…..news letter #1077 – pull pull…..

Another big week for stock! Some MASSIVE titles from Japan, first off, one of my all time favorite Japanese LPs! I have a bootleg LP, I have a CD, I have a Japanese reissue from about 5 years ago, and now I’m trying to not buy the Mr. Bongo reissue of Akira Ishikawa’s psych/funk masterpiece “Uganda” a total scorcher front to back, as well as some other killer Japanese jazz reissues as well. And then, the first OFFICIAL release by  legendary Japanese psych monsters, Les Rallizes Denudes! A band who, until this point, has only existed in the form of bootleg releases. But now, the band is remastering and releasing their recordings, and started off with an expanded, never before released version of their Oz Tapes. Amazing!!! Loads of great ambient/electronic stuff from the UK, a new UllaAndy Stott reissues, Mister Water Wet‘s second album of the year, and two from Laila Sakini. Loads of other great stuff, as well, have a read and come down for a dig….

ALSO, next Friday, Nov 25th, is BLACK FRIDAY RECORD STORE DAY! We’re obviously participating and have already started to receive a bunch of the exclusives (there’s not as much as regular RSD, but there’s some great stuff still.) But on top of that we’re dropping a bunch of crates of fresh, rare, killer slabs for your digging pleasures. AND we’ve pulled a TON of records to blow out at 50% off! Lots of great titles to be had for a song! So pencil in some time next Friday/Saturday to come down for a dig!

OH… and we’re doing something we rarely do… WE ARE HIRING! At least one, maybe two part time positions. Weekend availability is a must! Drop a resume off at the store along with your top ten albums of all time and this year. 

Current operations…..

– in-store shopping/pick ups – 11 – 6 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm Saturday
(if you don’t want to come into the store for a pick up, call and/or use the back door)
– We will be wearing masks, if you want to, great! If not, that’s also fine, but please be respectful of other people’s space and decisions.
– Sanitize your hands (we’ll have some)

…..picks of the week…..

Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffalos: Uganda (Mr. Bongo) LP
The respected Japanese jazz drummer Akira Ishikawa was not messing around when he recorded the ‘Uganda (Dawn of Rock)’ album with his band the Count Buffaloes. For this offering, originally released in 1972 on Toshiba Records, Akira Ishikawa takes us on a deep tripped-out journey. ‘Uganda (Dawn of Rock)’ is a fusion of progressive and psych rock with African percussion workouts, dergy-wah wah blues-funk, and jazzy sensibilities; with different genres morphing and uniting as they progress. A long way from his funk and afrobeat album ‘Back To Rhythm’, re-issued on Mr Bongo in 2019, this record has a darker, deeper, abstract and experimental stoned tone with the listener being pulled into its vortex for the ride. This record doesn’t pull any punches. For this album, Akira is joined by Hideaki Chihara on bass, guitarist Kimio Mizutani, sounding at times like an early 70s Peter Green, percussionist Larry Sunaga and composer Takeru Muraoka. The album has become highly sought-after amongst psych, prog and acid rock collectors and due to the rare nature of original copies they come at a hefty price tag. We are delighted to present an officially licensed re-issue of this underground Japanese rock rarity. Available as a replica of the original boxset version.

File Under: Psych, Funk, Jazz, Japan, Kris’s Picks
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Les Rallizes Denudes: OZ Tapes (Temporal Drift) LP
Operating out of a small upstairs space just around the corner from the train station in the Kichijoji neighborhood of Tokyo, OZ was a scruffy, DIY affair that lasted not much more than a year. Between June 1972 to September 1973, the cafe and performance space became the nerve center for the city’s burgeoning underground and counterculture set. Hadaka No Rallizes, aka Les Rallizes Dénudés, the psychedelic noisemakers originally from Kyoto, was one of the marquee names at OZ. Led by the enigmatic Takashi Mizutani, the now-legendary band was one of the earliest bookings for the venue, and would ultimately close out OZ Last Days, a raucous five-day blowout to celebrate the short but wonderful world of OZ. To commemorate the occasion, recordings made at OZ were released as OZ DAYS LIVE, a private press 2LP set featuring Miyako Ochi, Acid Seven, Masato Minami, Taj Mahal Travellers, and four tracks by the Rallizes—which constituted just a fraction of what had been recorded at the time. For nearly 50 years, these songs remained the only official appearance of the Rallizes on vinyl LP—until now. With The OZ Tapes, we are finally able to hear the missing pieces. Stored on reels of Scotch analog recording tape, these recordings had laid dormant in storage for almost half a century. The previously unheard material reveals the Rallizes at some of their most unhinged and experimental, as well as moments of delicate tenderness—the two sides of Mizutani that would come to define his band’s legacy. Taken as a whole, The OZ Tapes help to demystify the band’s murky history, yet this vibrant and seemingly relatively innocent era only hints at the explosive, uncharted worlds into which Mizutani would lead the band.

File Under: Psych, Japan, Kris’s Picks
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Andy Stott: Passed Me By (Modern Love) LP
Andy Stott’s radical 2011 bonecrusher returns on its first new pressing for almost a decade, still screwing the dance and heads like nothing else with its lo-sprung suspended takes on boogie dub and claggiest rhythmic thumpers. The sludgy, slow-motion slug of ‘Passed Me By’ marked a pivotal point when Stott swam against the grain of prevailing currents of the post-dubstep era’s turn toward garage-techno and UKF-inspired percussive house. Working loosely adjacent to a then emergent witch-house sound, Andy screwed templates associated to Salem and Holy Other into a more muscular, thrumming style of drug chug more in key with early Actress, arriving at his own distinctive sound that sent us reeling. Between the intoxicating, syrupy gnarrr of ‘New Ground’ with its Proustian vocal motifs, and the head-wobbling Pennine weather system compressions of its titular curtain closer, it’s a stone cold classique; eliciting heads-down, wall-banging reactions in the side-chained thrum of ‘North To South’ and a lip-biting MDMA-buzz come up with the Thriller funk of ‘Intermittent’, while sore thumb ‘Dark Details’ gives shivering flashbacks to warehouse brukouts and ‘Execution’ curbs the high with a K-holing drag.  Delivering a narcotic, keeling dose of nostalgia that slings us back to late hours in the office and blunted afters with the goodest kru, ‘Passed Me By’ was one of those records that made us reassess pretty much everything else around at the time, practically forcing us to play other stuff on the wrong speed if we wanted to DJ with it, or more simply letting it run and and slowly shift temporal perceptions and paradigms in the process. Ye ye we’re biased and all, but it’s the fucking GOAT.

File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Techno, Piyush’s Picks, Kris’s Picks
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Actors: Reanimated (Artoffact) LP
Post-punk masterminds ACTORS announce the release of Reanimated out on August 19th via Artoffact Records and share the first single off of the release, “Post Traumatic Love (Humans Remix).” With pulsating beats and unparalleled song-writing, the album is a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the band’s debut single “Post Traumatic Love”. On the release of Reanimated Shannon Hemmett (synth, vocals) comments: “It’s the tenth anniversary of ACTORS’ debut single Post Traumatic Love. We wanted to do something special with Artoffact Records and re-release that single with b-side Nightlife. Those two tracks plus the PTL remixes are on the new Reanimated deluxe record!”

File Under: Punk
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…..new arrivals…..

Bad Religion: How Could Hell Be Any Worse? (Epitaph) LP
This digitally re-mastered version of “How Could Hell Be Any Worse?” is taking place of the “80-85” album which is now out of print. It contains the exact same track listing as “80-85” and now has the packaging it should have had in the first place… With this album a fuse was lit, leading to an explosion that spawned a new religion: Bad Religion. This, their second record and first LP is nothing short of genius. Shattered-glass guitar riffs, fast, furious drums, and a 16 year old Greg Graffin’s voice for the ages. The coalescence of lyrical intellect and savage music make for a sound seldom (if ever) heard before. The impact of this record still resonates to this day. Classic tracks like “Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell,” “American Dream,” and “The Voice Of God Is Government” are as crucial and socially lucid as the day they were created in a southern California garage. When the greatest punk records of all-time are discussed, How Could Hell Be Any Worse is sure to be mentioned.

File Under: Punk
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Blessed: Circuitous (Flemish Eye) LP
Blessed’s sophomore release, “Circuitous”, cements and expands on their status as a band’s band: a patient, eclectic career outfit guided by the intense pursuit of an internally-dictated creative agenda. Here, the group has sharpened their strengths, bringing an ever-growing depth of songwriting and artistic evolution to their craft. Composed from hours of jam material and hundreds of demos, “Circuitous” comprises eight tracks that sprawl and thrash and burst and fall — a sweeping, hyperreal, industrial art-rock tragedy rendered in walls of noise, controlled drums, meandering ambience, and staccato syncopation. The record speaks on agoraphobia, isolation, grief, the hyper-control of capital and the numbness it breeds.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Born Under A Rhyming Planet: Diagonals (DDS) LP
Prescient jazz-techno mutator Jamie Hodge (Conjoint, Studio Pankow) ushers a long overdue solo debut album, of sorts, with Demdike Stare’s DDS label; an archival harvest spanning his earliest experiments circa his Plus 8 debut thru to ’00s anomalies – hybrid ambient techno jazz and incredibly inventive forerunners of dubbed electronica – bookended by two Demdike Stare edits. Essential listening if yr into anything on the axis from Move D to Detroit Escalator Company, Jan Jelinek or Tortoise. ‘Diagonals’ sputters to life with a Demdike Stare edit of a track Hodge recorded in Brooklyn while he was on summer break from college and working at a local record distributor. Inspired by music he’d seen at that year’s New Music Seminar, he used an Atari ST and Yamaha TG77, a glassy FM module, to conduct a mood that hovers between ’80s new age DIY tapes and gaseous dub techno. ‘Handley’ digs into the tranquil electrified jazz modalities over a swung drum machine rhythm, squeezing robotic soul from a modest arsenal of gear, lashing the hypermelodic post-Detroit sensitivity of The Black Dog/Plaid to Chicago-axis experiments from Tortoise and Gastr del Sol. The shorter interludes are just as engrossing: Hodge experiments FM spray on ‘Trampoline’ and dusty Jan Jelinek-esque electroid funk on ‘Menthol’, ducking further into jazz on ‘Hot Nachos…’, augmenting his electronics with fretless electric bass. Cherry-picked by DDS, the selection best portrays the mix of soulful depth and atmospheric effervescence that defined that elusive era in electronic music; spanning a late night spectrum of styles from dusty electro-acoustic ambient prisms to supple deep house pearls, with a special strain of gently frayed computer jazz touching on the outer limits of Detroit techno. It’s exceptional material that reminds us of a time when electronic music was frothing over with hope, futurism and revolutionary spirit, so whether you’re into the post-Artificial Intelligence era or the Jazz-looped investigations of Jan Jelinek and crew, “Diagonals” feels like stepping into a particularly good dream.

