…..news letter #1025 – remember…..

Well, I thought this one was going to be the biggest news letter yet, but I was tricked by quantities. Lots of biggies this week with a lot of copies in to make sure there’s enough to go around. But that said, some super limited hot stuff so, don’t snooze. 

As for the new restrictions, they don’t really effect us. According to our business association’s clarification of the new restrictions, we are already doing what is required of us, limited capacity and mandatory masks. The vaccine exemption does not apply to retail stores. So mask up and keep your visit brief if it’s busy so no one has to wait outside.

– in-store shopping/pick ups – 11 – 6 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 4 pm Saturday
(if you don’t want to come into the store for a pick up, call and/or use the back door)
– Max 4people in the store at a time
– Wear a mask(if you don’t have one, we’ll have some)
– Sanitize your hands(we’ll have some)

…..picks of the week…..

Pendant: To All Sides They Will Stretch Out Their Hands (West Mineral Ltd) LP
Written just a week after 2018’s iconic “Make Me Know You Sweet”, this surreal, tripped-out sequel from the headier alter ego of Brian Leeds (Huerco S.) is darker, dubbier and more alien than its predecessor >> over an hour of ultra immersive, brain-fluxing hybridized sounds somewhere between Chain Reaction vapourtrails and concrète dream-building. Captured in one take shots during the weeks following the last album sessions in 2018’, Leeds’ second Pendant album treads a similar netherworld path, channeling a stygian dream-sick effect that effectively explores a flipside to the sunnier prairies of his Huerco S.’ works, shoring us somewhere gauzily redolent of early Wanda Group and the starkest Bellows emissions, but better defined by eerily processed vocals and Lynchian sensibilities that locate it to North America’s dis/possessed lands. Ritualistic in craft and scope, the six extended tracks of ‘To All Sides They Will Stretch Out Their Hands’ are all titled in reference to indigenous American poetry and thus take shape as elusive, dream-like projections of Leeds’ subconscious and subvocalised thoughts. With a defocussed grain and swirl that perhaps emulates the effect of intoxication thru special herbs, the music acutely suggests altered states of mind, triggering meditations on memory and process reflected by a haphazard and impromptu recording technique. Leeds is a skilled producer, and working instinctively highlights a more fallible, arresting side to his sound – recording and processing vocals on the fly to control his machines less like a conductor and more like a sculptor. When the process hits complications – the DAW failing or outboard gear glitching out – his choice to leave these moments in the final cut allows us to consider the messiness and fallibility of art. Leeds isn’t interested in making aesthetically perfect potted ambience. His narrative is rough and expressive, just as focused on texture as it is tone or rhythm. It’s a technique that suggests the heady cut ‘n paste sound of musique concrète, but doesn’t attempt to recreate it or position itself alongside that canon for academic gold stars. Firing his convulsing collages thru an array of effects gives his music the lively heartbeat of vintage dub, hidden under a fleshy DIY basement noise that could be traced back to Coil or Throbbing Gristle, mediating on memories with haptic strokes and a sense of inseparability between his layers of fuzz and physical actions that most beautifully speaks to a sort of interconnectedness that comes with mescaline, for example. We’ve been spending considerable time guided by its dream logic – we strongly recommend you do the same, immersing yourself in its spongiform negative space, ruptured raptures and dank bliss.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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Ash Ra Tempel: Schwingungen (MG.Art) LP
MG.ART announce the authorized 50th anniversary edition of Ash Ra Tempel’s Schwingungen, originally released in 1972. One of the most important German krautrock albums. Re-cut carefully overseen by Manuel Göttsching himself. Gatefold sleeve with sticker; Includes original release sheet and inlay. Julian Cope’s review on Schwingungen in Krautrocksampler (Head Heritage, 1995): “‘Beware of Schwingungen!’ That should be the large sticker on the front of all copies of this record. For it is dangerous to be casually introduced to something that is life-changing, as I found out to my cost when first listening to this record. It all starts fairly simply and without any cause for alarm — ‘Look at Your Sun’ begins with a Doorsy lone groover guitar begins a pedestrian blues, beautiful. Then the most crushed voice, a cross between Johnny Rotten and Tiny Tim, preaches its way into the proceeds. God, it is beautiful — John L. repeats over and over, ‘We are all one, we are all one’, until a howling fuzztone solo guitar blows the whole one chord ‘Signed D.C.’ ringing-cymbals torture to an end. And then the most far out track of all begins. This is called ‘Flower Must Die’ and it is a free-rock giant that transcends everything else in its field (there are no contenders.) As I’ve written before, PIL sounds like this. John L. was John Lydon in a previous incarnation. After a slow weird build, a frantic streamlined one-chord mantra kicks in and it’s like the Stooges’ Funhouse period but in a Righteous Vision Zone that fucks them right off. Phasing tears at the whole tracks as this Holy Racket crosses into hyper-space and everything gets all hyphenated just-for-the-sake-of-it. ‘Flowers Must Die’, man, it’s fucked up. Over on side two, the title-track (‘Vibrations’) begins poetically enough with Wolfgang Muller’s epic and hugely reverbed vibraphone. Organ fades in and FX guitars, and time passes by. Finally, tom-toms roll and the developing pace is built upon until that great eternal chord sequence finally materializes — this is the one that Göttsching and Enke believed was the sound of heaven. They may have been right. And Schwingungen was a gift from the Gods.”

File Under: Prog, Krautrock, Kosmische, Psych
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Coil: Love’s Secret Domain (Wax Trax) 2LP
30th Anniversary Edition: 1991 was a transition year in the format wars, and the CD release of Love’s Secret Domain utilized the longer running time of the format to offer 13 tracks instead of 9. For our Deluxe Edition we’ve split these full tracks across 2 LP’s in a completely separate pressing that features the expanded 13 tracks. Remastered by Josh Bonati from original source materials, the Deluxe Edition includes a booklet with liner notes from Drew Daniel (Matmos) and quotes from Stephen Thrower, Rose McDowall, Steven Stapleton, Charles Hayward, Billy McGee, Marc Almond, Andy Wombwell and Annie Bandez. Like the Standard Edition, the Deluxe Edition will be available in both Black and a color variant but the expanded 2LP set will not be repressed after this run. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial, Essential Grooves
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…..new arrivals…..

Courtney Barnett: Things Take Time, Take Time (Mom + Pop) LP
Coloured vinyl! Things Take Time, Take Time” is an assured leap forward for Barnett; a breakthrough really. This is Barnett at her most relaxed, creative and joyful. An exquisite look at the intimate, private world created by Barnett and drummer/producer Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint, Cate le Bon, Kurt Vile). It’s consequently her most beautiful and intimate record to date.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Roland Bocquet: Paradia (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records announce the official reissue of Roland Bocquet’s highly sought-after solo album, Paradia. Originally released in 1977 on the legendary Cobra label, Paradia is the first solo album by Roland Bocquet, keyboard player for cult French band Catharsis. The (mostly) instrumental album is a wonderful oddball adventure blending cozy ambient, euro-folk, synth escapades, Latin fusion with a French touch, gentle bossa, a tiny bit of minimalist chanson, and a heavy dose of je-ne sais-quoi. The result is soothing, mysterious in the sweetest ways, and fully atmospheric: a must have for fans of Pascal Comelade, Mort Garson, Dominique Guiot, ZNR, Vladimir Cosma, movie soundtracks, library music, and unclassifiable gems. It’s hard to describe, but it’s lovely to experience! Paradia, Paradia, Paradiaaaaaaaa… Sourced from the original masters.

File Under: Electronic, Jazz, Ambient
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Don Cherry’s New Research: Organic Music Theatre Festival de Chateauvallon 1972 (Black Forms) LP
In the late 1960s, the American trumpet player and free jazz pioneer Don Cherry (1936-1995) and the Swedish visual artist and designer Moki Cherry (1943-2009) began a collaboration that imagined an alternative space for creative music, most succinctly expressed in Moki’s aphorism “the stage is home and home is a stage.” By 1972, they had given name to a concept that united Don’s music, Moki’s art, and their family life in rural Tagårp, Sweden into one holistic entity: Organic Music Theatre. Captured here is the historic first Organic Music Theatre performance from the 1972 Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon in the South of France, mastered from tapes recorded during its original live broadcast on public TV. A life-affirming, multicultural patchwork of borrowed tunes suffused with the hallowed aura of Don’s extensive global travels, the performance documents the moment he publicly jettisoned his identity as a jazz musician. The five-person band — Don and Moki Cherry, Christer Bothén, Gérard “Doudou” Gouirand, and Naná Vasconcelos — performed in an outdoor amphitheater and were joined onstage by a dozen adults and children, including Swedish friends who tagged along for the trip and Det Lilla Circus (The Little Circus), a Danish puppet troupe based in Christiania, Copenhagen. The platform was lined with Moki’s carpets and her handmade, brightly colored tapestries, depicting Indian scales and bearing the words Organic Music Theatre, dressed the stage. As the musicians played, members of Det Lilla, led by Annie Hedvard, danced, sang, and mounted an improvised puppet show on poles high up in the air. In a fairly unprecedented move, Don abandoned his signature pocket trumpet for the piano and harmonium, thereby liberating his voice as an instrument for shamanic guidance. The show opens with him beckoning the audience to clap their hands and sing the Indian theta “Dha Dhin Na, Dha Tin Na,” and the set cycles through uplifting and sacred tunes of Malian, South African, Brazilian, and Native American provenance — including pieces that would later appear on Don’s albums Organic Music Society and Home Boy (Sister Out) — all punctuated by outbursts of possessed glossolalia from the puppeteers. “Relativity Suite, Part 1” notably spotlights Bothén on donso ngoni, a Malian hunter’s guitar, prior to Vasconcelos taking an extended solo on berimbau. A vortex of wah-like microtonal rattling, Vasconcelos’s masterful demonstration of this single-stringed Brazilian instrument is a harbinger of his work to come as a member, with Don, of the acclaimed group Codona.

File Under: Jazz
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Don Cherry: Summer House Sessions (Blank Forms) LP
In 1968, Don Cherry had already established himself as one of the leading voices of the avant-garde. Having pioneered free jazz as a member of Ornette Coleman’s classic quartet, and with a high-profile collaboration with John Coltrane under his belt, the globetrotting jazz trumpeter settled in Sweden with his partner Moki and her daughter Neneh. There, he assembled a group of Swedish musicians and led a series of weekly workshops at the ABF, or Workers’ Educational Association, from February to April of 1968, with lessons on extended forms of improvisation including breathing, drones, Turkish rhythms, overtones, silence, natural voices, and Indian scales. That summer, saxophonist and recording engineer Göran Freese invited Don, members of his two working bands, and a Turkish drummer to his summer house in Kummelnäs, just outside of Stockholm, for a series of rehearsals and jam sessions. Long relegated to the status of a mysterious footnote in Don’s session-ography, tapes from this session, as well as one professionally mixed tape intended for release, were recently found in the vaults of the Swedish Jazz Archive, and the lost Summer House Sessions are finally available over fifty years after they were recorded. On July 20, the musicians gathered at Freese’s summer house included Bernt Rosengren (tenor saxophone, flutes, clarinet), Tommy Koverhult (tenor saxophone, flutes), Leif Wennerström (drums), and Torbjörn Hultcrantz (bass) from Don’s Swedish group; Jacques Thollot (drums) and Kent Carter (bass) from his newly formed international band New York Total Music Company; Bülent Ateş (hand drum, drums), who was visiting from Turkey; and Don (pocket trumpet, flutes, percussion) himself. Lacking a common language, the players used music as their common means of communication. In this way, these frenetic and freewheeling sessions anticipate Don’s turn to more explicitly pan-ethnic expression, preceding his epochal Eternal Rhythm dates by four months. The octet, comprising musicians from America, France, Sweden, and Turkey, was a perfect vehicle for Don’s budding pursuit of “collage music,” a concept inspired by the shortwave radio on which Don listened to sounds from around the world. Using the collage metaphor, Don eliminated solos and the introduction of tunes, transforming a wealth of melodies, sounds, and rhythms into poetic suites of different moods and changing forms. The Summer House Sessions ensemble joyously layers manifold cultural idioms, traversing the airy peaks and serene valleys of Cherry’s earthly vision.

File Under: Jazz
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Cradle of Filth: Existence is Futile (Nuclear Blast) LP
Belched from Hell’s depths into the rustic charms of the Witch County, Suffolk thirty long and disturbing years ago, CRADLE OF FILTH are undisputed giants of the heavy metal realm. Imperious purveyors of a perennially unique strain of dark, dastardly and wilfully extreme metal, with deep roots in the worlds of gothic horror and occult curiosity, the band led by Dani Filth has weathered three decades of tumult and trial, earning a formidable reputation as both a singular creative force and one of the most riotously entertaining live bands the metal world has ever produced. CRADLE OF FILTH have hit an unmistakable hot streak of creativity and urgency. As a new line-up coalesced around the creation of 2015’s »Hammer Of The Witches«, fresh impetus propelled the band to new heights, as the revitalised crew became more in demand around the world than ever before. 2017’s »Cryptoriana -The Seductiveness Of Decay« repeated the trick with even more explosive flamboyance. Until a global pandemic brought the music industry to a jarring halt, CRADLE OF FILTH were almost permanently on the road and absolutely fucking flying. As a result, it should surprise no one that the band’s brand new album, »Existence Is Futile«, is yet another monumental and electrifying journey through the dark. “The album is about existentialism, existential dread and fear of the unknown. The concept wasn’t created by the pandemic. We’d written it all before that began, but the pandemic is the tip of the cotton-bud as far as the way the world’s going, you know? I guess the title, »Existence Is Futile«, does sound a little morbid. But again, it’s more about recognising that and saying that everything is permitted because nothing really matters, which mimics Aleister Crowley’s maxim. We all know we’re going to die, so we might as well indulge life while we have it. The final track on the album –‘Us, Dark, Invincible’–really emphasises that. Also, the artwork for this record was created by the Latvian visionary Arthur Berzinsh, who also dressed the last two albums, and that is exceedingly beautiful yet apocalyptic too.”

File Under: Metal
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David Crosby: If I Could Only Remember My Name… (Atlantic) LP
Singer-songwriter David Crosby’s solo debut, If I Could Only Remember My Name, was dismissed by critics when it came out in 1971. Over the years, however, appreciation has grown for the album’s adventurous aesthetic, stacked harmonies and haunting lyrics about loss and confusion. Billed as Crosby’s solo debut, the album was anything but a one-man project. Instead, it was one of his most collaborative efforts, featuring an all-star cast of players that included members of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Santana, along with Graham Nash, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and others. If I Could Only Remember My Name turned 50 in 2021 and Atlantic/WEA celebrates the occasion with a newly remastered version of the original album on 180-gram vinyl. The new remaster was overseen by original album engineer Stephen Barncard with restoration and speed correction using Plangent Processes. When Crosby started recording the album in 1970, he was grieving the death of his longtime girlfriend Christine Hinton, who was killed in a car accident a year earlier. At the time, Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco became a refuge for Crosby, who remembers Jerry Garcia showing up nearly every night. “There’d be that grin, and then that look in the eyes, and this fascination with the music,” Crosby recalls. “Easy, not forced, graceful, fun, ever-present. It was a kindness, I’m pretty sure. Jerry never said that, never even implied it. Just, ‘Hey, I heard you were doing something. What are you doing? Let’s do something.” What they made was music that would be embraced by later generations of singer-songwriters and cited as an early example of the “freak folk” genre. On the original, the nine songs explore a wide range of moods and textures. Crosby’s swagger and Garcia’s stinging solos give “Cowboy Movie” its intensity, while “Song With No Words (Trees With No Leaves)” gently stretches out to a place between choral folk and modal jazz. For “Orleans,” Crosby transformed the French children’s song using the studio and its echo chamber to record a choir of his vocal harmonies.

