Tag Archives: jazz

…..news letter #897 – balloons…..

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t summer usually longer? And warmer? Anyway… killer week for new stuff so come down for a dig.

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…..picks of the week…..

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Herbie Hancock: Mwandishi (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
After releasing their Warner Bros. debut, the Herbie Hancock Sextet underwent a major transformation in the early ’70s. Over the course of a year, every member was replaced (except Herbie Hancock himself and bassist Buster Williams) and each adopted Swahili names. (Williams even led the group in occasional sessions of Buddhist chanting.) Hancock chose the moniker Mwandishi (meaning “composer”), and the Sextet became unofficially known as the Mwandishi Band. The lineup’s first album—simply titled Mwandishi—reflects Hancock’s new aesthetic and spiritual directions. Stretching out from the R&B / jazz fusion of Fat Albert Rotunda, the pianist would draw inspiration from his time with Miles Davis (whose classic Bitches Brew came out in 1970) as well as through the creative relationship he had formed with producer David Rubinson (known for his work with Moby Grape and Santana). “Ostinato (Suite for Angela),” dedicated to political activist Angela Davis, is an extended jam with stunning rhythmic complexity—enhanced by studio effects, such as Echoplex delay. On the ballad “You’ll Know When You Get There,” Hancock’s tight arrangements are saturated in reverb, which gives an ever-shifting dimensionality. Side-long closer “Wandering Spirit Song,” written by trombonist Julian Priester (aka Pepo Mtoto), goes even further out: alternating between dynamic soloing and group improvisation, the Sextet fully manifests the radical potential of their collective identity / energy. Mwandishi remains a bold and expansive statement, even after nearly 50 years.

File Under: Jazz, Jazz-Funk
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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Fishing For Fishies (ATO) LP
Sit back and strap yourself in as seven-headed Aussie rock beast King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard return with Fishing for Fishies, perhaps their most perfectly-realized album to date. The fourteenth album since their 2012 debut—and their first following the release of five vastly different albums in 2017—Fishing for Fishies is a blues-infused blast of sonic boogie that struts and shimmies through several moods and terrains. King Gizzard are no longer a band, they are a cult, a youth movement, an exploration, a double-drumming trip, a cottage industry centered around their own Flightless Records. Perhaps most importantly they provide transportive fun, a valuable and often-overlooked commodity in an increasingly fraught world. As Pitchfork noted, they have waged war against two tired clichés: “One, that rock is dead; and two, that the album is dead.” More than that, King Gizzard have staked their claim as one of the most innovative, exciting and productive bands of the 21st century. Pressed on U.S. Toxic Landfill Edition Vinyl.

File Under: Blues, Psych, Boogie
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…..new arrivals…..

LDB12912_Big Thief: U.F.O.F. (4AD) LP
U.F.O.F. is the highly anticipated third record by Big Thief and their first on 4AD. U.F.O.F. was recorded in rural western Washington at Bear Creek Studios. In a large cabin-like room, the band set up their gear to track live with engineer Dom Monks and producer Andrew Sarlo, who was also behind their previous albums. Having already lived these songs on tour, they were relaxed and ready to experiment. The raw material came quickly. Some songs were written only hours before recording and stretched out instantly, first take, vocals and all. Others were explored in search of perfected moments of dynamic feedback and spiritual, rhythmic togetherness. A careful New Age sprinkle of mystical textures and stabs was added and kept in the mix only when all agreed that each element had become absolutely crucial to the tune. The completed palette feels classic, upfront and honest, with an occasional, welcome glimpse into the magic box. “Making friends with the unknown…All my songs are about this,” says Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals). “If the nature of life is change and impermanence, I’d rather be uncomfortably awake in that truth than lost in denial.”

File Under:Indie Rock
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Body Without Organs: Isis & Thoth (Dark Entries) LP
Body Without Organs were a duo from New York City consisting of Richard Behrens (lyrics, vocals, guitar) and Carl Howard (electronics, effects) formed in 1982. The pair brought together skill and ideas from such diverse areas as writing, poetry, ceremonial magic, studio technology, and mass media sounds and images. The name Body Without Organs could mean several things: a body, being an organization, without organs, or hierarchy; a form of anarchy, certainly opposed to the capitalist system, and if not directly opposed, then deeply skeptical of its effects on society. Richard was interested in anthropology and mythology and the Golden Dawn System of Magick as a meditative tool. Sort of aural performance artists doing their performance work who released four cassette albums through Howard’s Audiofile Tapes between 1985 and 1987. We are proud to reissue their debut album “Isis and Thoth” from 1985 on vinyl for the first time. The album’s title pays homage to Isis: the protectress of the dead whose mournful tears for her husband/brother Osiris [the god of the dead who was murdered by his brother Set] were said to flood thee Nile annually, and unto the ibis or baboon headed Thoth: the heart [intelligence] and tongue [voice] of the sun god Ra. The nine compositions were created as scenes or moods with taped effects, delay pedals and found vocals. The duo employed droning synth syncopated with sparse percussive accents, esoteric vocal chanting, looping delayed beats, dissonant guitar and stuttering bass lines. Richard sadly passed away in 2017 and his widow Anna sent us the entire BwO cassette archive and we discovered a previously unreleased track “Scrap” included here. All songs have been remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each copy includes an 8.5×11 insert with photos and interview with Richard Behrens. “When you will have made him a body without organs, then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions and restored him to his true freedom” – excerpt from the radio play by Antonin Artaud: “To Have Done with the Judgment of God” (1947)

