Category Archives: vinyl

…..news letter #754 – back…..

You may have noticed a lack of update last week, or maybe you didn’t…. well there wasn’t one. I was away. But I’m back and this week’s list contains everything in from last week and this week, which still isn’t THAT much, but that’s ok, cuz there’s some real gems this list…

…..picks of the week…..

expo 70

Expo 70: Exquisite Lust (Sonic Meditations) 2LP
Originally released on CDr in 2006 with Kill Shaman and quickly caught the eye and ears of Aquarius Records in San Francisco. With the help of carrying the CDr release, Wright produced around 650 CDr’s to keep with the demand of Aquarius’ review from their list no. 243. “Gorgeous drifting ethereal krautrocky ambience is what Expo ’70 is all about, and eyes closed, you’d be hard pressed to not think this was some Ash Ra Tempel disc or some long lost A.R. and The Machines lp. Crafted entirely from guitars, sitar and Moog, each track here is some sort of lengthy, mesmerizingingly blissed out minimal drone jam. Guitar figures are looped into hypnotic cycles, over shimmery whirls of fuzzy sound and distant drones, the looped riffs slowly shifting and gently changing shape. It’s almost like some sort of new age space rock Steve Reich.” Aquarius couldn’t have summed up the etherial mystique around Wright’s developing project better. Newly mastered after being out of print since 2009, this classic album finally graces 2 LPs, both in limited editions on Sonic Meditations. Gatefold tip-on jackets, gold 180 gram vinyl.

File Under: Kosmiche, Psych, Ambient
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rose.jpg

Jack Rose: Dr. Ragtime & His Pals
Jack Rose: s/t
Jack Rose: I Do Play Rock and Roll 
(3Lobed) LP

John Coltrane died at age 40, and in retrospect it seems as if the intensity of activity in his last years, the sheer torrent of notes, was an attempt at purging the music from his soul before it was too late. The guitarist Jack Rose died at 38, in 2009, and listening back to his catalog one has a similar notion. Like Coltrane, Jack Rose’s last years were marked by a shimmering intensity, an outpouring of his spirit, onto audiences and records. I believe Jack Rose felt the duty of preservation but was by no means bound by it. With his virtuoso fingerstyle technique and restless guitar explorations–modal epics, bottleneck laments, uptempo rags–it’s easy to hear a connection to tradition and at the same time a pulsing modernism: “ancient to the future” in the words of chicago’s association for the advancement of creative musicians. Ultimately, it’s no use attempting to explain the unexplainable (natural disasters, god, art, death). as the air gets heavy before a thunderstorm, Jack Rose’s vivid guitar picking awakes in us a peculiar awareness, something ancient and american. Jack Rose’s work exists along the established continuum of american vernacular music: gospel, early jazz, folk, country blues and up through the post-1960s “american primitive” family tree from John Fahey and Robbie Basho and outward to other idiosyncratic american musicians like Albert Ayler, the No-Neck Blues Band, Captain Beefheart and Cecil Taylor. His process can best be heard as an evolution; renditions of songs would transform over time, worked out live, with changes in duration, tempo or attack, in the search for a song’s essence.

Dr. Ragtime & His Pals marks Rose’s step into the world of group interplay with versions of his standard repertoire arranged for a band. in its finished form, it exists as a sort of “party record” within his discography. Highlights are raucous and many, including “Linden Avenue Stomp,” “Knoxville Blues,” the spiritual “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord” and Sam McGee’s “Buckdancer’s Choice.” In assembling this album, Jack chose musicians with distinctive personalities and their own personal connections to old-time music; people he could learn from. His …pals rotated often and in this case include the banjo player Mike Gangloff (Jack’s old accomplice in Pelt as well as the Black Twig Pickers), Micah Blue Smaldone on guitar, Glenn Jones on guitar, Nathan Bowles (Black Twig Pickers) on washboard, and philadelphia legend Harmonica Dan (“Knoxville Blues”). The result is a late night back porch jam session, fueled by whisky, friendship, and a shared love of the old weird american music found on forgotten 78s.

Rose’s self-titled album was originally released in 2006 on the arCHIVE label, and later reissued as a CD two-fer with Dr. Ragtime and His Pals. It contains a combination of studio and live recordings. Jack Rose is marked by a sense of forward momentum, the result of several years of constant playing, with fresh versions of a number of previously attempted songs. Blind Willie Johnson’s spiritual “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground” is manipulated into a wailing slide-guitar lament. “Levee” pops like a warning. “St. Louis Blues” (in this and its several other incarnations across his entire catalog) is a good example of Jack’s innate sense of swing, a crucial characteristic of his playing perhaps lost on some of his fingerpicking followers. The centerpiece of the album, however, is the nearly sidelong “Spirits in the House,” which begins with tentative weeping glissandos, and slowly reveals itself as a stately fingerpicked blues meditation.

I Do Play Rock and Roll, the title a mystifying nod to Mississippi Fred McDowell’s electric period, finds Jack Rose in extended drone mode, coaxing open-tuned raga meditations from his 12-string guitar. “Calais to Dover” first appeared on Rose’s classic Kensington Blues in a somewhat truncated form. The version heard here is more expansive and open-hearted, a waxing-and-waning piece of introspection. “Cathedral et Chartres” shares the same quiet romanticism, with rotating patterns and the chime of open strings. “Sundogs,” the sidelong drone abstraction that occupies Side B, stands alone among Jack’s solo work. A long-form live rendition of a track that appeared on the genre-defining triple album compilation by the fruits you shall know the roots, it is perhaps most evocative of Pelt, Jack’s previous band, a minor-key free drone, with only miniscule dynamic shifts and the occasional recognizable string accent. It is territory Rose seldom traveled but completely and fully invigorating.

Jack Rose was a larger than life man with a hearty spirit–a no-bullshit gentleman–and his death continues to reverberate among the community of musicians and music people he called friends. This spirit, as evidenced within his recorded output, has proven to be indomitable and continually vital. –Scott McDowell, May 2016–

Three Lobed’s 2016 reissues on LP are pressed on 140 gram dutch vinyl by Record Industry. housed within old style Stoughton jackets. Released in connection with Jack Rose Estate.  Accompanied by download coupons for DRM-free digital files of the downloader’s choice.

File Under: Folk, Blues, Guitar Soli

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…..new arrivals…..

92982

William Basinski: 92982 (Temporary Residence) LP
Recorded in 1982 and eventually released in 2009 on CD via William Basinski’s own 2062 label, 92982 has become one of his most celebrated works. Finally available on vinyl for the first time, the album has been remastered from the original master tapes, and packaged in an exquisite custom die-cut package with interchangeable heavyweight inner sleeves featuring previously unpublished artwork and photographs from 1982. “You can’t help but wonder why this music, recorded so long ago, is only just surfacing. Was the world not ready for WIlliam Basinski in 1982, or was WIlliam Basinski simply not ready to hand himself over to an audience at that point? Whatever the reasoning, we’re certainly reaping the benefits of the influential ambient composer’s stockpile, and 92982 proves to be a real highlight in his output of recent years. Despite the minimalist essence of Basinski’s oeuvre there’s a pronounced sense of variety, diversity and depth at work in these four tracks, with each taking on its own specific persona. Essential.” – Boomkat

File Under: Ambient
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bitter fictions

Bitter Fictions: Jettison (Shaking Box) LP
Calgary’s Devin Friesen is the mastermind behind local label Shaking Box Music, which shines a light on Calgary’s noisier side of sound, and puts out some ambitious avant-garde, psych and drone recordings from many acts. His newly released Jettison, under his solo moniker Bitter Fictions, is a seven-song collection of nebulous noise, self-recorded in a library basement. This solo effort shows ingenuity in practice, because it’s just one guy and his guitar. However, the ideas that emanate from the meditational ambience shine through. Friesen balances precarious notes atop indistinguishable sources of feedback and resonance. Of course we have a loop pedal, we have all the standard modulation found in this style, such as reverb and delay among others, but the shivers, quakes and pulverizing blasts of distortion are unique to say the least, especially because of the limited instrumentation. Witnessed during a performance at 2016’s Sled Island, one way Friesen alters his guitar’s sound was on display. He places a drumstick beneath his guitar strings and uses another to prod, poke, caress and bang on the former, creating dense vibrations that create a foundation for anything he wants to lay over top. And the result? Calming and introspective drone-scapes replete with sporadic layerings of melody.

File Under: Experimental, Ambient, Guitar
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blood orange

Blood Orange: Freetown Sound (Domino) LP
Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange is set to release Freetown Sound, his third proper full-length album, and the most expansive statement of his career. Written and produced by Hynes, Freetown Sound is a tour de force, a pastiche of Hynes’ past, present, and future that melds his influences with his own established musical voice. For well over a decade, Hynes has proven himself a virtuoso of versatility, experimenting with almost every conceivable musical genre under a variety of monikers. After moving to New York City in the mid-2000s, Hynes became Blood Orange, plumming the oeuvres of the city’s musical legends to create a singular style of urgent, delicate pop music. Freetown Sound, which follows 2011’s Coastal Grooves and 2013’s breakthrough Cupid Deluxe, builds upon everything Hynes has done as an artist, resulting in the most expansive artistic statement of his career. Drawing from a deep well of techniques and references, the album unspools like a piece of theater, evoking unexpected communions of moods, voices, and eras. Freetown Sound derives its name from the birthplace of Hynes’ father, the capital of Sierra Leone. Thematically, it is profoundly personal and unapologetically political, touching on issues of race, religion, sex, and sexism over 17 shimmering songs. Each song echoes into another, with leitmotifs carefully stitched throughout, yielding a sound palette that gently recalls elastic funk, slinky R&B, and pure pop, but resisting easy categorization. For Hynes, the process of self-discovery involved in creating Freetown Sound proved as valuable as the finished product. “This record really tries to say things that I’ve been wanting to express for many years,” he says. “It looks into my childhood and examines who I am at this point in my life. There are so many crazy layers to it that it’s actually quite hard to talk about it, but the record is very reflective of how my brain works. It’s been very interesting for me trying to understand and tie all of these things together. It’s been a way of working through it.”

File Under: Indie Funk/Soul, Electronic
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pills

Blues Pills: Lady in Gold (Nuclear Blast) LP
The young American-Swedish-French quartet Blue Pills create a very unique, intense and extraordinary rock atmosphere while at the same time having a major mainstream appeal that takes you right back to the time of the band’s ancestors like Aretha Franklin, the original Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Cream. The multi-national sensation returns in August 2016 with their eagerly awaited second album Lady In Gold. Just as it’s highly successful predecessor Lady In Gold was once again produced by Don Alsterberg (Graveyard, Division of Laura Lee, Gonzalez, Jerry Williams). Commented singer Elin Larsson on the choice of the album’s title: “Lady gold is a character who symbolizes death. We wanted a twist on the typical stereotype of death being the grim reaper. So instead we made her a lady in gold.”

