Category Archives: Uncategorized

…..new letters #814 – loadz…..

Lots of big new releases this week, and lots of em bumped until next week too. Nevertheless, loads of killer wax in right now, and I’m sitting here staring at a few hundred records waiting to get priced and off the counter, so… I’ll let you read on.

…..picks of the week…..

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Coil with Black Sun Productions: The Plastic Spider Thing (Rustblade) LP
“This album, featuring Coil’s music literally remixed and re-arranged in ritual form to serve as the soundtrack to the Black Sun Productions extreme performance art spectacle entitled Plastic Spider Things, following the performers’ (among who was counted John Balance himself) every move. Synths, drones, and psychedelic textures lead us on mystical tour of sex and magic, serving as a testament to the undeniable connection between Coil’s music, ritual magic, and performance art. A release that all hardcore Coil and Black Sun Productions fans have long been waiting for. Not to be missed!”
File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Industrial
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miracleVarious: Miracle Steps (Optimo) LP
I keep running out of this before I can rave about it, now restocked and AWESOME…. Miracle Steps (Music from the Fourth World 1983 – 2017) has been on Optimo Music’s to-do list for ages, but it was only when Twitch and Glasgow’s Fergus Clark started crossing swords over what actually constituted “Fourth World” music that the project really got going. Twitch decided that co-compiling the release with someone who had a slightly different take on things might make for a more interesting finished product, and so it came to pass that a cohesively thrilling compilation quickly materialized as each of them drew from a wealth of different artists and eras. For the uninitiated, here’s an extract from Fergus Clark’s sleeve notes honing in on how the term “Fourth World” (an idea conjured up by Jon Hassell in the early ’80s) might be defined: “What we have attempted to gather across this compilation is a body of work which we feel directly resonates with both the literal definition of ‘Fourth World’ music and indeed our own interpretation of this unique sonic vision; from the work of the late Jorge Reyes, a Mexican musician who combined pre-Hispanic instruments with synthesizers and digital sampling, through to the work of organic ambient ensemble O Yuki Conjugate. There are tracks which utilize custom, home-made instruments and there are tracks built from scratch using the latest in digital technology, but the undercurrent tying each piece together is this deeply personal feeling of intrigue and mysterious elation. Strange and unparalleled, this feeling manages to eschew geographic borders and rigid genre movements in favor of something which manages to evoke an inner sanctum, a musical private place for both reflection and assessment. This is music grounded in nor the past nor the present, music which manages to sound futuristic yet remarkably nostalgic.” JD Twitch is one half of Glasgow’s Optimo (Espacio) and runs the Optimo Music and Optimo Trax labels. Fergus Clark is a writer, occasional DJ, and avid music fan. He is a founding member of the music and art collective 12th Isle. Housed in a gatefold sleeve designed by the redoubtable Glasgow based visual artists Al White and Jamie Johnson. Also features: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe & Ariel Kalma, Iona Fortune, X.Y.R., Jon Keliehor, David Cunningham, Larry Chernicoff, Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz, Jon Hassell, Vulgata, Afro-Disiak, Rapoon, and Javier Segura.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Fourth World
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…..new arrivals…..

childbirth

Amateur Childbirth: Your Afterlife is Cancelled (Blackest Ever Black) LP
This is Amateur Childbirth’s “Christian Rock” album. The previous LP from Ivan Matthew Hick’s solo project, 2013’s Pripyat, concerned itself with the blighted belief systems of UFO worshippers. Your Afterlife Is Cancelled expands this compelling solo project’s field of enquiry to look at a wider array of “religious anomalies”: cults, for want of a better word. Each song is about a different such anomaly. To call Hicks’s vision apocalyptic would be to underplay its cruelty. The Bible’s rampant sadism pales in comparison. This is a world where faith — in a god or gods, in astrology, morality, or any meaning whatsoever — is merely a prelude to punishment. His lyrics are vivid glossaries of pain, abjection and indignity; the songs’ protagonists swim in blood, piss, shit, and ejaculate. Eschatology and scatology are indivisible here. Drugs are rampantly abused, albeit to little benefit. There are scalpel-flashes of humor in David’s wordplay, rhyming and dour Brisbane diction — but this offers scant consolation for the songs’ embattled subjects, who wait, in vein, for salvation, while crows peck out their eyes, blood pours from their ears, and psoriasis ravages their skin. These words, for all their pessimism and body-horror, are cradled in minimalist, folk-rock arrangements that are quite dazzling in their beauty and grievously earned simplicity: Hicks’s monochord strum embellished with subtle violin, synthesizer, and percussion shading. Amateur Childbirth’s caustic end-times worldview inevitably prompts comparisons with Current 93, but also a wider (non-)tradition of caustic and disturbed loner psych that includes Simon Finn, Patrik Fitzgerald, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Jefferies, and Roy Harper. Your Afterlife Is Cancelled is a depressive tour de force from one of the most crushingly eloquent voices in the Australian underground.

File Under: Electronic, Neo-Folk, Psych
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sea lice

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile: Lotta Sea Lice (Matador) LP
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, two of the most acclaimed and gifted songwriters of our generation, have joined forces to release a collaboration as unique and unusual as their talents. Lotta Sea Lice is a conversation between friends, documented in raw, unvarnished song, brimming with personal history, crackling with energy and shot through with humor. There’s an unforced ease to the record, helped by the fact that the pair have been not just friends, but hardcore fans of each other’s work for years. They also roped in colleagues such as Mick Turner and Jim White of the Dirty Three, Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint, and Aussie icon Mick Harvey. The shared chemistry is immediately apparent in the album opener and first single “Over Everything”, with dovetailing vocal lines and intricate, shimmering guitar. The lyrics play out as a rambling dialogue as they compare notes about songwriting and inspiration; it was the first song written for this project. While some of the songs on the record are originals, it features some covers. The pair also tackle each other’s tracks on the album, with Vile delivering a delicious, souped-up version of “Outta the Woodwork” backed by Barnett herself, and Barnett taking on Vile’s “Peepin’ Tomboy” completely solo, to spine-tingling result. The overall effect of Lotta Sea Lice is of Barnett and Vile throwing open the doors to their house to listeners – it’s their party, but everyone is invited.

File Under: Indie Rock
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beck

Beck: Colors (Universal) LP
In tomorrow… The last time the mass public got a glimpse of Beck, it was at the end of the 2015 Grammy Awards, when Prince was handing him an Album of the Year award for his meditative, mostly acoustic album Morning Phase. Few people knew, but at that time the artist was already two years into work on the follow-up which has taken two more years to complete. Possibly the most aptly titled work in Beck’s storied discography, Colors unfolds in an intoxicating rainbow of auditory tricks and treats, making it a summery smash for the fall season. In addition to the captivating piano-driven “Dear Life,” Colors includes both Beck singles that preceded it: a new mix of the psych-dance summer jam “Dreams” that NPR hailed as “urgently contemporary and irresistibly vintage” and the retro-futuristic earworm “Wow” that had Stereogum praising its “big, sweet incandescent hook” and Esquire rejoicing, “All hail the return of Party Beck.” Dubbed as a “euphoric blast of experimental pop” by Rolling Stone, Colors was produced by the in demand Greg Kurstin (Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Sia) and Beck, with the exception of “Wow” produced by Beck and Cole M.G.N. and “Fix Me” produced by Beck. The album was mixed by Serban Ghenea, except “Dreams” and “Up All Night,” which were mixed by Kurstin and Beck.

 File Under: Indie Rock
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caminiti

Evan Caminiti: Toxic City Music (Dust Editions) LP
Barn Owl’s Evan Caminiti leaves most any trace of Americana for dust in the rearview of Toxic City, where he fully pursues the distorted, emotive aches and atonal themes that cropped up in Meridian (2015) into more blown-out, sci-fi-tinted headspaces, with Jefre Canta Ledesma helping frame his vision on one of the album’s biggest highlights. That sense of wistful sehsucht is still in the air of Toxic City, but now polluted by a high ppm count of diffused noise and harmonic distortion that feels more angular, choked and firmly up-to-date than the sweeping high plains sound he used to drift around. “Toxic City Music was inspired by the psychic and physical toxicity of life in late capitalism. Conceived throughout 2015 and 2016, Caminiti captured the sounds of NYC’s machinery and voices before weaving them into his studio experiments. This collection of song mutations unravels in hazy plumes and serrated edges; concrète sounds mesh with disembodied strings and corrosive electronics on “Joaquin”, drones ripple under stuttering rhythms and crude synth detritus throughout “NYC Ego”. On “Toxic Tape (Love Canal)”, layers of digital degradation smear guitar clusters, dissolving into a dubby devotional-ambient space.”

File Under: Ambient
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coil1

Coil: Another Brown World/Baby Food (Sub Rosa) LP
Two rare tracks by Coil, never before released on vinyl and commissioned by Sub Rosa. These two pieces were commissioned by Sub Rosa for these two specific projects: Myths 4 – Sinople Twilight In Çatal Hüyük (1989) and Chaos In Expansion (1993). “Another Brown World” was written by John Balance and Peter Christopherson, produced and mixed by Coil, and recorded by Danny Hyde at Threshold House, London in the Summer of 1989. The vocals were recorded at the Animist Monastery situated at the Summit of Mount Popa in Pagan, Burma. “Baby Food” was written and performed by Coil: Danny Hyde (essentials) Peter Christopherson (fundamentals), and John Balance (vibrant rays of spiritual psychosis). This track is the first to utilize the recording process known as “Sidereal Sound”, a continuation and advancement of the deep listening theories as demonstrated on the album Love’s Secret Domain (1991). Recorded in a storm in London in the summer of 1993.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Experimental
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ambarchi

Chris Cole & Oren Ambarchi: Hotel Record (Black Truffle) LP
Hotel Record is the second release from the duo/couple of crys cole and Oren Ambarchi, following on from Sonja Henies vei 31. Where their debut recording presented a disquieting portrait of the erotic dimension of romantic intimacy, the follow-up continues to explore the pair’s simultaneously musical and romantic relationship in a more subtle fashion, presenting four long-form pieces that touch on the variety of forms the life of this couple takes: as a musical duo, as a pair of travelers to exotic locations, as opponents in a game of cards… Each of the double LP’s four sides presents a distinct sound-world, yet each manages to attain the same suspended, half-sleeping feeling, outlining a space where improbable combinations of the electronic and the acoustic, of extreme closeness and amorphous distance, occurring with the gentle insistence of a dream. The opening “Call Myself” calmly unfolds a fabric of long tones from electronic organ and guitar, combining the sliding, aleatoric effects of classic David Behrman with a more hands-on feel. Over the top of this slowly shifting tonal bed, cole’s voice mutters unintelligibly into a Buchla synth, teasing the listener by suggesting a meaning that remains always out of the ear’s reach. “Francis Debacle (Uno)” builds on the foundations of a heavily amplified session of the titular card game, overlaying vocal murmurs and exhalations and mysterious room-sounds to create an impossible aural environment. On “Burrata”, a palette of vintage 1980s digital synthesizer sounds combined with guitars create an irregular texture of lush chords and bubbling melodic details, into which cole’s voice processed by a vocoder, is interwoven, reading fragments of romantic correspondence. Finally, on “Pad Phet Gob”, field recordings made in Thailand become an ambiguously acoustic/electronic rainforest, eventually giving way to a mysterious, wavering electronic tone-field punctuated by sibilant, popping mouth-sounds. Carving out an intimate and human sonic space across a diverse array of compositional approaches, sound sources, fidelities, and textures, Hotel Record is the latest dispatch from the continuing explorations of a unique duo. Ambarchi and cole reimagine electro-acoustic music, not simply as “abstract” sound, but as a diary, a love poem, a dream. Comes in deluxe gatefold sleeve with photography by crys cole and LP design via Stephen O’Malley; Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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daedrider

Dead Rider: Crew Licks (Drag City) LP
Dead Rider are up and rolling again, and Crew Licks is the latest job. After the thousand days and nights since Chills on Glass, Dead Rider had to overcome the creeping suggestion that they multitask themselves to sleep — or to premature brain death — whichever came first. Now they’re ready to get into their Rolling Stones suit and thank you for letting them be themselves again; to extrude rude grooves, shattered r’n’b and/or hip hop and mother’s blues in a priapic triad, tripped-out and overlaid, shedding the old fresh in search of new flesh; a gateway they’ve been dreaming of building in their minds. If you’re lacking for rhythm and imagination in your everyday nine-to-five, Dead Rider got the time for you. The beat is lode-bearing, brick-house solid (courtesy of batterie-man Matt Espy), but flexible, breathing. In through the cracks come stuttered words and whispers, the pealing of a steel drum, a squalling sax or two, barks from the outside. Crew foreman Todd Rittmann twines them with a cabling of acid-base guitar licks, cutting down into the roots for fingerings to invert and extend. The basslines roll and crush, bounce and squish as required (thank you, White Christmas!), bringing synth and synthesis into and away from the framework. Wafting through the room is the float and gloss of eternal rhythm and blues, whether it’s the swelling of soulful choirs, organ chords or the deft tailing of guitar lines designed to relax us in the shades of a dusty, aphrodisiac evening. All done up with wack that Thundercat would get on the one, that would drive D’Angelo or Kendrick back to the notebooks for all the right words. Crew Licks is audio-verite pop music; not created but lived, with parts of life on the run reused to facilitate other parts. A chimera, reflecting man in pieces; not whole or fully animate. But beautiful…

