school’s basement. Before long, Mills-Cockell was an accomplished young composer and an important conspirator in Intersystems, a rogue, multimedia ensemble that intersected heterogenous artists and musicians via the Toronto underground. In this freeform environment, Mills-Cockell’s compositions found alert ears, among them his primary collaborator Doug Pringle, a wily wind player, and producer Felix Pappalardi, whose credits include Cream’s Disraeli Gears and who helped John land an album deal with True North Columbia. After Intersystems dissolution, Mills-Cockell journeyed to Canada’s west coast to work on an album of original synth-based compositions using his multi-suitcase Moog as the primary instrument. Pringle was enlisted to color outside the music’s already adventurous lines, his sinuous, signal-processed saxophone adding another electrifying voice to Syrinx’s signature sound. A sound that hybridized chamber music dynamics with wild, yet tuneful electronic melodicism. With Alan Wells’ understated percussion rolled into the fold, what started as a solo venture for Mills-Cockell became a new kind of collective. From these coastal sessions were conjured exemplary pieces like “Journey Tree” and “Hollywood Dream Trip,” both plaintive and serene expressions of Mills-Cockell’s economical arrangements, and also Syrinx’s restrained and expert use of their electronic resources. “Hollywood Dream Trip” alone presents a theme so memorable and melancholic that it calls to mindErik Satie, John Cage’s early piano works, and the cinematic power of Golden Age soundtrack music. Syrinx’s self-titled debut arrived in 1970, followed in 1971 by Long Lost Relatives, which is highlighted as the first album on Tumblers From The Vault. Between the two albums, Syrinx became a vital part of the Toronto music scene, with Doug Pringle’s loft serving as the central node for impromptu performances and the group’s collaborative activities. Syrinx also started receiving high profile work, first for television, film, and dance, and then for orchestra. One commission culminated commercially in “Tillicum”, the unforgettable theme music for pioneering reality television show Here Come the Seventies. As a standalone single, “Tillicum” would climb to #38 on Canada’s RPM charts. The most eventful assignment came from the Toronto Repertory Ensemble’s conductor and composer Milton Barnes, whose solicitation inspired the powerful orchestral suite Stringspace. The studio version of Stringspace for Long Lost Relatives is a near faithful version to the live performance, the Toronto Repertory Ensemble offering the same sweeping, deeply engrossing symphonic support. (An original live version also appears on Tumblers from the Vault on the third LP, along with other rare and alternate Syrinx gems). “Tillicum” also appears on Long Lost Relatives, a nod to the group’s new visibility, and perhaps an assertion that Syrinx was part of the trailblazing new world that their television theme song signaled. Syrinx’s music is more than a faded strain in Canada’s consciousness, but has never expanded universally. One modest task of Tumblers from the Vault is to reinstate Syrinx to their place in the wider canon of groundbreaking music so their story can be appreciated beyond the limits of Canadian notoriety. Another task is to simply have this music heard again, which is an endeavor made less difficult by the fact that the most defining quality of Syrinx’s music is its timelessness and agency. Unlike so many turn of the ‘60s experiments fusing rock and pop music language with new technology, Syrinx was never excessive in expressing their vision of what electronic music could offer. Instead, they blended these sounds in a holistic way, allowing the acoustic and electronic textures to create one organic voice. They opted to foreground the lyrical and poetic content of their compositions rather than their innovative techniques. It’s a tribute to John Mills-Cockell’s compositions, and his comrades Doug Pringle and Alan Wells, that the tangential path of Syrinx remains as present, exploratory and inviting as ever. Syrinx’s Tumblers From The Vault will be released on October 14, 2016 as triple LP set, double CD, and digital formats. An accompanying documentary about Syrinx by artist and filmmaker Zoe Kirk-Gushowaty will screen selectively.

File Under: Electronic, Psych, CanCon
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… arrivals…..


Anciients: Voice of the Void (Season of Mist) LP
Anciients return on Season of Mist with their long-awaited sophomore album Voice of the Void. A heavier and harder-hitting album than their debut, Voice of the Void raises their game with mind-melting, frenetic guitar work and a more explosive percussive attack. Tracks such as “Serpents,” “Pentacle,” “Incantations” and more are prismatic; bursting with heavy riffs in every shade and color without sacrificing the quartets heavy rock roots. Anciients are the archetype of a modern, progressive heavy band and Voice of the Void is a dynamic listen carrying the spirit of metal’s forerunnners.

File Under: Metal
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Black Marble: It’s Immaterial (Ghostly) LP
It’s Immaterial is the second full-length effort from Black Marble. Their first for Ghostly, It’s Immaterial follows up their EP Weight Against the Door and highly acclaimed debut full-length A Different Arrangement. Still featuring Chris Stewart at the helm along with select collaborators as supplementation, the project’s recent shift in locale from East Coast to West Coast lends a great deal to the overall feel of the new album: the light and dark elements of shadows, the salt and sting of evening’s high tide sea spray, a beautiful thing left on a shelf too high to maintain. The general mood is that of creating something new, but going back in time to do it. Like attempting to flesh out a song that you woke up humming but can’t find because it doesn’t exist yet. With the end of the East Coast chapter of Stewart’s life on the horizon, It’s Immaterial was recorded in a period of mental and physical transition, trapped between spaces and unable to move on until the snow globe flurry of ideas floating around him settled just right. It’s Immaterial is soaring and muted all at once. It’s a collection of songs pieced together from perfect seeming snippets heard while passing open doors. It’s a framework in which your imagination creates its own version of what you need to hear but didn’t have a way to describe – like a favorite song heard on an unlabeled mixtape by a band you can’t uncover. It’s Immaterial is a further evolution in Black Marble’s sound. Where the songs featured on their debut full-length seemed to hiss from a vent in the floor, the new tracks seem to be coming from the next room. Written, recorded, mixed, and performed entirely by Stewart, the new songs are a unified vision – one person’s attempt to patchwork together bits of vapor and the most subtle gleanings of preference to make something wholly new. It’s an endless drive in the passenger seat of a car while listening to everything you’ve ever loved, but lasting only 40 minutes.

File Under: Electronic, Indie Rock
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Califone: Roomsound (Dead Oceans) LP
Califone’s debut album Roomsound was originally self released in April of 2001. Roomsound covers the same rustic, slightly ramshackle back forty that Tim Rutili has been plowing through since his previous band Red Red Meat. Only this time the tilled bedrock unveils the most vividly colored, luring crop of songs Rutili has ever harvested. The sleepy, country-blues picking and autumnal backwoods melodies are accented with striking splashes of electronic tone color, obsolete keyboards and off-kilter percussion. Lyrically, Roomsound penetrates the breath of pirates, poison apples at a tango contest and the waiting room between death and canonization where missionaries have quit and 19th-century prostitutes have been rescued for all the wrong reasons. Masterfully produced by Brian Deck, the album is vaulted far beyond the sum of its parts. Roomsound is a hauntingly unique and distinctive record of crafted and sculpted beauty.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Cheap High: Subterranean Suburbia (Dipstick) LP
From BC’s Fraser Valley comes the exciting sounds of Cheap High. They give a spirited performance on the eerie post-punk number “Time and Space, which features artsy sing/speak, goth/punk guitars and a percussion section that goes off like a carefully sequenced detonation.

File Under: Postpunk
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Tashi Dorji & Tyler Damon: Both Will Escape (Family Vineyard) LP
Both Will Escape is the debut full-length between electric guitarist Tashi Dorji and percussionist Tyler Damon. In the long tradition of string/drum duets — from Bailey & Bennink to Haino & Yoshida — these two cleave out their own unmapped continent of sound. Across four pieces they connect lashes of ecstatic intensity and outer reaches of texture and timbre. At times Dorji’s brutal electric torrents meld into Damon’s metal and tonal abstractions. These two developed in parallel for years before forging an ongoing duo in 2015. Dorji has released a string of startling acoustic albums that’ve rescrambled six-string notions of jazz/improv/Flamenco. Damon’s rethink of overtone and rhythm is enraptured as it’s stupefying in solo exhibitions or with Mars Williams, Darin Gray and Thee Open Sex. Both Will Escape — their second release after a live cassette on Astral Spirits — was recorded by Patrick Kukucka at the Hi Z lo z Studio in Asheville, NC and mixed by John Dawson at Magnetic South in Southern Indiana. Edition of 500 LPs with download coupon.

File Under: Jazz, Free Improv
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Kings of Leon: Walls (RCA) LP
Multi-platinum selling rock band Kings of Leon return with their hugely anticipated seventh studio album Walls, the follow-up to their Grammy Nominated 2013 effort Mechanical Bull. The group decided to revisit their recording roots in Los Angeles, CA, where they layed down their first two albums, working with famed producer Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Florence + the Machine) for the first time. Dravs pushed Kings of Leon in new directions on the organic 10-track set which finds the band experimenting with their signature sound and committing to the most personal material of their career. Bassist Jared Followel to Billboard, “He just said things that nobody had ever said to us. Like, ‘I don’t like that song, that’s not good, we can move on from that.'” Dravs also asked the band to change tempos and musical styles at the drop of a hat. “He’d be like, ‘OK, now play it like the Sex Pistols.’ And then you’ve turned a slow song into a fast one.”

File Under: Rock
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Merchandise: A Corpse Wired for Sound (4AD) LP
Formed nearly a decade ago, galvanized by Tampa hardcore and inspired by its miscreant noise, A Corpse Wired For Sound signals a new chapter for Merchandise. Following 2014’s After The End – a full-band effort recorded in a closet – the band stripped back to its core of Carson Cox (vocals, electronics), Dave Vassalotti (guitar, electronics) and Pat Brady (bass). The trio traveled to Rosà, Italy for their first ever sessions in a recording studio at La Distilleria, with local producer Maurizio Baggio. The nine-song nocturnal A Corpse Wired For Sound was recorded half in the studio and half at home, in Tampa as well as Cox’s newly adopted bases of New York and Berlin – the culmination of a long-distance collaboration between Cox and Vassalotti. The album’s metallic title is inspired by a science fiction short story by JG Ballard, but equally sums up the band’s current state of mind. “We were ‘reborn’ as a rock band for After The End,” says Vassalotti, “and then we straight-up died again. It couldn’t last. The result is this distended corpse responding to you from both sides of the Atlantic, forever singing in spite of everything.” Cox expands further, “it’s about the truth of growing up. You can’t take your friends or lovers with you. It’s about finding peace with that loneliness.”

File Under: Post-Punk
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monoMono: Requiem for Hell (Temporary Residence) LP
MONO is a band driven by intangible conflicts. Their albums have found inspiration in the inescapable coexistence of love and loss, faith and hopelessness, light and darkness. Fittingly, their new album, Requiem For Hell, incorporates all of those conflicts into the one universal inevitability in life: Birth, and death. Requiem For Hell finds MONO returning to longtime friend and collaborator, Steve Albini. After MONO and Albini’s band, Shellac, toured Japan together last year, they realized how much they missed the (often wordless) creative dialogue they shared during the making of many of their most memorable albums – beginning with Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky… (2004) and culminating with Hymn To Immortal Wind (2009). The rebirth of the Albini collaboration for Requiem For Hell also coincided with the birth of a close friend’s first child, whose actual in utero heartbeat serves as the foundation for the aptly named “Ely’s Heartbeat.” For MONO, it all felt so right, so inevitable. Requiem For Hell is undeniably heavier and scarier than most of MONO’s output to this point – hear the dizzying 18-minute title track for example – but it also carries some of their most sublime moments. This dichotomy is how one band’s obsession with conflict has manifested itself into one of underground music’s simultaneously quietest and loudest catalogs.

File Under: Post-Rock
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The Naked & Famous: Simple Forms (Somewhat Damaged) LP
Simple Forms is the third studio album by Los Angeles-based New Zealand indie electronic band The Naked and Famous. Simple Forms features the first single “Higher.” The band formed New Zealand in 2007 but relocated to Los Angeles five years later. The Naked And Famous consists of Alisa Xayalith (vocals, keyboards), Thom Powers (vocals, guitars), Aaron Short (keyboards), David Beadle (bass) and Jesse Wood (drums). The band has released two studio albums: Passive Me, Aggressive You (2010) and In Rolling Waves (2013). The Naked and Famous took their name from English musician Tricky’s song “Tricky Kid”, which is ambivalent about the notion of celebrity.

File Under: Indie Rock, Electronic
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Red Fang: Only Ghosts (Relapse) LP
After three years of vigorously touring the world, Red Fang re-emerge with their greatest and latest full-length album, Only Ghosts. Produced by the legendary Ross Robinson (At The Drive In, The Cure, Slipknot) and mixed by Joe Baressi (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Melvins), Only Ghosts consists of ten new tracks of the band’s signature, high-impact, hook-filled, hard rock. Red Fang prove once again they are top-notch songwriters who have mastered the heavy anthem without taking themselves too seriously. Only Ghosts is a rock album of incredible magnitude that demands to be played at maximum volume!

File Under: Metal, Stoner
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Soul Mates: Snake Oil (Deathstryke) LP
“An ill-mannered rock ‘n’ roll outfit with tweaked-out riffs for miles and swagger to burn. They have the elusive severity of classic hardcore, but with an evolved and bizarre approach to tapping into that sound.” – Skot Hamilton (KEN mode/Adolyne/Grey Light District)

File Under: Noise Rock
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confSonic Youth: Confusion is Sex (Goofin) LP
“Originally slated to be a seven-inch single to follow up their self-titled debut, Sonic Youth’s Confusion Is Sex blossomed into the band’s first album: a brain-bludgeoning, completely fried endeavor of dissonance and disarray, a perfect soundtrack for running from a chain-wielding gang near the SIN Club. This was the sound of 1983 New York City: nothing like London where punks were starting to scrub their faces and sounds to get on Top of the Pops , and nothing like the jangly roots of college radio rock starting to formulate in Athens, GA. “It sounded like no one else on Earth, for that matter. The raw, Wharton Tiers 8-track production is dark, the Kim Gordon-scrawled cover figure art of Thurston Moore is dark, Lee Renaldo’s back cover photo-collage and Catherine Ceresole’s crumpled-xeroxed images that adorned the inside are dark. It’s an album that moves Sonic Youth forward from their first EP almost by devolving backwards into true ugly, lo-fi primitivity “…While its confrontationalism might have put off some critics, time has rewarded Confusion with a truly distinctive air and atmosphere in the Sonic discography, enough to have Moore declare it his fave along with the band’s swan-song The Eternal.” – Brian Turner, WFMU

File Under: Art Rock, Noise
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Warpaint: Heads Up (Rough Trade) LP
It’s easy to get the wrong impression about Warpaint. The band’s studio albums (including their most recent full-length, 2014’s Warpaint) have tended to emphasize moody atmospheres: gauzy keyboards, hypnotic harmonies and sinister grooves. In concert, however, the Los Angeles quartet – vocalist/guitarist Emily Kokal, vocalist/guitarist Theresa Wayman, bassist/vocalist Jenny Lee Lindberg and drummer/keyboardist/vocalist Stella Mozgawa – pair this moodiness with bumped-up tempos and sinewy beats. The music’s no less dark – but it has an additional rhythmic urgency and tension that can be surprising. Of course, confounding expectations has been part of Warpaint’s m.o. since the band formed in 2004. And so when the band convened to make their third studio album, Heads Up, they shared a common goal: to make a faster, dance-oriented record. “We’ve always had this really jammy, high-energy live show compared to some of our records,” Kokal says. “We all love to dance. We didn’t want to take away from the emotion or the core feeling of what our band is all about – which I don’t even think we could take out if we wanted, because it is who we are – but we wanted to bump the speed up and have a little bit more fun.” Mission accomplished.

File Under: Indie Rock
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… letter #761 – gobble…..

We are heading into the home stretch for new releases for the year, but there’s still some great stuff left coming out before everyone starts making their year end lists. Lots of great stuff in this week to make your Thanksgiving weekend a bumpin’ time.

Note we will be open 12-5 on Monday.

…..pick of the week…..


Goat: Requiem (Sub Pop) LP
Western exports may have dominated the consciousness of international rock fans for the entirety of the 20th century, but our increasing global awareness has unearthed a treasure trove of transcendental grooves and spellbinding riffage from exotic and remote corners of the planet. Goat’s previous albums World Music and Commune were perfect testaments to this heightened awareness, with Silk Road psychedelia, desert blues, and Third World pop all serving as governing forces within the band’s sound. But Goat’s strange amalgam isn’t some cheap game of cultural appropriation – it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact origins of the elusive group’s sound. The fact that they pledge allegiance to a spot on the periphery of our maps bolsters the nomadic quality of their sonic explorations. With Requiem, Goat continue to rock and writhe to a beat beholden to no nation, no state. Goat’s only outright declaration for Requiem is that it is their “folk” album, and the album is focused more on their subdued bucolic ritualism than psilocybin freakouts. But Goat hasn’t completely foregone their fiery charms – tracks like “All-Seeing Eye” and “Goatfuzz” conjure the sultry heathen pulsations that ensnared us on their previous albums. Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of Requiem comes with the closing track “Ubuntu.” The song is little more than a melodic delay-driven electric piano line, until we hear the refrain from “Diarabi” – the first song on their first album – sneak into the mix. It creates a kind of musical ouroboros – an infinite cycle of reflection and rejuvenation, death and rebirth. Rather than offering explanations for their strange trajectories, Goat create a world where the line between truth and fiction is so obscured that all you can do is bask in their cryptic genius.

File Under: Psych, Folk
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… arrivals…..


Lucio Battisti: Amore E Non Amore (Light in the Attic) LP
“If Lucio Battisti was Italy’s answer to France’s Serge Gainsbourg, then Amore E Non Amore is his own Histoire De Melody Nelson, a concept album that’s widely regarded as a formative artistic achievement (if far from the most hit packed album) of his respective career. Both albums were released in 1971. For Battisti, the concept came from that dichotomous title: there’s a rocky ‘non-love’ side of the album, which has songs about obsession and adultery, and a ‘love’ side of dreamy, prog-rock instrumentals. The album saw Battisti working with lyricist Giulio ‘Mogol’ Rapetti, with whom he’d collaborated closely since 1965, enjoying huge hits with the likes of ’29 Settembre’ and ‘Sognando La California,’ an Italian version of ‘California Dreamin”. It was Mogol who first convinced Battisti to perform his own songs, and who conceived the idea for this record. Mogol supplied the inspiration, the title and the titles of its songs, many of them evocative sentences that flesh out the visual picture where lyrics are absent. Take, for example, ‘Davanti Ad Un Distributore Automatico Di Fiori Dell’aereoporto Di Bruxelles Anch’io Chiuso In Una Bolla Di Vetro,’ which translates as ‘In Front Of A Flowers Vending Machine In Brussels Airport I Am Closed In A Glass Bowl Too’. In an incredibly rare English language interview accompanying this lavish reissue, Mogol speaks of the album’s conception. ‘I had an understanding that Lucio was a great musician, a great composer,’ he says, ‘And in my opinion, I felt bad that he was limited exclusively to a pop genre. I wanted him to become a musician; I was really hoping, I had said to him, that he would become an orchestra conductor, a star who would make his own songs, and so I tried to convince him to make songs without lyrics.’ Amore E Non Amore was to be a watershed moment for Battisti. His label considered it to be too experimental and advanced for the Italian audience, and refused to release it. They were wrong: it instead set Battisti on a liberating course of artistic freedom and widespread success, and gifted the world one of Italy’s greatest musical exports. Officially licensed reissue. Remastered from the original tapes. Liner notes interviewing lyricist Giulio ‘Mogol’ Rapetti. Deluxe gatefold ‘tip-on’ Stoughton jacket. 180-gram vinyl.”

File Under: Italian, Psych
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Bear vs. Shark: Right Now You’re In The Best of Hands/Terrorhawk (Equal Vision) LP
Bear Vs Shark, the Detroit mainstays who disbanded in 2005 after two tremendous albums, have announced a remastered limited double vinyl re-issue of both of those LP’s – Right Now, You’re in the Best of Hands and Terrorhawk – via their original label home Equal Vision Records. With new cover art by BVS singer Marc Paffi the 2LP reissue will arrive in September 2016 on colored 180g vinyl with a gatefold jacket. Bear Vs Shark hit the primal sweet spot for a lot of listeners. Not too pissed. Not too anthemic. Not too nostalgic and not too instrumentally self-indulgent. The adrenaline-pumping, aerodynamic rock tunes of BVS feel like a secret formula of sorts because it was something heavy, something intense, something fast, that never wore you down. It was acrobatic and, at times, aerobic, but never tired you out. It was contemplative and blunt but never exhausted your emotional core.

File Under: Punk, Hardcore
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James Blake: Colour in Everything (Republic) LP
In tomorrow… Grammy Award-nominated artist James Blake returns with his anxiously awaited third full-length album, The Colour In Anything. Among its seventeen soulful tracks are the previously unveiled numbers “Modern Soul,” “Timeless,” “I Need a Forest Fire” feat. Bon Iver and “Radio Silence.” In addition to the Bon Iver feature, Frank Ocean and Rick Rubin also contributed to The Colour In Anything as co-writer and co-producer, respectively. James Blake’s impact can be felt throughout the modern music landscape. He lent his inimitable voice and production to “Forward” on Beyoncé’s chart-dominating #1 blockbuster Lemonade. In addition, he co-wrote the opener “Pray You Catch Me.” Following the release of 2013’s Overgrown, Blake garnered a “Best New Artist” nomination at the 2014 Grammy Awards, and he received a nod for “British Male Solo Artist” at the 2014 BRIT Awards.

File Under: Electronic, Soul
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Body of Light: Let Me Go (Dais) LP
Formed roughly 5 years ago in the wasted sands of Tempe, Arizona, electronic dance faction Body of Light have proven to be a teeming creative force within the present-day electronic landscape. From the archaic drones and abstract measurements of their earliest collections, to their prodigious cinematic pop ballads and darkwave compositions, the two brothers, Alex and Andrew Jarson, are no strangers when it comes to blurring the compositional lines that confine underground music. Having worked together and separately over the years within the folds of the co-founded Ascetic House collective, both Alex and Andrew have given life to a variety of projects such as Otro Mundo, Blue Krishna, Somali Extract and Memorymann, whilst unveiling over a dozen visual, audio, and written works under a variety of monikers in a shortened period of time. Body of Light is simply another extension of that exercised method of immediate and natural experimentation. Let Me Go frames the band as a project that has run the circle of practiced ideas to a fully-realized vision of synth pop sensibility and erotic aesthetics. Previous releases on Chondritic Sound and Ascetic House show both members grappling with sound and art as both a tool of mechanical reproduction and lawless spiritual hedonism. But after half a decade has marched on under the Body of Light banner, the project has solidified itself in its current mature state as one of the most transcendent dance music mediums today. Hesitant to define themselves strictly as a “synth-pop” collaboration, the brothers incorporate a wide variety of commodities as they attempt to formulate a direction, unique with decaying, warped tape loops, aging VHS home-movie sound samples from their childhood, primitive waveforms, and processed vocals tinged with harmonic means.

File Under: Synthpop
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Don Cherry Complete Communion: Live at the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, May 12 1966 (Modern Silence) LP
The legendary Don Cherry with his great 1966 quintet featuring Gato Barbieri on tenor sax, Karl Berger on piano, Bo Stief on bass and Aldo Romano on drums. This quintet can also be heard on three releases on ESP-Disk, three volumes titled Live at Café Monmartre 1966 and with the New York Total Music Company in 1968. This recording is taken from an excellent radio broadcast, presented here for the first time in a glorious vinyl release.

File Under: Jazz


Clutch: La Curandera (Weathermaker) LP
Standard vinyl reissue of Clutch’s compilation album La Curandera which collects eight deep tracks culled from the Maryland rocker’s vast catalog themed around characters that can only be described as formidable female protagonists (“Cyborg Bette,” “Night Hag,” “Isabella,” “The Dragonfly”). Originally released on pink vinyl for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2015, the cover artwork is by world-renowned illustrator Becky Cloonan, who has worked for DC, Marvel, and Image.

File Under: Metal


Eluvium: False Readings On (Temporary Residence) LP
False Readings On is the new album from renowned experimental composer, Eluvium. Its creation was originally inspired by themes of cognitive dissonance in modern society. By its conclusion it had become a mirror rather than a magnifying glass, evolving into an hour-long meditation on self-doubt, anxiety, and separation from one’s self. There is an emotional lucidity and melodic ingenuity to Eluvium’s music that has made him increasingly stand out from the sea of ambient artists that his earlier albums no doubt helped inspire. Sounding like an orchestra ceaselessly performing even as it sinks beneath an ocean of distortions and tape noise – with the occasional operatic voice piercing the surface – False Readings On is assuredly the most daring, dynamic, and distinct album of his luminous career.

File Under: Ambient, Classical
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Ex-Cult: Negative Growth (In The Red) LP
“In the year of the snitch, there are forces beyond your control that keep you up at night. Ghost notions that swirl around your room while you sleep. Your own pillow laughing right in your face while you fight for an hour of rest. Voices whisper from the corner, telling you everything you never wanted to hear. Negative Growth, our third album, is dedicated to fear and deception. “This collection of songs was conceived in Memphis and finalized in Los Angeles, with the help of our family doctor Ty Segall. It was created in February 2016, when we traded Memphis misery for a week of California sunshine. Negative Growth is a nine-track nightmare, a death trip in the crystal ship. The institution known as In The Red Records will do the honors. The Hollywood Heat Seeker takes ten years off your life.”
—Chris Shaw of Ex-Cult

 File Under: Rock
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Forma: Physicalist (Kranky) LP
Physicalist is the third album from New York City synthesis trio Forma. Since their acclaimed sel-ftitled debut in 2011, Forma have been perfecting a distinctive style of improvised kosmische and minimalism that blends swirling arpeggios, ambient soundscapes, and driving motorik beats. Physicalist is a sprawling, double LP journey featuring new member and multi-instrumentalist John Also Bennett, who replaced Sophie Lam in 2014. The first Forma album to include acoustic instrumentation, Physicalist owes more to American composers like Harold Budd or Terry Riley than Klaus Schulze and other Krautrock visionaries. The album was recorded during marathon sessions at Brooklyn’s Gary’s Electric studio, and is packaged in a gatefold jacket with original artwork by Robert Beatty and a liner notes essay by writer and critic Michael Barron. Physicalist was mastered by Bob Weston.

File Under: Electronic, Kosmische
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Geddes Gengras: Interior Architecture (Intercoastal Artists) LP
“The work of prolific Los Angeles producer M. Geddes Gengras is often discussed in terms of ‘vibes.’ This is fair enough, given the wandering modular synth experiments for which he’s known (not to mention his warmer forays into dub alongside Sun Araw and his stated late-blooming appreciation for the Dead). Lest such language imply a relaxed sort of grooviness, however, his latest full-length—a double LP comprising four barely-discrete compositions, each around 18 minutes—extends into more anxious territory. Composed and recorded over the last six years, Interior Architecture is so expansive that it can be hard for the listener to find her footing. What’s rewarding, in addition to the lush and liquid sound of Gengras’ indulgent approach, is that very experience of instability. It’s more pronounced than in his previous releases, and here takes on a psychological dimension.”—Pitchfork

File Under: Electronic, Synth
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Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch (Sacred Bones) LP
Norwegian artist and writer Jenny Hval has developed her distinct take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. For her last two solo albums, 2013’s Innocence Is Kinky and 2015’s Apocalypse, Girl, Hval’s debut for Sacred Bones, she has received thoughtful and widespread international acclaim for her fascinating voice, singular delivery and markedly non-traditional arrangements which incorporate elements of poetry, prose writing, performance art, and film. The New York Times defines her writing as “taking a scalpel to the subjects of gender politics and sexuality.” Hval has eloquently brought to light issues of both male and female gaze, which for years had been swept under the rug and/or denied all together. Apocalypse, Girl landed on numerous year-end lists with leading compelling writers everywhere to grapple with the age-old, yet previously unspoken, question: What is Soft Dick Rock? After touring for a year and earning her second Nordic Prize nomination, as any perfectionist would, Hval immediately went back into the studio to continue her work with acumen noise producer Lasse Marhaug, with whom she co-produces here on Blood Bitch. Her new effort is in many respects a complete 180° from her last in subject matter, execution and production. It is her most focused, but the lens is filtered through a gaze which the viewer least expects.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Bert Jansch: s/t (Superior Viaduct) LP
Scottish singer-songwriter Bert Jansch recorded his first album in producer Bill Leader’s London flat with a borrowed guitar, sitting on the edge of the bed and singing into a portable tape recorder.   As author Richie Unterberger writes in the liner notes, “When Bert Jansch’s self-titled debut LP was issued in April 1965, he was already a major figure on the British folk scene. His synthesis of traditional British folk with blues and a bit of jazz was at the vanguard of a new generation of UK folk performers, well-versed in past forms but unafraid to venture into new territory. His virtuosic guitar was complemented by a plaintive rough-hewn voice that didn’t just document the on-the-road experience, but lived it.”  Bert Jansch contains all original material, except a shattered cover of Davy Graham’s “Angie” that Jansch makes all his own. “Needle of Death,” one of the first folk songs to address the consequences of heroin use, yields to a restraint uncommon for Jansch, yet beautifully encapsulates the album’s tone of heartfelt conviction.  Superior Viaduct is honored to present the first-time domestic release of Bert Jansch’s debut, remastered from the original master tapes. For those interested in a unique strand of music that would become a major influence on everyone from Jimmy Page, Nick Drake, Donovan, Neil Young and more – there is no better place to start than here.

File Under: Folk, SSW
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Kandodo/McBain: Lost Chants/Last Chance (Rooster) LP
A meeting of like minds surfing the sonic highways to tonal oblivion. These four castaways on Sonic Island (this may be too much) have delivered an album that evokes the long lost and revered genre “Drug-Rock” a true mind melt of acid abandonment! Tab-era Monster Magnet, Sessions Era-The Heads—purely visceral and pummelling workouts of a krautrock and pschedelische (surely the most overused term of now—but finally in its right place) from these masters of the art.  Lets not beat about the burning bush here, this is an original Monster Magnet member and three of the Heads—this is pedigree not to be overlooked. Tune in, Turn on, droned out! Mutually appreciated riffs, drones and tones floated across the oceans (via the internet). Conceived by Simon Price, Wayne Maskell, and Hugo Morgan and their US conspirator John McBain. They’ve created a modern masterpiece, straight from the off, the album feels like it has been hurled from riff valley, laden with trips aplenty.. catch a sonic wave here fellow psychonauts!!! (Liquid aural lava, it will encase your brain with a sike glazed crust.)   Mastered by John Mcbain for full sonic immersion, and cut at 45rpm to enable a further immersion into the molassess when sped down to 33rpm—this works so well, that the CD comes as a double with CD one a 45rpm (normal) master and CD 2 the treacle trap murk of it slowed to 33rpm. The come down stretched further—a psychedelic morass, all encased in a sike glazed crust of quality packaging.  Wig out and get your oblivion set, strap this on and soar into space.

File Under: Psych, Stoner
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Mark Lanegan: The Winding Sheet (Sub Pop) LP
The Winding Sheet is Lanegan’s first solo work and showcases his adept skills as a lyricist and his deep, soulful voice. Highlights include “Mockingbirds,” “Ugly Sunday” and the haunting “Wild Flowers.” The late Kurt Cobain lends vocals to  “Down in the Dark,” and for the folk classic “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” Cobain contributes guitar and vocals and Krist Novoselic plays bass. Nirvana would later also cover “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” on their Unplugged album. The album was produced by Jack Endino, Lanegan, and Johnson. With extra tracks “I Love You Little Girl.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Mark Lanegan: Whiskey for the Holy Ghost (Sub Pop) LP
Pacific Northwest icon Mark Lanegan is well known for his work with Screaming Trees, Gutter Twins, Mad Season, Queens of the Stone Age, Isobel Campbell, and more. As a solo artist, he’s also built a devoted following, slowly releasing records that highlight his love for singer/songwriters, and American folk and blues. Constructed with producer/instrumentalist Mike Johnson, 1994’s Whiskey for the Holy Ghost is Langegan’s second solo effort and finds his distinct bourbon baritone and dark tales of the human experience bathed in compelling country blues arrangements making undated standouts like “Borracho,” “House a Home” and “Pendulum” some of the most unique exponents of the grunge explosion of the early-90s.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Laraaji: Om Namah Shivaya (Leaving) LP
This original 1984 cassette home recording from Laraaji was inspired by request for a personal long play soundtrack to accompany a delivery room child birth in Florida. It was intended to welcome a newborn child with love, ecstatic joy and high positivism. Inspirational vocal art music, Casiotone M70 electric keyboards and chant singing coalesce while in prepared vision trance, C Major.