File Under: Electronic
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Crack Cloud: Tough Baby (Tin Angel) LP
Crack Cloud’s new album Tough Baby is both a clarion call and a life-manual for the listener. Unsurprisingly, Tough Baby is a record with purpose and resolve. Nothing is wasted. Sometimes the music feels deliberately compressed, the essences extracted and bottled into an overpowering cordial, as on ‘115 At Night’, which sounds like an ‘80s Van Halen track being squeezed into another shape. And it’s difficult to see how a track like ‘Virtuous Industry’ can hold itself together, such are the sonic hoops it jumps through. The sharp angles and hook- laden guitar lines that were once seen as a trademark sound are less in evidence. Last track ‘Crackin Up’ does nod back to earlier releases with a booming beat and guitars that snag, like wool on barbed wire. But maybe there’s another focus taking shape, one that was not fully realised on the band’s remarkable debut, Pain Olympics. Zach Choy: “We made that album with no expectation of making another.” Maybe that expectation lent Pain Olympics its febrile, combustible atmosphere. But the world moves on, and Tough Baby is moving with it. The new record reflects Choy’s point that “we are always maturing emotionally with our experiences, and so how we understand and express them evolves over our lifetime.” There is a sleekness here: cinematic dreamer music that takes in the street romanticisms and seedy cruises of classic alternative pop. Indeed, the record could be a brilliant C21st riposte to the likes of The Pogues, the Blockheads, Roxy Music or Armand Schaubroeck. ‘The Politician’ could be a search party sent out to find The Bogus Man after 50 years.

File Under: Punk
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Dinosaur Jr: Seventytwohundredseconds (Cherry Red) LP
Captured at the height of their powers during the heyday of the grunge movement that they inspired, J Mascis and Dinosaur Jr perform tracks from their back catalogue live on MTV’s 120 Minutes show. Loud and heavy as ever, the band turn in an inspired performance, which has since become a legendary favourite among fans. Never officially released until now, and produced in association with MTV and the band, ‘Seventytwohundredseconds’ is the latest in our ongoing extensive exploration of Dinosaur Jr’s brilliant Sire Records period. A must-hear glimpse of one of the treasures from the rich seam of American alternative rock and grunge artists who reinvigorated guitar- orientated music in the late 1980s and 1990s.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Duma: s/t (Nyege Nyege Tapes) LP
Martin Khanja (aka Lord Spike Heart) and Sam Karugu emerge from Nairobi’s flourishing underground metal scene as former members of the bands Lust of a Dying Breed and Seeds of Datura. Together in 2019 they formed Duma (Darkness in Kikuyu) with Sam abandoning bass for production and guitars and Lord Spike Heart providing extreme vocals to the project. Recorded at Nyege Nyege Studios in Kampala over three months in mid 2019 their self-titled debut album fuses the frenetic euphoria, unrelenting physicality and rebellious attitude of hardcore punk and trash metal with bone-crunching breakcore and raw, nihilist industrial noise through a claustrophobic vortex of visceral screams. The savant mix of brutally adrenalized drums, caustic industrial trap, shredding grindcore inspired guitars and abrupt speed changes create a darkly atmospheric menace and is lethal on tracks like the opener “Angels and Abysses” , “Omni” or “Uganda with Sam”. The gruelling slow techno dirges and monolithic vocals on “Pembe 666” or “Sin Nature” add a pinch of dramatic inevitability bringing a new sense of theatricality and terrifying fate awaiting into the record’s progression. A sinister sonic aggression of feral intensity with disregard for styles, Duma promises to impact the burgeoning African metal scene moving it into totally new, boundary-challenging experimental territories.

File Under: Africa, Metal, Electronic
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Ezy Minus: Music on Canvas (Four Flies) LP
While still unknown to many today, Enzo Minuti (1927-2000), aka Ezy Minus, left his unique mark on the kaleidoscopic world of Italian library music. One of the most versatile, skilled and authentic figures in the Bolognese music scene of the mid- to late 20th century, Minuti was a multi-instrumentalist, composer, music producer and recording studio manager, as well as a painter, etcher and graphic artist. He devoted his life to music (especially jazz, a genre that has enjoyed a long tradition in the city of Bologna), so much so that even his visual art was inspired by music. This collection brings together music composed by Minuti between the ‘70s and the early ‘80s. Within this timeframe, his first library compositions can be described as cheerful pop-jazz pieces veering towards either easy listening – with vocal harmonies, jazzy vocalizations, and rhythmic elements from bossa nova, samba and swing – or a more psychedelic style, with the use of chromatism and an experimental rock feel here and there. Later on he also experimented with genres such as reggae and increasingly used electronic instruments (synths, drum machines, loop stations, etc.). However, his playful, light-hearted approach to composition remained unchanged, or was even enhanced, in his later output (which, like his earlier work, features simple musical structures, terse arrangements, and delicate and linear melodies). On a technical note, it is worth mentioning that, not unlike better-known maestros like Piero Umiliani and Giuliano Sorgini, Minuti often used the technique of overdubbing and played most instruments on his tracks (flute, saxophone, organ, piano, percussion), sometimes even singing some of the vocals.

File Under: Library
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Sadayasu Fujii Trio: Like A Child (We Are Busy Bodies) LP
We Are Busy Bodies reissues Sadayasu Fujii Trio’s 1977 album, Like A Child. Led by pianist, Sadayasu Fujii, the album includes jazz standards “A Sleepin’ Bee” and “If I Should Lose You”, along with original compositions.

File Under: Jazz, Japan
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Full Circle: From Back There Again (Good Morning Tapes) LP
A vinyl-only regression session of modal chopped & screwed trance and ambient dance music from Alexis Le Tan and Joakim’s super collectable Full Circle project, newly minted by Good Morning Tapes. A febrile, downtempo melange of screwed classics and original productions, ‘From Back There Again’ is Full Circle’s 5th full-length session in this fertile zone of dance music’s imagination. Serving the spiritual need for slower, more sensual movements in light of the contemporary BPM arms race, Full Circle look back to go forward – or, more pertinently – perpendicular to the dance music continuum; corkscrewing classic early ‘90s trance and cosmic Italian disco models along lines of inspiration from Middle Eastern and Subcontinental musics to open dancers’ third eyes and weave their chakras into sexier shapes. In the foggiest recesses of our memory, this kind of lark used to be so much more commonplace in the backrooms of clubs during the ‘90s and even into the early ‘00s, but has become lost-in-translation with successive waves of ravers expecting full throttle from start to finish, or at least a sort of escalating narrative arc. Full Circle stand for a sort of romantic counter-cultural aspect of dance music that feels more necessary now than ever. ‘From Back There Again’ is just the medicine; a bounty of sun-dazed goodness, balancing spangled bodies and minds between the plush synth dub sway of ‘Closed Eyes Open’ to super slinky Goa beatdown on ‘Percussive Silence’, the trance on 33-not-45 bliss of ‘Infernal Heaven’, beside the pill-belly lift of ’Shapeless Square’, piquant drug chug tang of ‘Human Alien’ and the unmistakeable edit of ‘Future Memories’, transporting us straight back to Autechre’s 4am-6am Disengage sessions on Kiss FM. The lick.

File Under: Electronic
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Boris Gardiner: Ultra Super Dub Vol. 1 (Now Again) LP
“The lost albums in jamaican bass player, bandleader, songwriter, singer and producer Boris Gardiner’s discography — First official issue of these impossibly rare albums. Contains extensive booklet, with Jeff Mao detailing Gardiner’s career and the ’70s Jamaican music industry. Unpublished photos and ephemera 1970s. Jamaica suffered an unprecedented stretch of political turmoil and violence, and as the country’s economy and morale collapsed, reggae and its offshoots exploded worldwide. Boris Gardiner enjoyed great success leading bands, issuing albums that mixed reggae, ska, soul and funk, and collaborating with the likes of Lee (Scratch) Perry and Herman Chin-Loy in their legendary studios and playing on hundreds of records. So many that he lost count. Sometime around the issue of his Boris Gardiner Happening Is What’s Happening album — a loft classic, with David Mancuso favoring Gardiner’s take of Booker T. and the MG’s ‘Melting Pot’ at his legendary gathering — and his soundtrack to Every N—-r Is A Star, famously sampled by Kendrick Lamar and used as the introduction to the film Moonlight, two albums — Ultra Super Dub Vols. 1 and 2 — credited to The Boris Gardiner Happening — two albums so obscure that for the longest time Boris wasn’t even aware that they existed. Following classics such as King Tubby’s Dub From the Roots and Augustus Pablo’s King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown, Miami-based Alty East’s Ultra Records took instrumentals Gardiner created for a run of 45s, and created and issued these compilations of dubbed out originals and JA renditions of songs by Otis Redding, Clarence Carter, Betty Wright, Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne and Ultra label-mate Frankie Zhivago Young. Released in tiny runs in handmade, silkscreened, paste-on covers, they have become some of the most sought-after Jamaican albums. Now, issued under Boris’ guidance, and with a detailed booklet by Jeff Mao, which delves into the deep scene which birthed these remarkable records, we can finally consider the last, unheard portion of this landmark musician’s career.”