File Under: Rock, Electronic, Experimental
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fingers

F Ingers: Awkwardly Blissing Out (Blackest Ever Black) LP
Recorded in Melbourne and Berlin between 2015-17 by Samuel Karmel, Carla dal Forno and Tarquin Manek, Awkwardly Blissing Out’s title is instructive… the spiky eldritch song-spells of F ingers’ previous album Hide Before Dinner have become more dubwise, immersive, and potently psychedelic; Euphoric even, but paranoid and laden with self-doubt. Projecting onto strangers, watching not participating, turning ever inwards. The cosmos explored from behind closed doors, under the bedclothes, alone. Whereas Hide Before Dinner evoked the thrill, and casual cruelty, of unsupervised childhood summers — a suburban gothic of grazed knees, hide-and-seek, nettle-stings — Awkwardly Blissing Out is an album of more adult anxieties and metamorphoses. The ghouls in your neighbor’s garden are still there, but have come to represent something else, something more mundane and empirically real, but no less terrifying. Struggles with time, distance, isolation, communication, and commitment; your memories have a heaviness now. You can hear aspects of ferric post-punk and hauntological/DIY electronics in Awkwardly Blissing Out’s musical make-up… Flying Lizards’ Secret Dub Life (1995) or Brigitte Fontaine’s Comme À La Radio (1969)… not to mention two generations of Oz/NZ underground experimentation, introspection, and dereliction. Now, more than ever, F ingers’ highly evolved, but naturalistic sound-world is difficult to precisely place or unpick: a mildew-y drug-dazed dub-scape, teeming but minimalism, framed by lonesome guitar strums, Manek’s supple percussive reverberating basslines, and Karmel’s painterly synth washes, over which dal Forno exploits her voice for its pure tonal character — whether diffracting light across the loping, uncanny techno rhythms of “All Rolled Up” and the waterlogged psych-folk of “Off Silently”, or sliced and looped into disorienting patterns of abstract glossolalia on “Time Passes” and the time-dilating nine-minute title track. Awkwardly Blissing Out is a landmark recording from one of the Southern hemisphere’s most extraordinary, visionary freak units; a deep and sensuous trip that nonetheless prompts some uncomfortable — or at any rate, bittersweet — reflection on what we are, what we were, and what we might have been.

File Under: Electronic, Dark Wave, Ambient
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function

Function: Recompiled I/II (A-Ton) LP
First part of a two-part Function retrospective from Ostgut Ton sublabel A-Ton. A mixture of released and previously unreleased tracks, including Function’s remix of “Falling The Same Way” by Sandwell District and “Golden Dawn (feat. Stefanie Parnow) (Version)” by Function. “Once a cathedral, now a mall, Limelight was last in the line of Manhattan clubs whose lineage could be traced back to New York’s fertile club era of the ’70s and ’80s, which included the East Village punk and no wave scenes, the Mudd Club, Danceteria and the Paradise Garage. It’s connected to a storied New York history — sometimes holy, sometimes notorious. . . . ‘A lot of things that were worlds apart met in that deconsecrated Episcopal church,’ recalls David Sumner. ‘I used to practically live in that club, going two or three nights a week for years. I knew this was what I was going to do with the rest of my life.’ In many ways Limelight was America’s rave incubator. On a New Music Seminar night in July of 1992, the revolution was about to take hold. ‘Walking in, I didn’t know what was going on. Then I started to see xeroxed Underground Resistance 8 1/2 x 11s all around the club, like the kind of inserts that came inside their EPs,’ Dave recalls. He would go on to see Mike Banks, Rob ‘Noise’ Hood, and Jeff Mills perform for an electrified crowd as UR. ‘That night straight up changed my life.’ . . . New York itself is a major influence for Dave, as is its history of clubs — from discos and house music, to techno and raves. Think of Todd Terry’s 1988 Black Riot record or Boyd Jarvis’ 1983 release ‘The Music Got Me’ as milestones on this journey. ‘It’s a DJ’s approach to music. I remember in the early ’90s when the music was changing so rapidly and it felt so revolutionary, separating my records into piles and thinking “I need more of this — there needs to be more of this kind of record.”‘ It’s passion that drives this story of a life in music, and it’s a desire to blow your mind the same way his inspirations blew his. Function is always innovating and finding new ways to connect the dots, to continually pursue the art of storytelling through giant slabs of sound.” –Brendan M. Gillen, Interdimensional Transmissions, Detroit, 2017

File Under: Electronic, Techno
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hiss

Hiss Golden Messenger: Hallelujah Anyhow (Merge) LP
Hallelujah Anyhow is the latest studio album from Hiss Golden Messenger. Its 10 new songs, penned by HGM principal M.C. Taylor, were recorded with Brad Cook, Phil Cook, Chris Boerner, Josh Kaufman, Darren Jessee, Michael Lewis, and Scott Hirsch. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, Tift Merritt, Skylar Gudasz, Tamisha Waden, Mac McCaughan, and John Paul White provided vocal harmonies. LP includes a digital download and is packaged in a gatefold jacket containing full lyrics and photos of the band in the studio. “I see the dark clouds. I was designed to see them. They’re the same clouds of fear and destruction that have darkened the world since Revelations, just different actors. But this music is for hope. That’s the only thing I want to say about it. Love is the only way out. I’ve never been afraid of the darkness; it’s just a different kind of light. And if some days that belief comes harder than others, hallelujah anyhow.” – M.C. Taylor

File Under: Folk, Country
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jabu

Jabu: Sleep Heavy (Blackest Ever Black) LP
Blackest Ever Black presents Sleep Heavy, the debut album of broken-hearted, downtempo R&B/street-soul and supremely atmospheric, introspective electronics from Jabu: a trio comprised of vocalist/lyricists Alex Rendall and Jasmine Butt, and producer Amos Childs. The group was born out of Bristol’s Young Echo collective: an ecosystem unto itself which has birthed and nurtured a number of other notable soundsystem-rooted projects and artists to date, including Kahn & Neek, Sam Kidel, Ishan Sound, Ossia, Asda, Chester Giles, and Killing Sound (Childs with Kidel and Vessel). Jabu’s previous 7″ singles, though arresting, barely hinted at the level of accomplishment and emotional heft that Sleep Heavy delivers. It’s a future Bristol classic with a universal resonance, with songs that are highly personal but deeply relatable, and a tripped-out, time-dissolving sound design that both haunts and consoles. It is, first and foremost, a meditation on grief, loss, making sense of separation, and death; but it also looks forward to what might come after the aftermath: healing, acceptance, the chance to begin again. Childs is one of the most gifted producers of his generation and his work here, grounded in hip-hop but floating free, is a thing of sustained wonder: crepuscular, melancholic, subtly psychedelic, and heavily dubwise, but always concise and purposeful. Stitched together from deep-dug and beautifully repurposed samples, it draws on influences from US R&B to Japanese art-pop minimalism — Mariah to Mariah Carey, if you will — and a rich seam of underground UK soul, boogie, DIY/post-punk, library music, and lovers rock. There is also of course a distant connection to the Bristol blues of Smith & Mighty and the sultry urban gothic of Protection-era Massive Attack (1994), but Jabu’s orchestration of womb-like ambiences, cold synth tones, and brittle beats feel entirely sui generis. They provide the perfect setting for Rendall’s wounded, imploring and carefully weighted vocals, which are no less extraordinary: nodding to giants like Teddy Pendergrass and The Temptations in terms of phrasing and front-and-center vulnerability, with something of The Associates’ Billy MacKenzie in there too; defeated but defiant. Meanwhile, Jas’s heavenly interventions, sometimes leading but more often parsed and layered into tremulous, gossamer abstraction, draw a line between the Catholic choral harmonies of her childhood and the ethereal, oceanic sweep of Cocteau Twins. By its end, Sleep Heavy’s world-weariness is intact and scarcely diminished, but some light has been admitted, and is visible from the sea-floor.

File Under: Electronic, Downtempo, Soul, R&B
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jtb

Jets to Brazil: Orange Rhyming Dictionary (Jade Tree) LP
Three classic LPS from Jets to Brazil – available on 180 gram black vinyl and limited edition (indie-shop-only) clear vinyl. Jets To Brazil vinyl has been out of print since their original pressings and are in high demand. Consisting of ex-Jawbreaker frontman Blake Schwarzenbach, ex-Texas Is the Reason drummer Chris Daly, and ex-Handsome vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Chatelain, Jets to Brazil could be considered an amalgam of their forefathers with a slightly darker and more mature musical perspective. “With the 1998 release of their first LP, Orange Rhyming Dictionary, Jets to Brazil took the expectations of their peers and turned them on their heads, surprising most with their breed of music that is fresh and excitingly powerful. As the band members continue to move away from their namesakes and become more comfortable with their expanding sound, the world could see something quite intriguing evolve. Jets to Brazil followed up with Four Cornered Night in August 2000. Two years later, the band returned with their darkest, most inspirational material to date; Perfecting Loneliness was released in October 2002 and reflected mega-tight musicianship from the band.” – All Music Guide

File Under: Indie Rock, Emo, Punk
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jtb2

Jets to Brazil: Four Cornered Night (Jade Tree) LP
Three classic LPS from Jets to Brazil – available on 180 gram black vinyl and limited edition (indie-shop-only) clear vinyl. Jets To Brazil vinyl has been out of print since their original pressings and are in high demand. Consisting of ex-Jawbreaker frontman Blake Schwarzenbach, ex-Texas Is the Reason drummer Chris Daly, and ex-Handsome vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Chatelain, Jets to Brazil could be considered an amalgam of their forefathers with a slightly darker and more mature musical perspective. “With the 1998 release of their first LP, Orange Rhyming Dictionary, Jets to Brazil took the expectations of their peers and turned them on their heads, surprising most with their breed of music that is fresh and excitingly powerful. As the band members continue to move away from their namesakes and become more comfortable with their expanding sound, the world could see something quite intriguing evolve. Jets to Brazil followed up with Four Cornered Night in August 2000. Two years later, the band returned with their darkest, most inspirational material to date; Perfecting Loneliness was released in October 2002 and reflected mega-tight musicianship from the band.” – All Music Guide

File Under: Indie Rock, Punk, Emo
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king khan

King Khan: Murderburgers (Ernest Jennings) LP
King Khan, master of psychedelic R&B, used all of his magic to reunite one of his all time favourite bands “The Gris Gris” from Oakland, California to back him up on this long player. Produced by Greg Ashley at his Creamery Studio which has since disappeared because of the unfortunate gentrification of Oakland. This album shows a more singer/songwriter side to King Khan, while mixing in his classic garage punk swagger and many more subtle influences here and there. You can taste alot of Stooges, screaming saxes in full Steve Mackay style, pounding pianos, some Bakersfield California Country swing, some haunting desert sunset vibes and most of all the classic rock n’ soul that has become King Khan’s genuine signature sound. The resulting gumbo is as tasty as ever and even has the Oakland Taco King, Oscar “El Tacoban” Michel on Bass and legendary Oakland drummer for hire Garrett “with an A in the O” Goddard bashing the skins. King Khan starts a world tour this month to support.