File Under: Ambient, Synthpop, New Age
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Meshuggah: The Violent Sleep of Reason (Nuclear Blast) LP
The Violent Sleep of Reason, the band’s eighth full-length studio album, finds Meshuggah building upon their legacy for fearless metal sculpting within the context of extreme metal, but also recapturing some of the magic and excitement specifically within the aspect of performance, finding flow and groove that would be a challenge for any lesser band to locate, given such technical geometric madness at mischievous hand. At the lyrical end, highlights include the title track, which, set to a massively heavy arch-djent rhythm, speaks of “the violent outcome of not dealing with what is going on, the violent implications of being asleep.” A second highlight is strident opener and longest song on the album, “Clockworks,” which is strafed by a typically super-human drum performance from Tomas Haake. Listen to tracks like the vertigo-inducing “Nostrum” and the slower if equally circular and note-dense “By the Ton,” and it’s easy to understand why it’s been four years since a Meshuggah album.

File Under: Metal
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MF Doom: Unexpected Guests (Metal Face) LP
From his early days as Zev Love X to his reinvention as a masked supervillain leading the indie hip-hop revolution, lyrical savant MF Doom has remained one of the most interesting figures in the rap universe. While most fans already worship classic albums like Operation Doomsday, Mm…Food, and Madvillainy, Doom’s output also includes a number of guest appearances, non-album singles, promo tracks, and other rarities that never made it onto an official release. Now, those tracks are finally available on Unexpected Guests, a limited-edition vinyl collection showcasing rare MF Doom material. Included are collaborations with the likes of Talib Kweli, J Dilla, Ghostface Killah, Sean Price, Count Bass D, Vast Aire, Masta Killa, and more. Many of these tracks have never been available on vinyl before, making Unexpected Guests an essential addition to Doom’s already illustrious catalog.

File Under: Hip Hop
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Monarch: Two Isles (El Paraiso) LP
Transparent splatter vinyl. No other band channels the color, warmth and energy of the coastal SoCal scenery as well as San Diego’s Monarch. Their debut album Two Isles was recorded and produced by local glitterati Brian Ellis. It’s full of breezy Allman Brothers guitar leads gliding effortlessly on top of gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, prog-rock structures. With supreme musicianship, they somehow connect the dots between classic California rock, prog, pastoral pop and the vivid, expansiveness of early 1990s British shoegaze. Indeed these guys have created something that transcends sounding like a time capsule. While psychedelia might be the prism that everything is projected through, Two Isles reveals the fact that this is a group of people who grew up on a wide range of sounds available in the diverse San Diego scene: ambient, indie, math, jazz and whatever else was available to experience.

File Under: Psych, Prog
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Natural Child: Okey Dokey (Natural Child) LP
Okey Dokey is the latest full-length from Natural Child. The band’s first new music in over two years is also the debut release on their new label, Natural Child Records and Tapes. Natural Child started recording the album in Memphis, TN and completed it in Chicago, IL where they worked alongside Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas). With Okey Dokey, Natural Child says come on in – give us your tired, your weak, your poor; give us your rockers and rollers and grimy punks and suburban cowboys. Get down how you wanna get down. “Natural Child play rock ‘n’ roll music, have for a while now, and are good at it. ‘Now and Then’ drops you right into their stellar LP, Okey Dokey, a record that’ll make you wanna sway, scream, serenade and stumble.” – Aquarium Drunkard

File Under: Rock
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Neurosis: Fires Within Fires (Neurot) LP
Of all that humankind has inherited through our ancestry, no single language has transcended every age as powerfully as music. For those few who channel that inheritance of sound today, none wield its command and authority like Neurosis. Showing their discontent with convention from the very beginning, Neurosis revealed what would become an instinct for transformation in sound and scope. With each release, the sound became interchangeable with vision. A vision of the conscious and unconscious coexisting in an audial spectrum that challenged not only the constraints of what listeners expected but of the listeners themselves as beings. Over the collective’s past ten albums, Neurosis have invited listeners to join them on the path their music carved. Going beyond the remarkable, they became unforgettable. Throughout the last 30 years, the band has relished the unpredictable and embraced the unknown possibility of where the music was capable of taking them. Neurosis takes their most dominant step yet with their eleventh full-length, Fires Within Fires. Three decades in the making, striking their signature balance between light and dark, beauty and repulsion, this latest album gives due to its predecessors while progressing forward into the unfamiliar and formidable. Featuring exquisite album artwork from the renowned Thomas Hooper and the stellar recording work of the group’s longstanding engineer Steve Albini, Fires Within Fires is at once a beautiful and forbidding work of mastery. For members Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, Jason Roeder, Noah Landis, and Dave Edwardson, the album is a welcome companion to what’s now been a 30-year-long trek into the infiniteness of sound and sight coalescing into consciousness. An all-encompassing reminder that transfiguration in sound remains their most commanding and inimitable strength, this is the next powerful step toward a destination that has long been and continues to be the very heart of “becoming” for the mighty Neurosis.

File Under: Metal
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Renderers: A Dream of the Sea (Tinsel Ears) LP
Amidst their stellar discography, The Renderers are best known for their album A Dream Of The Sea, released in the mid-nineties by Siltbreeze, and now issued for the first time ever on vinyl in a gatefold jacket on the band’s own label. Various forces were at work – a revered label, increased attention towards New Zealand artists – but the greatest achievements were within the band itself. Maryrose and Brian Crook reached a new level of insight and honesty with their lyrics, forming a wave of insight and metaphor that is as forceful today as when first written. Songs draw from ghostly sea tales and personal demons, where the specters as much rise from the waters as emerge from within oneself. The forceful songs are propelled by tornados of guitar play, always rumbling and screeching underneath the singing. There’s a connection to be heard between The Renderers and Dead Moon, both bands dedicated wholly to the music they create, a fact clear in every note they play. When Buzzfeed gets around to making a list for it, A Dream Of The Sea will inevitably be listed amongst the greatest New Zealand rock albums of all time.

File Under: Psych, Noise Rock, New Zealand
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Jack Rose:
Opium Musick
Red Horse, White Mule
Raag Manifesto
Part of a collaboration with Jack Rose’s estate and Three Lobed Records to restore all of his LPs to print, VHF presents new vinyl editions of the celebrated guitarist’s first three solo albums, newly cut by John Golden Mastering from the original source material. Originally issued on LP by Eclipse Records between 2002-04, these releases chart an eclectic, more experimental approach left behind as his technique and compositions became more refined and deliberate on later works like Kensington Blues. Recorded and originally released in 2003, Opium Musick is an eclectic collection with pieces for 12-string (the percussive and dark “Black Pearls”), 6-string, and lap guitar. The lovely raga-ish “Yaman Blues” features Mike Gangloff (Pelt, Black Twig Pickers) on tanpura, and echoes the extended modal work on Pelt’s contemporaneous Pearls From The River. The near-ragtime of “Linden Ave Stomp” showcases Glenn Jones on his vintage Gibson in a jumping duet with Rose’s lap steel. “Linden Ave” charted a path that Rose would determinedly pursue—short ragtime and old-time influenced pieces (originals and classics), with all phrasing worked out to a perfectionist standard. The lovely “Mountaintop Lamento” was memorably used in Catherine Pancake’s film about coal mining in Appalachia, Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal and the Fight for Coalfield Justice.  “In the year and half between Red Horse, White Mule and Opium Musick Mr. Rose spent the majority of his time honing his Ragtime and Jass skills. He met Dr. Chattanooga Red soon after recording his first LP and he revealed the secrets of Ragtime and Jass to Jack in ancient ceremony. Red came down with the jake in Philadelphia and died shortly after their tour. On his deathbed he told Jack not to let the ragtime die and to bring it into the 21st century. And now we have Opium Musick as a result of Jack’s studies and travels, a lovely tribute to Jack’s beloved teacher.” —Joe R. Sack, blues scholar, on Red Horse, White Mule

File Under: Blues, American, Guitar Soli
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S U R V I V E: RR7349 (Relapse) LP
Austin, TX experimental synth quartet Survive’s sophomore full-length and Relapse debut, RR7349, is a dark, sweeping exercise in analog synth mastery. The pulsating, 9-song instrumental release showcases immense diversity between tracks – RR7349’s compositions range from grim tom-tom thunder to space-age epics, pairing tense plodding grooves with meditative ambience and driving, rhythmic beats. Inspired by IDM and horror scores alike, RR7349 is simultaneously ominous and hopeful; tense and relaxed; percussive and melodic. A unique addition to the Relapse discography, and unquestionably Survive’s best work to date.

File Under: Electronic, Synth
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Tamam Shud: Evolution (Anthology) LP
The first ever reissue of Evolution, the debut album by Australian progressive heavy rock fiends Tamam Shud. Evolution presents a blazing backdrop of charged-up fuzz and guitar expression exquisitely matching the wild, inspirational, and groundbreaking visuals of Witzig’s incredible 1969 surf film of the same name. Includes a booklet with liner notes by Aussie surf historian Stephan McParland and other-wordly ephemera.

File Under: Prog, Fuzz
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Thor & Friends: s/t (L.M.) LP
Thor & Friends is the eponymous full length debut from the avant-chamber ensemble formed by polymath percussionist Thor Harris. It was recorded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and produced by Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost from A Hawk & A Hacksaw and Deerhoof’s John Dieterich. The three core members of the band are Peggy Ghorbani on marimba, Sarah “Goat” Gautier on marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, organ, voice, mellotron and piano, and Harris on sundry percussion and wind instruments including some of his own devising. They are joined Jeremy Barnes on accordion, drum, and mellotron; Heather Trost on violin, voice & marimba; John Dieterich on guitar, bass, castanets and special effects; and Raven on bone flute, and electronic sounds. The band was inaugurated after Harris toured for five years as the percussionist of iconic avant-rock ensemble Swans. As a vehicle for experimentation with American Minimalism with a rotating cast of Austin-based musicians, Harris draws on composers including Terry Riley and Steve Reich, but also such diverse influences as Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog and The Necks; the album centers around a polyrhythmic core of mallet-struck instruments—primarily marimba, xylophone and vibraphone. Circling these core motifs are shifting streams of everything from processed pedal steel and analog synthesizer to violin, viola, stand-up bass, clarinet, duduk and oboe. By rooting their art in both improvisation and the involvement of neighbors and friends in their process, Thor & Friends embody utopian optimism, making use of what and whom is around at any given moment to make music with.

File Under: Rock, Experimental


John Zorn: Naked City (1972) LP
Regularly hailed as one the most important composers of the late 20th century, John Zorn is comfortable at the helm of an ensemble, as improviser on an array of instruments, and as a bold theorist of collaboration. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New York artist and operator of the esteemed Tzadik label became known for assembling hardcore-inflected jazz ensembles and for devising “game systems,” or intricate musical conditions intended to force players into new territory. Partnering with Nonesuch in mid-1980s, he released The Big Gundown, which radically reimagines Ennio Morricone scores; and Spillane, which fuses improv and Zorn’s “file-card” system. Such titles brought Zorn critical accolades and the reputation of a provocateur, but none of them prepared audiences for the cataclysm of Naked City. Released in 1990 on Nonesuch, Naked City bears a stark cover photograph by Weegee—noted for his unsparing images of New York crime scenes—and features one of the more staggering “rock” lineups ever assembled: Zorn on alto saxophone, guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Fred Frith, drummer Joey Baron, keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, and vocalist Yamatsuka Eye.  Naked City is a maelstrom of styles, veering recklessly between country, noise, New Orleans R&B, polka, and grindcore, with overtures from detective shows and film noir. In other words, it’s a daring maelstrom of American musical vernacular. It also explodes the rock format’s supposed limitation and retains a wildly intersectional listenership: devotees of punk, free jazz, and harsh noise celebrate Naked City. In short, as one writer put it, Naked City remains a “pinnacle of avant coolness.”

File Under: Free Jazz, Thrash, Noise
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Various: Musique Concrete (Modern Silence) LP
Le Groupe de Recherches Musicales (The Group of Musical Research) of the O.R.T.F. (Office of the French Radio-Television) is known in the world principally as the promoter of an original technique of realization as well as reflection: Musique concrète. For more than fifty years, Le Groupe de Recherches Musicales has founded its experience, its methods of research and particular techniques, upon a confrontation between the musical act, reflection upon its elements, experimentation on sound sources, and the electro-acoustical means. Grouped around Pierre Schaeffer and François Bayle, composers and researchers try to give new direction to musical activity through the conjugated action of a program of “Fundamental Research” on the languages of music (concrete, electronic, but also instrumental and oriental) and a program of “Expression”, resulting in original compositions as well as essays for the ballet, theater, cinema, or television. In this LP, there are some great examples of the incredible production of many of the most celebrated composers of the movement: Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bernard Parmegiani, Ernst Krenek, Luc Ferrari and Ivo Malec along with Pierre Schaeffer and François Bayle.

File Under: Avant Garde


AC/DC: Powerage (Sony) LP
Blues Pills: Lady in Gold (Nuclear Blast) LP
Can: Ege Bamyasi (Mute) LP
Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio (Superior Viaduct) LP
Ian Willam Craig: Centers (Fat Cat) LP
Dead C: Twelfth Spectacle (Grapefruit) 4LP
Deux Filles: Silence & Wisdom (Dark Entries) LP
Exploding Heart: Guitar Romantic (Dirtnap) LP
The Fall: Dragnet (Superior Viaduct) LP
Fleetwood Mac: s/t (Rhino) LP
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma (Warp) LP
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (Westbound) LP
Henryk Gorecki: Symphony 3 (Nonesuch) LP
Jawbox: For Your Own Special (Dischord) LP
Jawbox: Grippe (Dischord) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinity (ATO) LP
Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate (Interscope) LP
Madrugada: Industrial Silence (Music on Vinyl) LP
Curtis Mayfield: Superfly (Curtom) LP
Angel Olsen: Halfway Home (Bathetic) LP
Angel Olsen: Strange Cacti (Bathetic) LP
Parliament: Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (Universal) LP
Parliament: Motorbooty Affair (Casablanca) LP
Parliament: Trombipulation (Casablanca) LP
Pink Floyd: The Division Bell (Sony) LP
Otis Redding: Blue (Sundazed) LP
Shannon & The Clams: Sleep Talk (1-2-3-4 Go!) LP
Silkworm: Lifestyle (Touch & Go) LP
Slint: Spiderland (Touch & Go) LP
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith/Suzanne Ciana: Sunergy (RVNG) LP
Sun Ra: Space Is The Place (Sutro Park) LP
Timber Timbre: s/t (Arts & Crafts) LP
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats: Mind Control (Rise Above) LP

Tagged , , , , , ,

… letter #760 – fence…..

Another jam packed week of killer new releases and essential reissues! So many records, and it’s gonna be a crumby, rainy weekend, so come down for a dig and grab some fresh wax!

…..picks of the week…..


Coil: The Ape of Naples (Important) LP
In tomorrow… Gah! I can’t get over how many of my favorite records ever are available again! This record is a staggering masterpiece that you owe it to yourself to listen to. Pressed using the original Ape Of Naples plates approved by Peter Christopherson. The Ape Of Naples is Coil’s highly celebrated final album completed by Peter Christopherson following the tragic death of Jhonn Balance in 2004. Often noted for being a fan favorite, The Ape Of Naples uses Balance’s final recordings and material recorded at Trent Reznor’s studio in New Orleans to create a deep, heavy masterpiece.The Ape Of Naples uses Balance’s final recordings and material recorded at Trent Reznor’s studio in New Orleans to create a deep, heavy masterpiece. Packaged in a heavy tip-on gatefold sleeve with Ian Johnstone’s original artwork coated in a custom spot gloss. Each LP is house in a printed inner sleeve and side D is printed with all three original etchings. Lyrics are printed across the gatefold. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Essential Grooves
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gottschingManuel Gottsching: Inventions for Electric Guitar (MG.Art) LP
In tomorrow… Another essential slab from the genius mind behind Ash Ra Tempel, I mean, just look at that cover! Originally released in 1975. Remastered by Manuel Göttsching. Recorded July-August 1974, Inventions for Electric Guitar is Manuel Göttsching’s first solo album. Written and performed entirely by Göttsching on electric guitar, with a four-track TEAC A3340, Revox A77 for echoes, wah-wah pedal, volume pedal, Schaller Rotosound, and Hawaiian steel bar. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

File Under: Electronic, Krautrock
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… arrivals…..


Alessandro Alessandroni: Butterfly #3 (Cometa) LP
Wonderfully mad grooves from the great Alessandro Alessandroni – and a set that seems to draw on all of his mighty talents at once! Some numbers have a soul jazz groove, with great lead piano from the maestro – others have cool wordless vocals, or maybe even a bit of whistling – all those hip touches that Alessandroni brought not just to his own soundtrack work, but to the help he gave so many other composers on their best 60s recordings – yet served up here in a batch of ultra-rare tracks recorded by the man himself, and only issued on the small Cometa sound library label! Album features 15 titles in all – all nice and groovy – with titles that include “Girovago”, “Louisiana Gospel”, “Apice”, “Prismatico”, “Baia D’Argento”, “Meridione”, “Colori D’Oro”, “White Club”, and “Trotterellando”.

File Under: Italian, Library, Rare Groove
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Avalanches: Since I Left You (XL) LP
Australian electronic act The Avalanches’s genre-defying, critically acclaimed 2000 debut Since I Left You – originally released in Australia in 2000 and in the U.S. and the U.K. in 2001 – perfectly captured the hazy millennial zeitgeist. Band’s members, Darren Seltmann and Robbie Chater, spent hours sampling music from vinyl records to create the songs on the album. Chater estimates that there are over 3,500 samples. After sampling and arranging, the pair would swap their tapes, listen to each other’s ideas and expand on whatever they had heard. Pitchfork awarded it a 9.5/10 rating, noting, “Since I Left You sounds like nothing else…this is an album brimming with spontaneity, joy, sadness, humor, reflection, and general human-ness” while NME hailed the album as a “joyous, kaleidoscopic masterpiece of sun-kissed disco-pop.” Since I Left You was named one of 2001’s best albums by numerous critics – and its enduring influence was underscored when it placed in the top 10 of Pitchfork’s Top 200 Albums of the 2000s.

File Under: Electronic
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Blonde Redhead: Masculine Feminin (Numero) 4LP
Teeming with the energy and grit of pre-Giuliani Manhattan, Blonde Redhead’s long out-of-print early recordings have finally crawled their way out of the ‘90s basement. Weighing in at 37 tracks, Masculin Féminin compiles the band’s first two albums for Steve Shelley’s Smells Like Records, their period singles, extant demos, and radio performances onto four albums. Dozens of previously unpublished photographs illustrate two lengthy essays on this essential New York band’s formative years. This is the latest installment in Numero Group’s 200 Line series which has also included releases from Unwound, Bedhead, Codeine, White Zombie and The Scientists. “These songs combine a raw need, a ready access to neediness, with seemingly incongruous cinematic changes reminiscent of ’60s Italian pop music and movie scores. They switch between emotional grandeur and eye scratching immediacy.” – Arto Lindsay

File Under: Indie Rock
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Bon Iver: 22, A Million (Jagjagwar) LP/LP+12″
Bon Iver, the musical project led by Justin Vernon, will release its third studio album entitled 22, A Million, in September 2016 on Jagjaguwar. 22 stands for Justin. The number’s recurrence in his life has become a meaningful pattern through encounter and recognition. A mile marker, a jersey number, a bill total. The reflection of ‘2′ is his identity bound up in duality: the relationship he has with himself and the relationship he has with the rest of the world. A Million is the rest of that world: the millions of people who we will never know, the infinite and endless, everything outside one’s self that makes you who you are. This other side of Justin’s duality is the thing that completes him and what he searches for. 22, A Million is part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self-understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. When Justin sings, “I’m still standing in the need of prayer” he begs the question of what’s worth worshipping, or rather, what is possible to worship. If music is a sacred form of discovering, knowing and being, then Bon Iver’s albums are totems to that faith. The album’s 10 poly-fi recordings are a collection of sacred moments, love’s torment and salvation, contexts of intense memories, signs that you can pin meaning onto or disregard as coincidence. If Bon Iver, Bon Iver built a habitat rooted in physical spaces, then 22, A Million is the letting go of that attachment to a place. The bulk of the album was recorded and produced at April Base Studios in Fall Creek, WI with pieces recorded in London, England and just outside Lisbon, Portugal by Vernon and a pack of trusted friends and collaborators both new and old. The album’s symbol-rich artwork was created by NYC-based artist Eric Timothy Carlson.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Camberwell Now: The Ghost Trade (Modern Classics) LP
Camberwell, in South London, pops up infrequently in pop culture. Perhaps you know it from the Camberwell Carrot, the heroically sized joint smoked in cult movie Withnail & I, or perhaps – if you’re attuned to experimental music – you know of Camberwell Now. The group formed from the ashes of This Heat, the art-noise group whose catalog was reissued on Modern Classics Recordings in early 2016. Not so much a supersession as a continuation of that group, Camberwell Now featured This Heat’s vocalist / drummer Charles Hayward, who assembled an unusual line-up comprising Stephen Rickard, a former BBC sound engineer, on field recordings and tape manipulation and Trefor Goronwy on bass, vocals and ukulele. “We had a very specific set of skills,” says Hayward, in new liner notes compiled for this long overdue reissue, “and it wasn’t immediately clear to us how best to bring them together so that we could play live.” Arriving in 1986, The Ghost Trade, the group’s sole full-length LP, was what existed at the confluence of live performance and studio experimentation. Similar to This Heat’s process, the group spent two years in Cold Storage experimenting with the studio and assembling finished songs from vast quantities of tapes. Their two EPs, re-issued as The EP Collection, were borne of a similar process but each with unique yields. The tracks that eventually formed The Ghost Trade were songs forged in the bleak beauty of Thatcher’s London. “To me, the sounds invoked humanity trapped behind and inside a world constructed of glass, steel, and concrete, frozen inside the textures like prisoners of the twilight zone, humanity haunting a landscape it had made for itself,” says Hayward.

File Under: Electronic, Art Rock, This Heat
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Camberwell Now: Greenfingers/Meridian (Modern Classics) LP
Camberwell, in South London, pops up infrequently in pop culture. Perhaps you know it from the Camberwell Carrot, the heroically sized joint smoked in cult movie Withnail & I, or perhaps – if you’re attuned to experimental music – you know of Camberwell Now. The group formed from the ashes of This Heat, the art-noise group whose catalog was reissued on Modern Classics Recordings in early 2016. Not so much a supersession as a continuation of that group, Camberwell Now featured This Heat’s vocalist / drummer Charles Hayward, who assembled an unusual line-up comprising Stephen Rickard, a former BBC sound engineer, on field recordings and tape manipulation and Trefor Goronwy on bass, vocals and ukulele. “We had a very specific set of skills,” says Hayward, in new liner notes compiled for this long overdue reissue, “and it wasn’t immediately clear to us how best to bring them together so that we could play live.” Taking inspiration from seafaring and imperialism, and the fact that the music was created within close proximity to the meridian line in Greenwich, the Meridian EP was originally intended to be a project for This Heat. The group’s departing member Charles Bullen plays on the opening track, “Cutty Sark”, named for the famed British clipper ship. The second EP, 1987’s Greenfingers, was their final recorded work and, according to Hayward, “it’s possible to hear the group atomising and preparing to go its separate ways” within its grooves. The only This Heat or Camberwell Now recording not to have been produced at Brixton’s Cold Storage studios, it was recorded as a DIY exercise and – unusually for either of the groups – was not pored over laboriously for a great deal of time. The EP also saw the addition of a new member, Maria Lamburn, primarily on sax, whose “Element Unknown” was inspired by her experiences in the nuclear protest camp at Greenham Common. Comprising tracks that overlapped between This Heat and Camberwell Now, the EPs concerned themselves with information technology, surveillance, propaganda and what Hayward describes as “day-to-day, hand-to-mouth survival” – all pertinent concerns in a fractured Britain under the rule of right-wing ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher, and perhaps still as pertinent today in fractured, recession-hit, isolationist Britain. The group dispersed after a final European tour, amicably, quietly, and differently, the latter their MO throughout a unique career. Goronwy, Hayward and Rickard all share their experiences and thoughts on The Camberwell Now in liner notes accompanying this landmark release: young and old, birth and death captured on two sides of vinyl.

File Under: Electronic, Art Rock, This Heat
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Coil: The New Backwards (Important) LP
In tomorrow… Pressed using the original New Backwards metal plates approved by Peter Christopherson. The New Backwards, created in 2007, was originally included in the Ape Of Naples box set released on Important in 2008 and was constructed by Peter Christopherson using material from the Backwards sessions, recorded in the early ’90s for a planned release on Trent Reznor’s Nothing Records label. The New Backwards, like The Ape Of Naples, is an intense fan favorite and an essential part of the Coil catalog.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial
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Delia Derbyshire & Elsa Stansfield: Circle of Light (Trunk) LP
In tomorrow… A highly important previously unreleased soundtrack for Circle Of Life, created in 1972 by musician Delia Derbyshire and artist Elsa Stansfield. The soundtrack is a mix of concrete ideas, sound design, tape manipulation, natural environmental sounds and birdsong. The recording was originally commissioned by director, producer and art collector Anthony Roland for his 1972 film about the slides of radical stills photographer Pamela Bone. The film has been rarely seen and the soundtrack has never been released until now. This is the longest known work by Delia Derbyshire – either alone or in association with anyone else – and has been licensed by Trunk Records exclusively worldwide from the Anthony Roland archive/collection. Mastered by Jon Brooks, AKA The Advisory Circle. Full color single LP sleeve. Single LP on standard black wax.

 File Under: Electronic, Experimental, OST
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La Femme: Mystere (Born Bad) LP
In tomorrow… French pop connoisseurs La Femme present Mystère. La Femme have made a huge mark on modern Paris’s cultural landscape, with the two sides of the city – the glamour and the grit – ingrained in their music. Since the release of their debut album, Psycho Tropical Berlin, their rise has only gained momentum with fans including directors Jacques Audiard and Romain Gavras to legends Jean Michel Jarre and Hedi Slimane. Returning with a more psychedelic sound and guest vocalists that slice through the starkest of electro beats, Mystère sees La Femme celebrating their wonderful city. From the chattering tête-à-tête heard on “Conversations Nocturnes” to the throbbing disco beat of “SSD”, a direct reference to the pulsing nightlife hotspot and multi-cultural district Strasbourg Saint Denis where the band is based. Mystère’s true intrigue however, lies in La Femme’s enigmatic questioning of falling in and out of love. A compendium of short stories describing loves and losses, each song breaks down language barriers through an inventive and astute knack for melody. The elation of a passionate encounter is captured on the ricocheting electronics of “Tatiana”, the melancholic acoustic guitar echoes in “Le Vide Est Ton Nouveau Prenom” and the sorrow of a war-torn couple in “Psyzook”. Whether delicate or drenched in dirty disco, the impact of Clémence, Marlon and Sacha’s gothic mantras mixed with the guest vocal talent of Clara Luciani, Jane Peynot, Naomi Greene, Mathilde Marlière, Angela Hureau, Battista Acquaviva and Sarah Ben Abdallah is perhaps where La Femme’s true meaning can be found. Sacha on his band’s all-inclusive philosophy: “We don’t like the idea of having a leader or a chief: everyone brings to the band what they can and want.” Recorded between a castle in Brittany and a Paris basement before being finished up with Sonny Diperri (Animal Collective) in LA, Mystère once again sees backgrounds blurred and worlds collide. The band’s chic retro-futurist surf-pop sound possesses the same dose of glamorous punk stomp as before, but this time around it’s layered with an elegant fusion of influences from Ennio Morricone, Marie Et Les Garcons’s disco-rock touch and the lysergic romanticism of The Velvet Underground. Through increased use of strings and further exploration of sound, Mystère also incorporates the band’s new love of oriental sounds, Turkish disco, Tuareg blues, medieval psychedelia to mainstays Brian Eno and Pink Floyd.

File Under: French, Psych, Pop
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G.H.: Housebound Demigod (Modern Love) LP
In tomorrow… From the disputed border somewhere between Lancashire and Yorkshire, G.H. (Gary Howell) claims a no man’s land where he is free to decimate distinctions between black metal and concrète techno by drawing upon an elusive, metaphysical force that’s exclusively common to music rooted in that region; from Muslimgauze and Autechre thru Shackleton and Demdike Stare. The inarguably mongrel Housebound Demigod is G.H.’s debut solo album, following the Ground EP (2011) and his involvement with the hexed Pendle Coven project and HATE, alongside Miles Whittaker and Andy Stott, respectively, between 2003-2009. It sounds like nothing out there; the result of countless hours at the grindstone, using sound as tonal therapy and a purely expressive sculptural material to best render the feel of his bleak but extraordinarily beautiful surroundings, with all the rugged texture and captivating aesthetic of some ancient cave graffiti. The album unfolds as a treacherous topography of boggy drones, entrenched sub-bass and deforested, windswept feedback, strewn with the charred remains of black metal in opener “Screaming Demon Pickups” and the hollow-eyed stare down of “Angels And Doormen”, or prone to bury the senses with unpredictable slow techno mudslides in “Mickey Cosmos” or the subsidence of “Packhorse”. He often underlines that physicality with a drily ambiguous wit; check the bitterly clipped narrative on “Yorkshire Fog”, or, equally, when he puts all his weight behind the stylus-troubling, bestial shudder of “Devils Bit Scabious”, and you can’t shake the feeling that he’s gurning like an evil loon behind the rotten torque of the album’s titular parting shot. While ostensibly monotone and overcast, the devil is found in the album’s subtleties of timing and mixing detail; riddled with phantasms that lurk and lash out from the crevices of its granite slabs and pitch black ravines, all placed at oblique angles in his surreally folded, labyrinthine and unheimlich sound-field. Recorded with a DR550, a battered Charvel guitar and assorted guitar pedals. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy, pressed at Pallas. RIYL: Nurse With Wound, Stephen O’Malley, Autechre, David Lynch, Shackleton.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial
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Bruce Haack - Electric Lucifer (1970)

Bruce Haack: Electric Lucifer (Telephone Explosion) LP
Available again! Bruce Haack’s The Electric Lucifer is rightly considered one of the masterworks of 20th century electronic music. Originally recorded in 1968-69 (released in 1970) it’s an eminently listenable work where pop-psychedelia and Moog/musique-concrete sounds coalesce around Haack’s central metaphysical concept of “Powerlove,” a force so powerful that it could end war and unify humankind. Acclaimed upon its original release (one of Rolling Stone’s favorite albums of 1970) yet unavailable on vinyl for over four decades. Remastered and restored from the “lost” original master tapes discovered in the Columbia vault.

File Under: Electronic, Psych
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hiss-goldenHiss Golden Messenger: Heart Like a Levee (Merge) LP
The writing of the songs that became Heart Like a Levee started in a hotel room in Washington, DC, in January of 2015 during a powerful storm that darkened the East Coast. At that time I was feeling—more acutely than I had ever felt before—wrenched apart by my responsibilities to my family and to my music. Forgetting, momentarily, that for me, each exists only with the other. How could I forget? Though maybe my lapse was reasonable: I had just quit my job, the most recent and last, in a series of dead-end gigs stretching back 20 years, with the vow that my children would understand their father as a man in love with his world and the inventor of his own days. They would be rare in that regard. And then—driven by monthly bills and pure fear—I left for another tour, carrying a load of guilt that I could just barely lift. But in that snowy hotel room I found the refrain that became my compass: I was a dreamer, babe, when I set out on the road; but did I say I could find my way home? Deluxe LPs include a second album, Vestapol, with full art and a 12” x 24” poster. Limited to 2,000 copies worldwide. Composed during the same period of time as Heart Like a Levee, Vestapol is an intimate collection of eight previously unreleased songs—performed and recorded almost entirely by M.C. Taylor in various motels on the road and at his home in Durham, NC—dealing with exile, guilt, forgiveness, and trust.