File Under: Electronic, Industrial
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Alex Cameron: Live in San Francisco (Castle Face) LP
“Here we have the final entry into our Live In San Francisco series: an intimate evening with Alex [Cameron] and his indispensable sax man, Roy Molloy (beard in briefcase) performing at the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco, a very classy and lovingly maintained venue originally built in 1907 on Market Street, just a pube or two into the Castro District. “I was first introduced to Alex Cameron by Adam Beris, a real swell fellow who’s been drawing Castle Faces for us for years. He asked if I had heard of this “Suicide meets sad Springsteen” act and showed me the mysterious Geocities-style website (complete with shady porn ads). I was immediately hooked on the skeletal throb, the stark portraits of hard luck losers, the ego-maniacal squares, and the swagger on this prosthetically wrinkled Australian song and dance man. On a paid website, as he reminds us. Both sharp-witted and steeped in thespian courage, this is exactly what the world needed in this hungry, hungry time we live in. We got in touch, things led to other things, and when Alex was opening for Oh Sees at the Chapel in San Francisco we hatched a plan to make a live record, over white wine spritzers (as all the best deals are inked). “Al and Roy are the real deal, folks…and this wasn’t to be just any old show. I was determined to do something a little special, and I got the idea from working on John’s book of poster art (Exploded Globes) to bill it as a semi-formal, encourage people to ‘get dressed up and messed up’ as John puts it, and do it in a classy sort of hall, make it muy romantico. We got flowers from the Mission De Flores (who have sadly joined the ghost ranks of SF small businesses past), one of which made it to the cover, the champagne and fine wines flowed, and I like to think we helped San Francisco get a little luckier that night. There’s flower petals all over the mix here; Roy’s sax slinks sultrily, Al is in fine form, adding the occasional barb on the stem, sounding well oiled and comfortably bantering between tunes, and Justin Nijssen hangs back and window-dresses the whole thing with some well placed guitar and a few backups. These are professionals, need I remind you, hard workin’ road dogs with deep thoughts that inspire deep respect, and they put some dancing sweat on all the hits from Jumping The Shark as well as “Candy May” from Forced Witness, which at the time wasn’t yet out. We couldn’t be prouder of our final Live In SF disc, and it’s out on Castle Face Records in partnership with Secretly Canadian.”   – Matt Jones

File Under: Indie Rock
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Loren Connors & Daniel Carter: The Departing of a Dream Vol. vii (Family Vineyard) LP
The Departing of a Dream, Vol. VII is the debut collaboration between two giants of the New York avant-garde ­ – guitarist Loren Connors and saxophonist/trumpeter Daniel Carter. It’s a gorgeous, languorous soundscape distilled from the darkest reaches of blues and jazz. For nearly 17 years Connors has used the Departing series to continue his meditation on Miles Davis’ epic “He Loved Him Madly” and expand his efforts to create disappearing music. The duo does just that, vanishing behind decaying trumpet drones and choral-like sheets of electric strings. Carter and Connors both active since the mid-1970s only began performing together in the past year. Carter is a master improviser on assorted horns and reeds and known as a member of the legendary NYC ecstatic/creative improvisational groups Other Dimensions In Music and Test and for accompanying everyone from Sun Ra, Yo La Tengo, and Matthew Shipp. Connors has released records of his singular guitar improvisations and compositions since 1978.  A few past Connors’ albums contained saxes and more – Come Night (1991) and Hoffman Estates (1998) – but those were overdub, studio affairs. Here, Connors responds in real-time, processing effects and crafting an intimate world, shimmering like a black crystal.

File Under: Experimental, Avant Garde
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Cube: Decoy Street (W.25th) LP
Cube is the prolific and chimeric nom de plume of one Adam Keith, formidable tape experimentalist and artist / abraser currently operating in Oakland, California’s vibrant subterranea. After countless cassette releases, 2016’s well-received My Cube LP and a tenure in no-wave faction Mansion, Keith reaffirms Cube’s pledge with Decoy Street—his second album and the most developed work he has made under any guise to date. Opener “In This House” serves as the ideal introduction to Cube: cellular interference, colliding circuitry, metal-on-metal grind and simplistic guitar distortion meet a towering and damaged beat. While “Habit” merges downtempo and industrial touchstones via layers of heavily treated vocals, “Sanctuary” tilts further towards propulsion—a dark treatise on discomfort, yet contagious enough to charm DIY and post-punk devotees. Released on W.25TH, Superior Viaduct’s sub-label for contemporary bands, Decoy Street is recommended for fans of Prurient, Puce Mary and Alan Vega.

File Under: Electronic, Industrial
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Ghosts of Dance: Walking Through Gardens (Dark Entries) LP
We are proud to release a compilation from British post-punk/Futurist group Ghosts of Dance formed in North Devon in 1981. The members were Yvette Norris (vocals), Kevin Maynard (drums), Daryl Hunt (bass), Mark Butcher (keyboards), and Pete Heaton (guitar). Ghosts of Dance took their name from the song ‘Ghosts’ by David Sylvian which appeared on the first Japan album. After playing an early gig in Barnstaple, a gentleman in the audience named Richard Newman expressed his interest to start a record label and release their music. Richard scheduled a recording session for the band at Otter Studios in Georgeham with producer Harry Williamson, son of Henry Williamson, member of progressive rock band Gong. The debut single ‘Ghosts of Dance’ was released in 1982 on Plastic Canvas Records to mixed reviews as it was very different from anything being released at the time. Our compilation includes their debut single along with 9 bonus tracks recorded between 1981 and 1983 on vinyl for the first time. The band call themselves “Vocal Trance Music” on the 7” sleeve credits and it’s accurate. We call it melancholic pop with gloomy atmosphere and dream-like melodies. The final track shows the band moving in a New Romantic direction with Mark taking over the main vocals. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each copy is housed in a jacket featuring original artwork by John Hurford and includes an insert with photos, lyrics and liner notes by Pete Heaton.