File Under: Psych, Folk
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Alice Damon: Windsong (Morning Trip) LP
Morning Trip & Yoga Records are proud to finally reveal one of the ultimate lost masterworks of new age music: Alice Damon’s Windsong. Gently propelled by Damon’s haunting breath-of-life vocal winds reminiscent of Joan La Barbara underscored by field recordings and Damon’s fretless bass sound calling to mind mid-70 Joni Mitchell, Windsong is traveling music, for the roads or for the skies. Instantly moving, it conjures vistas both romantically familiar and cosmically mysterious—waterfalls and wind, the voice of the earth, as heard through heavenly prisms. Damon attended college in Massachusetts, where she formed and fronted the all-female garage band called The Moppets in the late 60s. The band began to garner national attention, but Damon moved instead to the wilds of northern Vermont to homestead and raise a family. In 1981 or thereabouts she was able to gain use of an early Sony digital home recorder, and created her masterwork, Windsong. But Damon waited until 1990 to release a packaged version of this album, now titled “Windsong II”, and sent samples to regional distributors like Vermont’s fabled Silo-Alcazar, where a copy of the album was first discovered, but little evidence exists of a proper commercial release. Alice Damon passed on in 2011 and remained essentially unknown until the landmark I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America 1950-1990 first revealed her genius to a wider audience two years later. Now, just in time for the recording’s 40th anniversary, Alice Damon’s Windsong may at last be heard as one of the most singular, moving and profound examples of new age music’s psychedelic essence. Morning Trip & Yoga Records proudly present Windsong.

File Under: Ambient, New Age
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Tom Dissevelt: Fantasy in Orbit (We Are Busy Bodies) LP
Canadian label We Are Busy Bodies announces the official reissue of Dutch electronic music pioneer Tom Dissevelt’s 1963 album, Fantasy In Orbit: An Astronaut’s Impressions While Orbiting The Earth (mono) and Fantasy In Orbit. Round the world with electronic music by Tom Dissevelt (stereo). Fantasy in Orbit will be issued as a double LP, containing both mono and stereo versions of the album as were originally released. Adored by David Bowie and sampled by the likes of DJ Premier, Cyprus Hill, Klaxons, RZA and David Holmes, the music of Tom Dissevelt and Kid Baltan holds a prominent and influential position in the long and complex history of electronic music. TThe albums were remastered by Noah Mintz at Lacquer Channel Mastering and the artwork expertly restored by Steve Lewin.

File Under: Early Electronic
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Giovanni Di Domenico: Musica Per Insiemi (Black Sweat) LP
If it were possible to relate images with Giovanni Di Domenico’s music, the most plausible would be those of forms painted with perfect balance and purity. Absolutely versatile and eclectic, the Italian composer has long accustomed his listeners to sounds full of ecstatic tension, but pervaded with a refined and cyclical harmony of the parts. Musica Per Insiemi is the result of three recordings with three different ensembles, two more varied in terms of orchestral tones, one for organ only and female voices. In their different physiognomy, the tracks retain a common denominator of beauty. Di Domenico has firmly established the frame of reference in his compositions, the spine of ethereal movements of the piano and Fender Rhodes. The mood of the other instruments is attached by subtle stratifications, like a river from which its tributaries wind. In this way, the sound matter advances with the solemn calm and brilliance of the individual fragments. The variety of influences remains in the perennial expectation of minimalist whiteness, of contemporary arias with a Nordic flavor or scents of cosmic drones, but always results in a personal and mysterious overview.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Classical
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Endless Boogie: Admonitions (No Quarter) LP
Endless Boogie rejoins with its fifth proper studio album for No Quarter. It contains and is called ADMONITIONS. Seven tracks of unrefined wisdom, mostly put to tape in improvised fashion with little to no warning. Recorded over two years and two sessions – at the pastoral tranquility of the Stockholm inland archipelago in 2018, and in the dank, cramped basement of a Fort Greene, Brooklyn studio in February 2020. Eklow on crude direction, Sweeney on stealth glamour, the obscurantist clarity of Paul Major is, as always, as ever, on full display, the fierce reality of Mike Bones is crucial, and the stoic solidity of The Harry Druzd lays beneath it all. Old pal Kurt Vile hovers over COUNTERFEITER. Full grease, delivered with ease. It is the band’s humble wish that you immerse yourself and enjoy this offering. And come 2022 there will be much concertry. No smoke machines, no capes. Godspeed.

File Under: Psych
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Roger Fakhr: Fine Anyway (Habibi Funk) LP
“Beautiful mélange of folk, jazz and sound from Lebanon. Recorded in late 1970s Beirut by Rogér Fakhr who at the time also played guitar for Ziad Rahbani and Fairouz. Rogér Fakhr is a musician from Lebanon. He recorded these songs in the late 1970s in Beirut (and some during a brief exile in Paris). Some were circulated on hand copied cassettes among friends, others like Had To Come Back Wet were never released. His music effortlessly combines folk with touches of jazz and soul. He wrote, composed and arranged all songs. While working on his own music he also played for Ziad Rahbani, Fairouz and other musicians. When we first heard Roger’s music we were blown away! The music was a mixture of folk with touches of other genres. Maybe one could also refer to it as ‘singer-songwriter’, since all of the songs were Roger’s own compositions. Songs of unique beauty both musically as well as lyrically. At the same time they gave me the feeling of them being somehow time and space isolated capsules. Nothing really revealed, where they could’ve been recorded and without knowing it was Beirut, my first guess maybe would have rather been California, sometime in the 1970s. The immersive effect of his compositions and voice are just incredible. I was stunned and proposed Roger to work on a re-release, which he politely declined, saying he had no interest in this music being reissued. CD digipak version comes with a 16-page booklet.”

File Under: Folk, Jazz, Middle East
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Green-House: Music for Living Space (Leaving) LP
Gorgeous mood music for plantlife from Olive Ardizoni’s Green-House project, once again painting synth watercolours designed to facilitate the connection between humans and nature. Highly recommended for the good of yr health, especially if work by Ana Roxanne, Mort Garson, Plone, Raymond Scott, Pauline Anna Strom or Ami Dang has resonated with you. Well this is a bit lovely. Los Angeles-based artist Olive Ardizoni first appeared last year with ‘Six Songs for Invisible Gardens’, a record designed as communion between plants and the people who care from them. ‘Music For Living Spaces’ develops the concept with purpose, crafted for spiritual and environmental elevation. Ardizoni’s music is unashamedly retro, crossing vintage electronic treatments with folk sounds and elements of ’80s new age tape music that should be familiar to any regular Leaving Records listeners. On tracks like ‘Sunflower Dance’ and ‘Royal Fern’, they flesh out delicate riffs with Mellotron flutes and brassy synth sounds that could have been snatched from Vangelis’ studio. Elsewhere on ‘Soft Coral’ and ‘Birds of Paradise’ the mood is more in line with an eerie wildlife documentary or psychedelic children’s TV theme. The Fender Rhodes guided shimmer of ‘Find Home’ hits at the apex, featuring Ardizoni’s voice for added resonance – a real standout. ‘Music for Living Spaces’ is basically ‘Plantasia’ with added subs, deployed at a time when our connection with the natural world seems elusive, almost beyond reach. For those of you in need of spiritual nourishment – it’s pure, uncomplicated, life enhancing music.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Sharon Jones: It’s A Holiday Soul Party (Daptone) LP
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are back to help fans get into the holiday spirit with the critically acclaimed, It’s A Holiday Soul Party. Finally back in print and in its third and final incarnation, this modern classic is now sporting a new, shiny red “old style” jacket and candy cane striped vinyl. Kicking off with “8 Days of Hanukkah” – the band’s ode to the festival of light – and rounding out the 11 song set with a festive mix of jubilant originals and reimagined standards, this is the only record you need for your upcoming holiday soirees. Be the envy of the neighborhood by giving the gift of SOUL! this holiday season.

File Under:  Funk, Soul, Xmas
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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: L.W. Live ’21 (We Are Busy Bodies) LP
Live, bootlegger version of L.W. compiled from 2021 Australian performances. Mastered by Noah Mintz of Lacquer Channel Mastering. The album features a reverse groove and is on clear vinyl.

File Under: Psych
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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Paper Mache Dream Balloon (ATO) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizards’ seventh album Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (2015) was recorded using nothing but acoustic instruments. Yet this lovely, lilting pop masterpiece still evokes the intoxicating exuberance of any other KGATLW album, but with a more pastoral, communal feel Limited to 6000 copies worldwide, this limited deluxe edition comes in a lenticular 3-D LP jacket (think “Her Satanic Majesties Request”) with a second LP of acoustic instrumentals and updated artwork by artist Jason Galea. Pressed on blue seagrass & translucent pink vinyl, and wrapped in a plant based eco-bag with Obi-strip, each copy is foil stamped numbered 1-6000.

File Under: Psych
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Les Rallizes Denudes: Live ’77 Tachikawa (Mono-Tone) LP
Limited 2021 repress. Mono-Tone Records present a reissue of Les Rallizes Dénudés’s historic performance from 1977 in Tachikawa. This double LP has everything Les Rallizes Dénudés are known for – ear piercing feedback, languid guitar strumming, wild reverberated solos, lurid volume, blasé vocals, and unbelievable intensity, combined for a total sensory assault. Revolutionary and psychedelic, the unlikely meeting of The Velvet Underground and the Japanese Red Army, Les Rallizes Dénudés are among the earliest and most outer Japanese psyche/noise rock’n’roll bands who existed.

File Under: Psych, Japan
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Kali Malone: Velocity of Sleep (Xkatedral) LP
A somnambulant modern masterwork, Kali Malone’s 2017 debut full length album is made available again on vinyl some four years since its limited private press of just 100 copies co-released by XKatedral and Bleak Environment. Composed, recorded and produced in Stockholm 2015-2016, ‘Velocity of Sleep’ sees Kali Malone’s work rendered in a septet of strings, gongs, lute, electronics and tape in the vast R1 Reaktorhallen (Sweden’s first nuclear reactor), the electroacoustic studio EMS, and at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Her presence is crucial, and liminal, making precise use of tuned sine waves and Studer B67 tape manipulation, while instrumental performance is handled by Peter Söderberg performing on the long-necked Theorbo (a large baroque lute, pictured on the sleeve), Samuel Löfdahl and Oskar Mattsson on Gongs, Vilhelm Bromander on Double Bass, Marta Forsberg on Viola and Adam Grauman on Viola de Gamba – all uniting to produce what feels like a geological time lapse and distillation of European and Indian classical drone musicks. As far as opening solo statements go, ‘Velocity of Sleep’ is among the most memorable to have emerged this past decade from slow music and experimental classical paradigms. Its languorous yet rigorous consolidation of ideas from across the aeons crosses paths with others before her – the musics of Pauline Oliveros, Phill Niblock, Harley Gaber, Oren Ambarchi all spring to mind – but more importantly helped reset the limits of contemporary music in Malone’s own image. The 3-part, 43 minute work is an ideal example of how staid notions of early and classical music have been jettisoned to instead focus on fundamentals of tone, timbre, tuning, space and temporality with a radical and transfixing effect coolly detached from any directly traditional/sacred meanings. Peter Söderberg’s justly tuned Theorbo plucks a slowly evolving additive pattern expanded by frippertronic tape delays on the 20 minute title piece, setting a stark tone for a quietly breathtaking resonance of gongs and floating sine waves in ‘1113’ that rest right on the biting point of sublime dissonance, while ‘In Light of Marwa’ pitches into a sort of raga-folk-drone tuned with the fine, durational intensity recalling Harley Gaber’s ‘The Winds Rise In The North’ and earthy cadence of Pauline Oliveros’ vision, yet somehow concentrated, refreshed in a way that’s best felt, and quite impossible to describe.

File Under: Minimalism, Avant Garde
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Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium (Cloud Hill) LP
“Honour our roots, honour our dead”. This mindset found perfect expression in the group’s 2003 debut full-length, DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM, a song cycle inspired by the life and death of the duo’s old friend, artist and provocateur Julio Venegas. Driven by furious, muscular, syncopated drums and frenetic guitar parts, bending obtuse grooves to its will and twisting off in passionate, cathartic descarga and merging with the iconic work of producer Rick Rubin DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM became a global phenomenon. Omar Rodríguez-López produced the album alongside Rick Rubin at Rubin’s The Mansion studio in Malibu. Rubin and his studio had been recommended to Omar by his friend, Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, who’d recorded their Blood Sugar Sex Magik at The Mansion some years before. Frusciante lent guitar and synthesiser to Cicatriz ESP, while Chili Peppers bassist Flea stepped into the breach left by the outgoing Eva Gardner. The fruitful bond between The Mars Volta and the Chili Peppers would only be strengthened by subsequent tours together that helped De-Loused In The Comatorium become a global phenomenon. But the true credit for the album belongs with Omar and Cedric, who sweat blood and moved mountains to do justice to their new group’s concept and potential, to bring their impossible visions to the world intact, and to honour their roots and honour their death.

File Under: Rock
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Not Waving: What Is Normal Today (Ecstatic) LP
Not Waving meets Silvia Fendi – 3rd generation matriarch and creative director of Fendi – on a primo LP of Italo pop élan, offering a rich counterpoint to his run of more introspective sides with Mark Lanegan and with the likes of Jonnine and Marie Davidson. The project began in January when Not Waving was commissioned to compose the soundtrack for Fendi’s FW21-22 Men Fashion Show. Fendi supplied voice notes explaining the themes and inspirations which were then fed through Natalizia’s battery of FX and arcane processes to create a modernist eulogy to elegance and drama. There’s a sort of perverse art-meets-commerce theme running through the title track that reminds us of those gauche Kompakt rooftop pool parties that were all the rage with pitchfork writers back in the mid-late 2000’s, but once you get passed that you feel Natalizia twisting the brief to his own ends – be it on the padded/morose downstrokes of the gorgeous “Rainbows Appear” or the more funereal ‘An Infinite Spectrum’, like some schaffel monster deployed at half time. On ‘I Wanted To Talk To You’ Not Waving’s full pop chops come out at their most delirious and best, chanelling the camp majesty of Pet Shop Boys via Villalobos’ Sei Es Drum gems, before closer ‘And Darkness’ casts a shadow with its pining pads, angelic chorales and slow arpeggio – as Fendi ponders wistfully over the top. A proper curio.