File Under: Indie Rock, Folk
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I Gres: I Gres Volume 2 (Cometa) LP
Never before commercially released library breaks monster recorded in 1975! Consisting of Romano Rizzati (Walter Rizzati), Silvano Chimenti, and a loose assemblage of primo Italian library session-players, I Gres recorded three blistering albums of funky library music. A sublime selection of work from this legendary sound library ensemble – an Italian group who were so cool, so groovy, they were virtually a genre unto themselves – able to step easily between funky numbers, jazzy groovers, and these odd, offbeat styles that are especially nice! These record wonderfully wraps together a legacy of Italian sounds from the whole late 60s/early 70s soundtrack era – served up here without any sense of ego or need for identity at all – just a commitment to cool, compelling music – filled with plenty of grooves in the process. Titles include “Restless”, “Jeanette”, “Les Abimes”, “Wild Saxon”, “Ronde Bosse”, “Plancton”, “Hot Dogs”, “Mirelle”, “Mini Bataille”, and “Les Abimes”.

File Under: Italian, Library, Funk
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Johann Johannsson: Orphee (Deutsche Grammophone) LP
In tomorrow… Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-, BAFTA- and Grammy-nominated composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s first album for Deutsche Grammophon is a meditation on beauty and the process of creation. Orphée traces a path from darkness into light, inspired by the various re-tellings of the ancient tale of the poet Orpheus, from Ovid’s to Jean Cocteau’s. A many-layered story about death, rebirth, change and the ephemeral nature of memory, the myth can also be read as a metaphor for artistic creation, dealing with the elusive nature of beauty and its relationship to the artist, as well as the idea that art is created through transgression – by the poet defying the gods who have forbidden him to turn back towards his beloved as he leaves the Underworld. Orphée’s sonic palette is varied, combining acoustic instruments both solo and in ensemble with electronics and the mesmeric sounds of shortwave radio “numbers stations”. It draws on many facets of his previous albums, incorporating music for solo cello, organ, string quartet, string orchestra and unaccompanied voices. Orphée shows the full range of the Icelandic composer’s remarkable invention and uncanny feeling for atmosphere. The music of the entire album is tied together structurally by recurring harmonic and melodic elements, yet each track sounds fresh, evocative and unique. Orphée reconciles ambitious orchestral and vocal writing with influences ranging from the Baroque to minimalism and electronic music. Also influenced by film composers Bernard Herrmann, Ennio Morricone and Michael Nyman (all prolific writers, like Jóhann himself, of concert music as well as film scores), Jóhannsson is a contemporary exponent of a tradition that was shaped by composers such as Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Walton or Korngold. “Orphée is for me about changes: about moving to a new city, leaving behind an old life in Copenhagen and building a new one in Berlin – about the death of old relationships and the birth of new ones,” explains Jóhann. “Perhaps this is one of the reasons I was drawn to the Orpheus myth, which is fundamentally about change, mutability, death, rebirth, the elusive nature of beauty and its sometimes thorny relation to the artist. This album, my first solo record for six years, is an oblique reflection on personal change.” Orphée is a haunting and atmospheric musical journey, crowned by the sublime Orphic Hymn – a setting of Ovid’s text performed by Paul Hillier’s Theatre of Voices. The album is a reflection on change, memory, beauty and art, and ultimately celebrates the latter’s power of renewal, while acknowledging the dark paths along which it can lead the artist. “Making Orphée has been a true labour of love, one that has been a part of my life for six years, and yet the music always remained fresh – it was constantly in a state of flux and renewal,” its composer concludes.

File Under: Electronic, Neo-Classical
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Low: The Exit Papers (Temporary Residence) LP
At the turn of the 21st Century, sandwiched between two of their most iconic albums – Secret Name and Things We Lost In The Fire – Low released The Exit Papers as part of Temporary Residence Ltd.’s long-running CD subscription series, Travels In Constants. A sparse suite of six mostly instrumental pieces composed for a film that never existed, The Exit Papers still stands as Low’s most haunting and experimental work. Originally released exclusively on CD in a scarce edition of only 1,000 copies, Low helps celebrate the 20th anniversary of Temporary Residence by finally releasing The Exit Papers on vinyl for the first time ever. Limited edition of 2,000 copies worldwide.

File Under: Indie Rock, OSTish
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Ennio Morricone & Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza: ContemporaneaMente (Cometa) LP
Unreleased before experimental music composed by Ennio Morricone and mostly performed by the legendary Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, with some surprising use of percussions, vocals and electronics too! The maestro has used electric instrumentation on other scores, but this one has a pretty different feel – a handful of tracks that have more of a future-sounding quality, with a spacious mix of light strings and more sparely focused instrumentation. Other numbers get a bit more dark and jagged – slightly atonal, with shimmering, shifting styles that create a tremendous amount of tension. ‘’What they have in common the screams of an elephant, the cries of exotic birds in a forest, a chorus of voices without accompaniment, an experimental music, the themes of superimposed flutes and Straddle mounted on each other in a phantasmagoria of sound and a chorus of children ’’ContemporaneaMente’’? Only a name: Ennio Morricone. The great Maestro Ennio Morricone during his long professional career, he has created a wide range of musical genres earning the nickname largest versatile composer of all time. While listening to this LP, you will understand the infinite capacity and versatility to the invention of the great Morricone in compositional construction, always different, and the particular color that gives every note of his compositions. ContemporaneaMente is the Maestro Ennio Morricone.

File Under: Italian, Avant Garde, Library


OST: Leon (Waxwork) LP
Waxwork Records is thrilled to announce the vinyl soundtrack debut of Léon: The Professional. The 1994 action-crime- thriller film directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Lucy) stars Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and features the motion picture debut of Natalie Portman. In the film, Léon (Reno), a professional hitman, reluctantly takes in 12-year- old Mathilda (Portman), after her family is murdered by corrupt Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Norman Stansfield (Oldman). Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the hitman’s trade. Waxwork Records’ new double-LP release marks the very first time the film score by composer Éric Serra has been released on vinyl. Combining both electronic and orchestral cues, Serra creates a score that is tense, yet beautiful, which compliments the film’s action sequences and the childhood innocence of Mathilda. In keeping with Waxwork Records’ tireless efforts to create the highest quality soundtrack and film score releases on vinyl, the audio for Léon: The Professional was sourced from the original master tapes and then re-mastered for vinyl by producer and former White Zombie guitarist, J. Yuenger. The packaging includes 180 gram colored vinyl, heavyweight old-style tip on jackets with double pass soft-touch coating, and new artwork by Oliver Barrett.

File Under: OST
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Planetary Assault Systems: Arc Angel (Ostgut Ton) LP
In tomorrow… Luke Slater returns to Ostgut Ton with a Planetary Assault Systems album titled Arc Angel. Staying true to the project’s initial mission statement, Slater comments on the new yet familiar musical direction: “For me, music has to go forward. I’d feel I was cheating by sticking to tried-and-tested formulas.” With Arc Angel, Planetary Assault Systems departs to new musical frontiers by focusing on melody, but staying rooted in the purist values of techno. While the album title may sound like a reference to spiritual matters, it hints to rather secular affairs. Arc Angel is a postmodernist, non-comfortist techno album first and foremost. In the tradition of Slater’s previous albums with Ostgut Ton – The Messenger  and Temporary Suspension – its musical motifs radiate around polymorphic and extraterrestrial sounds, using contemporary instrumental language, but with an emphasis on compatible musical phrases. “With this album it was very much a case of limitation and focus around the idea of alternative melody,” Slater says, “I love music that takes you somewhere new. All music for this album had to pass that test. At the same time I wanted to re-root the foundations of what I see as techno into that and focus on melody, rather than a track just being a beat.” While there are nods to the past, Arc Angel aims for the future. There’s shimmering sounds reminiscent of light beams being fired (“Tri Fn Trp”), pulsing signals in deep space (“Angel Of The East”, “Sonar Falls”, “Groucho”) and rather harsh aesthetics (“The Last Scene”). Its melodic range includes hypnotic arrangements (“Merry Go Round”, “Blue Monk”), distorted bells (“Revolution One”), rainbow noise and spatial effects – for the most part meshing with heavy kick drums (“Message From The Drone Sector”, “The Rider”), sometimes using reduced beat patterns (“Max”), at times turning to repetitious loops, analog synth pads and alienated vocal bits (“Interlude 1 to 6”). Despite its musical richness, all gear had to fit onto a small table. “I love software, hardware, technology; but because we have almost endless choice of sound creating devices, it drove me to using very limited and focused equipment. Actually taking influences from the way an original blues guy… He has the guitar, the box and voice – I have the 909 and 808.” Includes digital download of the single tracks and the continuous album mix.

File Under: Electronic, Techno
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Steve Reich: Drumming (Deutsche Grammophone) 3LP
In tomorrow… Originally recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in 1974, Steve Reich is joined here by a host of stellar musicians for a distinguished symphonic-length percussion piece for drums, mallet instruments, organ and piano partly inspired by African rhythms and Indonesian gamelan. The Village Voice hailed Drumming as “the most important work of the whole minimalist music movement.”

File Under: Classical
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Rizan Said: King of Keyboard (Discrepant) LP
In tomorrow… LP edition of Rizan Said’s King of Keyboard, originally released as a CD by Beirut-based Annihaya Records in 2015. Reissued by Discrepant in collaboration with Annihaya. ”There is no other Syrian dabke musician that has enjoyed the local, regional, national, and international recognition that Rizan Said has, and for that, the world is lucky. Rizan is a musical ambassador from a disappeared Syria, and this is not to be taken lightly. Once upon a time, not too long ago, Syria was a culturally diverse country possessing a certain unity. A place not synonymous with barbarism and savagery. Far from the capital of Damascus, the northeast of the country, known as the Jazeera, was rich with history and culture. Rizan was a musical prodigy from a young age — a gifted player of percussion and reed instruments before a wealth of synthesizers began flooding Syria in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Steadfast on the Syrian cassette album circuit at the time, Rizan the boy wonder was already sending his signals out from the Jazeera frontier, thanks to a partnership with local producerZuhir Maksi. It can be said, that without Rizan Said, a good number of Syrian singers from the 1990s onward might never have been heard — most notably Omar Souleyman, a collaborator with Rizan for two decades. Where synthesizers can bring a certain artifice and death to the sound of music, Rizan’s torrential speed and flair on the keys bring new life to Syrian and Kurdish sounds — lightning fast as required — respectfully forcing the component sounds of folkloric dabke into the next level. This is the updated sound of the ages, where hand drums and reed flutes are now emulated and pounded out on Korg keyboards” –Mark Gergis, April, 2015. RIYL Omar Souleyman, EEK.

File Under: Dabke, Syrian
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Velvet Underground: Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes 2 (Tummy Tapes) LP
In tomorrow… Tummy Tapes present the long-awaited second installment of The Velvet Underground’s The Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes. Recorded through a microphone jammed in the back of Lou Reed’s amp right around the release of their third album, The Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes are formidable in their unadulterated rock and roll fire and fury. They are a revelation for anyone who hasn’t paid close attention to Reed’s dynamic guitar playing which in this set is a monolithic roar, a pulverizing electronic “kaiju” (strange beast) grinding the whole universe into pebble and sand. Paste-on covers. All tracks recorded at The Boston Tea Party on March 15, 1969.

File Under: Psych, Rock


Zomby: Ultra (Hyperdub) LP
Zomby’s new album, Ultra, is his most focused to date. His ultra-modern music has a unique character, and Ultra really displays his ability to create varied and detailed mutations. He warps discordant Eski grime (“Burst,” “Freeze,” “Yeti”), creates dreamlike blooms on “Her” and “Thaw,” and builds crystalline music box takes on house and 2step on “Glass” and “I.” The artist also collaborates on the album with the likes of Darkstar, Rezzett, Banshee, Burial and HKE. These all throw up unpredictable fusions and immaculate fissions. Ultra is housed in a metallic red sleeve, designed by Ben Drury, wonderfully reflecting the glow of the music inside.

File Under: Electronic, Grime
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Bahamas: Pink Strat (Interscope) LP
Beatles: Revolver (Apple) LP
Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s (Apple) LP
Beatles: White Album (Apple) LP
Big Boys: Lullabies Help The Brain Grow (Modern Classics) LP
Broadcast: Future Crayon (Warp) LP
Nick Cave: Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed) LP
Alice Coltrane: Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse) LP
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (Impusle) LP
John Coltrane: Blue Train (Blue Note) LP
DAF: Produkt (Bureau B) LP
Betty Davis: They Say I’m Different (Light in the Attic) LP
Miles Davis: Cookin’ (Waxtime) LP
J Dilla: Donuts (Stones Throw) LP
J Dilla: Jay Stay Paid (Nature Sounds) LP
J Dilla: Ruff Draft (Stones Throw) LP
Faith No More: Album of the Year (Warner) LP
Faith No More: King for a Day (Warner) LP
Marvin Gaye: Let’s Get it On (Universal) LP
Ghostface Killah: Fishscale (Def Jam) LP
Al Green: I’m Still in Love With You (Fat Possum) LP
Al Green: Greatest Hits (Fat Possum) LP
Al Green: Let’s Stay Together (Fat Possum) LP
Green Day: Dookie (Reprise) LP
Guru Guru: UFO (Play Loud) LP
Hawkwind: Warrior on the Edge of Time (Let Them Eat Vinyl) LP
Head & The Heart: Signs of Light (Warner) LP
Jesus Lizard: Goat (Touch & Go) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Paper Mache Dream Ballon (ATO) LP
Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid… (Aftermath) LP
Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath) LP
Led Zeppelin: II (Warner) LP
Madvillain: Madvillainy (Stones Throw) LP
Menahan Street Band: Make The Road By Walking (Daptone) LP
MF Doom: Mm… Food (Rhymesayers) LP
N.W.A.: Straight Outta Compton (Universal) LP
New Order: Singles (Rhino) LP
Not Waving: Redacted (Ecstatic) LP
Jim O’Rourke: Eureka (Drag City) LP
Parliament: Mothership Connection (Universal) LP
Public Image LTD.: First Issue (Light in the Attic) LP
Rodriguez: Cold Fact (Light in the Attic) LP
Rodriguez: Coming From Reality (Light in the Attic) LP
Silkworm: It’ll Be Cool (Touch & Go) LP
Slasher Film Festival Strategy: Psychic Shield (Death Waltz) LP
Sunn o))): Black One (Southern Lord) LP
Swans: The Seer (Young God) LP
Talking Heads: Remain in Light (Rhino) LP
Tame Impala: Currents (Modular) LP
Timber Timbre: Creep On Creepin’ On (Arts & Crafts) LP
Timber Timbre: Hot Dreams (Arts & Crafts) LP
Touche Amore: Stage Four (Epitaph) LP
Tragically Hip: Fully Completely (Universal) LP
Tragically Hip: Man Machine Poem (Universal) LP
Tragically Hip: We Are The Same (Universal) LP
Townes Van Zandt: s/t (Fat Possum) LP
Townes Van Zandt: Delta Momma Blues (Fat Possum) LP
Townes Van Zandt: Flying Shoes (Fat Possum) LP
Zomby: Where Were u In 92? (Cvlt) LP


Tagged , , , , , ,

… letter #759 – deck…..

Not the longest list we’ve had this month, but there’s some killer stuff in this week. And if those Floyd reissues aren’t enough for you, we’ve been getting some killer used stuff lately, so you should come for a dig.

…..pick of the week…..


Biosphere: Departed Glories (Smalltown Supersound) LP
It’s easy to forget that Norway shares a short stretch of frontier with Russia, right at the northernmost tip of the country. That region is where Geir Jenssen, the Norwegian electronic producer behind Biosphere, comes from, and where he has been composing his austere, disturbing and deeply textured ambience since the early-80s. His twelfth album Departed Glories is his first in almost five years and marks a new deal with the Oslo independent label Smalltown Supersound. On the cover is a photo of the Russian landscape taken more than a hundred years ago. It’s part of an incredible cache of recently discovered images by the photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, who pioneered a form of color photography using three sheets of glass, and left us with a collection of hauntingly beautiful pictures of a vanished world that could have been taken on an iPhone. These are one of the inspirations for Jenssen’s latest project, which he began working on this project around five years ago, while he was based temporarily in Krakow, Poland. Living near the Wolski forest, his daily walk took him past sites – beautiful and at the same time terrible – where Poles had been executed during the Second World War. After researching the area he discovered that a Polish medieval queen Bronislawa, had hidden among the trees with some nuns in the 13th century to escape the invading Tartar hordes, and that a monument to her memory had been built and then destroyed by invading Austrians in the 19th. It made him speculate about what kind of music someone like Bronislawa might have heard while trembling among the trees? Not real music, surely, but something the fears in the mind might conjure up. He went in search of local folk music, from Poland and Ukraine, and began to work with that material to transform it into something reflecting psychological trauma. Around the same time he stumbled on Prokudin-Gorsky’s photographs and was immediately struck by the way they brought history, with its long departed souls, a little bit nearer. One image in particular, of an Armenian woman in a forest in what is now Turkey, especially got under his skin. “The crystal clear yet haunting atmosphere fascinated me,” he says. All of these inspirational elements came together to provide the necessary propulsion to make Departed Glories, an album that sets the back of the neck hairs quivering in just the same way. It’s almost entirely constructed from hundreds of snippets of Eastern European And Russian folk music recordings, melted together to transform them into 17 unsettling and occasionally blindingly radiant beat less tracks. Each sample fragment is like a sliver of glass plate, and like the photos, it has left a music that is radiant, ghostly and unforgettable.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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… arrivals…..


Allah-Las: Calico Review (Mexican Summer) LP
What really shines across the 12 songs that comprise Calico Review (their first for Mexican Summer), is the way that the Allah-Las have pivoted from specific influences and nods to the music they love, to crafting the feelings of freedom, grit, and melancholy in their music. That feeling – the peerless capture of music long in the tradition and mood of California pop, the sound that’s captured the essence of the LA experience – aligns with their stylistic technique and their experience in the studio environment to create their strongest album to date, one which showcases their developments in songwriting and arrangements. The process began with their self-titled debut, which captured the Allah-Las’ live set circa 2012 and continued onward with 2014’s Worship the Sun, where they began to experiment with overdubs and writing songs individually instead of as a band. Now, Calico Review showcases a band that’s grown confident in its own style to reflect the perspectives of each member, to craft an album that changes up the approach from song-to-song, while retaining their abilities as a cohesive unit. Audiences familiar with the band will recognize the levels of nuance and steadiness the Allah-Las have grown into throughout Calico Review. It’s immediate, the first thing you recognize about the band in the opening moves of “Strange Heat,” in the amount of control and character burning off of the band’s knack for restraint. Songs like “Famous Phone Figure” cradle character sketches over delicate strains of violin, organ, and Mellotron, Matthew Correia’s drumming carefully underlining a three-note theme that casts a phantom sadness over the proceedings, the group exerting a touch both light and steady enough to bring your mood to theirs. “Could Be You” works off a steady percussive gallop, guitarist Miles Michaud waxing reflexively on second chances while the band focuses on forward motion. “Roadside Memorial” applies the Bo Diddley beat to the open road, Pedrum Siadatian stepping up on vocals, and finding new ways to match his talents to propulsive musical ends. Elsewhere, “High & Dry,” featuring Correia on lead vocals, focuses on the Allah-Las most quintessential and peerless quality: writing emotionally resonant pop, at once direct and detached, casual and knowing, and instantly memorable. The dream factory itself gets called out in the fun, surf-stung number “200 South La Brea,” its carnival-like atmosphere reflecting the excitement and anxiety of those who await their judgment.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Devendra Banhart: Ape in Pink Marble (Nonesuch) LP
Nonesuch Records presents Devendra Banhart’s highly anticipated new album, Ape in Pink Marble. The 13-track release, Banhart’s ninth full-length studio effort, was written, produced, arranged, and recorded in Los Angeles, CA by the singer/songwriter/guitarist with his longtime collaborators Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick, both of whom also worked on Banhart’s most recent album, Mala (2013). Banhart was born in Houston, TX, and moved with his mother to her native Caracas, Venezuela, when his parents separated. The family relocated to Los Angeles during his teenage years; it was there that he learned to speak English, skateboard, and play music. Banhart first began to perform in public while attending the San Francisco Art Institute. He has since lived in New York City, Paris, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where he currently resides. Banhart first attracted international notice with his 2002 debut album, Oh Me Oh My… The Way the Day Goes By the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit – a collection of recordings he had made for himself. Subsequent albums include Rejoicing in the Hands (2004), Niño Rojo (2004), Cripple Crow (2005), Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (2007), and What Will We Be (2009). Mala, his Nonesuch debut, was described by Q as a “career-best.” Banhart has collaborated with fellow musicians including Antony and the Johnsons, Beck, Vashti Bunyan, Os Mutantes, and Vetiver. He also has performed with both Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, and was part of a David Byrne – curated concert at Carnegie Hall. An accomplished visual artist, Banhart’s distinctive, minutely inked, often enigmatic drawings have appeared in galleries all over the world, including the Art Basel Contemporary Art Fair in Miami; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels; and Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2015 Prestel published I Left My Noodle on Ramen Street, a collection of his of drawings, paintings, and mixed media pieces. He has created the cover art for most of his records, and in 2010 his artwork and packaging for What Will We Be was nominated for a Grammy.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Coffins: Sacrifice to Evil Spirit (Osmose) LP
Coffins is a Japanese doom-death band, formed in 1996, that has scavenged the depths of evil and darkness throughout their decade-plus existence as they slowly work toward a flawless refinement of all the things we love about the genre. According to Exclaim!, Coffins might not innovate but instead “reanimate one of the darkest, most oppressive chapters of metal with consummate style and punishing panache.” Here we have Coffins’ original three-song demo from 2003 complete with a bonus Venom cover (“Warhead”) and some killer extra live, remix and rehearsal material. Limited double LP edition of this Coffins rarity from the venerable Osmose Productions.

File Under: Metal
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Coffins: Mortuary In Darkness (Osmose) LP
Coffins is a Japanese doom-death band, formed in 1996, that has scavenged the depths of evil and darkness throughout their decade-plus existence as they slowly work toward a flawless refinement of all the things we love about the genre. According to Exclaim!, Coffins might not innovate but instead “reanimate one of the darkest, most oppressive chapters of metal with consummate style and punishing panache.” Here we have Coffins’ original three-song demo from 2003 complete with a bonus Venom cover (“Warhead”) and some killer extra live, remix and rehearsal material. Limited double LP edition of this Coffins rarity from the venerable Osmose Productions.

File Under: Metal
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Coffins: The Other Side of Blasphemy (Osmose) LP
Coffins is a Japanese doom-death band, formed in 1996, that has scavenged the depths of evil and darkness throughout their decade-plus existence as they slowly work toward a flawless refinement of all the things we love about the genre. According to Exclaim!, Coffins might not innovate but instead “reanimate one of the darkest, most oppressive chapters of metal with consummate style and punishing panache.” The band’s immense talent and power has been on full display ever since they unleashed their debut full-length, Mortuary in Darkness in 2005. A year later, they followed it up with their sophomore release, The Other Side of Blasphemy, released through Imperium Productions. This album managed to somehow increase the crushing heaviness of their first outing and found the band once again carrying the torch of obvious influences like Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and Autopsy with pride. Limited double LP edition of this Coffins classic from the venerable Osmose Productions.

File Under: Metal
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Lucy Dacus: No Burden (Matador) LP
No Burden is the debut album from singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus. At the young age of just 20, she is already a force to be reckoned with in her hometown of Richmond, VA and is quickly gaining notoriety with her amazing and unique singing voice. The Fader recently listed Lucy in the top 20 artists to watch out for in 2016 proclaiming, “Her voice is beautiful, like none I’ve heard before. On her dynamic debut album No Burden…she warbles her country-rock songs like a humble new pal revealing old secrets about feeling lost and starting over.” After a childhood of primarily musical theater and Bruce Springsteen thanks to her mom and dad, she bought an acoustic guitar and taught herself some chords with hopes of one day being the cool girl at church camp. Luckily things changed in high school when kind friends showed her Broken Social Scene, Yo La Tengo, and Ava Luna. Lucy quickly fell in love with the Richmond music scene and did what she could to sneak into 18+ shows during her high school years, always content as a spectator, not yet participating despite the encouragement of friends. When she decided to study film in college, people were surprised and would say, “not music?” It took years of convincing, confidence building, and a great change of heart before Lucy decided to pursue music. With the help of Miles Huffman on drums, Mike Ferster on guitar, Jacob Blizard on guitar, and Noma Illmensee on bass, Lucy’s previously solo croons bite deeper and hit harder while the lyrics remain at the forefront, as honest and compelling as ever. No Burden was recorded one day in January 2015 in Nashville, TN with producer/engineer/longtime friend Collin Pastore.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Jimi Hendrix: Machine Gun (Legacy) LP
Experience Hendrix L.L.C. and Legacy Recordings present Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69, fully documenting the debut performance of Jimi Hendrix’s short-lived but eternally influential Band of Gypsys. The group played four historic concerts at the Fillmore East in New York City – two on New Year’s Eve 1969, and two on New Year’s Day 1970. Never before has the first of these sets been available in its entirety. The vast majority of the performances have never seen the light of day in any configuration. Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69 was produced by Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer and John McDermott, the same team who have overseen all of Jimi Hendrix’s audio and audio visual releases by Experience Hendrix L.L.C. since 1995. Kramer served Jimi Hendrix as his primary recording engineer throughout his lifetime and newly mixed Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69 from the original 1″ 8 track master tapes. The album was mastered by Grammy Award winner Bernie Grundman and is available here as a 180g 2LP-set. The revolutionary impact Jimi Hendrix, Billy Cox, and Buddy Miles had upon the boundaries and definitions of rock, R&B, and funk can be traced to four concerts over the course of two evenings on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69 documents the first of the group’s four legendary Fillmore East concerts. This set presents an assortment of fresh, exciting new songs such as “Earth Blues,” “Ezy Ryder,” “Stepping Stone,” “Burning Desire,” and “Machine Gun” – none of which had ever before been issued on disc. Moreover, nearly all of the group’s material had never been performed before an audience. “We decided that we couldn’t do any songs that had already been released,” explains Cox. “We wanted to give them something different. So we went at the project in a joyous, creative posture and ultimately developed the repertoire of the Band of Gypsys.” With the anticipation of the sold out Fillmore audience heightened to fever pitch, Hendrix led his trio through a scintillating, seventy-five minute opening performance. None of the eleven songs presented had yet to grace an Experience album. In the place of signature songs like “Purple Haze” and “All Along The Watchtower” were confident renditions of “Power Of Soul” and “Hear My Train A Comin.'” Jimi generously extended center stage to Miles, providing a showcase for “Changes” and a charged rendition of the Howard Tate R&B hit “Stop”. Former Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke, who authored this collection’s liner notes, describes “Stop” as being something akin to “a psychedelic power-trio Temptations.” Hendrix’s scalding version of Elmore James’ “Bleeding Heart” is the set’s only other cover, underscoring the new band’s emphasis on the blues. “Machine Gun” stands as one of Hendrix’s finest and most influential compositions. Hendrix pushed Delta blues into places its pioneers could not have imagined, fusing his extraordinary instrumental skills within his passionate expression of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. “Machine Gun” endures as a classic amongst the already classic-drenched Jimi Hendrix canon. Fricke notes of this version, the first that Hendrix and company had ever played in concert, “…Here it is, after 46 years, another revelation – a stunning essay in pain, rage and determined survival, fully formed in its initial outing.” Long sought after by the guitarist’s worldwide following, Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69 presents the complete performance in its original sequence.

File Under: Rock
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Archy Marshall: A New Place 2 Drown (True Panther) LP
Archy Marshall, the London singer, songwriter and producer better known as King Krule releases a new mixed media project, A New Place 2 Drown, his first major release since his 2013 debut album, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon. Originally released digitally in compliment to a 208-page coffee-table book of artwork, poems and photographs assembled in collaboration with Marshall’s brother, A New Place 2 Drown is now available physically in a one time limited vinyl pressing of 2,000 copies. Unlike on his earlier King Krule release, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, where Marshall’s voice was the star, here he dissolves it into the grey mist of his beats. Mostly he croons or mutters over crackles, drips, and clanks. What it does share with his earlier releases is the ability to create a full fledged three-dimensional world in which the individual records coincide together, full of flickering halogen bulbs, sticky synth keys, and corroded outputs.

 File Under: Electronic, Hip Hop
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James Vincent McMorrow: We Move (Dine Alone) LP
Despite two successful albums in his home country of Ireland, multi-instrumentalist James Vincent McMorrow’s most popular song is still a cover of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love.” It’s admittedly a beautiful rendition, marked by soft piano and McMorrow’s beautiful falsetto. Like with any cover though, you wonder if the artist behind it has any creative spark of their own. While his debut was made up of what you might expect from a cover artist, filled to the brim with acoustic guitar and simplistic piano arrangements, his second release, 2014’s Post Tropical, showed definite growth. We Move, McMorrow’s newest release, builds atop of the lush soundscapes and 808-fueled R&B croons of his sophomore LP by upping the tempo a bit and filling the sparseness of the instrumentals with psych rock inspired guitars and layers of reverb. McMorrow still manages to keep the intimacy and heavy-heartedness of his arrangements intact, mostly thanks to his supernatural upper register. That falsetto is powerful, able to evoke raw emotion and energy like few others can, and it’s what allows him to build each track off We Move to a cathartic conclusion. Lead single “Rising Water” capitalizes on the psychedelic influence with a relaxed jam about desperation after a lost love. Other highlights include “Evil,” featuring a crazy fun vocal-sample driven breakdown at the end and “Surreal,” a soaring ballad that shows off McMorrow’s voice perfectly.

File Under: Folk, Electronic, Soul
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Okkervil River: Away (ATO) LP
“The new Okkervil River album is called Away. I didn’t plan to make it and initially wasn’t sure if it was going to be an Okkervil River album or if I’d ever put it out. I wrote the songs during a confusing time of transition in my personal and professional life and recorded them quickly with a brand new group of musicians. I got together the best New York players I could think of, people whose playing and personalities I was fans of and who came more out of a jazz or avant garde background, and we cut the songs live in one or two takes – trying to keep things as natural and immediate as possible – over three days in a studio on Long Island that hosts the Neve 8068 console which recorded Steely Dan’s Aja and John Lennon’s Double Fantasy. I asked Marissa Nadler to sing on it and got the composer Nathan Thatcher to write some beautiful orchestral arrangements, we recorded them with the classical ensemble yMusic and then I mixed the record with Jonathan Wilson out in Los Angeles. “2013-2015 had been a strange time for me. I lost some connections in a music industry that was visibly falling apart. Some members of the Okkervil River backing band left, moving on to family life or to their own projects. I spent a good deal of time sitting in hospice with my grandfather, who was my idol, while he died. I felt like I didn’t know where I belonged. When there was trouble at home, a friend offered me her empty house in the Catskills where I could go and clear my head. New songs were coming fast up there, so I set myself the challenge of trying to write as many as possible as quickly as possible. I wasn’t thinking about any kind of end product; the idea was just to write through what I was feeling, quickly and directly. Eventually, I realized I was writing a death story for a part of my life that had, buried inside of it, a path I could follow that might let me go somewhere new. “”Okkervil River R.I.P.” and “Call Yourself Renee” are good emotional transcriptions of that time. I wrote the latter on psylocibin mushrooms on a beautiful afternoon in early fall in the Catskills.”I think this record was me taking my life back to zero and starting to add it all back up again, one plus one plus one. Any part that didn’t feel like it added up I left out. Weirdly, it was the easiest and most natural record I’ve ever made. More than any time in my life before, I felt guided by intuition – like I was going with the grain, walking in the direction the wind was blowing. The closer it got to being finished, the more the confusion I’d felt at the start went away. It’s not really an Okkervil River album and it’s also my favorite Okkervil River album.” – Will Sheff

File Under: Indie Rock
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Pink Floyd: Obscured By Clouds (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd’s seventh album, Obscured by Clouds, was originally recorded as the soundtrack to the French film La Vallee (the band’s second Barbet Schroeder soundtrack following 1969’s More), but was also released as a standalone album in 1972 and anchored by the single “Free Four.” Also featuring the deep-cut favorite “Wots…Uh the Deal” and breathtaking “Childhood’s End,” the record is here remastered from the original analog master tapes by Bernie Grundman, James Guthrie, and Joel Plante. Long overdue but finally a reality, this audiophile-grade analog pressing of Obscured by Clouds sounds brilliant.