File Under: Synthwave, Post Punk
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Herbie Hancock: Crossings (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
Crossings was the second release by the Herbie Hancock Sextet lineup known as the Mwandishi Band, following 1971’s Mwandishi which stretched Hancock’s already-adventurous writing and expanded the music through post-production. This approach would play an even larger role on Crossings, the pianist’s final album for Warner Bros. For two of Crossings’ three pieces (“Quasar” and “Water Torture”), Hancock took basic instrumental tracks to Patrick Gleeson’s Different Fur Studios, hoping to learn how to play the Moog synthesizer. Instead, Hancock let Gleeson contribute layers of sound to both pieces. On “Quasar,” a ballad in 7/4 time, Gleeson extends the horn playing of Bennie Maupin, Julian Priester and Eddie Henderson through electronic accents, while on “Water Torture,” he provides a ghostly counter melody on the Mellotron, a keyboard that utilizes samples from string instruments. These studio enhancements give Crossings an otherworldly dimension, making the album feel bigger and more fantastical, yet the Sextet’s playing—recorded without much in way of edits or overdubs —keeps everything grounded. Indeed, Gleason’s additions are often so natural that it is hard to pick out what’s acoustic and what’s synthesized. While the Mwandishi Band’s tenure was unfortunately short-lived, the advances Herbie Hancock made with them still sound exciting today and would propel him into further inventive territory with future jazz-funk project The Headhunters.

File Under: Jazz, Jazz Funk
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Herbie Hancock: Fat Albert Rotunda (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
If Fat Albert Rotunda sounds like the most fun Herbie Hancock had in his early years as a band leader, it should. He composed the music for the pilot of the children’s television show Fat Albert, redirecting the post-bop jazz he honed in a five-year stint with the Miles Davis Quintet towards the R&B and funk styles with which he was becoming enamored. The result was a playful, joyous album in which Hancock clearly had a great time. The same goes for the rest of his Sextet, which by the time of recording in late 1969 was both razor sharp and confidently loose from rehearsing and touring. Flying high with three horn players—Joe Henderson on sax and flute, Garnett Brown on trombone and Johnny Coles on trumpet and flugelhorn—alongside Hancock’s soaring Fender Rhodes electric piano, the group could swing freely on a track like the rousing “Fat Mama” and emote precisely on the subtle “Tell Me A Bedtime Story.” Their versatility won over Warner Bros. who signed Hancock after hearing these infectious compositions and watched Fat Albert Rotunda climb the Billboard Jazz Charts. In subsequent years, Hancock would expand and experiment with the Sextet’s sound, creating two more albums for Warner Bros. Regardless of where he went next, Fat Albert Rotunda is still, 50 years later, about as fun as music gets.

File Under: Jazz, Jazz-Funk
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Kevin Harrison: Inscrutably Obvious (Superior Viaduct) LP
Hailing from Nuneaton, England, Kevin Harrison recorded both solo and collaboratively throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s. While his early recordings would come out in hyper-limited editions or go unreleased for decades, Inscrutably Obvious remains his sole LP—a lost gem of Britain’s ’80s cassette culture and DIY bedroom aesthetics. Originally released in 1981, Inscrutably Obvious covers a lot of ground on its seventeen inscrutable tracks—from analog synth workouts to mutated disco and shimmering guitar improvisations. The album maintains a late-night vibe, filtered through a post-punk lens. Harrison clearly wears his influences on his sleeve—major debts are paid to Brian Eno, Robert Fripp and Manuel Gottsching—yet finds his own unique voice, combining quirky instrumentals and surrealist sensibilities. This first-time reissue is recommended for fans of Chris & Cosey, Cupol and The Normal. Inscrutably Obvious sounds as fresh today as it must have nearly 40 years ago.

File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Industrial

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LDM72111_Mekons: Deserted (Bloodshot) LP
Emboldened by a sold-out tour and a surge of interest in the States after the release of the documentary Revenge of the Mekons, the band retreated to the fringes of Joshua Tree National Park and popular culture to record their new album Deserted. The long-running, genre-hopping, impossible-to-kill British folk-punk collective summoned the forces of magic, fear, and superstition for an album of shifting sand Sturm und Drang. It is at once a distorted howl into the emptiness of space, as well as a quiet submission to the shimmering allure of a mirage. The heat and endless horizon can lead to madness or clarity, and while there is relief when the sun goes down, you know the deep chill is not far off. Cinematic and widescreen in its sonic scope and with a live band immediacy, Deserted is the Mekons at their finest. And whether you are up against yourself, or an entire system, the indifferent stars still shimmer above, while rage, humor and irony are usually on the same side of the Mekons coin. From the onrushing sunrise squall of “Lawrence of California,” the album plays like the soundtrack to a movie of flames, romance, dissolution, and destruction. Jon Langford’s prickly and jagged guitar, angry pub singalong exhortations, and Susie Honeyman’s Middle Eastern-touched fiddle make the song a distorted lodestar for the journey. With the rhythms and atmospherics of Steve Goulding (drums), Dave Trumfio (bass), and Rico Bell (accordion/vocals) as a foundation, the album is full of space; never claustrophobic, but often susceptible to the blurry hallucinations on the horizon. Tom Greenhalgh’s parched vocals on “HARAR 1883” and “How Many Stars?” add a mournful sense of fragility to the disoriented traveler, while Sally Timms’ dream-like voice turns “Into The Sun” into an oasis – the incantations at the end rising as a shield. On “In The Desert,” Timms is a bulwark against the cruelty that awaits beyond pools. Throughout, Lu Edmonds’ obscure stringed instruments are as psilocybinally piercing as Peter O’Toole’s blue eyes. Deserted is folk music made by folks who are pissed and disillusioned, lost and longing to be found, but only on their terms.

File Under: Rock
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603111732411_mainMonolord: Fairies Wear Boots (Riding Easy) LP
Monolord’s 12-minute cover of Black Sabbath classic “Fairies Wear Boots” pressed on gray w/ black smoke colored vinyl with etching on the b-side. Monolord’s enveloping, syrupy sludge is a vibe, it’s a state of mind. Not riffs for riffs sake, but a collective buzzing, rattling and rumbling that’s more total environment than collection of songs. Together, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as its fourth member. Monolord is a rare breed: A band both encompassing and transcending genre; a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. Rust, the band’s third full length, truly exemplifies why it received universal praise in reviews and landed atop multiple Album of The Year lists for 2017 — including the #1 Album of 2017 on the Doom Charts collective of journalists, bloggers, radio and podcasters.