File Under: Blues Rock, Stoner Rock
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brotherhood

Brotherhood Of Lizards: Lizardland (Captured Tracks) LP
By late May of 1989, Cleaners from Venus man Martin Newell and Peter Nice aka Nelson finished their first album, Lizardland, and handed it over to upstart indie Deltic Records. Though there is a fair amount of Cleaners from Venus DNA in the mix due to the charms of the definitely lo-fi recording methods, the music of the Brotherhood of Lizards has a sharp sound all its own. And, the story doesn’t stop there. Towards the end of 1989, label head Andy McQueen, who knew Newell’s aversion to touring, asked if there was any possibility that the duo might go on a promotional tour. Newell replied, “Only by bicycle.” Soon after, whilst studying a map of England and its regional radio stations, it struck Newell that a bicycle tour might be a real possibility. Thus, amazingly, in early October, the two set off on bicycles, instruments on backs, tiny amps in front carriers, for a 600-mile busking tour of the entire southern half of England. The media became unexpectedly interested. More through sheer eccentricity than eco-activism, at the turn of a turbulent decade, the Lizards had unwittingly hitched a ride on a brand new zeitgeist. They were called “The First Eco Rock Band” and the tour became the subject of a number of news items. As 1990 rolled around, however, there was one big problem, for Newell at least: while the Lizards cycled and busked, an EMI employee saw Nelson on TV and thought he would be great replacement bass player for New Model Army. Nelson attended and passed the New Model Army audition and stayed with that band for well over two decades, although it spelled the end of the Brotherhood of Lizards. In spring of 1990, almost two years after they had begun, it was all over. They traveled over a thousand miles on bikes, busked their way around England and made all of the music contained here in this collection.

File Under: Lo-Fi, Indie Rock
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butler

Will Butler: Friday Night (Merge) LP
Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Will Butler returns with Friday Night, an album of live performances from the tour in support of his solo debut album, Policy. Recorded mostly at Lincoln Hall in Chicago on June 4, 2015, Friday Night includes five brand-new songs, five from Policy, and two songs he wrote for The Guardian newspaper last year. Capturing the energy of the dynamite Will Butler band was the major inspiration for this release. Miles Arntzen (EMEFE, Antibalas) played drums (standing up at a full kit – he didn’t use a hi-hat pedal, so he could stand on that leg while working the kick drum with the other), Julie Shore played synth bass, and Sara Dobbs played synth leads and Mellotron pads. Everybody sang backing vocals. Will wrote of the album: “Think of this as a comedy record. In some ways literally – Brooklyn comedian Jo Firestone does the introduction and the “solo” in “Friday Night” – but also, it’s an album based on working out ideas in a room full of people, playing off their energy and expectations. It’s about taking complicated emotions and wringing communal joy from them, and then translating that joy onto record. So here you go!” Featuring artwork by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson, Friday Night is the perfect companion to Policy and an exciting look ahead to what we can expect from Will Butler in the future.

File Under: Indie Rock, Arcade Fire

carter

Tom Carter: Long Time Underground (3Lobed) LP
A man in a crisis, Faulkner once wrote, always falls back upon what he knows best. Three summers ago, Brooklyn-via-Houston guitarist Tom Carter was in crisis. On tour in Europe with his pioneering psych-folk unit Charalambides, Carter was stricken with pneumonia, complications from which impelled doctors in Berlin to place him in a medically induced coma. Family members, bandmates and lovers of otherworldly music everywhere watched and waited during the six weeks Tom spent in the intensive care unit and the additional month in a rehabilitation facility. Sighs of relief were exhaled throughout the worldwide warrens of underground music when Tom finally returned to New York in August 2012, convalescent. The steady stream of outstanding recorded music Tom Carter has released over the last two years, both solo and collaborative, suggests a man more than returned to form—falling back on what he knows best, but somehow better. Tom Carter’s new solo album, Long Time Underground, is nothing short of stunning. While Carter shrugs off suggestions that long time underground represents some sort of sea change in his approach to making music, this (along with its companion post-illness release, Numinal Entry, on Halatern) comprises his first solo work this decade. Long Time Underground, moreover, is the first solo studio recording Carter has ever done. Long Time Underground is almost unsettling in its purity. A collection of fractal guitar études, the album is comprised mostly of composed material—some of which was written in the studio, some worked out in performance over the past few years. Each song was set down live without overdubs, and the result is an almost confessional intimacy. Although even long time fans may be startled by the sheer completeness of the worlds Carter manages to summon with a single guitar recorded in real time. The shock, I think, is the emotional clarity of the work. The album eschews the searching, exploratory (sometimes aimless) quality typical of latter-day psychedelia because it always seems so assured of precisely where it is headed. This may, of course, be attributable to the predominance of composed over improvised material on Long Time Underground. But it may also be the emotional groundedness of a man long detained from friends and loved ones and so possessed of immensely richer sense of home. As aesthetically and emotionally complete a musical experience as you are likely to have all year, Long Time Underground is simply the work of man, mortal but still illuminated. –Brent Sirota–

File Under: Ambient, Guitar Soli
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copeland

Eric Copeland: Black Bubblegum (DFA) LP
Black Bubblegum is the newest LP from Eric Copeland, and we are not kidding when we emphasize it sounds like nothing he has done in the past. The title of the record says it all: chewy, sticky pop that doesn’t taste quite like any chewy, sticky pop you’ve had before. Recorded at Copeland’s old practice space in South Williamsburg, Black Bubblegum contains songs with more conventional sounds and songwriting than any of his previous releases. While there are similarities with Copeland’s earlier work in the drum patterns, major scales and vocals, Black Bubblegum moves away from his trademark psychedelic dub towards strange and fantastical pop; imagine Arthur Russell going into the studio with the Ramones. Wanting to take a more “hands on” approach to these recordings, Copeland exchanged sample-driven tech and hardware for keyboards, guitars and effect pedals, creating a new sound that is oddly easy to digest despite its rejection of melody in favor of discord and dissonance. For a long time, Copeland considered this collection of songs to be recordings which would never be heard. This invariably influenced certain decisions made during the creation of Black Bubblegum, blessing Copeland with the unique freedom that comes from making music never intended to be heard, let alone released. When asked about what influenced this new album and sound, Eric replied “glam holes, glitter dreams, money troubles, apocalypse paranoia, one hit wonders, manifest destiny, my family’s westward migration, body troubles (was passing kidney stones almost the entire time), LGBT disco parties, Jonathan Richman, Missing Foundation, Neil Diamond, New Orleans, poverty, getting pushed out of another Brooklyn neighbourhood…No Beach Boys, no Beatles, no Buddha…More Bad News Bears.” Copeland has been sound clashing at full volume for over twenty years, first carving out a named for himself as one third of the legendary NY-via-Providence band Black Dice. A wildly prolific solo artist, Copeland has played shit houses, party palaces and seemingly everything in between all over the world. A long time Brooklyn, resident, Eric recently relocated to where the L Train does not run – Palma de Mallorca, Spain. While maintaining a relatively humble and low key presence in a highly competitive musical world, he has releases a prolific amount of music every year through indie labels such as L.I.E.S., Escho (Iceage), PPM (No Age), Paw Tracks (Animal Collective) and DFA.

 File Under: Indie Rock, Pop
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damned

The Damned: Machine Gun Etiquette (Chiswick) LP
The Damned’s classic third album Machine Gun Etiquette was issued by a different Damned to that which made 1977’s Damned Damned Damned and Music For Pleasure. They split in early 1978 and guitarist/main songwriter Brian James set off to pastures new. On reforming, bassist Captain Sensible switched to guitar, his main instrument. Rat Scabies and Dave Vanian were back too. Bassist Algy Ward was new, had recently left the Saints and was from Croydon like Captain. The new Damned swiftly picked up momentum, first as Les Punks with stop-gap bassist Lemmy, then the Doomed and finally under their old name. Chiswick Records saw what a live draw they were and picked them up, initially with a one-off deal for the “Love Song” single. It charted. The album followed. It charted too. Issued in November 1979, Machine Gun Etiquette was more than a valediction. A thrilling, wild ride, it took in hyper-speed, guitar-driven pop, psychedelic pop and surreal pop songs drawing from the girl’s comic Bunty and Vanian’s fascination with Hollywood and horror. Pop, though, was what the album was about. Tunes. Whether with the hard-edged anthem “Noise, Noise, Noise” (featuring members of the Clash on vocals; they were recording London Calling at the same studio booked by the Damned), the kinetic “Liar” or the astonishing, atmospheric “Plan 9 Channel 7,” this new Damned prioritized melody. There is no filler here: even the cover of the MC5’s “Looking At You” slotted in without breaking the flow. Machine Gun Etiquette hit shops within weeks of London Calling and Public Image Limited’s Metal Box, both benchmark albums showing how far their creators had moved beyond what had been defined as punk. The same applied to the Damned, who likewise recognized no musical barriers and did what they wanted: the true defining characteristic of punk. They didn’t care about definitions anyway. Which is why this classic, essential album sounds as fresh now as it did in 1979.

File Under: Punk, Rock
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damned black

The Damned: The Black Album (Chiswick) LP
The Damned’s The Black Album was ambitious, even more so than its multi-faceted predecessor, Machine Gun Etiquette. Reviewing the new album, weekly music paper the NME pointed to a Terry Riley influence while Syd Barrett and the Beach Boys were name-checked in Sounds’ review. Thinking of the Damned as a punk rock band was no longer possible. Their fourth album – and second since reforming in 1978 after splitting earlier in the year – was issued in November 1980. It was a double. Sides One and Two featured 11 songs. Side Four included six tracks recorded live at Shepperton Studios in July 1980, one of which was a version of their 1976 debut single “New Rose,” British punk rock’s first record. Side Three was taken up by one song, the 17-minute “Curtain Call.” In four years, the Damned had gone from a short, sharp shock to the epic. While the title was a sideways Beatles’ reference, the Black and the White albums actually were counterparts as each featured songs with diverse styles. The introspective “Silly Kids Games” can be read as a look back at the band’s past. “Wait For The Blackout” had an irresistible forward momentum and an equally memorable melody. “Drinking About My Baby” was the closest to punk that it got. “Twisted Nerve” was imbued with darkness. “History Of The World Part 1” nodded to the Kinks. And then, there was the momentous portmanteau aural drama “Curtain Call,” with its lyrics of “the crack of the whip” and “the snapping sound of someone’s nerves.” The Damned felt they could do anything and The Black Album proved they could. Ambitious? Yes. But also confirmation that the Damned were at a peak which would be hard to reach again.

File Under: Punk, Rock
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death grips

Death Grips: Bottomless Pit (Harvest) LP
Experimental rap-noise duo Death Grips, consisting of Stefan “MC Ride” Burnett and Zach Hill originally formed during late 2010 in Sacramento, CA. In 2014 after releasing four uncompromising full-length albums the group announced their dissolution and that their double set The Powers That B would be their fifth and final record. Now the group returns in 2016 with their surprise sixth album entitled Bottomless Pit. The 13-track, 35 minute affair includes the previously released track “Hot Head” and the recently unveiled “Eh.”