File Under: Rock
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pink-floydPink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother (Pink Floyd) LP
Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother remains a distinctive, diversified creation more than four decades after its release. A 23-minute-long orchestrated suite to begin record. A flurry of ideas, expressions, and impressionistic details. Iconic, simple cover art. It’s impossible not to love everything about this groundbreaking 1970 set, particularly now that it is available on this stunning-sounding 180g LP remastered from the original analog master tapes by Bernie Grundman, James Guthrie, and Joel Plante. Featuring the classic lineup of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason, the LP became the band’s first No. 1 record in the UK. Gilmour also makes his first lyrical contribution here with the gentle “Fat Old Sun.” Essential listening, all around.

File Under: Rock
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Pink Floyd: Meddle (Pink Floyd) LP
Epic, explorative, expressive: Pink Floyd’s ambitiously atmospheric Meddle lingers as an unforgettable masterpiece drenched in resplendent textures and pointillistic details. Remastered from the original analog master tapes by Bernie Grundman, James Guthrie, and Joel Plante, the 1971 album has never sounded better in any format. While it often sits in the shadows of The Dark Side of the Moon, a record that musically serves as its younger brother, the moody, brooding, often-dark work finds the band moving away from its original psychedelic sound and includes two timeless, largely instrumental pieces that showcase lead guitarist David Gilmour in all his vertiginous, keening glory: “Echoes,” which takes up the whole of Side One, and the gorgeous “One of These Days.”

File Under: Rock
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Pixies: Head Carrier (Pias) LP
The Pixies return with their sophomore “post-reunion” album Head Carrier. Recorded in just three weeks with producer Tom Dalgety (Killing Joke, Royal Blood), Head Carrier has all the sonic hallmarks of a classic Pixies album – tungsten guitar riffage, sun-soaked harmonies, rhythmic pummel and lyrical intrigue – while never pandering to nostalgia. The band – drummer David Lovering, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Black Francis and guitarist Joey Santiago – also officially welcomes bassist Paz Lenchantin to the Pixies’ permanent line-up here. Lenchantin has been the band’s touring bassist since January 2014, and played an integral part in the recording of Head Carrier. Aligned to its palpably fresh momentum, many of its songs have a poignant undertow, acknowledging its creators’ real time/real life journey. At least three songs, according to Black Francis, “fall into the sour grapes love song category,” though two of these – “Classic Masher” and “Bel Esprit” – feel quite exultant. The title track and “Plaster Of Paris,” meanwhile, share a somewhat thematic kinship, though the linkage is worthy of a cryptic crossword setter, turning upon the grisly fate of Saint Denis, the first bishop of Paris. Elsewhere, the songs offer a typically varied buffet of Pixies esoterica: rural roadside prostitution in France and Belgium (“Um Chagga Lagga”), the Mesopotamian deity Baal (“Baal’s Back”) and the legendary American actor Jack Palance, who makes a cameo appearance in the rambunctious “Talent,” one of two songs whose primary musical influence Black Francis attributes to The Stranglers. The album’s emotional core, meanwhile, resides in its second half, amid the plangent “Tenement Song” and the closing “All The Saints.” And of course, the beatific “All I Think About Now,” a tribute to the Pixies’ past from its freshly alchemized now. That the Pixies could have a viable present in the 21st century, let alone a bright future, seemed impossible during the 10 years following their break-up in 1993, and again following Kim Deal’s departure. But there’s always been a whiff of alchemy to this band that confounds the natural order of things. It’s a large reason why they remain so special, and so beloved. Ten bands re-issue their albums on limited edition pink vinyl, all for one cause. This is the third year for the initiative that helped raise $65,000 for Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that provides community support for both those diagnosed with cancer and their caretakers. It is named after comedian Gilda Radner, who passed away from the disease at the age of 43 in 1989. This year’s limited pink vinyl are from Anthrax, The Black Keys, Courtney Barnett, Ed Sheeran, Jim Breuer & The Loud & Rowdy, My Chemical Romance, NOFX, Opeth, Pixies and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The proceeds will sponsor Gilda’s Club NYC.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Bruce Springsteen: Chapter & Verse (Columbia) LP
Chapter and Verse, the audio companion to Bruce Springsteen’s extraordinary forthcoming autobiography, will be released September 2016 on Columbia Records. The career-spanning compilation will be released four days before Simon & Schuster publishes Born to Run. Five of the album’s 18 tracks have not been previously released. Springsteen selected the songs on Chapter and Verse to reflect the themes and sections of Born to Run. The compilation begins with two tracks from The Castiles, featuring a teenaged Springsteen on guitar and vocals, and ends with the title track from 2012’s Wrecking Ball. The collected songs trace Springsteen’s musical history from its earliest days, telling a story that parallels the one in the book. Recordings from Steel Mill and The Bruce Springsteen Band feature musicians who would go on to play in The E Street Band. Solo demos of “Henry Boy” and “Growin’ Up” were cut in 1972 shortly before Springsteen began recording his debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. The packaging will also include lyrics and rare photos.

File Under: Rock
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Various: Nigeria Soul Fever (Soul Jazz) LP
Soul Jazz Records’ new Nigeria Soul Fever is their first release to explore the vast wealth of Nigerian music recorded in the 1970s. The new album comes with introductory sleeve-notes by Bill Brewster (author of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life). Packed-full with Afro-Funk, Disco and Boogie all from Nigeria, this triple album set brings together a stunning collection of diverse West African sounds. Whilst a small handful of the artists featured (Joni Haastrup, Tee Mac, Christy Essien) have seen the light of day outside Africa, this is essentially a collection of killer tracks by an array of artists completely unknown outside of Nigeria. Artists such as Don Bruce & The Angels, Akin Richards & The Executives, Angela Starr, Jimmy Sherry & The Music Agents. It’s no surprise that these records are extremely rare and expensive to buy individually so this album will save you going broke trying to find them. These recordings were made at a time when Nigeria’s trade restrictions banned imported records. Whilst new musical trends (such as American soul, funk, disco etc) entered and influenced the country, the local music scene remained just that – local. Consequently, these recordings remain practically unknown to anyone outside of the country.

File Under: Afrobeat, Funk, Soul
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Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls (ATO) LP
Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (ATO) LP
Badbadnotgood: IV (Arts & Crafts) LP
Banks & Steelz: Anything But Words (Warner) LP
Can: Soundtracks (Mute) LP
Can: Tago Mago (Mute) LP
Car Seat Headrest: Teens of Denial (Matador) LP
City & Colour: Bring Me Your Love (Dine Alone) LP
City & Colour: Hurry & The Harm (Dine Alone) LP
City & Colour: Little Hell (Dine Alone) LP
City & Colour: Sometimes (Dine Alone) LP
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma (Warp) LP
Flying Lotus: You’re Dead! (Warp) LP
Grimes: Halfaxa (Arbutus) LP
Steve Gunn: Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors) LP
Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (EMI) LP
Lumineers: Cleopatra (Dine Alone) LP
Pavement: Brighten the Corners (Matador) LP
Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression (Loma Vista) LP
Porcupine Tree: Fear of a Blank Planet (Kscope) LP
Pusha T: Darkest Before Dawn (Universal) LP
Radiohead: Kid A (XL) LP
Akira Sakata & Jim O’Rourke: Flying Basket (Family Vineyard) LP
Talk Talk: Laughing Stock (EMI) LP

Tagged , , , , , ,

… letter #758 – sod…..

Oi! Busy day here, buying used records, making other people unpack boxes, receiving records, making news letters, and so on and so forth. So anyway… some killer stuff in this week, break out your pocket books….

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…..picks of the week…..


Manuel Gottsching: E2-E4 (MG.ART) LP
In celebration of the 2016 35th anniversary of the December 12, 1981, recording of Manuel Göttsching’s legendary E2-E4, one of electronic music’s most influential recordings, Göttsching’s MG.ART label presents an official reissue, carefully overseen by the master himself. Includes six-page booklet with notes and pictures. “As the story is sometimes told, Göttsching stopped in the studio for a couple of hours in 1981 and invented techno. E2-E4 is the most compelling argument that techno came from Germany– more so than any single Kraftwerk album, anyway. The sleeve credits the former Ash Ra Tempel leader with ‘guitar and electronics’, but few could stretch that meager toolkit like Göttsching. Over a heavenly two-chord synth vamp and simple sequenced drum and bass, Göttsching played his guitar like a percussion instrument, creating music that defines the word ‘hypnotic’ over the sixty minutes … A key piece in the electronic music puzzle that’s been name-checked, reworked and expanded upon countless times.” –Mark Richardson, Pitchfork

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Kosmische
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Not Waving: Redacted (Ecstatic) LP
With the first vinyl edition of Not Waving’s absorbingly raw sophomore solo LP Redacted, Alessio Natalizia reminds fans of his nascent psychedelic side in light of his lucid, “schizo” deviations on the Animals album for Diagonal. While there’s a mutual sense of technoid momentum to both albums, Redacted is a far gauzier, free-form and sensual beast; one richly steeped in proto/post-club atmospheres and allowing his imagination to run away with itself. Conceptually, Redacted pursues the “classified” themes of his remote viewing-inspired Umwelt LP into even murkier departments, drawing subtle parallels between the cold war atmospheres that birthed original post punk, industrial and proto-techno, and the current pallor of socio-political unrest. Omitting the original tape’s expansive closer for the sake of a single LP cut, this vinyl version plays out like an alternative soundtrack to scenes in the overgrown, radioactive zones of Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979), using an anachronistic palette of analog machinery to emphasize a sense of fluid, shimmering motion and out-of-place-and-timelessness that genuinely goes straight to the head with trippy effect. Swampy, slow techno horror themes vacillate with decayed pastoral panoramas and windows of synthetic optimism, both lush and disquietingly needling, using dissonance and sweeps of hazy noise to ultimately spell out a foreboding but dreamlike sort of electronic subterfuge and suspense that resonates with the nostalgic Stranger Things score as much as Leyland Kirby’s Intrigue & Stuff series. Redacted was originally issued in edition of 100 gold tapes in 2013. Newly remastered for vinyl by Matt Colton at Alchemy. RIYL: Pye Corner Audio, John Carpenter, Edward Artemiev. Edition of 500.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Techno
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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani: Sunergy (RVNG Int.) LP
Sunergy brings together synthesists Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani for the thirteenth installment of FRKWYS, RVNG Intl.’s intergenerational collaboration series. For this edition, a panorama of the Pacific Coast provides the place and head space for a musical appreciation and consideration of a life-giving form vast and volatile with change. Fortuitously (as is the freaky way), Smith and Ciani were discovered to be neighbors in the small coastal community of Bolinas, California. The two had become close friends, bonding over their experience as woman musicians and, more unusually, their shared passion for the Buchla synthesizer. The music of Sunergy embraces this kinship, with Ciani and Smith respectively performing on the Buchla 200 E and the Buchla Music Easel, two modern configurations of the innovative instrument developed in the ‘60s by Don Buchla. Sunergy was recorded in the Bolinas home where Ciani has lived for the last twenty-four years. Her living room overlooks the Pacific Ocean from a cliffside perch, creating an idyllic, inspired setting for music making. Setting up their synths side-by-side, Ciani and Smith took turns keeping time and freely improvising for the album sessions. As a complete piece, Sunergy is shaped by slow, pulsing forms and sinuous, melodic sequences that conjure both an oceanic world and the unlimited sound made possible by modular processing. For her part, Ciani has long been a Buchla voyager. Suzanne proselytized the live performance potential of Don’s synthesizer in the ‘60s and ‘70s, a document of which was uncovered in the improvised live recordings of Buchla Concerts 1975, recently released by Finders Keepers. After pioneering commercial sound design for Madison Avenue (including the ubiquitous Coca-Cola “Pop ‘n Pour” sound effect), Ciani was able to finance her debut album Seven Waves, a suite of original compositions orchestrated electronically and connected by Buchla-designed ocean sounds, and start her uniformly spirited label, Seventh Wave. Since its 1982 release, Seven Waves has become an important chapter of the ambient canon within which contemporary artists like Smith have developed their own synth syntax. Smith was born just a few years after the appearance of Seven Waves, growing up in Orcas Island, Washington. A place of profound natural beauty, the islands would inform Tides, her first instrumental collection from 2014. Smith composed Tides as an accompaniment for Yoga classes, ultimately freeing her from conventional songwriting into the exploratory, synth-based compositions demonstrated in ecstatic variety on 2016’s Ears. Despite the serene setting where Sunergy was realized, the album does not romanticize a complete oneness with nature. Smith and Ciani use their collaborative ground to reflect on the unstable forces at play across the Bolinas horizon. Sunergy takes stock of Bolinas in the 21st century, a once-thriving artist’s refuge now vulnerable to real estate pressure extending from affluent San Francisco, and more irreparably, the specter of climate change erasing its many waterfront habitats. A diametric dynamic is present in Sunergy; a somber meditation amidst the intense cultural and solar forces transforming the landscape, and a hopeful assertion of the surviving creative culture of Bolinas. Far from rehashing the gentle grace of the artists’ seminal works, Sunergy instead seeks to awaken and bear witness, employing the Buchla waveforms to mirror the infinite rhythms of the ocean and our essential relationship to it.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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… arrivals…..


3/4hadbeeneliminated: Speak to Me (Black Truffle) LP
Black Truffle present Speak To Me, the sixth full-length release from 3/4HadBeenEliminated, the Italian trio of Stefano Pilia, Claudio Rocchetti and Valerio Tricoli. Based on source material recorded in Bologna and Berlin over the course of several years, the album is made up of two side-long pieces meticulously constructed in post-production by Tricoli in his singularly dense and unpredictable style. Although their live performances have always been entirely improvised, in their recorded work the group focuses on using improvised recordings as source material for compositions built up through layering, editing and analog manipulation, extending the practices of Teo Macero, Faust and This Heat. Melancholic instrumental ruminations sit alongside cracked electronics, concrete sounds and Tricoli’s whispered vocals, drawn together into dense assemblages animated by gradual transformations and sudden jump cuts. Beginning from the abstractions of their self-titled debut release in 2004, the group embarked on a trajectory that saw them move toward near-song structures, Tricoli’s voice becoming a dominant element amid an increasingly dense and layered production style. On Speak To Me, however, the listener feels confronted by the ghost of music, sonic memories echoing across a psychedelic expanse. Evacuated of any clear structure, the music becomes a reverb-saturated morass, from which crystalline details momentarily emerge: shimmering echoed guitar, bowed double bass, tactile hand percussion, skittering electronics. Suffused with a darkly pensive atmosphere, Speak To Me is an elegant summation of the distinctive blend of electroacoustic techniques, instrumental improvisation and contemporary psychedelia pioneered by 3/4HadBeenEliminated over the last decade. LP design by Stephen O’Malley with striking artwork by Stefano Pilia. Vinyl cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.

File Under: Experimental, Ambient, Electronic
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Arashi – Sakata/Berthling/Nilssen-Love: Semikujira (Trost) LP
Arashi presents Semikujira. Arashi is: Akira Sakata – alto saxophone, clarinet, voice; Johan Berthling – double bass; Paal Nilssen-Love – drums & percussion. The Wire about Arashi, the trio’s first release: “there are moments on this album when the energy is so furiously intense it feels like it’s going to spin out of control and take someone’s eye out. Sakata delivers wry alto phrases, as though from the corner of his mouth, before digressing into urgent flights of fancy, and finally launching into screaming, red-faced declamation – fueled by Nilsen-Love’s boiling pulse-time drums and the low bounce of Berthling’s double bass.” Cover image – “Black Submarine” by Sagaki Keita. Photos by Micke Keysendal. Recorded at Atlantis Grammofon, Stockholm by Janne Hansson, on May 20th, 2015. Mixed at Oodion, Göteborg by Mikael Werliin in December of 2015.

File Under: Free Jazz
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Dorothy Ashby: Fantastic Jazz Harp of (Spellbound) LP
Spellbound Music present a reissue of Dorothy Ashby’s sixth album, The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby, originally released in 1965. Ashby was a Detroit born jazz harpist who passed away in her early 50s in 1986. She left a rich legacy of music with The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby being one of her milestones. The music is purely bright and swinging with a joyful mood. Dorothy Ashby is always there upfront while the brass section mostly fills the background with color. Typical for the ancient jazz, there are no vocals on this record but this only adds to the depth and intriguing atmosphere of the music. Ashby starts where Coltrane left the field of real song-oriented albums for his experimental efforts and she really pulls it off. The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby is haunting but with a rather relaxed approach to this style. For the time it was released, this album was an utterly progressive effort and the pop sensibility of many tracks make it a great joy to spin. Jazz fans will dig it and open minded people who love the music of the ’60s will also develop a fondness for this beauty.

File Under: Jazz
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Blitzen Trapper: Live at Third Man (Third Man) LP
Under the stewardship of Sub Pop and Vagrant records, Oregon’s Blitzen Trapper is 8 studio albums deep into the a successful career as a modern folk-rock band, led by Eric Earley, dubbed by Paste as the ”Tom Petty of the Northwest.” Earley’s songs read like stories you could’ve sworn you’ve heard before, and his band’s straightforward and every-so-slightly anthemic landscapes make for nearly universal likability ? a real feat in these days of niche tastes and fragmented genres. Blitzen Trapper brought their (quite welcome!) Pacific Northwestern sensibilities, along with swampy and distinctly Floridian opener Lauris Vidal to whet our collective whistle, to the Blue Room Stage on March 16, 2016. The live record that resulted, was cut direct-to-acetate on Third Man’s 1955 Scully lathe.

File Under: Indie Rock


Thomas Brinkmann: A 1000 Keys (Editions Mego) LP
“How many can get a personal sound out of a fucking piano?!” – Lee Konitz. Thomas Brinkmann takes his seductive reductionism to the next level with A 1000 Keys, a harsh meditation on the expressive qualities of digital sound production. In translating the timbre of a grand piano into binary codes, thus rebuilding its corpus with “0 and 1s”, Brinkmann subverts the sensual qualities of this proto-romantic instrument in a sardonic way. Replacing the musician with a mathematically precise series of frenetic repetition and intriguingly dissonant difference, the result sounds at times like a violent ride through the brains of Schönberg or Webern, drained in amphetamines, at others like Feldman’s ephemeral sketches or Russolo’s futurist outburst. Brinkmann’s conceptual framework is resonating in the track titles. Using shortcuts of international airports, he refers to non-places that establish their own space-and-time continuum, while lacking individual identity and history. These functional scenarios are sterile passages for anonymous, objectified masses, at the same time there’s hardly a better place to grasp the very subjective character of time. A 1000 Keys is a fatal homage to minimalism and a consequent denial of virtuosity and the idea of creative genius. Paraphrasing the romantic idea of human perfection, Brinkmann found a way to create sonic algorithms of tenderness and brutality, establishing dramatic expressiveness in his constructivist analytics. The result is of radical beauty. Dedicated to Conlon Nancarrow.

File Under: Electronic, Minimal
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Clutch: Full Fathom Five (Weathermaker) LP
Compiled from four locations on the band’s 2007/2008 sold out headlining world tour (Boulder, Sayerville, Pittsburgh and Melbourne) these groove-laden live performances prove what the diehard fan base already knows; that Clutch have risen to the top of America’s live music pyramid. There’s plenty of classic Clutch riffage here including “Escape from the Prison Planet,” “Texan Book of the Dead,” “Elephant Riders,” and “Animal Farm.” Full Fathom Five – Clutch’s first ever release on their own label Weathermaker Music now available for the first time on double vinyl with gatefold packaging. Comes complete with several previously unreleased bonus tracks.

File Under: Rock, Blues Rock


Alvan Curran: Natural History (Black Truffle) LP
Black Truffle present the first-ever vinyl issue of Alvin Curran’s Natural History, originally released on cassette by Edition Giannozzo Berlin in 1983. A founding member of the radical electronic improvising group Musica Elettronica Viva, since the early 1970s Curran has developed an idiosyncratic body of solo work that occupies a unique position in the post-Cageian experimental tradition. Singularly undogmatic, Curran’s work takes the Cageian experience as the starting point for a radical openness to all forms of music and sound. Refusing to abstract music from its human functions, his work draws on existing musical genres, cutting-edge electronics and environmental recordings to craft compositions that mimic the hazy texture of everyday life, moving from the abstract to the referential, from the observational to the emotive, from the structured to the random. As he reflects in the liner notes written especially for this edition: “This infinite stream of sound became my life and my music all at once”. Curran’s other classic solo works of the 1970s and 1980s, such as Songs and Views of the Magnetic Garden (1975) and Canti Illuminati (1982) are elaborate collages that combine keyboard and voice improvisation and composition with field-recorded environments. Natural History consists entirely of field recordings from Curran’s archive, arranged as a series of “still lifes”, sometimes layered, but without any additional processing. Sounds recorded over the course of nearly twenty years, at Curran’s home in Rome or while traveling: constructions sites, insects, children’s toys, a piano being tuned, foghorns, familiar to admirers of Curran masterful Maritime Rites (2004), lovemaking, a singing neighbor. It is, as Curran says, an attempt to “put the sound of the entire world on a cassette tape”. Heard against the backdrop of the increasing prevalence of field recordings in contemporary music over the last few years, Natural History is like a refreshing breeze, suffused with the joy of discovery. Gatefold sleeve with liner notes and photos by Alvin Curran and design by Stephen O’Malley. Vinyl cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates.

File Under: Electronic, Experimental
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Miles Davis: Big Fun (Music on Vinyl) LP
Originally released in 1974, Big Fun presents music from three different phases of Miles Davis’s early-seventies “electric” period. Sides one and four (“Great Expectations” and “Lonely Fire”) were recorded three months after the Bitches Brew sessions and incorporate sitar, tambura, tabla, and other Indian instruments. “Ife” was recorded after the 1972 On the Corner sessions, and the framework is similar to tracks from that record. Recorded in March 1970, “Go Ahead John” is an outtake from Davis’s Jack Johnson sessions.

 File Under: Jazz
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Dies Irae: First (Ohrwaschl) LP
Ohrwaschl Records present a reissue of Dies Irae’s First, originally released in 1971. German proto heavy metal and proto doom metal has always been more of an underground genre due to the fact that most bands only reached a regional level in every aspect. Dies Irae are certainly something of an exception to the rule when it comes to the quality. First is heavy and dark with open song structures that leave much room for experimentation. Despite the fact that the simmering fuzz guitar cuts through like a chainsaw, there are still many parts in each song showcasing a fondness for playful jazz-inspired passages where all musicians prove their skills and conjures a gloomy atmosphere. The musicians have a light-footed swing but in other cases, Dies Irae go utterly crazy in a psychedelic freak-out fashion. Trippy moments are abundant on First and come in between the hard-hitting, heavily-grinding doom outbursts. Nobody was even eager to call it doom yet but all the ingredients were there – Think of a jam session with Black Sabbath and Amon Düül II. This album is highly original and deserving of a place among the greatest krautrock albums of all times. The acid is audible and doing its work in a very skillful way. For fans of proto metal from the early ’70s, who dig music with a progressive edge and have a fondness for trippy psychedelic rock.

File Under: Prog, Psych
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El Perro Del Marr: Kokoro (Ging Ging) LP
Sweden’s El Perro Del Mar (née Sarah Assbring) returns with her sixth album KoKoro. Written and produced by El Perro Del Mar and Jacob Haage, the 10 original songs of KoKoro are her most ambitious and musically adventurous to date, yet no less emotionally direct, covering themes that speak to both big and small matters of the heart. With the state of the planet – musically, politically, environmentally – on her mind since the birth of her son, Assbring sees KoKoro as not only an album but also as an aesthetic and political movement of sorts. With soundscapes that echo of Thailand, Sumatra, India, Ethiopia, and China, the orchestration of KoKoro is unlike any of El Perro Del Mar’s previous releases, a direction only hinted briefly on the Pale Fire LP highlight “I Was A Boy.” It features the Chinese string instrument Guzheng, the Japanese Shakuhachi flute, various other Asian flutes, Arabic strings, Dulcimer, and rhythms influenced by Ethiopian music. The album was recorded with multi-instrumentalist Andreas Söderström, jazz bassist Johan Berthling, drummer Mattias Bergqvist, who has collaborated with First Aid Kit, and wind multi-instrumentalist Per “Ruskträsk” Johansson, who has collaborated with Robyn, José González, among many others. First single “Breadandbutter” is about finding a means to communicate and find solidarity among people, while other songs on KoKoro implore for self-reflection and self-improvement across friendships, relationships, and life at large in an effort to reach enlightenment. And capitalism’s arguably toxic effect on the human spirit is addressed wholeheartedly on the pleading “Ding Sum.”

File Under: Indie Pop
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Ahmed Fakroun: s/t (PMG) LP
PMG present an anthology of Ahmed Fakroun’s work. “Insanely popular across the Maghreb, name-checked in international spy novels and beloved of music adventurers like David Byrne, Libyan superstar Ahmed Fakroun is the most astounding raï-disco-electronica pioneer ever to be heard. His 1983 album, Mots D’Amour is regarded as a global fusion classic. This self-titled anthology of songs from the late ’70s is an altogether mellower affair. The grooves are slower and sweeter and Fakroun’s multi-instrumentalist chops on the saz, mandol and darbouka drum really come to the fore. The album includes tracks from two of Ahmed’s rarest and most sought-after 7 inches. ‘Nysan’ has an almost west coast vibe: think Ned Doheny via Benghazi. Balearic-minded collectors will love the haunting flute runs in ‘Awedny’, produced by Tommy Vance, and ‘Njoom Al Leyel’. There’s even a touch of lilting reggae on ‘Falah’ and ‘Yu Hussad.’ Ahmend Fakroun is the perfect late night, come-down album, especially after a hot and sweaty evening in a raï club, somewhere in North Africa.” — Peter Moore.

File Under: Disco, Funk, Rai
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fullblastFull Blast: Risc (Trost) LP
With all the projects Peter Brötzmann is currently working on, Full Blast — with the precise and dynamic Swiss rhythm section of Marino Pliakas and Michael Wertmüller — is the most consistent and the longest-running. Their fifth album finds the band in a studio again, with time and the desire to try something new. Seven compositions in the distinctive, strong Full Blast nature get an exciting electronic treatment by Michael Wertmüller (with electronics by Gerd Rische, recorded months before his death in October 2015) during and after the recording. For mixing the band decided to work with Gareth Jones (well-known for his work with Einstürzende Neubauten and Depeche Mode), whom they have used with Pliakas’s band Steamboat Switzerland before. Full Blast have created an album that in its nonconformity and richness in variety stands on his own in contemporary jazz. Peter Brötzmann: reeds; Marino Pliakas: e-bass; Michael Wertmüller: drums. Recorded live on March 11 and 12, 2015 at Garnison 7, Vienna. Mixed by Gareth Jones, London, November 2015. Mastered by Martin Siewert, December 2015. Produced by Konstantin Drobil and Michael Wertmüller. Cover art by Peter Brötzmann. Designed by Brötzmann and Klaus Untiet.

File Under: Jazz
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The Funkees: Now I’m A Man (PMG) LP
PMG present a reissue of The Funkees’s Now I’m A Man, originally released in 1976. Has there ever been a band as aptly named as The Funkees? Formed after the Biafran War to raise spirits in the east, they quickly conquered the dance floors of Lagos and in 1973 headed to London, playing at Ronnie Scott’s and tearing up the local scene. Now I’m A Man captures the band at the height of their London-era pomp. Africans were making soca, West Indians were playing Afro-funk and discolypso blasted from boom-boxes across West London. The Funkees soaked it all up and delivered it back – funkier, tighter and louder. Bookended by two Santana-esque jams, “I’m A Man” and “303”, The Funkees second album delivers slow burning Afro-beat (“Mimbo”), urgent jungle bongo chants (“Salam”) and straight-ahead floor-fillers (“Dance With Me”). Little wonder that legendary BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, recorded two sessions with them. The Funkees soon disbanded after this album; Jake Sollo joined Osibisa, Sonny Akpabio and Harry Mosco pursued successful solo careers. Now I’m A Man shows The Funkees as they burned brightly as Nigeria’s most talented, inventive and funky band.

File Under: Afrobeat, Funk
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Osamu Kitajima: Benzaiten (PSI) LP
Psychedelic Sounds International present a reissue of Osamu Kitajima’s Benzaiten, originally released in 1976. Benzaiten is world music and ethno sounds with an obvious Japanese origin, meeting progressive rock and psych rock. The result is a captivating piece of melodic and deeply atmospheric music that paints pictures of life in ancient Japan. If Pink Floyd were Japanese, their music might have sounded like this album. The frequency of the arrangements on Benzaiten is reminiscent of what English prog bands created in the early to mid ’70s, just with a different ethnical approach. Benzaiten is even a more progressive effort than anything most British bands have ever managed to fabricate and is still utterly natural and vivid concerning the flow of the music. All participating musicians here are professionals and their performances are tight and still passionate. The sound is warm and vivid and the song structures are wide open and welcoming. Electronic elements in the percussion section add some oddity to the whole musical picture. The cool aspect of Benzaiten is the rocking guitar which keeps the whole album together. Must be the Japanese equivalent to German acts like Amon Düül II, Embryo and Guru Guru.

File Under: Psych, Japan
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Lorelle Meets the Obsolete: Balance (Sonic Cathedral) LP
Mexican duo return with their fourth album, ‘Balance’, recorded by the band at their home studio, before being mixed by Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas) at MINBAL in Chicago and mastered in Melbourne by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring). The title track and opener blows away the layers of dusty psych from 2014’s ‘Chambers’, the duo’s previous album, to reveal a sparse and spare sound, embellished with new wave keyboards that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of the early Magazine albums; ‘The Sound Of All Things’ is a mini-epic, opening with a two-and-a-half-minute soundscape, before roaring into life; ‘La Distinción’ is a driving drone-rocker, not dissimilar to ‘What’s Holding You?’ but with the addition of a surprisingly soulful chorus. Lorelle Meets The Obsolete count Robert Smith, Mani and Sonic Boom among their fans, but the most enthusiastic is Henry Rollins. Here’s what he said about ‘Balance’: “It lives up to its name by achieving a balance between fuzz and clarity, nuance and throttle. The mix, which is incredible, utilises the brilliance of the com-ponent parts of each song, with a subtlety and dexterity that is not nearly as frequent in the albums that came before. It feels more like there was such an accumulation of captured dreams and their interpretation, that eventually it filled an album.”

File Under: Psych, Shoegaze
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Mars: Mars Archives 2 (Feeding Tube) LP
“The second amazing volume (of three), compiled by Mark Cunningham after culling every known live tape of Mars, documents the band in its first fully-matured form. Recorded at CBGB and Max’s in the early months of 1978, this captures the sound of Mars around the time their first single, ‘3E/11000 Volts,’ was released by the French Rebel label (a precursor of ZE). They’re still playing their early songs, and working out the material that would be on No New York (LR 102CD/LP). Two of the tracks (‘Cairo’ and ‘RTMT’) were never released in any form back in the day, and the whole album surges along like one of the weirdest rock rides anybody has ever imagined. There are still small tendrils of the more formal approach Mars took in their earliest days, but the function of the material is on its way to becoming utterly alien. Even though I saw the band around this time, the incredible strangeness of their approach is astonishing. Words fail me. No one else has ever created anything quite like the wall of sound they managed. On the second side, as an added bonus, the audience source tape is full of hooting and hollering by people like Lydia Lunch, Bradley Field, Kristian Hoffman, and various other reprobates with whom they were sharing rehearsal space at the time. Package looks great, too. Grainy, just the way it should be. Has an insert with brief notes by Mark, a couple of pics and handwritten lyrics that read better than I’d ever imagined them to be. Essential stuff.” — Byron Coley, 2016. Edition of 500.