File Under: Electronic
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Ian Carr’s Nucleus: Roots (Be With) LP
Be With Records present a reissue of Ian Carr’s Nucleus’ Roots, originally released on Vertigo in 1973. From the wild cover to the iconic breakbeats, Roots is thick, funky-prog jazz-rock heaven. Genius trumpeter and visionary composer Ian Carr was a true pioneer and saw the potential in fusing the worlds of jazz with rock, just as Miles Davis and The Tony Williams Lifetime did in the US. In late 1969, following the demise of the Rendell-Carr quintet, and tiring of British jazz, Carr assembled the legendary Nucleus. Under bandleader Carr, Nucleus existed as a fluid line-up of inventive, skilled musicians. Working together with producer Fritz Fryer and engineer Roger Wake, the seven compositions by Carr, Brian Smith and Dave MacRae that make up Roots flirt with perfection, and Nucleus at that time made up of the cream of 1970s UK jazz with Brian Smith on tenor saxophones and flutes, Dave MacRae on piano and electric piano, Jocelyn Pitchen on guitar, Roger Sutton on bass, both Clive Thacker and Aureo De Souza on drums and percussion, Joy Yates delivering the vocals and of course Carr on trumpet. The title track is a low-slung, doped-out heist-funk. It was sampled by Madlib for Lootpack and Quasimoto’s “Loop Digga”. The soothing vocal fusion delight of “Images” follows. Meticulously constructed, with gorgeous flute work from Brian Smith, with Joy Yates’ silky vocals and Dave MacRae’s Rhodes never sounding better. The cool, driving “Caliban” closes out the first side. Originally the third movement in a four-part commission to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday it stands up on its own, all robust rhythms and blended brass. Keyboard color and Carr’s trumpet are splashed across the funk drums and basslines (and there’s even some bamboo flute). Side two opens with the short, thrilling samba of “Wapatiti”. Next up, “Capricorn” forms a smoothed-out, jazzy constellation. Mellow and dreamy, its twinkling percussion and languid horns slowly build the vibe before head-nod drums and a killer bassline enter the fray. With a distinct heaviness that Black Sabbath would’ve envied, “Odokamona” is a venomous slice of riff-soaked jazz metal, elevated by Carr’s wah-wah horns. The album closes with MacRae’s exceptionally cosmic “Southern Roots And Celebration”. Very much in conversation with Weather Report, it opens as a languorous, spiritual jazz of chiming keys and serene guitar that turns slowly, gorgeously into a mid-paced, brass-laced banger. Keith Davis’s cover art for Roots is an acid-tinged airbrush dystopian/utopian living-room party scene. Remastered by Simon Francis from the original Vertigo master tapes. Cut by Pete Norman.

File Under: Jazz, Prog
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Nueen: Nova Lium (Good Morning Tapes) LP
Gorgeous Balearic floatation tank vibes from another choice debutant to Good Morning Tapes, introducing Nueen with a romantically introspective suite of fluttering electronic productions gilded with glyding subbass, highly recommended if yr into the sferic label, Bola/0161-era Skam, Eno & Budd, Roméo Poirier or Perila. Blessed with a play of warmth and dappled light recognisable to anyone who has visited or lives in the Mediterranean, ‘Nova Llum’ presents Nueen’s diaristic account of days lolling and contemplating life in the Balearic isles. Drawing inspiration from its sunbleached rocky mountains and brilliant blue waters unusually devoid of lobster-tanned holidayers during lockdown, Nueen lets his mind and arps drift unimpeded across the landscape in nine sublime parts with a sound bound to appeal to lovers of classic Eno & Budd or Roméo Poirier as much as strains of vapourwave, Perila’s ASMR textures and cult Grabaciones Accidentales. With a light touch Nueen takes us there, beautifully evoking a slippage of time from afternoon to noche between the glitching butterfly net sweeps capturing the isle’s sleepy ambience in ‘Once You Have It,’ to the shimmering shorelights of ‘Viejo Roble del Camino’ that draw the album’s velvet curtains to a close. Where the backdrops feel still, ancient, natural, Nueen channels a gently vibrant human energy via his melodic and harmonic signature, with daubs of field recordings lending an intangible effervescence to the the tip-of-tongue strings in ‘Centro Gris,’ and with sparing use of percussion and subs giving it a sort of subliminal drive and saline buoyancy, especially in the skin-stroking bliss of ‘Hum.’  It’s an effortlessly gratifying and transportive album, thankfully not on the government’s red or amber lists so you can come and go as you please.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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OST: Ghostbusters II (Sony) LP
The superstars of the supernatural reunite to battle an enormous underground river of slime that threatens New York City in this hilarious 1989 sequel to Ivan Reitman’s 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters. For the first time ever – 32 years after the film’s 1989 release – the Original Motion Picture Score to Ghostbusters II will be available on gatefold colored vinyl LP from Sony Classical. The album includes original tracks as well as three newly re-recorded tracks and an additional track originally recorded for Ghostbusters II but not featured in the film.

File Under: OST
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Para One: Spectre: Machines of Loving Grace (WRWTFWW) LP
WRWTFWW Records announce the release of Para One’s new album SPECTRE: Machines of Loving Grace. The new album by Para One, whose real name is Jean-Baptiste de Laubier could be called fiction. Six years after Club, eight years after Passion (BEC 5161202/5161203), this lover of electronic music, who has also been putting his sensitivity to the service of movies (soundtracks for Céline Sciamma in particular) opens with this record a new dimension in his artistic career. Allow oneself and maybe above all confront oneself — with one’s childhood, with one’s childhood’s ghosts, and what fantasies, ideals, memories, and grey areas they harbor. He had to go back — without giving up on his position as an adult, as a full-fledged artist — to the sources of his imagination, to the moment when music was holding almost mystical power. And then revisit it to make something new out of it. Machines of Loving Grace has an investigation around a family secret and the father figure as its starting point. For the musician/producer, this personal, identity quest doubles with a quest for sound. Machines of Loving Grace is both the story behind and the result of it. After defining the structure of the album, Para One went exploring the sounds, and the figureheads that shaped his sensibility as a musician: soundtracks of Japanese anime watched hundreds of times; Indonesian drums and gamelan; the peculiar harmonies, on the verge of dissonance of Bulgarian Voices; Steve Reich’s minimal music; or Detroit techno music. Several trips, to Bali, Japan, and also Bulgaria, have thus fueled the album, clashing with and shaping the electronic architectures of Para One. In Bali, he went deep into the jungle with the Suar Agung Group, who play jegog, a particular form of gamelan, to record the astounding “Silicon Jungle”. In Sofia, he met with the Mystère des voix Bulgares group. The choir illuminates “Shin Sekai”, one of the most beautiful tracks in the album, that could be seen as a manifesto: like some emotional and cultural overlap, it blends percussions recorded with KODO on the island of Sado in Japan, violin played by Arthur Simonini, treated as if it were Arvo Pärt, and a very trance-like electronic arpeggio. It is also representative of the multiple weaving, between machine and human hand, acoustic and electronic textures, ritual practices and contemporary arrangements, which run through the record and make up its mystery, its oddness. Half speed mastered on 180 gram vinyl; housed in a heavy sleeve with UV spot varnish.

File Under: Electronic, OST
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Persona: Som (Black Sweat) LP
Black Sweat Records present a reissue of Persona’s Som, originally released in 1975. What is the object with the most sensational magical and alchemical properties, if not glass? A permeable membrane that filters the real through the unconscious, an access portal with divinatory and therapeutic qualities, the glass has always been seen as the guardian of daring allegories and symbols. Aware of this, the artist Roberto Campadello conceived “The Game of Persona”, in the context of an installation for the XII Biennale of Sao Paolo in 1973. Discovering the visual properties of gilded glass, he investigated the effects of the overlay of images, a mysterious moment of transparency in which two single people melt into the reflection of the image, creating a single fantastic person. Thus, his “Casa Dourada”, also became the space for “Intro-nautical Journeys”: meditations and cosmic dances. The history of this LP (originally published in a 10″ box set, in 1975) starts right to support those collective initiation sessions. Each track is inspired by an I Ching element (Mountain, Heaven, Earth, Water, Lake, Wind) which represented a primary source of inspiration for Campadello. The dreamlike and occult sound not only suggest the atmosphere of that experience but still reveal the echoes of the best season of the Brazilian rock and Tropicalismo. The music has been composed and played by Roberto Campadello and the Brazilian super-star guitarist Luis Carlini, the leader of the Rita Lee’s band Tutti Frutti. Fuzz guitars, dirty percussion, Echoplex delays, are the perfect elements for the final trip into your own consciousness. Includes two unreleased tracks, an amazing booklet, and poster. Co-produced with nossos amigos Nada Nada Discos.

File Under: Electronic, Psych, Brazil
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Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin: $mokebreak (Lex) LP
The $mokebreak EP follows Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin’s critically acclaimed 2020 debut album FlySiifu’s and further explores the musical community they’ve assembled around their imagined FlySiifu’s record store. Now FlySiifu welcome their friends Fousheé, Chuck Strangers, ZelooperZ, MAVI, YUNGMORPHEUS, Koncept Jack$on, Big Kahuna OG, 3wayslim and Peso Gordon into the store and onto the mic, with beats provided by Black Noi$e, Ahwlee, Budgie, Ohbliv, Graymatter, ewonee, and iiye. Don’t miss the video for their posse cut ‘Tha Divide’, featuring ZelooperZ, MAVI, and Koncept Jack$on, shot by Elijah Maura on a cold night in NYC. “a wild taste of what the two artists can create just by reaching into their inner circles” SPIN

File Under: Hip Hop
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Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: Jellyfish Reproduce Black Magic (Hospital) LP
Jellyfish Reproduce Black Magic is the companion EP to the Flying Fish Ambience album by Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement (HOS 670LP). The nature of a “permanent record” whether digital or encrypted in the fossilized remains of evolutionary anthropomorphic species or “economic DNA” left behind only further supersedes “artificial reality” of environmental imprints. The alternative “occult economy” is both reproducing and perpetuating a lethal lifeforce. The essential premise of rainforest remains “artificial spaces” and “synthetic nature” where superstition and fantasy meet, collide, and decay. The moment one discovers that they themselves are the monuments and ruins at the journey’s end destination.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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R.E.M.: New Adventures in Hi-Fi (Craft) LP
Craft Recordings celebrate the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.’s tenth studio album, New Adventures in Hi-Fi with a newly remastered 180g vinyl 2LP reissue cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, pressed at RTI, and featuring a replicate of the original gatefold package. First released in September 1996, New Adventures in Hi-Fi endures as one of R.E.M.’s most acclaimed albums and stands as a favorite among band members and fans alike. The album was a global success, achieving platinum certification in the US and peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Elsewhere, the album went to No. 1 in more than a dozen countries and was named as one of the best albums of the year by such outlets as Rolling Stone, Spin, Mojo, Entertainment Weekly, and the NME. Over the decades, the title has achieved cult status, with several press retrospectives ranking it among the top albums in R.E.M.’s rich catalog. Recorded at the height of their fame, New Adventures in Hi-Fi also marks R.E.M.’s final album with drummer and founding member Bill Berry, who left the group amicably the following year. Perhaps most remarkable, however, is that the album found the band taking a unique creative approach: writing and recording much of the LP on the road, during their 1995 Monster tour. While writing new material on the road wasn’t an unusual feat for R.E.M., New Adventures was unlike anything they had done before. As they embarked on tour, the band sought to create an abstract travelogue documenting every emotion and experience as it happened. “We wanted to make a record about being on the road without singing about being on the road,” bassist Mike Mills explains in the liner notes. “The idea was that the feeling of being on the road would come through in the sound and feel of the record itself.” The band traveled with a mobile recording truck, capturing new songs on an 8-track during soundchecks (as well as in various backstage areas and on the tour bus). “The idea was, ‘Let’s challenge ourselves,'” guitarist Peter Buck recalls. “My feeling was, it’ll show exactly where we’re at right now in a way that maybe some of the records don’t at all. This record was just an attempt to be who we were at that minute.” The year-long outing, which began in January 1995, marked R.E.M.’s first tour in six years. As one of the biggest bands in the world, the quartet played to packed arenas across North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan, with support from acts like Sonic Youth and Radiohead. But along the way, the tour was marred by medical emergencies. In March, Berry collapsed on stage from an aneurism and spent the next month recuperating. Mills, meanwhile, underwent intestinal surgery in June. A month later, Stipe had emergency surgery for a hernia (which, he asserts, occurred while performing the song, “Undertow”). After the band returned from the eventful – yet highly successful – run of dates, they entered the studio with their longtime producer, Scott Litt, to record a few final tracks and put finishing touches on others. Among them was the epic, seven-minute-long “Leave;” “E-Bow the Letter,” featuring backing vocals from the legendary singer-songwriter Patti Smith; “New Test Leper,” which Buck proclaims is his favorite R.E.M. song; and “How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us,” one of several songs on the album inspired by Stipe’s experiences living in Los Angeles. Upon its release, New Adventures in Hi-Fi marked R.E.M.’s longest studio album, with a total run-time of 65 minutes. Filled with cinematic storytelling, haunting effects, and dissonant notes, New Adventures in Hi-Fi found R.E.M. exploring diverse sonic territories – particularly in songs like “Low Desert,” which, Berry describes, is “just dusty and kind of slow and it’s swampy…I feel isolated when I listen to that song, but it’s a good thing.” Stipe adds that the song offers such questions as, “‘What are we doing in the desert? What are we doing in the American West? What are we doing in this unlivable, uninhabitable place?'” Other tracks, like “Departure” and “The Wake-Up Bomb” deliver classic R.E.M. rock vibes. The band looks back on New Adventures in Hi-Fi with great pride. Buck, perhaps, sums it up best. “Most records, you go in the studio and you just do ’em. And years later all you really remember is vaguely where you stayed, and the songs and the recording process. But this one I remember every bit of it. It was an experience. It was fucking tough, but we made a record. And it was as challenging as anything I’ve ever done.”