File Under: Metal
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Protomartyr: No Passion All Technique (Domino) LP
When Protomartyr – vocalist Joe Casey, guitarist Greg Ahee, bassist Scott Davidson, drummer Alex Leonard – stepped into a studio together for the first time, in November 2011, they didn’t know they were about to record an album. With only four hours of studio time booked and one case of beer between them, their plan was to walk out with enough songs for a seven-inch single. Instead, at the suggestion of engineer Chris Koltay, the newly formed Detroit outfit recorded as much as they possibly could, in what little time they had. They left with 21 songs – enough material for two singles and a full-length album that, years later, is still vital listening. Sold out and out of print shortly after its original release on Urinal Cake Records in 2012, – No Passion All Technique is a sometimes messy look at one of rock’s most magnetic bands – and lyricists – just as they were coming to life. Primal, cerebral, heartbreaking, funny – it’s an accidental tour de force that’s also become an unlikely collector’s item. “My memory is shot,” Casey says, “but I appreciate now, looking back, how raw and off-the-cuff it was. There’s tons of mistakes in it and that wasn’t because we planned on it. We still can’t really admit that it’s as good as it is. You never want to say that your first is the best, but I’m happy that the first ended up not being terrible. It gave us doorway to what we’d want to do later. ” Protomartyr’s spectacular debut has previously seen only a highly limited vinyl pressing (which fetches up to $200 on Discogs), and a limited digital release on iTunes only. In spite of its elusiveness, it has acquired a passionate fanbase over the years – one who have been demanding a re-issue at every possible opportunity. Along with the original 13-song tracklist (including live staple “Jumbo’s”), the No Passion All Technique vinyl re-issue will be accompanied by 4 additional digital bonus tracks: three songs from an early 7″ which have never before enjoyed digital availability; and one entirely unreleased track, “Whatever Happened to the Saturn Boys?” Also included is a 20-page zine.

File Under: Punk
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647603405087_mainStonewall: s/t (Permanent) LP
“So you’re addicted to hard rock from 1972 and getting tired of LPs that don’t take you for the full ride. You check out tons of ’em. Stonewall? Hmmm… only the most potent and rare stuff can get you off nowadays. Kicks intense enough to remind you why you got into it in the first place. Jams you can’t wait to lay on your friends so uncontrollably alive you know it’s gonna wipe ’em out. Yeah… you really need Stonewall. It’s ritual time. Drop the needle into the groove. Side One. Stoned swaggering confidence, attitude and energy right out of the gate. Stonewall immediately take charge with ‘Right On,’ an ‘incite-the-audience, invoke-the-jams’ renegade rocker akin to ‘Are You Ready?’ by Grand Funk or ‘Combination of the Two’ by Big Brother conceptually but taken way further. I can’t say more without some sort of spoiler alert. To mess with your head, after a near cluster-fuck with the audience in the opening track comes ‘Solitude.’ After a savage encounter with ‘Bloody Mary’ the side ends with my favorite track. As soon as the guitar riff ignites ‘Outer Spaced’ you know you’re gonna get crushed. I hear people all over the world saying Stonewall is a ‘Holy Grail’. I agree. ‘Holy Grail’ status for an LP requires the most extreme and exciting combination of quality and rarity. That’s not all. It has to have mystery. It has to reek of humanity. There can be no other LP that beats it at its game. Top dog. It has to be a mindfuck capable of destroying anybody who hears it, including those who have previously only experienced the usual killer classics. Finding a copy must come as close to impossible as possible and remain that way even after everybody knows about it. As an original pressing, Stonewall fulfills all of the ‘Holy Grail’ requirements and I am jacked that a legitimate reissue finally happens some 30 odd years after it first blew me away!”—Paul Major. Edition of 500 copies.

File Under: Hard Rock
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Vampire Weekend: Father of the Bride (Sony) LP
Vampire Weekend’s highly anticipated fourth album, Father of the Bride closes a six-year gap since 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City – a period during which the band’s Ezra Koenig was anything but idle: In addition to touring the world and winning a Best Alternative Grammy for Modern Vampires…, Koenig released his Netflix anime series Neo Yokio and co-wrote and produced Beyonce’s “Hold Up”… all the while living the experiences and observations that would inform the next Vampire Weekend album. Father of the Bride’s title is something Koenig chose years back, well before recent significant developments in his life. In typical Vampire Weekend fashion, the title has multiple layers of meaning, expressing the band’s signature paradox: creating songs that easily find a home on any playlist – or car radio, TV show, film soundtrack, airport PA, etc. – but reveal their complexities upon closer listening. Produced by Koenig and Ariel Rechtshaid (Adele, Madonna, Charli XCX, Usher, HAIM, Solange), the 18-track double album comes introduced by the fresh yet familiar sounding numbers “Sunflower,” “Big Blue,” “Harmony Hall” and “2021,” and includes collaborations with Jenny Lewis, David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Steve Lacy (The Internet), Rostam Batmanglij (VW co-founder who left the band in 2016) and Haruomi Hosono among others. Koenig said that band will release, “three 2-song drops every month until the record is out.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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LDW04417_Wooden Shjips: Shjips in the Night (Silver Current) LP
Special edition silver foil rainbow outer sleeve with colored splattered vinyl (Regular edition (SC39LP) has gold foil outer sleeve with black vinyl). Now entering their 13th year of drone and dirge drug-boogie, the Wooden Shjips, one of the linchpins of the neo-psychedelic movement of the new millennium, continue to expand on their concept of the eternal and infinite riff, ever higher and outward, year after year. Their first official live album, Shjips In The Night: Live In San Francisco, June 8, 2018 is as much a summation of their journey so far as it is an ultra-saturated, full color snap-shot of their peak live powers at present. At once cosmic and heavy, dream-like and searing in equal measures (and often all at once), this is the capture of a single live performance, multi-tracked at Slim’s in San Francisco by Eric Bauer and Damien Rasmussen and in a unique creative twist, was mixed by the band’s friends and colleagues in underground psych rock, Heron Oblivion, who hand out the Nitrous balloons and bring their own subtle (and not so subtle) enhancement of the show’s dark but kaleidoscopic color palette to the Shjips’ universe through performance mixing and post-production effects worm-holes, all the while keeping the Shjips’ long time band chemistry and natural sonic power at the forefront of the listener’s experience. Shjips In The Night is a career-spanning set that includes performances of songs from their first EP to their latest V out last year on Thrill Jockey.