File Under: Post-Punk, No Wave
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Miss Nelson & Bruce Haack: Dance Sing and Listen (Aurora Rising) LP
Aurora Rising present a reissue of Miss Nelson & Bruce Haack’s Dance Sing And Listen, originally released in 1963. This album is somewhat of a curiosity for it was actually conceived as an educational, open-minded children’s music. The sound is a mash up of story-telling for kids and simple, happy sing-along music mixed with loads of electronic effects making it an utterly spacey affair. This reissue makes sure this cult album can be enjoyed by people crazy for early ’60s electronic music. Let go of all spiritual chains and float away with the tape looped rhythms and all the hissing and buzzing and chirping upon which Esther Nelson, actually a children’s dance teacher, and Bruce Haack, a composer and pioneer of electronic music, recite poems, give dance instructions or play melodies on primitive synthesizers. Dance Sing And Listen is meant to fire the imagination of children and due to its musical quality and weird mood, it may do the same with adults. From this pioneering piece came the sound bands like Kraftwerk and Neu! would head for about ten years later. Enjoyable children’s music that’s far out enough to make souls travel.

File Under: Children’s Music, Experimental, Electronic
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Preoccupations: s/t (Flemish Eye) LP
When the four members of Preoccupations wrote and recorded their new record, they were in a state of near total instability. Years-long relationships ended; they left homes behind. Frontman Matt Flegel, guitarist Danny Christiansen, multi-instrumentalist Scott Munro and drummer Mike Wallace all moved to different cities and they resolved to change their band name, but hadn’t settled on a new one. And so where their previous album Viet Cong was built in some ways on the abstract cycles of creation and destruction, Preoccupations explores how that sometimes-suffocating, sometimes-revelatory trap affects our lives. Opener “Anxiety” articulates that tension: clattering sounds drift into focus, “Monotony” moves at a narcoleptic pace by Preoccupations’ standards, “Degraded” surprises, with something like a traditional structure and an almost pop-leaning melody to its chorus, and the 11-minute-long “Memory” is the album’s keystone, with an intimate narrative and a truly timeless post-punk center. All this adds up to Preoccupations: a singular, bracing collection that proves what’s punishing can also be soothing, everything can change without disrupting your compass. Your best year can be your worst year at the same time. Whatever sends you flying can also help you land.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Scientists: A Place Called Bad (Numero) LP
With a sound that was swampy, primal and modern-urban all at once – as much in the tradition of rock n’ roll and punk rock as it was a rejection of those things, the Scientists’ formula was as universal as it was specific to their own experience. The themes of getting wasted, driving around in hotted-up cars, being trapped in crap jobs, and paranoia were their subject matter. Machine throb bass and drums with jagged car-wreck guitars were their modus operandi. Fitting into no place or time they spurned all but the most rudimentary and elemental of rock structures to create a sound all their own. 2LP version boils the box down to 22 essentials, plus unpublished photographs, discography, and fold out Perth Punk family tree. “The Scientists proved to me that rock ‘n’ roll could be played by gentlemen in fine silk shirts half unbuttoned and still be dirty, cool and real.” – Thurston Moore “They wrote fantastic singles and looked like they just crawled out of the ooze. What more could you ask for?” – Warren Ellis “The Scientists turned my head around and made a man out of me! They grew hair on my palms and made my socks stink!” – Jon Spencer

File Under: Post Punk
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Sam Shalabi/Alan Bishop: Mother of All Sinners (Unrock) LP
Unrock’s Saraswati Series is mostly string orientated, zigzagging between the lines where underground and high-art performance overlap. Out jumps the first part of their actively anti-Western sub-series: Mother Of All Sinners, a part of the “Puppet on a String” twin albums. Osama Shalabi, a born Egyptian (best known for his work with Shalabi Effect & Land Of Kush), is an expert playing the oud. He’s a traveler between the Eastern and Western worlds and long-time contributor to the Montreal scene. Sam – who spent the last few years home in Cairo – breathes his own sense of space and time through the epic “Tamara”, an 18 minute long melodic, delightful improvisation. The other story, “Faith Of Our Fathers”, starts in Agouza, Cairo, where Sam Shalabi and Alan Bishop spent some time jamming. They’d run free, lose form, find intensity, and wound up creating a contemporary version of oriental psychedelic free form. A mind-blowing, wild, never mellow Cairo night, now documented here. It’s getting intense: A north-African sand storm. Mother Of All Sinners will be released as a one-time limited run pressing on 140 gram vinyl. It has an extra heavy deluxe cover and a solid printed inlay.

File Under: Experimental, Folk, Improv


Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet: Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham
Sport Fishin’
Savvy Show Stoppers
(Yep Roc) LP
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet is the seminal Canadian instrumental combo formed in Toronto, in 1984. They released three albums before disbanding in 1996, reconstituting once again in 2013. Yep Roc Records is proud to be re-releasing all three original studio albums digitally and on CD, vinyl in deluxe gatefold sleeves, with expanded artwork, liner notes by Bon Von Wheelie, Bry Webb and Scott McCaughey and contextual essays by band associates. Savvy Show Stoppers: Savvy Show Stoppers, the band’s debut full-length, contains “Having an Average Weekend,” which was used as the theme song to the sketch comedy TV show, The Kids in the Hall. Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham:  Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham is their second album. Sport Fishin: The Lure of the Bait, The Luck of the Hook: Sport Fishin: The Lure of the Bait, The Luck of the Hook, Is the third full-length release from Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet.

File Under: Experimental, Folk, Improv
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Shango Dance Band: s/t (Comb & Razor) LP+7″
“In the early years of Fela Kuti’s career, well before he would define the genre of Afro-beat, and leave an indelible mark on the musical landscape, he was a struggling trumpet player, seeking to redefine the sound of his current group, the art-jazz ensemble Fela Ransome-Kuti Quintet. As he moved his group towards the then-popular genre of highlife in 1963, he lost his bassist in the move towards commercial success, but gained the company of Ojo Okeji, who had a sterling reputation both as a bassist and percussionist in groups like Lagos Cool Cats, Rex Williams’ Nigerian Artistes, and Western Toppers Highlife Band, a favorite of Kuti’s. Okeji impressed Kuti with his deft jazziness on the bass, so he was in on the spot, and the Fela Ransome-Kuti Quintet became Koola Lobitos. It was Okeji that introduced Kuti to the famed percussionist Tony Allen, (Who would subsequently join Kuti into his greatest years as an artist) as well as conguero Abayomi ‘Easy’ Adio. During his time in Koola Lobitos, Okeji not only contributed deeply melodic, and adeptly rhythmic baselines, but brought his own influence from emerging US soul artists like James Brown & The Famous Flames and Wilson Pickett, heavily pushing Koola Lobitos towards a more soulful direction. This push was often resisted by Kuti, who frequently clashed with Okeji. 1968 proved to be a turning point for the group, as the Nigerian Civil War broke out, and many starving musicians turned to the military for work. Okeji and Adio would leave for the army, while Kuti and Allen kept Koola Lobitos going, where it evolved through different names and iterations and grew into the worldwide Afro-beat force that made Kuti an icon during the ’70s and ’80s. But as Kuti and Allen rose to global recognition, Okeji and Adio would form a new band within the ranks of the 6th Infantry Brigade of the Nigerian Army. Their emblazoned blue jackets earned them the nickname ‘The Blues’, but Okeji preferred the name ‘Shango’ after the Yoruba thunder god. Shango took the fundamentals of Kuti’s famous Afro-beat and brought new layers of guitar and horn arrangements, while often invoking supernatural aesthetics, and maintaining a love for the US soul artists that influenced Okeji so much. Because Shango was an army band however, their records were not readily available to anyone outside of the military so their music, including their eponymous 1974 LP, remained relatively unknown even amongst the people of Nigeria. Decades later Comb & Razor is thrilled to present this long-lost Nigerian gem for the first time to a world-wide audience.”

File Under: Afrobeat
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Sahib Shihab: Sahib’s Jazz Party (Skokiaan) LP
Skokiaan present a reissue of Sahib Shihab’s Sahib’s Jazz Party, originally released in 1964. In a time before jazz music went free and avant garde, there were a couple of inspired souls who put an emphasis on extended jams and improvised, yet melodic parts based on a rather repetitive rhythm background. The result in turning away from the rather artistic and complicated bebop was the modal jazz that came up in the second half of the 1950s, lasting as the leading style until the mid to late ’60s. Sahib Shihab can be seen as one of the protagonists of modal jazz despite being more of an underground star in the scene and being more popular in Europe than in the USA, from where he originates. He often worked as a member of an ensemble but had a couple of albums out as a bandleader. Sahib’s Jazz Party is his third album as a bandleader. Recorded live in its entirety Sahib’s Jazz Party features a few highly entertaining announcements by the master himself leaving the impression that Sahib was a bit far out that day. The performance is beautiful and passionate. He plays flute and saxophone backed up by a Danish jazz orchestra even with an electric guitar, in clean mode of course. Especially in the third part of the “Conversation” piece the dialogues between saxophone and trumpet are amazing while in “Charade” Shihab uses his flute to conjure a mind-relaxing atmosphere. The rhythms are all quite hot and whipping. The drummers must be some kind of madmen. Yes, there are two drummers indicated for the “Conversation” long track and the ever pulsating and vibrating rhythm patterns will prove that right. Bass and guitar rather back up everything and fill the gaps with simple notes which add just enough to leave the whole picture feeling full and round. Sahib’s Jazz Party holds the same level as the most appreciated works of Miles Davis and John Coltrane during their modal jazz stint. All-in-all, the whole band is steaming and so full of passion, any listener will be electrified without fail.

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Sleep: Sleep’s Holy Mountain (Earache) LP
“Setting heavy metal’s evolutionary clock back to the stone-age days of Saint Vitus with their debut Volume One was seemingly not enough for San Jose’s Sleep, who decided to time travel all the way back to the pre-historic days of earliest Black Sabbath with their second album, 1993’s Sleep’s Holy Mountain. Indeed, while Kyuss’ Blues for the Red Sun and Monster Magnet’s Spine of God are more frequently cited as the most influential and important albums in launching the American stoner/doom metal scene, not even these landmark releases compare to Holy Mountain for sheer devotion to unadulterated doom and copious weed consumption. In fact, as monolithic opener “Dragonaut” descends into a bass solo at its conclusion, one would be forgiven for expecting the band to segue straight into “N.I.B.” — such is their similarity to classic Sabbath. Instead, they grind into “The Druid,” which despite a quick nod to the Sabs’ “Electric Funeral,” actually begins to establish Sleep’s personality, as riff upon massive riff in the form of songs like “Evil Gypsy/Solomon’s Theme” and the groove-heavy “Aquarian” flow from the speakers like molten lava. In an age of machine-gun double-bass drums, Sleep’s most startling quality had to be their seemingly endless patience. As they slowly embark upon the mammoth power chords of the title track and “From Beyond,” they also prolong the buildup of tension before delivering a final release of cathartic proportions. Besides greatly inspiring next generation doomsters like Electric Wizard, such unwavering dedication to weed would also set the stage for their controversial and unfortunate swan song Jerusalem — featuring a single, mind-bending 52-minute track.” – AllMusic.

File Under: Metal
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Tomorrow the Rain Will Fall Upwards: Wreck His Days (Blackest Ever Black) LP
Wreck His Days is dubbed-out cosmic pastorals and politically exasperated techno-exotica from Blackest Ever Black’s most secretive and shape-shifting project, Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards. Guest contributors include Conrad and Jonnine Standish of HTRK, Genevieve McGuckin (These Immortal Souls), and Lucas Santanna. The ghosts of Les Baxter, Rowland S. Howard and Nina Simone are also in attendance. But whoever is pulling the strings remains hidden. Structurally Wreck His Days recalls the grand collective statements of This Mortal Coil or Massive Attack, but musically its dreamlike overtures have more in common with Deux Filles, Global Communication, Arthur Russell or Penguin Cafe Orchestra. It roams far and wide: from near-Balearic piano loops of the title track, to the Audrey Horne-worthy death-jazz of “Ghost From The Coast” and the hulking, bass-heavy soundsystem weapon “Reverberasia”. The swelling, uplifting astral psychedelia of “…And I Tried So Hard”, while “I Beat As I Sleep As I Dream” reprises the bleak existential synth drift of T.T.R.W.F.U.’s extraordinary 2014 10″, How Great A Fame Has Departed. A deep-seated socialist impulse drives the whole thing.

File Under: Industrial, Ambient
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Touche Amore: Stage Four (Epitaph) LP
Touche Amore, is a Los Angeles based punk band whose earnest and artful approach to song writing, along with relentless touring, fueled their rise to prominence in the hardcore community. In 2013 Touche Amore crossed into new territory with their beloved release, Is Survived By. The band had reached a high point in notoriety when frontman Jeremy Bolm received news that his mother had been diagnosed with Stage Four cancer. With the band’s support, Bolm wanted to go on hiatus to care for his ailing mother. However, as his biggest supporter, she encouraged him to continue on living his dream. So he returned to the road with bandmates- guitarists Nick Steinhardt and Clayton Stevens, bassist Tyler Kirby, and drummer Elliot Babin. In October of 2014 while Touche Amore was headlining Fest in Gainesville, FL, the final stop on their tour, Bolm received a call that his mother passed. He went home the next day. Now from a band both living its dream and marred by loss comes their new album Stage Four. Triumphant in sound and cathartic in delivery, Stage Four is a powerfully creative leap for Touche Amore. The first single is the catchy “Palm Dreams,” and it’s instantly clear from Bolm’s vocals that Touche Amore is breaking new ground: the career screamer is actually singing, in a quite capable sing-speak harmony. The final track, the lush, jangly “Skyscraper,” featuring haunting guest vocals from Julien Baker, ends the album with an atmospheric departure, both sonically and in spirit.

File Under: Punk
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Vatican Shadow: Media in the Service of Terror (Hospital) LP
Dominick Fernow laces up his Vatican Shadow boots for the project’s first set of drills since 2014 and one of its finest ever transmissions, trampling in the wake of his fierce new Prurient record, Unknown Rains (2016), for Hospital Productions. Reflecting on a world much unchanged, even intensified since his last dispatch, Media In The Service Of Terror works classic Vatican Shadow signatures, measured with increased momentum and propulsive energy, divided into seven parts and imbued with that dramatic melodic arrangements that works beyond the club. Stepping farther away from the floor, he’s in scowling, contemplative form with “Ziad Jarrah Studied Mathematics” and at his best when working between spheres, as with the industrial reggaeton roil of “Take Vows” in both its versions, and particularly the pensile atmosphere of “Interrogation Mosaic”. One of the best Vatican Shadow drops, bar none. Originally released as a limited cassette in June of 2016, this is Media In The Service Of Terror’s first vinyl edition. Features new artwork. Cut at Dubplates & Mastering.

File Under: Electronic, Techno, Industrial
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Muddy Waters: Folk Singer (Spellbound) LP
Spellbound Music present a reissue of Muddy Waters’s Folk Singer, originally released in 1964. Muddy Waters, real name McKinley Morganfield, is cited as the father of modern Chicago blues, having an influence on folk, jazz, blues, rock’n’roll and even heavy rock, he was a composer of quite a few popular standards. Folk Singer is his forth long player from 1964 and his first and only all acoustic affair. Backed by some big names from the blues community such as Willie Dixon on standing bass and a young Buddy Guy on second acoustic guitar, Waters created an album that was reduced to the bare bones. Every note played on these wooden guitars is so meaningful and vibrant. Even an acoustic version of a song like “Good Morning Little School Girl” rocks the hell out of the speakers. It is a remake of a Sonny Boy Williamson composition and develops from the strongly pronounced guitar play between Mr. Waters and Buddy Guy. His voice comes very much upfront but since he is the commander and preacher man, the storyteller and wizard, this comes as another advantage of this record. There is much room in the sound, so much space in between the instruments where passion and magic flow. The listener can hear how much of an obsession Waters and Guy have for their instruments, while Dixon pulls out the most laid-back bass lines possible, as not to disturb the master and his apprentice in firing smoking hot lead work from their fretboards. Folk Singer is indeed an album that has much more to say than most over amplified rock efforts which came later. Just listen and be enchanted.

File Under: Folk, Blues
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Various: Afterschool Special (Numero) LP
The formula was simple: marry bubblegum and soul to the absolute sincerity of an enthusiastic child, cross your fingers and pray for airplay. But while the youthful sums of that formula may have grown up and walked away from their illusions of stardom, their permanent records remain. By 1973, Michael, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Jackie were as hip as kids could get – household names, with lunchboxes, coloring books, a Saturday morning cartoon, and an Alpha-Bits cereal commercial pushing the J5 brand onto any kid with television reception. Their impressive run of four consecutive #1 singles playing on both pop and R&B stations cemented their appeal to both whites and blacks, prompting MGM to launch the Osmonds as the safer (read: white) alternative. And parents? Well Michael had that wrapped up with his impossible-not-to-love mini-James Brown thing. Even their song selection straddled both sides, with “Zip A Dee Do Dah” and “ABC” for kids, and contemporary standards “Standing In The Shadows Of Love” and “My Cherie Amour” for the older crowd. This extreme marketing and merchandising juggernaut created the kid soul explosion. A decade removed from Numero’s acclaimed Home Schooled compilation comes a fresh batch of talent show titans. With enterprising parents, neighbors, and teachers turning play dates into recording dates, groups like Magical Connection, Little Man and the Inquires, and Five Ounces of Soul emulated the Jacksons, who’d made grade-school stardom appear easy as ABC. Afterschool Special: The 123s Of Kid Soul contains 19 tiny tunes ranging from bilingual D.A.R.E. anthem, to James Brown bio, to young love and life beyond the playground.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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Various: Beyond Addis 2 (Trikont) LP
Double-LP version. Includes download code. Trikont presents the second volume of the compilation series Beyond Addis, celebrating the music of Ethiopia as played by contemporary bands from all around the globe. Compiled by JJ Whitefield aka Jan Weissenfeldt, the mastermind behind the bands Poets Of Rhythm, Karl Hector & The Malcouns and the Whitefield Brothers. Features: Karl Hector & The Malcouns, The Daktaris, The Sorcerers, Debre Damo Dining Orchestra, Jungle By Night, Onom Agemo & The Disco Jumpers, Tezeta Band, Akalé Wubé/Manu Dibango, Transgressors, Les Frères Smith, Whitefield Brothers, Cosmic Analog Ensemble and Anbessa Orchestra.

File Under: Jazz, Funk, African
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Various: Katanga! 1 & 2 (Captain Trip) LP
Katanga! Ahbe Casabe: Exotic Blues & Rhythm Vol. 1 & 2 combines the first two volumes from the Exotic Blues & Rhythm compilation series named Katanga! (2013) and Ahbe Casabe! (2013) with two additional bonus tracks (CD only). This album is a colorful garden of delights consisting of R’n’B and rock’n’roll based songs from the 1940s to the early 1960s that all have this slightly exotic, dark and mystical feeling from the melody structures and instrumentation. Eddie Cole & Three Peppers with their hypnotizing groover “Police” for example present a Caribbean mento with a mambo and rhythm’n’blues feel. This piece finds its roots in the late 1940s and demonstrates how far even the predecessors of rock music already got in their development. It is only one out of 26 rare gems. The collection starts with the recognizable, gloomy bluesy tune named “Green Onions” played the Claus Ogermann Orchestra. The Ahbe Casabe portion is where the strange and quirky charm of exotica music captures souls even more. The title track for example is a song from the late ’50s written by proto hippie Ehden Ahbez and combines a Latin groove with a vocal melody speaking of dark backstreets in oriental cities. The backing vocal effects here are more than strange somewhere between a deep gnarling and chipmunk-style squeaking while the lead vocals on the other hand are soulful and striking as expected. Kip Tyler’s “Shadow Street” leaves the listener somewhere in between the jungle and a haunted oriental café in a town near the desert plains of Egypt. Next to master Ike Turner & His Kings Of Rhythm with his exotic surf instrumental “Katanga” from the first part, good old rock’n’roll pioneer Bill Haley And His Comets should be the most famous contributor to this musical treasure chest. A nice little oddity bonus track is “The Riddle Of The Papawhos” by Danny Staton, based on old spirituals and gospels with a 1950s pop music base. The other bonus track by Elena Madera named “Pu-Chun-Ga”, is another outstanding mad Latin tune with wild female vocals. Also features: Artie Barsamin & Orchestra, Prince Conley, Joe Valino, Chance Halladay, The Chiefs, Jimmy Rushing, Sonny Til And The Orioles, Emmet Davis, Classie Ballou, Jack La Forge, Marti Barris, Steve Arlen, Bruce Cloud, Dickie Thompson, Rene Hall And His Band, Machito And His Orchestra, Mamie Perry, Lord Kitchener and Jamie Coe.

File Under: Exotica, Blues


Various: Taking It To Heart (Treeline) LP
Calgary’s newest record label, Treeline Recordings, is pleased to announce the release of its first album, Taking it to Heart, Volume 1, featuring new or unreleased music from some of Canada’s best known artists and also emerging acts from across the country. 100% of net proceeds from the sale of the album, both on vinyl and digitally, will be donated to the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Reading like an amazing playlist put together by your best friend, Taking it to Heart, Volume One  includes Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew’s aptly named instrumental, “Alberta”, while Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves shows up on an alternate version of Operators’ “Shape Of Things To Come”, Calgary weirdo Chad VanGaalen offers up “Delicious Plants”, while the hazy live version of The Besnard Lakes’  “46 Satires” closes out the thirteen song benefit compilation. Other artists on the compilation include Halifax slacker-rockers Nap Eyes, Cuff The Duke’s Wayne Petti, Winnipeg’s reunited Duotang with its first release in over a decade, along with contributions from Woodpigeon, We Are Wolves, Melted Mirror, SAVK, Pre Nup and a rare track from Noah’s Arkweld (aka Noah Mintz, formerly of hHead).  Noah Mintz also mastered the album at Lacquer Channel Mastering (Toronto, Ontario). Taking It To Heart, Volume One will be sold exclusively on Bandcamp.  The album will be released on 180-gram 12” coloured vinyl (blood red with black marbling), in a limited edition of 500 copies.  Each 12″ will be hand-numbered and will include a code for download.  The album can also be purchased digitally. Understanding the devastating impact heart disease or strokes can have on families, the label was launched as a way to raise money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation and shine a spotlight on some amazing music being created across the country.

File Under: Indie Rock
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African Head Charge: My Life in a Hole in the Ground (On-U Sound) LP
Amanaz: Africa (Now Again) LP
Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino) LP
Anonymous: Inside the Shadow (Macchu Picchu) LP
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (Capitol) LP
Beach House: Depression Cherry (Sub Pop) LP
Black Mountain: In The Future (Jagjaguwar) LP
Black Mountain: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
Blood Orange: Cupid Deluxe (Domino) LP
Boards of Canada: Music Has The Right to Children (Warp) LP
Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming (Daptone) LP
Charles Bradley: Victim of Love (Daptone) LP
Can: Ege Bamyasi (Mute) LP
Can: Soundtracks (Mute) LP
Case/Lang/Veirs: s/t (Anti) LP
Anthony Child: Electronic Recordings from Maui Vol 1 (Editions Mego) LP
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Manifesto) LP
Lana Del Rey: Honeymoon (Interescope) LP
Feist: Reminder (Arts & Crafts) LP
Fever Ray: s/t (Mute) LP
Four Tet: Rounds (Domino) LP
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (Westbound) LP
Grimes: Art Angels (Crystal Math) LP
Grimes: Geidi Primes (Arbutus) LP
Grimes: Visions (Arbutus) LP
Grizzly Bear: Yellow House (Warp) LP
P.J. Harvey: Let England Shake (Island) LP
P.J. Harvey: To Bring You My Love (Island) LP
Daniel Johnston: Yip Jump Music (Eye) LP
July Talk: Touch (Sleepless) LP
Kacy & Clayton: Strange Country (Big White Cloud) LP
Knife: Shaking the Habitual (Mute) LP
Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (Aftermath) LP
LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver (DFA) LP
Led Zeppelin: House of the Holy (Warner) LP
Mayhem: Deathcrush (Back on Black) LP
Mos Def/Talib Kweli: Black Star (Rawkus) LP
Nine Inch Nails: Downward Spiral (Interscope) LP
Not Waving: Voices (Not Waving) LP
Angel Olsen: My Woman (Jagjaguwar) LP
William Onyeabor: Who Is… (Luaka Bop) LP
Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance (Fire) LP
Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions (Def Jam) LP
Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicans (Nonesuch) LP
Sinoia Caves: Beyond The Black Rainbow (Jagjaguwar) LP
Tame Impala: Currents (Modular) LP
Tragically Hip: Fully Completely (MCA) LP
Twenty One Pilots: Blurryface (Ace Fu) LP
Piero Umiliani: Genti E Paesi (Black Sweat) LP
Chad Van Gaalen: Infiniheart (Sub Pop) LP
War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream (Jagjaguwar) LP
Kamasi Washington: The Epic (Brainfeeder) LP
Kanye West: 808s And Heartbreak (Def Jam) LP
Kanye West: College Dropout (Def Jam) LP
Kanye West: Late Registraion (Def Jam) LP
Frank Zappa: Apostrophe (Zappa) LP
Zomby: Where Were U In 92? (Cult) LP
Various: Library of Sound: Action Beat & Psycho Grooves (Semi Automatic) LP

Tagged , , , , , ,

… letter #757 – yaaard…..

Well, short week = short list, but there are some major releases this week! And it won’t be stopping for the next few weeks. Lots of great stuff coming out in the next couple of months, so hopefully your student loan came through. Some nice used stuff hitting the crates this week as well, come down for a dig.

…..pick of the week…..


Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree (Bad Seeds) LP
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ sixteenth studio album, Skeleton Tree, will be issued in September 2016 and follows-up the group’s most critically and commercially successful release of recent times, Push the Sky Away (2013). Skeleton Tree began its journey in late 2014 at Retreat Studios, Brighton, with further sessions at La Frette Studios, France in autumn 2015. The album was mixed at AIR Studios, London in early 2016. The first opportunity anyone will have to hear any of the songs from the album will be to watch One More Time With Feeling, directed by Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Killing Them Softly). The film will screen in cinemas across the world on September 8, 2016, immediately prior to the release of Skeleton Tree the following day. Originally a performance based concept, One More Time With Feeling evolved into something much more significant as Dominik delved into the tragic backdrop of the writing and recording of the album. Interwoven throughout the Bad Seeds’ filmed performance of the new album are interviews and footage shot by Dominik, accompanied by Cave’s intermittent narration and improvised rumination. Filmed in black-and-white and color, in both 3D and 2D, the result is stark, fragile and raw.

File Under: Rock
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… arrivals…..

ahbezEden Ahbez: Wild Boy (Bear Family) LP
In tomorrow… Gatefold sleeve. “14 rare/unreleased recordings. Guest appearances by Paul Horn, Eartha Kitt, and more. 180 gram vinyl. Fully annotated, with never before seen pictures. By now psychedelic music is a mainstay of popular taste. But questions of its origins still linger. As such, Bear Family Records now submits Wild Boy: The Lost Songs Of Eden Ahbez as fresh evidence in the quest for answers. Over the past twenty years Ahbez has gone from cult figure to harbinger of the sixties flower-power movement. This notion is born out largely by his 1948 anthem of universal love, ‘Nature Boy’, and his rare solo album from 1960, titled Eden’s Island — one of popular music’s earliest concept albums. Wild Boy: The Lost Songs Of Eden Ahbez both expands the Ahbez catalog and deepens the notion of a psychedelic movement having roots in the 1950s. Side one acts as a compilation of music that Ahbez wrote in the aftermath of ‘Nature Boy’. Inclusion of songs like ‘Palm Springs’ by the Ray Anthony Orchestra and ‘Hey Jacque’ by Eartha Kitt give listeners the chance to hear obscure cuts by big-name artists in the context of Ahbez for the first time. Side two shows the songwriter inching closer to Eden’s Island and the actual hippie movement, with absurdist rock/exotica tracks like ‘Wild Boy’ and ‘Surfer John’, as well as sweet psych-pop like the unreleased Monterey (featuring Paul Horn on the flute). The album ends with an unreleased cut, titled ‘The Clam Man’, which Ahbez recorded as an ode to a fellow bearded hermit down in Baja, CA. In total, Wild Boy: The Lost Songs Of Eden Ahbez offers seven unreleased cuts and as many rare singles to produce an overview of the songwriter’s lost work from 1949-71. What Ahbez misses in hallucinogenic content, he more than makes up for with his primitive chord structures, expansive arrangements, and lyrics about travel, leisure, free-love, and spirituality. As such, the canon of psychedelic music and that of Hippie #1 just got bigger.”

File Under: Exotica
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The Cure: Three Imaginary Boys (Rhino) LP
Originally a postpunk outfit with gothic leanings, The Cure evolved into one of the most visionary, creatively satisfying and influential groups to come of age in the 1980’s. From dreamy pop to moody expressionism, their signature sound is adventurous, hypnotic, and rich with texture. Formed in 1976 by Robert Smith and schoolmates Michael Dempsey (bass) and Laurence Tolhurst (drums), The Cure’s stunning 1979 debut, Three Imaginary Boys, on U.K.-based Fiction Records launched an extraordinary career and enduring worldwide popularity. After touring for almost all of 1977 as a quartet, the band rearranged their line-up with the sacking of Porl Thompson, giving birth to an unusual power trio. This line-up lasted only for their first record, making it unique in its essentially minimal sound. The year was now 1978, and the three (imaginary?) boys soon signed to Chris Parry’s Fiction Label. The album was subsequently released in the US with a different title (Boys Don’t Cry – after one of the band’s best selling singles) and featured a slightly different track listing.

File Under: Post Punk, New Wave
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The Cure: The Head on The Door (Rhino) LP
Originally a postpunk outfit with gothic leanings, The Cure evolved into one of the most visionary, creatively satisfying and influential groups to come of age in the 1980’s. From dreamy pop to moody expressionism, their signature sound is adventurous, hypnotic, and rich with texture. Formed in 1976 by Robert Smith and schoolmates Michael Dempsey (bass) and Laurence Tolhurst (drums), The Cure’s stunning 1979 debut on U.K.-based Fiction Records launched an extraordinary career and enduring worldwide popularity. The Cure’s 1985 album Head On The Door – their sixth full-length overall – marked another turning point for the band with its emerging pop sensibilities and talented new line-up that saw the return of bassist Simon Gallup, the re-induction of early-era guitarist Porl Thompson, and the debut of drummer Boris Williams. Co-produced with David M. Allen, the adventurous 10-track effort is still dark yet danceable and altogether infectious, home to the vibrant hit singles “In Between Days” and “Close To Me.” Head On The Door was the first glimpse of the pop heights the Cure was perfectly capable of reaching.

File Under: New Wave
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The Cure: Faith (Rhino) LP
Originally a postpunk outfit with gothic leanings, The Cure evolved into one of the most visionary, creatively satisfying and influential groups to come of age in the 1980’s. From dreamy pop to moody expressionism, their signature sound is adventurous, hypnotic, and rich with texture. Formed in 1976 by Robert Smith and schoolmates Michael Dempsey (bass) and Laurence Tolhurst (drums), The Cure’s stunning debut on U.K.-based Fiction Records launched an extraordinary career and enduring worldwide popularity. The band’s classic third album, 1981’s Faith, took The Cure further down the road of despair they’d initiated with Seventeen Seconds in 1980. It’s an album full of mournful atmospheric tracks, including their hit single, “Primary” and is often seen as the mid-point in a “Dark Trilogy” that began with Seventeen Seconds and concluded with Pornography.

File Under: Post Punk, Goth, New Wave
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The Cure: Seventeen Seconds (Rhino) LP
Originally a postpunk outfit with gothic leanings, The Cure evolved into one of the most visionary, creatively satisfying and influential groups to come of age in the 1980’s. From dreamy pop to moody expressionism, their signature sound is adventurous, hypnotic, and rich with texture. Formed in 1976 by Robert Smith and schoolmates Michael Dempsey (bass) and Laurence Tolhurst (drums), The Cure’s stunning 1979 debut on U.K.-based Fiction Records launched an extraordinary career and enduring worldwide popularity.  Originally issued in 1980, the group’s sophomore album Seventeen Seconds introduced the darker, emotionally weighted sound for which the band would become renowned in large part due to the evolution of Robert Smith’s songwriting and a line-up change that saw bassist Michael Dempsey replaced by Simon Gallup as well as the addition of keyboardist Mathieu Hartley. Seventeen Seconds marked the onset of the Cure’s “Dark Trilogy” which also included follow-up efforts Faith and Pornography.