File Under: Rap, Noise
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factoryFactory Floor: 25 25 (DFA) LP
Factory Floor return in 2016 with 25 25, their second album and the follow up to their acclaimed 2013 self-titled debut. With their music stripped to a mesmerising dance of percussion, fragmented voice and melody, it captures the next vital stage in the evolution of one of the UK’s most restless and exploratory groups. The dazzlingly sharp, dubbed-out acid disco of ‘Meet Me At The End’ opens 25 25 in a surge of raw momentum. Both Factory Floor’s sparsest and most overtly club-centred track to date, it sets the tone for the rest of the album. Written and recorded by Gabriel Gurnsey and Nik Colk Void in late 2015 and early 2016, it’s the product of the last three years of intensive musical activity — non-stop live performances, artistic collaborations, writing new music and reconfiguring the limits of their sound. Inspired by playing a growing number of late night club shows, the pair’s music gradually evolved into the sound captured on their second album and in their current live incarnation: a stark, ultra-minimalist and eerily soulful dancefloor pulse, yet one that still bears Factory Floor’s unmistakable hallmarks of hypnotic repetition and jagged, punkish intensity. The close friendships and collaborations they’ve established along the way attest to those connections, among them Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle/Chris & Cosey, Perc, Optimo, New Order and Simon Fisher Turner. Mixed with razor precision by David Wrench (FKA twigs, Caribou), the results are all the more forceful for that newfound space.

File Under: Electronic, Electro
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gunn t

Gunn-Truscinski Duo: Sand City/Ocean Parkway (3Lobed) 2LP
The best musical partners play as if there is a direct connection between their brains. Steve Gunn (guitar) and John Truscinski (drums) possess that certain ESP / telepathy / majick – whatever *you* elect to call it. We’ve all heard folks whose operate on these otherworldly levels – Sandy Bull and Billy Higgins, Brian Eno and Robert Fripp, Alan Vega and Martin Rev, John Coltrane and Rashied Ali – and know just how special it can be when folks ascend to those sorts of rarefied heights. Over the course of a few short years these men recorded two albums, Sand City (2010) and Ocean Parkway (2012), that captured their unique and private musical language. Originally released as two separate smallish and now long out of print editions, those two albums are now presented within a singular gatefold package. Whether you are a recent convert to Gunn’s lyric and expressive guitar styling or an old-timer who has never investigated this particular corner of his discography, there is a lot to be rewarded by within the confines of both Sand City and Ocean Parkway. The first of the duo’s two albums, Sand City, saw release following a late winter conversation between Gunn and Three Lobed Recordings on a bench in Tompkins Square Park. Old friends who had spent a lot of time playing together both in public (including within the later incarnations of raga dronesters GHQ) and private, Truscinski and Gunn were looking to lay down some of their well-honed compositions in a studio setting. Sand City is informally split into “electric” and “acoustic” sides, both reflecting the duo’s well fluid and expressive style. Ocean Parkway followed quickly thereafter and features a collection of electrifying material honed while the duo was on a 2011 European tour. Gunn’s playing across all of this material, while always truly exploratory and aimed for the stars, takes on the more expansive reach typically reserved for his live performances when anchored by Truscinski’s textured and expressive backbeat. These two albums, while recorded at different times, share such a familiar tone that they seem and feel as if they are two sides of the same coin. Paired together they meld into a seamless listening experience.

File Under: Guitar, Folk
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jesu

Jesu/Sun Kil Moon: s/t (Caldo Verde) LP
Mark Kozelek and Justin Broadrick release their debut collaboration as Jesu/Sun Kil Moon through Caldo Verde Records/Rough Trade. The passionate ten track album is 79 minutes in length and includes guest appearances by Rachel Goswell of Slowdive, Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk of Low, Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, and Will Oldham aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy among others. Home to the beautiful and romantic numbers “Good Morning My Love,” “A Song of Shadows” and “Exodus,” the outfit’s eponymous album will be also supported live with the addition of Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) on drums.

File Under: Indie Rock, Shoegaze
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mingus

Charles Mingus: Blues & Roots (Stateside) LP
Originally released on Atlantic Records in 1960, Blues & Roots finds jazz legend Charles Mingus in full swing leading a stellar big band comprised of the likes of Horace Parlan/Mal Waldron (piano), Jackie McLean/John Handy (alto saxophone), Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone), Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone), Jimmy Knepper/Willie Dennis (trombone) and Dannie Richmond (drums). The soulful 6-track set is as accessible as anything in Mingus’ catalog and finds the maestro and company tackling the blues, gospel and old-time New Orleans jazz with aplomb. “This record is unusual, it presents only one part of my musical world, the blues. A year ago, Nesuhi Ertegün suggested that I record an entire blues album in the style of Haitian Fight Song, because some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn’t swing enough. He wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I’ve grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed.” – Charles Mingus

File Under: Jazz
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nonkeen

Nonkeen: Oddment of the Gamble (R&S) LP
Nonkeen return to R&S Records with the swift follow up to their debut album The Gamble. Oddments of the Gamble is a continuation of the unique, analogue concoctions that formed the first album – very much like a ‘part two’ in many ways. Although it inevitably draws on a similar formula to the previous LP – pensive loops and melodies, sweeping arpeggios, post-rock jams, and rolling nu-jazz breaks – Oddments of the Gamble still stands alone as another statement from the trio despite originating from the same recording session. Fresh listeners will encounter the holistic expressiveness of a substantial and beautifully put together album; while existing fans of Nonkeen can expect another facet of the band to emerge on this record, one that is distinctively more euphoric than that of the hazier, more brooding prequel. Those in possession of their debut album, The Gamble, will require little introduction to the band’s most loyal member, chance. Choosing only their favorite tracks for the debut album The Gamble turned out to be a challenging endeavor: there were still too many for a single album. The only solution, therefore – according to the band – was to make several albums, but this didn’t make things much easier: the next question was which album to release. Refusing to let such matters get the better of them, they agreed to flip a coin: let chance decide and the band would follow, with the winning album known as The Gamble. But the warm reception that followed its release flattered Gmeiner, Frahm and Singwald, encouraging them to make available the collection that had first lost the toss: The Oddments Of The Gamble. After all, everything – just like everyone – deserves a second chance.

File Under: Electronic, Downtempo
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pelican

Pelican: City of Echoes/Live in Poland (Hydrahead) LP
Pelican’s instrumental heaviness was full-formed at birth in 2001 with a monstrous debut that Hydra Head bestowed upon the world. The brutalist forms of metal were long a grounding presence in the songs of Pelican; but in the years leading up to their iconic 2007 album City Of Echoes, the band shed some but certainly not all of the metal tropes that informed their first fruits. An ebullient temperament teases through the guitar work that laces through City Of Echoes from Trevor de Brauw and Laurent Schroeder-Lebec. Pelican’s sharp mimesis of the Takoma ellipsis and the dangling participles of math-rock complication paralleled the likes of Explosions In The Sky and Rodan with a gifted knack for lachrymose celebration. Yet time and again, Pelican’s reprises the violent crack of metal through the heavy riffage of downtuned post-hardcore chug and double-kick blastbeats, making any Pelican song an unpredictable journey. The albums opening cut “Bliss In Concrete” sets the stage with a series of interlocked riffs of crunched guitar and bass, with the stylistic transitions pronounced by the drums of complicated time signatures rapidly changing course only to double up on the snare and kick, only to glide into a pop-punk immediacy of the now. Similarly, the titular track skips to a doleful guitar jangle out of the early ’90s indie-rock playbook, then taking a very Pelican left-turn with a mighty crescendo of galloping hardcore that never seems out of place. Assymetrical by design, City Of Echoes erupts through its kinetic compositions deliberately seeking a panoply of emotional content through melody, harmony, dissonance, and noise. No words necessary for these sermons of jubilation tempered with aggression and consternation.

File Under: Post Rock, Metal
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pharaoh overlord

Pharaoh Overlord: #1 (Hydrahead) LP
Since the inception of the trio Pharaoh Overlord in 2001, they’ve carved up imposing, yet weirdly cozy monoliths erected in the epic desert of original rock and roll. Pharaoh Overlord’s stoner rock klang on their debut 1 is down-to-earth due to sheer weight of the riffs. The light touch and the ease with which Leppänen, Lehtisalo and Westerlund lift the weight of the riffs off the ground and propel them on abysmal orbits works like a magician’s trick, a cathartic sleight of hand. In the case of Pharaoh Overlord, the magic endures.

File Under: Space Rock, Psych
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scientists

Scientists: A Place Called Bad (Numero) 4CD
With a sound that was swampy, primal and modernurban 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. “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 r eal.” —Thurston Moore // “They wrote fantastic singles and looked like they just crawled out of the ooze. What mor e 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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sdre

Sunny Day Real Estate: How it Feels to be Something On (Sub Pop) LP
Sunny Day Real Estate’s third album, How It Feels to Be Something On, is now back in print on vinyl, after more than a decade of fetching high prices on the collectors market. In 1997, Sub Pop approached Sunny Day’s members for help in compiling a rarities album. Because there were so few usable tracks, band founders Jeremy Enigk and Dan Hoerner agreed to get together and write some new material to augment the archival songs, but they wound up crafting an entire new album in a matter of days. Without Mendel, who remains with Foo Fighters to this day, Sunny Day reunited to record How It Feels to Be Something On, which Sub Pop released in September 1998. After 2000’s The Rising Tide, the band split, with Mendel continuing his work with the Foo Fighters, though Enigk, Goldsmith, and Mendel did reconvene to record an album under the name The Fire Theft in 2003. Sunny Day Real Estate reunited for a series of shows in 2010. Single-LP jacket with CD-size booklet and download coupon.

File Under: Indie Rock
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tobacco

Tobacco: Sweatbox Dynasty (Ghostly) LP
It’s been almost two decades since baby Tobacco first plugged in a tape deck, popped the top, and found the dark magic that’s fueled so many sonic forays into his genre less bog of beat-blasted hypnagogia and otherworldly-yet-earthen pop. The Pennsylvanian experimentalist has since helmed countless Black Moth Super Rainbow releases, remixed outsiders as offbeat as Health and unexpected as White Zombie, and produced MCs ranging from Aesop Rock to Beck. But it’s on his fourth solo album that Tobacco winds up coining an apt name for his vast empire of moldering electrofied dirt: Sweatbox Dynasty. The new LP – his second for Ghostly International – finds the rural recluse resurrecting an old approach to hack a new path through the muck. This may be his most unintentionally psychedelic and left-field creation yet, full of rhythms that start and stop like a tractor on its last piston, resonating melodies made to fuel transcendental meltdowns, and vocals that hiss, gurgle, and growl. “It’s my baby,” says Tobacco – a disturbing mental image if you overlook the beauty in his decrepit works. A song like “Human Om,” for example, swirls revving analog synths, drum machine clatter, blown-out gong hits, sitar hum, and all manner of unidentifiable noise to create an unexpected sense of calm. It’s an almost trance-inducing space where our host gets touchy-feely in his own way, voice seething, “You can be my light come up in the morning/And I can be your spiral spinnin’ down.” The cheery na-na-na’s and punchy rhythms of “Gods in Heat” similarly contrast against dirging chords and heavy distortion, while “Warlock Mary” swaths a springy funk riff in thick layers of warped tones. Interstitial pieces like “Wipeth Out” or “The Madonna” are exactly that – strange, minimal fuzz bombs that jerk and groove to alien cadences. On an album with no guests, the tape deck is Tobacco’s one true collaborator – the Second Zombie Beatle there to eff up all his prettier inclinations. Like how the sticky coast and thump of “Dimensional Hum” keeps getting derailed by what sounds like a fritzy radio dial, and the stonery dub of “Fantasy Trash Wave” bends and snaps over its slippery breakbeats. “An album of linear songs is just boring at this point,” says Tobacco, and he makes extra good on his promise to innovate ever more crudely with Sweatbox Dynasty’s closer. At over six minutes, “Let’s Get Worn Away” first plays like eleven more songs spliced together at unpredictable intervals – jock jams collide against rap bumps, synthesizer ether, and shadowy electro-pop. But on repeated listens, madness clearly becomes method, as our anti-hero lulls us into a state of intense, earned peace. This time when he stops, he’s got closure, and we’re the ones left with an undeniable urge to dig our hands back into that aural gunk once again.