File Under: Garage Rock, Psych, R&B

king krule

King Krule: The Ooz (True Panther) LP
The Ooz is the second full-length album from London-born 22 year-old polymath King Krule aka Archy Marshall. The sprawling 19-song epic follows his 2013 debut 6 Feet Beneath The Moon. 6FBTM brought King Krule universal acclaim, hundreds of thousands of record sales, worldwide tour dates, and put him on track to becoming a household name. For the last two years, Archy has been holed up in his south-east London neighborhood, shutting out the world, and shuttling between his bedroom recording setup and a small studio walking distance from his home. He has refined his craft; taking dramatic steps as a songwriter, producer and lyricist. This album is seeped with the results of that time spent alone. He has grown into a complete and expressive artist in full mastery of his craft. According to Archy, The Ooz is, “a smear, a mark. The constant sludge pouring out of your crevices. You have ear wax, snot, phlegm, piss, gasses, tears. Look how much you create. You Ooz constantly without even knowing. The record is called that because it’s whatever comes out of you to exist.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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land

Harold Land: A New Shade of Blue (Wewantsounds) LP
Wewantsounds present a reissue of Harold Land’s A New Shade Of Blue, originally released in 1971. Following the highly-acclaimed release of Feeling Good and Inner Peace compilations, Wewantsounds present the reissue of two superb classic albums as the first releases in their Mainstream Records Original Classics series: A New Shade Of Blue, presented here, and Buddy Terry’s 1971 album Awareness. Wewantsounds has gone back to the original negative to reconstruct the original artworks and will add many jaw dropping never-seen photo sessions Recorded in 1971, this beautiful Harold Land record produced by Bob Shad, is nothing but a Harold Land-Bobby Hutcherson quintet album in disguise. The quintet recorded a handful of marvelous albums between 1967 and 1971, mainly under the Bobby Hutcherson name on Blue Note, but they recorded one album on Chess and two for Mainstream Records. A New Shade Of Blue, recorded in Los Angeles where the quintet was based, is one of their best albums and has never been reissued outside of Japan. Featuring a superb line up comprising Buster Williams on bass and Billy Hart on drums — the rhythm section of Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi (1971) sextet — the session is augmented by Bill Henderson on piano and Fender Rhodes and Mtume on percussion. Together they create a superb soundscape featuring the quintet’s trademark sound, both spiritual and serene, with Land’s unmistakable sax playing and Bobby Hutcherson’s modal touch. The highlight of the album is the long hypnotic track “Mtume”, a deep, slow burner displaying the group’s fantastic interplay. Includes unissued session photos taken by LA photographer Dick Sanders and new liner notes by radio DJ and renowned record digger, Sam Barbatano (Sunday Jazz, KTRU Houston). CD version includes a bonus track, a beautiful eight-minute outtake “Dark Mood” briefly issued in 1974 on a Mainstream compilation.

File Under: Jazz
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lowe

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe: Kulthan (Latency) LP
Two swinging, hypnotic excursions by the Brooklynite (aka Lichens). Ethereal and melancholic, ‘Magnamite’ ponders ‘the relationship of machine and human’; whilst the wilder pulsations of ‘Heart Of Sogguth’ bear witness to a ‘unified human machine wherein the voice becomes the rhythm — all become one instrument’.”

File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Techno
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major

Paul Major: Feel The Music (Anthology) Book
Paul Major has lived resolutely at the edge of outsider music culture for nearly a half-century. As an early private press and “real people” record collector turned eminent, underground rock ‘n’ roller, his influence is felt if not heard all around us—until now. Feel the Music traces Paul’s trajectory from his formative days in the Midwest, his years in the late ’70s New York punk scene, and into his curious career as a connoisseur and campaigner of the weirdest records of all time. Brought to life with unseen photographs, rare record covers, and cut n’ paste ephemera from Paul’s long running mail order catalog, while animated by Paul’s storytelling, Feel the Music is a fanatical mystery tour through the further, outer reaches of music history. Alongside Paul’s writing, Feel the Music features essays by Johan Kugelberg, Jack Streitman, Michael P. Daley, Rich Haupt, Stefan Kery, Patrick Lundborg, Geoffrey Weiss, Jesper Eklow, and Glenn Terry. Each book also comes with a special Sorcerers and Endless Boogie split 7? vinyl record.

File Under: Books, Psych

miyashita Fumio Miyashita: Live of the Boffomundo Show (Drag City) LP
“By October, 1979, my partner, Aaron Weiner and I had produced a handful of Boffomundo Shows at Los Angeles’ first public access television studio at Theta Cable in Santa Monica. It was our good fortune to meet and partner with Tony Harrington of All Ears Records and we joined forces as The All Ears Boffomundo Show. Up to that point we interviewed King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, PFM singer Bernardo Lanzetti, and Brand X & Phil Collins (before his solo fame). All Ears Records stable of artists concentrated heavily on Japanese bands and musicians. “He introduced us to the already legendary synthesizer master, Fumio Miyashita, founder of The Far East Family Band, who Tony boldly dubbed ‘Japan’s Answer to Pink Floyd.’ While certainly influenced by the Floyd, Fumio, along with fellow band member and award winning synthesist, Kitaro, were more accurately evolving the electronic techo-stylings of Germany’s Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Temple, Kraftwerk, and other Krautrock innovators from the early 1970s. One-time Dream and Temple member, and a seminal synth innovator in his own right, Klaus Schulze, both produced and mixed several Far East Family Band albums. As Aaron recalls, ‘Fumio was a gentle soul. Soft spoken, thoughtful and intelligent. And on the cutting edge of technology. It was in Fumio’s hands that I first viewed a Sony Walkman. It is mind boggling to think what has transpired technologically since then.’ “Fumio brought multiple keyboards, percussion and incidental sundries to a studio the size of a small garage. Somehow, the staff of Theta Cable Studios managed to capture all the sound pumped through a 12″ bookshelf speaker! A single microphone rested on a wooden stool in front of that speaker. In 1980, a second appearance from Fumio included Far East Family Band members, guitarist Lance Hooks and bass player George Babon. The same lone bookshelf speaker was employed once again! That proud little speaker is no doubt fully decomposed in a landfill somewhere but the music survives…” – Ron Curtiss

File Under: Electronic, Kosmische
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monolord

Monolord: Rust (Riding Easy) LP
Monolord encompasses and transcends genre — a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. Their thunderous, tuneful heft has built a rabid international fanbase since their 2014 debut. But Rust, the band’s third full length, truly justifies why some refer to them as the Nirvana of doom. The band’s enveloping, syrupy sludge is a vibe, a state of mind. Not riffs for riffs’ sake, but a collective buzzing, rattling and rumbling that’s more total environment than collection of songs. Guitarist / vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems, and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as a fourth member. Album opener “Where Death Meets the Sea” perfectly exemplifies their mastery of dynamics and hooks: a driving, infectious buzzsaw riff that lesser bands would ride off into the sunset, but they use to subtly spur the skull rattling core ever onward. This tight rhythmic unit sounds like an early ZZ Top record played at half speed. “Dear Lucifer” squeals and hums with slow deliberation as Willems summons Dale Crover with chasm-like low-tuned toms and syncopated cymbal crashes. The album’s title track is also its centerpiece, opening with a dramatic, shimmering Hammond organ intro followed by the band kicking in with a bellowing line downtuned to B that nosedives as the drums hammer down for the kill.

File Under: Metal
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ngozi

Ngozi Family: Heavy Connection (Shadoks) LP
The Ngozi Family formed in 1975 in Lusaka, Zambia, and shot to stardom. Bandleader Paul Dobson Nyirongo aka Paul Ngozi enlisted former members of his previous band, The Three Years, and gave a popular voice to what later was called “Zamrock,” a cool fusion of older African rhythms and ’70s rockish underground modes — never too polished, but with a tightness that would have made groups up in London take notice. Heavy Connection, recorded in 1978 with drummer Chrissy Zebby Tembo, features razor-sharp guitars, hard rhythms, and a mix of English and Zambian lyrics. Original copies are impossible to find. RIYL: Witch and Amanaz. Fuzz guitars all over with African beats and political lyrics. 180-gram black vinyl. Heavy sleeve. Includes two-page insert. Numbered edition of 500.

File Under: Psych, Zambia, Fuzz
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ninos

Ninos Du Brasil: Vida Eterna (Hospital) LP
Nico Vascellari and Nicolò Fortuni come out to play in the dark on their third and deadliest LP as Ninos Du Brasil, taking their fascinations with ritual musics — from Brazilian Afro-Latin tribal rhythms to library music and freezing Scandinavian BM — deep into the festering undergrowth of their shared, exotic aesthetic. Where the cover of their first album for Hospital Productions, Novos Mistérios, depicted a naked man covered by a leopard pelt, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd’s oil painting of a screeching Chiroptera in flight on the Vida Eterna jacket makes a strong visual allegory for NDB’s finer tuned spatial sensitivities inside, with their churning rhythms now embedded in fathoms of dread space and father shaded in layers of processed vocal chants, both punk, metal, and tribalistic. The big highlight is no doubt the closing cut, “Vagalumes Piralampos”, where Arto Lindsay, the legendary founder of DNA, chimes in on a stygian, moonlit jag between the eyes of bossa nova, batacuda, and the sort of esoteric electronics also charted by Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement or Cienfuegos. But it only really makes sense after you’ve expended your energies along with the band thru monstrous techno shakedowns such as “O Veto Chama Seu Nome”, the soca-like rush of “Condenado Por Un Idioma Desconhecido”, or found yourself lost, without coordinates, in the pitch black breakdown of “No Meio Da Noite” and have been hypnotized by the stalking rhythms and atmospheres of “Em Que O Rio Do Mar Se Toma”. The creation of this album, inspired by vampirism, was born from a collaboration between Vascellari and Fortuni with producer Rocco Rampino, whose love of dense textures and low-end bombast masterfully and cleverly couples with the bands explosive percussive charge, resulting in eight tracks that mimic sharp blades scything through a nocturnal jungle. RIYL: Psychedelic Warriors Of Gaia, Female, Vatican Shadow. Cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Comes in a gatefold jacket.

File Under: Electronic, Batucada, Latin, Industrial
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odwyer

Aine O’Dwyer: Gallarais (Mie) LP
David Toop, on hearing Áine O’Dwyer’s Gallarais and the subsequent conversations between November 2016 and January 2017. “Sleep music, the underworld. Twenty-six letters were sent, not far to travel, from Proust, hypersensitive writer to his upstairs neighbour, Marie Williams — ‘I was rather troubled by noise . . . I was trying to sleep off an attack. But at 8am the tapping on the parquet was so distinct that the Veronal didn’t work and I woke with the attack still raging.’ Marie Williams played harp, though it was not the harp that dragged Proust from the fumes of a bedroom armed against asthma attacks, cork-lined to smother noise.. . . Proust spoke of an imperceptible breath, ‘like the wind breathing into the stem of a reed’, mingling with the subdued song of his dying grandmother’s breathing, ‘swift and light . . . gliding like a skater towards the delicious fluid’, the human sighs released at the approach of death . . . ‘Who’s there?’ cries out the old man, stark terror pulled awake at the faintest of noises from pitch black vicinity of an unseen doorway. . . . There is one voice or two, whispers of shaping breath thrown into far obscure and occult recesses of the space as if spirits on the wing whose feathers shriek and keen. They are swans with near-human heads, carrying the lightness of souls, moving between dry land of the living, subterranean rivers of the dead. Sleep music they make, its murmurs written by the method of ‘passive writing’, a transcribing of tongues unknown to all but the most open of listeners. . . . The space was a cave, a tunnel, a room without windows. A skull without eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, though as Beckett had noticed, the soul turns in this cage as in a lantern, silence ‘beating against the walls and being beaten back by them’; the space was a chapel, upturned boat, perhaps the curragh that carried Maildun and his crew to the Isle of Weeping, the Isle of Speaking Birds, the Palace of Solitude. . . . ‘Within a house described by Mary Butts, in Ashe of Rings (1998), the bronze note of a clock rings, ‘like a body falling bound into deep water’. . . . The body descended into the tunnel, never to return as itself.”