File Under: New Wave
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The Cure: Pornography (Rhino) LP
Originally a postpunk outfit with gothic leanings, The Cure evolved into one of the most visionary, creatively satisfying and influential groups to come of age in the 1980’s. From dreamy pop to moody expressionism, their signature sound is adventurous, hypnotic, and rich with texture. Formed in 1976 by Robert Smith and schoolmates Michael Dempsey (bass) and Laurence Tolhurst (drums), The Cure’s stunning 1979 debut on U.K.-based Fiction Records launched an extraordinary career and enduring worldwide popularity. 1982’s Pornography, their fourth full-length effort overall, is still considered by many to be the finest and darkest effort of the trailblazing group’s career. The final release in a “Dark Trilogy” that began with Seventeen Seconds (1980) and Faith (1981), Pornography cemented The Cure’s role as beacons of the emergent gothic rock genre, and the band sported their signature red lipstick and big hair look for the first time during this tour.

File Under: New Wave, Goth
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July Talk: Touch (Sleepless) LP
In tomorrow… July Talk took their self-titled debut album to impressive heights, pushing out an expanded version and reissuing it for international audiences, and now they’re ready to deliver the highly anticipated follow-up. Touch arrives as the band graces the cover of Exclaim!’s September issue, and it features previously shared singles “Push + Pull” and “Strange Habit.” Following the roll out of those tracks, Exclaim! is giving you a preview of the album in its entirety. Kicking off with “Picturing Love,” taking listeners through the tales of “Johnny + Mary” and “Lola + Joseph,” then wrapping it all up with the title track, the album is an exploration of what it means to connect to one another in the modern age. The ten new songs hear the band attempting to bring their explosive, visceral live shows into recorded form, offering listeners a sense of real connection and an antidote to a mirror and screen obsessed world. Bassist Josh Warburton recently told Exclaim! that the band tried out a variety of styles — writing “country tunes, straight-up pop tunes, all kids of different variations of music that we love” — but ultimately knew what direction they wanted to take things in after hitting on “Push + Pull” and “Strange Habit.” “There’s danceability but there’s also this darkness,” guitarist and singer Peter Dreimanis explained. “The songs all had to contain a certain amount of darkness while still moving your muscles uncontrollably.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Daniel Lanois: Goodbye to Language (Anti) LP
In tomorrow… Daniel Lanois is a name that deserves to be mentioned alongside the finest sonic experimenters of the 20th century – and the 21st century too. Whatever you’re listening to – whether it be acoustic or electronic, roots or futurist, underground or pop – if you listen closely you’ll hear traces of the sonic signatures of Daniel Lanois. And what’s more he’s still experimenting as eagerly as he ever has, creating music as beautiful and new as ever before. It is a refusal to sit still, a constant hunger for new ideas and techniques, that has defined both his work as a world renowned producer and his solo works. Most recently, he has hit a rich creative seam, so apparent on the gorgeous, weightless album Goodbye to Language, which comes out September 2016. On this new album, and its widely acclaimed predecessor Flesh and Machine, Lanois connects the most forward-looking instincts that constant contact with studio technology can develop with the natural rootedness that only a lifetime in music can give a person. The work he did on Brian Eno’s ambient albums has entered into legend and would lead him onto working on some of the biggest selling records of the time. Working with Bob Dylan he brought out a roland TR-808 drum machine to use as a compositional tool – kickstarting the groove of the Oh Mercy album, and helping make it one of the most dramatic creative reinventions in Dylan’s career. A few years later, he and Eno helped bring the electronic music culture that they themselves had helped to inspire into U2′s Achtung Baby. Goodbye to Language is the perfect joining of the dots, through the world-changing experiments of his early days with Eno, through his flights through the most rarefied atmospheres of the mainstream of music. Constructed entirely from the sounds of the pedal steel guitar, Daniel on the pedal steel and his mate Rocco Deluca on the lap steel with compositional rigor that recalls the 20th century dreamscapes of Ravel and Debussy, with a sense of sonic futurism and yet also with the naturalness that can only come from someone rooted in centuries of grassroots music. And while fusions of influence can sometimes lead to homogenisation in the blending of source material, this record does precisely the opposite: it’s about highlighting the highest common factors from a lifetime of influences. Or as he succinctly puts it: “I operate under the banner of soul music – music that just feels right and comes from a truthful place.” When a musician with as much expertise and experience as Daniel tells their own personal truth, you should really listen closely.

File Under: Rock, Post Rock
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Sneaks: Gymnastics (Merge) LP
In tomorrow… On September 9, welcome Sneaks to Merge Records with the reissue of Eva Moolchan’s debut full-length Gymnastics. Sneaks songs are the mesmerizing post-punk incantations of Washington, DC’s Eva Moolchan. Bass and drum machine underpin Moolchan’s compelling vocals, and the music straddles several decades of serious minimalist fun. Sneaks is currently recording her sophomore album Hi Spirits with Mary Timony and Jonah Takagi, to be released on Merge in early 2017. See the band on tour now, with more dates to be announced soon.

File Under: Post Punk
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Jack White: Acoustic Recordings (Third Man) LP
Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 is the definitive Jack White songwriting collection, spanning his entire 20+ year career. It includes White’s acoustic-based recordings with the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and his acclaimed solo projects. The music included here is all-encompassing, highlighting White’s versatility, and the songs are presented with unique character in chronological order. The completely remastered 26-track collection includes album tracks, B-Sides, remixes, alternate versions, and previously unreleased studio recordings – and is a must for any fan of the genius that is Jack White. The album includes acoustic songs made famous by The White Stripes, beginning with “Sugar Never Tasted So Good” (originally found on The White Stripes’ second-ever 7-inch single) and then lighting upon favorites like “Apple Blossom” and “I’m Bound To Pack It Up” (remixed here from the original recordings on 2000’s De Stijl), “Hotel Yorba” and “We’re Going To Be Friends” (from 2001’s White Blood Cells), “You’ve Got Her In Your Pocket” and “Well It’s True That We Love One Another” (from 2003’s Grammy Award-winning Elephant), “Forever For Her (Is Over For Me),” “White Moon” and “As Ugly As I Seem” (from 2005’s Get Behind Me Satan), “Effect & Cause” (from 2007’s Icky Thump), and the Beck-produced “Honey, We Can’t Afford To Look This Cheap,” first found on the B-side to The White Stripes’ final single, 2007’s “Conquest.” “City Lights” (below) was written for The White Stripes’ Get Behind Me Satan but then forgotten until White revisited the 2005 album for Third Man’s Record Store Day 2015 vinyl reissue and finished the recording in 2016. The track is the first new, worldwide commercially released White Stripes song since 2008. Also featured are “Never Far Away” (recorded for 2003’s Cold Mountain soundtrack) and “Love Is The Truth” (written and recorded for Coca-Cola’s 2006 What Goes Around campaign) as well as the Bluegrass Version of “Top Yourself” and an acoustic mix of the epic murder ballad, “Carolina Drama,” both written by White and Brendan Benson for The Raconteurs’ Grammy Award-winning 2008 album, Consolers of the Lonely. White’s two chart-topping solo albums, 2012’s Blunderbuss and 2014’s Lazaretto, are represented by a remarkably diverse range of material including “Love Interruption,” “On And On And On,” “Blunderbuss,” “Entitlement,” “Want And Able,” and alternative mixes of “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy,” “Just One Drink,” “I Guess I Should Go To Sleep,” and B-side, “Machine Gun Silhouette.” The 26 tracks featured on Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 were remastered by Andrew Mendelson at Nashville, TN’s Georgetown Masters. All songs were written and produced exclusively by Jack White, except “Never Far Away” (produced by T Bone Burnett), “Honey, We Can’t Afford To Look This Cheap” (produced by Beck), “Top Yourself (Bluegrass Version)” and “Carolina Drama” (written & produced by White & Brendan Benson), and “Machine Gun Silhouette” (written by White & Rob Jones). As noted American author and music journalist, Greil Marcus, conveys in the albums liner notes: “The lack of electric guitar opens songs up to their own contrivance, and cuts out pretentions of seriousness and grandiosity in favor of the quiet, the ridiculous, the sly.”

File Under: Rock, Folk, Blues
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Wilco: Schmilco (Anti) LP
In tomorrow… Wilco’s tenth studio album, Schmilco, features twelve new songs written by frontman Jeff Tweedy and serves as the group’s third release on their own dBpm Records. Recorded at the band’s Chicago studio the Loft, Schmilco was produced by Tweedy and Tom Schick and follows Star Wars, which was released for free and as a surprise in July 2015. Mostly an acoustic collection, Schmilco bears neither the vicious, fuzz-glam guitars of Star Wars, nor the dazzling, baroque-ish arrangements that fans have come to expect from Wilco. But in their place is a spaciousness and chaos that might feel welcome after 20-some years of enjoyed but now-familiar Wilco releases. It is an intentionally loose affair. Schmilco finds band leader Tweedy in a state of alienation: how to cope with dissonance between self-identity and the public perception of his band – to maintain an innocence and earnestness even as some have come to see him as more (or less) than human, and Wilco as something other than six musicians? “I think this record is ‘joyously negative’,” Tweedy said. “It’s sad in a lot of ways but not in any that reach a conclusion of doom or hopelessness…I just had a lot of fun being sour about the things that upset me.”

File Under: Rock
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Neil Young: Time Fades Away (Reprise) LP
A bold, emotionally naked snapshot of the against-the-grain attitude embraced by Neil Young as he channeled the troubled moods of the mid-1970s, Time Fades Away serves as Young’s first live album comprised of previously unreleased material recorded with the Stray Gators while on his Harvest tour in 1972. Out of print on vinyl for decades, it is here restored to newfound sonic peaks on an audiophile pressing mastered from the original master tapes. Unprecedented at the time for an artist to release a live recording of previously unreleased songs, the rough-and-tumble Time Fades Away was captured in the wake of the overdose of Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten and at the height of Young’s fame. It finds the singer/songwriter undergoing a deep catharsis which is palpable throughout. In typical Young fashion, brilliant songs like “L.A.” and “Don’t Be Denied” emerge amidst the courageousness, looseness, and impromptu chaos. Young on the album: “It was recorded on my biggest tour ever, 65 shows in 90 days. Money hassles among everyone concerned ruined this tour and record for me but I released it anyway so you folks could see what could happen if you lose it for a while. I was becoming more interested in an audio verite approach than satisfying the public demands for a repetition of Harvest.”

File Under: Rock
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young2Neil Young: Tonight’s the Night (Reprise) LP
One of the most harrowing, weary, mournful, and emotionally raw albums ever made, Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night remains an uncompromising reflection of life, loss, and torment. Revealing the inner depths of the singer-songwriter’s pain, and presenting every note and ragged vocal expression with staggering realism, this audiophile reissue of Tonight’s the Night is mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on dead-quiet vinyl for the ultimate listening experience. Recorded in the wake of the drug overdoses of Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten and friend and roadie Bruce Berry, the unflinchingly somber affair serves as a eulogy to both men and is dark and moving in equal measures. The nocturnal, come-as-you-go arrangements and Young’s loose performances make a perfect match. Recognized by Rolling Stone as the 330th greatest album ever made, and looked upon by countless listeners as a inimitable masterwork, Tonight’s the Night is as honest, frayed, and direct as rock n’ roll gets.

File Under: Rock
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Neil Young: On The Beach (Reprise) LP
The middle album of Neil Young’s “Ditch Trilogy,” 1974’s gold-certified On the Beach was actually recorded after Tonight’s the Night but released almost a year prior. Meticulously mastered from the original analog master tapes and pressed with the utmost care on dead-quiet vinyl, this analog reissue presents the album in unsurpassed sound and brings On the Beach back to standalone LP for the first time in decades. The songs’ minimalist and mellow production frames Young’s acerbic songwriting to great effect with highlights coming in the form of the often-covered opener “Walk On,” “Revolution Blues,” and “Ambulance Blues.” The critically acclaimed set remains one of Young’s most lyrically unsparing efforts, with the singer taking everyone from the president to critics to Los Angeles celebrities to task with an unflinching mix of directness, humor, and wit that, ultimately, reveals an artist getting personal, channeling the dour moods of the era, and drawing inspiration from serenity and directness.

File Under: Rock
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Frank Zappa: Hot Rats (Zappa) LP
Shattering conventions – musical, social, political – was the life’s work of Frank Zappa, the iconoclastic musical genius, rock legend and intellectual firebrand of the late twentieth century whose work is equally revered by hardcore rockers and serious musical scholars. By 1969, after releasing a ‘mother lode’ of Mothers of Invention classics, Frank was ready to breakthrough other musical barriers that were still holding popular music in a conservative headlock. Being one if not the first album to be recorded using 16 tracks (twice the number being used at the time on both sides of the Atlantic), Hot Rats became a leading edge in both modern recording technology and the evolution of jazz/rock-fusion. Mostly instrumental, it features six original compositions, three of which are loose jam pieces, the remainder being tight ensemble arrangements. Some of the finest players around come together in varying combinations, all the while simultaneously showcasing Zappa’s guitar virtuosity. Among others, Lowell George of Little Feat lends guitar; jazz violinists Don ‘Sugarcane’ Harris and Jean-Luc Ponty and fellow Mother Ian Underwood contribute keyboard and woodwind work; and the legendary Captain Beefheart brings his unique pipes to “Willie The Pimp.” Also here is the concert staple and fan favorite “Peaches En Regalia,” a modern jazz standard, and eventually covered by the likes of Phish and The Dixie Dregs.

File Under: Rock
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Air: Virgin Suicides (EMI) LP
Aphex Twin: Cheetah (Warp) LP
David Bowie: Blackstar (Columbia) LP
Broadcast: Work & Non-Work (Warp) LP
Burzum: Belus (Back on Black) LP
Don Cherry: Organic Music Society (Caprice) LP
Miles Davis: Birth of Cool (Waxtime) LP
Miles Davis: On the Corner (Music on Vinyl) LP
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Manifesto) LP
Galactic Zoo Dossier #10 Mag
Lumineers: Cleopatra (Dine lone) LP
Ennio Morricone: Paura (Rustblade) LP
Neu!: 2 (Gronland) LP
Neutral Milk Hotel: In The Aeroplane Over the Sea (Merge) LP
Pharaoh Overlord: #1 (Hydrahead) LP
Porcupine Tree: Coma Divine (Kscope) LP
Pretty Things: SF Sorrow (Madfish) LP
Otis Redding: Dock of the Bay (Sundazed) LP
Andy Shauf: Party (Arts & Crafts) LP
Swans: Glowing Man (Young God) LP
Talking Heads: 77 (Rhino) LP
Talking Heads: Fear of Music (Rhino) LP
Talking Heads: More Songs… (Rhino) LP
Talking Heads: Remain in Light (Rhino) LP
Kanye West: My Beautiful Twisted (Universal) LP

Tagged , , , , , ,

… letter #756 – vinegar…..

First day of school for a lot of kids out there today, which means one thing… Fall new releases! Some big titles in this week and some even bigger ones on their way for next week. I hope you got your student loan all sorted out.

…..pick of the week…..

twin peaks

OST: Twin Peaks (Death Waltz) LP
These are almost all gone already, so… don’t sleep. Twin Peaks – Original Score LP. Music by Angelo Badalamenti. Artwork by Sam Smith, full package design by Jay Shaw. Pressed on 180 Gram ‘Damn Fine Coffee’ colored vinyl. One of the greatest scores ever recorded is finally back in print for the first time in 25 years! Death Waltz went back to the Warner archives, where engineer Tal Miller cut brand new vinyl masters. They then worked with Dave Cheppa at Plush Vinyl to cut new lacquers. Finally they asked Rainbo to press the record on 180g vinyl for the best possible sound quality. The record comes housed inside a 425gsm gatefold sleeve featuring lyrics and liner notes by composer Angelo Badalamenti; the cover image by Sam Smith comes approved by David Lynch himself! The gatefold sleeve is then housed within a bespoke die cut outer jacket designed by Jay Shaw featuring super subtle white spot varnish text. The whole affair is finished with a top loading obi strip & pressed on ‘Damn Fine Coffee’ colored vinyl. “I’m glad that after 25 years, Death Waltz Recording Company has re-released the original soundtrack for Twin Peaks for a new audience to enjoy. This is my defining work as a composer and I’m happy it will get a fresh listen” – Angelo Badalamenti, 2016

File Under: OST. Electronic, Death Waltz
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… arrivals…..


Haley Bonar: Impossible Dream (Thirty Tigers) LP
Haley Bonar has been releasing music under her own name for over a decade now, and she seems to get stronger with every iteration. Her newest endeavor is Impossible Dream, the follow-up to 2014’s critically acclaimed, Last War, and she made a concerted effort to write from a different perspective for each of the record’s 10 songs.  Impossible Dream was recorded on analog tape at Pachyderm Studios in Minnesota and produced by Bonar and Jacob Hansen. Here’s how she lays it out: “Everybody wants a story. Something to sell. I’m here to tell you that there isn’t one with this album, at least in the traditional sense, but ten. Perhaps each of them contain more stories, sitting inside each other like nesting dolls. I could sit here and tell you that some of the songs are about growing up in the Black Hills. Some of the songs are about my parents. Some of the songs are about sexuality. Some of the songs are about loss of youth, teenage parenthood, the lines of social disorder for women, or the terror of jealousy and suspicion. “But what I write is borne of my own set of memories and ideas, and once they are released into the world, they do not belong to me anymore. The interpretation is all yours, therefore these stories are yours. What I can tell you is this: My name is Haley Bonar (rhymes with “honor”). I’m 33 years old, a Taurus, and I live in Saint Paul, MN with my daughter Clementine. I also sing in a band called Gramma’s Boyfriend.”

File Under: Rock
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The Chills: Kaleidoscope World (Flying Nun) LP
Kaleidoscope World is not just the starting point for The Chills, but a story of how it all began and an insight into the world of New Zealand guitar-pop and the ‘Dunedin Sound’ – an influence which carries on to indie-pop bands around the world today. Originally released in 1986, the compilation captures the best of the magical early period recordings of The Chills and simply oozes excitement and possibility. The zany brightness of the cover art against the black background only hints at the wonder contained within. Now re-issued again on a deluxe 2xLP and CD set, featuring six bonus, b-sides, demos and live tracks plus an expanded gatefold cover with photos, posters and liner notes from journalist Martin Aston. As Flying Nun label founder Roger Shepherd put it – Kaleidoscope World is “complex, varied but simple and direct. Musically sophisticated but joyous, poppy and accessible. Essential.”

File Under: Alt Pop, New Zealand
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Johnnie Frierson: Have You Been Good to Yourself (Light in the Attic) LP
Followers of our output might have a pang of recognition on reading the name Frierson. That was the surname of Wendy Rene, whose work was collected into the 2012 LITA anthology After Laughter Comes Tears, and indeed, Johnnie Frierson is Wendy’s brother – a fellow member of her mid-’60s Stax four-piece The Drapels. But Have You Been Good To Yourself will come as a surprise to anyone expecting more of the beat-driven R&B Johnnie and his sibling produced – including that compilation’s much-sampled title track. A mix of spoken word and gospel songs laid down direct to cassette, these ultra-rare home recordings draw from Johnnie’s religious upbringing and his history in the music business, which was interrupted in 1970 when he was sent to fight in Vietnam. Crate digger Jameson Sweiger found Have You Been Good To Yourself and a companion album, Real Education, released under the name Khafele Ojore Ajanaku in a Memphis thrift store, but it was noticeably Frierson’s work. They hadn’t made it far – they would originally have been sold at corner stores and music festivals in the Memphis area, where Frierson continued to perform and host a gospel radio show, all the while working as a mechanic, laborer and teacher. The seven songs on Have You Been Good To Yourself are overtly religious; some, such as “Out Here On Your Word,” are strident and faithful; others, like the self-questioning “Have You Been Good To Yourself,” are more meditative. They reflect the difficult situation that Frierson was in when recording, shell-shocked from his time in the military and grieving the untimely death of his son. “He was really trying to find his way,” remembers Frierson’s daughter Keesha in Andria Lisle’s liner notes. “And writing and making music were a way out for him.” Remastered and released professionally for the first time, the message spread by Frierson – who passed away in 2010 – remains undimmed.

File Under: Folk, Gospel
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The Frightnrs: Nothing More to Say (Daptone) LP
The Frightnrs escort Daptone into the world of long-playing reggae with both the sweetest and the roughest record of the decade. Crafted under the meticulous eye of black-belt reggae mastermind/producer Victor Axelrod (AKA Ticklah), Nothing More to Say is a rocksteady masterpiece the likes of which has not reared it’s head since the golden era of Studio One. However, you’ll find no imitation here – none of the faux-jamaican cliches of lesser reggae bands. Like all things Daptone, this record is above all soulful and honest. With the exception of two soul covers (both from the Daptone catalog: Bob & Gene’s “Gotta Find a Way” and Saun and Starr’s “Gonna Make Time”,) the record is populated by original compositions of the highest order. They are simply great songs, and though their treatment here is masterful, each one of them has the melodic and lyrical substance to hold it’s own in any genre. “Till Then” invokes the coquettish hyper-rhymes of top-form Smokey Robinson, while “Hey Brother” sounds like it fell off the desk of Gamble and Huff, and “Purple” defies any comparison at all. From the first cracking snares of “All My Tears” through the final pulsing echoes of “Dispute,” the murderous rhythms of Rich Terrana (drums,) and brothers Preet and Chuck Patel (bass and piano, respectively) can be heard chunking mercilessly towards oblivion as Dan Klein pours his endearing poetry over over the top like some other-worldy falsetto potion. The combination is a sound birthday-suit raw, mesmerizing, infectious, and above all, lovely. This record will long be treasured by lovers of reggae, lovers of soul and lovers of love.

File Under: Reggae
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Gonjasufi: Callus (Warp) LP
In tomorrow… Callus begins with a musical grimace. The solitary drums enter first, their slow syncopation and rifle-shot echo setting a tone of instant, obdurate menace. The cacophony of a crowd and the oscillation of electronics pass beneath the beat, shaping veins of discord and discontent. A guitar shrieks with feedback and snarls with distortion, the teeth bared for the start of some very significant statement. And then it arrives, the voice of singer, producer, and deeply existential sage Gonjasufi, delivered from the pit of the stomach like a last will and testament. “Is anybody private?” he bellows, his pitched tone suggesting a desperate quest for breath. “Is anything sacred?” This is the countenance of Callus, Gonjasufi’s third album for Warp Records and the most challenging and raw recording of his career. In the past, Gonjasufi’s music, however dissonant it became, would faithfully drift ahead, but for these nineteen tracks, created during the last five years and in three studios scattered across two states, Gonjasufi exposes the scars of a lifetime, digging beneath the surface coat of a callus to strike nerves and expose his reality. If the earliest Gonjasufi records suggested an effort to overcome, the scowling violin drone and electronically mangled vocals of “Poltergeist” and colossal riff and crushing rhythm of “The Kill” make it clear that he’s now facing them, sans fear or hesitation. This is the other side of Gonjasufi, then, ready to battle for what he believes. Negotiating pain on record requires some time and some new skills. In the four years since 2012’s MU.ZZ.LE, Gonjasufi has grown vastly in his skills as a musician. The Cure guitarist Pearl Thompson plays on three of these tracks and, through close collaboration, showed Gonjasufi new ways to approach songs. In the past, Gonjasufi’s records have summoned worlds of sound, with ideas and instruments imported from across the globe. Here, he sculpts it all – synthesizer drone and sitar riffs, static walls and industrial beats – into a unified journey. In his own words, “It has to be authentic. Fuck a filter. Just throw the mic to the tape,” he says. “This is love. All the pain and misunderstanding still burns, but I’m here to pull all that into me and give something that will help everybody get through that. No one can stop it”

File Under: Electronic, Trip Hop, Lo-Fi
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Margo Guryan: 29 Demos (Modern Harmonic) LP
Margo Guryan’s honeyed voice and gorgeously sweet songwriting have become a favorite of the soft-pop set. As a successful songwriter, her compositions have been recorded by the likes of Jackie DeShannon, Spanky & Our Gang, Astrud Gilberto, Claudine Longet, Oliver, Cass Elliot, Glen Campbell, Saint Etienne and Harry Belafonte. Her only solo album, the magnificent Take A Picture (featuring the hit “Sunday Morning”), has become a cult classic since its release in 1968, and no wonder: its combination of marvelously funky sunshine arrangements and Margo’s delicious melodies are a heady combo. She’s influenced everyone from the Wondermints to Belle and Sebastian to Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (who listened to Take A Picture while writing Juno). In 2001, Margo released 25 Demos, a collection of fully-fleshed out demos from her personal collection. Most people’s demos are mere sketches – Margo’s are little baroque masterpieces, featuring string arrangements, circus organ, chamber-pop rhythm sections and tons of glorious echo. Now, Modern Harmonic presents the biggest collection yet, 29 Demos, all lovingly wrapped in a gorgeous gatefold jacket loaded with liner notes. Finally, an album worthy to follow Take A Picture – two LP’s worth of magnificent soft-pop.

File Under: Pop, Psych
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Horseback: Dead Ringer (Relapse) LP
Dead Ringers, Horseback’s newest full-length album, is a lush, heady, and singular blend of organic and synthetic textures. The new LP sees the one-man Chapel Hill, NC experimental project continuing to evolve while staying true to their distinctive sound. Written, produced, engineered, and mixed by the mastermind Jenks Miller, Dead Ringers finds Horseback weaving a bright web of drone, krautrock, shoegaze, metal and psychedelic elements, driven by wispy guitars, synths, beats, and clean vocals, and bolstered by dense layers of hypnotic resonance. The music is heavy yet light, taking influence from the doomiest grooves and the nuance of minimal electronics, and is the most cohesive representation of Horseback’s musical vision to date.

File Under: Metal, Drone, Psych
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howlin' wolf

Howlin’ Wolf: His Greatest Sides Vol 1 (Jackpot) LP
Continuing in our series of Chess Record Reissues, Jackpot Records presents this compilation of landmark original studio singles, from Chicago blues artist Howlin’ Wolf. Originally recorded from 1954-1965. Howlin’ Wolf electrified the sound of the Mississippi Delta blues and brought it to Chicago, laying down what would become the foundation of rock and roll in the early 1950s. Delivered in his gruff, haunting voice, his lyrics spoke of his hard life experiences and his signature growlin’ mesmerized audiences and blues musicians alike. Howlin Wolf helped make Chess Records a historic label and solidified Chicago as the worlds capital of blues.

 File Under: Blues
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meridian arc

Meridian Arc: Aphantasia (Broken Press) LP
There is a deep irony within Meridian Arc’s new album. Its title, Aphantasia, refers to a neurological disorder that prevents the creation of visuals in the brain — where there should be images there’s only a void. But to listen to Meridian Arc is to be subjected to an onslaught of visions: ghouls clawing their way out of rotten soil, a maniac on the hunt through back alleys, explorers scouring a sunless planet for signs of life. Conceived, written and performed by Andrew Crawshaw (owner and operator of design company Broken Press), his synthesized compositions are journeys through worlds that are both familiar and completely unpredictable. Crawshaw cut his teeth bashing out rhythms behind a drum kit for bands such as Terminal Fuzz Terror and A Story of Rats, before moving onto analog instrumentation which, while more anodyne, evokes much richer and bleaker landscapes. It has allowed him to blend hypnotic tempos with layered arrangements that create immersive atmospherics. Haunting, unnerving and at times almost beautiful, Aphantasia is Meridian Arc’s ode to a classic sound and a vision for its future.

File Under: Electronic, Synth
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lee moses

Lee Moses: Time & Place (Future Days) LP
Lee Moses was a huge talent and if he’d had the big hit album he richly deserved, Time And Place would’ve been it. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Moses cut his teeth in the clubs of Atlanta, the ‘Motown of the South’, where he frequently performed alongside his contemporary Gladys Knight (who reportedly wanted him for the Pips, but couldn’t pin him down). It was, however, in New York in the ‘60s that Moses made his greatest bid to find the solo fame he desired. Moses began working there as a session player, even playing frequently with a pre-fame Jimi Hendrix, but his close relationship with producer and Atlanta native Johnny Brantley eventually saw him getting his own break via a series of 45s in 1967 – most notably with covers of Joe Simon’s “My Adorable One”, The Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” and The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”. It was 1971 before Moses’ dream of being at stage front was realized, when he released his Brantley-produced LP Time And Place for Maple Records. Recorded with a band including members of The Ohio Players and Moses’ own backing group The Deciples, it was, nonetheless, Moses himself whose star quality shone through, via his scratchy guitar riffs, his throat-ripping vocals and the stirring mood that permeates the LP’s heady mix of funk, soul and R&B. The LP did no business, and Moses’ dream quickly crumbled. Though details on his life are scarce, it’s believed he fled New York disenchanted with the music industry, feeling he’d been double-crossed by Brantley both in credit and remuneration for the countless records he’d played on. Back in Atlanta, Moses returned to playing the clubs, married twice, and fell into depression and drug dependency. He died in 1997 at the age of 56. Time And Place soon became a much-sought-after item for collectors, and its cult has continued to grow over the years. Here, we re-present it on deluxe vinyl, with brand new liner notes from Sarah Sweeney including interviews with Moses’ sister and his closest collaborator, the singer and guitarist Hermon Hitson. Through them, Moses becomes a little – but just a little – less of an enigma.

File Under: Funk, Soul
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angel olsen

Angel Olsen: My Woman (Jagjaguwar) LP
Anyone reckless enough to have typecast Angel Olsen according to 2013’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness is in for a rethink with her third album, My Woman. The crunchier, blown-out production of the former is gone, but that fire is burning wilder. Her disarming, timeless voice is even more front-and-center. Yet, the strange, raw power and slowly unspooling incantations of her previous efforts remain. Over two previous albums, she gave us reverb-shrouded poetic swoons, shadowy folk, grunge-pop band workouts and haunting, finger-picked epics. My Woman is an exhilarating complement to her past work, and one for which Olsen recalibrated her writing/recording approach and methods to enter a new music-making phase. As the record evolves, one gets the sense that the “my woman” of the title is Olsen herself, absolutely in command but also willing to bend with the influence of collaborators and circumstances. An intuitively smart, warmly communicative and fearlessly generous record, My Woman speaks to everyone. That it might confound expectation is just another of its strengths.

File Under: Indie Folk
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crashOST: Crash (Mondo) LP
Mondo is proud to present the third of our Cronenberg / Shore summer trilogy: the 20th anniversary release of Howard Shore’s score to David Cronenberg’s Crash. Crash is an utterly audacious piece of work from Shore—using 6 electric guitars, 3 orchestral harps, 3 woodwinds and 2 percussionists. Shore crafts a meticulous sonic landscape. Based on the novel by J.G. Ballard, Crash deftly explores the complex interpersonal relationships of a select few, who find themselves colliding head-on with the world of car-crash fetishism. Crash is the first Cronenberg film to premiere at Cannes. John Bender wrote “Shore’s calculated instrumentation, mostly electronically manipulated guitars, harps and percussion, give Crash a cold and burnished metallic sound.” The perfect companion to an uncompromising filmmaker like David Cronenberg. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of this complex film, Mondo and Howe Records are pleased to present Howard Shore’s score for Crash for the first time ever on Vinyl, with original artwork by Rich Kelly.

File Under: OST, Mondo
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pearl jam

Pearl Jam: No Code (Legacy) LP
The 1996 sessions for No Code featured longtime producer Brendan O’Brien (his third consecutive collaboration with the band) and drummer Jack Irons, who’d joined Pearl Jam at the end of the Vitalogy sessions. They explored new approaches to writing and recording, developing songs out of jam sessions and eschewing their stadium-rock style for self-examining ballads, garage rock and even psychedelic sounds. No Code became the band’s third consecutive No. 1 album, with lead single “Who You Are” topping Billboard’s Modern Rock chart. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of No Code, Pearl Jam is pleased to reissue the highly sought after album back on vinyl. This is the first time the album has been available on the format since its original 1996 release and the first time the album is being mastered specifically for vinyl, by Grammy Award-winning engineer Bob Ludwig. The reissue will also feature recreations of the album’s original packaging, including the set of nine random replica Polaroid/lyric cards.