File Under: Electronic
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walker

Ryley Walker: Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (Dead Oceans) LP
The preceding years have been extraordinary for Ryley Walker. In March 2015, his second album, Primrose Green, emerged to critical hosannas from the likes of NPR, Village Voice, Uncut, and Mojo – in the process, earning admiration of musicians who had chalked up no shortage of turntable miles in Walker’s life. Robert Plant declared himself a fan – as did double-bass legend Danny Thompson, with whom Ryley would later embark on a British tour. A sprawling tour of the USA around Primrose Green presented a perfect chance to workshop ideas for what would eventually become his third studio album, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung. On the album, “The Roundabout” represents a symbolic return to Chicago, while other songs are directly wedded to Ryley’s actual return there. Perhaps more than any other song on the record, the somnambulant sun-dappled intimacies of opening track “The Halfwit In Me” most audibly bear the imprint of Ryley’s improvisational sessions with Wilco multi-instrumentalist, Chicagoan and producer Leroy Bach, while “Funny Thing She Said” is an unflinching study of separation set to a shimmeringly supple ensemble performance. Soft, slo-mo explosions of melody intermittently burst through the distant thunder of the verses on “A Choir Apart.” Intriguing, surreal images are meted out by “I Will Ask You Twice”, like a malfunctioning slide projector; and, perhaps best of all, the stunning finale, “Age Old Tale”, which spiders out from an Alice Coltrane-inspired reverie into a sustained rapture that very few artists have managed to achieve.

File Under: Folk
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wye oak

Wye Oak: Tween (Merge) LP
The word “tween” implies a certain, very specific kind of awkwardness, and those implications are rarely positive. But think about it like this: Something “tween” is in the process of becoming something else, and there’s a very specific kind of beauty in that becoming. There’s something rewarding in recognizing and celebrating it – in meeting it halfway. Wye Oak’s Tween is a collection of eight songs born, raised, and almost abandoned for various reasons during the years between 2011’s breakthrough Civilian and 2014’s reinvention-of-sorts, Shriek. Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack described these songs as “not emblematic of a step forward, but a step sideways in time.” In other words, they just didn’t make sense for album number five – which will happen at some point in the future. But just because they didn’t belong there doesn’t mean they don’t belong anywhere. To wedge them onto Shriek would’ve been dishonest; to orphan them would’ve been somewhere on the line between criminal and just plain silly. Now that your expectations are lowered, let’s build them back up, because Tween is full of gorgeous Wye Oak songs whose only crime was timing and context, made by two people at the height of their game. At first these songs sounded too disparate to me to be called an album, but the more Tween sank in, the more it made sense: One minute Jenn and Andy are embracing their floatiest Cocteau Twins instinct (“If You Should See”), the next they’re back in Civilian territory a bit (“No Dreaming”), and later they’re slinky and electronic and gorgeously ‘80s (“On Luxury”). The common thread: These are no castaways or cutouts. In fact, pound for pound, Tween might actually be more directly accessible than Shriek. It should join the pantheon of amazing not-albums of history whose names try to downplay how good they actually are, like R.E.M.’s Dead Letter Office, The Who’s Odds and Sods, maybe even Dinosaur Jr.’s Whatever’s Cool With Me.

File Under: Indie Rock
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xiu xiu

Xiu Xiu: Plays the Music of Twin Peaks (Polyvinyl) LP
Australia’s Gallery of Modern Art commissioned Xiu Xiu to reinterpret the music from Twin Peaks for their David Lynch: Between Two Worlds exhibition. Since then, the band has performed select concerts all over the globe culminating in a proper studio album of the compositions. This is an entirely new interpretation of the music of Twin Peaks; one emphasizing its chaos, drama, fear, noise and sidelong leering glances. Like the show, their music is am alluring cross-talk of jarring signifiers – elusive flirtations with genre, dream logic, dark-lit explorations of sexual deviance – which, taken whole, form an uncomfortable sense, a penetrative, unspoken truth it seemed impossible to arrive at. “The music of Twin Peaks is everything that we aspire to as musicians and is everything that we want to listen to as music fans. It is romantic, it is terrifying, it is beautiful, it is unnervingly sexual. The idea of holding the “purity” of the 1950s up to the cold light of a violent moon and exposing the skull beneath the frozen, worried smile has been a stunning influence on us. There is no way that we can recreate Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch’s music as it was originally played. It is too perfect and we could never do its replication justice. Our attempt will be to play the parts of the songs as written, meaning, following the harmony melody but to arrange in the way that it has shaped us as players.” – Jamie Stewart, Xiu Xiu

File Under: Indie Rock, OST
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earthNeil Young: Earth (Reprise) 3LP
Neil Young’s unconventional new release Earth is a 98-minute collection comprised of 13 live songs from his 2015 tour with Promise of the Real (Lukas Nelson (vocals/guitar), Corey McCormick (bass), Tato Melgar (percussion), Anthony LoGerfo (drums)) mixed with the sounds of nature. The songs span the breadth of Young’s career and all incorporate an environmental theme including “Mother Earth,” “Vampire Blues,” “Hippie Dream,” “After the Goldrush,” and “Love & Only Love,” plus four tracks from 2015’s The Monsanto Years and the new “Seed Justice” aka “I Won’t Quit.” “98 uninterrupted minutes long, Earth flows as a collection of 13 songs from throughout my life, songs I have written about living here on our planet together. Our animal kingdom is well represented in the audience as well and the animals, insects, birds and mammals actually take over the performances of the songs at times. “We made a live record and every creature on the planet seemed to show up. Suddenly all the living things of Earth were in the audience going crazy. Then they took over the stage, letting their wild sounds mingle with the Vanilla Singers perfect corporate harmony. Earth’s creatures let loose, there were Bee breakdowns, Bird breakdowns and yes, even Wall Street breakdowns, jamming with me and Promise of the Real. The show was non stop bliss for 98 minutes, no breaks. Earth does not fit on iTunes. It breaks all their rules (and couldn’t all really be heard that way anyway). No one who was there will ever forget the love, wonder and beautiful madness of Earth. I know I won’t.” – Neil Young

File Under: Rock
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celestial

Various: Celestial Blues (BGP) LP
2015 was the year jazz hit the mainstream again. The catalyst for this was saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s 3CD masterpiece The Epic, influenced by the symphonic, spiritually aware jazz of the early 70s. Celestial Blues is a compilation that shines a spotlight on some of the music that may have influenced The Epic. The ten tracks range from the evidently spiritual – such as Gary Bartz’s classic “Celestial Blues” or Joe Henderson & Alice Coltrane’s astounding collaboration on “Fire,” to less obvious but just as relevant recordings by drummers Roy Brooks and Joe Chambers. Charles Earland’s contribution bears a remarkable resemblance to “Henrietta Our Hero,” a stand-out track from The Epic, whilst Carlos Garnett and Azar Lawrence’s mix of saxophone, strings and voices could be a template for Washington’s whole sound. The compilation is completed by fine examples of the era’s jazz from Hampton Hawes and Bayeté Umbra Zindiko. And Oliver Nelson’s “Aftermath” is an apt closer.

File Under: Jazz

…..Restocks…..

Avalanches: Wildflower (Astralwerks) LP
Avett Brothers: True Sadness (Universal) LP
Beck: Morning Phase (Geffen) LP
Blonde Redhead: Fake Can Be Just As Good (Touch & Go) LP
Blonde Redhead: Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (Touch & Go) LP
David Bowie: Blackstar (Columbia) LP
Burzum: Belus (Back in Black) LP
Burzum: Filosofem (Back in Black) LP
The Clash: Sandinista! (Epic) LP
The Clash: Give Em Enough Rop (Epic) LP
The Clash: Combat Rock (Epic) LP
Daft Punk: Discovery (EMI) LP
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (Columbia) LP
Darkthrone: A Blaze in the Northern Sky (Peaceville) LP
Darkthrone: Hate Them (Peaceville) LP
Darkthrone: Panzerfaust (Peaceville) LP
Darkthrone: Sardonic Wrath (Peaceville) LP
Darkthrone: Under A Funeral Moon (Peaceville) LP
Miles Davis: Live Evil (4 Men With Beards) LP
Dead Kennedys: Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death (Manifesto) LP
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables (Manifesto) LP
El Michel’s Affair: Enter the 37th Chamber (Fat Beats) LP
Alessandro Escovedo: Gravity (New West) LP
Flipper: Generic Flipper (4 Men With Beards) LP
Jose Gonzalez: Veneer (Mute) LP
Steve Gunn: Boreum Palace (Three Lobed) LP
Lauren Hill: Miseducation of (Universal) LP
Freddie Hubbard: Blue Spirits (Blue Note) LP
Kayranada: 99.9% (XL) LP
Love: Forever Changes (Rhino) LP
M83: Junk (Mute) LP
Madlib: Shades of Blue (Blue Note) LP
Neon Indian: Vega Intl. Night School (Mom & Pop) LP
Neu!: 2 (Gronland) LP
Nirvana: Unplugged (Geffen) LP
Nirvana: Nevermind (Geffen) LP
Otis Redding: Dock of the Bay (Sundazed) LP
Otis Redding: In Person (Sundazed) LP
Otis Redding: The Soul Album (Sundazed) LP
Otis Redding: Live in Europe (Sundazed) LP
Otis Redding: Dictionary of Soul (Sundazed) LP
Refused: Shape of Punk to Come (Epitaph) LP
Andy Shauf: The Party (Arts & Crafts) LP
The Smiths: Hatful of Hollow (Rhino) LP
The Smiths: Louder than Bombs (Rhino) LP
Scott Walker: Tilt (Drag City) LP
Walker Brothers: Nite Flights (Music on Vinyl) LP
White Stripes: Elephant (Third Man) LP

Tagged , , , , , ,

…..news letter #721 – 8…..

Uh, we’re swamped. Loads in this week, so, dive in….

Oh ya, our hours over the holidays will be….