File Under: Psych

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Various: Brown Acid 8 (Riding Easy) LP
The hard stuff saga continues with Brown Acid – The Eighth Trip! Yet again, Riding Easy has searched high and low to bring ten tracks of straight blue flame fire from the golden age of heaviness. As usual, these rare tracks have been carefully curated, analogically sourced, and fully licensed so one can listen guilt-free and save a lot of time and money tracking down the original copies. This Trip comes straight at ya with an all out attack, quite literally—Attack’s “School Daze” kicks out the jams Detroit-style. White Rock will knock your stank-ass socks off with their 1972 burner “Please Don’t Run Away”. This 45 was privately released by this Houston-based band that reportedly played shows with Josefus, Stone Axe, and Purple Sun. Riverside’s two-sider from 1974 rips from front to back. It’s also exclusively available here and is virtually unknown. And that’s just some of the stellar collection of rare singles featured here. Some of the best thrills of the Internet music revolution is the ability to find extremely rare music with great ease. But even with such vast archives to draw from, quite a lot of great songs have gone undiscovered for nearly half a century—particularly in certain genres. Previously, only the most extremely dedicated and passionate record collectors had the stamina and prowess to hunt down long forgotten wonders in dusty record bins—often hoarding them in private collections, or selling at ridiculous collector’s prices. Legendary compilations like Nuggets, Pebbles, ad nauseum, have exhausted the mines of early garage rock and proto-punk, keeping alive a large cross-section of underground ephemera. However, few have delved into and expertly archived the wealth of proto-metal, pre-stoner rock tracks collected on Brown Acid.

File Under: Psych, Hard Rock
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…..Restocks…. 

Arcade Fire: Everything Now (Sonovox) LP
Arcade Fire: Suburbs (Sonovox) LP
Beastie Boys: Check Your Head (EMI) LP
Beastie Boys: Ill Communication (EMI) LP
Beastie Boys: Licensed to Ill (EMI) LP
Bing & Ruth: No Home of the Mind (4AD) LP
David Bowie: Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust (RCA) LP
The Clash: s/t (Epic) LP
Alvin Curran: Canti e Vedute Del (Superior Viaduct) LP
Dead Moon: In The Graveyard (Mississippi) LP
Dead Moon: Unknown Passage (Mississippi) LP
Death Grips: No Love Deep Web (Harvest) LP
Elder: Dead Roots Stirring (Armageddon) LP
Elder: Reflections of a Floating World (Armageddon) LP
Ex Hex: It’s Real (Merge) LP
Exploding Hearts: Guitar Romantic (Dirt Nap) LP
The Fall: Dragnet (Superior Viaduct) LP
The Fall: Hex Enduction Hour (Superior Viaduct) LP
The Fall: Live at the Witch Trials (Superior Viaduct) LP
Bill Fay: Time of the Last Persecution (4 Men With Beards) LP
Funkadelic: Cosmic Slop (Westbound) LP
Funkadelic: Free Your Mind & Your Ass Will Follow (Westbound) LP
Fuzz: s/t (In The Red) LP
Tim Hecker: Virgins (Kranky) LP
Kassav’: Love & Ka Dance (Heavenly Sweetness) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizzard: Quarters (Castle Face) LP
Jenny Lewis: On the Line (Warner) LP
Mission of Burma: vs (Matador) LP
Mission of Burma: Calls, Signals & Marches (Matador) LP
Monolord: Empress Rising (Riding Easy) LP
Moondog: Story of Moondog (4 Men With Beards) LP
Nine Inch Nails: Broken (Nothing) LP
Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine (Nothing) LP
Nirvana: MTV Unplugged (Geffen) LP
Oh Sees: Carrion Crawler (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Smote Reverser (Castle Face) LP
OST: Blade Runner (Eastwest) LP
Pearl Jam: Ten (Epic) LP
Jessica Pratt: s/t (Birth) LP
Pup: Morbid Stuff (Little Dipper) LP
Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (Universal) LP
Arthur Russell: Calling Out of Context (Audika) LP
Ty Segall: Freedom’s Goblin (Drag City) LP
Ty Segall: Manipulator (Drag City) LP
Ty Segall: Melted (Goner) LP
Joseph Shabason: Anne (Western Vinyl) LP
Silver Apples: s/t (Jackpot) LP
Sonic Youth: Sister (Goofin) LP
Spiritualized: Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (Plain) LP
Stars of the Lid: Tired Sounds of… (Kranky) LP
Jeff Tweedy: Warm (ADA) LP
Tim Presley’s White Fence: I Have to Feed Larry’s (Drag City) LP
Ween: Chocolate & Cheese (Plain) LP
White Stripes: Under Great White Nothern Lights (Warner) LP
Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch) LP
Wooden Shjips: s/t (Holy Mountain) LP
Wooden Shjips: Vol 1 (Holy Mountain) LP
Wooden Shjips: Vol 2 (Holy Mountain) LP
X: Los Angeles (Fat Possum) LP
Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds (Rhino) LP

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…..news letter #887 – thaw…..

Oh boy! It’s no longer minus one million! You can almost go outside without your face freezing. And what good timing cuz there’s some killer new jamz in to stick in your ear. And as always, more new used hitting the bins as well.

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…..picks of the week…..