File Under: Electronic, Drone

rainforest

Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: Jungle Black Magic… (Hospital) LP
Released on vinyl for the time, Jungle Black Magic And Highlands Green Sorcery is the most substantial and disorientating release in the Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement vinyl series yet, clocking in at 40 minutes and deploying some of the most uncomfortably humid productions in Dominick Fernow’s arsenal. Jungle Black Magic marks the third in a series of first-time vinyl editions of early RSE material. It was originally released as a double cassette release in 2012 in an edition of 49. Stalking phantom apparitions and infrasonic illusions from the dankest sectors of his imagination, Fernow plays voodoo tricks on charred opener “The Case Of The Male Witch From Goroka” — a tropical downer underpinned by larger than life sub-bass rumblings and what sound like field recordings of YouTube rainforest nightscapes rendered in abstract, digital form. “The Verdict Handed Down By A Kangaroo Court” furthers trance induction with a more tribal alignment of drums, before “For The Next Three Days There Was An Eerie Silence In The Village” ends the set with a completely bewildering alignment of synthetic sounds designed to play tricks on your senses; somewhere between a dark meditation aid and a reworked soundtrack to Predator (1987) — the vibe exceptionally heatsick and paranoid. These pieces operate in paradoxical dimensions where the calls of exotic birds convey a denseness that’s at odds with acres of negative space. It feels like standing in a deforested land at the edge of thick jungle, the effect is uncannily transportive; your mind constantly grappling with contrasting sensory triggers. How can something this ice cold also convey such suffocating heat? It makes for an incredible, pretty much unique listening experience; like fourth world ambience but in some kind of Lynchian above-the-convenience store dimension. Remastered by Paul Corley; Cut at Dubplates & Mastering. RIYL: Coil, Demdike Stare, Prurient, Brian Eno & Jon Hassell’s 1980 album Fourth World. Edition of 500.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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rock town

Rock Town Express: Funky Makossa (Comb & Razor) LP
“In 1973, EMI Records Nigeria released the 45 rpm disc ‘Fuel for Love’ b/w ‘Soundway,’ credited to a mysterious band called Wrinkar Experience. The record was a finely-crafted gem of pop-rock and funky soul as had never before been heard coming out of the country’s nascent rock scene, and it ended up being the biggest selling Nigerian single up until that point. The success of Wrinkar Experience effectively demonstrated that was a market for homegrown pop and rock, and sent record labels scrambling to sign similar bands, kicking off the Nigerian rock revolution that is still being celebrated and discovered by new generations today. But while Wrinkar Experience launched the movement, the group itself would be short-lived: after another hit single in 1973, the band’s frontman Danie Ian split for a solo career. The remaining principal players in the group — Cameroonian musicians Ginger Forcha and Edjo’o Jacques Racine — tried to keep the Wrinkar name going before giving it up and rebranding themselves as Rock Town Express. Rock Town Express’s debut LP Funky Makossa was recorded in 1974 for ARC Records, the cutting-edge studio and label established in Lagos by English drum legend Ginger Baker. The album showcased in long format the qualities that had only been hinted at on the Wrinkar Experience singles: bright, confident pop melodies, articulate lyrics, and darkly potent funk-rock. Comb & Razor Sound is proud to present a new, fully-authorized reissue of Funky Makossa, featuring the seven tracks from the original release, plus ‘I Am A Natural Man’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Know,’ from Wrinkar Experience’s seldom-heard third and final single.”

File Under: Afro Beat, Psych, Funk, Rock
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sanders

Pharoah Sanders: Quintet (ESP) LP
ESP-Disk present a reissue of Pharoah Sanders Quintet, originally released in 1965. Recorded on September 10, 1964, prior to his well-known association with John Coltrane, this eponymous album (later renamed Pharoah’s First) is the debut release of the iconic tenor saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders. (Yes, there are some spelling oddities here: the artist — birth name Ferrell — only later changed the spelling from the standard Pharaoh to the more personalized Pharoah). With one foot in mainstream jazz — pianist Jane Getz had played with Charles Mingus — and the other, tentatively at times, in the avant-garde, this is a fascinating glimpse of Sanders’s style before he wielded the unremitting fierceness of his playing with Coltrane and the modal mysticism of his later solo albums on Impulse. Interestingly, in recent years he has deployed a more polished version of this sort of avant-flavored bop, bringing his career full circle and strongly suggesting that the hybrid heard here was not due to any failure of nerve on his debut but rather was the cornerstone of his conception. ESP-Disk has issued this album under three different covers; for its 21st-century reissue on vinyl, they have chosen to use the second and most beautiful. It is augmented with liner notes by a current ESP-Disk artist, tenor saxophonist Ras Moshe Burnett of The Red Microphone, who can be heard accompanying Amina Baraka on their eponymous release (ESPDISK 5021CD, 2017). Personnel: Pharoah Sanders – tenor saxophone; Stan Foster – trumpet; Jane Getz – piano; William Bennett – bass; Marvin Pattillo – percussion.

File Under: Jazz
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shabason

Joseph Shabason: Aytche (Western Vinyl) LP
When John Coltrane died in 1967 the jazz idiom rapidly shed what purists had distilled it to be, falling from the treetop of the early 20th century and striking every cultural branch of the latter half on its way down. The genre morphed through erratic age-of-Aquarius spiritualism in the 60’s, rubbed commercial shoulders with rock, funk, and disco in the 70’s, took a backseat to pop artists’ studio-sessions in the 80’s, and finally found something of a dignified retirement as a sampling source for countless hip-hop producers in the 90’s. Amidst this apparent life-boating, the dust of the exploded genre settled in some intriguing rifts wherein jazz embraced experimentalism without trading it for integrity. Pat Metheny recorded Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint”, and John Hassell partnered with Terry Riley and Brian Eno to push the textural and compositional confines of the genre to an altogether different realm.  In 2017, with so-called Nu-Jazz in full view, saxophonist Joseph Shabason is solely pulling the thread left hanging by the marriage of minimalism and jazz in the previous century. His debut LP, Aytche, reveals this cross-pollination to be as fertile and captivating as ever, fitting as well– or better– into this decade as any other. Shabason builds a bridge off of the precipice his forbears established, skirting jazz, ambient, and even new age with the same deliberate genre-ambiguity that made their work so interesting. Aytche, however, is not a stoic march toward technological frontiers, but a document of exploration both inward and outward. Every step taken in sound-design mirrors a stride in emotionality, as Shabason employs a variety of effect pedals to coax rich moody textures from his instrument. He explains, “So much sax music is about chops, and being able to solo really fast. I feel like robbing the sax of the ability to shred by effecting it and turning it into a dense chordal instrument really helps the instrument become something that it’s not usually known for.” Aytche deals with themes of degenerative illness and assisted suicide with eloquence that instrumental music rarely achieves regarding any subject, much less such difficult ones. Shabason’s compositions are steeped in a deteriorative quality that seems to melt and glide between peace and confusion, tragedy and resolve, like calm memories and end-of-life fears interrupting each other moment by moment. Opening track “Looking Forward to Something, Dude” introduces the recurrent motif of the album; a warm, downward shifting chorus of effected horns that is at once healing and heartrending, creating a unnameable mood all its own. Flits of dissonant woodwinds punctuate the stillness like the impulse of anxiety arising in deep thought, giving us a reason to catch our breath in a moment of complacency. The title track and its successor “Neil McCauley” urge the procession forward with understated relentlessness before the album’s opening horn motif re-emerges under a layer of serrated distortion on the aptly named “Smokestack.” Further into the experience is “Westmeath” a piece that approaches Aytche’s subject of inspiration head-on. Here, the album’s only verbalization appears in the form of an interview with a man discussing his father’s trauma and eventual suicide after surviving the holocaust. Though we only hear a few obscured words and phrases from the interview, the impact is powerful. For Shabason, whose grandparents survived the holocaust themselves, this selection is anything but frivolous. Shabason intended for this album to be heard with Eno’s “as ignorable as it is interesting” philosophy, but the mood here is far too singular to exist as background. As with so much of the best contemplative music, there is therapy in Aytche, but the flies in the ointment make the moments of peace all the more descriptive and potent by contrast. RIYL: Colin Stetson, Jon Hassell, Arve Henriksen, etc. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

File Under: Electronic, Jazz, Ambient
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siriusmo

Siriusmo: Comic (Monkeytown) LP
Pow, Boom, Splash! You will instantly recognize the rich brush strokes of this musical painter. Monkeytown linchpin Moritz Friedrich, aka Siriusmo, is back with a bang and a pencil. Following up 2013’s Enthusiast, his third full-length recording Comic sounds like its title suggests: colorful, rampant, funny, and hilariously foolish. Siriusmo maintains his very own sound and spot within electronic music, drawing from numerous styles and mashing it all through his personal beat-grinder, constantly understating and exaggerating. He’s the innovator that has no such intentions at all. Here’s what the master himself has to say about his new work: “Comic feels like dilettante kids drawings roughly sketched with a big marker, like abstract layouts as well as finely carved romantic paintings. 14 songs ripped from the pages of a coloring book to be vividly colored by you!” But don’t worry, those pages will fill themselves with life as soon as the mellow and trippy patterns of the opening track set in. There are big and broken beats in “Wrong Password”, extremely easygoing rave tunes like “Dagoberta”, lots of genuine oddities like “Wixn”, and the piano work on “Geilomant” even makes you think of some classic hip-hop track. Comparisons are futile, except for one: From the melodic vintage electro of “Dagoberta” to the sonic assault and whirlwind drum programming of “Bleat”, there’s a strong link to older Squarepusher records. Just replace the former’s jazz and jungle roots with Berlin’s musical history, and you get an idea of what Siriusmo is made of. Siriusmo may be the laziest genius around, though he’s been all but unproductive since Enthusiast: In 2015 he joined forces with Modeselektor and toured Europe under the banner of Siriusmodeselektor, playing festivals from Glastonbury to Sonar. The same year he produced the debut album of Romano, Köpenick’s one-of-a-kind rap phenomenon and close friend of Moritz. He remixed Moderat, collaborated with synth pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre, and contributed to Mr. Oizo’s latest album, who’s also appearing on Comic. So does Romano on standout track “La Bouche”, delivering some tasty German phrases. Having been occupied recently with Roman’s second album, his fans are very lucky that Moritz found the time to pin down a new Siriusmo album as well. He may not be a man of many words, but possesses a bold and singular musical vision. Also features Dana And Romano and Jan Driver.

File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop
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puppy

Skinny Puppy: Bites (Nettwerk) LP
Skinny Puppy exploded onto the electronic industrial music scene with 1984’s Remission EP, fusing elements of new wave, techno dance, film noir, and innovative sampling. Lead by cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre, the band quickly garnered an international fanbase and followed up their new success with 1985’s Bites, which produced their first underground hit, “Assimilate.” Restored to their original track listing and design, Remission and Bites are now available on vinyl for the first time in over 25 years.

File Under: Electronic, EBM
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skinny

Skinny Puppy: Remission (Nettwerk) LP
Skinny Puppy exploded onto the electronic industrial music scene with 1984’s Remission EP, fusing elements of new wave, techno dance, film noir, and innovative sampling. Lead by cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre, the band quickly garnered an international fanbase and followed up their new success with 1985’s Bites, which produced their first underground hit, “Assimilate.” Restored to their original track listing and design, Remission and Bites are now available on vinyl for the first time in over 25 years.

File Under: Electronic, EBM
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vincent

St. Vincent: Masseducation (Loma Vista) LP
In Tomorrow… Themes of power and sex, imperiled relationships and death slice through St. Vincent aka Annie Clark’s highly anticipated new album Masseduction, the enigmatic artist’s first since her Grammy-nominated self-titled 2014 effort. The 13 tracks swirl with guitar and piano, synths and strings, and drum beats that punch with purpose. The album was co-produced by St. Vincent and Jack Antonoff at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan, with additional recording at Rough Consumer Studio in Brooklyn, and Compound Fracture in Los Angeles. “Every record I make has an archetype,” says Clark. “Strange Mercy was Housewives on Pills. St. Vincent was Near-Future Cult Leader. Masseduction is different, it’s pretty first person. You can’t fact-check it, but if you want to know about my life, listen to this record.” Masseducation is the culmination of years of writing, with songs crafted from voice memos, text messages, and snippets of melodies that came to Clark while traveling the globe. Special guests on the album include Thomas Bartlett on piano, Kamasi Washington on saxophone, Jenny Lewis on vocals, and beat production from Sounwave. Greg Leisz and Rich Hinman add pedal steel, and Tuck and Patti Andress contribute guitar and vocals respectively on select tracks.

File Under: Indie Rock
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stalteri

Arturo Stalteri: …E Il Pavone Parlo alla Luna (Soave) LP
Recorded in 1980 but only issued privately in 1987, Arturo Stàlteri’s …e il pavone parlò alla Luna falls among the last artifacts of Italy’s great wave of musical minimalism. Like the movement to which it belongs, rigorously resistant to categorizations and definition, this overlooked marvel sculpts a startling singularity. A radical and democratic vision in sound, blending elements of new age, the avant-garde, and prog with Western and Indian classical musics. Highly talented pianist Arturo Stàlteri debuted in 1974 with Pierrot Lunaire, one of the most original and innovative groups of the Italian progressive scene. After the dissolution of the band he began an inspirational solo career with the prog opus Andrè Sulla Luna (1979); the following year a two-month trip to India left an important impression on him and inspired …e il pavone parlò alla Luna, which stands as Stàlteri’s true masterwork. A complex and ambitious hybrid, built around organ and piano, with each passage struggling for creative autonomy and dislodging themselves from the whole, yet remaining as accessible as they are challenging, to all those willing to heed the call. Despite its repetitive rhythms and cyclical tones, bound to American minimalism, …e il pavone parlò alla Luna’s complex relationships and breadth of territory locate it as a distinctly European work, a wondrous late breath, and a seminal entry in Italy’s remarkable canon of avant-garde and minimalist music. A rippling oddity, not quite like anything else, reissued here on vinyl for the first time.