Thusday Dec 24 11 – 4
Friday Dec 25 closed
Saturday Dec 26 11 – 5
Thursday Dec 31 11 – 4
Friday Jan 1 closed

….picks of the week…..

lrd

Les Rallizes Denudes: Live 77 (Victory) LP
Les Rallizes Dénudés are one of the earliest and most revolutionary Japanese psychedelic rock bands, and existed off and on through four decades. The band formed in November of 1967 at Kyoto University, inspired by Exploding Plastic Inevitable-era Velvet Underground as well as the over-amplified rock of Blue Cheer and Mario Schifano’s avant-garde ensemble Le Stelle. By 1968 they were gigging live and even began a regular collaboration with an avant-garde theater troupe, which ended the next year because of Les Rallizes’ penchant for extreme volume. Not only did they use massive amounts of feedback at loud volumes, their stage shows used strobe lights, mirror balls, and other effects for a live experience that was a total sensory assault. This historic performance recorded in Tachikawa in 1977 is perhaps the most beloved document of the band’s sound: extreme feedback and distressed guitar with detached vocals laid over languid rhythms — unbelievable in intensity.

File Under: Japanese Psych
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forse2

Alessandro Cortini: Forse 2 (Important) LP
Super limited 2015 repress. “Alessandro Cortini’s second release in his Forse trilogy is full of thick analog brightness and deep analog warmpth. Despite also being fully composed on a Buchla Music Easel, the feeling of Forse 2 is quite different from Forse 1 and this deluxe double vinyl release is the ultimate way to experience this engaging work. Pressed in an edition of 500. ‘All pieces were written and performed live on a Buchla Music Easel, in the span of one month. I found that the limited array of modules that the instrument offers sparked my creativity. Most pieces consist of a repeating chord progression, where the real change happens at a spectral/dynamic level, as opposed to the harmonic/chordal one. I believe that the former are just as effective as the latter, in the sense that the sonic presentation (distortion, filtering, wave shaping, etc) are just as expressive as a chord change or chord type, and often reinforce said chord progressions. Of all the years with Nine Inch Nails the period spent writing and recording the instrumental record Ghosts I-IV is probably the one which changed my approach to music making the most. After that record I started getting more into instrumental composition, although I tried to approach it in a different way. While we had a vast array of tools and instruments at our disposal then, I decided to approach my pieces limiting myself to one instrument only, as I found myself being more decisive when faced with a limited creative environment.'”

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Buchla
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…..New Arrivals…..

purple

Baroness: Purple (Abraxan Hymns) LP
“We’ve been down in a basement for the past two years, shivering and/or sweating out a new record. It’s an understatement to say that we are proud of the result, and we cannot wait for its release, so that we can finally begin to play these songs on tour for our audience. It has taken three years to rebuild, restrengthen and reforge Baroness into a new form; and while the wait was grueling at times, it’s already been worthwhile. “We needed to write an album that would push us forward, reinvigorate our creativity, and offer a further challenge for ourselves and our fans alike. We needed to write something exciting. We really set ourselves to task to trim fat, write better songs, and speak with a more direct and unique voice through our music. We have never been nor will we ever be interested in following trends, adhering to stylistic rules or fitting securely in any format. “Our goal is to write, record, and perform music that excites us. If we can get amped up and feel these songs in earnest, then we believe that you can too. Purple is the recorded experience of Baroness piecing ourselves back together in order to become something more than we had ever imagined we could be. In short, we are thrilled. We have never been as uniformly psyched-up by a record of ours…You will be hearing much more from us soon. ‘Til the wheels fall off…” – Baroness

File Under: Metal
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beat of the earth

Beat of the Earth: This Record is an Artistic Statement (Radich) LP
From 1967, Phil Pearlman (The Electronic Hole and the majestic Relatively Clean Rivers) leads a free assemblage of local Southern California acid-heads through loping Velvetica tribal incantations. The Beat of the Earth earns its name in two side-length jams brimming with eastern-tinged luminosity. It is the sun-dappled mirror of The Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray.” Instead of the urban decay and black and white pop art of the Warhol scene, The Beat of the Earth represents the same idea, looking west across the Pacific. This comes from the same yet intrinsically polar opposite frame of mind from the VU noise marathons of their epic live shows. Mind-expanding psychedelia done by sun-gobbed hippies that were totally out of step with everything else happening in Southern California of the pop-psych ’60s. This record stands as much an outsider statement as ESP-Disk’s Cromagnon record, or any of the Swedish bands of the Silence stable. It is a truly zonked masterpiece of tribal hippy culture dosed to the gills! Limited edition of 300. -Radich

File Under: Psych, Raerz
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alarm

Peter Brotzmann Group: Alarm (Cien Fuegos) LP
First vinyl reissue of Alarm by the Peter Brötzmann Group, originally released on FMP in 1983. Harry Miller: bass; Louis Moholo: drums; Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano; Peter Brötzmann: saxophone; Frank Wright: saxophone; Willem Breuker: saxophone; Toshinori Kondo: trumpet; Alan Tomlinson: trombone; Hannes Bauer: trombone. Recorded during the 164th NDR Jazzworkshop, November 12, 1981, at the Funkhaus Hamburg. Produced by Peter Brötzmann and Jost Gebers. Cover design by Peter Brötzmann.

File Under: Free Jazz

drones

Goncalo F. Cardoso & Ruben Pater: A Study into 21st Century Drone Acoustics (Discrepant) LP
Much of the discussion around unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) is directed toward its capabilities of surveillance and attack. However for those living in areas of conflict, it is the engine sound of the drones that has devastating psychological effects. Military drones fly at high altitudes and are more easily heard than seen. Even the origin of the word “drone” is rooted in sound, and comes from the sound of the male honeybee. The sound of drones in areas of conflict creates soundscapes of terror that can go on for many hours. The buzzing of the engines has generated nicknames like “zanana” in Palestine and “bangana” in Pakistan. A Study into 21st Century Drone Acoustics is an auditive investigation by composer Gonçalo F. Cardoso (Discrepant) and designer Ruben Pater (Drone Survival Guide). What kind engines are drones equipped with? What do they sound like? What are the psychological effects of the sounds in areas of conflict? Side A features field recordings of 17 drone types, ranging from small consumer drones to large military drones. The B-side presents a soundscape by Cardoso, inspired by the abusive and destructive power or drone technology. The composition focuses on the conceptual (sound) life and death of an aerial drone machine in the 21st century. The project is intended for use in installation in various museums and festivals. The sounds are available for free at droneacoustics.org. Concept by Gonçalo F. Cardoso and Ruben Pater. B-side composition written and composed by Gonçalo F. Cardoso. Voice by Emmet O’Donnell. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin. Metallic finish sleeve by Ruben Pater. Includes 12-page booklet.

File Under: Field Recordings, Drone
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electronic hole

The Electronic Hole: s/t (Radich) LP
The Electronic Hole (1970) is a raw, noisy, droning, and completely mesmerizing album recorded by Phil Pearlman between the first Beat of the Earth album and Relatively Clean Rivers. Pearlman assembled The Electronic Hole in 1969. Recorded in local studios during off-hours, the album is entirely different from Beat of the Earth, as it abandons a free-form improvisational approach in favor of “compositions,” including a wild cover of Frank Zappa’s “Trouble Every Day.” Pearlman plays sitar to great effect on the album, and another track has the thickest wall of fuzz guitars imaginable. It stands as the closest approximation of the West Coast version of what The Velvet Underground were doing with their first two albums. This is deep, brain-frying psychedelia in its purest definition. Limited edition of 300 copies. -Radich

File Under: Psych
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eleh

Eleh/Tara Jane O’Neil: split (Important) LP
Sound sculptures and gongs by Harry Bertoia unite the sides of this split LP from Tara Jane O’Neil and Eleh. O’Neil’s composition was commissioned by Venessa Renwick for her Medusa Smack video installation (originally screened in 2012 at the Oregon Biennial). The piece is partially created from sounds recorded by Bertoia on his own Sonambient sound sculptures, as well as O’Neil’s recording of Athanasius Kircher’s Bell Wheel at the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Eleh’s side consists of 100 gongs synthesized on a Serge modular system to honor the 2015 centennial of Bertoia’s birth. Vanessa Renwick recalls the conception of Medusa Smack: “In the ’70s I was a bike messenger in Chicago and whenever I had downtime, I would hang out in front of the huge Bertoia sound sculpture outside of the Standard Oil Building. The winds off Lake Michigan whipped his masterpiece about, clanging and banging. Years later, in Oregon, I came across a small Bertoia sound sculpture, I clasped its rods together within my hands and released them. The exquisite noise they made immediately whispered Tara Jane O’Neil to me. I knew that someday I would make a film and Tara would incorporate this very noise into the score. Along came my idea to create a giant mother-jellyfish-shaped screen, the Medusa Smack, for people to lay beneath, with moon jellies and pacific sea nettles projected upon it. I asked Tara to create the score, and incorporate Bertoia’s own sound recordings into it. Harry Bertoia’s son, Val, granted his permission. This beauty to lull you away to the deep is the result.” Packaged in deluxe letterpress-printed jackets. Edition of 700.

 File Under: Ambient, Drone, Gongs
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scott fagan

Scott Fagan: South Atlantic Blues (Saint Cecilia Knows) LP
Scott Fagan’s debut album, ‘South Atlantic Blues,’ is a genuine lost classic — a mystical, mythical and deeply soulful masterpiece. Recorded when Scott was just 21, virtually homeless and with pennies to his name, it was released in 1968 on Atco Records but remained obscure, confounded by a series of frustrating near-misses. From being mentored by Doc Pomus to being discovered by Jasper Johns, Scott’s incredible story and music unfolds on ‘South Atlantic Blues,’ remastered and reissued for the first time ever on CD and vinyl on Saint Cecilia Knows in association with Scott Fagan’s own lil’fish records. Steeped in delicate psych, soul and resonant acoustic guitars “that stroke and stone you to the core” (Shindig). It’s an epic song cycle about Fagan’s hard-scrabble life in the Virgin Islands, where he was raised and lived until 19 before returning to his birthplace of New York City. A teenage prodigy, mentored and managed by songwriters Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, Scott recorded early material for Columbia and Bert Berns’ BANG label before signing with Atco. In 1969, artist Jasper Johns discovered ‘South Atlantic Blues’ in a cut-out bin, fell in love with the record, and used it as the inspiration for three artworks, known as ‘Scott Fagan Record.’ The pieces are now housed in the permanent collections of MOMA, the Met and the Walker Art Center. Born on 52nd Street, Scott was the son of a sax player and singer who fraternized with jazz greats. That familial connection with music would come full circle when Fagan discovered he was the biological father of songwriter Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields. They did not meet until the premiere of a documentary about Doc Pomus in 2013.  Saint Cecilia Knows also released the acclaimed Mickey Newbury box set, ‘An American Trilogy.’ The initial pressing of the vinyl comes as a limited edition, hand-numbered, 180gram vinyl with a reproduction of Jasper Johns’ 1970 lithograph, ‘Scott Fagan Record’, as cover art, and includes a digital download.