File Under:  Rock
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Shuttle 358: Chessa (Keplar) LP
Keplar reissues the fourth album Chessa by Dan Abrams’ project Shuttle358 on vinyl for the first time. The double LP edition includes three previously unreleased tracks from the same recording sessions back in 2004, as well as an extended artwork with unseen photographs by Dan Abrams. While undoubtedly associated with the microsound and “clicks & cuts” movement around the turn of the millennium, on Chessa, Shuttle358 left behind the classical rhythmic patterns of the genre and shifted further towards warmer territories, meandering between modern digital minimalism and the soft tones of ambient music. Counter to his microsound synthesis approach on Frame (2000), Abrams created Chessa by writing software that manipulated samples from his unreleased songs, guitar pieces, and vintage Japanese films sampled from video tape. In particular, a special granulating technique was written and performed at intentionally low sample rates that gave the uniquely fragile, yet dense sound to the album. Over fourteen tracks, Abrams arranges slowly evolving sonic entities of unfading elegance. Strayed and hazy melodies pulse and cascade, elongated but brittle harmonies shimmer and disappear, echoing far-off in the rounded corners of the mind. The patient and detailed way Abrams combines the broken with the beautiful in creating organic collages of sound that retain the euphonic essence of a song, makes this piece of work so powerful and timeless, sounding just as relevant today, as it did upon release. Under modern scrutiny in Abrams latest studio, he refocused the original recordings to emphasize the elements most important to the original vision. The final mastering and vinyl preparation was done in collaboration with Stephan Mathieu, vinyl was cut by LUPO. From the original press release in 2004 by Taylor Deupree: “… Chessa is the third release from Abrams’ Shuttle358 moniker on 12k and he continues to do what he does best: attempt to move microsound away from the world of theory and towards absolute real life. Like his photographs, Chessa is music about, and to be listened to in, unexpected places. It is a narrative, a simple slice of life that plays out through the incidental photography of the cover artwork. To achieve this Abrams fuses irregular granular sound particles, like the movements of everyday life, with a deliberate melodic base that captures emotion and simplicity.” Edition of 500; includes printed inner sleeves and download code.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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Slayer: Live Undead (Metal Blade) LP
Formed in 1981, Slayer assaulted the world with a new hybrid of metal and punk – heavier, faster and darker than the rest – and set a new standard, defining not only a genre, but an attitude. Throughout Slayer’s history, the band never faltered in unleashing their extreme and focused aural assault, and repudiating temptations, always choosing to remain crushing and brutal, steadfastly refusing to cater to the mainstream. In October 2021 the five-time nominated, two-time Grammy winners deliver a suite of vinyl reissues of their classic records Show No Mercy (1983), Haunting the Chapel (1984), Live Undead (1984), and Hell Awaits (1985) via Metal Blade Records. Live Undead features five tracks from Slayer’s debut, Show No Mercy which was issued a year prior, one cut from the three-song Haunting The Chapel EP and the non-album track “Aggressive Perfector.” The songs fundamentally follow the heavy handed arrangements of their studio counterparts, but are enhanced with an added energy and menace that was vital to Slayer’s exciting early period.

File Under: Metal
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Snail Mail: Valentine (Matador) LP
Valentine was written and produced by Lindsey Jordan and co-produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee). Written in 2019-2020 the album is filled with romance, heartbreak, blood, sweat and tears. The sonic leap forward can be heard from the first moments of the title track – the whispered voice and eerie synths erupting into a full-on stadium-sized adrenaline-rush of a chorus. From there it’s all go – with electronic anthems, baroque FM rockers, smoldering slow-jam R&B, and heart rendering finger-picked ballads. The star of the show however is Lindsey’s voice. Her vocals and words are rawer, deeper, snarlier, and more feeling than ever before.

File Under: Indie Rock
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SND: 456 (SND) 3LP
Utterly unmissable first ever reissue of SND’s god-tier triple pack, cruelly out of print since 2008, now finally available to discerning dancers/DJs – packing a pinnacle of avant-dance beat science certain to connect with fans of garage, UKF, footwork and experimental techno. If yr into owt from Beatrice Dillon to Timbaland, Ryoji Ikeda to El-B, Autechre to The Neptunes – this is a must have… and an education. A peerless masterclass in nanoscopic funk editing, ‘4,5,6’ has never been bettered in our books. It originally arrived as a limited pressing of 300 x 3LPs in 2008 but has been sorely notable by its lack of availability ever since, often leading us to offer wild handed descriptions to bewildered mates, who, even if they looked for 2nd hand copies, would still be stumped as nobody in their right mind is selling a set. However that is all corrected with this new edition, representing one of the most crucial reissues of the decade and an unmissable opportunity to revel in some of Mark Fell and Mat Steel’s finest work, bar none. When it landed in 2008, a decade after SND’s seminal early trio of self-releases, ‘4,5,6’ frankly took our heads off. It marked a leap in form from their self explanatory ‘Tender Love’ LP of 2002 with a return to their early EPs’ avant club focus, but drawing on processes and tekkers they had sharply refined over the interim. Aspects of the deep house, garage and computer music that originally inspired them are rendered inside out, revealing and recalibrating their mechanics in something like an iridescent Haynes manual one could dance to, or simply marvel at if the legs weren’t willing. It stood out a mile from the rote minimal techno and dubstep of the time, which had started moving in the “future garage” direction by 2008, and effectively gave the sharpest side-eye to that sound, innovating-not-imitating in order to update and galvanise the original ‘90s forms with visionary mix of pointillist and mercurial flex. But, no mistake, for all its radical restructuring of garage and related styles, the results aren’t intended for chin stroking: they’re a direct, physically urgent extension of Mark and Mat’s deeeep love of dance and electronic music, itself rooted in original synth-pop/industrial and the first wave of US deep house/garage/techno that took their generation, and cities such as Sheffield, by the balls. In 2021, the ten tracks of ‘4,5,6’ are effectively (give or take) equidistant from the original wave and now, and uncannily stand futureproofed by their vacuum-sealed reductionism and metallic lustre. However in many cases they’re still too much for DJs who all too often patronise their crowds with predictable pap. But if you’re a rare one, the likes of ‘C1’ are utterly primed to get fader chopped with early Roska riddims, and ‘E1’ is waiting to be threaded with Autechre and El-B’s most advanced funk, while the rest offers myriad options for interpretation at the craftiest hands. Basically, if you don’t already know this stuff; no excuses.

File Under: Electronic
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Son of Chi/Radboud Mens: Transitions Recordings (Astral Industries) LP
As one chapter closes, another opens. Following the passing of group member J.Derwort in 2019, Hanyo van Oosterom’s legacy work brings about the next evolution of the Chi project: Son of Chi. AI-25 sees subtle developments in the sound and expansion of tonal vocabulary, whilst retaining the organic instrumentation and rapturous dreamtime narratives. Flourishes of piano float elegantly with poise, and long-drawn flutes breathe life into the shifting landscape. Shadows play in the thick vegetal overgrowth; the air is heavy with the scent of age-old evocations. Speakers drift in-and-out of undulating reverie, forgotten transmissions from the repository of consciousness. Against the wide backdrop of the harsh and wild unknown, a feeling of peace resides within. Night and day gradually collapse into one another, as loops of lapping textures glisten quietly with mystical beauty.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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Sunburned Hand of the Man: Pick a Day to Die (Three Lobed) LP
“Pick A Day to Die” is the first proper studio album from Sunburned Hand of the Man in 10 years (A, Ecstatic Peace!). You would be forgiven if you had forgotten in the interim but while Sunburned is fully committed to vast, ritualistic summonings, they were perhaps uniquely capable of channeling that cosmic funk. There’s a throb and a groove to the music that made it as much body music as head music. This is “free your ass” weirdness that chugs and bounces. It makes us want to get out of our heads where we’ve all been trapped these past months and drive on the freeway or bop down the street. Pick A Die to Die. Sure, but definitely not today. The album marks a resurfacing of one of the great underheralded psych outfits to roam over the past two plus decades. Join TLR in the cult of Sunburned.

File Under: Psych
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Weyes Blood: Titanic Rising (Sub PoP) LP
The phantom zone, the parallax, the upside down – there is a rich cultural history of exploring in-between places. Through her latest, Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood aka Natalie Mering, has designed her own universe to soulfully navigate life’s mysteries. Maneuvering through a space-time continuum, she plays the role of melodic, sometimes melancholic, anthropologist. Tellingly, Mering classifies Titanic Rising – which was written and recorded during the first half of 2018, after three albums and years of touring – as the Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya. The latter captures the album’s willful expansiveness (“You can tell there’s not a guy pulling the strings in Enya’s studio,” she notes, admiringly). The former relays her imperative to connect with listeners. “The clarity of Bob Seger is unmistakable. I’m a big fan of conversational songwriting,” she adds. “I just try to do that in a way that uses abstract imagery as well.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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Xphresh: Xephon (X3L/Experiences LTD) LP
bblisss specialists special guest dj and Ben Bondy’s Berlin/Brooklyn duo, xphresh, debut a lush volley of shatterproof jungle accelerators and RPG intrigued illbient beatdown on the newly minted 3XL division of Experiences Ltd, finding a gaseous spot somewhere between DJ Crystl’s pioneering ambient hardcore and NWAQ x Final Fantasy ‘xephon’ is a dream fusion by two distinctive, dextrous catalysts of the current flux between dance and ambient poles. In five shots they careen from sublime junglist tension to subaquatic dub wooze, disembodied shoegaze and cyberpunk illbient gunk with a wickedly unresolved, fractal quality that’s a real pleasure to sink into. As pillars of a scene that’s emerged and helped reshape, displace definitions of “ambient” and “dance” music over the past few years in particular, their collision of energies here feels to model a lush form of quantum mechanics; evoking the sensation of existing in multiple states of emotional and physical excitement simultaneously. Scaling between the gyring junglist roil of its title track and the post-club gouch out of ‘eikon’, xphresh hit squarely between their dilated 3rd eyes with a proper, rushy thizz. The ephemeral ballistics of ‘xephon’ are effectively congealed into the charged sot-dubstep plasma of ‘myst’, while ‘luh’ passes out into radiant choral bliss on the “up” side, contrasting with a deep sink into the queasy belly of 4 Hero’s Macro Dub Infection all-timer ‘The Paranormal In 4 Forms’ on ‘scum break’, before they yield to the mazy emotional rip currents of their closing beauty. At each stage it’s easy to pick out their reference points, but their natural ambiguity and restless style means their coordinates are never fixed, always in search of an elusive ghost particle that’s in the shine-eye of the beholder.

File Under: Electronic
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Various: Driftless Dreamers: In Cuca Country (Numero) LP
Home to Cuca Records and hundreds of Nashville-fantasizing pluckers and singers, Wisconsin’s Driftless region was a hotbed of country music in the 1960s. Influenced by old-timey ethnic songs, Bakersfield outlaws, countrypolitan rainbows, and the lonesome twang of every rural route roadhouse, these 17 Driftless Dreamers washed up at Jim Kirchstein’s Sauk City record plant with little more than $100 and a longing. Collected here are the fruits of Cuca’s documentary approach to record making, capturing the voices and stories of a culture and glacier in abatement.

File Under: Country, Folk
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…..restocks…..

Amyl & the Sniffers: Comfort to Me (ATO) LP
Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works (R&S) LP
Nik Bartsch: Entendre (ECM) LP
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (Capitol) LP
Black Unity Trio: Al-Fatihah (Gotta Groove) LP
Art Blakey: Moanin’ (Blue Note) LP
Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger in the Alps (Dead Oceans) LP
Congos: Heart of the Congos (VP) 3LP
dB’s: I Thought You Wanted to Know LP
Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg (4AD) LP
Ryo Fukui: Mellow Dream (WRWTFWW) LP
Freddie Hubbard: Hub-Tones (Blue Note) LP
Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos: Rockstone (Colemine) LP
Kenji Kawai: Ghost in the Shell (WRWTFWW) LP
King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King (Panegyric) LP
KMD: Bl_ck B_st_rds (Metal Face) LP
LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver (DFA) LP
Felisha Ledesma: Fringe (Ecstatic) LP
James Brandon Lewis & Red Lily Quintet: Jesup Wagon (Tao) LP
Hailu Mergia & The Wlias: Tezeta (Awesome Tapes From Africa) LP
MF Doom: Operation Doomsday (Metal Face) LP
Mogwai: As the Love Continues (Temporary Residence) LP
Mouse Rat: The Awesome Album (Dualtone) LP
My Morning Jacket: s/t (ATO) LP
JC Nachon: La Femme LP
O Yuki Conjugate: Equator (Aguirre) LP
Lee Perry: Super Ape (Get on Down) LP
Placebo: Live 1971 (We Release Jazz) LP
Rural Alberta Advantage: Departing (Paper Bag) LP
Scientist: Wins the World Cup (Dub Mir) LP
Wayne Shorter: All Seeing Eye (Blue Note) LP
Skegss: Rehearal (Loma Vista) LP
Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (Universal) LP
Vladislav Delay: Multila (Keplar) LP

…..news letter #1024 – late…..

Ok, I take it back, last week wasn’t bad, this week is bad. So much new stuff! It’s just ridiculous. So, I’ll just leave you to it…

As for the new restrictions, they don’t really effect us. According to our business association’s clarification of the new restrictions, we are already doing what is required of us, limited capacity and mandatory masks. The vaccine exemption does not apply to retail stores. So mask up and keep your visit brief if it’s busy so no one has to wait outside.

in-store shopping/pick ups – 11 – 6 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 4 pm Saturday
(if you don’t want to come into the store for a pick up, call and/or use the back door)
Max 4 people in the store at a time
Wear a mask (if you don’t have one, we’ll have some)
Sanitize your hands (we’ll have some)

…..picks of a week…..

Sofie Birch & Johan Carøe: Repair Techniques (Stroom) LP
An album evolving around disruptive and chaotic life events. A testament to putting the pieces back together through love and support from friends and loved ones. All tracks are built on two improvised live sessions recorded on a Roland Juno-60, Moog Sub 37, Roland XP 30 by Sofie Birch and Johan Carøe in Copenhagen in 2019. Edited and reworked to 11 tracks during residency at Andersabo in Sweden the summer of 2020 with new recordings of acoustic elements.

File Under: Ambient, Electronic
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Nothing Runs Like Nadir: Improv Yields (Saw-Whet) LP
11 tracks ranging from contemplative drones to heartfelt narratives, to experimental improvisation. Nadir Bellahmer draws sound with the colours of his own experience and perspectives. Nadir Bellahmer plays the violin & viola to microphones and empty rooms. Born & raised in Edmonton, his formal training consisted of group lessons on the violin offered by the Edmonton Public School Board in the 1980’s & 1990’s. During the 2000’s & 2010’s, he played with the Middle Eastern & North African Ensemble as well as one of Edmonton’s only Klezmer bands. Performing as Nothing Runs Like Nadir, Nadir relies on both a violin & viola, via a looper to improvise solos & drones & often combining solos over drones & loops. Having played alongside musicians from around the world including 35 years of performances, Nadir combines & switches freely between musical traditions to produce a unique freestyle of play. His debut album, Improv Yields, is a largely improvised body of work spanning styles & expression recorded in single takes. This album is a collection of largely, improvised recordings. All songs written, performed & recorded by Nadir Bellahmer between 2011-2020 in Edmonton with minimal editing. Mixed and mastered by Rhodes Recordings for Berberophone Recordings.

File Under: Ambient, Experiemental
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…..new arrivals…..

Abigail: Intercourse & Lust (Nuclear War Now) LP
Japan’s ABIGAIL has been a flagship band in the NWN! camp since the beginning of the label’s existence. In the more than 20 years of Abigail’s existence the bands has undergone a noticeable stylistic evolution from sinister Yakuza Black Metal to the band’s later period of sexualcoholic Street Metal Thrash. Up until the mid-1990s, Abigail was known exclusively for its Black Metal sound and ranked alongside Sabbat and Sigh among Japan’s most evil exports. The handful of demos Abigail released between 1992 and 1996 saw Abigail ushering in its malefic strain of Black Metal and securing for the band a prominent position among the elite bands within the genre’s Second Wave emanation. Abigail’s debut album, released by Modern Invasion in 1996, highlights the manner in which Abigail infused its traditionalist Black/Thrash approach with eccentric embellishments. The album, Intercourse and Lust, stands as a monument to the Far East Black Metal sound. When NWN! was still in its infancy, YK Insulter reached out to Abigail to seek approval to commit this legendary album to vinyl. Abigail agreed and, in 2002, NWN! released the LP, which became one of the first and most highly regarded releases on the label. Later that year, with the assistance of NWN!, Abigail made its first landing on U.S. soil and committed unholy acts before American audiences – monumental gigs that secured Abigail’s prominence in the West. Intercourse and Lust has stood the test of time and is as relevant in 2013 as it was when it was initially released.