File Under: Reggae
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Boris Gardiner: Ultra Super Dub Vol. 2 (Now Again) LP
“The lost albums in jamaican bass player, bandleader, songwriter, singer and producer Boris Gardiner’s discography. First official issue of these impossibly rare albums contains extensive booklet, with Jeff Mao detailing Gardiner’s career and the 70s Jamaican music industry. Unpublished photos and ephemera. 1970s Jamaica suffered an unprecedented stretch of political turmoil and violence, and as the country’s economy and morale collapsed, reggae and its offshoots exploded worldwide. Boris Gardiner enjoyed great success leading bands, issuing albums that mixed reggae, ska, soul and funk, and collaborating with the likes of Lee (Scratch) Perry and Herman Chin-Loy in their legendary studios and playing on hundreds of records. So many that he lost count. Sometime around the issue of his Boris Gardiner Happening Is What’s Happening album — a loft classic, with David Mancuso favoring Gardiner’s take of Booker T. and the MG’s ‘Melting Pot’ at his legendary gathering — and his soundtrack to Every N—-r Is A Star, famously sampled by Kendrick Lamar and used as the introduction to the film Moonlight, two albums — Ultra Super Dub Vols. 1 and 2 — credited to The Boris Gardiner Happening — two albums so obscure that for the longest time Boris wasn’t even aware that they existed. Following classics such as King Tubby’s Dub From the Roots and Augustus Pablo’s King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown, Miami-based Alty East’s Ultra Records took instrumentals Gardiner created for a run of 45s, and created and issued these compilations of dubbed out originals and JA renditions of songs by Otis Redding, Clarence Carter, Betty Wright, Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne and Ultra label-mate Frankie Zhivago Young. Released in tiny runs in handmade, silkscreened, paste-on covers, they have become some of the most sought-after Jamaican albums. Now, issued under Boris’ guidance, and with a detailed booklet by Jeff Mao, which delves into the deep scene which birthed these remarkable records, we can finally consider the last, unheard portion of this landmark musician’s career.”

File Under; Reggae
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Goblin: The Horror Original Soundtracks (Cinevox) BOX
Cinevox, AMS and Light In The Attic present an exceptional collection of Goblin horror soundtracks – including classics such as Profondo Rosso, Suspiria, Zombi, along with a 10th LP of rare & unreleased music – all available for the first time ever in a gorgeous colored 10 x LP set! The box set contains the following LPs: – Profondo rosso – Suspiria – Zombi – Patrick – Buio Omega – Contamination – Non ho sonno – Phenomena – Tenebre – Rarities (LP made specially for this box set – exclusive. See Tracklist.) Goblin are a unique case in the world of rock: a prog band specialized in film music with striking results. Without denying their roots, they created a new sound, defined precisely ‘in the style of Goblin’. A style that has attracted followers and admirers all over the world. This box set collects the most famous and appreciated soundtracks of this band, the ones they made for ‘giallo’ and horror movies.

File Under: OST, Horror
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Guerrinha: Cidade Grande (confuso editions) LP
Brilliantly unclassifiable ambient midi-jazz salvo from Brazil’s Gabriel Guerra aka Guerrinha – member of PAN/Future Times’ Lifted ensemble and lynchpin of the Rio De Janeiro underground. Very highly recommended noir sleaze x fantasy lounge music somewhere on the spectrum between Gigi Masin, Spencer Clark, 0PN, Flanger and Koji Kondo’s iconic video game soundtracks. Deployed as the third release on the expertly curated confuso editions, ‘Cidade Grande’ sees Guerra unfurl an immersive and deeply enveloping variant of lounge jazz noir intersecting Japanese city pop, classic video game soundtracks and future-primitive kosmische signatures in a way that defies easy categorisation. Guerrinha colours outside the lines in swirling, exquisitely trippy designs that are as easy on the ears are they are hard to fully fathom over a single sitting. Mirroring a strain of jazz music’s evolution from sophisticate lounge soundtrack to more psychedelic lustre when musicians found acid and Brazilian styles in the ‘60s, Guerrinha slants the paradigm thru the prism of late ‘80s midi with a c.21st suss that coolly echoes hauntological takes from Spencer Clark & James Ferraro to Leyland Kirby, and Eli Keszler’s electro-acoustic jazz proprioceptions, as much as emotive Kenji Kawai soundtracks. There’s a complete lack of cynicism in his approach, and dense, hypnotic tracks like ‘Venda Casada Village’ and the moving ‘Kafta Hoje’ sound so completely straight-faced it’s impossible not to respect the flex. It’s a hugely trippy listen, at once calming and eerily evocative, with a wipe-clean palette of deft midi orchestrations that conjure flashbacks to soundtracks for everything from Twin Peaks to Sharky & George or Patlabor, but with more opalescent depth, dancing around motifs in holographic designs that mark the uncanny valley of perception. Truly one of the oddest, most beguiling records we’ve heard in months, no doubt.

File Under: Electronic, Jazz, Ambient
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Guns N’ Roses: Use Your Illusion I (Geffen) LP
Guns N’ Roses’ highly anticipated third and fourth studio albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II were originally released simultaneously on September 17, 1991. With the massive success of GN’R Lies and Appetite For Destruction, the band had the daunting task of a follow up album. Not only did the band deliver, Guns N’ Roses surprised the world by releasing not one but two new, full length studio albums. Upon release, Use Your Illusion I reached No. 2 and Use Your Illusion II took the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 chart concurrently, selling over 500k in the first two hours of release, with an estimated sales of over 685k and 770k respectively within the first week of release. Use Your Illusion I features the band’s bombastic cover of Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die,” the Top Ten hit “Don’t Cry,” and what NPR described as “one of the ultimate hard-rock power ballads,” the band’s ‘90s anthem and MTV staple “November Rain,” which hit No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100, spending a total of 30 weeks on the chart. Reissued here on gatefold 180g vinyl 2LP with a 12″ x 12″ insert, Use Your Illusion I is remastered for the first-time ever from high-resolution 96kHz 24-bit transfers from the original stereo 1/2-inch analog master tapes. It includes a previously unreleased version of “November Rain” with a real 50-piece orchestra – newly recorded, conducted and arranged by Grammy Award winner and Emmy Award nominated composer Christopher Lennertz.

File Under: Rock
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Guns N’ Roses: Use Your Illusion II (Geffen) LP
Guns N’ Roses’ highly anticipated third and fourth studio albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II were originally released simultaneously on September 17, 1991. With the massive success of GN’R Lies and Appetite For Destruction, the band had the daunting task of a follow up album. Not only did the band deliver, Guns N’ Roses surprised the world by releasing not one but two new, full length studio albums. Use Your Illusion II features the band’s Top 50 single “You Could Be Mine,” “Civil War,” which reached No. 4 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Airplay chart, Bob Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door,” plus an alternate version of “Don’t Cry” featuring different lyrics. Reissued here on gatefold 180g vinyl 2LP with a 12″ x 12″ insert, Use Your Illusion II is remastered for the first-time ever from high-resolution 96kHz 24-bit transfers from the original stereo 1/2-inch analog master tapes.

File Under: Rock
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Honey Harper: Honey Harper & The Infinite Sky (ATO) LP
The follow-up to their critically lauded full-length Starmaker – Honey Harper & The Infinite Sky is country music for everyone. Informed by a vast range of influences (George Jones to David Bowie to Kanye West), the record mines decades of musical history and places the most time-worn touchstones in unexpected new contexts. A postmodernist pastiche befitting of a band praised by Pitchfork for its “celestial twang that owes as much to Spiritualized as it does to Merle Haggard.”

File Under: Country
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Hermanos Gutierrez: El Bueno Y El Malo (Easy Eye) LP
Inspired by old western film scores and vintage Latin American sounds, Hermanos Gutiérrez’s new Dan Auerbach-produced album, El Bueno Y El Malo, takes listeners on a hypnotic and sensual instrumental journey through a haunted landscape, where the haze of the desert meets the blue of a Kodachrome ocean. Born in Ecuador and raised in Switzerland, the brothers create a signature guitar sound forged by their rich cultures, a dialogue between worlds from musicians bound by blood into a singular soul.

File Under: Latin, OST(ish)
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Bobby Hutcherson: Stick-Up! (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson’s 1966 Blue Note album Stick-Up! found him in the company of a new band line-up with Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Lewis, and Billy Higgins. The quintet covers a vast expanse of post-bop territory on five Hutcherson originals plus Ornette Coleman’s “Una Muy Bonita.” Blue Note Records’ acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series continues in 2022. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by audiophile legend Joe Harley and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version.

File Under: Jazz
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Ingredient: s/t (Telephone Explosion) LP
Ingredient is the elegant collaboration of Toronto poets, composers, producers and dear friends Ian Daniel Kehoe and Luka Kuplowsky. Their self-titled release is an enigmatic electronic avant-pop record attuned to the micro and macro perspectives of the natural world. Ingredient is an album whose lyrics are more poem than lyric, and whose songs exist in a merger of house music, philosophically-minded lyricism and contemporary R&B. One might recall electronic and art-pop luminaries such as Yukihiro Takahashi, The Blue Nile, and Arthur Russell, or connect it to contemporaries like Nite Jewel, Westerman and Blood Orange. A distinct world of dance, of questions, of secrecy and ultimate softness.

File Under: Electronic, Pop
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Jason Isbell & 400 Unit: Twist & Shout 11.16.07 (New West) LP
Now available on vinyl, Live At Twist & Shout is a live EP from the former Drive-By Trucker and his backing band, The 400 Unit. Recorded at a Twist & Shout in-store, the EP serves as a significant artifact documenting the nascent stage of Isbell’s solo career and includes standout tracks “Outfit,” “Goddamn Lonely Love” and a cover of Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic.”