File Under: Pop
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omniverseHartmut Geerken & Chris Trent: Omniverse Sun Ra (Art Yard) Book
Revised and expanded second edition of Hartmut Geerken and Chris Trent’s comprehensive reference Omniverse Sun Ra, originally published in 1994. Full-color 304-page hardcover book. French fold cover with metallic silver foil blocking on cyan faimei cloth. 290mm x 245mm portrait. Omniverse Sun Ra features many previously unpublished photographs of Sun Ra and His Arkestra in New York in 1966 and Germany in 1979 by Val Wilmer, and Hartmut Geerken’s previously unpublished photographs from Heliopolis in Cairo, Egypt, in 1971, in addition to an updated comprehensive pictorial and annotated discography by Chris Trent, including chronological discography and alphabetical record title, composition, personnel, and record label indexes, as well as indexes of shellac 78RPM records, 45 RPM singles, jackets, and labels. Also includes essays and photo documents by Hartmut Geerken, Chris Trent, Amiri Baraka, Robert L. Campbell, Chris Cutler, Gabi Geist, Sigrid Hauff, Karl Heinz Kessler, Robert Lax, and Salah Ragab.

File Under: Jazz, Book

blind baby

Les Rallizes Denudes: Blind Baby Has It’s Mother’s Eyes (Phoenix) LP
Legendary Japanese rock outfit Les Rallizes Dénudés were formed in 1967 and incredibly, for a group that had only one official release (Oz Days Live, a double vinyl compilation release in 1973), played their last gig almost 30 years later in October 1996. The band’s name apparently means “fucked up and naked,” which more than adequately describes their music. Formed by band leader Mizutani Takashi, the music remained remarkably familiar over the years, and is best described as high volume, raw, lo-fi, repetitive, feedback-drenched guitar-noise fests with nods in the direction of The Velvet Underground and Blues Creation, but without the electronics. Radical left-wing politics were never far from the band’s agenda, with one original band member (Wakabayashi) being involved in the Japanese Red Army’s hijacking of a flight to North Korea. Consequently, the group’s live appearances became less frequent and increasingly clandestine. All the band’s albums were released in very small quantities, and because of the group’s reputation for secrecy and violence, as well as the difficulty in tracking down their recordings, Les Rallizes Dénudés has assumed almost mythical status. Blind Baby Has Its Mother’s Eyes sits at #11 on Julian Cope’s list of top Japanese albums.

File Under: Japanese Psych, Essential Grooves
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heavier

Les Rallizes Denudes: Heavier Than a Death in the Family (Phoenix) 2LP
Phoenix Records releases the oft-bootlegged Heavier Than A Death In The Family by legendary Japanese rock/psychedelic noise band Les Rallizes Dénudés. This “album” is in fact, a blistering assemblage of live performances (all recorded in 1977, except for “People Can Choose,” which was recorded in 1973) which sits at an esteemed #3 position on Julian Cope’s Japrocksampler top 50 list. Reverb so heavy, it will split your frontal lobe in two.

File Under: Japanese Psych, Essential Grooves
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macchi

Egisto Macchi: Citte Notte (Roma) LP
Citta Notte’s heady melange of cosmopolitan folk tropes, abstract sonic gestures, distressed and scattering percussion, beatific melodies and ominous VCS3 drones exists in a sublime universe all of its own. Atmospheric, smokey, urbane and sophisticated “Citta Notte” is a seamless and stunningly timeless jewel in the expanding cosmology of rediscovering Library/Production music. Haunting, profound and hypnotic, one of the rarest Library LPs is no doubt also one of the most beautiful and rewarding.

File Under: Italian, Library
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melnek

Lubomyr Melnyk: Rivers & Streams (Erased Tapes) LP
Lubomyr Melnyk returns with his new album Rivers and Streams, the embodiment of his signature style. The Ukrainian pianist has often felt that his unique Continuous Music playing is akin to water – flowing and ever connected. As he further developed his technique, and the more the notes flowed, the closer to water he felt, “I found my hands and arms and everything inside them changing from normal muscle and flesh to well… water.” With his latest album, Rivers and Streams, Lubomyr focuses deeply on this connection to water, to the point where the music itself begins to embody its liquid form. Produced by Robert Raths and Jamie Perera, the album flows seamlessly from the live recordings of “The Pool of Memories,” captured in a church, to pieces entirely born in the studio, such as “Sunshimmers” and “Ripples in a Water Scene,” which feature Perera on acoustic and electric guitar. Amorphous, ever-changing, Lubomyr as performer becomes subsumed into the natural ebb and flow of the keys as the album drifts between nascent upstream trickles and deeply reflective passages through winding river valleys. The album reaches its climax in “The Amazon,” a 20-minute piece dedicated to the world’s largest river. Raths invited Korean flautist Hyelim Kim to guest on the first part, before Lubomyr closes the album with cascades of arpeggio figures, stretching across the breadth of the keyboard with rapid virtuosity. Following on from 2013’s Corollaries album and last year’s Evertina EP, Lubomyr Melnyk’s latest offering compounds upon his existing fluid signature style, and breathes an organic vitality, both nuanced and thoughtful.

File Under: Classical, Piano
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indiantalking

Robert Millis: Indian Talking Machine (Sublime Frequencies) 2CD+Book
Robert Millis’s Indian Talking Machine is a 244-page full-color hardcover book with two CDs containing 46 tracks from shellac discs spanning 1903 to 1949, which Millis collected in India and compiled for their first-ever CD release; the book contains over 300 photographs of 78rpm record collections, collectors, and ephemera, as well as detailed track notes and an essay. Limited-edition one-time pressing of 1000 copies. These photos are true “record porn” (that is, shellac 78rpm record porn) — photographs of shelves groaning under the weight of unimaginable titles, beautiful label- and sleeve-designs from long-gone eras, wind-up talking machines, crammed antique shops, forgotten artists, and more, all of which somehow survived (often barely) India’s archival obstacles — dust, heat, floods, rebellion, partition, and war. Indian Talking Machine is the result of nearly a year in India photographing record collections, interviewing collectors, and visiting archives and record markets; a personal take on the vast worlds of Indian music and the intricacies of collecting sound. One of the earliest non-Western outposts of the “recording industry,” India’s first recordings were made in 1902. The country’s music is as beautiful as it is complex, as subtle as it is profound, and as divine as it is simple; these recordings offer virtuoso instrumental performances, jaw-dropping vocal renditions, folk music, comedy recordings, and even animal impressions. The 78rpm records were transferred by Jonathan Ward (Excavated Shellac) and mastered by Grammy Award-winning engineer Michael Graves (Analog Africa, Dust-to-Digital, Hank Williams: The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 (2014), and more). Robert Millis is a founding member of Climax Golden Twins and AFCGT, a Fulbright Scholar, a solo artist, and a frequent contributor to the Sublime Frequencies label. He compiled and co-produced Victrola Favorites in 2007 (DTD 011CD), and created both the Burmese Crying Princess (2013) and Korean Scattered Melodies (2013) LPs for Sublime Frequencies, as well as the films This World Is Unreal Like a Snake in a Rope and Phi Ta Khon: Ghosts of Isan (2006). In short, he knows what he is doing. You will not be disappointed. Includes performances by Professor Abdul Aziz Khan, Gauhar Jan, Mysore Chaudiah, Musiri Subramania Iyer, Bangalore Nagaratnam, the Vyas Brothers, Talim Hossein, Babu Aughor Nath Chuckerbutty, L.C. Bural, Veena Shanmuga Vadivoo, Professor Barkatullah Khan, and many more.

File Under: Books, Victrola

TAIGA031LP_PROD

Tatsuya Nakatani: Confirmation (Taiga) LP
200-gram opaque red virgin-compound LP housed in a custom heavyweight yellow paper jacket with silver and metallic black foil stamping made at Studio on Fire in Minneapolis. Edition of 430. Nomadic percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani travels worldwide, his performances blooming with ceaseless expanse. Although Nakatani is a valiant collaborator, joining with other musicians, dancers, filmmakers, and beyond, solo percussion is the root of it all. Simply stated in Nakatani’s own words, this album is “Confirmation of all of my acoustic solo percussion performance since 1998. Recorded live at Nakatani-kobo in Easton Pennsylvania USA during snow season of beginning of 2015. No overdubbing and used the fewest effects possible on this LP.” Confirmation is Nakatani’s third release on Taiga. The label initially saw the vibrant color of his collaboration with Mary Halvorson and Reuben Radding as MAP on Fever Dream (TAIGA 009LP, 2010). This was followed by Nakatani Gong Orchestra (2012), a woven blend of heavy vibrations from Nakatani’s one-off group experiments on the road. Now there’s number three, solo percussion, the foundation of his practice, charged with thunders, screams, sparks, and countless other ineffable sonic textures. Mastered by James Plotkin and cut direct to copper, Confirmation is Nakatani’s first solo percussion album to be released on LP.

File Under: Percussion, Experimental
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revolutionaries

Revolutionaries: Sounds Volume 2 (Deeper Knowledge) LP
“First ever reissue of this classic Channel 1 material. Housed in a two color silk screened jacket with an 18″ x 24″ poster of the iconic cover art. Revolutionaries Sounds Vol. 2 is the stellar 1979 follow up to the groundbreaking 1976 self-titled first volume. The Revolutionaries were the house band of Channel 1 studios, and their style defined the sound of reggae in the second half of the 1970’s. The band was a who’s who of the top players of the decade, featuring the core unit of Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Ranchie McLean and Rad Bryan. Augmented by a revolving cast of the top hornsmen, keyboard/organ players and percussionists, The Revolutionaries not only backed the in-house production output of their ‘home base’ studio of Channel 1, but countless other productions done by producers renting the studio. The 1976 first volume released in Jamaica was an instrumental affair, with the iconic Che Guevara image by Ras Daniel Heartman on the cover complimenting the militant sounds contained on the album. For this 1979 follow-up originally released in the UK, Che again adorns the album, with the tracks being a mixture of classic instrumentals recorded at various points in the few preceding years, and then previously unreleased dubs to some of the studio’s hardest original rhythms, such as Alton Ellis’ ‘Tell Me’ and the Enforcer’s ‘Ride on Marcus.’ Previous to this album, some of these tracks had been coveted dubplates on the sound system scene of the day. Reissued for the first time ever, this is a fantastic touchstone for fans of ’70s roots reggae, and with a terrific selection of tunes that should satisfy the hardcore roots fans, serious dub heads and across-the-board reggae fans just the same.”

File Under: Reggae
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meow

Run The Jewels: Meow The Jewels (Mass Appeal) LP
Very few things can infuriate you quite like cats. So, when Run The Jewels jokingly offered a cat-inspired remix version of Run The Jewels 2 as a limited edition pre-order package, Mass Appeal laughed and secretly prayed it’d never come to fruition. However, once an official Kickstarter campaign surfaced to fund the project and El-P announced they’d donate the proceeds from the project to the families of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the label realized a catnip-laced record from hip hop’s best tag team would actually be ridiculously amazing. Now, just over a year later, Mass Appeal is ecstatic to announce that Meow The Jewels is finally here! Is it everything you’ve dreamt of? Probably not – unless you have some weird fucking dreams. It’s more like everything you never dreamed of and worse, a nightmarish goulash of meows, hisses, and purrs. Take your allergy meds and put a few litter boxes near your speakers before you give this one a spin.