File Under: Metal
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Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color Deluxe Edition (ATO) LP
Resisting any notion of a sophomore slump, and putting to bed the “revivalist soul” label, Alabama Shakes returned in 2015 with a humdinger. Replete with moody vibes, intricate textures, atmospheric grooves, and confident playing, Sound & Color encompasses blues, psychedelia, R&B, and garage rock while ceding the floor to powerhouse singer Brittany Howard. The record not only topped the Billboard 200 chart but took home four Grammy Awards along the way (Best Alternative Music Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, and Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Don’t Wanna Fight”). Expanding on the soulful blues-rock base that made their name, they defy predictable expectations and map an exciting, surprising, and innovative new direction. The album’s twelve songs reveal a band honed by years on the road, and drawing from a wide range of influences. This Deluxe Edition colored vinyl 2LP reissue features seven bonus tracks pulled from unreleased studio material, B-sides, and live songs cut at the world-renowned Capitol Records Studio A plus revised artwork and new photos!

File Under: Rock, R&B
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Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble: Le Le (Jazz Room) LP
Recorded in the 1980’s and snapped up upon arrival in Europe by the Soho Boho’s, Acid Jazzuals,Cuboppers, Jazz Massivists and Mojo Jazzmuziker, “Le-Le” by The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble is a unique one off Spiritual Soul-Jazz outing with Avant Garde touches and more than a hint of Afro-Cuban Orientalism. The percussion drenched title track has that special Worldwide Sound and the Cool Jazz Get Down Groove of “Wet Walnuts and Whipped Cream” is a DJ’s delight, whether played over the Airwaves or to a crowded Dancefloor. An adventurous jazz outfit that has been playing around Philadelphia since its formation in 1979. The Ensemble was founded by Warren Oree, an acoustic bassist, producer and composer who continues to lead the band. Eclectic and far from predictable, on this album the Ensemble has embraced a variety of acoustic and electric jazz styles combining them with African and Middle Eastern influences and mixed together with the “New Thing” have managed to make a timeless underground classic.

File Under: Jazz
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Roger Baudet: Musique Electronique Pour La Scene et L’image 1976-1992 (Dee Dee’s Picks) LP
Awesome compilation from this swiss producer – very versatile stylewise – going from cosmic rock to new age, proto techno, avant-garde, & musique concrete. Described by Swiss press as an “inventive genius marked by total unpredictability,” Roger Baudet’s music has preserved its freshness and spontaneity. Provoking feelings of surprise, anxiety and subjugation, he ends up bewitching you completely through his bizarre non-conformity. The oddity of the sounds is a choice of heterogeneity: the works gathered, although coming from one person, have little to do with each other. Forming a mosaic that provides a fragmented vision of atmospheres without apparent links, his music multiplies diverse rhythms and combinations, rejecting any principle of hierarchy in the musicality of the moment. The decorative music was composed as the soundtrack for theatre and ballet performances, documentaries, short films and exhibitions of paintings – a context that inevitably shines through the twenty-two pieces. Despite these classical settings, the music had a forward-facing, futuristic cadence – a precursor to the electronic genres that would later become techno or trance. This compilation from the past century is a collage of ornaments made out of sounds; stripped down, yet undoubtedly imbued with sensitivity, with hints of classical training, all suitable for contemplation.

File Under: Psych, Ambient, Experimental
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Beherit: At The Devil’s Studio 1990 (Nuclear War Now) LP
1990 was an extraordinarily prolific year for BEHERIT, who were still just teenagers at the time and had only been playing music together for a few months. That year they released three demos, catching the attention of the fledgling German label Shithouse Records, which released Beherit’s Dawn of Satan’s Millennium pic disc EP later that same year. Shithouse, which later became Turbo Music, commissioned the band’s debut album, but a dispute between band and label ultimately led Turbo to release a compilation, instead, under the name The Oath of Black Blood. A proper debut album would not appear until 1993, with the release of Drawing Down the Moon. However, Beherit did enter the studio in 1990 with the intention of recording an album, but it was discarded and the tapes went missing until 2011 when drummer SODOMATIC SLAUGHTER unearthed them for release. While its historic value is undeniable, At the Devil’s Studio is a remarkable recording in its own right. Like Beherit’s other pre-DDTM recordings, At the Devil’s Studio is a visceral explosion of bestial carnage.

File Under: Metal
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James Blake: Friends the Break Your Heart (Republic) LP
Coloured vinyl! With over two years having passed since the release of his critically acclaimed 2019 album Assume Form, UK singer, and electronic musician James Blake returns with his fifth studio album Friends That Break Your Heart. Said to be a concept album, it features 12 tracks including collaborations with SZA, JID, SwaVay, and Monica Martin. As the first taste of the album, the projects lead single “Say What You Will” hooks listeners into what Blake has to come. The song’s deep production glides in and out as the focus of the track to make room for Blake’s stunning vocals. “The song is about finding peace with who you are and where you’re at regardless of how well other people seem to be doing,” Blake says. “Comparison really is the thief of joy.”

File Under: Electronic
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Blut Aud Nord: Memoria Vetusta I – Fathers of the Icy Age (Debemur Morti) LP
Coloured vinyl! The legendary Memoria Vetusta I – Fathers of the Icy Age captures Blut Aus Nord in the remarkable embryonic phase of an evolutionary process that would culminate in one of black metal’s great enigmas. Nearly 25 years since its genesis, the sinister surrealism contained herein remains frozen in time; chilling, breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Universally hailed as a trailblazing classic of the genre, MVI is steeped in the tumultuous youthful passion threaded-red through the very best second-wave black metal – a mystical synthesis of soaring melodicism and avant-experimentation which protagonists Vindsval and W.D. Feld have exemplified throughout their storied career. Finally available again with its original front cover, Memoria Vetusta I – Fathers of the Icy Age is canonical primeval black metal from another age.

File Under: Metal
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Germán Bringas: Tunel Hacia Tí (Smiling C) LP
Sixteen unheard works from Mexican jazz synesthete, Germán Bringas. Bringas plays with a delicate balance between experiment & pastoral spaciousness, sounding like Coltrane scoring a Tarkovsky film. To Accompany this release, we’ve made a documentary about Germán’s life. Tunel Hacia Tí (Tunnel Toward You) is a collection of early compositions by Germán Bringas of Portales, Mexico City. This album features songs from his lost cassette ambient jazz opus, “Caminatas” (Hikes), it’s spiritual successor, “Exposción Al Vacio” (Vacuum Exposure), and unreleased works created between ’91-’00. Every instrument heard on this release was played by Bringas, and recorded in a studio in the back of his home. Germán’s pieces are informed by his synesthetic experience. As he plays, he witnesses color coordinating with each note. His earliest experience of this cross-sensory ability came from playing his parents piano when he was young. Exploring the keys, a spectrum of color presented itself, and he began searching for colors he preferred. He discovered an enticing shade of blue, which unbeknownst to him at the time, was a jazz chord. In the following years, he attended school at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música and was classically trained in piano and composition. The Conservatorio was extremely demanding, and didn’t appreciate his innate talents to play by ear. He was fed up with the indoctrinating way they taught, which coincided with a lecture he attended by Carlos Casteñeda. Inspired by the teachings, he left school behind to start a group with his friends to practice meditative exercises loosely based off Casteñeda’s Tensegrity movements to expand the body and mind. His friends and he spent years going into the woods and training as quasi-disciples of the Castañedian path. In those times, Germán developed a new approach to music, letting go of the formality of his classical training, and rediscovering his childhood experience to play from feeling. Learning trumpet, saxophone, and native Mexican instruments all to his own design, he followed his synesthetic experience to guide his compositions. He was compelled to record the discoveries he was making, so he produced a string of cassettes, only enough to pass around to friends & local collectors. In his earliest works, you can hear the influence of his time spent in the tranquility of the woods colliding with the frenzy of the city he grew up in. Combining inspiration he obtained from ECM Records virtuosos, Mexican Rock-in-opposition, visionary jazz artists, and otherworldly sci-fi films like Blade Runner and Stalker, his songs ebb and flow between serene synths and chaotic bursts of emotive horns. In addition to these compositions, he started an experimental music club in his house in Portales called Jazzorca. At Jazzorca, which is still running to this day, he would share his pensive movements with a small group of dedicated music lovers. Germán truly created a world of his own through these works, and his sound is singular when held up to Mexican music from the same era. Currently, Germán makes drums out of propane tanks in his backyard, he produces experimental CDs under his own label, and plays live regularly at Jazzorca. You might catch him strolling through his neighborhood in Portales at sunset, soaking in the influence of the city sounds and their associated colors he witnesses.

File Under: Jazz, Electronic, Ambient
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Cannabis Corpse: Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shall Rise (Season of Mist) LP
Following in the tradition laid down by Cannabis Corpse’s earlier releases, each song on 2011’s Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise is inspired by a classic death metal track – this time around Morbid Angel and Deicide get the Cannabis treatment! Cannabis Corpse are not a joke band. Sure, they’ll fire up a bowl and chug a beer, but then they’ll rip your face off with a brutal old-school death metal assault, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the seeds of the genre first began to grow.

File Under: Metal
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Ben Chasny: The Intimate Landscape (Drag City) LP
A new instrumental album of acoustic guitar playing from Six Organs of Admittance’s Ben Chasny! Everybody knows it’s been far too long since 2004’s much-beloved For Octavio Paz; even as the landscape has crowded with acoustic players, we’ve all been dying to hear Ben’s distinctive virtuosity again in this format. But The Intimate Landscape is so much more, KPM Music, the legendary British library music company, extended an offer to Ben to make some songs for their library. Well aware of their history, he immediately agreed. The field of library music (music made for hire, for use in placement in films and advertising) is one that’s come to public consciousness only relatively recently in the long century of record-making, but the influence of such records has been felt for years in the aesthetics of many diverse artists, including several who’ve recorded for Drag City. So it’s a special thing for Drag City, whose appreciation for Ben’s unique artistry has been borne out over a countless variety of releases, to issue this really amazing entry in both the KPM Music tradition and the ever-expanding Ben Chasny/Six Organs of Admittance ouvre. Ben chose the acoustic guitar for these recordings after considering the width and breadth of possible music he could make for the occasion. His approach while playing it was simple—deceptively so: to make music as present and immediate and beautiful as possible. This type of playing requires a deep breath before beginning, as it has to generate from within, as well as at the fingertips. The resulting music is inventive and engaging, both in and out of the astral style of Ben’s music and the utilitarian genre of music to which he’s contributing.

File Under: Psych, Guitar, Library
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Suzanne Ciani: Improvisation on Four Sequences Live at Festival Antigel (Atmospheric) LP
180gram vinyl, + insert ft. liner notes from Andy Votel (Finders Keepers, Cacophonic Records). This is the first release in 25 years on Suzanne Ciani’s own Atmospheric label, which focuses on her live electronic music. Improvisation on Four Sequences was performed live in quadraphonic sound on the Buchla 200e and the Animoog at Festival Antigel in Geneva, Switzerland on January 25th, 2020. This record is specially encoded to be played back in quadraphonic sound and is also stereo compatible.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient
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Steve Earle & The Dukes: Low Highway (New West) LP
The Low Highway was the follow-up to 2011’s Grammy Award-nominated album I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive and was the first billed as “Steve Earle & The Dukes (& Duchesses).” The album is also the first to feature “The Dukes” band name since 1987’s Exit 0. This is the first color pressing for this record.

File Under: Folk, Country
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Steve Earle & The Dukes: Ghosts of West Virginia (New West) LP
Ghosts of West Virginia centers on the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion that killed twenty-nine men in that state in 2010, making it one of the worst mining disasters in American history. When asked about what drove him to craft his deeply evocative new album, Steve Earle says, “I thought that, given the way things are now, it was maybe my responsibility to make a record that spoke to and for people who didn’t vote the way that I did,” he says. “One of the dangers that we’re in is if people like me keep thinking that everybody who voted for Trump is a racist or an asshole, then we’re fucked, because it’s simply not true. So this is one move toward something that might take a generation to change. I wanted to do something where that dialogue could begin.” In ten deftly drawn, roughly eloquent, powerfully conveyed sonic portraits, Earle and his long-time band the Dukes explore the historical role of coal in rural communities. More than merely a question of jobs and income, mining has provided a sense of unity and meaning, patriotic pride and purpose. “I said I wanted to speak to people that didn’t necessarily vote the way that I did,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything in common. We need to learn how to communicate with each other. My involvement in this project is my little contribution to that effort. And the way to do that – and to do it impeccably – is simply to honor those guys who died at Upper Big Branch.”

File Under: Folk, Country
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Steve Earle & The Dukes: Terraplane (New West) LP
Terraplane takes its title from the 1930s Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit model, which also inspired the Robert Johnson song, “Terraplane Blues.” It is Earle’s 16th studio album since the release of his highly influential 1986 debut Guitar Town. As its title suggests, the album is very much a blues record, some of which was written while Earle toured Europe alone for five weeks with just a guitar, a mandolin and a backpack. Earle, who was raised outside of San Antonio before migrating to Houston, offers about Texas blues, “There was Fort Worth where the model was Freddy King and there was the Houston scene which was dominated by Lightnin’ Hopkins. Two very different styles.” He saw both of these giants and was also exposed to Johnny Winter, Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughn and Billy Gibbons – all of which make their influence heard here within Earle’s masterful storytelling. This is the first time this record has been pressed on color vinyl.

File Under: Folk, Country
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The Embarrassment: Death Travels West (Last Laugh) LP
1983’s Death Travels West finds The Embarrassment as anthemic, angular, and inscrutable as they ever were, with a concept record in the loosest sense of the word. The gangly, jangly Wichita four-piece pack up their harmonies and head west, riding into the sunset and on to Saturn’s rings. Lyrical density meets Manifest Destiny with a chugging rush of guitars that’ll send you pogo-ing across the American landscape. It’s a catchy, smart and ambitious effort from these legendary progenitors of indie rock… err, “Blister Pop”. Third in a series of reissues on Last Laugh Records, Death Travels West is available on vinyl again after almost 40 years, and for the first time on Cassette.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Ella Fitzgerald: Wishes You A Swinging Christmas (Verve) LP
Acoustic Sounds Series! All-Analog 180g Vinyl LP of Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas Remastered from the Original Analog Tapes, Pressed at QRP, and Housed in Stoughton Gatefold Jacket. Ella Fitzgerald’s beloved 1960 holiday album for Verve Records finds the First Lady of Song singing her heart out on a 12-song set of Christmas classics and backed by a sympathetic studio orchestra arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol. She sings (and swings) such timeless holiday fare as “Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Winter Wonderland,” and more! She puts her singular stamp on everything from a sultry vamp like “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” to the sweet and cozy “The Christmas Song.” Even potentially shopworn standards like “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” sound fresher when they’re coming from the great Ella Fitzgerald. This all-analog 180g vinyl LP reissue was mastered from the original analog tapes by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound, pressed at QRP, and comes housed in a Stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket.