File Under: Electronic, Art Rock, Avant Garde
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sunra1

Sun Ra & His Myth Science Solar Arkestra: Lost Arkestra Series Vol 1 & 2 (Art Yard) 2×10″
A double 10″ set featuring Sun Ra recordings. Initially released on two separate 10″s back in 2010/13. Volume 1 features “Along Came Ra”, a previously unissued live track recorded in Paris in 1983. The legendary Disco 3000 concert tapes are on the flip. Volume 2 lifts three fine selections from the Sub-Underground Saturn LPs. “Love Is For Always” and the driving, roots-y “The World Of Africa” come from 1974’s Temple U; while the myth-science poetics of “Space Is The Place/We Roam The Cosmos” comes from the 1975 What’s New set.

File Under: Jazz

space jazz

Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Space Jazz (Not Now) 3LP
3LP, pink vinyl in gatefold sleeve! A solar flare of cosmic sounds heralded the rising star Sun Ra when the pianist, composer and band leader first shone over the musical landscape in the 1950s and 1960s. He caused quite a stir with innovative albums that introduced electronics, special effects and unusual arrangements into a jazz world that sometimes slid into comfortable conservatism, despite its radical roots. This comprehensive collection of the best recordings from the formative stages of his career, enables the listener to hear with fresh ears the legendary Mr. Ra’s unique contribution.

File Under: Jazz

sunra

Sun Ra & His Solar Arkestra: Magic City  (Cosmic Myth) LP
“This landmark album, now being reissued in a definitive stereo edition, marks the debut of the new Cosmic Myth Records label. Cosmic Myth plans to reissue Sun Ra’s Saturn Records catalog titles under official license from Sun Ra LLC, comprised of the heirs of Sun Ra. Sun Ra albums like The Magic City prove the categorical futility of ‘File Under: Jazz.’ When assessing the post-Chicago (1960-on) work of Ra, ‘jazz’ turns out to be less a genre than a journalistic and marketing convenience. Jazz has a glorious tradition. Sun Ra was schooled in it, emerged from it, and grew to transcend it (though he never abandoned it). Even the cheeky term ‘Space Jazz’ cannot frame the extremes to which Ra pushed his art in the mid-1960s. In this regard, The Magic City was a pinnacle. 1965 was a turbulent year for the Arkestra and its leader, and many consider The Magic City a flashpoint for that upheaval. Arkestra drummer Tommy Hunter, quoted in John Szwed’s 1997 Ra bio Space is the Place, describes a typical performance of the period: ‘It was like a fire storm coming off the bandstand.’ On the original 1965 The Magic City LP, issued on Saturn, the monster 27-1/2 minute title track sprawled across side A. The ‘Magic City’ to which Ra refers was his birthplace — Birmingham, Alabama. The term was the town’s motto, emblazoned on a billboard by the train station near Sunny’s childhood home, intended to reflect the city’s explosive growth as a Southern industrial epicenter after the discovery of iron ore, coal, and limestone deposits. Birmingham was a place about which Sun Ra felt and expressed ambivalence: an outpost of racial segregation and grim smokestack-pocked landscapes, yet a city for which he felt twinges of nostalgia and affection. (His heirs still live in the area.) Ra customarily supervised the Arkestra’s improvisational process via keyboard cues or hand signals. He was always in charge — hence critic Simon Adams describing the title track as ’27 minutes of controlled freedom.’ ‘The Magic City’ was never performed in concert; saxophonist John Gilmore said it was ‘unreproducible, a tapestry of sound.’ Although shorter in scope than side A’s magnum opus, the four works on The Magic City’s flip side reflect the same improvisational approach, spatiality, and lack of structure. One session outtake, ‘Other Worlds,’ an alternate version of ‘Shadow World,’ is included as a bonus track on side B. For this definitive edition, historical and technical liner notes are provided by noted jazz historian Ben Young, who restored and remastered the album with his Triple Point Records partner Joe Lizzi. Both men have been recognized for their extensive work on the Grammy Nominated Albert Ayler boxset, released on John Fahey’s Revenant records in 2005.”

File Under: Jazz

hip

Tragically Hip: In Between Evolution (Universal) LP
In tomorrow… Another of the long over due Tragically Hip vinyl reissues!

File Under: Rock
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venosta

Giovanni Venosta: Olympic Signals (Soave) LP
Giovanni Venosta’s 1984 debut album, released when the artist was only 23, is a committed, subversive parody of minimalism, and a truly original work. This is its first reissue. Recorded in Venosta’s living room with a four-track Tascam, this album reveals the young pianist’s profound need for expression, born out of his relationship with the sound of Terry Riley, Michael Nyman, Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Penguin Café Orchestra, and Dollar Brand. The contribution of Roberto Musci results in more esoteric and mystical side of the record and marks the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration in which the arrangements of Venosta blend perfectly with the electronics and sound treatments by Musci. Forty-seven minutes of inspired Italian minimalism.

File Under: Electronic, Experimental
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winter

Teresa Winter: Untitled Death (Death of Rave) LP
Teresa Winter’s LP debut Untitled Death is a hallucinogenic wormhole of sensuously ambiguous pop and electronic experiments primed for the after-after party and altered states of reception. Realized through a mesh of strategies from live, lo-fi tape recordings of synths, samplers, and vocals to nascent experiments with algorithmic software, Untitled Death is both a divine revelation of new aspects to Teresa’s sound and an expansion of The Death of Rave’s as-yet-unidentified aesthetic. Teresa’s zoomed photos of magic mushrooms spattered in popping fluorescent oils which adorn the cover of Untitled Death hint at a more personalized insight and psycho-activity, a proper, lush trippiness. Just like the putative psilocybic experience, Untitled Death naturally comes on in waves of synaestically-heightened sensuality, from strangely libidinous stirrings to utter, eat-your-heart-out euphoria with a spectrum of hard-to-explain and unexpected sensations between. It’s hard to recall a more seductive album opener than “Oh”, which blossoms from plaintive drum machine and chiming pads to a half- or mis-heard beckon “I really like it/ when you let yourself go/ I really want you inside me/ I want to make you my own”, before curdling into bittersweet partials and deliquescent hooks as ear-worming as anything from AFX’s classic Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992). It’s devastating in its simplicity and almost blush-worthy in effect, and is soon enough lopped curtly into the soundtrack-like enchantment of “Untitled Death”, which could almost be a cue from some ’60 Polish or Czech art-house film, serving to neatly set up the prickling, windswept scene of romantic introspection and dereliction in “Pain Of Outside” — perhaps Teresa’s most accomplished and affective pop turn to date; think Grouper awkwardly blissing out at 9am in the corner of a successful sesh/campsite/free party. From that perfectly damaged side closer, the B side opens to a different sort of spine-freezing beauty and sense of abandonment with plangent, dissonant harmonics describing rugged Yorkshire wolds and coast as much as a radiant lightshow on the back of flickering eyelids. RIYL: Grouper, F Ingers, Leyland Kirby, early AFX, Delia Derbyshire. Master and cut by Matt Colton.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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gamelan

Various: Gamelan of the Walking Warriors (Akuphone) LP
Includes printed inner sleeve; Includes download card with complete ceremony, extra photographs, and liner note translations (French, Italian, Japanese). A fascinating immersion in the heart of a funeral ceremony live recorded in Bali, where gongs, cymbals, and drums give rhythm to the bewitching atmosphere of this mortuary procession. The international audience’s interest into Balinese music and its gamelan orchestras dates back to the edition of large ethnographic series in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s which largely encouraged the discovery of this music beyond Indonesia’s borders. Taking advantage of a more advanced technology, compared to the vinyl golden era, the present field recordings produced in 2011 render, at the closest, the power of gamelans. Gamelan is presented here in two forms. The first one (tracks 1 to 4) offers a display of Beleganjur music out of the ritual context, which can be differentiated by a more melodic form and a more dramatic and hypnotic aspect in the compositions. The second one (tracks 5 to 9) presents the Beleganjur style in the ceremonial context of the Ngaben funerary rite in the village of Peliatan. The utmost vitality of these orchestras springs out throughout the different stages of these funerals, and the sound environment surrounding the musicians immerse the listener in the very heart of the procession following the corpse. With The Gamelan Of The Walking Warriors, Akuphone carries on its exploration of ritual and ceremonial music with those materials of rare intensity. These recordings were collected by Vincenzo Della Ratta, PhD in Ethnomusicology from the Sapienza University (Rome). As a specialist of the gongs music from the Austronesian cultures of Southeast Asia, Della Ratta is the author of numerous articles on the subject. His field researches have already been edited as a vinyl entitled Kwangkay: Funerary Music Of The Dayak Benuaq Of Borneo (SF 106LP, 2016). Tracks 1 to 4 were recorded in the village of Wanagiri, in the district (“kecamatan”) of Sukasada, of the regency of Buleleng. Tracks 5 to 9 were recorded in the village of Peliang, in the district of Ubud, of the regency of Gianyar.

File Under: Gamelan, World, Bali

lostlibrary-etched-render

Various: Lost Library (Fire) LP
Jane Weaver provides vocals for Virginias Wings take on Suzanne Menzel lost pop classic “It Starts Again”, Noveller tackle John Carpenters “The Thing” and Death and Vanilla re-imagine Bert Janschs “Moonshine” on this first edition of the new “Lost Li-brary” series from Fire Records, conceived by the labels James Nicholls and designer Luke Drozd. Featuring 3 new tracks from 4 of Fire Records acclaimed female fronted roster, Jane Weaver, Virginia Wing, Death and Vanilla and Noveller this limited edition one-sided 12”, on transparent vinyl, with symbolic etching, is expected to sell out fast. Artwork and vinyl etching provided by Luke Drozd.

File Under: Electronic, Synth Pop, Ambient

trax

Various: Trax Test (Ecstatic) LP
Trax Test is the first ever survey of Italy’s pioneering, visionary, and influential label and mail art collective Trax, which ran from 1981-1987 as a network for the creation of collaborative projects. The collective included a pre-NWW Colin Potter and some of the earliest work from Masami Akita, aka Merzbow, but also had deep connections with the art world; a few Trax members went on to become famous designers and artists — Ettore Sottsass of hugely influential Memphis Group even guests on vocals on the last track of the compilation. The whole selection here is rare as heck and sorely in-demand by collectors, much of it now making its vinyl premiere some 30-odd years after the fact. With credit due to compilers Vittore Baroni of Trax and Ecstatic’s avowed wave fiend, Alessio Natalizia (Not Waving) — who was also behind the Mutazione (Italian Electronic & New Wave Underground 1980-1988) compilation (2013) — Trax Test is a portal to the international scene which laid the grassroots for a proliferation of electronic music over the proceeding decades — a pioneering part of the infrastructure for independent music distribution which could be said to pre-echo the myriad social networks and platforms today. As Frans De Waard astutely points out in the 16-page booklet, there were no “templates” for this thing back then, meaning artists did everything DIY: from cutting, pasting, and Xeroxing their artwork to experimenting with recording techniques and disseminating their work; all resulting in a wonderfully daring and freeform mosaic of ideas which valued the virtues of ostensibly “unfinished” or open-ended work. Traces of disco, cosmic krautrock, jazz, electro-pop, and industrial noise are all tessellated across the compilation’s 25 tracks, with a number of artists and the same equipment — cheap drum machines, synths, FX and tape — cropping up in various, mutant formations. This set is right up there with the best compilations from Vinyl On Demand, Light Sounds Dark, or Minimal Wave. Features: Cancer, M.A.Phillips, Nausea, Amok, Mecanique Vegetale, Daniele Ciullini, E-Coli, The Cop Killers, Peter Mayer, Rod Summers, Robin Crozier, Capitalist Pig, Biagio D’egidio, Piermario Ciani, Vittore Baroni, Nocturnal Emissions, De Rezke, Ado Scaini, Enrico Piva, Giancarlo Martina, B Sides, Colin Potter, Naif Orchestra, Merzbow (Vacation Of Merzbow Lowest Music & Arts), Monty Cantsin, Die Form, Utopia Production, Spirocheta Pergoli, Nostalgia, Ptose, Ddaa, Zone Verte, and I Nipoti Del Faraone. Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Experimental
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…..Restocks…..