File Under: Hip Hop, Cats, Silly
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sciasciaArmando Sciascia: Violin Reactions (Roma) LP
Armando Sciascia – by day, notable composer for Italian erotic and exotic cinema – by night, experimentalist and nocturnal avant-gardener. Lovingly crafted in his hand-built Vedette studio, Sciascia’s “lust for experimental research” has never been mre evident than on these precious, never before commercially released 1974 Library recordings. “Violin Reactions” is a violently unique work, studiously constructed out of multi-tracked strings, ominous VCS3 drones and the drum breaks of Tullio De Piscopo. Part futurist broadcast, part Middle-Eastern short-wave trasmission, anchored by De Piscopo’s breakbeats and calisthenic percussion – strangely melodic and at times hauntingly otherworldly.

File Under: Italian, Library
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shapednoise

Shapednoise: Different Selves (Type) LP
Shapednoise is Italian producer Nino Pedone, and since emerging in the early 2010s he’s built a name for himself issuing music that bridges the gap between the basement and the club. Noise and techno are proven bedfellows at this point (for better or for worse), but Pedone pushes harder and further, and Different Selves, as the title suggests, is his most diverse and challenging work to date. Fusing the industrial grind of early Godflesh (Justin K. Broadrick even makes an appearance on opening track “Enlightenment”) with the raw power of mid-’90s D&B, the visceral pleasure of early grime, and the ominous scrape of dark ambient, Shapednoise expertly navigates unfamiliar territory. Whether traversing beatless outworld landscapes with “Travels in the Universe of the Soul” or assaulting the senses with the acidic, rhythmic blast of “Heart Energy Shape,” there’s a sense that Shapednoise is exploring his own boundaries. Different Selves is a challenging, unruly selection of tracks; not a deconstruction of club music, but an amplification, blowing every sound out to near cacophony. The result is truly explosive. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton. Edition of 500.

File Under: Industrial, Electronic, Techno
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spoon

Spoon: Gimme Fiction (Merge) LP
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Spoon classic, Merge will release a deluxe limited-edition version of Gimme Fiction on double 180g vinyl. The reissue contains the album remastered by Howie Weinberg from the original tapes, a second LP with 12 previously unreleased demos from the era, 9 additional bonus tracks via digital download, and a 24-page full color book containing photos and an extensive oral history of the making of the album. The deluxe LP package will also include a 24″ x 36″ poster. Gimme Fiction dragged the sonic pointillism of Kill the Moonlight further into dub-influenced weirdness as the increasingly confident Spoon went crazy in the studio, experimenting with everything from warped hip-hop samples to horse whinnies. How all this directionless Dylan worship and psychedelic goofing resulted in an album as sharply realized as Gimme Fiction is a testament solely to Spoon’s self-assurance and tastefulness (and some hard work, and a bit of luck). Whatever digging or strange alchemy had to go into it, they only produced more gold. Gimme Fiction deserves special recognition because it’s the album where Spoon – backed into a corner – took some crazy leaps, all of them forward. It’s a “departure point” for a band that, lucky for us, has never made a real departure. And when it came time for a reissue, Merge knew it deserved a lasting place on vinyl, right alongside every other indispensable record in Spoon’s discography.

File Under: Indie Rock
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super mama

Super Mama Djombo: s/t (New Dawn) LP
The Super Mama Djombo orchestra, from Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, recorded these songs in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1980. These six archival recordings have been remastered from the original reels and are now available on vinyl for the first time. Super Mama Djombo is one of West Africa’s greatest roots orchestras, especially for the people of Guinea-Bissau. The band marked a new national identity and reinvented Portuguese Creole as a language of national unity. Before a nation can become real, it must first be imagined. It is fitting that Super Mama Djombo, the orchestra that has been the cultural stamp of Guinea-Bissau’s national identity since independence, was born in the fertile imagination of children. Hailing from a boy scout camp deep in the jungle of late-1960s Guinea-Bissau, Super Mama Djombo’s founding musicians have come a long way to display their wonderful music to the world. Drummer Zé, singer Herculano, and original guitar players Gonçalo and Taborda picked the name “Mama Djombo” as an homage to a local goddess revered by independence fighters. The tiny country of Guinea-Bissau is located between Senegal, on its northern border, and Guinea, on its eastern and southern borders. Formerly a part of the mighty Mali Empire, it was then one of the last African countries not to have gained its freedom from Portugal, its colonial power. Hence a fierce war for independence struck the country, until independence was eventually won in 1974, after many years of suffering. In the early 1970s, the Mama Djombo underground orchestra played mostly for secret political rallies supporting the PAIGC, the major independence movement for Guinea and Cape Verde. Adriano Atchutchi became the bandleader after independence, bringing a book full of his songs. Atchutchi recruited singer Dulce Neves, adding creole sweetness to the group’s already heady mix of juvenile enthusiasm, candid melodies, and touches of luso-tropicalism.

File Under: Africa
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sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt: I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside (Tan Cressida) LP
I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt is the confessional second solo studio effort from Los Angeles, CA rapper and former Odd Future member Thebe Neruda Kgositsile and follow-up to his acclaimed 2013 debut Doris. Self-produced under the alias Randomblackdude, the heavy and hopeless 10-track release debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and is home to the single “Grief” along with features from Dash, Wiki, Na’kel and Vince Staples.

File Under: Hip Hop
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manny

Third Man Records Kid’s Turntable
We are pleased to announce that Light In The Attic & Third Man Records are joining forces to show impressionable, young minds the virtues of good music and vinyl records with our exclusive children’s compilation, This Record Belongs To______ available November 6th on LP, CD & digitally accompanied by Third Man Record’s new portable light-weight children’s turntable with built in speakers and a USB port for converting vinyl records to digital. Parents everywhere rejoice! How can you fully introduce your children to the magic of vinyl records without letting them interact with the record player a bit themselves? Third Man Records realizes your high end turntable might not be kid-friendly, so they are co-releasing a portable, suitcase record player just for the kids. The new Third Man Records children’s turntable made by Jensen is compact and portable, featuring images of Manny, the Third Man mascot. The three-speed turntable with built-in speakers has a USB port for converting vinyl records to digital, an automatic return tone arm, and is as lightweight as a portable turntable can be.

File Under: Gear

cubistAlan Vega/Alex Chilton/Ben Vaughn: Cubist Blues (Light in the Attic) LP
The unlikely union of Suicide’s Alan Vega, Big Star’s Alex Chilton, and singer-songwriter Ben Vaughn happened in December 1994 in a fog of cigarette smoke at two barely-lit, all-night improv sessions at Dessau Studios in New York. What transpired was the group’s only release, a brilliant album called Cubist Blues. Some kind of alchemy happened. The elements are disparate–Vega, known for Suicide’s grinding, pre-industrial drone, Chilton for his ultra-melodic FM rock, and Vaughn for his outsider art. Put together, what came out was something totally unexpected, a long, mesmeric incantation built on Elvis-meets-Ian Curtis vocals, rockabilly guitar, growling synths, and metronomic drums. A jam session at heart–albeit a very productive one–the songs took shape as they were recorded. “I showed up with lyrics for one song and figured we would see what happened,” says Vega, recalling the first night in the brand new liner notes. “Little did I know, we would record for hours and hours. By the last song, my brain was burning up. I literally felt myself on fire. I was depleted. Yet, we could have gone on and on.” So-called supergroups get a bad rap for not equalling the sum of their parts. Vega, Chilton, and Vaughn add up to something from a place beyond any of them. Originally released by Henry Rollins on his 2.13.61 label via Thirsty Ear, the album failed to find any sort of audience–remarkable, considering its players, but reflective of the lull following Kurt Cobain’s death and the collapse of the all-conquering grunge sound. The group played two live shows and then promptly went their separate ways. “At the time, I didn’t fully realize how unique the Cubist Blues experience was,” says Ben Vaughn now. “Looking back, it was magic to work with those guys.” Timeless, groundbreaking in sound even now, this is a chance to hear a woefully overlooked album that–had it not been so–might have re-shaped the next decade of music.

File Under: Rock, Legends
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live cubistAlan Vega/Alex Chilton/Ben Vaughn: Live at Trans Musicales (Light in the Attic) LP
If a music critic could design their own super group, it might look something like the one that released the experimental, unique, and pulse-quickening 1996 album, Cubist Blues. The trio–Suicide’s Alan Vega, Big Star’s Alex Chilton, and singer-songwriter Ben Vaughn–are outsiders each and cult heroes in their own right. Their unlikely union happened in December 1994 in a fog of cigarette smoke at two barely-lit, all-night improv sessions at Dessau Studios in New York. After that fateful session, the three reunited to play one NYC show and promptly flew to Rennes, France to play Trans Musicales 1996. Vaughn recalls, “the place went wild. It was a great reaction. Alan is truly famous in France, so they were going nuts. For the encore, Alex called out ‘I Remember,’ an old Suicide song. It immediately fell into place, and the vocal Alan delivered was astounding. The memory of listening to his voice through the monitors during that song still kills me. What a gift he has.” The next day, as the musicians we were being dropped off in Paris for their flight home, the driver handed them a DAT tape of their set from the festival. Vaughn states, “I put it in my guitar case where it stayed for over ten years.” “Looking back, it was magic to work with those guys,” continues Vaughn. “Two nights in the studio, two live shows, and then it was over. That material was never performed again.”

File Under: Rock, Super Group

white birchWhite Birch: Star is Just a Sun (Glitterhouse) LP
Rodge played keyboards and bass in The White Birch. Together with Hans Christian Almendingen and Ola Fløttum he released four albums and one EP between 1996 and 2005. After that the band disappeared, until Fløttum returned with the album The Weight of Spring in 2015. Thirteen years before, The White Birch released its masterpiece, Star Is Just a Sun, on Glitterhouse Records. Keyboard spaces, piano melodies, soundscapes, a slow pulsating bass, and quiet drums, with Fløttum’s warm, high voice adding even more gentle textures. The White Birch are from Oslo, Norway, and were musical comrades to Savoy Grand. It was the second wave of slowcore. Unlike their British label-mates from Nottingham, The White Birch spread out a warm carpet, on one side depressingly heavy and on the other gentle. Their sound was painted in a dark, blurry yellow, like falling leaves in autumn. Maybe Star Is Just a Sun could only have emerged in that period. A monument to silence. At that time print media was the gatekeeper to most music aficionados. It was word of mouth — and occasionally blogs — that spread the news of the existence of this new band. They brought pop into slowness. Like Mark Hollis’s masterpiece The Colour of Spring (1986), Slint’s Spiderland (1991), Codeine’s Frigid Stars LP (1990), or even Savoy Grand’s Burn the Furniture (2002), Star Is Just a Sun stands the test of time. A painting without darkness can’t be warm and beautiful. Remastered from the original tapes by Helge Sten (Supersilent, Motorpsycho, Nils Petter Molvær). CD in digipak; includes booklet.