File Under: Jazz, Audiophile, Xmas
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Grouper: Shade (Kranky) LP
The 12th full-length by Pacific Northwest artist Liz Harris aka Grouper is a collection of songs spanning fifteen years. She characterizes Shade as an album about respite, and the coast, poetically and literally. How one frames themselves in a landscape, how in turn it frames themselves; memories and experiences carried forward mapping a connection to place—“an ode to blue / what lives in shade.” Songs touch on loss, flaws, hiding places, love. Deep connections to the Bay Area, and the North Coast, with its unique moods of solitude, beauty, and isolation—a place described and transformed by the chaos and power of river-mouth, wild maritime storms, columns of mist that rise up unexpectedly on the road at night. Portions were recorded on Mount Tamalpais during a self-made residency years back, other pieces made longer ago in Portland, while the rest were tracked during more recent sessions in Astoria. Throughout, Harris threads a hidden radiant language of voice, disquiet, and guitar, framed by open space and the sense of being far away—“Echoing a lighthouse, burying the faults of being human / Into things that we project upon the sky at night.”

File Under: Ambient
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Guided By Voices: It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! (GBV Inc) LP
It’s been just a few months since Guided By Voice’s faux rock opera Earth Man Blues garnered four-star and five-star reviews, with Rolling Stone proclaiming that it “squarely hits all the marks that make Guided By Voices great—again and again and again.” “Again and again and again”, is perhaps GBV’s credo, with Robert Pollard’s never-ending supply of fascinating and supremely catchy rock. Just when one thinks one’s got them pinned down, album number thirty-four opens with bizarre percussion, mariachi trumpets, strings and acoustic guitar. The adventurous spirit pervades yet another killer album from the greatest and most versatile GBV line-up. The golden boys (Doug Gillard, Bobby Bare Jr, Mark Shue, Kevin March) can do no wrong. Hooky singles “My (Limited) Engagement”, “High In The Rain” and “Dance of Gurus” intermingle with occasionally dark lyrics and the oddest of GBV oddballs, the ridiculous “Razor Bug”, “Psycho House”, and the “Maintenance Man Of The Haunted House”. The horns and strings return intermittently, with “The Bells Get Out Of The Way” going full Burt Bacharach. It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! is a creative tour-de-force full of surprises from the most prolific and captivating band on the planet.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Halo Benders: Don’t Tell Me Now (K) LP
Heaven sent with a halo bent. Doug Martsch (Built to Spill, Treepeople) joined forces with other underground folks from his past and future on this 1996 release: Steve Fisk Pell Mell, Pigeonhed, Duck Hunt, Calvin Johnson Beat Happening, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Wayne Flower Treepeople, Violent Green, Ralf Youtz Feelings, Built to Spill. The Dub Narcotic studios were the meeting place for this feast of empty headed loudmouth doorbell rock done backwards, from basement to bombshelter.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Kayo Dot: Moss Grew On The Swords and Plowshares Alike (Prophecy) LP
The stark frailty of the human condition is the overall theme running through the veins of KAYO DOT’s 10th regular studio album “Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike”. In the sprawling, churning musical multiverse of mainly multi-instrumentalist Toby Driver’s creation that has never accepted nor cared for any artificial borders of genre and incorporated for example rock, metal, classical music, goth, indie, pop, and jazzy structures, this avant-garde album appears to tilt towards a more harsh as well as heavy approach than on some of the previous recordings – and considering its dark and melancholic undertones may be given the epithet doom. Something of the pagan mind’s cyclic vision of the world appears to have infected “Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike”. This album has been recorded with the original line-up of Toby Driver’s previous band MAUDLIN OF THE WELL. He also recorded the new tracks in the same location as the very first MAUDLIN OF THE WELL tape. In a way, KAYO DOT are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of the landmark double album “Bath/Leaving Your Body Map” and the 25 years since MAUDLIN OF THE WELL’s inception with “Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike”. After the split of much loved MAUDLIN OF THE WELL, charismatic frontman Toby Driver formed the avant-garde music project KAYO DOT as a new outlet for his burgeoning creativity in 2003. The multi-instrumentalist and singer remains the only absolute constant in this band, although there are frequent lyrical contributions from his former band-mate Jason Byron throughout the extensive discography. In the following 18 years, KAYO DOT released an impressive number of full-lengths, EPs, splits, and live recordings that are all marked by considerable stylistic differences and a wide array of instrumentation that included guitars, bass, drums, vibraphone, violin, synthesizers, flutes, clarinets and saxophone. Especially in progressive circles, KAYO DOT has become a household name and is supported by prestigious, forward thinking festivals such as Roadburn. With “Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike”, KAYO DOT deliver another beautiful and essential facet of their complex musical multiverse, although the album can easily stand on its own as a most impressive piece of dark avant-garde metal.

File Under: Metal
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Fela Kuti: London Scene (Knitting Factory) LP
Coloured vinyl! Fela Kuti (1938-1997) was a Nigerian musician, producer, arranger, political radical, outlaw and the originator of Afrobeat. A titanic musical and sociopolitical voice, Fela’s legacy spans, decades and genres, touching on jazz, pop, funk, hip-hop, rock and beyond. After graduating from Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) in London, Fela returned to Nigeria with his band Koola Lobitos. Fusing the sounds of Jazz and Funk with the traditional African music he had been raised on, his star status began to flourish. EMI, his label at the time, saw the true power of his musical creation, what we now know as Afrobeat, and brought Fela and his band back to London. The result was London Scene. While recording, Fela began his friendship with Ginger Baker, who plays uncredited on the track “Egbe Mi O”. London Scene is the beginning of what would become Fela’s signature Afrobeat style and serves as a great introduction to Fela’s music.

File Under: Afro Beat
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Loveshadow: s/t (Music from Memory) LP
Music From Memory are excited to introduce another new group for 2021, this time presenting the self-titled debut album from Loveshadow. Currently based in San Francisco, the duo of Anya and Izaak initially met whilst working in an Oakland cafe in 2016. The two Californians quickly bonded over a track by the ’80s disco band Aurra which was playing over the radio and almost immediately their separate journeys in music became interwoven. They soon began to write music and creating their own work would become a way for the pair to get closer to the sound they were searching for, as well as enabling them to discover the healing power of making and listening to music. ‘Loveshadow’ was recorded predominantly in the Bay Area between 2017-2020 as well as whilst traveling to NYC, Chicago and around Portland. Having released previously as the outfit ‘S Transporter’ alongside Detroit friend Ryan Spencer, Loveshadow is formed of Anya as singer and song writer alongside Izaak on synthesizers, bass and percussion. This eight track album is the duo’s first release; exploring emotive Pop and DIY Funk leanings it stands as a joyful homage to the music they bond over, as well as an ode to their own love and friendship.

File Under: Electronic, Pop, Funk
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Chris Marker: La Jetee (Superior Viaduct) LP
Available again! “This is the story of a man, marked by an image from his childhood.” Thus begins, with deceptive simplicity, Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962). The film, by far Marker’s best-known work, synthesizes many of the elusive filmmaker’s central preoccupations – time and memory, power and resistance, the ephemerality and resilience of love – yet it also undermines the very idea of film. Composed almost entirely of still photographs, La Jetée quite literally pieces together the tale of an unnamed, forsaken protagonist, drafted into a series of time travel experiments in post-apocalyptic Paris. While Marker creates some of the most hauntingly beautiful imagery in cinema, what animates La Jetée’s frozen pictures is its sparse and unsettling soundscape. Whispers, breaths and heartbeats offer an unnerving reminder of bodily rhythms that, inside the film and out, will inevitably cease. Fragments of symphonic music at once capture a love affair and underscore the tragedy awaiting it. The poetic momentum of the narrator’s voice, our only guide: “On the tenth day, images begin to ooze, like confessions.” Superior Viaduct is honored to present the first-time release of the soundtrack from La Jetée. This vinyl album features both French and English voiceover narrations, along with organic textures and Trevor Duncan’s impressionistic score. More than half a century has passed since La Jetée’s theatrical release – now is the time to travel back to the “sudden roar” of this masterpiece in a completely different light.

File Under: OST
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MLO: Oumuamua (Music From Memory) LP
Music From Memory are excited to present the first compilation of works by British electronic pioneers MLO aka Peter Smith and Jon Tye. Titled ‘Oumuamua’ and second up in the Virtual Dreams series, the compilation is an in-depth artist focused release containing twelve thoughtfully selected tracks that touch on highlights from the duo’s discography as well as newly (re)discovered music drawn from a vast archive of unreleased pieces, sketches and extended jams recorded between 1993-1995. MLO’s ambient explorations began when Pete and Jon, having first met in rival punk bands during the late ‘70s, found themselves with unlimited access to an incredibly well-equipped studio, having been hired to produce an Icelandic pop star’s record in the early ‘90s. Particularly charmed by the Korg PS 3300 and an Emulator 2, Smith and Tye were also deeply fascinated by outer space and set about developing a musical landscape informed by both this new state of the art musical equipment and what lay beyond the Earth’s limits. Painting with a palette informed by classical minimalism, new age and the works of Cluster & Eno; the duos primary colours were drones, sustained tones, washes, calming tides, gentle temple bells and soft angelic voices with flickering glimpses of percussion and drums that hinted at the possibilities of a dance floor. ‘Oumuamua’ is a collection of music to get lost-in, a wander down the mazed, mirrored corridors of the subconscious. Peaceful, flowing, fresh-water patterns, drawing the listener toward a mediative, inner space. Not strictly ambient, rather the music rests temporarily within the boundaries between drum ‘n’ bass, library music, soundtracks and Techno. Or how Jon Tye himself puts it: “It really feels like music from a different place, a different time, made by different people.” Artwork by Vica Pacheco, design by Steele Bonus, liner notes by Dr. Rob

File Under: Electronic
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Monolord: Your Time to Shine (Relapse) LP
Swedish power trio Monolord return with their highly anticipated new album, Your Time to Shine. Recorded by drummer Esben Willems at Studio Berserk, Your Time to Shine sees the trio looking inward, cultivating the elements that take their monstrous, heavy riffing to new heights with a darker edge. A five-track journey that spans across crushing doom rock to more spacey, groove laden opuses, Your Time to Shine is Monolord at their most unfiltered and focused. Out of the gate, Monolord kick-off a wild ride with the soaring, fist-raising opener “The Weary” and its insanely catchy melodies. Elsewhere, the stop/start switch between sweetness and abrasiveness of “To Each Their Own” showcases a new element to the band’s repertoire. Monolord embraces the power of the riff with pulsating chugs on “I’ll Be Damned” and the mind-expanding title-track, whose final section brings back some of the band’s spaced-out rock n’ roll beginnings. Everything culminates in their new epic, “The Siren Of Yersinia”, whose lonesome call can be heard in each feedback-ridden note and in each pained, buried vocal line.

File Under: Metal
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Moor Mother: Black Encyclopedia of the Air (Anti) LP
Black Encyclopedia of the Air is here, not to save but to drown you. Heads better learn how to swim cause listen, this record is beat soup, hearty yet still minimal, a sonic mirage of prophetic soul that drop kicks your “chill beats to study to” Youtube playlist and hyper-intellectual rap podcasts into a hadron collider; it’s only black matter on the other side – 13 mesmerizing tracks about memory and imprinting and the future, all of them wafting through untouched space like the ghostly cinders of a world on fire, unbound and uncharted, vast and stretching across the universe.Moor Mother is a holographic figment of an Afrotopian dream, all at once goddess and warrior, mystic and cyborg, griot and future time traveller, etching noisy pieces of reverie into our consciousness for decades now. But check it: on Black Encyclopedia… she’s joined by a wide-range of friends, collaborators and co-conspirators on a trip through the murky cosmos, navigating the black universe with stardust as currency. In these times, they’ll say, as they click and mash their way through the same inter-webs that seek to strangle them, Black Encyclopedia of the Air is just what we need: a post-everything, 12:01 on the doomsday clock, anti-trip hop type of situation. “We ain’t gotta fight no more,” they’ll say; the rest of us, we’ll put this record on and imagine again that it’s real.

File Under: Electronic
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Mr. Bungle: The Night They Came Home (Ipecac) LP
This 14-track vinyl 2LP-set from Ipecac Recordings gathers the audio of Mr. Bungle’s 2020 livestream event, The Night They Came Home. Includes performances of songs from their album, The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo along with cover songs and more. This version of Mr. Bungle is original members Mike Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn, joined by Scott Ian of Anthrax and Dave Lombardo of Slayer/Dead Cross.

File Under: Metal
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New Mexican Stargazers: Highway Dreamscape (Not Not Fun) CS
The latest by liminal lo-fi trawler New Mexican Stargazers is an ode to hypnagogic horizons and interstate bliss, nodding off in the backseat while desert midnight radio whispers on the wind: Highway Dreamscape. Streaked in hiss and spliced with jump cuts, the songs snake through moonlit vistas and nameless neon truck stops, a mix of blasted keyboard cruising and planetarium parking lot raga. It’s music of delirium and dusty airwaves, homegrown and half-conscious, revved up road trip anthems melted into woozy astral Americana. A roamer’s paradise, ripping and dipping through lost lands of enchantment, until the infinite grid of freeway lights dissolves into the grainy glow of meteor showers.

File Under: Ambient
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Nicolini: Penni’s Palace (South of North) LP
Welcome to Nicolini’s wonderful world of surprise – Penni’s Palace. Here you will find zebra-chairs and matchbox countachs, colourful tv-screens and Penni the cat presiding over proceedings. You will also find Nicolini, hunched over his MPC or Casio keyboards, sweeping the EQs to make the sounds move, jamming out his songs in heavy microdoses. They are the sounds of machines and the city – Amsterdam centre to be precise – brought to life with volts of electricity. These songs started out as a live show on the terrace of Garage Noord nightclub, and over the following months Nicolini tweaked and re-recorded them into the collection of tracks you have before you. Bristling with energy, these live jams have a loose, almost mystical feeling – you never know quite what’s around the corner. Sounds jump out of the speakers at you, from car engines to reverb crashes. Opposites face off against each other – the mechanical meets the organic, and the cold emptiness of the city contrasts with the warm timbres of tropical climes. Nicolini is quite used to combining disparate elements, particularly as a member of the re-configured Zamrock band WITCH. As pioneers of some of the heaviest space fuzz back in the ‘70s, WITCH combined garage-psych guitars with Zambian dialects and culture to create a wildly unique sound. Nicolini joined the band during their resurgence over the last few years, as they toured far-flung corners of the world. It’s an experience that undoubtedly helped Nicolini hone one skill set in particular – combining unexpected sounds together in unusual ways – and it’s on full display across these nine tracks.