File Under: Country
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King Crimson: Discipline (Panegyric) LP
Seven years after King Crimson had ‘ceased to exist’, the band’s reinvention as a new quartet consisting of Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, Adrian Belew and Tony Levin brought about a surprising new era, which delighted fans old and new. Stylistically very different from the King Crimson of the ’70s, this new line-up incorporated rock with electronica, funk, pure pop, modern avant-garde, and a complex variety of musical textures and influences. The intricacies of the playing and details in the compositional style became a key influence on sub-genres such as math rock. 40th anniversary stereo mix of innovative 1981 release Discipline by Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp on 200g super-heavyweight vinyl for the first time. Mastered by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering from original studio masters.

File Under: Prog
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King Crimson: Three of a Perfect Pair (Panegyric) LP
Having released two albums in a nine month period between October 1981 and July 1982, Three of a Perfect Pair served as the final part of King Crimson’s recorded trilogy that begun with Discipline and Beat. Originally released in April 1984, from the pointillist minimalism of the title track through to the urgent rush of “Sleepless” and the album’s closer “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic III” – the only reference to the ’70s incarnations of the band – Crimson’s distinctive mixture of rock, electronica, funk and pure pop songs, ensured the group’s status as one of the most interesting and innovative bands of the decade. Cut from the 30th anniversary masters series – overseen and approved by Robert Fripp – Three Of A Perfect is the eleventh release in the King Crimson LP reissue series. 200g vinyl LP edition, cut at Loud Mastering by Jason Mitchell.

File Under: Prog
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Dan Mangan: Being Somewhere (Arts & Crafts) LP
Being Somewhere, Dan Mangan’s sixth studio album, cuts incisively but never forgets its underlying thesis: It’s cool to care. Mangan arms the rebels in the crusade for tenderness. The album is a combative plea for mercy from a manic world and its effects on the psyche. Whittling his sharpest pen to date, Being Somewhere is marked by Mangan’s singular wit and a respectful deference to the quagmire of existence. “I wanted this album to feel like the inside crook of a familiar elbow on the nape of your neck, a comforting embrace.” says Mangan, “These songs are tenderhearted and unfurl like an overdue conversation with a dear friend. They essentially lay out where we’re at, how I’m doing, and how I think I can help.” Under the care of producer Drew Brown’s (Radiohead, Beck) distinct touch, Being Somewhere forges sonics well beyond the tropes of modern folk music. Helming the project from Chicago, Brown sourced musical contributions from all over North America, the UK and Japan, including work from Joey Waronker (Beck, Atoms for Peace), Jason Falkner (Beck, St. Vincent), Thomas Bartlett (The National, Taylor Swift), Dave Okumu (Arlo Parks, Adele) Mary Lattimore (Kurt Vile, Sharon Van Etten), & Broken Social Scene frontman Kevin Drew.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Marica: Jellyfish (Victor) LP
The new wave jazz album left in 1987 is the first analog reprint. Based on the sound produced by Masanori Sasaji (ex. Maria), the left field-avant jazz work (‘87) that was imbued is the first reissue that reproduces the artwork of that time as much as possible! Starting with the mysterious opening “Door” reminiscent of Mariah’s “Door of the Heart”, the avant-wave “Memorial Rain” with vivid organ riffs, and the Third World Bosa Fusion “ASTRUD” with gentle scat singing. Includes all 10 songs where experiments and standards intersect.

File Under: Jazz, Japan
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Pat Martino: Baiyina (Clear Evidence) (Real Gone) LP
The subtitle to this 1968 album reads “a psychedelic excursion through the magical mysteries of the Koran,” and if that doesn’t set your multi-culti heart a-flutter, it should at least make you reach for a set of headphones. The late Pat Martino’s Baiyina measures up to and perhaps even surpasses John McLaughlin’s more celebrated Eastern-facing explorations, employing droning sitars, hypnotically tapping tabla, unusual time signatures, and a crack band (featuring bassist Richard Davis, drummer Charlie Persip, and, making his recording debut, Gregory Herbert on alto sax and flute) to craft a jazz guitar-forward answer to Coltrane and Ravi Shankar (and presages Miles’ In a Silent Way with its quietly pulsing improvisational probes). This is the first time Baiyina has been reissued in 30 years, and the first time ever it’s been on colored (orange) vinyl…clear some head space for this one!

File Under: Jazz, Psych
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Kei Miho & Jazz Eleven: Kokezaru Suite (Victor) LP
Keitaro Miho, a pianist/composer/arranger who has influenced not only jazz but also the Japanese music world. He also worked as a film director, actor, racing driver, writer, and commentator, and became popular as a versatile cultural figure. Since the latter half of the 1960s, when jazz has diversified, many works have been created that attempt to return to Japan with their cutting-edge musicality, but among them, “Kokezaru Suite” is a pioneer. From Japanese musical instruments to electric musical instruments, based on the fusion of jazz and ancient Japanese music, contemporary rock-psychedelic elements are injected into it. It’s a merciless and intense sound. It is an ambitious and eternal problem work of Miho, who has made everyone say that he is a talented person. We also look at the faces of participating musicians such as Masahiko Sato, Minoru Muraoka, Akira Ishikawa, Takeru Muraoka, Takeshi Inomata, and Hideaki Sakurai.

File Under: Jazz, Japan, Psych
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Mac Miller: Macadelic (Rostrum) LP
The legacy of Mac Miller continues to be felt even four years after his death, and Macadelic was surely one of the rapper’s high water marks. Released as a free download back in 2012, the mixtape sparked The Macadelic Tour and saw Miller take his game to the wider world. The psychedelic influence on the beats is everywhere, from the ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ licks at the end of ‘Desperado’ to the poetic lilt of ‘Angels (When She Shuts Her Eyes)’. Remastered and released posthumously, this 10th anniversary edition of Macadelic is a fitting tribute to a true hip-hop original, and it comes pressed on silver wax with a bonus poster included.

File Under: Hip hop
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Kohske Mine Quintet: Daguri (We Are Busy Bodies) LP
We Are Busy Bodies proudly reissues Kohske Mine Quintet’s 1973 album, Daguri. Originally issued on Victor Records, the album has been remastered and includes replica insert and obi.

File under: Jazz, Japan
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Mister Water Wet: Significant Soil (West Mineral Ltd) LP
West Mineral return with a followup to Mister Water Wet’s 2019’s subtropical ambient slow-burn debut ‘Bought the Farm’, expanding Iggy Romeu’s horizons to contrast feverish Afro-Caribbean ambient jazz with jaunty illbient and atmospheric freakouts. Low-lit heat that’s highly recommended if yr into Nick León, Carlos Niño, Kelman Duran, Gonçalo F. Cardoso. Mister Water Wet continues to excavate the tropical soundscapes that simmer the producer’s Kansas City home with his Puerto Rican roots, on a new album of extended vignettes and mood pieces that cross a late 90’s Mo Wax instrumentals vibe with present day feelings of displacement and ennui. LP opener ‘Bory’ tunes us into Water Wet’s weirdly fuzzed frequencies, where tremeloed strings and found sounds resemble what might have been a lost dean blunt x dean hurley sound design concept for Inland Empire, while ‘I Saw the Green Flash’ opens a swirl of strings and traditional rhythms caught in a reflecting pool of canned classical orchestrals and 1950s theremin wails. ‘Good Apple’, meanwhile, cranks up the mood with aged x looped piano paired with an undulating, bass-heavy shuffle that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Kelman Duran x Martin Denny mixtape. ‘When Kennybrook Burned to the Ground’ leans into heady jazz vapours, spreading crackle over pitch-fucked horn samples, but it’s the producer’s weird use of percussion that keeps us gripped: scattering his arrangements across the grid, mimicking an ensemble of players deployed in irregular formations. Romeu embraces trip-hop on ‘Any Other Time’, blending Afro-Caribbean percussion with a swung downtempo beat, while ‘Isthmus’ reminds us of the clatterbox plunder of Moonshake’s PJ Harvey hookup ‘Just a Working Girl’ – with all its asymmetric hooks. The extended closing track ‘Losing Blood’ takes a leaf out of Fennesz’s glitched rulebook, stretching and folding disintegrating loops through an 11 minute descent into the elegiac aether.

File Under: Electronic
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Akira Miyazawa: Iwana (Bull Trout) (Victor) LP
Akira Miyazawa, a tenor saxophonist, is one of the musicians who laid the foundation for the Japanese jazz scene. “We are Japanese, so I think we have to make someone who can only be Japanese,” said Miyazawa, who said “For Units,” “Iwana,” and “Kiso” from 1969 to 1970. He will release works that pursue the identity of the Japanese people in quick succession. Among them, this work “Iwana”, which was accompanied by Masahiko Sato, Yasuo Arakawa, and Masahiko Togashi, who were the most cutting-edge piano trio at that time, is the ultimate in Japanese jazz, and it is unparalleled. Is creating a new music world. “Iwana” full of tension, “Kawamasu” spun calmly, “Ayu” which is too beautiful, and “Rainbow trout” which is dynamic. All songs are masterpieces that remain in the history of Japanese jazz.

File Under: Jazz, Japan
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Ennio Morricone: Cosi Come Sei (Cinevox) LP
“Così come sei” is a 1978 film directed by Alberto Lattuada, a sentimental drama starring the two main characters Marcello Mastroianni and Nastassja Kinski, still very young at the time of shooting but already acclaimed by critics for her acting skills. The soundtrack composed, orchestrated and directed by Ennio Morricone therefore soaked with romantic atmospheres and celestial melodies played with wind instruments and set in symphonic pop jewels, with the contribution of I Cantori Moderni di Alessandro Alessandroni’s choir and Oscar Valdambrini’s trumpet. Furthermore, what probably makes this work unique within Morricone’s repertoire is the presence of the funk-rock and disco music songs “Dance On” and “Space 1999”, which unexpectedly reflect a late ’70s very popular sound. Originally released in 1978 and reissued in a few subsequent editions, the soundtrack of “Così come sei” had been missing on vinyl for almost 40 years and is now finally re-released with remastered audio and a new graphic layout, on 180gr. solid pink vinyl.