LDC05518_Cochemea: All My Relations (Daptone) LP
In stock on limited coloured wax! Daptone Records is overjoyed to present All My Relations – the debut solo album from long-time Dap-Kings saxophonist, Cochemea Gastelum. Cochemea’s electro-sax leads an ensemble of percussive giants (members of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Antibalas) on a psychedelic, spiritual journey, exploring his ancestral roots through melody and rhythm. As a body of work, it is an acknowledgement of oneness and harmony with all forms of life: people, animals, insects, plants, trees, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys. It celebrates the sublime beauty of existence and beginnings of such. Some of the tunes were drawn from memory, imagined from a time and place Cochemea has never been, such as “Sonora” (the home of his Yaqui ancestors), and “Mescalero” (an Apache tribe from the South Central region of Mexico – ancestors of his great-grandmother). Others were born from the Musical impression of ritual, like “Mitote” (an ancient, secular round dance of the Aztecs and other tribes of the Sierra Madre Occidental – which in certain cultures can be associated with Peyote ritual). The track “Asatoma” is an ancient prayer from India. In Sanskrit, it prays for guidance to grow from darkness to light, to distinguish the real from the unreal, and to be guided from death of the physical to the immortality of the Spirit. It is a celebration of life. The musicians on the record also bring a piece of themselves and their heritage, creating a cultural cornucopia of sonic expression that allows Cochemea’s vision and spirituality to flourish. All My Relations, in a sense, is a musical prayer to the world to help recognize our one true source, our shared identity. We are one.

File Under: Spiritual Jazz, Funk
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LDC23015_Cool Maritime: Sharing Waves (Leaving) LP
Sean Hellfritsch is an active mixed-media visual artist, and modern modular electronic composer living and working in North East Los Angeles. Sharing Waves, his second outing for Leaving Records as Cool Maritime, is all-expansive environments, and fully-realized worlds to explore and get lost in. A persistent sense of adventure and excitement is practically baked into the songs, many of them having been recorded in inspiring and remote outdoor locations using a nomadic studio including a “lunchbox” modular system. The narrative flair of this instrumental music comes naturally to Hellfritsch, who is also an accomplished filmmaker. What you hear is musical ideas captured in moments of awe, happiness and inspiration. Although the sounds are largely electronic, the feeling is organic, with lush arrangements that breathe and breaststroke their way gracefully through the open air. Illustrative song titles like “Forest Bathing” and “Secret Caves” evoke inviting landscapes of reflection and resonance. Pristine and glassy droplets of sound pitter over damp and mossy beds of emotional chords and feelings, as escape turns inwards. In an interesting contrast to the nature-heavy motif, a number of the tracks on Sharing Waves were the result of a commission to create pieces for a large outdoor plaza in downtown Los Angeles. This dichotomy of nature versus development makes for an interesting fold in these fully realized compositions.

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

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Cactus Blossoms: Easy Way (Walkie Talkie) LP
The Cactus Blossoms – Minneapolis-based blood harmony brother duo Page Burkum and Jack Torrey – return with the new album Easy Way, a self-produced collection of ten new originals on their own Walkie Talkie Records. Featuring special contributions from Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) and renowned saxophonist Michael Lewis (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird), Easy Way expands on the “creative turns of phrase, gorgeous harmonies, and ageless sound” (NPR) they’re known and loved for to deliver something new and distinctly modern. Since the release of their 2016 debut You’re Dreaming, The Cactus Blossoms experienced a number of breakout moments, including tours with Kacey Musgraves and Lucius, appearances on prestigious stages from Newport Folk to Lincoln Center, and a perfectly cast appearance on the third season of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

File Under: Folk, Country
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Candlemass: The Door to Doom (Napalm) LP
Candlemass have come full circle: their first singer Johan Langquist (who left the band after singing on the legendary 1986 debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus) has returned! Their first studio effort since 2012, The Door To Doom unsurprisingly follows the plotline mastermind, songwriter and bass player Leif Edling established in the past years: epic world class doom metal that relies on slow mammoth riffing. With Langquist`s highly dramatic vocal style and the love for details, the band made this album as the next Epicus. This masterpiece is rounded off by a beautiful guest appearance by none other than Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi on “Astorolus – The Great Octopus.”

File Under: Metal
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Dead C: Rare Ravers (Ba Da Bing) LP
In tomorrow…. Disguised as the meandering outpourings of vacant thought and activity dialed simultaneously from zero and ten. Formed in the cauldron of a fevered mistake resolute. Surrounded by ignorance, dis-interest, and the attention of the carefully self-selected. Recorded and burned through a thousand galaxies of dust and doubt and endless infinite wonder, transforming both time and space. Forever exiled to the very bottom of the world to reflect on the struggling desperate pile above. Recognizing any contribution as miniscule and insignificant when placed within the greatness of the other, the dominant insolent preening satisfied, continually shouting the pre-eminence of the first world order. The latest by The Dead C—Rare Ravers: it’s a long player.

File Under: Experimental
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Endon: Boy Meets Girl (Thrill Jockey) LP
In tomorrow…. Endon is a band as mercurial as they are ferocious. Comprised of the quintet of vocalist Taichi Nagura, guitarist Koki Miyabe, drummer Shin Yokota, and electronics/noisemakers Taro Aiko and Etsuo Nagura, Endon’s music is contained chaos, bending and colliding genres into one another atop a bed of thunderous distortion, feedback, and unearthly squeals. Vocalist Taichi’s voice embodies an unreal number of personalities with wordless howls seething one moment, and agonized cries the next, before desperate gasps for air. It comes as no surprise that they have been credited as the most extreme band in Tokyo. Boy Meets Girl finds Endon relishing in the unexpected and shifting with relentless force from pounding sludge to off-kilter hardcore to synth-driven dance to utter oblivion. Boy Meets Girl was envisioned as a soundtrack to an imagined horror film about love. Disparate influences such as horrorcore, Dick Dale, Joe Meek and the Dead Kennedys converge and erupt forth over the course of single songs. The warped story of the album unfolds in scattered motifs and references, with the titular “boy” being born from a womb of noise and dealing with the conflicts that arise when recognizing the world, and love, outside his own ego. The record takes an abstract approach to the subject of love and looks beyond the well tread romantic aspects in favor of an altogether more disorienting take. Endon set out to make fictional film score with “light music,” played by a much heavier band. The core of the ensemble’s song structures are often built around Koki’s fuzz-laden guitar and Shin’s drum bombast which propel torrents of hisses and squelches from Taro and Etsuo. Taichi’s largely lyric-less screams, moans, and whimpers are potent messengers of the songs’ emotional heft. Recorded by Atsuo of Boris, Boy Meets Girl is not entirely harsh and heavy. Sequencer delicacies are laced into pieces like the mammoth “Doubts As a Source.” The respite of “Red Shoes” lay bare Endon’s ability to construct detailed arrangements, a trait shared with the album’s more eviscerating songs. There lies an ecstatic, excited energy amidst the anarchic defiance Endon’s music exudes. Born of the same Japanese scenes that gave rise to the likes of Merzbow and Boredoms, their sound is equally diverse and abrasive. Boy Meets Girl demonstrates Endon’s singular faculty to produce music that is at once tortured and transcendent.