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes (Interscope) LP
Arcade Fire: Funeral (Merge) LP
Beyonce: Lemonade (Sony) LP
Black Flag: Damaged (SST) LP
Bon Iver: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming (Daptone) LP
Brand New: Deja Entendu (Razor & Tie) LP
Miles Davis: Big Fun (Music on Vinyl) LP
Miles Davis: On The Corner (Music on Vinyl) LP
Miles Davis: Round About Midnight (Legacy) LP
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: His the DJ (Sony) LP
Lee Fields: Emma Jean (Truth & Soul) LP
Lee Fields: Problems (Truth & Soul) LP
Fleetwood Mac: Rumors (Rhino) LP
Richard Horowitz: Eros in Arabia (Freedom to Spend) LP
Zola Jesus: Okovl (Sacred Bones) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinity (ATO) LP
Laraaji: Ambient 3 (Glitterbeat) LP
Mazzy Star: So Tonight That I Might See (Plain) LP
Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime (SST) LP
Thelonious Monk: Misterio (Columbia) LP
OST: Baby Driver (Lakeshore) LP
OST: Drive (Lakeshore) CS
Outkast: ATLiens (Arista) LP
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: The Kid (Western Vinyl) LP
Midori Takada/Satoh: Lunar Cruise (WRWTFWW) LP
A Tribe Called Red: We Are the Hallui Nation (Pirates Blend) LP
Weather Station: s/t (Outside) LP
Wu Tang: Iron Flag (Sony) LP
Various: Wayfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares (Numero) LP/CD

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That’s a wrap!

Wow! What a bonkers day! When the snow started to fall this morning as we opened the floodgates, I didn’t expect today to be the best RSD yet, but IT WAS! Thanks to everyone who came out and hung out in the shop today. Great chill vibes all day! And now for the important part… our prizes! And keep an eye out and hold on to your tickets, if no one claims the prizes by end of day (6pm) MONDAY APRIL 24th we will redrawn!

The Descendents tickets…

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The coffee bundles from Elm Cafe…

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cof2

The skateboards from Local 124…

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And the Grand prize! The Rega turntable…

Congrats to all the winners. Please bring your winning ticket down to the shop to claim your prize! You have until 6pm Monday April 24th to claim get in touch, otherwise we’ll be redrawning! Thanks again for coming out today!

…..news letter #783 – reconciling…..

Not a HUGE list this week, but after the last few, I think we could all use some time to catch up. Lots of big releases coming up too, like Spoon, Depeche Mode, etc. Thundercat MIGHT be late. It’s not here yet but could show up tomorrow, but it didn’t sound promising…. anyway, back to my paperwork.

…..pick of the week…..

king-gizz
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Flying Microtonal Banana (ATO) LP
You may have missed this rockin’ slab a couple of weeks ago, and there was too much great stuff that week, so we’re bringing it to your attention again cuz it’s awesome! Flying Microtonal Banana is King Gizzard’s first-ever experience in microtonal tuning, which features intervals smaller than a semitone and not found in customary Western tuning octaves. “Earlier this year we started experimenting with a custom microtonal guitar our friend Zak made for Stu,” further explains drummer Eric Moore. “The guitar was modified to play in 24-TET tuning and could only be played with other microtonal instruments. We ended up giving everyone a budget of $200 to buy instruments and turn them microtonal. The record features the modified electric guitars, basses, keyboards and harmonica as well as a turkish horn called a Zurna.” The Melbourne-based band plan to release five studio albums in 2017, an ambitious feat as each record will be its own unique sonic adventure.

File Under: Psych, Rock
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…..new arrivals…..

ie

Budgie: Bandolier (Island) LP
Originally formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1967 by Burke Shelley (vocals, bass), Tony Bourge (guitar), and Raymond Phillips (drums), relatively obscure yet influential act Budgie was one of the earliest British heavy metal bands. Their weighty riffs and high-pitched vocals often draw comparisons to Black Sabbath and Rush and the group has released nearly a dozen studio albums and a handful of live recordings to date amidst numerous line-up changes. The founding line-up of Shelley, Bourge and Phillips would issue three of the band’s finest albums including eponymous debut Budgie (1971), sophomore follow-up Squawk (1972) and third effort Never Turn Your Back on a Friend (1973) and is universally hailed as Budgie’s definitive incarnation. Issued in 1975, Bandolier is the band’s classic fifth full-length and last album for MCA Records. It showcases Budgie at the height of their recording and songwriting acumen pursuing a much more accessible straight ahead rock sound. It was also notable for being their first of many releases with third drummer Steve Williams whose work Bourge said “complimented the type of stuff that Budgie did. It did make the band sound a bit more tasteful.”

File Under: Hard Rock
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budgie

Budgie: In For The Kill (Island) LP
Originally formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1967 by Burke Shelley (vocals, bass), Tony Bourge (guitar), and Raymond Phillips (drums), relatively obscure yet influential act Budgie was one of the earliest British heavy metal bands. Their weighty riffs and high-pitched vocals often draw comparisons to Black Sabbath and Rush and the group has released nearly a dozen studio albums and a handful of live recordings to date amidst numerous line-up changes. The founding line-up of Shelley, Bourge and Phillips would issue three of the band’s finest albums including eponymous debut Budgie (1971), sophomore follow-up Squawk (1972) and third effort Never Turn Your Back on a Friend (1973) and is universally hailed as Budgie’s definitive incarnation.  1974’s In For The Kill is the fourth Budgie full-length and first sans the original power trio with Ray Phillips’ drum duties being taken over by Pete Boot (his only studio release with the group). As heavy as any of the band’s early offerings, Bourge’s guitar heroics dominate the proceedings with the title track featuring a contagious boogie in the vein of ZZ Top while the 9-minute plus fan favorite “Zoom Club” finds the group truly dropping the heavy metal hammer.

File Under: Hard Rock
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budgie1

Budgie: Never Turn Your Back On A Friend (Island) LP
Originally formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1967 by Burke Shelley (vocals, bass), Tony Bourge (guitar), and Raymond Phillips (drums), relatively obscure yet influential act Budgie was one of the earliest British heavy metal bands. Their weighty riffs and high-pitched vocals often draw comparisons to Black Sabbath and Rush and the group has released nearly a dozen studio albums and a handful of live recordings to date amidst numerous line-up changes. The founding line-up of Shelley, Bourge and Phillips would issue three of the band’s finest albums including eponymous debut Budgie (1971), sophomore follow-up Squawk (1972) and third effort Never Turn Your Back on a Friend (1973) and is universally hailed as Budgie’s definitive incarnation. Never Turn Your Back On A Friend was the last release from the orinal trio as drummer Ray Phillips would depart the group in 1974 and it’s home to Budgie’s best-known song, the speed metal-esque “Breadfan” which was later covered famously by noted fans Metallica for their 1998 album Garage Inc.

 File Under: Hard Rock
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buzz

Buzzcocks: Time’s Up (Domino) LP
Domino is proud to be reissuing Buzzcocks’ Time’s Up, the 1976 album of demos recorded with founder and singer Howard Devoto and originally released as a bootleg. “It’s the buzz, cock.” Devoto read this headline from a February 1976 Time Out review of Rock Follies – the 1970’s TV musical drama following the ups and downs of the fictional female rock group Little Ladies. Adapting and appropriating it for the new band that he and Pete Shelley had just formed (having just realized what a Sex Pistol was before anyone else), the Buzzcocks were officially born. Howard and Pete went about organizing the now infamous 1976 Lesser Free Trade Hall gigs that brought punk to the provinces and galvanized the Manchester music revolution. The plan was to simply play support to the Pistols and see what happened next. The rest, as they say, is history! Featuring the original line-up of Howard Devoto (vocals & songwriter), Pete Shelley (guitar & songwriter), Steve Diggle (bass guitar) and John Maher (drums), Time’s Up was recorded at Revolution Studios, Bramhall Lane Stockport on the 18th of October 1976. The session, recording Buzzcocks’ live set at the time, cost around $55 and was engineered by Andy MacPherson.

File Under: Punk
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creation

The Creation: Action Painting (Numero) LP
The Creation were a dynamic band with an equally engaging image, they would burn brightly for less than two years, yet would leave an indelible mark upon music history. With producer du jour Shel Talmy at the helm (The Who, Kinks, Easybeats, Cat Stevens) The Creation went on an incredible two year tear of singles, including “Making Time,” “How Does It Feel To Feel,” “Tom Tom,” and “If I Stay Too Long.” By 1968 it was over. Eddie Phillips’ trademark guitar bowing would be nicked by Jimmy Page and Boney M would cheese-up “Painter Man.” Over the nearly five decades since, The Creation has seen a tremendous resurgence in interest. First it was the Jam flossing “Making Time” on the inner sleeve of All Mod Cons. A few years later Alan McGee formed the band Biff Bang Pow and his Creation record label. By the turn of the century a new generation had discovered the band via a strategic placement in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore. Presented here for the first time are twenty Creation studio recordings, remastered from the original tapes by Shel Talmy, and given fresh stereo mixes where previously unavailable. New essays by Dean Rudland and Alec Palao tell the band’s story and dive into their complete studio sessions. Scores of previously unpublished photographs adorn the accompanying booklet. Numero has rounded the whole package out with four tracks by pre-Creation freakbeat quartet the Mark Four, making Action Painting the definitive collection of this legendary UK band.

File Under: Garage, Psych
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dude sincerely

Dude York: Sincerely (Hardly Art) LP
The Seattle-based trio Dude York – Peter Richards on guitar and vocals, Claire England on bass and vocals, and Andrew Hall on drums – is announcing itself with an album that couches its themes of anxiety and eroding mental health in rock tracks that amp up the sweetly melodic crunch of power pop with massive distortion and bashed-to-heck drums. Sincerely is a loud, sweaty rebuke to those moments in life when it seems like nothing is working, a testament to the power of friendship, staring problems directly in the face, and finding solace in art. Longtime Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill producer John Goodmanson and The Blood Brothers’ Cody Votolato helped Dude York craft a more straightforward draft of Sincerely, one based on the energy of their live show but without any superfluous flourishes. The band’s thoughtful approach to putting together Sincerely’s songs echoes the album’s overarching themes of almost-punishing inward focus. Bringing England’s straightforward drawl into the mix underscores that idea, and its contrast to Richards’ excited yelp heightens the tension on Sincerely, a chaotic, yet ultimately triumphant album that’s a vital tonic for these increasingly confused times.

File Under: Indie Rock
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gnaw

Gnaw Their Tongues: Hymns for the Broken (Consouling Sounds) LP
The Dutch master of all things nightmare Gnaw Their Tongues returns with the release of his brand new offering Hymns For The Broken, Swollen and Silent. The new album shows Gnaw Their Tongues at the top of its game. The band started out as a studio project, but has recently started performing live, and it feels like this carefully found its way into the music. Don’t get us wrong: oppressive, bleak and claustrophobic remain the key words when describing the unique output of this drone/noise/black metal infused miscreant of Mories. The music grabs you by the throat and sucks all the air out of the room. Although it leaves little more than an anaerobe environment, the music itself feels likes it has been breathing and organically growing into this true beast of an album.

File Under: Drone, Noise, Black Metal
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addy

Granddaddy: Last Place (30th Century) LP
In March 2017, Modesto, CA’s Grandaddy will release Last Place (on Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton’s 30th Century Records), the group’s long awaited first studio album since 2006’s Just Like the Fambly Cat. Produced by the band’s Jason Lytle, Last Place is wry, humane, poignant, fantastical, and very beautiful; a panoramic representation of everything that has always made Grandaddy so well-loved. After Grandaddy broke up in 2006, Lytle relocated to Montana, where he happily made two solo albums, and reconnected with the natural world around him. Eventually, though, life uprooted him again, taking him to Portland, OR until he eventually returned to his former home of Modesto. The return to California was practical (he needed to be near his bandmates) but also appropriate: he had started writing songs that he felt would be fitting for another Grandaddy album. He needed to let the ideas flow until he found the perfect chemistry for what is now Last Place, which he describes as: “just enough personal stuff and just enough escapism, just enough electronics and just enough acoustic elements. The full spectrum.” The result is a perfect addition to the band’s celebrated, critically-acclaimed catalogue, that includes their breakthrough sophomore album, Sophtware Slump, and their debut, Under the Western Freeway. It’s a symphonic swirl of lo-fi sonics and mile-high harmonies, found sounds and electronics-gone-awry mingling with perfect, power pop guitar tones. Lytle‘s voice sounds as warm and intimate as ever, giving graceful levity to the doomsday narratives that have dominated the Grandaddy output. When it came time to release the record, Grandaddy found an ally in artist, producer, and label owned Danger Mouse who notes, “Grandaddy’s music has had a big influence on me and the new album almost sounds like it could fit between Sophtware Slump and Sumday.”