File Under: OST
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Jake Muir & Evan Caminiti: Talisman (Dust Editions) LP
Taking cues from doom metal, smoky ECM avant-jazz plates, dreampop and disorienting GRM classics, Jake Muir and LA psych-sludge mainstay Evan Caminiti join hands on “Talisman”, a blacklight-doused set of grim, beatless shimmers that push back on contemporary ambient logic. RIYL Terje Rydpal, Earth, Cocteau Twins or Les Disques Du Crépuscule. Muir and Caminiti are sick and tired of ambient music’s bizarre entanglement with the wellness industrial complex. You know what we’re on about here: healing sounds and soothing balms for well-heeled adult babies to jam on Instagram, supported by their aesthetic collection of verdant succulants (modular synth not essential, but preferred). And yeh we fully realize that the world’s going to shit, but we’re also pretty sure that a guided meditation isn’t gonna lead us to salvation, especially when it’s accompanied by music that’s at best a poor approximation of private press biz that came out four decades ago. Growing up in California, Muir and Caminiti quickly developed a deep suspicion of this kinda snake oil peddling and on “Talisman” fabricate a charm to ward off fakers – a subtly fanged ambient-not-ambient dedication to desert doom, mountain jazz and lysergic experimental forms. The most obvious stylistic comparisons are to Seattle doom metal originators Earth – particularly 2005’s country-fried “Hex” – and Norwegian maestro Terje Rydpal, who drove prog, jazz and psychedelic music into new territory in the 1970s and 1980s. Diving into one track or another is almost pointless, Muir and Caminiti assembled “Talisman” to be played in a single sitting – it’s a mood piece that’s unwrenchable from its essential whole. Listening is a chance to escape into another universe for a while, one that takes rough and rugged elements (Muir and Caminiti bonded over their love of contemporary death metal bands like Spectral Voice and Blood Incantation) and refines them into lavish sigils that suggest the confusing unpredictability of our era. Anti-ambient? Maybe.

File Under: Ambient (ish)
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My Morning Jacket: MMJ Live Vol. 2: Chicago 2021 (ATO) LP
MMJ Live Vol. 2: Chicago 2021 serves as the second release in My Morning Jacket’s MMJ Live series. Recorded at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois on November 11, 2021 – the 20-track collection features a setlist of career highlights with recent tracks (“Love Love Love”, “Complex” and “Never In The Real World”) from their 2021 self-titled album, to go along with beloved classics (“Dondante”, “Mahgeetah” and “Phone Went West”). Three LPs pressed on colored vinyl and packaged in a triple gatefold jacket.

File Under: Rock
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Giovanni Napolano: Le Macerie Di Babilonia (sferic) LP
sferic mark 5 years of operations with a special deep dive into ancient/modern Mediteranean culture by Giovanni Napolano, usually known for crankier industro-dancehall output as NPLGNN (Reel Torque, Youth) as well as programming the wonderful MBE label (Beatrice Dillon, Conor Thomas, EVOL) – a proper RIYL Jay Glass Dubs, Christos Chondropoulos, Alan Lomax, DJ Screw, Coda Lunga. Unfolding along two sprawling 15 min sides, Napolano stitches threads of chopped & screwed folksong with a discrete dub strategy, seamlessly leading the mind down labyrinthine ginnels of his imagination in a sort of uchronic regression session where the ghosts of the past inform the present. In the process it humbly speaks to Naples’ position at the frontier of the current migrant crisis, and necessarily takes a standpoint against Italy’s resurgent, nationalist fascism, revealing the beauty and energy of its indigenous mixture of peoples, rather than erecting borders between them. Taking his native Naples as a locus of Mediteranean culture, Napolano plunges the port city’s palimpsest of energies embedded by successive waves of Greek, Northern African & Eastern migration to discover an underlying, rhizomic connection and commonality linked by dub and hip hop as a contemporary iteration of folk music. Under its titular, mythical metaphor for the fall of Babylon, and usage in Rastafari culture, ‘Le Macerie Di Babilonia’ imaginatively examines a sense of self via a historic lens, drawing on Napolano’s upbringing in the chaotic port city and his autodidactic research into the rich mosaic of Napolitan heritage, to model how a folk class solidarity and shared character, with its own rules and rituals, has emerged from its syncretic milieu. Variously a treatise on provenance; an impressionistic tale of the European north meets a global south; a dub-abstracted, allegoric, ethnomusicological collage; ‘Le Macerie Di Babilonia’ is a fascinating and immersive listen that presents its maker’s dilated world view at its most mesmerising.

File Under: Electronic, Mediterranean
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Neu!: 50 (Gronland) BOX
NEU!, the legendary Krautrock duo of Michael Rother and the late Klaus Dinger, celebrate the 50th anniversary of their self-titled debut album with the NEU! 50! box set, out September 23rd via Grönland, and a NEU! picture disc and cassette, out June 17th. NEU! 50! includes albums NEU!, NEU! 2!, and NEU! 75, plus the brand new NEU! Tribute Album, a NEU! stencil and booklet. The Tribute Album features reworkings by The National, Idles, Man Man, Mogwai, Guerilla Toss, Alexis Taylor, and more.

File Under: Prog, Krautrock
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Nug: Napping Under God (3XL) LP
Super deep n’ rolling ambient junglist mutations from hyped cloakroom attendent Florian T M Zeisig and mysterious XPQ? operator PVAS, uniting under the NUG moniker for a highly atmospheric session beamed directly from that short-lived, elusive sweetspot in the mid 90’s when Omni Trio and DJ Crystl collided with Mo Wax’s Some Scientific Abstract Type Shit! and Gescom’s Disengage, all red lights dappling thru a dense fog of smoke. Rinsed out under the timeless influence of “bong & sterni” – who sound like a legendary Berlin ambient duo, but are just weed and beer – Zeisig and PVAS collide in midair for a stereo-swirled recollection taking us back to 1995 – that Autechre radio show on Kiss FM, peak Mo Wax, Kodwo Eshun’s ‘club trax’ column, just before everything went fully tasteful. Throwing links to more contemporary refractions found on various J. Albert workouts as much as Skee Mask’s most vapourised breaks, the NUG sound keeps toes and heads off the ‘floor with a rugged but lush suite of rave suspension systems making critical use of negative space and recoiling dub dynamics. One for the early hours of the club, ‘Not Many People Here yet’ gives acres of room to bounce off the walls, while the ruder ‘Filthy Club’ sounds like the backroom heard from ceramic tiled bogs, and you’re already healthily zonked for the zombie float of ‘Is Under The Blanket.’ The radiant pads and swingeing breaks of ‘Morpheus’ dial up Skee Mask’s most pendulous rave visions, and ‘Napping Under God’ rolls out on 9 minutes of webbed breakbeat for the locked-in steppers, with Florian’s ambient texturing fully coming into effect on the blurry-eyed flex of ‘Lite.’ Uncanny just how well this one nails the sound – top marks and full reccomendations for anyone looking for that liminal, junglist special sauce.

File Under: Electronic
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Panda Bear & Sonic Boom: Reset (Domino) LP
Although Panda Bear and Sonic Boom are no strangers to each other’s music, Reset marks their first collaborative release. When Sonic Boom pitched an idea to take their working relationship to the next level, he reckoned Panda Bear might reject the proposition outright—in the nine gloriously, feverishly hook-bound tracks of Reset, though, you can hear exactly how much he loved the prospect. Sonic Boom’s notion was simple enough: After lugging his records to Portugal years ago, his fascination was renewed by old favorites and standards he had not heard in years. Something struck him, the way the ornate intros by Eddie Cochran or the Everly Brothers felt largely like stage curtains, compelling in their own right even if they had very little to do with the hits that followed. Sonic Boom began crafting loops from these preambles, twisting and bending the parts like scrap metal before sending them onto Panda Bear.The kernel of Reset emerged not long after international lockdowns began. If making it supplied temporary medicine for the duo, it is now permanently so for the rest of us, a reminder that sometimes playing and singing along to old favorites with friends can be enough to make the world feel a bit better.

File Under: Indie Rock
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Queen: II (Hollywood) LP
A month after releasing their debut Queen returned to Trident Studios to commence work on follow-up and many a fan favorite, Queen II. It’s certainly the first time one hears their trademark multi-layered overdubs, those rich harmonies and the sheer joie de vivre of a group of young men refusing to be hindered by boundaries and conformity. Realizing that as songwriters Mercury and May had radically different lyrical agendas – Brian the guitarist preferring a personal or emotional slant, while Freddie the singer liked to operate in realms of the phantasmagorical – it was decided to give the record a loose concept, splitting the material into ‘White’ and ‘Black’ sides to match the light and shade of the songs. Home to the band’s first Top 5 hit, “Seven Seas Of Rhye,” Queen II is tremendously influential among fellow musicians and has only grown in stature over time.