FIle Under: Electronic
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Gideon Nxumalo: Gideon Plays (Matsuli) LP
Long lost 1968 album from visionary South African jazz composer incorporating traditional African music sources and instruments, officially licensed from the Nxumalo family and reissued with inner sleeve containing archival photographs and new liner notes by Francis Gooding. Gideon Nxumalo’s Gideon Plays might just be the most mythologised and sought-after LP in the whole South African canon. A sophisticated bop excursion with a distinctive African edge, it was only Nxumalo’s second LP as leader, despite his crucial place in South African jazz history. Pianist Nxumalo was a visionary jazz composer who had recorded regularly during the 1950s, and his 1962 Jazz Fantasia album was the first South African jazz recording to incorporate traditional African musical sources and instruments. But he was also the country’s most significant radio presenter and jazz tastemaker – from 1954 onwards, he had worn the nickname ‘Mgibe’ to introduce ‘This Is Bantu Jazz’, South African radio’s premier jazz show. But in the aftermath of the Sharpeville Massacre in 1961, Nxumalo had been side-lined from radio play, and was eventually sacked for playing records with political meanings. By 1968, he had not been heard on record or airwave for several years. Gideon Plays was a celebrated return to the studio for one of South Africa’s best loved and most forward-thinking jazzmen, and it showcases Nxumalo’s deep understanding of jazz, his brilliant touch as a composer, and his commitment to bringing South Africa’s indigenous sound into the music. However, it was released on the tiny JAS Pride label owned by production impresario Ray Nkwe, and after one pressing in 1968, Gideon Plays fell into the undeserved silence that has obscured so much of the South African jazz discography. It has since become a legend: hardly more than a rumour, it has been bootlegged by the unscrupulous, changed hands for eye-watering sums, and has scarcely been heard outside the circles of the most committed South African jazz devotees. It goes without saying that it has never been released outside South Africa, and even now only a handful of original copies are known to have survived. Over the last ten years, Matsuli Music has been proud to present some of the greatest lost and found jazz recordings in South African history – but we have never presented a rarer, lesser known album than the mighty Gideon ‘Mgibe’ Nxumalo’s Gideon Plays.

File Under: Jazz, Africa
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Ominous Circle: Appalling Ascension (20 Buck Spin) LP
With membership from the blinding light regions of Portugal, The Ominous Circle is a burning black sphere of sinuous torment taking shape over their native land. Appalling Ascension is their initiation into this upper physical world, undulating like a prophesied curse into the increasing chaos of modern “life.” While the reverent tropes of contemporary Death Metal will be recognizable to Circle adherents, the cauldron is mixed in myriad conjurations that stray from the safety where inferior forces are prone to linger. Moments of oppressive Death Doom, grinding blasts of mania, rancid melodies and mid-tempo dynamic necromancy on tracks like “From Endless Chasms” and “As The Worm Descends” canonize these odious psalms into timeless lore. The obsession of late by some to ignore songwriting in favor of cavernous ambient suffocating “evil” doesn’t play on Appalling Ascension—here instead, and most welcome, are crushing and barbarous Dark Death Metal songs to which initiates may devote themselves, as it enters into the pantheon of memorable debut recordings. And in the fashion of the most auspicious horror, this is only the beginning…

File Under: Metal
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Lena Platonos: Balancers (Dark Entries) LP
Greek electronic music legend Lena Platonos returns to Dark Entries with Balancers, an LP of previously unreleased material recorded between 1982-1985. Athens-based Platonos has worked with the label previously to reissue her three solo LPs – Gallop, Sun Masks, and Lepidoptera – as well as to release three accompanying 12” EPs featuring modern remixes of her work. She is renowned for her forays into cutting-edge electronic experimentation as well as her striking, impressionistic poetry and lyrics, always recited in Greek. The twelve tracks on Balancers reveal a murkier side of Lena, one draped in tenebrous washes and oneiric utterances. Ragged analog rhythms feature on several tracks, even breaking into a brooding electro groove on “A Cat in the Corner”, but the predominant tone is sparse and somber. Mournful instrumental “Phaethon” swells to mythological proportions, while “In September” feels small enough to fit in your pocket. Lena’s poetry sits amidst lush pads and Radiophonic Workshop-esque squiggles, her voice setting an intimate tone in the shifting electronic sea. Inspiration is drawn from Greek mythology and architecture, and lyrics evoke a soft sorrow, an ambivalence towards love, life, and the passage of time. Although the material here spans 3 years and features a range of recording fidelities and synthesis techniques, the collection possesses the heft of a singular artist’s vision. Balancers was remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Eloise Leigh designed the sleeve, which features a doubled Lena in washed-out burgundy hues, channeling the femininity and mystery of the album. Also included is an insert with lyrics in both Greek and English.

File Under: Electronic
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Pro-Teens: I Flip My Life Everytime I Fly (Mr. Bongo) LP
Within Melbourne’s burgeoning cinematic-soul scene, which includes breakout acts Surprise Chef and Karate Boogaloo, mysteriously sit The Pro-Teens. Helmed by prolific drummer and percussionist Hudson Whitlock, who also plays in both aforementioned bands, this breakaway studio project involves an interchangeable collective of incognito, Melbourne-based, esteemed instrumentalists playing under outlandish pseudonyms such as “‘Dead Honest’ Dean Amazing” and “Libby Clique-Baite”. Symbolically led by keyboardist “Snooch Dodd”, new album ‘I Flip My Life Every Time I Fly’ is the latest musical concoction from Whitlock’s eccentric brain, marrying the soul/funk roots of sample culture with the principles of boom-bap hip hop. Incorporating the colourful comic book stylings of MF DOOM and Kool Keith, or the dark and exotic flavours of Gravediggaz and The Wu-Tang Clan, The Pro-Teens also take cues from their composing heroes Galt MacDermot, Richard Evans and Marc Moulin. The Pro-Teens bop, zip, whip and fling on this phantasmagorical journey – an unorthodox patchwork of cinematic soul, hip hop-guided funk breaks, vivid instrumental textures and film score-esque moods. The Pro-Teens work on the same analogue recording model adopted by the tight-knit College Of Knowledge label, self-recorded and produced with the rag-tag crew of musicians putting tracks down live to tape in crammed attic studios and sharehouse recording spaces. The first limited pressing of ‘I Flip My Life Every Time I Fly’ was released on the ‘College Of Knowledge’ imprint in late 2020. It was one of the highlights of the year at Mr Bongo HQ who loved the concept and felt this tripped out masterpiece from Melbourne needed to be heard well beyond those lucky enough to have bagged those limited first copies.

File Under: Funk
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QRIXKUOR: Poison Palinopsia (Dark Descent) LP
The recrudescent scourge of Qrixkuor returns to unleash its debut full-length album, entitled Poison Palinopsia. Following 2016’s enigmatic Three Devils Dance EP, Poison Palinopsia is a sordid wound in reality’s distorted veil that spent five restless years aching for a blade to grant it life. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Greg Chandler at Priory Recording Studios in Birmingham, England, and with cover art contributed once again by the inimitable Daniel Corcuera, the album is a furious and fanatically channeled tempest of feral energy, synonymous in its nightmarish aural attack that seeks to chisel avenues to black inner worlds—a truly fitting soundscape for man’s current state of despondent dissonance. A forty-eight minute, two-part labyrinthine descent into the demented depths of the divine, Poison Palinopsia is less a listening experience and more a voyage—a summoning to scale the treacherous terrains of merciless mountains of madness. The images remain with the light long slain….

File Under: Metal
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Severed Heads: Dead Eyes Opened (Dark Entires) LP
Severed Heads are one of the longest standing bands to have emerged from the Australian post-punk and experimental scene. They began in Sydney in 1979, and were an early outfit to incorporate elements of industrial noise-generation, tape-cutting and looping, and electronic sound synthesis. As the project developed, song-structures and vocals were employed in a more-or-less recognizable mutant electro pop style. After many lineup changes featuring Gary Bradbury and psychedelic guitarist Simon Knuckey, the project became the solo vehicle for composer Tom Ellard. In 1983 Severed Heads released a C-60 cassette called Since the Accident that grabbed the attention of Ink Records, a subsidiary of Virgin in the UK. Ellard added a throwaway track at the last minute to fill out the cassette, not wanting to leave an unseemly gap at the end. The song, “Dead Eyes Opened,” was catchy enough to get a lot of airplay on the main noncommercial radio station in Sydney, and the band was asked to make it into a 12-inch single. For this extended version, Ellard and producer Patrick Gibson went to M-Squared studio and passed the multi-tracked recordings through various EQs and delays. “Dead Eyes Opened” features samples from a radio program narrated by Edgar Lustgarten, a crime journalist from England, referencing a double-murder case that occurred in 1924. The rhythms are made by a TR-808 drum machine and an SH-1 synthesizer. A KORG PolySix was used for strings and additional atmospheric elements. The lead solo was a Casiotone run through an Octaver foot pedal. On the B-side are two solo compositions, “Bullet” and “Mount,” that Ellard recorded at Terse Tapes in 1982. All songs are remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Housed in the original jacket featuring the iconic photograph of a girl with a painted face wrapped in some cloth by Juilee Pryor, each copy includes a foldout newsprint poster with a large photo of the band wearing Art Unit skull shirts on one side and liner notes and press clippings on the other. 30 years later, Severed Heads are still paving the way for powerful, imaginative and challenging music.

File Under: Electronic
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Spectral Wound: A Diabolic Thirst (Profound Lore) LP
Montreal, QC black metal band Spectral Wound play virulent, searing, primal towering melancholic black metal. With their new album A Diabolic Thirst, which follows 2018’s Infernal Decadence, the band take their own methodology of Quebecois black metal through vicious sonic layers that culminate in six triumphant, ferocious hymns, resplendent with blood freezing melodies and harsh-yet-massive overtones that bring a decadent and euphoric flow to this glorious masterwork the band have conjured. Another black metal triumph emanating from Canadian soil, one exposing once again the richness of Quebec’s unparalled black metal scene, A Diabolic Thirst not only captures that pure classic melodic black metal essence that was eminent in the late ’90s / very early ’00s, but also serves its purpose as a present day release of glorious blackened magnitude.

File Under: Metal
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Spirits Rejoice: African Spaces (Matsuli) LP
A defining musical statement in South Africa’s jazz canon – pinpointing the moment of social and musical ferment in which the country’s terms of engagement with jazz were irreversibly changed. Comes on heavyweight 180g vinyl with remastered audio, inner sleeve with new photographs and additional liner notes by Francis Gooding. At a distance of more than forty years, the radicalism and significance of African Spaces can be seen more clearly. Ambitious, uncompromising, and resolutely progressive, it represents a unique high-water mark in South Africa’s long musical engagement with the newest developments in American jazz – a response to the cosmic call of Return To Forever, and an answer to Miles’ On the Corner. Spirits Rejoice drew together some of South Africa’s most abundantly talented and forward-thinking jazz players and created a complex and challenging jazz fusion that shifted the terms of South Africa’s engagement with jazz towards new music being made by pioneers such as Chick Corea, Weather Report, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny and others. African Spaces, their debut recording, is one of the key documents in the South African jazz canon. Emerging in the aftermath of the 1976 Soweto uprising, and taking its place alongside the crucial mid-1970s music of Malombo, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Batsumi, it is a defining but unsung musical statement of its era.

File Under: Jazz, Africa
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Suburban Lawns: s/t (Superior Viaduct) LP
If your brain has a shortlist of bands that instantly evoke New Wave, Suburban Lawns deserve a slot right next to the likes of Devo, Talking Heads and the B-52’s. After putting out two singles on their own Suburban Industrial imprint, the Lawns signed to I.R.S. Records and released their debut LP in 1981. While the band gained cult status thanks in part to a Jonathan Demme-produced music video which aired on Saturday Night Live, their self-titled album would sadly be the five-piece’s only full-length statement. Suburban Lawns’ asymmetrical aesthetic is personified by co-vocalist Su Tissue, whose mesmerizing stage persona was at once childlike and terrifying. Her unique style embodies the awkward/arty female singer of the Reagan era, while the group’s male vocals—courtesy of Frankie Ennui, Vex Billingsgate and John McBurney—maintain the satirical themes of Southern California’s postwar mirage of limitless sprawl. Suburban Lawns’ catchiness can be attributed to their drum-tight performance and taut songwriting. Listen to the vocal trade-offs on “Anything,” which could have easily come out on any purely Punk label from LA at the time, while Tissue’s deadpan delivery on “Janitor” glides into the best art-warble this side of Lene Lovich, broaching the possibility of nuclear annihilation with a murmured “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom.” From a West Coast scene dominated by 7-inch singles and EPs, the Suburban Lawns’ lone LP remains in a class with precious few. It’s not surprising that they found acceptance in the Hollywood punk scene, despite their Long Beach roots, and would influence other bands such as Minutemen. This is not a disc that will get parked in your collection hoping to get pulled once in a while; this is a record you will play.

File Under: Punk
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Steve Summers: Generation Loss (L.I.E.S.) LP
Steve Summers delivers his long anticipated debut double lp for L.I.E.S.   Stepping up with 13 tracks, Summers goes across the board exploring all ends of the long lineage of Chicago House music. As a member of Mutant Beat Dance with Traxx and Beau Wanzer or under his Rhythm Based Lovers alias Summers has always managed to tread the line between classic Chicago styles and modern psychedelic Jakbeat floor beaters. On the aptly titled “Generation Loss” we get the the full spectrum; from the old school 80s acid of  “Who Knows” to the long form lysergic blackhole of “Boxed In” or the dx funk of “Unknown Origin” Summers cements his signature style which he has refined over years throughout this LP.

File Under: Electronic
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The System: s/t (Music From Memory) 12″
Music From Memory continue their 12″ series with the release of an EP. This 4 track comp holds 3 tracks from the LP and one unreleased.. Tip!Music From Memory continue their 12′ series with the release of an EP. This 4 track comp holds 3 tracks from the LP and one unreleased.. Tip! Music From Memory’s latest release in their 12′ series focuses on the little known UK band The System. A project masterminded by Bob Lamb, a somewhat cult figure in Birmingham’s music history; the short lived group released only one album”Logic’ and a single in 1983 on the somewhat obscure French label”Romantic Records’. This distinctively forward thinking new wave/synth pop album met with poor distribution and with almost no promotion to speak of at the time and quickly dwindled into obscurity. The albums sense of technological exploration, outstanding production value coupled with the band’s gift of writing deeply emotive, yearning pop tunes, make it sound though perhaps more relevant today than many other far more successful albums of it’s time. Whilst the band and the album might have sunk into obscurity, the band were no novices to the music business. In fact the highly regarded producer Bob Lamb had played as a drummer throughout the late sixties and into the late seventies for a number of progressive rock bands. The last of which, The Steve Gibbons Band, found moderate success both at home and in US, even opening up for The Who on their world tours. Having travelled the world as a musician, in 1979 Lamb would set up a 4-track recording and mixing studio in his basement flat to focus on production. In this state of the art Birmingham studio he would work with Duran Duran on their earliest work as well as producing UB40’s very first album. With this highly developed sense of production, it was here in Bob Lamb’s s studio that the four members of The System set out to make a pop record very much driven by the new possibilities of technology and developments within studio recording. With instrumental tracks”Vampirella’, sounding almost prophetic of Detroit techno tracks that would not be made until some 10 years later and”Pendy! You’re In Some Awful Danger’ a vaporous synth excursion and anthemic drum-heavy vocal track”Almost Grown’, this 12″ also features the unreleased end of the night jam”Find It In Your Eyes’, a track which somehow never made it on to the original LP release.