File Under: Electronic, Rock
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Ragnar Grippe: Symphonic Songs (Dais) LP
In tomorrow…. Recorded between the release of Sand (1977) and Lost Secrets (1981), Symphonic Songs is a formerly unreleased work that chronicles the dynamic shift and development in experimental Swedish composer RAGNAR GRIPPE’s canon. Following his seminal release Sand in 1977, Swedish experimental composer Ragnar Grippe worked on various art and performance commissions, often returning to Stockholm during the summer months to focus his efforts on his compositional practice. It was there at the famed EMS Studios where he began employing the Buchla synthesizer and the facilities multi-tracking capabilities as new instruments to map his mining of sound and movement. He emerged with a new commission for Susan Buirge later formally titled Symphonic Songs and used in her avant-garde theater piece “Ci-Déla” which debuted in Paris in 1981. Symphonic Songs showcased Grippe’s sound au courant, pushing dense against sparse, calm into cacophonous, using each track as its own intersecting plane. Using the machinations of studio and structure to drive Symphonic Songs’ voice, Grippe culled a haunting, often cinematic electronic work that dots and darts into unexpected corners with curious aplomb.

File Under: Experimental, Electronic
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Hot Water Music: A Flight & A Crash (Epitaph) LP
In 2019, Hot Water Music celebrates their 25th anniversary as a band, touring the world performing tracks from their entire catalog. Epitaph Records will be repressing three of the band’s albums on colored vinyl for re-release in the 2019 calendar year including 2001’s A Flight and A Crash, 2002’s Caution and 2004’s The New What Next. Visceral. intense, and simply unforgettable – A Flight And A Crash is a sonic exploration of the pain and triumph of life with an energy and emotion seldom heard. With some of the most intricate yet hard-driving rhythms the band has ever produced, this album pulls at your gut, head and heart all at the same time. It’s easy to see why Magnet magazine called them “the best punk band on the planet!” at the time.

File Under: Punk
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Hot Water Music: Caution (Epitaph) LP
In 2019, Hot Water Music will be celebrating their 25th anniversary as a band and touring the world performing tracks from their entire catalog. Epitaph Records will be repressing three of the band’s albums on colored vinyl for re-release in 2019: 2001’s A Flight and A Crash, 2002’s Caution and 2004’s The New What Next. True to it’s title, Caution immediately demands the listener’s undivided attention. With a unique blend of heartfelt punk, guttural rock, and explorative neo-hardcore, Hot Water Music shirks categorization on Caution. Immediate and infectious on “Trusty Chords,” a feral rocker that works off a pop blueprint, the band emphasizes variety as it glides into the rhythm-steeped “One Step To Slip” and the cathartic “I Was On A Mountain.” Further demonstrating HWM’s depth, Caution sees the band careen from the circle-pit stylings of “Wayfarer” to the subtle yet frenetic underpinning of “Alright For Now” with artful management. “We’ve never tried to be anything but what we are,” said bassist Jason Black. “Musically, we’ve never wanted to define ourselves at all.” And in keeping with that assessment, the Gainesville, FL foursome differed from virtually every other band making punk-inspired sounds in 2002. On Caution – the group’s second disc for Epitaph – HWM drives home the point that music should be more about substance and skill and less about red hair dye.

File Under: Punk
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Jh1.fse: Trials & Tribulations (Dais) LP
In tomorrow…. Emotional exploration through sound can become so indulgent that it overshadows the journey. JH1.FS3 eschews mining the human condition as mediation, opting for nuanced analysis rather than vanity. Using the seeds of improvisation as their root construct, the duo work without code, vocabulary or genre. Instead, they systematically work as individuals in tandem, using disparate and varied sounds and sources to create gauzy collages of ideas, sound and visceral sense reaction. Comprised of Frederikke Hoffmeier (Puce Mary) and Jesse Sanes (Hoax, Liebestod), JH1.FS3 delineates a more subtle “cinema of the ear”, and a cold approach to reflecting on experience without leveraging tropes or familiarity.

File Under: Electronic, Experimental
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857661008094_mainKingstonians: Sufferer (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
In tomorrow…. While Montego Bay natives Jackie Bernard, his brother Footy Bernard and cousin Lloyd Kerr recorded under various guises in the early ’60s, their collective arrival as The Kingstonians in 1967 marked a sea change not only in the vocal trio’s productivity and popularity, but also in the emerging Reggae sound. The Kingstonians made several chart-topping singles between 1968 and 1970, including the massive hit “Singer Man” whose success ultimately led to the release of their sole LP, Sufferer. Originally issued on Trojan, Sufferer collects a dozen of The Kingstonians’ best-known songs. Produced by Derrick Harriott, these truly boss sounds would pack dancehalls on the island as well as become the soundtrack for working-class youth across ’70s Britain. The title track remains a classic of the early Reggae era with impeccable arrangements, stuttering organ and soul-steeped lyrics. The Kingstonians’ shift away from Rocksteady modes is perhaps most apparent on the aforementioned “Singer Man”—an irresistible forward groove, prompting a deeper danceability that is rightly centered on real feeling. Antarctica Starts Here presents the first-time domestic release of Sufferer. Reproducing the original sleeve design, this reissue is part of an archival series that focuses on Trojan’s essential ’60s and ’70s catalogue. Liner notes by Laurence Cane-Honeysett.