File Under: Rock
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Laila Sakini & Lucy Van: Figures (Boomkat) LP
Laila Sakini and Lucy Van’s sought after 2017 EP Figures resurfaces on a newly expanded and remastered edition, deploying taut poetry and creeping electro-pulses for an alchemical suite of slowly encroaching trip hop x dub-pop  – highly recommended if you’re into CS + Kreme, Laurie Anderson, Leslie Winer, YL Hooi, Bullion, Jonnine, Kallista Kult – all the best stuff basically. Long before releasing her slow-burn classic ‘Vivienne’ and last year’s compelling Princess Diana of Wales album, Laila Sakini was at work with acclaimed poet Lucy Van for an impromptu session for a local noise and spoken word night in Naarm, Australia. Those initial ideas marinated and eventually resulted in ‘Figures’ – an EP that was originally released on tape via Purely Physical Teeny Tapes, offseting Sakini’s minimal production against Van’s text, spoken in a carefully enunciated dialect lifted and wrapped around Sakini’s nocturnes. It’s the sort of thing that reminds us of Tin Man & Rashad Becker’s ‘Wasteland’ sessions, fused with the spirit of the contemporary Naarm/Melbourne scene. For all those references, Sakini and Van’s songs are displaced from the contemporary wellspring too. The dusky blue waltz of opener ‘Those Who See’ comes off like a lighter Leslie Winer or melodic, early AFX, as Van dryly intones “…all my enemies in an orgy, of IQ to body ratio,” while ‘Deep End’ sees them nudge into more claustrophobic introspection, before shoring up a dank sort of trip hop sleaze with the title song, slithering with a similar energy to early 90’s Autechre as the narration echoes to a blur. The three previously unreleased songs flesh out the release into the full album it always should have been, cut of equally rare, hand-spun fabric. With its post-Sleng Teng B-line and noctilucent chords, ‘What You Need’ feels like an Eski rhythmic bump accompanied by sub-aquatic synth bass, and the opalescent, gumtree-shaking shimmer ‘Rough Desires’ secretes its intimations with an absorbingly hypnagogic slow-burn that pools into the perfect curtain closer; ‘Trees Make Me High’. A special one.

FIle Under: Electronic
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Laila Sakini: Paloma (Modern Love) LP
Laila Sakini’s new album ‘Paloma’ arrives via Modern Love and is her most striking and ambiguous to date – a pointed and timely meditation on hope and hierarchies that riffs on Zbigniew Preisner’s magical “The Double Life of Veronique” score and enduring outsider music tome “The Langley Schools Music Project”. Subtly transcendent, fathoms-deep music that’s had us in cold sweats for months – highly recommended if you’re into Dominique Lawalrée, Grouper, Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia’. When Laila Sakini’s debut album ‘Vivienne’ arrived in 2020, it felt like the record we were waiting for to map out our tangled reactions to an uninvited reality. Never self-consciously strange, it revealed itself slowly and cautiously, like a shadow in the corner of the eye, or an alchemical symbol in a bowl of alphabet spaghetti. This time around Sakini has worked her unique world-building to an even finer point, forming six tracks around a theme that’s so close to our heart it’s almost beating in time. Initially inspired by Krzysztof Kieślowski’s 1991 arthouse classic “The Double Life of Veronique”, the cult Polish director’s enduring modern fairytale that serves as a cosmic rumination on identity and choice. Detailing two identical women – both singers, both in love – the film lets one live as the other dies, forcing us to consider the implications of art and endurance in the face of life’s myriad challenges. In spirit, it reminds us of cult Canadian album “The Langley Schools Music Project”, a collection of 1970s recordings of school kids singing rudimentary renditions of pop songs in a school gymnasium. That album’s genius was in the bottling of hope and innocence: the feeling of joy from hearing and wholesomely interacting with music that’s known and loved without a sense of hierarchy or desire for cultural clout. Sakini subtly subverts this by evoking the amateur spirit in the most bewitching way; instead of sourcing her ideas from Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and the Beach Boys, her stock is the established art canon, and by reforming those sounds she makes an insightful comment on intellectualism and access. European classical music is all too often trapped behind the frosted glass of respectability and assumed skill – craft replaces spirit, and technique replaces soul. By approaching these gestures from a different angle, Sakini softens the edges sonically and intellectually, finding music that bubbles with emotion, and most strikingly – hope. Her choice of instruments and the way she interacts with them allows us to feel as if we’re not only listening but contributing. It’s a bottom-up way of absorbing art that’s traditionally been top-down, and a reminder that we’re all part of the experience, whether we’re humming along to the remnants of a theme as it dribbles out of an ear in the shower, or dreaming of spotlights in a parallel life that may or may not be real. Sakini’s music is nostalgic in a sense, but nowhere near the buttered popcorn and high-fructose candy migraine of the Netflix/Spotify algorithm generation of regurgitated churn. She makes sounds that remind us of what time and experience may have stolen from us, and how we might recover it. We’re gagged.

File Under: Classical, Ambient
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Hiroshi Sato: Orient (Universal Japan) LP
Hiroshi Sato, a keyboardist/producer who left a masterpiece in his solo activities and masterpieces of numerous artists such as Eiichi Ohtaki, Tatsuro Yamashita, Minako Yoshida, etc. after working on hackleback, Tin Pan Array, etc. “Orient”, the only work he released from Kitty Records, will be released in a 45-RPM, 2-disc set! A masterpiece full of oriental mood, which is similar to the title of YMO / Haruomi Hosono’s work of the same period, will be revived with high sound quality. Haruomi Hosono (b), Shigeru Suzuki (g), Jun Aoyama (ds), Hiroshi Uehara (ds), Tatsuo Hayashi (ds), Koki Ito (b), Yuji Toriyama (g), Pecker (perc), Masaki Ueda The strongest musicians such as (vo) participate. Announced in 1979.

File under: Electronic, Japan
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Sexo y Fantasia: s/t (Glossy Mistakes) LP
In the midst of the summer of 1988, a duo of artists from Belgium and Italy got together in the surroundings of the infamous X-rated film Rocket 23 Studios Molenbeek to build a seductive sound. Originally involved in the cinematography and art direction of adult movies, the two mavericks decided to compose the soundtrack of what was going to become a cult movie of the late 80s erotique era: “Sexo y Fantasia”. The Belgian and Italian directors discovered back then the new beat, proto house and italo sound at the underground Ghent disco club “La Pircardía” and at “Club Spaziale” in Rimini, after their wet shooting days. Inspired by this bubbling European hype, they added features and distorted vocals from the X-rated movies they were filming at that time to the melody and beat of the soundtrack. The result is a powerful, unexpected and deep collection of tunes that sound fresh and vibrant today. These unique tracks get to see the light of the day again thanks to the finding of the filthy master tapes together with a provocative fanzine somewhere in Brussels. Its images served as raw material for the adult artwork. “Sexo y Fantasia” gets now revisited by current producers on the leftside of the beat: t-woc uses his masterful expertise to build an atmosphere of Balearic layouts, while Alexander Arpeggio works his way around a hypnotic and punchy remix of the original theme. Recommended listening experience while eating.

File Under: OST
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Sloan: Steady (Universal) LP
There are so many moments peppered through the 30-year history of Canadian indie rock heroes Sloan that set them well apart from the pack. From the band’s earliest home studio recordings that married their pop smarts with fizzy, fuzzed out guitars right up to later efforts that contain multitudes in their track listings, ranging from Dylanesque streams of consciousness to short, sharp blasts of power pop. Somehow, it all remains quintessentially Sloan. Ultimately, whatever appeals most to you when looking at the big, still-developing story that is Sloan, there is one fact that is incontrovertible. In 2022, some 30 years on from when it all began, with the release of their thirteenth full-length album Steady, the tale is – thankfully – far from over.

File Under: Rock
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Giuliano Sorgini: Zoo Folle (Four Flies) LP
Back in 2016 we put out the first official reissue of Zoo Folle. It sold out in a matter of months, leaving many vinyl collectors hungry for more. We’re now thinking of them with this new double LP, which contains both the soundtrack as released in 1974 (sides A and B) and previously unreleased gems (sides C and D). Already a phenomenon among collectors and experts, not only does Zoo Folle keep winning more and more recognition, but, together with The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue and Under Pompelmo, it has established Giuliano Sorgini as one of the great Italian composers of his generation. And this is no coincidence. Zoo Folle is Sorgini’s most committed and personal work. It reflects at once his beliefs as an animal rightist and his deep friendship with TV director and long-time collaborator Riccardo Fellini (brother of La Dolce Vita director Federico). It was Fellini himself who asked Sorgini to score his documentary on the living conditions of animals in zoos in Western metropolises (Rome, London and Paris in particular). Originally broadcast by RAI in three primetime episodes, Fellini’s exposé sharply contrasts the lives of caged animals with the freedom they experience in nature and wildlife reserves such as the Amboseli National Park in Kenya, Africa. For his part, Sorgini offers perhaps his grandest score ever – a magnificent, multifaceted soundtrack that brings together a variety of instruments and the best musicians available at the time, from the lavish string orchestra recorded at the Fono Roma studios, to the angelic voice of Edda Dell’Orso, who conveys the sweetness and melancholy of the African sunset in “Red, Old Skies”. Also performing on the soundtrack are exquisite soloists – all long-time friends of the composer. Nino Rapicavoli, for instance, whose flute adds a magical touch to the psycho-funk of “Mad Town” and the groove of “Slaves”, as well as Enzo Restuccia —whose afro-tribal percussions have made “Ultima caccia” a legendary track especially among lovers of Balearic grooves — and Enrico Ciacci, whose classical guitar soars beautifully over the nostalgic and poignant “Chains”. Not to mention the fact that Sorgini himself laid down the foundation tracks for the album in his small studio in Rome, playing the piano, drums and several synthesizers. So, what are you waiting for? Get your turntables ready for the full version of “Amboseli“ (14 minutes of sheer bliss versus less than 6 in the original record) and for stunning, previously unreleased alternate versions of many other themes composed by Sorgini to celebrate the beauty of the savannah.

File under: Library, OST
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Special Interest: Endure (Rough Trade) LP
Brought together by New Orleans’ DIY scene, Special Interest is, on every level, uncompromising: in their adventurous sound, their high-energy live performances, and their convictions. Dance music and punk culture have flirted in the warehouse before, but the desire of Special Interest is to dismantle genre. 2018’s Spiraling and 2020’s widely acclaimed The Passion Of articulated the group’s style, driven by dance grooves and electronic textures as much as hardcore riffs, but Special Interest expands the vision with Endure, their latest al- bum and first for Rough Trade. Informed not just by the bleakness of the pandemic, but the tremendous energy and righteous anger of the summer 2020 uprisings. Endure sets the intensity of that moment – from the gnawing despair of isolation to the euphoria of human contact and connection – to a driving dancefloor rhythm on No Wave-inflected tracks like “Foul” and “Love Scene.” “Cherry Blue Intention” brings together a sturdy post-punk bassline, shrieking guitar effects, and a jungle breakbeat into a driving anthem of an opening track. New songs like “(Herman’s) House” recall the art rock of Sparks and The B-52s as much as politically-minded punk, and on “Midnight Legend,” the group is more overtly pop than ever before – making something fun during a time of frequent sadness became a central priority.The group directly addresses the issues that surround them, like gentrification and the impending climate apocalypse. There’s a universal resonance to songs like “Concerning Peace,” which takes its hook from a sample of Frantz Fanon, but Special Interest’s music isn’t just a call to action. Biting humor and irreverence intermingle with harsh edges of noise, and there’s always room to dance and sweat.