File Under: Indie Rock
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caribbeanVarious: Caribbean Disco Boogie Sounds 1977-1982 (Favorite) LP
“It’s now pretty obvious that disco’s powerful influence extended beyond western clubs to musicians all around the world, from France to Brazil, as Favorite Recordings proved with the previous volumes of the Disco Boogie Sounds compilations. The islands of the West Indies are no exception. Indeed, in the late ’70s and early ’80s in the Caribbean territories, local musicians and producers seized on the sound of their US counterparts and made it their own, melding disco, funk, and boogie (even early rap) elements with some more traditional local styles. The significant size of the Caribbean diaspora in the US, Canada, and UK has also played a huge role in making those two musical worlds meet. The musicians of the Caribbean not only tried to reproduce US dance hits locally, but also bred their own version of disco. Apart from some obvious titles that made it to the charts (‘Trinidad’ by John Gibbs (1977), to name one), very few of these productions are widely known, played only by a handful of record collectors and DJs. Having grown up for most of my childhood and teenager years in a small island from the Indian Ocean, I was immersed in the ‘sun & sand’ vibes at an early age, which helped molding my musical tastes. If the sound of the Caribbean Islands is very different from the Indian Ocean’s one, it’s anyway no surprise that I have been attracted quickly by the West-Indies’ 70s music productions, as a DJ and record collector. From an initial pre-selection of 40 tracks, Favorite Recordings and I teamed up to narrow down the actual tracklist. With no pretention to be exhaustive, this selection represents a tiny sample of a broader ocean of quality Caribbean Disco/Boogie tunes. It will take you to various places like Virgin Islands, Jamaica, or Trinidad, as well as a couple of Western major cities, where West-Indies diaspora is strong (New York, London). The soundtrack of this journey goes from Disco/Rap sounds, with the obscure ‘Macho Man’ by Eddie and the Movements, to weird Afro-Disco/Funk influenced songs, such as ‘My African Religion’ by Jamaican singer Paul Hurlock. Also featured here are a couple of personal secret weapons such as instrumental ‘Bermuda Triangle’ by Musicism, or ‘Going to the Party’ by Barry Bryson” –Waxist. Also includes tracks by Beres Hammond, Ray Williams, Oluko Imo, and Teddy Davis.

File Under: Disco, Boogie

christiansVarious: Christians Catch Hell: Gospel Roots 1976-79 (Honest Jon’s) LP
In 1977 Henry Stone invited Thomas Spann down to Florida. Spann was founder and leader of The Brooklyn All Stars, one of the most celebrated gospel quartets in the US; Stone headed T.K. Records, the biggest independent record company in the world. The All Stars’ contract with Jewel Records just happened to be ending. “He called me and asked me would I meet him in Miami,” recalls Spann. “And I flew down to Miami, and I met him and we went to this place that sold all these motor homes. He said, ‘Pick out one, pick you out one that you want.’ And I did so. I drove it off the lot that same day. I didn’t take a plane back. I drove that motor home back to North Carolina.” Christians Catch Hell is a scorching, sublimely soulful survey of the Gospel Roots label, subsidiary of the mighty T.K. Records, at the height of the Miami Sound — 1976-’79. Includes tracks by The Brooklyn All Stars, Pastor T. L. Barrett, Camille Doughty, The Howard Lemon Singers, The Fantastic Family Aires, Jean Austin & Company, The Jordan Singers, The Phillipians, The Fabulous Luckett Brothers, Bright Clouds, The O’Neal Twins, The Original Sunset Travelers, Reverend Edna Isaac and the Greene Sisters, and The Fountain of Life Joy Choir. Includes a glorious 40-page booklet containing thorough artist-interviews and rare photographs. Mastered at Abbey Road.

File Under: Gospel, Soul, RnB

lebanonVarious: Groovy Sounds of 1970s Lebanon (Cedarphon) LP
Beirut, Lebanon’s beautiful capital city on the Eastern Mediterranean waterfront, was once hailed as “the Paris of the Middle East,” until a brutal civil war began in 1975; the country was all but destroyed by the time the violence ended many years later. During the early 1970s, the center of the Middle East’s music industry was located in Beirut. Many great artists flourished in its nightclubs and recording studios as the city became the entertainment playground for the entire Arab world. Some of the greatest Arabic musicians and performers of the 20th century were either living there or frequently passing through — legends like Fairuz, Sabah, Farid El Atrache, Omar Khorshid, Taroub, the Rahbani Brothers, and many others. This album, which features some of these legends along with others who are less well known, showcases the breadth of musical styles flourishing in Beirut. Arabic pop yeh yeh, Latin jazz, orchestral groove, folk rock melancholia, surf guitar, and a host of beguiling approximations on every genre of the time, yet all singular in their Arabic, cosmopolitan flair. These tracks represent a magnificent period when, for a brief number of years, Beirut was the place to be. Performers include the Bandali Family, Filmon Wehbi, Elias Rahbani, Ziad Rahbani, Taroub, Nabil Abdel Ali, Sabah, Mike Hegazi, and Georgette Sayegh.

File Under: Middle Eastern, Jazz, Yeh Yeh

rareVarious: Rare Psych Moogs & Brass
(Buried Treasure) LP

“Germany’s Sonoton library remains one of the largest independent production music companies in the world. This compilation focuses on psychedelic grooves, synthesized funk and big band belters produced for Sonoton between 1969 and 1981. Founded in 1965 by Rotheide and Gerhard Narholz, Germany’s SONOTON library remains one of the largest independent production music companies in the world. This compilation focuses on psychedelic grooves, synthesized funk and big band belters produced for Sonoton between 1969 and 1981. Many of the featured composers also worked for other libraries – John Fiddy for KPM & Bruton, Walt Rockman for Studio One, Sammy Burdson for Conroy & Colorsound and Claude Larson for MFP. Compiled by audio archivist & electro producer Alan Gubby (Revbjelde / Jung Collective) who also produced the BBC Radiophonic Workshop compilation The John Baker Tapes on Trunk. Rare Psych, Moogs & Brass is the first album release on Buried Treasure & a must for collectors of dusty grooves, moog-tastic funk and psychedelic jazz.”

File Under: Library, Jazz, Moog

senegalVarious: Senegal 70 (Analog Africa) CD
Analog Africa, in partnership with Teranga Beat (the current leading label for Senegalese music), proudly offers an insight into the musical adventures that were taking place in the major Senegalese cities during the ’60s and ’70s. This compilation reflects the unique fusions of funk, mbalax, son cubano, and Mandingue guitar sounds that transformed Dakar into West Africa’s most vibrant city. The creation of Senegal 70 began in 2009 when Teranga Beat founder Adamantios Kafetzis travelled from Greece to Senegal to digitize the musical treasures he had discovered in the Senegalese city of Thiès — reel tapes recorded by sound engineerMoussa Diallo, who had spent the previous four decades immortalizing bands that performed in his legendary Sangomar club. Three-hundred Senegalese songs that nobody had ever heard before were discovered; five of them were selected for this compilation, and appear alongside seven other tracks from the era, all compiled by Analog Africa founder Samy Ben Redjeb in cooperation with Kafetzis. Thanks to its history of outside influences, Senegal — the westernmost country in Africa — became a musical melting pot. Urban dance bands swiftly embraced son montuno from Cuba, jazz from New Orleans, and American soul tunes, intuitively merging them with local styles. The seminal Afro-Cuban group Star Band de Dakar formed in 1960, and the 1970s brought a new generation of stellar bands, including Le Sahel, Orchestre Laye Thiam, Number One de Dakar, Orchestra Baobab, Dieuf-Dieul de Thiès, and Xalam 1, who fused traditional Senegalese percussion instruments with organs and keyboards. Dakar soon began attracting international stars. The Jackson 5, James Brown, Tabou Combo (Haiti), Celia Cruz (Cuba), and an array of African stars like Tabu Ley Rochereau (Congo), Manu Dibango(Cameroon), and Bembeya Jazz (Guinea) joined in with the local scene, improvising jam sessions and bringing new flavors to the vibrant community. Senegal 70 includes a comprehensive 44-page booklet attesting to the decades of transformation that led to modern Senegalese music. Featuring biographies of music producers and a legendary record cover designer, as well as the life stories of all the groups represented here, the booklet also includes a fantastic selection of never-before-seen photos. Includes tracks by Fangool, Orchestre G.M.I – Groupement Mobil D’Intervention, Orchestre Bawobab, Le Sourouba de Louga, King N’gom et Les Perles Noires, Orchestre Laye Thiam, Amara Touré et le Star Band de Dakar, Le Tropical Jazz, and Gestü de Dakar.

File Under: Africa, Afro Beat, Funk
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…..Restocks…..

A Winged Victory for the Sullen: Atomos (Kranky) LP
Albarn/Bocoum: Mali Music (Honest Jon’s) LP
Black Mountain: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar) LP
Bon Iver: s/t (Jagjaguwar) LP
Neko Case: Truckdriver Gladiator Mule (Anti) 9LP
Cluster: II (Lilith) LP
Miles Davis: A Tribute to Jack Johnson (Mofi) LP
Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Mofi) LP
Miles Davis: Miles in the Sky (Mofi) LP
Miles Davis: Filles de Kilimanjaro (Mofi) LP
Miles Davis: Nefertiti (Mofi) LP
Miles Davis: Sorcerer (Mofi) LP
Death: For The Whole World to See (Drag City) LP
J Dilla: Dillatronic 2 (Vintage Vibes) LP
J Dilla: Dillatronic 3 (Vintage Vibes) LP
Father John Misty: I Love You Honeybear (Sub Pop) LP
Faust: s/t (Lilith) LP
Goat: World Music (Rocket) LP
Goat: Live Ballroom (Rocket) LP
Mark Lanegan: One-Way Street (Sub Pop) 6LP
Magnolia Electric Co.: Trials & Errors (Secretly Canadian) LP
Joanna Newsom: Ys (Drag City) LP
Steven O’Malley: Gruides (Demdike Stare) LP
Jim O’Rourke: Bad Timing (Drag City) LP
Jim O’Rourke: Simple Songs (Drag City) LP
Harry Partch: World of Harry Partch (Columbia) LP
Rodriguez: Cold Fact (Light in the Attic) LP
Rodriguez: Searching for Sugarman (Light in the Attic) LP
Ty Segall: Manipulator (Drag City) LP
Sleep: Volume One (Tupelo) LP
Smog: Dongs of Sevotion (Drag City) LP
Songs: Ohia: Axxess & Ace (Secretly Canadian) LP
Kurt Stenzel: Jodorowsky’s Dune (Cinewax) LP
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Sufjan Stevens: Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Stone Roses: s/t (Modern Classics) LP
The Sword: Gods of the Earth (Kemado) LP
The Sword: Warp Riders (Kemado) LP
Throbbing Gristle: 20 Jazz Funk Greats (Industrial) LP
Titus Andronicus: The Most Lamentable… (Merge) LP
Willie Trasher: Spirit Child (Future Days) LP
White Fang: Chunks (Burger) LP
Various: Africa Boogaloo (Honest Jon’s) LP
Various: Native North America (Light in the Attic) 3LP

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