File Under: Rock
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ibibio

Ibibio Sound Machine: Uyai (Merge) LP
Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West African funk, disco, modern post-punk, and electro. Since their self-titled debut in 2014, the band has forged a reputation as a high-energy live act. New album Uyai (pronounced ‘you eye’) means “beauty” in Ibibio language and refers to the strength and free spirit of women in general and in particular, the courage of the women in lead singer Eno Williams’ family, to whom she often refers in her writing…”The songs are based more around themes of empowerment, freedom, and the liberation of dance for women, and people in general.” The album opens with “Give Me a Reason,” a song about the 276 Chibok girls who were abducted in northern Nigeria in 2014 and remain missing to this day. Eno challenges, “Why should girls be denied the right to education, and why should people in general not be free to be who they want to be in their life?” “The Pot Is On Fire” is a food dance celebrating the “happy place” when the food will be ready soon. “It’s also metaphorical,” Eno writes. “Something is brewing which will soon bear fruit.” Folk stories, recounted to Eno by her family as a child in her mother’s Ibibio tongue, form the creative fabric from which the band’s unique musical tapestry is woven. Evocative poetic imagery and empowering messages set against an edgy, Afro-Electro soundscape give the band a unique space within the current wave of modern Afrocentric sounds sweeping across the globe.

File Under: Afro-Beat, Electronic, Funk
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lambchop

Lambchop: Is A Woman (Merge) LP
Lambchop’s 2002 album Is a Woman is a very quiet album best heard loud. On a musical landscape of sophisticated, uncluttered melancholy, Kurt Wagner’s lyrics are given unprecedented space, allowing every guttural detail of every single word to be heard, revealing densely poetic texts as intimate as they were incisive, as comic as they were confessional. To discover the true spirit of Is a Woman, however, one need only listen to the remarkable “My Blue Wave,” one of the band’s finest recordings to date. Here, Wagner depicts a world of helpless tragedy in which comfort can nonetheless be found in the smallest of gestures, as he journeys from the contented sight of his pets – “You lay around the house…Just bones and squirrels inside your head” – to recollections of a devastating phone call from friend and bandmate William Tyler: “And William called and tried to tell me / That his sister’s boyfriend has just died / He’s not sure what to do / And I’m not sure what to tell him he should do / Sometimes William, we’re just screwed / In my blue wave.” 15 years later, Lambchop continue to confound and astound in equal measures, but this startlingly private song captures the magic of Is a Woman at its most distilled. With their sound consistently shifting and surprising, the band’s line-up has morphed and adapted repeatedly since then, but the lingering mood of lachrymose but compassionate elegance of “My Blue Wave” helps explain why this extraordinary, idiosyncratic record is now considered to be one of the band’s finest. As Wagner himself asks on “Bugs”: “Think of things and how they got this way / Way above the rest / Isn’t this the fucking best?”

File Under: Folk, Country, Rock
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fiasco

Lupe Fiasco: Drogas Light (1st & 15th) LP
A decade after Lupe Fiasco exploded onto the hip-hop scene with his seminal 2006 debut Food & Liquor, the Chicago native is closing the chapter on his career with his most visualized projects yet. The independent rapper, who parted ways with his former label Atlantic Records following the release of 2015’s Tetsuo & Youth, hits his creative peak with a trilogy of albums – Drogas Light, Drogas and Skulls – the final curtain call on one of the most gifted lyricists and visionaries to grace the mic. If anything, Drogas Light, the first delivery to fans arriving in early 2017, is a testament to Fiasco’s artistic growth throughout the years. The 14-track LP is free of restraint, and daring by his standards: the sonic and storytelling palettes are vast and diverse, more so than ever before, traipsing genre and style with ease and touting songs to soundtrack everything from a night at the club to a quiet listen on headphones. Where Tetsuo & Youth leaned into more experimental pastures, Drogas Light is the embodiment of a musician whose foray beyond the boundaries of hip-hop feels increasingly natural, a glimpse into the genius that will be Fiasco’s legacy as he inevitably walks away from the spotlight. From the start of Drogas Light, Fiasco lays his rhyming skills bare, attacking a haunted beat accented by a screwed vocal sample on opener “Dopamine” that self-reflectively emphasizes the magnetism of the album (“Over-d off of this, but don’t fall asleep ‘til the dopamine hit!” he chants). The set is dotted with several trap-inflected songs – “NGL” featuring Ty Dolla $ign is a turn-up anthem that entertains the reasons why success comes slow to many, while the Streetrunner-produced lead single “Made in the USA” catalogues the various home-grown, illicit products manufactured in the country. Fiasco has often been pegged as a socially conscious emcee, likened to peers including Common and Nas, and he lives up to the reputation on “City of the Year,” where he explores the economic disparity of Chi-town. He flexes his storytelling muscle on the hypnotic, spinning “Jump,” on which he unfolds the tale of going from a “trapper to a rapper” by supplying a female adversary with a career boost. But it’s when the album hits the relax button that Drogas Light coasts on cushy grooves: “Kill,” also featuring Ty Dolla $ign, is an after-hours ode to women who work at gentleman’s clubs, and the vamping closer “More Than My Heart” is an emotionally charged hat-tip to all the mothers who would sacrifice anything for their children. While Drogas Light is just a taste of what he has to offer in the new year, it’s yet another earmark on a track record of an artist who continually comes into new bloom.

File Under: Hip Hop
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malek

Ahmed Malak & Flako: The Electronic Tapes (Habibi Funk) LP
In the early 1980s, Ahmed Malek was already in his 50s , when he discovered synthesizers and electronic music for himself and started to experiment with sounds. The result was a mixture of ambient synth music, field recordings he made in Cuba and a wide variation of different sound experiments that he also presented as different avantgarde music festivals in Cuba and the US.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Algerian
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marling

Laura Marling: Semper Femina (More Alarming) LP
Semper Femina is Laura Marling’s sixth studio album. It was largely written on the road, following the release of Laura’s acclaimed album, Short Movie, in the spring of 2015. Its loose lyrical thread strings together her keen, freshly observed take on womanhood, and what Laura describes as a particularly ‘masculine time in her life’. It’s a record that similarly addresses questions of how society views sexuality and gender but without seeking to provide definitive answers. It retains an openness to express and portray her own ‘voyage’ of self-discovery, but also to develop and learn as artist, performer, and as an individual over the course of her career. A rich and enriching listen, Semper Femina is a typically mature and raw record by one of our most talented and prolific young musicians of a generation. The deluxe vinyl LP edition includes an exclusive live bonus disc, recorded at Martyrs’ in Chicago. This deluxe product features two 140g vinyl discs, printed inner sleeves on reverse board with embossed sigil design, and wide spined sleeve. Also comes with digital download cards for both discs.

File Under: Folk
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mono

Mono: Under The Pipal Tree (Temporary Residence) LP
Under The Pipal Tree is the debut album by now-legendary Japanese experimental rock band MONO. Released in 2001 on avant-garde icon John Zorn’s Tzadik label, Under The Pipal Tree showcased a young Japanese quartet whose wide range of influences – most notably Sonic Youth, Mogwai, The Velvet Underground, and Neil Young’s Crazy Horse – were on ferocious and ambitious display. Though MONO would eventually become known for their expert marriage of metal and classical genres, Under The Pipal Tree highlights the band’s psychedelic roots. Long stretches of hypnotic, melodic washes give way to scorching guitar freakouts that evaporate into haunting silence. It’s remarkable not just for its earnest exploration, but for its startling execution. 15 years and 8 albums later, Under The Pipal Tree stands as one of the great debut albums by a seminal underground band. Finally released on vinyl for the first time ever, Under The Pipal Tree has been remastered for the format by longtime friend and tour mate, Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. The double album is packaged in all new artwork, and is pressed onto audiophile-quality 100% virgin vinyl. This stunning album has never looked, sounded, or felt better.

File Under: Post-Rock
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shins

The Shins: Heartworms (Columbia) LP
The Shins present their fifth studio effort, Heartworms. In contrast to 2012’s Port of Morrow, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 and was nominated for a Best Alternative Album Grammy, Heartworms ushers in a return to the handmade. The 11-track collecion was, as always, entirely written by James Mercer, with exception of “So Now What” (produced by band member Richard Swift). Heartworms is the first Shins album to be largely self-produced by Mercer since Oh, Inverted World in 2001. Heartworms also boasts Mercer’s most diverse lyrical ptalette to date, a cohesive, yet genre defying album marked by the frontman’s distinct voice and melodic composition. Unified by his singular vision, Mercer creates a sound that is both a nostalgic nod to the album’s predecessors and distinctly new. The album’s first single, “Name For You,” is a resounding call for female empowerment inspired by his three daughters.

File Under: Indie Rock
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smith

Elliott Smith: Either/Or: Expanded Edition (Kill Rock Stars) LP
1997’s Either/Or is widely regarded as Elliott Smith’s best album, and remains his best-selling. To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of this masterpiece, Kill Rock Stars proudly presents Either/Or: Expanded Edition which features the original tracks carefully remastered from original tapes under the supervision of Larry Crane, owner of Jackpot! Studios and archivist of the Estate of Elliott Smith plus a generous helping of bonus material. The additional content features five live multi-track recordings from the Yo Yo A Go Go Festival in Olympia, WA in 1997, as well as three previously unreleased studio recordings and one b-side gem. The double LP is packaged in a gatefold jacket with an insert of the original liner notes, a postcard of the original master tapes, and several never-before seen photos. This gorgeous collection is an essential listen for longtime fans and newcomers alike!

File Under: Indie Rock, Folk
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soundgarden

Soundgarden: Ultramega OK (Sub Pop) LP
This remixed and expanded reissue of Soundgarden’s Ultramega OK is a long-planned “correction” of the legendary band’s Grammy-nominated debut full-length. The album was originally recorded and released in 1988 on SST Records. While the band enjoyed working with the original producer, Drew Canulette, they soon realized they weren’t quite happy with the final mix. Thus, shortly after the album’s release, the band decided to remix the album for subsequent pressings. However, success intervened: the band rapidly scored a deal with A&M and began work on their major-label debut, Louder Than Love, and the Ultramega OK remix project fell by the wayside as Soundgarden climbed their way to (ultra)mega-stardom. In 2016, after worldwide success, a breakup, a reunion, and many albums and tours, the band finally acquired the original multi-track tapes to Ultramega OK and carved out time to dig into the remix. They handed the tapes over to longtime friend and engineer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Skin Yard), who worked with the band to create a fresh mix of the album that, for the band, ties up this persistent loose end and remedies the sound of their debut album. While they were at it, the band dug out six early versions of tracks that wound up on Ultramega OK. The songs were recorded in 1987 on 8-track tape by Endino and Chris Hanzsek at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle, and mixed by Endino in 2016. These versions feature the band in raw, powerful form – sonically closer to the band’s Endino-recorded debut EP Screaming Life – and provide a fascinating window into the development of songs that eventually became staples of the band’s set. The six songs comprise what the band refers to as Ultramega EP, and they are included in this reissue. Hailed as grunge innovators, Soundgarden redefined rock music for a generation. In the ‘80s, the band – singer/guitarist Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Hiro Yamamoto, and drummer Matt Cameron – combined a punk ethos, brutal metal soundscapes, and Cornell’s ravenous roar to capture the attention of the masses. Jagged and ferocious, their music was deeply at odds with the synth-pop and hair metal which dominated the 80’s airwaves. Early indie releases, including seminal Screaming Life and Ultramega OK, quickly led to a dedicated indie following as the band toured on both sides of the Atlantic. Subsequent albums, including Badmotorfinger, Superunknown, and Down on the Upside, achieved multi-platinum sales and launched the band to international fame.

File Under: Grunge
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temples

Temples: Volcano (Fat Possum) LP
English four-piece Temples issue their sophomore set, Volcano, on Fat Possum Records. All the elements people loved about Temples’ debut, Sun Structures, remain intact, but this time, there is a noticeable evolution presented from the outset. It’s clear Volcano is the sound of Temples squaring up to their potential, immediately evident with lead single “Certainty.” Its beefed-up beats reveal an expanded sonic firmament, one in which bright synth hooks and insistent choruses circle around each other over chord sequences that strike just the right balance between nice and queasy. Entirely self-produced and written by all four members of the band, Temples’ melodies seem to come effortlessly. There are sun-dazed numbers and lysergic dream-pop songs and those where synth and mellotron interweave to beguiling effect. One thing is certain; it’s harder to spot the influences this time around. Mystical language has been supplanted by something more direct. They’ve been broken down and blended together – fossilized into a single source of creative fuel, resulting in a sound that is undoubtedly Temples. As described by co-founding member Tom Warmsley, “we discovered a lot as we went along, and the excitement at having done so radiates outwards.”