File Under: Rock
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Pearl Jam: Yield (Legacy) LP
On 1998’s Yield, Pearl Jam and Brendan O’Brien teamed up once again for a spirited session marked by the breakthrough of band members (guitarists Mike McCready and Stone Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament and drummer Jack Irons) bringing in finished songs for Eddie Vedder to add his signature lyrics to. With a more accessible mainstream rock sound and a full-scale tour (and replacing Irons with Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, the band’s drummer to this day), Yield became the band’s fifth straight album to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Pearl Jam is pleased to reissue the highly sought after Yield back on vinyl for the first time since its original 1998 release in celebration of the 20th anniversary of it’s 1996 predecessor No Code. The album has been mastered specifically for the vinyl format, by Grammy Award-winning engineer Bob Ludwig and features a recreation of its original packaging. Vinyl pressings of Yield currently command triple-digit prices on the secondary market. The original singles from the album are also being released separately on 7″ vinyl.

File Under: Rock
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Prairie WWWW: Wu Hai (Gurugurubrain) LP
Prairie WWWW is an experimental folk band from Taipei, Taiwan. Their music combines poetry, folk, ambient and tribal elements. From lo-fi drones, ambient flute/synth/guitar interplay, chanting and trippy rhythmic percussion, Wu Hai is a Taiwanese feedback folk funeral march, buzzing with consciousness of the hive mind.

File Under: Psych, Taiwan
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Pylon: Pylon Live (Chunklet) LP
Back in 1983, Athens, GA legends Pylon had just released Chomp, their second album and toured the country extensively, and played several opening slots for then up-and-comers, U2. Without a hint of explanation, they suddenly quit. This is their final show at the Mad Hatter in Athens, full of a frenzy of minimal disco thud, post-punk guitar scree and deliriously inspired howl. There’s little arguing that the Athens powerhouse trifecta of R.E.M., the B-52’s, and Pylon is peerless. While all three bands have achieved great critical acclaim, only the first two had the commercial acclaim they deserved. Pylon Live intends to correct that. “Randy Bewley & Michael Lachowki’s simple lines display untoward rhythm & melody, respectively. Curtis Crowe bangs away so obdurately it’s hard to understand why he didn’t become rich. Vanessa Briscoe Hay barks & brays whatever incantatory phrases seem called for. Timeless. Cool.”—Robert Christgau

File Under: Post-Punk
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Repeated Viewing: Frozen Existence (Lunaris) LP
Since 2009, Alan Sinclair’s Repeated Viewing project has produced a series of soundtracks for imagined films and beyond. Following his long running involvement in Scotland’s noise and experimental scene, Sinclair has now swapped drones and feedback for melody and structure. More recently the imagined films have become reality with Repeated Viewing providing soundtracks for Daire McNab’s “The Three Sisters” and Play4films debut short, “Art Imitates” as well as contributing tracks to Astron 6’s “The Editor”. RV’s latest offering, Frozen Existence, was recorded in 2011 but is finally getting the intended vinyl release after a series of unfortunate events. The amazing cover artwork illustrated by Adam Burke is complemented by the design styling of Eric Adrian Lee. A full color insert of the cover artwork is included.

File Under: Soundtrack
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The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World (Light in the Attic) LP
In 1968, three sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire strapped on their instruments and declared themselves The Shaggs. At that moment begun a peculiar tale that would last far beyond the group’s five-year run. Dot, Betty and Helen (and occasionally Rachel, the fourth sister) played in the group on the insistence of their father, Austin Wiggin Jr., who was convinced they were going to be big. Years earlier, Austin’s mother gave him a palm reading, predicting that her son would marry a strawberry blonde woman, that he would have two sons after his mother died, and that his daughters would form a popular music outfit. The first two became reality, so Austin was certain the third would follow suit. With pure confidence and his mother’s bold prediction, Austin decided that his daughters would forgo attending the local high school in favor of home schooling interspersed with a strict regiment of instrumental and vocal practice, along with jumping jacks and sit-ups. Soon after The Shaggs would enter Fleetwood Recording studios in Revere, Massachusetts to record their sole album, Philosophy Of The World, a collection of garage rock tunes that balanced charm and discordance in equal measure. Austin would spend most of his savings not only on the session but also on the manufacturing costs to press up 1,000 copies of the album (900 of which mysteriously vanished upon completion). Throughout the album’s simple truths are revealed through the pen of sister Dot, the songwriter of the band. The rich people want what the poor people got, just as the poor people want what the rich people got. Your parents love you. There is happiness in nearness and sadness in the farness. The album failed to fulfill Austin’s expectations of rock stardom, though the group remained together until their father’s death, performing frequently at the Fremont town hall and a local nursing home, no further albums were released. That might have been the end of it, until rock band NRBQ discovered a copy at a Massachusetts radio station and re-released it in 1980.Rolling Stone’s reviewer at the time described it as “the most stunningly awful wonderful record I’ve heard in ages”. Nearly 50 years later, the album ranks among the most polarizing LPs of all time. Some said it was the worst thing ever made. Others felt it was one of the great long players of the 20th century. Frank Zappa famously dubbed the band “better than The Beatles”, while Kurt Cobain placed the album at #5 on his list of Top 50 favorite albums. Original copies of the album fetch for $10,000. Decades later and one could argue that maybe Austin was right all along. We’re all here, still enthralled by the purity of The Shaggs.

File Under: Folk Rock
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super super blues band

Super Super Blues Band: s/t (Jackpot) LP
Super Super Blues Band started out merely as Super Blues, a conglomerate of blues pillars Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Little Walter. When Little Walter bowed out and was replaced by Howlin’ Wolf, they rightfully threw another Super on the name, and went on to release this burning, irreverent and even sometimes hilarious set of drunken, wild-eyed electric blues. Long form jams roll on in a trance as the trio of blues legends flex egos, talking shit to each other, trading off leads and ducking blasts of unexpected wah-wah guitar lines. Songs are peppered with an incredible level of banter between the trio of bandleaders that predicts the call and response sing- talking of early hip hop, laced with random screams in the background that teeter between celebration and danger. That these three ever got into the same room together is a miracle, and that they produced something so intense, energetic and weird is another almost unbelievable feat. The record is special enough as a stand-alone document of this meeting/melting of the minds before you find out the backing band consists of Hubert Sumlin, Otis Spann and freaking Buddy Guy. Lordy. Might have needed one more “super” in there.

File Under: Blues
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Titus Andronicus: S+@DIUM ROCK (Merge) LP
In July of 2015, noted rock band Titus Andronicus made history, twice. The wider world shook upon the impact of The Most Lamentable Tragedy, the triple-LP rock opera that immediately established itself as the most ambitious punk record of all time, a distinction challenged only by a foolish few. Meanwhile, in the hallowed halls of Shea Stadium, NYC’s longest running active all-ages DIY space, Titus Andronicus was doing the unthinkable again, becoming the first band in the history of NYC DIY to sell out five consecutive nights at the same venue. While these epic shows ostensibly served as a record-release celebration for TMLT (as well as an uproarious shindig for the 30th birthday of singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles), they shattered the limits of mere promotional exercise and reached mythical status. Sadly for the wider world, you had to be there…until now. The band and their patient patrons at Merge Records are pleased to announce the new live LP, S+@dium Rock: Five Nights at the Opera, a record which will allow fans everywhere their chance to relive the auspicious occasion from the comforts of their own home. Titus Andronicus’ position as the most thrilling live act in rock and roll has long been etched in stone, but never before has that riveting energy been captured on wax as it is here. The A-side to S+@dium Rock revisits some of TMLT’s most celebrated hits in a newly concise context, stripping away all studio wizardry until only the primal passion remains. The B-side offers fresh electric arrangements of the largely acoustic fifth act of TMLT’s rock opera narrative, presenting a new perspective on the material Tiny Mix Tapes praised for “emotional intensity…unrivaled anywhere in rock music,” as well as debuting the previously unreleased TMLT outtake, “69 Stones.” Taken as a whole, S+@dium Rock is a whirlwind journey through a moment in time never to be repeated, preserved for future generations starving for “the real deal.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Tuns: s/t (Royal Mountain) LP
Tuns is a Canadian indie super-group made up of Chris Murphy (Sloan), Matt Murphy (Super Friendz/Flashing Lights) and Mike O’Neill (The Inbreds). Having already toured the world, releasing critically acclaimed records and receiving multiple accolades (including several JUNO nominations) with their bands respectively – Chris, Matt and Mike have blended their worlds to create Tuns. With songs that are summer sweet and jangly, Tuns has been described as an “’90s indie fan’s dream” – AUX.

File Under: Indie Rock, Super Group
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Piero Umiliani: Due Temi Con Variazioni (Schema) LP
Many words were spent on the long and fruitful collaboration between Piero Umiliani and the director Luigi Scattini: new light has been shed recently on some of their works, in lieu of the reissue of soundtracks such as “Angeli bianchi… angeli neri”, “Questo sporco mondo meraviglioso” along with “La ragazza fuoristrada”, “Il corpo” and “La ragazza dalla pelle di luna” (the famous trilogy starring Zeudi Araya as a main character). In 1977 Scattini, a world famous Mondo Movie author, directed “Blue Nude”, one of his masterpieces: shot in New York, the movie falls between fiction and documentary, and investigates the world of hardcore pornography (Rocco Spinone, the main character, is an Italian porn actor). The movie is raw and uncompromising as demanded by the script, and anticipates Paul Schrader’s more popular “Hardcore” by a couple of years. “Blue Nude” relied on Piero Umiliani’s expert hands for its soundtrack. The Maestro decided to return to his jazz roots and composed fifteen tracks, recorded with some of the best Italian musicians of the time: Cicci Santucci, Sam Genovese, Roberto Scoppa, Enrico Pieranunzi, Franco D’Andrea, Bruno Tommaso, Gegè Munari, Carlo Coppotelli and Antonello Vannucchi. Unexpectedly, the soundtrack wasn’t released simultaneously with the movie and the music ended up being used by Umiliani one year after in an unusual music library LP, released in 300 copies under the moniker of ‘Rovi’ and titled “Due temi con variazioni” (Two themes with variations). The two themes are ‘Blue’ and ‘Easy’, and gave name to all the compositions. The soundtrack had been eventually released on CD in 2014 by the Rome-based label Beat Records, while now we can finally get our hands on the Sound Work Shop LP thanks to this reissue, destined to all those who love scores such as “I soliti sospetti” and Umiliani’s jazz works.

File Under: Italian, Library
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Vomitface: Hooray for Me (Help Yourself) LP
Jared Micah (vocals/guitar) and Preetma Singh (drums) found themselves trapped in their Jersey City, NJ, home during Hurricane Sandy. Drawing inspiration from their depressing surroundings and a shelf full of equally depressing records – Slint, Shellac, and Babes in Toyland, to name a few – Micah and Singh decided they had nothing better to do than to write loud songs. Those songs eventually became a band that they decided to call Vomitface, despite several industry professionals subsequently telling them that was a bad idea. From the beginning, Vomitface pledged to steer clear of the latest production trends and micro-genre tags, but despite their best efforts they soon became known as New York City’s buzziest “black-surf avant-grunge sludge-pop” band (a term Micah may have coined himself). In 2014, Vomitface released their debut EP, S/T, followed immediately by a second EP, Another Bad Year_, in 2015. The quick output, combined with a slew of DIY shows and tours, landed Vomitface on a list of “Hardest Working Bands in NYC” (_Oh My Rockness), an accolade that contradicted a number of previous articles that had them pegged as “best new slacker rock.” Following the release of Another Bad Year, Vomitface headed into the studio with bass player Angela Phillips (not pictured) and engineer Steve Albini to record their debut full-length, Hooray for Me. Recorded in two days in mostly single takes, Vomitface left the studio with an album that finally encompassed the raw and unhinged energy the band had been striving for all along. After the session, Albini even went so far as to tell the band that the songs “sounded fine.” The final product is an album full of sharp, deceptively catchy songs, each delivered with a self-deprecating smirk. The son of a Tennessee preacher, Micah began writing songs in high school around the same time he started working at the local record store, where he would book after-hours shows and sneak out punk records behind the manager’s back (he was fired). Singh is a law school graduate, who can beat the shit out of the drums and do a spot-on Courtney Love impression at karaoke. Singh’s booming drum kit is the first thing you hear on opener “Senior Pictures,” with Micah’s buzzsaw guitar following close behind. On “Dramamine” and “It’s Me,” vocal harmonies layer over voyeuristic glimpses into the band’s collective misfortunes. The band’s nihilism and generational self-loathing boils over on “Chew Toy,” a five minute dirge that ends with Micah sarcastically showing off his millennial participation trophies (“I hear applause it’s all for me / Hooray for me”). Vomitface recently relocated from NYC to Singh’s hometown of Toronto, Canada. With a new home base, multiple tours on the horizon, and a debut LP, Hooray for Me – making a tumultuous splash via Help Yourself Records – the pessimists in Vomitface may very well experience their long-awaited first good year.

File Under: Garage Rock
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A Day To Remember: Bad Vibrations (Epitaph) LP
Boards of Canada: Geogaddi (Warp) LP
Boards of Canada: Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp) LP
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong: Ella & Louis (Wax Time) LP
Feist: Reminder (Arts & Crafts) LP
Serge Gainsbourg: Histoire De Melody Nelson (Light in the Attic) LP
Serge Gainsbourg/Jane Birkin: J’Taime… (Light in the Attic) LP
Jayhawks: Paging Mr. Proust (Thirty Tigers) LP
Kraftwerk: Radio-Activity (EMI) LP
Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (EMI) LP
Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid M.A.A.D. City (Aftermath) LP
Mistress Mary: Housewife (Companion) LP
Harry Nilsson: Nilsson Schmilsson (Music on Vinyl) LP
OST: The Neon Demon (Milan) LP
Paul Parrish: The Forest of My Mind (Mapache) LP
Armando Sciascia: Impressions in Rhythm and Sound (Roma) LP
Armando Sciascia/Fabio Fabor: Infini (Roma) LP
Talk Talk: Laughing Stock (EMI) LP
Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (EMI) LP
Talking Heads: 77 (Rhino) LP
Talking Heads: Fear of Music (Rhino) LP
Talking Heads: Remain in Light (Rhino) LP
Tame Impala: Currents (Modular) LP
Tinariwen: Amassakoul (Modern Classics) LP
Venom: Black Metal (Back on Black) LP
Venom: Possessed (Back on Black) LP
Ryley Walker: Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (Dead Oceans) LP
Various: Ork Records (Numero) 4LP Box

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… letter #755 – mud…..

Oi! This is a lot later than I had hoped today, but my day went sideways. Anyway, some really rad stuff in this week, so I won’t keep you…

…..pick of the week…..


Pye Corner Audio: Stasis (Ghost Box) LP
At least one leap year cycle since his last album with the GB’s, Sleep Games, right now this one feels like a stygian trudge into bleakest futures, operating at such a stoned pace that it moves slower than actual time, and by submitting to its temporal warp we’re allowed to regress back into a pre-digital epoch of paranoid cold, or even civil war atmospheres and paranoia. It could almost be the soundtrack to a Ben Wheatley flick (low budget, not the over-glossy high rise) about British time travellers, forgoing Dr. Who queso for a more hard-boiled, furtive vibe about anachronistic assassins sent back to kill Nigel Farage at birth, only to uncover that he’s part of an exceedingly dangerous non-human race with ties to Johnson, Cameron and all the other pebble-people, so they round them all up and lock them in a hostel in Middlesbrough with a broken kettle and packet of poisoned monster munch between the lot. Of course, that fantasy is all set to a soundtrack of wistful electronic mists and pulsating arpeggios that could be right out of some late ‘70s / early ‘80s synth library, and ultimately shows that whilst technology has advanced in the meantime, that ostensibly archaic music still reflects an underlying eldritch darkness contemporary and relevant to both eras, then and now.

File Under: Electronic, Synth, Nostalgia
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… arrivals…..


Shinichi Atobe: World (Demdike Stare) LP
Demdike Stare prise another absolute gem from Japan’s Shinichi Atobe; presenting six tracks of original, previously unreleased material recorded sometime in the last 20 years in Saitama, Japan, perfectly complementing the sublime ambient house zen of his Butterfly Effect album. The reclusive artist has seen a lot of justified, and somewhat overdue, praise surrounding the reissue of his sole early release, the Ship Scope 12″ by Demdike Stare, originally issued by Berlin’s Chain Reaction label in 2001, whilst the dispatch of his distinguished and subtly diverse Butterfly Effect album arguably came as a surprise for many heads who had him pegged out solely as a dub house producer. His new World will expand those preconceptions again, coursing a beautifully louche and debonair vibe from the most minimal loops and motifs – the kind that one could play all day and would hardly ever tire of hearing them. The supple, floating DX7 bass contours and vaporous jazz chords of “Intro” start up like some Chicago or NYC deep house classic lost in its own reverie, and could go on for as long as it wants, before the rainy day piano house melancholy of “World 1” promptly inverts that supple aesthetic with a fizzing, hazy sort of depth perception and “World 2” switches again to a sort of trim dub momentum in stepping, swinging equilibrium, riding the groove like no other. Turnover and the lingering, slowed-down stroke of “World 3” sounds like it got waylaid from a session with Wolfgang Voigt, whilst “World 4” jettisons the bass altogether to whiz and skip away in the highest registers with an intoxicatingly heady, mesmerizing appeal which also makes the uniquely brittle but spacious breakbeat trip of “World 5” so narcotically seductive. This is highly idiosyncratic, exceptional material, with the highest recommendations to anyone with a taste for house and ambient’s refined, soulful and experimental echelons. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton. RIYL: DJ Sprinkles, Larry Heard, Kassem Mosse, SND.

File Under: Minimal, Techno
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Mario Bertoncini: Arpe Eolie (Die Schachtel) LP
Arpe Eolie is the first ever vinyl release of the works by Italian maestro Mario Bertoncini, relentless experimental composer, philosopher, artist and builder of sounds. The LP presents a selection of his compositions for Aeolian constructions: in the early ’70s he started to produce sound aggregates, true “sound sculptures” based on the Aeolian sound principle. Amongst his more spectacular installations were “Vele”, a massive Aeolian harp (more than seven meters high); “Venti” (winds), for 20 Aeolian sound generators and 40 performers; and “Chanson Pour Instrument À Vent”, an assemblage for Aeolian harps, Aeolian gongs, and one performer. By their very nature these sound objects (“sound sculptures” that liberate the concept of sound form from time development) convey a sense of natural sounds beyond the grasp of composition and musician. Bertoncini’s self-built harps and gongs are excited by blows of compressed air, or by the composer’s own breath, resulting in a musical blueprint that takes minimalist drone to a massive scale: the music unleashes itself. There’s no sense of a composer’s hand present. If at superficial levels they may sound like electronic music (long drones and swooshes of otherworldly sounds), at a close listening they reveal the intensity of a pure sound of air, far removed from both any artificial or measurable principle as well as from any casual or chance method of composition. Deluxe silver cover with silver foil design. Custom inner sleeve and four-page booklet in English and Italian. Edition of 400.

File Under: Experimental, Electronic, Italian
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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma: Songs of Forgiveness (Pre-Echo) LP
Originally released in the summer of 2014 as a cassette by Baro Recordings, Jefre Cantu – Ledesma’s Songs Of Forgiveness is now available for the first time on vinyl. Edition of 500 copies via the New York imprint Pre-Echo. Composed by Cantu – Ledesma during his first winter after relocating to Brooklyn, NY, this suite of six discrete tracks are formed by colliding micro orbits of guitar, drum machine and synth, all purposefully phasing in-and-out of sync, and painted with chords of ecstatic melancholia and tape hiss that typifies much of Cantu – Ledesma’s work. Pre-Echo Press was started in 2016 by New York based visual artist Matt Connors as a platform for disseminating a diverse and idiosyncratic array of recorded and printed matter.

File Under: Ambient, Drone
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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma: Songs of Remembrance (Pre-Echo) LP
Originally released in the summer of 2014 as a cassette by Psychic Troubles, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s Songs Of Remembrance is now available for the first time on vinyl. Edition of 500 copies via the New York imprint Pre-Echo. Compiled from recordings spanning two years and various locations, the 21 tracks on Songs Of Remembrance act as snapshots of various times and places, cover a wide range of sonic ground and call to mind any number of imagined spaces via drum machine, guitar, synth and tape explorations. Pre-Echo Press was started in 2016 by New York based visual artist Matt Connors as a platform for disseminating a diverse and idiosyncratic array of recorded and printed matter.

File Under: Ambient, Drone
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Alex Chilton: Dusted in Memphis (Bangkok) LP
First time re-issue of the legendary Alex Chilton album Dusted In Memphis, originally released in 1980. For many, this is Alex’s finest. Includes a second bonus album full of unreleased material; covers, alternate versions, fantastic demos, and infamous complete KUT radio session. All culled from the period between 1975 and 1980, a troubled – but prolific and brilliant – time for Chilton. This is deconstructed rock n roll, perfect pop songs perversely pureed, punkabilly before the term was coined, chaotic, trashy, beautiful. Allegedly, the only copy of these recordings that anyone associated with was lost in the house fire that claimed Alex Chilton’s mother’s life. If this is true, and the masters have been lost, it is truly a great, great shame as these are possibly the best post-Big Star recordings of Alex’s long solo career. This quite legendary bootleg bridges the gap between Sister Lovers (1978) and Like Flies On Sherbert (1979). It contains the Elektra demos with some songs that might be regarded amongst Big Star’s finest if they would have found a proper release. This is a great shame as it is an excellent document of where Alex was at during this stage of his career (he wooed the critics during his time in NY, but not the major labels). File between: Skip Spence’s Oar (1969), Panther Burns’s Behind The Magnolia Curtain (1981), Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night (1975) and early Cramps.

File Under: Rock, Punk
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Cosmonauts: A-Ok! (Burger) LP
Cosmonauts are a California-based band known for their simple, physically powerful songs and punishing stage volume. The group’s super killer fourth album A-OK! is being released in August 2016 on Burger Records. Get Bent proclaims, “It’s audible, vociferous, pulverizing and bursting at the seams with trippy-ish fuzzy layers of cacophonic synchronization and disharmonic reverberation in a specifically `60s beatnik drug-den, is-that-purple-zebra-in-sunglasses-ally there sort of way.”

File Under: Garage, Punk
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dom keller

Cult of Dom Keller: Goodbye to the Light (Fuzz Club) LP
12″ coloured vinyl. TCODK – a four-piece from the UK Midlands – make experimental goth- tinged psych – fans of Swans and The Icarus Line will find plenty to entertain them here. The thing that first impresses on hearing TCODK is the sheer scale of their intentions.. Take ‘Deepest Pit Of Emptiness’ for example – its prog leanings combined with a decided-ly English vocal delivery are as distinctive and profound as anything released this year. TCODK have pushed themselves sonically on this album, it’s by far their most experi-mental release to date. It’s also an album rooted in darkness.

File Under: Psych
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Dalthom: Frame Slip (Feeding Tube) LP
“Thrilling second album by the duo made up of Greg (Gary War) Dalton and Rob (Sunburned Hand of the Man) Thomas. The first album was recorded and pressed a while ago but has yet to be actually released. Perhaps because these guys are operating under Nigel Senada’s Theory of Obscurity (see The Residents’ Not Available). Or perhaps not. Only time will tell. Regardless, this sophomore effort is nothing but a goddamn corker. Knowing something about the work ethic of this pair, I had suspected this LP would be filled to the bong-lip with loosely unstructured jams and zingers. And while those elements are indeed part of the parcel, they are mere details in a large, richly varied and luminous whole. Dalton brings his multi-various musical New Zealand ex-pat weirdnesses to the party, and Thomas draws deeply on his intense Massachusetts record collector powers to create tunes and bridges and sighs that make sonic images skip across the surface of your brain like the smoothest stone on the planet. The two conjure up all the sounds on their lonesome, apart from some drum bits by New Zealand form-manster, Kraus, and some background vocals by fellow kiwi Clementine of Purple Pilgrims fame. You can hear twinges of all kinds of heavy cult tunage smeared into the corners — a bit of Hoelderlin here, a smudge of Relatively Clean Rivers there — but what it most recalls are the highest echelon exploit-o drug-powered records like LSD Underground 12 or The Happening by Fire & Ice Ltd. As a piece of music it’s as thoroughly toasted as either of those, managing to be higher key and low-key at same time. Pretty fuggin’ brilliant. Let’s hope the other album gets cut loose soon!” — Byron Coley, 2016. Edition of 300.

File Under: Electronic, Folk, Psych
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Morgan Delt: Phase Zero (Sub Pop) LP
The invocation of classic west coast psychedelia that permeates Morgan Delt’s Sub Pop debut LP feels like a continuous sunrise, never concealing its influences yet perfectly putting its songs through a gauzy lens that blurs and obscures. After releasing a 6-song cassette in 2013 followed by a full length for the Trouble In Mind label, the California native now fine-tunes his sound world outwardly rather than honing in on a specific trajectory, allowing all of his influences to coexist together in a unique yet undoubtedly Californian vision. The resulting 10-song collection, performed entirely by Delt, recorded in his Topanga Canyon studio, and mastered by JJ Golden, is a home-fi construction with a more subtle, brain-tickling character than its predecessor, and somewhat reflects a realist take on the flower power fantasy of 1967. Doused in echo and haze, slow chords lap in like Pacific waves, flanked by gentle whispers of multi-tracked, cooing vox, phased guitars and fuzz that calmly surrounds the listener’s head less than it jabs at the cortex. It takes a creative mind to make psychedelic rock music – tablas, drones, hallucinatory vocal effects, and all – without slipping into cliché, but Delt can transport what would normally be a dark-n- druggy blanket into a much more optimistic and friendly listening experience. Despite his voice being channelled through hallucinatory effects, it’s warm and inviting, projecting a sense of hope (particularly in “Some Sunsick Day,” which evokes the hopeful “We’ll Meet Again” as the world explodes at the end of Dr. Strangelove, later covered by the Byrds). It’s more or less just an invite to watch the sun rise too.

File Under: Punk, Rock
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Equiknoxx: Bird Sound Power (Demdike Stare) LP
Equiknoxx is one of the hottest, most innovative dancehall squads from Jamaica. Bird Sound Power is their debut collective show of strength, packing twelve avant, crooked riddims by core members Gavsborg and Time Cow, plus Bobby Blackbird and Kofi Knoxx, with vocals by Kemikal, Shanique Marie and J.O.E. (R.I.P). The set was parsed and pieced together by Jon K & Demdike Stare, and now thanks to link ups via Swing Ting’s Balraj Samrai, it is issued on Demdike’s DDS imprint, replete with Jon K’s sleeve design. Easily identified by the squawking bird idents peppering their cuts, Equiknoxx productions have been big in the dance since Gavin Blair, aka Gavsborg, produced Busy Signal’s billboard hit “Step Out” in 2005, followed by key instrumentals for Beenie Man, Aidonia, Masicka and T.O.K. – with many released on 7″ through their Equiknoxx Musiq label, and some of which, such as Aidonia’s “Negative”, are included in this set. Bird Sound Power arguably marks up the most striking riddim album from Jamaica in 2016, weighted with the potential to open up perceptions of current dancehall thanks to the mad character and broad reference points of its producers, encompassing King Jammy’s foundational digi-dub and Dave Kelly’s Mad House sound as much as rugged New York hip-hop and the wigged-out, feminine pressure of Virginia Beach’s Timbaland or The Neptunes. The oldest tune inside dates to 2009, but the rest are relatively recent dancehall mutations, including a number of exclusives produced in the last 12 months. Each one represents Equiknoxx’s unique aspects, such as Jordan Chung’s, aka Time Cow, brilliantly bizarre, layered arrangements of film samples, sawn-off hooks and digi-tight beats, whilst also a result of as their distinguished family vibe, Bird Sound Power exists in a paradox, contemporary but classic, and with as much potential to turn new heads onto current Jamaican sounds as Mowax’s Now Thing set back in 2001. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton. All on vinyl for the first time ever.

File Under: Electronic, Reggae
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Huseyin Ertunc Trio: Musiki (Holidays) LP
Holiday Records present a reissue of Hüseyin Ertunç Trio’s Mûsikî, originally released in 1974 on Intex Records. This cosmic free jazz improvisation by this legendary trio guided by Hüseyin Ertunç – on drums – with his then-regular partners Michael Cosmic and Phil Musra – on saxophones and additional percussion – reveals the primitive and physical approach of the trio, with Ertunç’s massive cymbals drumming building a carpet of trance-driving vibe where the reeds can freely dance without any structure. “A new world of improvisational freedom opened up for me when I first heard drummer Huseyin Ertunç’s 1974 LP Mûsikî, with reedmen/multi-instrumentalists/brothers Phil Musra and Michael Cosmic. Ertunç returned to his native Turkey about twenty years ago (and performs with the Konstrukt collective), but Musra – this tune’s composer – now resides in Los Angeles and, as regular readers of this blog know, is still active in music. Although I initially assumed that Mûsikî and Musra’s companion LP The Creator Spaces (1974) were recorded at the same session, in truth Mûsikî was recorded months earlier. The Creator Spaces is a bit more spacious than Ertunç’s date, though both are quite intense documents of self-produced and spiritually-directed improvisation. Knotty and weird, there’s a folksy unhinged-ness that really spoke to me in a way quite different from Albert Ayler, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and other music I was spending time with when I dropped the needle on the trio’s debut album. Ertunç’s percussion work really shocked me and it’s still absolutely fascinating, and Cosmic’s organ playing behind/around Musra’s tenor is just something else.” — Clifford Allen. Edition of 400.

File Under: Free Jazz
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holidays boxHuseyin Ertunc/Dogan Dogusel/Cem Tan/Umut Caglar: Gumusluk Sessions (Holidays) 4LP
“Recorded over two days yet retaining a continuous, immediate vibe, Gumusluk Sessions: At Lon’s feature a stirring quartet with Hüseyin Ertunç on piano, Doğan Doğusel at double bass, the young drummer Cem Tan, and Umut Çağlar – a stalwart of the Konstrukt group – on reeds and percussion. In the caliber of multi-album statements like Cecil Taylor’s Nuits de la Fondation Maeght (1969) and string instrumentalist and composer Alan Silva’s Seasons (1970), Gümüslük Sessions: At Lon ‘s stretches out texturally and conceptually, although there’s a loose, homegrown informality unique to these musicians’ orbit (partly attributable to the dry, open recording quality). The initial marathon pace relaxes into nattering trails and the full ensemble falls away to reveal spare duos and trios over the course of eight sides. Ertunç’s piano ebbs as zurna, flutes and bamboo reeds, auxiliary percussion and voices draw out the music’s connection to folk forms, as well as the interleaved East-West textures of Yusef Lateef and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. As ‘out’ as the music gets, there’s always a center in Ertunç’s keyboard approach; moreover, his linkages with the pliable, allover percussive buzz and thrumming pizzicato create a constant burble of jabbing movement. This is a clunky, Monkish swing or a playful push-pull, rather than the ‘tinka-tinka-ting’ of bebop. Concentrated, unflagging and incredibly spiritual, Ertunç, Cağlar, Doğusel and Tan have convened to structure an incredibly personal artistic document that speaks to the universal possibilities of freedom.” — Clifford Allen. Turkish liner notes by Volkan Terzioğlu. Colored cardboard box set with printed inner sleeves. Edition of 200.

File Under: Free Jazz
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Fire! Orchestra: Ritual (Rune Grammofon) LP
Fire! Orchestra follow their acclaimed 2014 album Enter with Ritual, slimming the ensemble down from 28 of northern Europe’s finest jazz and improvisational musicians to a mere 21. Since the release of Enter, this energetic and dynamic mass ensemble has gone from intimate jazz settings to the main hall at the Molde International Jazz Festival and a major stage at the prestigious Roskilde Festival. As brilliant as Enter is, with Ritual they have outdone themselves and produced a beast of beauty and power, extremely well executed, beautifully recorded, and produced from only two days in the studio. Free improvisations, spontaneous horns, keyboard frenzy, abstract electronics, and guitar mayhem, not to mention those glorious twin voices from heaven and hell. It’s about mysteries and rituals in music and in life. Fire! originated as the trio of Swedish improv masters Mats Gustafsson (sax), Johan Berthling (bass), and Andreas Werliin (drums). None of them are what one would call jazz purists; they all play in many different groups and contexts, including The Thing (Gustafsson), experimental folk-electronica outfit Tape (Berthling), and skewed blues-pop unit Wildbirds & Peacedrums (Werliin). Those important singers, Sofia Jernberg and Mariam Wallentin, have been on board since the beginning, and the same goes for horn players Niklas Barnö, Jonas Kullhammar, Mats Äleklint, Per Åke Holmlander, and Anna Högberg. Basically a Swedish ensemble, the orchestra also counts Norwegian, Danish, and French players among its ranks. Members of Fire! Orchestra share a wide background, combining jazz, improvised music, contemporary music, rock, garage, psych, and more. As they proclaim on their website, “please make up your own genre and mind — listen freely — don’t buy our labeling attempts…labeling sucks.”