File Under: Electronic
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Soichi Terada Presents: Sounds from the Far East (Rush Hour) LP
Compiled by Hunee, ‘Sounds from the Far East’ features highly sought after material by legendary Japanese house producer Soichi Terada and fellow producers Shinichiro Yokota, Manabu Nagayama! Soichi Terada is an adventurous multitalent and over all a good sport. He was born in the sixties, and as a child he loved to play on his fathers’ electric organ. Terada majored in Computer Science and Electric Organ and after he graduated, he founded his Far East Recording in 1989, because he couldn’t find a label for his compositions at that time. The sound of Far East Recording is very much inspired by early nineties US deep house. Soichi Terada went out to parties in the late eighties, were he was equally influenced by house and hip-hop. A few years later, Terada took on producing music by using digital sampling. In the early nineties he occasionally DJ-ed with a DAT player and some reel tapes, instead of using records and turntables. “Sounds From The Far East” shines new light on Soichi Terada’s label and consists of material that was originally released in the early nineties. Next to Terada’s music, Hunee also selected a few tracks by fellow artist Shinichiro Yokota for this compilation, as well as ‘Sun Showered’, a track based on the incredible Paradise Garage gem called ‘Sunshower’, by Terada and Nami Shimada.

File Under: Electronic, Asia
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Tropical Fuck Storm: Deep States (Joyful Noise) LP
Most of us have lived some inner Tropical Fuck Storm over this past year and a half. Even for a band that’s made a career out of crafting songs attuned to political and social crisis, there was a new bleak in the air for Tropical Fuck Storm, what the band calls “give-a-fuck fatigue.” The third album from the avant-punk quad—aptly titled Deep States—mines familiar ground as well as new cultural terrains, while digging deeper into the subjective state of contemporary panic. While not quite a protest album, Deep States comes complete with Q drops, nods to the January 6th Capitol Riot, a riff on pizzagate, MAGAs squaring off with Antifas, waterboarded Martians, dangerous cults from Heaven’s Gate to The Shining Path and, not to be outdone, Romeo agents who bed us at night only to betray us by morning. We live in a world in which the bizarre has become the normative, and Tropical Fuck Storm plumbs that paradox. That said, the band is far too wary of the self-importance attached to songs in the didactic mode. “We make pop records,” front man Gareth Liddiard says, “that don’t deny we’re all in a bit of trouble here.” What makes Tropical Fuck Storm so great is the intersection between their dark but satiric storytelling and musical arrangements intent on perverting received canons and wisdoms. These are songs as experiment, advancing and retreating at their own idiosyncratic, deeply unsettling pace. They hang on the slant beat and slide into jazzy, distortion-packed jams so tumultuous they’d make Charlie Mingus proud. Musically, Deep States goes wherever it wants, riffing on pop, R&B, Talking Heads-style new wave, Delta blues, Tom Waits, and some of the band’s hip-hop favorites such as Woo-Tang Clan and Missy Elliot. Barriers aren’t just broken, they seem to have completely fallen away. In this present moment, parts of the world are opening up, or trying to. But Tropical Fuck Storm is here to remind us that many of our most urgent political and social problems have been around a long time now. Same as it ever was, as another genre bending band once sang. As the signs of the latest crisis subside, and the dull ache of awareness with it, Deep States is here to remind us that there is no foreseeable end to human folly, nor, fortunately, to the creativity that resists it. Over the past few years we’ve all heard the noise in our own heads — Tropical Fuck Storm has made music of it.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Hana Vu: Public Storage (Ghostly) LP
Storage units hold possessions on pause from the outside world, objects capable of reconnecting us to a time or place. Hana Vu grew up with her family making regular use of public storage spaces in Los Angeles, moving every few years, leaving a mix of the sacred and the mundane to sit inside concrete and steel. The 21-year-old musician sees the art of making and releasing songs in a similar sense. She lived next to one of these buildings when she started writing her full-length Ghostly International debut, Public Storage, and its towering presence lends a metaphor to a record that sounds far bigger than the bedroom it came from. The emotional chattels of these guitar-driven pop songs are scattered in different boxes, but they all belonged to one person at one point. Being left behind gives these vignettes a tone of brooding introspection. Across the album, Vu excavates an internal universe, loading and unpacking memories, moods, and imagined scenes with agency, charisma, and conviction. Public Storage builds on the sound of Vu’s early work underscoring her strengths as a songwriter with a deeper sense of luster, sophistication, and urgency. She calls it “very invasive and intense sounding music,” refreshingly out of step with contemporary trends; this is music to engage with rather than lean back to. For the first time, she welcomes a co-producer, Jackson Phillips (Day Wave), who helps Vu create a vast, grainy, multifaceted world to stretch into vocally, her distinct contralto drifting freely between evocative low-lit ruminations and soulful, skyward bursts. Vu opens the album fixed on a force that recurs throughout. The first sounds we hear are charming: isolated piano keys cycle into warm strums and self-harmonies on “April Fool,” as Vu’s protagonist dismisses her surroundings and ability to communicate. The soft amber glow diffuses into the album’s title track, a darker, murkier, louder place. Vu rips through “Public Storage” with a series of defiant rejections (failure, family, magic) and cathartic demands. It’s a rare and powerful display of vulnerability from a lyricist who favors abstractly personal over directly autobiographical. Built on a disco synth pattern and grooving bass stabs, “Aubade” has the bright bounce of its morning namesake, cleverly at odds with its downbeat subject. The contrast continues on “Keeper,” a pulsating new wave cut, replete with soaring dreamy synths and a cooly snarling narrator, again challenging that force. “Gutter” returns to the grungy lowlight, with muscular guitar riffs striating above a bed of feedback, swelling alongside orchestral strings to a roaring finish. The back half of Public Storage features some of its most striking moments: the rhythmic, hook-heavy “Everybody’s Birthday” speaks to the evil absurdity of the present, the end of times. The night is red, the mood is blue, and her character’s shame is painted gold. Vu saves “Maker” for last, a final go at the existential. That long-lost trinket, enormously meaningful, buried at the bottom of a box at the back of the unit. Tender banjo plucks and piano keys serve as the base for Vu’s escalating harmonies, overcome by remorseful exhalations, the song culminates on the lines: “save me oh my angel / are you angry / cos I’m not stronger and I crumble / oh that’s my nature / just like you.” In that address, in finding something lost along the way in too many shuffles from place to place, Vu finds a tarnished token of solace and a logical conclusion for Public Storage: we are all fucked up, scattered, prone to getting lost, and whoever, whatever made us is fucked up, scattered and lost too.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Weather Station: All Of It Was Mine (Fat Possum) LP
Coloured wax! Originally released August 16, 2011, on You’ve Changed Records, Fat Possum Records is releasing a 10th anniversary edition on limited edition, bone colored vinyl. The 10th anniversary edition comes with updated art and new liner notes from Tamara Lindeman, reflecting on the ten years since “All Of It Was Mine” was released.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Witch Vomit: Abhorrent Rapture (20 Buck Spin) LP
Coloured wax! A new level of barbaric mastery was achieved on 2019’s Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave, Witch Vomit’s second full length from. It was now undeniable that the band was not merely another “OSDM” (stale terminology) band when they’d evolved a maximal and rarely achieved synthesis of European and American death metal styles into a flawless melange of horrific gore-soaked splendor. Though bands tend to simmer down as they evolve, Witch Vomit reverse this tendency, getting only more extreme with each release. This momentum continues on the band’s latest, Abhorrent Rapture. Like 2017’s Poisoned Blood, Abhorrent Rapture showcases the band in the more immediate and intense MLP format. Four tracks in roughly eighteen minutes of pure savagery but always with that eerie mood, creeping melodic sense and grisly intimidation essential to proper death metal. Though not a full length proper, Abhorrent Rapture will sate, temporarily, the cannibalistic appetite of the many clamoring for the next Witch Vomit burial mound to come.

File Under: Metal
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X.Y.R.: Labyrinth (Not Not Fun) CS
St. Petersburg pathfinder Vladimir Karpov coaxes hushed auras of keys, metronomes, fog, and feeling to evoke hazed and isolated realms, traced in altered states. His latest collection—and vinyl debut—maps the maze at “the bottom of self,” subterranean consciousness manifested from decaying synthesizer and shadowed pulse: music for fading torchlight. Labyrinth leads through six misty, mystic chambers of dreams, drones, delirium, and phaser’d percussion, spiraling in slow, sacred arcs, in quest of “the inner world.” Tosya Chaikina’s ghost vocals on “False Angel Lullaby” and “Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors” bring a whispered hymnal mood, but otherwise the album is ambient and abandoned, obscure meditations along corridors of candlelit runes, “to find the right path, to find the true answer.”

File Under: Ambient
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Sisonke Xonti: Ugaba the Migration (As Shams) LP
Highly anticipated sophomore release from saxophonist and composer Sisonke Xonti, winner of South Africa’s 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz. At the centre of the album, Xonti’s four-part “Migration Suite” is his boldest work to date, exploring rural and urban identity and the perilous spiritual journey from homeland to the global village. Produced by Xonti and pianist Yonela Mnana and featuring photography by Mandisa Buthelezi, the album appears on As-Shams/The Sun as part of a roster of new artist releases on the cusp of the iconic South African jazz label’s 50th anniversary.

File Under: Jazz
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Various: After Dark 3 (Italians Do It Better) LP
Every seven years, we release an After Dark label sampler, the long awaited third edition is finally here. Produced by Johnny Jewel, ‘After Dark 3’ features label mainstays DESIRE, CHROMATICS, FARAH and introduces fresh blood from around the globe. A glimpse beyond the curtain, into what the new year sounds like for Italians Do It Better. In the tradition of our spaced out cinema disco, we present After Dark 3…The wallpaper of your dreams & the stardust of the future. With ORION, JOHNNY JEWEL, DOUBLE MIXTE, ATRIP, LOVE OBJECT, JOON, GLÜME, MOTHERMARY, GUy GERBER, CAUSEWAY, CLUB INTL, and PINK GLOVES.

File Under: Electronic
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Various: I’ll Be Your Mirror (Verve) LP
I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground & Nico, is a contemporary tribute to the Velvets legendary debut, with each of the album’s songs performed by one of the band’s noteworthy artistic descendants. Featured artists include Kurt Vile & the Violators, Sharon Van Etten, Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney, Michael Stipe, Matt Berninger of The National, Courtney Barnett, St. Vincent & Thomas Bartlett, Thurston Moore & Bobby Gillespie, King Princess, Fontaines D.C. and Andrew Bird & Lucious. Issued on Verve Records, the original label home of The Velvet Underground, I’ll Be Your Mirror was overseen and executive produced by Hal Willner, Lou Reed’s dear friend, and producer who passed away last year. Willner was a master of the tribute album, with each project he worked on extending the magnitude of the artist or work under consideration. In particular, he very much viewed himself as a primary curator of Reed’s legacy, and the care and love he felt for his friend’s work is evident in every note on I’ll Be Your Mirror. Fittingly – and sadly – it is the last album he worked on.

File Under: Indie Rock, Velvet Underground
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Various: Second Wave (Random Numbers) LP
Random Numbers is proud to present its newest V.A. release, the most ambitious to date, which sees the contributions of 16 producers close to the label and kindred to the sonic quest Random Numbers has been pursuing since 2015. “Second Wave” is the organic continuation of the journey initiated with the V.A. Parallel Routes, released at the beginning of the 2020 lockdown. This collection of 12 tracks – like the 12 months that have just passed, delivers a multi-faceted testimony of our experience with the pandemic, translating feelings of absence, desire and necessity into a mind-bending sound exploration. Despite crossing a wide range of tempos and genres, a common thread is found in the mystic, trippy and ritualistic atmospheres that populate this release. The metamorphic nature of each track continuously surprises the ears, blurring the boundaries between heady listening experience and dance floor bliss.

File Under: Electronic
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Various: V4 Visions Label Sampler (Numero) LP
Numero Group and Rush Hour present: the V4 Visions label sampler, 1990-1994. A five-song overview of the pioneering UK street soul label that lived at the confluence of lovers rock, deep house, swing beat and jungle. In anticipation of the the forthcoming 2xLP label-spanning compilation. Limited edition of 500 copies.

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Bauhaus: Crackle: Best of  (4AD) LP
Beherit: The Oath of Black Blood (Nuclear War Now) LP
Bitchin’ Bajas: Baja Fresh (Drag City) CS
Blood Incantation: Starspawn (Dark Descent) LP
Butthole Surfers: Hairway to Steven (Latino Bugger Veil) LP
Butthole Surfers: Locust Abortion Technician (Latino Bugger Veil) LP
Butthole Surfers: Psych, Powerless (Latino Bugger Veil) LP
Cannibal Corpse: Butchered at Birth (Metal Blade) LP
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle 1965 (Impulse) LP
Lula Cortes E Ze Ramalho: Paebiru (Mr. Bongo) LP
Craven Idol: Forked Tongues (Dark Descent) LP
Sarah Davachi: Cantus, Descant (Late) LP
Death: Spiritual Healing (Relapse) CS
Death: Scream Bloody Gore (Relapse) CS
Death: Leprosy (Relapse) CS
Death: Individual Thought Patterns (Relapse) CS
Death: Sound of Perseverance (Relapse) CS
Electric Wizard: Dopethrone (Rise Above) LP
Guided By Voices: Bee Thousand (Scat)
Helado Negro: Far In (4AD) LP
Low: Hey What (Sub Pop) LP
Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime (Matador) LP
Oh Sees: Master’s Bedroom… (In The Red) LP
Parquet Courts: Sympathy for Life (Rough Trade) LP
Pearl Jam: Riot Act (Legacy) LP
Radiohead: Pablo Honey (XL) LP
Vito Ricci: I Was Crossing A Bridge (Music From Memory) LP
Rugged Nuggets: Odds & Ends (Colemine) LP
Yasuaki Shimizu: Kakashi (Palto Flats) LP
Horace Silver: Doin’ The Thing (Blue Note) LP
Silver Jews: Bright Flight (Drag City) LP
Silver Jews: Starlight Walker (Drag City) LP
Silver Jews: Tanglewood Numbers (Drag City) LP
Silver Mt. Zion: He Has Left Us Alone… (Constellation) LP
Sinoia Caves: Beyond the Black Rainbow OST (Jagjaguwar) LP
Smog: Doctor Came At Dawn (Drag City) LP
Sonic Youth: Evol (Goofin) LP
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) LP
Stanley Turrentine: Hustlin’ (Blue Note) LP
Wye Oak: Civilian + Cut All The Wires (Merge) LP
Various: Outro Tempo – Electronic & Contemporary Music from Brazil 1978 – 1992 (Music From Memory) LP
Various: Outro Tempo II – Electronic & Contemporary Music from Brazil 1984 – 1996 (Music From Memory) LP