File Under: Indie Rock, Psych
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tennis

Tennis: Yours Conditionally (Mutually Detrimental) LP
Critically acclaimed group Tennis returns with their highly anticipated fourth full length album, Yours Conditionally. The record was composed both on land and at sea during a five-month sailing trip through the Sea of Cortez. Upon returning, Tennis’ husband-and-wife team of Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore self-produced the record in a small cabin in Fraser, CO. It was mixed by Spoon’s Jim Eno at Public HiFi. Lead track, “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar,” has been hailed as “a smolderingly sardonic feminist anthem perfectly suited for social climate of today” by Consequence of Sound while The Verge added that the song is “a great introduction to their sound if you’re unfamiliar: a wistful piano line, a biting, sarcastic vocal from Alaina Moore, and a little fuzz to keep things grounded.” Their newest record comes on the heels of the group’s most recent release, 2014’s Ritual in Repeat, which received rave reviews across the board.

File Under: Indie Pop
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…..Restocks…..

Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls (ATO) LP
Antibalas: s/t (Daptone) LP
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (Universal) LP
Beatles: Let It Be (Apple) LP
Black Mountain: In The Future (Jagjaguwar) LP
John Carpenter: Lost Themes II (Sacred Bone) LP
Michael Chapman: 50 (Paradise of Bachelors) LP
Childish Gambino: Camp (Glassnote) LP
Shirley Collins: Lodestar (Domino) LP
Miles Davis: Birth of Cool (Legacy) LP
Miles Davis: In A Silent Way (Legacy) LP
Depeche Mode: Music for the Masses (Rhino) LP
Depeche Mode: Violator (Rhino) LP
Dinosaur Jr: Farm (Jagjaguwar) LP
Dinosaur Jr: Bug (Jagjaguwar) LP
Dinosaur Jr: I Bet On Sky (Jagjaguwar) LP
Grails: Chalice Hymnal (Temporary Residence) LP
Herbie Hancock: Headhunters (Legacy) LP
Daniel Johnston: Yip Music (EYE) LP
King Woman: Created in the Image (Relapse) LP
Lady Gaga: Joanne (Universal) LP
Led Zeppelin: I (Warner) LP
Led Zeppelin: II (Warner) LP
Led Zeppelin: IV (Warner) LP
Mazzy Star: So Tonight That I Might See (Plain) LP
Melvins: Houdini (Thirdman) LP
Menahan Street Band: Make The Road By Walking (Daptone) LP
Menahan Street Band: The Crossing (Daptone) LP
Hank Mobley: Soul Station (Blue Note) LP
Hank Mobley: Workout (Blue Note) LP
Modest Mouse: The Moon & Antarctica (Epic) LP
Mogwai: Rock Action (PIAS) LP
Angel Olsen: My Woman (Jagjaguwar) LP
OST: Arrival (DG) LP
Iggy Pop & The Stooges: Raw Power (Legacy) LP
Portishead: Dummy (Polydor) LP
Portishead: s/t (London) LP
Andy Shauf: The Party (Arts & Crafts) LP
Solange: A Seat At The Table (Columbia) LP
Songs: Ohia: Axxess & Ace (Secretly Canadian) LP
Songs: Ohia: Didn’t It Rain (Secretly Canadian) LP
Songs: Ohia: s/t (Secretly Canadian) LP
Unicorns: Who Will Cut Our Hair… (Caterpillar) LP

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…..news letter #773 – see ya 2016…..

One final transmission for the year that just won’t stop. This week, just a quick list of our favourite records we heard this year and shared with you. As well a big thank you to each and everyone of you that reads these lists and comes in to the store, or any store and buys physical music still. You are the reason we are able to open the doors every day and send out lists full of weird and wonderful things every week. We’ve had a wonderful year being your record dealers and look forward to all the killer wax that comes through the shop next year. Have a safe and awesome New Year’s tomorrow and we’ll see you soon.

This weekend our hours will be….

Saturday Dec 31 11 – 4
Sunday Jan 1 closed
Monday Jan 2 back to normal

…..listen’s best of 2016…..

Kris’s Top New Releases…

||| |||: Feireenesse (Entr’acte)
Biosphere: Departed Glories (Smalltown Supersound)
Calhau!: U (Kraak)
Anthony Child: Electronic Music from Maui Jungle 2 (Editions Mego)
Demdike Stare: Wonderland (Modern Love)
Elg: Mauve Zone (Nashazphone)
Goat: Requiem (Sub Pop)
Steve Gunn: Eyes on the Line (Matador)
Ignatz: The Drain (Feeding Tube)
Willie Lane: A Pine Tree Shilling’s Worth (Cord-Art)
Rob Noyes: The Feudal Spirit (Poon Village)
Olympians: s/t (Daptone)
Orior: Strange Beauty (DDS)
Pye Corner Audio: Stasis (Ghost Box)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: Ears (Western Vinyl)
Supersilent: 13 (Smalltown Supersound)

Kris’s Top Reissues/Archival Releases…

AMM: AMMMusic (Black Truffle)
Loren Connors: Lullaby (Recital)
Tony Conrad/Faust: Outside the Dream Syndicate (Superior Viaduct)
Deux Filles: Silence & Wisdom/Double Happiness (Dark Entries)
Ariel Kalma: Interfrequence (Black Sweat)
Korean Undok Group: s/t (Penultimat Press)
Abul Mogard: Works (Ecstatic)
Ricardo Musci: Tower of Silence (Music From Memory)
Not Waving: Redacted (Ecstatic)
The Peace: Black Power (Now Again)
Sonic Youth: Sister (Goofin)
Tapes: Selected Works (Ecstatic)
This Heat/Camberwell Now/Lifetones: All! (Light In The Attic/Modern Classics)
Trad, Gras och Stener: Box (Anthology)
Piero Umiliani: Genti e Paesi del Mondo (Black Sweat)
Various: Wake Up You 1 & 2 (Now Again)

James’s Top New Releases…

A Tribe Called Quest: We Got it From Here… (Epic)
Dinosaur Jr.: Give a Glimpse of What You’re Not (Jagjaguwar)
Steve Gunn: Eyes on the Line (Matador)
Neurosis: Fires Within Fires (Neurot)
Not Waving: Animals (Diagonal)
Pye Corner Audio: Stasis (Ghost Box)
Sheer Mag: III (Wilsuns)

James’s Top Reissues/Archival Releases…

Blonde Redhead: Masculine Feminine (Numero)
Camberwell Now: The Ghost Trade (Modern Classics)
Kleenex/Lilliput: First Songs (Kill Rock Stars)
Mare: s/t (Hydrahead)
Tapes: Selected Works (Ecstatic)

Bailey’s Top New Releases…

Tim Hecker – Love Streams (Paper Bag)
Andy Shauf – The Party (Arts & Crafts)
Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denials (Matador)
Andy Stott – Too Many Voices (Modern Love)
Yoni & Geti – Testarossa (Joyful Noise)
Charles Bradley – Changes (Daptone)
Bitter Fictions – Jettison (Shaking Box)
Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam – I Had A Dream That You Were Mine (Glassnote)
Lab Coast – Remember The Moon (Wyatt)
Colin Stetson – Sorrow (52Hz)
Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed)

Stefan’s Top 16 of 2016…

A Tribe Called Red: We Are The Halluci Nation (Radicalized)
BADBADNOTGOOD: IV (Innovative Leisure)
Black Mountain: IV (Jagjaguwar)
Charles Bradley: Changes (Daptone)
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein: Stranger Things OST Vol. 1 (Lakeshore)
Various: Doing It In Lagos- Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980’s Nigeria (Soundway)
Duchess Says: Sciences Nouvelles (Bonosound)
Various: Haiti Direct- Big Band, Mini Jazz, Twoubadou Sounds 1960-1978 (Strut)
The Highest Order: Still Holding (Idee Fixe)
Lucifer(Mort Garson): Black Mass  (Black Mass Rising)
Angel Olsen: My Woman (Jagjaguwar)
Rhythm of Cruelty: New Ethos (Pseudo Laboratories)
Various: Senegal 70- Sonic Gems & Previously Unreleased Recordings from the 70’s (Analog Africa)
Kaitlyn Auerelia Smith/ Suzanne Ciani: Sunergy (RVNG Int.)
Various: Togo Soul  70- Selected Rare Togolese Recordings from 1971 to 1981 (Hot Casa)
Warpaint: Heads Up (Rough Trade)

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…..news letter #772 – last minutes…..

Well, it’s getting down to the wire, but you’ve still got some time to get in here and pick up some sweet wax or a new turntable for that special someone on your list. We’re here until 9 tonight and tomorrow and until 4 on Saturday. It’s a wee bit hectic around here so I’ll keep it short. There are some new things, like the new Tribe Called Quest, so I’ll make a list for y’all below. Next week we’ll have another short list with our staff top picks from the year. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to all of you and your family!

Our hours over the holidays will be….

Saturday Dec 24 11 – 4
Sunday Dec 25 closed
Monday Dec 26 11 – 5
Saturday Dec 31 11 – 4
Sunday Jan 1 closed

More importantly, on boxing day, we will obviously be having a big sale! 20% off pretty much all music and accessories and gear are 10% off! So if you didn’t get everything you wanted for xmas, come get if for cheap! Hell, even if you did get everything you wanted, come buy some more stuff!

…..new arrivals…..

A Tribe Called Quest: We Got It From Here… (Epic) LP
Alessandro Alessandroni: Sangue Di Sbirro (Four Flies) LP
John Barry: Walkabout (Roundtable) LP
Bobby Beausoleil: Lucifer Rising (Anja) LP
Silvano D’Auria: Sortilegio (Four Flies) LP
East of the Valley Blues: s/t (Death is not the End) LP
Lee Hazlewood: Cowboy in Sweden (Light in the Attic) LP+DVD
Justice: Woman (Because) LP
Kaytranada: 99.9% (XL) LP
Kleenex/Lilliput: First Songs (Kill Rock Stars) LP
Konami Kukeiha Club: Larange Point (Ship to Shore) LP
La Matos: Join Us (Death Waltz Originals) LP
Massive Attack: Blue Lines (Virgin) LP
Massive Attack: Protection (Virgin) LP
Massive Attack: No Protection (Virgin) LP
Ennio Morricone: 60 Years of Music (Virgin) LP
OST: Gremlins (Mondo) LP
OST: Jessica Jones (Mondo) LP
OST: Daredevil (Mondo) LP
OST: The Fountain (Mondo) LP
Deantoni Parks: Touch But Don’t Look (Elite) LP
Sheer Mag: Compilation (Wilsuns RC) LP
Stone Roses: s/t (Modern Classics) LP
Charles Wain: The Last Wave (Roundtable) LP
Various: The Microcosm (Light in the Attic) 3LP Box
Various: PZYK Vol 2 (PZYK) LP

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…..news 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

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

…..new arrivals…..

allen

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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hubris

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

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

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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detroit

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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stranger-things

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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harris

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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xharris

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

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

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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op-doom

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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music

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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notwist

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

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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orb

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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orcutt

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

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

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

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-tio

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

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

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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cologne

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

french-dbs

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

…..Restocks…..

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

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…..news 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…..

dickens

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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…..new arrivals…..

amfoot

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

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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connors

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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cyr

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

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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dumbo

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 resident.engineer 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

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

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

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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jks_winterwheat-jpg-540x540_q90_crop

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

nycghosts

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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yanneusa

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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hip

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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up-to-here

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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road-apples

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

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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kenya

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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studio-one

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

…..Restocks…..

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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…..news 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

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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…..new arrivals…..

anciients

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

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

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

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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dorji

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

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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merch

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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naked

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

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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soulmates

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

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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Tagged , , , , , ,

…..news 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

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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…..new arrivals…..

battisti

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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bvs

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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blake

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

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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cherry

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

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

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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excult

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

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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gengras
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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hval

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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jansch

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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mcbain

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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LaneganCovers

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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whiskey

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

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

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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doom

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

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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child

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

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

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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opium

Jack Rose:
Opium Musick
Red Horse, White Mule
Raag Manifesto
(VHF) LP
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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survive

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

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

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

zron

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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concrete

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

…..Restocks…..

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 , , , , , ,

…..news 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…..

2e4

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-wavind

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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sunergy

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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…..new arrivals…..

34

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

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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ashby

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

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

brink

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

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

curran

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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big_fun

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

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

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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fakroun

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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funkees

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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kitajima

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

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: 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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nelson

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

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

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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mother

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_bundle

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

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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shihab

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.

File Under:
 Jazz
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sleep

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

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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touch

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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vatshad

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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waters

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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afterschool

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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addis

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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katanga

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

taking-it

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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…..Restocks…..

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

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