File Under: Free Jazz
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Cara & Mike Gangloff with the Great American Drone Orchestra: Knock on Life’s Door (Mie) LP
MIE presents Knock on Life’s Door from Cara & Mike Gangloff With The Great American Drone Orchestra. “There’s a particular twinkle in the great expanse of American songwriting. This has seen countless nostalgic exploitations over the years – collections of popular songs strung together under the banner of the so-called ‘Great American Songbook’ that have reiterated the form of many of these songs without contemplating their depths. In terms of thoughtful, emotive synthesis, few have understood it in the way that Cara and Mike Gangloff understand it on this new album. They have taken older American songs, popular songs that we’ve come to understand as standards, and stretched them out into the rolling hills and vast expanses that gave birth to the nation’s earliest music. American history is a history of tension. A group of aristocrats saw fit to bestow a limited degree of freedom upon the underclasses. They called this democracy, co-opting a concept that terrified them in the hopes that the implications of its meaning might placate the unwashed masses. Within that sliver of freedom, incredible heights were reached. Blues. Jazz. Mountain music. And on and on. The songs on this record are recognizable. They’re classics. And yet here they play out in ways the songwriters could never have predicted. Cara and Mike Gangloff have married the colloquial with the eternal. With certain songs, like ‘Sentimental Journey’, they lift the material out of its saccharine setting and into the troubling and sublime nation from which it springs. ‘All of Me’ is rendered utterly psychotic, teasing apart the song’s desperate, masochistic, violent implications. The songs become essays about themselves, investigations into their own histories of terror and escape. ‘Mood Indigo’ becomes a haunting dirge. ‘Cry Me a River’ is a rhythmically jarring lightning rod of unease. The inventiveness of interpretation is spirit-raising. The cultural history of the country is one of cosmic entertainment in the face of excruciating injustice. Transcendence has always been necessary. For better or worse, the United States of America is a nation defined by expanse.” — Matt Krefting, 2016. The Great American Drone Orchestra is: Sharon Stacy, Charlie Andersen, Matt Peyton, Sonya Austin, Joe Dejarnette, Sally Anne Morgan, Isak Howell, Scott Prouty, Anne Hartman, Tatsuya Nakatani, Nathan Bowles, Michelle Dove, Reilly Stacy Blackwell, Abriel Stacy Blackwell and Willa Shea-Gangloff.

File Under: Drone, Experimental
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D.R. Hooker: The Truth (Veals & Geeks) LP
Genuine reissue of D.R. Hooker’s The Truth (1972) from the original audio sources; new analog transfer with improved mastering. “It’s a miracle any copies of this privately pressed album survived — but be thankful it did, for here is an individual vision. Some people worry about when we’ll run out of oil. A rather smaller proportion of us worry about when we’ll run out of discoverable, deep-end thrills like this. There is just no way in the world items like Donald Hooker’s 40-year-old privately pressed LP should even exist as a thing — it more than likely only ran to about 99 copies in its original format, so how the hell did even one of those survive to create these new digital and analogue versions decades later? Connecticut-based Hooker — a tall, slim hippy with a history of substance abuse — was much given to wearing the sort of austere robe he sports on the sleeve, a fairly outré move even then. In early 1972 he hired a gang of local scene musicians to flesh out his wonderful songs and after a few brief rehearsals the band began recording. As soon as they were done they split — some never even heard the finished album, and what a treat they missed. Hooker’s arrangements are truly beautiful; a simple, swinging pop song like Weather Girl exists somewhere between the Doors and Curtis Mayfield, whereas The Bible (‘If they’re knocking the Bible, be sure they are bent/ Just see and you’ll understand the book is heaven sent’) has the propulsive drive of a pained George Harrison ballad crushed up against some of Neil Young’s freeform, string-banging joy. Then there’s The Sea, with its rolling religious allegories and the remarkable Free which marries a growling hard rock throb to a vampirically groovy synth line. Hooker’s masterpiece is Forge Your Own Chains, which is part conga-led, lounge-funk soul and part, questing psychedelic dream. To think this entirely individual worldview would have once languished, unloved, in a series of under-the-racks cutout bins. And how much more magic like this is there out there?” –Rob Fitzpatrick, “The 101 strangest records on Spotify: DR Hooker — The Truth,” The Guardian, April 24, 2013

File Under: Psych, Private Press
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Konstrukt/Peter Brotzmann/Huseyin Ertunc/Dogan Dogusel/Barlas Tan Ozemek: Eklisia Unday (Holidays) LP
Eklisia Sunday was recorded live in front of a small audience on May 15th, 2011 at Eklisia – an old chapel built in the 17th century in Gümüşlük, a small village near Bodrum. This improvisation features the Konstrukt collective – which is Korhan Futacı (tenor & soprano saxophones), Umut Çağlar (electric guitar), Özün Usta (double bass, djembe, gong, bells), Korhan Argüden (drums) – incredibly enriched by the presence of Peter Brötzmann (on tenor), Hüseyin Ertunç (acoustic piano, küstüfon, gong), Doğan Doğusel (double bass, küstüfon) and Barlas Tan Özemek (electric guitar). The result of the combination is simply marvelous, because Brötzmann’s unique phrases perfectly match with the sound of what confirms to be a well-coordinated collective. “The Turkish free jazz outfit Konstrukt might be considered the most evolved improvisational band working in jazz today. Founded, not in the hotbeds of jazz, London, New York, Chicago, Wuppertal or Krakow, their isolation is the key to their success. Well, isolation and observation.” — Mark Corroto, All About Jazz. Edition of 350.

File Under: Free Jazz
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Joan La Barbara: Tapesongs (Arc Light) LP
Tapesongs (1977) is the second of two crucial Joan La Barbara reissues on Arc Light Editions, following Voice Is The Original Instrument (1976). Joan La Barbara is a composer, performer, sound artist and actor, renowned for her unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques, which have influenced generations of composers and singers. This reissue is presented in full collaboration with La Barbara. Tapesongs makes use of early electronics, and multi-tracked tape techniques to manipulate La Barbara’s signature extended vocal techniques. It includes two essential pieces: John Cage’s Solo For Voice 45 and a burning take-down of Cathy Berberian in “Cathing”. In 1977, La Barbara was living in NYC, playing concerts internationally and performing regularly with John Cage, who she described as a mentor. “I began working with John Cage in 1976 and we had done several performances of his ‘Solo for Voice 45’ from Song Books in concert,” says Joan. “Cage determined the 13-minute version for this version, overlaying all 18-pages of the score so that one hears the entire work in layers. Hearing it again after all these years is wonderful and brings back many memories.” “Cathing” uses a recording of a radio interview Cathy Berberian did during the intermission of one of La Barbara’s concerts at the Holland Festival: “She basically trashed those of us doing extended vocal techniques,” she says. “She used the interview for her own self-promotion rather than taking on the mantle of the ‘mother’ of vocal explorations. Rather tragic, I thought. So I created a work exploring extended vocal techniques and manipulating her spoken voice.” “Thunder” is for six tympani and voice, using electronic devices (the same as used in “Vocal Extensions” from Voice Is The Original Instrument), and explores patterns through instruments and real-time composition with two jazz improvising musicians. The original artwork is an incredible shot of Joan buried to her neck in reel -to-reel tape. Remastered from original tapes by Rashad Becker. Kraftliner outer sleeve & art paper inner sleeve.

File Under: Experimental, Avant Garde
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Cass McCombs: Mangy Love (Anti) LP
Over the past decade, Cass McCombs has established himself as one of our premier songwriters – diverse, cryptic, vital and refreshingly rebellious. It’s a career that’s twisted and turned, from style to subject, both between records and within them. Eighth studio full-length album, Mangy Love, is McCombs at his most blunt: tackling sociopolitical issues through his uniquely cracked lens of lyrical wit and singular insight. Throughout, he uses himself as a mirror to misguided and confounding realities, confronting them head on. The severity of his lyrics is contrasted by the music, which ventures into groovy realms of Philly soul, Norcal psychedelia and New York paranoia, articulating the spontaneity and joy of his live show better than ever before. Hip-hop and Beat poetry influences have never been more evident, with several songs employing a speech-style and clever fast-paced wordplay. There are guest appearances by many fellow musicians of his tribe ranging from Angel Olsen (on “Opposite House”) to Blake Mills, under the production of veteran Rob Schnapf and Dan Horne. Mostly written during a bitter New York City winter and while traveling in Ireland, Mangy Love is McCombs reaching new sonic heights, creatively evolving lyrically, and resulting in his most provocative, yet immediate record yet.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Chris McGregor & The Castle Lager Big Band: Jazz/The African (Jazzman) LP
One of the most important African records of all time released worldwide for the first time. Chris McGregor’s Jazz/The African Sound (originally released in 1963) is a lost global jazz classic, and a true holy grail for collectors of afro-jazz. A cornerstone of South Africa’s illustrious jazz history, it has been out of print since before the end of apartheid. This painstakingly restored reissue is the long-delayed first chance to hear Chris McGregor’s debut recording as leader. In addition to fully restored audio, the package features previously unpublished photographs by Basil Breakey and new sleeve notes by author Francis Gooding. Ten years before the Brotherhood of Breath blew the cobwebs out of British jazz, Chris McGregor had already recorded as a leader with a big band composed of South Africa’s leading jazz lights. Put together in 1963, The Castle Lager Big Band was a multi-racial group, a risky endeavor in apartheid South Africa. Modernist in outlook and dedicated to showcasing South African composers, the 17-piece band featured a galaxy of South African jazz stars, including Dudu Pukwana, Mongezi Feza, and Kippie Moeketsi. Though the band lasted only a few weeks and played a just a handful of shows, they made it into the studio to record, and the result was Jazz/The African Sound, a unique masterpiece of afro-Ellingtonia that the band hoped would put South African jazz on the international map. But history intervened, and their jazz message to the world never arrived — until now. Non-numbered repress.

File Under: African Jazz
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Niagara: s/t (PMG) LP
Reissue of Niagara’s self-titled debut, originally released in 1970. Niagara was more a project than an actual band, formed by German jazz drum legend Klaus Weiss. He formerly worked with another jazz legend from his mother country, Klaus Doldinger, and gained fame in the German jazz circuit of the ’60s and ’70s. His 1971 works with Niagara was the offspring of the vision to create an orchestra made entirely of drummers and percussionists. Despite the fact that there is definitely no regular melody instrument to be heard on this album, the two lengthy compositions are arranged in such an enthralling way, they still have a rather catchy and memorable feel. Among the cult drummers featured on this album are Udo Lindenberg (yes, the icon of German rock and pop started as a drummer) and session hero Keith Forsey. So what both compositions offer is an ever pulsating rhythm inferno, a maelstrom of different grooves and sounds. This album is not full of pop tunes. Niagara enchants and hypnotizes with a massive wall of percussion sounds, dragging the listener deeper and deeper into a state of trance, which is utterly addictive. Niagara goes deeper than most psychedelic rock with dreamy melodies and heavy organ work. Incomparable to anything else, this is an ultimate rhythm experience.

File Under: Jazz, Afrobeat, Afro-Cuban
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Prince: Lotusflow3r (Because) LP
Originally released in 2009. For more than thirty years, Prince indefatigably attacked the bulwarks which separate funk, rock, pop and hip-hop. This is a deluxe gatefold release composed of two slabs of vinyl (Lotusflow3r and MPLSound also included on CDs) as well as a poster. “On LotusFlow3r Prince has a specific mission: showcasing his long-underrated guitar playing. Whether it’s the spare funk of ‘Wall of Berlin,’ the metal grind of ‘Dreamer’ or the hazy cover of ‘Crimson and Clover,’ the music kicks into high gear when Prince starts soloing, delivering one epic face melter after another in a style halfway between David Gilmour’s and Eddie Hazel’s.” Gavin Edwards (Rolling Stone, 2009)

File Under: Funk, Pop
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Maja S.K. Ratkje: Crepuscular Hour (Rune Grammofon) LP
Double LP version. Includes CD and DVD; DVD is PAL format, region-free, with 5.1 and stereo audio. Crepuscular Hour is an epic, hypnotic one-hour piece for three choirs, three pairs of noise musicians, and church organ, to be performed in a cathedral or similar location with musicians surrounding the audience. The room fills with sound in an intense, but almost meditative hour, as the voices blend with the distortion, the noise sometimes takes over, and the organ eventually takes the music to a new level. The visual design of this concert is a play on the crepuscular rays — rays of sunlight that appear to radiate through clouds from the point in the sky where the sun is located — with the light filtered by the obstacles and musicians in the room. All texts are from the Nag Hammadi library, a collection of Gnostic texts discovered in Upper Egypt in 1945. These texts have provided a major re-evaluation of early Christian history. This recording of a performance of the piece includes a DVD of the whole concert, beautifully directed by Kathy Hinde (DVD is PAL format, region-free, with 5.1 and stereo audio). Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje (born 1973) is quite a remarkable musician, singer, improviser, and composer. Her music has been performed worldwide by the Klangforum Wien, the Oslo Sinfonietta, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Fretwork, TM+, the Cikada String Quartet, the Mivos Quartet, the Quatuor Bozzini, the Quatuor Renoir, Crash Ensemble, The Peärls Before Swïne Experience, Torben Snekkestad, Marianne Beate Kielland, SPUNK, Frode Haltli, POING, and many more. Ratkje has been composer in residence at festivals like Other Minds in San Francisco; Trondheim Chamber Music Festival; Nordland Music Festival in Bodø, Norway; Avanti! Summer Festival in Finland; Båstad Chamber Music Festival; and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Ratkje is active as a singer/voice user and electronics performer and engineer, as a soloist and in groups such as SPUNK and BRAK RUG. Other collaborators include Jaap Blonk, Joëlle Léandre, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, Stephen O’Malley, Lasse Marhaug, POING, and many more. Ratkje has performed her own music for films, dance, theater, installations, and numerous other projects. Visual art and text are often parts of her work, in installations or staged works. She has made large gallery works with SPUNK and made music for a radio play by Elfriede Jelinek, and in 2003, she played a part in her own opera, also based on texts from the Nag Hammadi library.

File Under: Electronic, Classical
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Arke Sinth: s/t (Die Schachtel) LP
Studio and live recordings, May/June 1973. Arke Sinth documents the brief and intense life of a group formed at the beginning of the 1970s within the fertile and stimulating cultural environment of the town of Padua (Italy), where electroacoustic and computer music pioneer Teresa Rampazzi had started, a few years earlier, the Nuove Proposte Sonore (New Sound Proposals) Group. Arke Sinth was a group of four young musicians and artists, who decided to perform their own music, an experimental venture into collective composition and unusual timbre associations, with possibly no references whatsoever to previously existing music genres. The rigorous music of Arke Sinth gave a sonic body to meticulously planned graphic scores and at times was associated with visuals created by one of the members of the group, Michele Sambin (one of the first Italian experimental video-artists). Arke Sinth also tried to closely link collective composition and performance, making also use of improvisational elements but refusing the premises of the American live electronics experiences, for which composition was simply the “trigger” of an almost immutably informal and/or automatic process (David Tudor, David Behrman, Alvin Lucier), or alternatively it was “dissolved” into free improvisation (MEV). Together with Michele Sambin on cello and saxophones, were his brother Marco, an accomplished saxophone player, Giovanni De Poli on EMS Synthi A and Alvise Vidolin on electronic organ and mixing. De Poli and Vidolin at that time were both pupils of Teresa Rampazzi, and shortly after the experience of Arke Sinth were involved in the foundation of the Computer Music Center of the University of Padua. Deluxe silver cover with silver foil design. Custom inner sleeve and four-page booklet in English and Italian. Edition of 400.

File Under: Electronic, Avant Garde
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sonic youth

Sonic Youth: The Eternal (Matador) LP
In 2009 Sonic Youth returned to an indie label after years of being on Geffen, with their sixteenth proper studio album, the aptly titled The Eternal. Self described as a “celebration of newfound freedom,” The Eternal is a supercharged rocker, recalling aspects of the Evol-Sister-Daydream Nation holy trinity but with cleaner, louder production and more straightforward momentum. With Pavement’s Mark Ibold joining on bass, and producer John Agnello back at the controls, The Eternal takes the melodic songwriting of 2006’s Rather Ripped and slams down the accelerator pedal. The band’s self-written bio references as influences: hardcore punk matinees; both the MC5 AND Sonic’s Rendezvous Band; Neu!, Kevin Ayers, and the Wipers. The Eternal served as the most alive, excited album the band had made in a long time. “Sure, other bands skew further towards the avant-garde. Yet no rock group better views guitars, amplifiers, and drums as a core heap of wires, strings, skins, and plugs that, once reassembled and re-imagined, produces exhilarating music that violates rules and inverts perspectives within accessible melodic frameworks. Sparked by a forward-driving momentum, The Eternal engages by way of alternate tunings, tonal shadings, sulfuric harmonics, and radical chords.” – Bob Gendron, TONE Audio, Issue 22

File Under: Indie Rock
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subrosaSubrosa: For This We Fought The Battle of Ages (Profound Lore) LP
Salt Lake City’s Subrosa are one of America’s most singular and important doom / chamber-metal bands. Their 2013 breakthrough album More Constant Than The Gods garnered the five-piece (including two electric violinists) acclaim from Pitchfork, NPR, Decibel Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly, to name just a few. In the wake of that album, they toured with bands such as Boris, Deafheaven, and Cult Of Luna, also playing prominent festivals like Roadburn, Hellfest, Southwest Terror Fest, along with many others. With this latest album, Subrosa has crafted their most triumphant and biggest release to date. For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages is their masterpiece and establishes them as one of the most important American heavy metal bands today.

File Under: Metal
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Piero Umiliani: Tensione (Black Sweat) LP
The incomparable Piero Umiliani (under his mysterious Moggi moniker) weighs in with another AWOL library gem of 1979. The Italian maestro goes resolutely left field and off track with an intra-personal exploration of the disturbed inner psyche within the human condition. Distressed electro beacons are unleashed as de-tuned predatory Carpenter-esque synth patterns come to the fore (check “Clavinet Suspence: for primal audio blastings to a lost unnamed ’80s slasher movie). With the electric eighties buzzing on the horizon, Umiliani was quick to capitalize on this cultural shift, utilizing his Moog synthesizers to tap in to changing musical zeitgeists via cost cutting experimentations for TV, adverts and documentaries. Followers of the esoteric and strange can finally dig in here with this lavishly created reissue featuring original artwork, master tape laquer cutting and Umiliani’s autograph notes on the project.

File Under: Library, Italian
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Piero Umiliani (M. Zalla): Mondo Inquieto (Black Sweat) LP
Maestro Piero Umiliani returns in the alter ego guise of M. Zalla for the 1974 compositional library piece Mondo Inquieto (Restless World) via his far reaching, experimentalist imprint Sound Work Shop. Ambient tensions are represented via a dramatic cross fertilization of orchestral strings, layered synths and primeval percussion with the Maestro on moody, reflective compositional duties. Stand out cut “Strategia” (“Strategy”) harnesses the dopest Wu Tang beats alongside swathes of high end electro blankets and is a sample classic aching to be reworked into further outer cosmos soundscapes. Black Sweat has again transferred the elements of this little known Umiliani microcosm into a respectful reissue via an integration of the stark, haunting sleeve design, laquer cutting from the original master tapes and Umiliani’s autograph notes on the project.

File Under: Library, Italian
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Piero Umiliani: Genti e Paesi del Mondo (Black Sweat) LP
The mid ’70s presented mature, fertile grounding for maestro Piero Uimiliani’s Sound Workshop Studio, exploring side ways explorations in to gravitational soundscapes and beyond. Released in 1975 via his prolific Omicron imprint, Genti e Paesi Del Mondo (Peoples and Countries of the World) is a return to the ethnic flavors so beloved of Umiliani’s zeitgeist. Umiliani turns anti-clockwise, launching a left field mental audio pad to uncharted territories. On Genti e Paesi Del Mondo sparse, eerie electronic confections spar in unison alongside moody transgressional vibes. Umiliani’s mysterious pathways unlock a trinket box echoing the Germanic stylings of Wolperath’s Plank Studio and Herzog-era Popol Vuh. This loving reissue recreates the original artwork, master tape laquer cutting and Umiliani’s autograph notes on the project.

File Under: Library, Italian
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Vakula: Cyclicality Between Procyon And Gomeisa (Dekmantel) LP
The Ukraine based producer, Vakula, presents his triple-LP album, Cyclicality Between Procyon And Gomeisa, on Dekmantel. “This album is about cycles, repetition and interaction”, says Vakula. Cyclicality Between Procyon And Gomeisa is a dashing experimental record that evokes the endless and captivating potential of electronic music, creating a mesmerizing journey through various music genres, exhibiting a singular sonic experience, whilst he works through a process of improvisation and refinement. Once again, the mastermind proves to be capable of creating complex, yet diverse musical pieces beyond genres and trends. The result: an audio adaptation of his fascinating mind; “There are two parallel processes that come together in my work: me writing music and working on the sound I want to achieve and the energy from outside that flows and transforms into thoughts, correlations, and actions.” The track titles relate to the source of Vakula’s inspiration and connect the dots between his obsession for the vastness of the universe and electronic music; ”To wonder about the universe and to dig into mythology and scientific research discovering at least some of its secrets is what keeps me endlessly motivated as a producer.”

File Under: Electronic, Dub, Techno, House
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Scott Walker: Childhood of a Leader OST (4AD) LP
Scott Walker’s orchestral soundtrack to The Childhood Of A Leader is being released by 4AD in August 2016. A key and compelling component to Brady Corbet’s directorial debut, it is Walker’s first O.S.T. work since his remarkable score for Pola X in 1999. Partly inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre’s short story of the same name, The Childhood Of A Leader is a tense psychological drama tracing the formative years of a young boy and set against the backdrop of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that led to the establishment of the Treaty of Versailles. Walker continues to work with long-term collaborators Peter Walsh (co-producer) and Mark Warman (musical director), with the latter conducting an orchestra comprised of 46 string players and 16 brass for the studio recording. Both Walsh and Warman were involved in the live film score performance of The Childhood Of A Leader, alongside a 74-strong orchestra, an event which closed the Rotterdam Film Festival in February 2016.

File Under: OST
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Wipers: Rarities (Bang) LP
Finally an official vinyl release of what was only previously released as a bootleg CD-R in the early ’90s, based on the original recordings and with new mastering. Two LPs full of Wipers rarities, including their almost impossible-to-find debut single from 1978, “Better Off Dead,” as well as other rarities from B-sides, compilation tracks, and acoustic and electric performances from 1978 to 1990. A totally necessary release for all fans of this legendary American band that put down the roots of ’80s and ’90s noise and underground rock! Deluxe gatefold sleeve with full details.

File Under: Punk
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World’s Experience Orchestra: The Beginning of a New Birth & As Time Flows On (Now Again) 2LP
Double LP version. Tip-on gatefold jacket. 160-gram vinyl. Includes booklet with previously unpublished photos and download code for WAVs. “Both World’s Experience Orchestras albums were recorded in and around Boston, Massachusetts in the mid to late 1970s and committed to vinyl in minuscule press runs by a visionary, bassist/composer/arranger John Jamyll Jones. Jones is a magical type, who communicates with his instrument, his ensembles, and jazz’s ancient lineage in a manner so profound that his late-’70s album are out of time with jazz’s trajectory, but timeless when presented today. By the late ’90s the music of World’s Experience Orchestra was circulating throughout the collections of esoteric jazz fans, the likes of Gerald ‘Jazzman’ Short and Gilles Peterson, who played ‘The Prayer’ for those, the Coltrane-enthralled searching for something new, something different. Something spiritual and honest. Peterson first offered to reissue ‘The Prayer’, as part of an anthology he was putting together with Los Angeles reissue label Ubiquity Records and that, to date, is the only official issue of any of Jones’ music. This set is the definitive catalog of Jones’ ensembles’ released work. ‘I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t know when,’ says Jones of the road to seeing his music re-issued. ‘It’s 35 years or more now, and I’ve been waiting for this, and I’m quite sure I’m not the only one.'”

File Under: Jazz
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Zomby: Where Were U In 92? (Cvlt) LP
2016 repress on black vinyl. Previously released on yellow vinyl for RSD 2012. When first released as a CD on Actress’s Werk Discs imprint in 2008, Where Were U In 92? was instantly hailed as the rave album that was never made in the early ’90s, a tumbling anthemic barrage of lost mixtape masterpieces from an artist who was starting to take the electronic dance scene by storm. However, Where Were U In 92? is not just some facsimile-style homage to the past; it takes a firm grip of the energy and sheer rushing dynamics of early hardcore breakbeat, and places those sounds and styles smack in the center of right now.

File Under: Electronic, Breakbeat
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Various: Fever (Stag-o-Lee) 10″
Stag-O-Lee present a new series called Journey to the Centre of the Song, celebrating one song at a time, and it’s many guises and interpretations. This volume focuses on the song “Fever”, features ten versions of the song and is compiled by Chris Sick. Liner notes from Chris Sick: “I’m not sure what the first version of ‘Fever’ I ever heard (hopefully Elvis, probably Bon Jovi) but it has become engrained into my psyche. This song is covered scores of times a year and has become album filler for tired artists trying to find that last track before the hand in date. This belies the history of one of the most sultry songs ever written. A burning, intoxicating and poisonous feeling of yearning, lust and passion that is ageless and endless. Sexy just doesn’t cover it. It smolders and breathes hot sweat on the back of your neck. For a crash course in ‘Fever’, check out the original Little Willie John and Peggy Lee, Elvis and the Cramps. Then listen to this… This collection tries to show the many diverse guises I have discovered lurking in the darkness. These are the versions overlooked, and often uncompiled till now. I hope this song infects you like it has me – But what a lovely way to burn…” Features: Bobby Freeman, Frankie Avalon, The Knockouts, Pete Bennett and the Embers, Little Caesar and the Romans, Ray Peterson, Sid Cooper, Sam Butera and the Witnesses, Earl Grant and Medicine Men.

File Under: Exotica


Various: Boomstix!: More Blues & Rhythm, Popcorn, Exotica & Tittyshakers (Stag-o-Lee) 10″
Stag-O-Lee present Boomstix!: More Blues & Rhythm, Popcorn, Exotica & Tittyshakers Volume 10, the tenth volume in their successful Exotic Blues & Rhythm series. Amazing and danceable tunes from the late ’50s and early ’60s – a handful of Popcorn dancefloor smashes, a few grinding tittyshakers and awesome rhythm & blues – most of them with an exotic twist. Twelve songs on a nice 10″ vinyl. Features: David Hill, The 5 Royales, The Gay Poppers, Guy Mitchell, Louisiana Red, Nellie Rutherford, Curley & The Jades, Bobby Sharp, Ernie Washington, Ruben Fort, Danny Owens and Bach Yen.

File Under: Exotica, Blues & Rhythm


Various: Nigeria Freedom Sounds! (Soul Jazz) LP
Soul Jazz Records’ new Nigeria Freedom Sounds! features a stunning selection of material spotlighting the vibrant musical scene in Nigeria at the start of the 1960s. With a wealth of musical and cultural history and newly independent from Britain, Nigerian music during this era was complex, diverse and forward-thinking, with musicians as excited in exploring their country’s own musical lineage with styles such as Juju and Apala as they were in adapting and absorbing outside influences such as Ghanaian Highlife, Caribbean Calypsos and Mambo and more. This album features many of the defining artists of this time who helped shape the Nigerian musical scene. Artists include I.K. Dairo and his Blue Spots, Haruna Ishola and his Group, E.C. Arinze, Sammy Akpabot and His All Stars, Godwin Omobuwa and his Soundmakers, Ganiyu Kale and His Guinea Mambo Orchestra and many more. Few nations on earth are as diverse as Nigeria, and the wide assortment of Nigerian music styles collected on this album reflect the country’s rich variety of cultures. Western-influenced dance music, played on European instruments such as guitar, brass, and woodwind sits alongside traditional musical styles, made with indigenous instruments such as the talking drum, marimba, or obo. And there is also religious musical styles first brought to Nigeria by European Christians and Islamic traders from North Africa. And of course, there are points where these musical styles overlap, merging into one another to create unique new sounds. This album is released as CD + booklet + slipcase, heavyweight gatefold double vinyl edition + download code, and digital release. The CD includes a large outsize 48-page book containing extensive sleevenotes by compiler Danny Fitzgerald, original photography, artist biographies, as well as selection of Nigerian adverts celebrating its independence and original artwork from some of the rare original Nigerian 45s on which this music was first (and only ever) released. The heavyweight gatefold 2xLP comes with full sleevenotes and download code.

File Under: Jazz, African, Calypso, Highlife


Various: Shadrach: Blues & Rhythm, Popcorn, Exotica & Tittyshakers Volume 9 (Stag-o-Lee) 10″
Stag-O-Lee present Shadrach: Blues & Rhythm, Popcorn, Exotica & Tittyshakers Volume 9, the ninth volume in their successful Exotic Blues & Rhythm series. Amazing and danceable tunes from the late ’50s and early ’60s – a handful of Popcorn dancefloor smashes, a few grinding tittyshakers and awesome rhythm & blues – most of them with an exotic twist. Twelve songs on a nice 10″ vinyl. Features: Jay Abbott, Chance Halladay, Johnny West, The Ken Jones Orchestra, Merle Kilgore, Oberia Martinez, The Rhythm Kings, Dorsey Burnette, Billy Duke, The Cords, The Wanderers and Little Walter.

File Under: Exotica, Blues & Rhythm


Various: Tremblin’: Steamy & Atmospheric Female R’n’B Vocals (Pancho) LP
Pancho Records presents Tremblin’ – Steamy & Atmospheric Female R’n’B Vocals. Sixteen never-before-reissued tracks of the sexiest and coolest atmospheric female R’n’B. Compiled and designed by Jordi Duró. Features tracks from: Byrdie Green, Yvonne Baker, Carol Hall, Barbara McNair, Lula Reed, Wini Brown, Dolores Gibson, Berna Dean, Paula Grimes, Donna Dee, Ruth Brown, Bettye Smith, Oberia Martin, Johni Naylor and Dora Hall.

File Under: RnB


Arcade Fire: Funeral (Merge) LP
Arcade Fire: Suburbs (Merge) LP
Dorothy Ashby: Afro-Harping (Cadet) LP
Dorothy Ashby: The Rubaiyat of (Cadet) LP
Big Black: Songs About Fucking (Touch & Go) LP
Blood Orange: Freetown Sound (Domino) LP
Brother Ah: Sound Aware (Manufactured) LP
Brother Ah: Move Ever (Manufactured) LP
Brother Ah: Key to Nowhere (Manufactured) LP
Busta Rhymes: The Coming (Get on Down) LP
Anthony Child: Electronic Recordings from the Maui Jungle Vol 1 (Editions Mego) LP
Drive Like Jehu: Yank Crime (Hedhunter) LP
El-G: Mauve Zone (Nashazphone) LP
Genius/GZA: Liquid Swords (Get on Down) LP
Gorillaz: s/t (EMI) LP
Hole: Live Through This (Geffen) LP
Konstrukt/Akira Sakata: Live (Holidays) LP
Konstrukt: Live at Tarcento (Holidays) LP
Lumineers: Cleopatra (Dine Alone) LP
Majical Cloudz: Are You Alone? (Arts & Crafts) LP
Metallica: And Justice For All (Blackened) LP
National: Boxer (Beggars) LP
Pavement: Wowee Zowee (Matador) LP
Pavement: Terror Twilight (Matador) LP
Pixies: Surfer Rosa (4AD) LP
Porcupine Tree: Up The Downstair (Kscope) LP
Portishead: Dummy (Go Beat!) LP
Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam) LP
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (XL) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: Like Clockwork (Matador) LP
Queens of the Stone Age: Lullabies to Paralyze (Music on Vinyl) LP
Velvet Underground: s/t (MGM) LP
Kamasi Washington: The Epic (Brainfeeder) 3LP
Various: Brand New Wayo (Razor & Comb) LP

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