File Under: Punk
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Vince Staples: s/t (Motown) LP
Esteemed hip-hop artist Vince Staples delivers his new self-titled LP via Motown Records. His first full-length release since 2018’s critically acclaimed FM!, the 10-track LP delves not only into Staples’ upbringing in Long Beach, but his psyche as he learns to cope with his yesterdays and strides toward new tomorrows, picking others up along the way. Of the new Kenny Beats-produced LP, Staples says, “It really gives much more information about me that wasn’t out there before. That’s why I went with that title. I feel like I’ve been trying to tell the same story. As you go on in life, your point of view changes. This is another take on myself that I might not have had before. I’m a mind more than I am an entertainer to a lot of people. I appreciate that my fanbase is willing to go on this ride with me. I’m ready to diversify what we’re doing and see how we affect the world.”

File Under: Hip Hop
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Andy Stott: Passed Me By (Modern Love) LP
Andy Stott’s radical 2011 bonecrusher returns on its first new pressing for almost a decade, still screwing the dance and heads like nothing else with its lo-sprung suspended takes on boogie dub and claggiest rhythmic thumpers. The sludgy, slow-motion slug of ‘Passed Me By’ marked a pivotal point when Stott swam against the grain of prevailing currents of the post-dubstep era’s turn toward garage-techno and UKF-inspired percussive house. Working loosely adjacent to a then emergent witch-house sound, Andy screwed templates associated to Salem and Holy Other into a more muscular, thrumming style of drug chug more in key with early Actress, arriving at his own distinctive sound that sent us reeling. Between the intoxicating, syrupy gnarrr of ‘New Ground’ with its Proustian vocal motifs, and the head-wobbling Pennine weather system compressions of its titular curtain closer, it’s a stone cold classique; eliciting heads-down, wall-banging reactions in the side-chained thrum of ‘North To South’ and a lip-biting MDMA-buzz come up with the Thriller funk of ‘Intermittent’, while sore thumb ‘Dark Details’ gives shivering flashbacks to warehouse brukouts and ‘Execution’ curbs the high with a K-holing drag.  Delivering a narcotic, keeling dose of nostalgia that slings us back to late hours in the office and blunted afters with the goodest kru, ‘Passed Me By’ was one of those records that made us reassess pretty much everything else around at the time, practically forcing us to play other stuff on the wrong speed if we wanted to DJ with it, or more simply letting it run and and slowly shift temporal perceptions and paradigms in the process. Ye ye we’re biased and all, but it’s the fucking GOAT.

FIle Under: Electronic, Ambient, Techno, Piyush’s Picks
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Strawberry Path: Ogarasu ga Chkyu ni Yattekitahi (Universal Japan) LP
The only work of the progressive rock band Strawberry Path by the legendary Japanese rock world, Shigeru Narumi (g, key, b) and former food brain Hiro Tsunoda (vo, ds). “The day when he came to the earth” is officially decided to reprint the LP for the first time in a long time! As a hard, bluesy and funky full-scale rock album, it is a masterpiece that still has deep-rooted fans at home and abroad. It is also famous as the first work of “Mary Jane”. Tamio Kageyama is in charge of the liner notes, and Shotaro Ishinomori, a manga artist, is in charge of the jacket illustration. Announced in 1971.

File Under: Psych, Japan
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Supergrass: I Should Coco (BMG) LP
Supergrass burst onto the UK music scene in 1994 with the hit singles “Caught By The Fuzz” and “Mansize Rooster.” Their infectious blend of power-pop melodies, youthful punk attitude and wicked sense of humour set them apart from their Britpop contemporaries. Their sound was not tied to a particular artist or era, which has allowed their music to remain timeless. When I Should Coco hit shelves in 1995, and was an immediate smash, reaching the No. 1 spot on the UK album chart making it the biggest selling debut album for Parlophone since The Beatles’ Please Please Me. The album featured two Top 10 hits: “Lenny” and “Alright,” the latter becoming one of the defining songs of their career. The band members devoured a lot of music in their youth; combining the melodicism of The Kinks and The Beatles, the ferocious rhythms of The Who, the Anglo-centric vocals of Madness with the punk/pop energy of The Buzzcocks into a musical stew that sounded like no one but Supergrass. They delivered a nearly perfect album to kick-start their career; a record that still resonates and charms decades on.

File Under: Rock
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Tsutchie and Force of Nature: Samurai Champloo Music Record: Masta (Victor) LP
Samurai Champloo Music Record: Masta is a soundtrack album created by Force Of Nature and Tsutchie originally released on June 23, 2004. It is the first of four soundtrack albums released for the show. The music of the Samurai Champloo anime series was created by a group of producers: Japanese hip-hop producer Tsutchie of the rap group Shakkazombie, American hip-hop producer & emcee Fat Jon of the rap group Five Deez, Japanese hip-hop producer Nujabes, and Japanese DJ & production duo Force Of Nature. The music genre is primarily instrumental hip-hop.

File Under: Japan, Hip Hop, OST
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Ulla: Foam (3XL) LP
Ulla returns with ‘Foam’, a surprise new album unlocking variants of ambient pop and looped jazz/dub styles coiled inside a glitched matrix that reminds us of Huerco S’ ‘Plonk’ as well as Ekkehard Ehlers fractal treatments and those incredible, smudged and disneyfied edits of Celine Dion released earlier this year by elusive outfit Romance. It’s an absorbing, quietly significant album for 3XL, on its most substantial release to date. Responsible for one of contemporary ambient’s finest breadcrumb trails in recent years, Ulla leads on from an acclaimed run of albums toward a more filigree style on ‘Foam’.  Deploying fragmented morsels resembling glass-cast confectionary with a burbling vernacular, these ephemeral new works dissolve into a supine, shoe-gauzy and jazzed bliss that’s best compared with Jan Jelinek’s efforts in this dream-staged arena, the subs x piano minimalism of Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto’s revered collabs, as well as the memory-frothed echo of claire rousay and Co La’s fractal baubles. Aye, it’s a sound close to our hearts and one weft with a certain sort of magic that sparkles on the nerves and imagination with delicacy. Intending it to “feel like a keychain”, the album follows a logic that’s almost algorithmic with its haphazard mutations, but which ultimately displays a more human pulse on pieces like ‘foam angel’, weaving forlorn brass around jazz samples and Ulla’s disjointed voice murmuring unintelligibly like some cyborg liz frazer speaking into the sublime. Effusive solo keys and strings cascade like petals on ‘song’, where familiar leitmotifs become wind-dispersed like seeds. We’re snagged on the bittersweet tang of ‘popping out’, and the unexpected dance between marina’s jazz guitar lilt and the aerosoul thizz on ‘sad face’, while the tongue-tip sensitivities of ‘blush’, and ‘for your love’ sound like Rihanna produced by a Systemisch-era Oval. As tangled and complex as it is filled with improbable ohrwurms, ‘Foam’ is unlike anything we’ve heard from Ulla before, and it just might be the weirdest ambient/pop dislocation of the year so far.

File Under: Ambient
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Harold Vick: Steppin’ Out (Tone Poet) (Blue Note) LP
Tenor saxophonist Harold Vick was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and played with R&B bands coming up before working as a sideman with soul jazz organ greats including Jack McDuff and Big John Patton. Vick made his first Blue Note appearance in April 1963 on Patton’s Along Came John, and a month later Alfred Lion brought the saxophonist back into the studio to record his own debut as a leader, the underrated soul jazz gem Steppin’ Out. For the session Vick assembled the same band with Patton on organ, Grant Green on guitar, Ben Dixon on drums, and added Blue Mitchell on trumpet. The record finds its groove from the very first soul drenched notes of the opener “Our Miss Brooks” and stays firmly in the pocket throughout this 6-song set including the hard-charging “Trimmed In Blue,” a deeply felt rendition of the ballad “Laura,” the swaggering minor blues “Vicksville,” and the buoyant title track which closes the album.

File Under: Jazz
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Keith Fullerton Whitman: Meakusma (Generators) (Nakid) LP
Keith Fullerton Whitman brings his 3-part Generators series for Japan’s NAKID label to a close with a third and final instalment that ravishes the senses with hybrid analogue/digital systems tekkerz. Hazing into a solemn start of floating organ and slurred drums, the first part fizzes into action with pranging irregularities, tentatively allowing the system to voice varying pitches and nimble rhythms that resemble balletic footwork plies as much as classically-trained instrumentalist flurries. It’s deeply trance-inducing, meditative gear that over the course of 25 minutes slowly gains momentium and complexity, first adding robust arps to complicate the structure, treading the finest line of chaos and discipline. In time, those arps turn themselves into a rhythm track, landing somewhere between Whitman’s earliest junglist works as Hrvatski and a sort of plucked rhythmic minimalism that reminds us of Mark Fell’s Sensate Focus, gliding on natural, brownian motion and flux of texture, punctuated by what sound likes a plucking of a drum machine from the inside-out. In part 2 the mood pools and diffracts in slow-fast meter, bristling ruptures of atonality that send limbs flailing one way and then another, adding subs for a dimensional shift that’s rhythmically fractured but always grounded at the low registers. The wavy embroidery of Whitman’s machines trigger each other in endlessly fascinating forms of gyring workshop ballistics and dub reverberations. A special bonus piece ‘Meakusma (Generators, Soundcheck)’ is the most curious of the lot, with a lone clarinet heard in the air, perhaps a serendipitous inclusion form someone else’s soundcheck, lending an enchanting depth perception to his frolicking bleeps. Stunner.

File Under: Electronic
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Neil Young & Crazy Horse: World Record (Reprise) LP
Neil Young & Crazy Horse deliver World Record, their second album of new studio recordings within the past 12 months. World Record was co-produced with Rick Rubin and finds Young accompanied by his longtime band, Crazy Horse featuring Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina, and Nils Lofgren. World Record contains ten new Neil Young compositions (plus a short reprise of one song), nine written during the last year about the events and condition of our world. It was mixed to analog tape at Rubin’s Shangri-La studios using a selection of vintage instruments and equipment. To optimize the audio quality, the vinyl format will be released as a 3-sided double album with an etching on side 4.

File Under: Rock
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Various: bblisss (bblisss) LP
The record that quietly spawned new movements in contemporary ambient, ‘bblisss’ features early/foundational appearances by kindred spirits Ulla, Pendant (aka Huerco S.), Naemi (aka Exael), DJ Paradise (Special Guest DJ, uon) and more. Originally released on an elusive tape run back in 2016, it’s now available on a new edition that’s back on the same white vinyl as the original, sought-after pressing. Over time ‘bblisss’ has become an influential survey of contemporary ambient music in circulation over the past decade. On its initial release, it introduced many of its artists and aliases to the world for the first time, perhaps most notably Huerco S. trading under the Pendant sigil, and an early appearance from Ulla under the Ulla Anona moniker, pre-empting the formation of both the West Mineral and Experiences Limited labels that would become so quietly influential in the proceeding years. Opening the set, Ulla Anona’s ‘Moon’ trades on chiming bells and padded bass pulses, a sort of blazed take on Jon Hassell that perfectly encapsulates Ulla’s formidably slippery world-building,  one we’re still trying to suss out half a decade later. Pendant’s ‘Des Vieux Temples’ deploys classic Chain Reaction dub in a way we’ve heard from Huerco S over the years, but here fed through a spinning wheel of aquatic washes – a melted fire x ice scenario that feels airy despite all its bass weight. DJ Paradise offers two of the set’s headiest highlights with 12 minutes of coagulating ambient clag in ‘Ssumo’, and what sounds like a balearic groove heard from under those greasy puddles on the rocks outside Cafe Del Mar in ‘Mbizi (R)’, while the still-mysterious Billington & Tramposh offer a hyaline interlude, and Naemi aka Exael ends the set with waves of curdled bblisss, taking us straight back to the beginning. Classic.

File Under: Ambient
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Various: Musicasión 4½ (Crammed) LP
Originally released in 1971, during the dark days of the military dictatorship in Uruguay, this unique album made a strong and lasting impression on Juana Molina when she was a child. The present reissue on Sonamos (Juana’s recently-formed owned label) is the result of a patient labor of love conducted by Juana and her associate producer Mario Agustin Gonzalez. This anniversary release comes our as a very limited-edition containing the remastered original LP, a second LP with 16 unreleased tracks, and a thick, informative booklet. Musicasión was a series of collective shows by a group of artists, mixing theatrical elements, poetry, improvised stage effects, and of course music, with a very special blend of rock (then called beat, in a dual reference to British pop bands of the sixties and to Beat Generation poetry), candombe (the percussion-driven style created in Uruguay among the descendants of liberated African slaves) tango, jazz and bossa nova. A combination which bears more than a passing resemblance with Brazilian Tropicália, which originated around the same time.

File Under: Brazil, Tropicalia
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Various: Wilderness America, A Celebration of the Land (Ebalunga) LP
“Before I’m gone
I’d like to see us turn the corner
and give up being spoilers of the land . . .

In 1975 Wallace ‘Wally’ Smith Broecker published a paper that popularised the term ‘global warming’ and against a backdrop of change and environmental uncertainty, a musical concept album was commissioned. ‘Wilderness America / A Celebration of the Land’ – is a musical exploration of our place within the cycle of living things. All compositions were specially commissioned for the album and blended with natural sounds recorded in the wild – lending the entire project a conceptual air that still feels fresh today. The journey begins with the sun rising in the atmospheric haze of ‘Dawn’ – a track composed by new-age innovator Iasos. Gospel singer Walter Hawkins soon drops in with the soulful but ever so funky ‘Metropolis’ backed by a heavy array of session musicians with Patrick Gleeson, Ed Bogas and Tom Salisbury all adding their own misty magic to the album. David Riordan is the sorcerer conjuring up many of the compositions and also takes vocal duties on the evocative ‘Mountain’ and the climatic ‘Before I’m Gone’. ‘Wilderness America / A Celebration of the Land’ was born when environmentalist Emily DeSpain Polk assembled a group of California residents to participate in a groundbreaking conservationist project. Christening the group SWAP (Small Wilderness Area Preservation) Emily needed funds and began a project to produce a promotional nature based music album. To acquire the financial backing Emily would need to source a musician of some calibre. Contacting Cliff Branch from ‘Warehouse Sound Co.’ she was told the man she was looking for was David Riordan. David Riordan had been around the music business for several years, first with The Yankee Dollar, then Sugarloaf and then Sweet Pain, he saw huge success with the single ‘Green Eyed Lady’. David had worked on Cliff Branch’s ‘Warehouse Sound Co. & Friends’ albums and then released his solo album, ‘Medicine Wheel’. But bored of touring he made the move to more concept-driven albums. First with ‘Christmas in San Francisco’ and then, in quick succession, ‘Wilderness America, A Celebration Of The Land’. Riordan, along with Peter Scott, a music producer friend in San Francisco, began piecing together an idea for the album. They brought in Ed Bogas to do string arrangements and Tom Salisbury to conduct. David had also asked his friend Patrick Gleeson if he knew of any R&B/Gospel singers in the Bay Area, and they soon added gospel singer Walter Hawkins into the mix. Other than the track ‘Metropolis’, which was recorded in LA, the rest of ‘Wilderness America, A Celebration Of The Land’ was recorded and mixed by Richard Beggs at the San Francisco studio of Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola was filming ‘Apocalypse Now’ at the same time – so in between studio sessions, the musicians were able to view the seemingly never-ending film rushes arriving from the Philippines. Eventually, the record produced by David Riordan and Peter Scott drifted onto the radar of vinyl obsessives and selectors as several of its key tracks began popping up on mixtapes and sales lists. It wasn’t long before this privately pressed, art-funded masterpiece became something of a holy grail for collectors. At long last, a re-issue of this masterpiece is now available on EBALUNGA!!! Records. Paul Hillery – May 2022

File Under: New Age
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…..restocks…..

39 Clocks: Subnarcotics (Luxury) LP
1975: Being Funny In A Foreign Language (Universal) LP
Alvvays: Blue Rev (Self Release) LP
Archers of Loaf: Reason In Decline (Merge) LP
Ataraxia: The Unexplained (Sacred Bones) LP
Boygenius: s/t (Matador) LP
Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas (4AD) LP
John Coltrane: Coltrane’s Sound (ORG) LP
Lucy Dacus: Historian (Matador) LP
Miles Davis: Workin’ (OJC) LP
Dead Moon: Defiance (Mississippi) LP
El Michel’s Affair: Adult Themes (Big Crown) LP
Bill Evans: On A Friday Evening (Craft) LP
Father John Misty: Fear Fun (Sub Pop) LP
Goblin: Suspiria (Death Waltz) LP
Arve Henriksen & Husebo: Sequential Stream (Smalltown Super Sound) LP
Inoyama Land: Commisions 1977 – 2000 (Empire of Signs) LP
Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures (Rhino) LP
Kendrick Lamar: DAMN (Aftermath) LP
Mark Lanegan: Blues Funeral (4AD) LP
Low: Hey What (Sub Pop) LP
Keith Mansfield: Contempo (Be With) LP
JD McPherson: Socks (New West) LP
Ennio Morricone: I Cannibali (
Pixies: Bossanova (4AD) LP
Pixies: Come On Pilgrim (4AD) LP
Pixies: Trompe Le Monde (4AD) LP
Rush: Moving Pictures (Mercury) LP
Arthur Russell: Another Thought (Be With) LP
Sons of Kemet: Black to the Future (Impulse) LP
Spiritualized: Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (Fat Possum) LP
Taylor Swift: Midnights (Republic) LP
Horace Tapscott: Giant is Awakened (Real Gone) LP
Threshold Houseboys Choir: Form Grows Rampant (Musique Pour Danse) LP
Zazou/Bikaye/CY1: Noir et Blanc (Crammed) LP

…..news letter #1076 – and cold…..

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

OH… and we’re doing something we rarely do… WE ARE HIRING! At least one, maybe two part time positions. Weekend availability is a must! Drop a resume off at the store along with your top ten albums of all time and this year. 

Current operations…..

– in-store shopping/pick ups – 11 – 6 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm Saturday
(if you don’t want to come into the store for a pick up, call and/or use the back door)
– We will be wearing masks, if you want to, great! If not, that’s also fine, but please be respectful of other people’s space and decisions.
– Sanitize your hands (we’ll have some)

…..picks of the week…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

File Under: Surf
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True Loves: Famous Last Words (Color Red) LP
Whoops! Forgot this one in last week’s list… Famous Last Words is True Loves’ debut LP that was originally released in 2017. The group has become a coveted act in the Pacific Northwest and beyond comprised of accomplished musicians who have cultivated a signature sound of undeniable grooves and classic soul flavors. Focused on creating modern soul music that pays homage to its originators yet always seeks out the next fiery groove, True Loves have catapulted from garnering citywide adoration earning them spots at sought-after festivals like Sasquatch, Doe Bay, and Upstream, to racking up millions of streams across all streaming platforms.

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

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

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

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

File Under: Jazz
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…..restocks…..

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