File Under: Folk
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5bd8a0efcbb38_mainLorelle Meets the Obsolete: De Facto (Registros El Derrumbe) LP
In tomorrow…. Mexican duo Lorelle Meets the Obsolete return with a new album on their own Registros El Derrumbe imprint. The album, their fifth, was recorded at their home studio in Ensenada, Baja California, mixed by Cooper Crain (of Cave and Bitchin Bajas) and mastered by Mikey Young Y (of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control). The end result is brave experimentation and avant-pop put through a heavy psych filter. There are pure pop songs that come across like lost ’60s nuggets (‘Líneas En Hojas’), blistering white noise jams (‘Unificado’) and meditative incantations (‘La Maga’)—all of which will make heads go ‘POW!’.

File Under: Psych
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LDM55797_Curtis Mayfield: Keep On Keeping On (Rhino) Box
Curtis Mayfield recorded a string of hits with The Impressions before leaving the influential soul-gospel group to embark upon a solo career that began 50 years ago and produced some of his greatest work. Known as the “Gentle Genius,” Mayfield has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – first as a member of The Impressions and later as a solo artist. Rhino spotlights Mayfield’s early solo career withe the 180g 4LP box set, Keep On Keeping On: Curtis Mayfield Studio Albums 1970-1974, a collection that includes newly remastered versions of his first four studio albums: Curtis (1970), Roots (1971), Back to the World (1973) and Sweet Exorcist (1974). Mayfield left the Impressions in 1970 and launched his solo career with his debut album, Curtis. The album reached the Billboard Pop Albums Chart Top 20 and was certified gold. It features “(Don’t Worry) If There’s A Hell Below, We’re All Going To Go,” a hit in the U.S., and “Move On Up,” which charted in the U.K. In terms of cultural significance, the album’s potent combination of socially conscious lyrics and soul/funk music helped blaze a trail for later albums like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions. Mayfield returned in 1971 with Roots. His second solo album peaked at No. 6 on the R&B Albums chart thanks to memorable tracks like “Get Down,” “Beautiful Brother Of Mine” and “We Got To Have Peace.” Keep On Keeping On is named for a song on that album. Following the enormous success of the Super Fly soundtrack in 1972, Mayfield released his third solo record, Back to the World in 1973. It topped the R&B Albums chart and introduced fans to great tracks like “Future Shock,” “Can’t Say Nothin'” and “If I Were Only A Child Again.”The final album in this new set is Sweet Exorcist (1974), which reached No. 2 on the Top R&B Albums chart. It produced two singles with the title track and “Kung Fu.”

File Under: Funk, Soul
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mccombsCass McCombs: Tip of the Sphere (Anti) LP
Tip of the Sphere follows 2016’s Mangy Love, which was named a “Best Rock Album of the Year” by Pitchfork, was featured in the Washington Post’s “Best Music of 2016,” plus many other best of 2016 lists, and was Cass McCombs’ overall most critically praised release. While most of McCombs albums have been pieced together in different studios over an extended period of time, Tip of the Sphere was recorded quickly and with a strong sense of purpose at Shahzad Ismaily’s Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn. This new approach for McCombs brought his songs a raw immediacy and a special balance of compassion and experimentation with the intent of making a more consistent statement. The rock songs have more fervor, the ballads are more beautiful, the explorations more confident; the sounds of jazz and Latin music creep in through the back window. Engineered by Sam Owens (aka Sam Evian), Tip of the Sphere features the core band of McCombs (guitar, vocals), Dan Horne (bass), Otto Hauser (drums) and Frank LoCrasto (piano, organ, and more), plus a range of guests. The LP recounts what has unfolded in the wake of Mangy Love’s pre-inaugural prophetic themes. It presents an artist trying to make sense of it all through a relentless, ever searching creative process. Throughout, McCombs floats through a suite of songs driven by a journeying mysticism and dark grace. The thematic centerpiece, “Sleeping Volcanoes,” is a rousing, rock and roll number that uses a distinct lyrical approach to intensify the narrative. On the main refrain, a key phrase of the song is repeated continuously and taken through its possible meanings, almost like a jazz musician repeating a musical phrase through key and chord changes. As described by McCombs, “Sleeping Volcanoes” is about “people passing each other on the sidewalk unaware of the emotional volatility they are brushing past, like a sleeping volcano that could erupt at any moment.”

File Under: Indie Rock
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857661008643_mainJoe McPhee: Nation Time (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow…. “It’s been nearly five decades since Joe McPhee assembled a group of musicians to perform the weekend concerts that would become Nation Time. It was December 1970, thirty-one-year-old McPhee was inspired by Amiri Baraka’s poem ‘It’s Nation Time,’ and the students at Vassar College didn’t know what hit them. ‘What time is it?’ shouted the bandleader. ‘C’mon, you can do better than that. What time is it?!’ “The music on Nation Time came out of the fertile, but little-known creative jazz scene in Poughkeepsie, New York, McPhee’s home base. Two bands were deployed, one with a funky free foundation featuring guitar and organ, the other consisting of a more standard jazz formation with two drummers and the brilliant Mike Kull at the piano. Across the concert and the next afternoon’s audience-less recording session, the band was ignited by McPhee’s passion and his gorgeous post-Coltrane / post-Pharoah tenor. On ‘Shakey Jake,’ they hit a James Brown groove filtered through Archie Shepp, while the sidelong title track is as searching and poignant today as it was during its heyday. “Originally released in 1971 on CjR, an imprint started expressly to document McPhee’s music, Nation Time has a sense of urgency and inspiration. Additional material from those December days would later appear on Black Magic Man, Hat Hut’s first release. In fact, the first four records on this seminal Swiss label all featured McPhee. “Nation Time was largely unknown a quarter century or so later, when it was first issued on CD through Atavistic’s Unheard Music Series. On Corbett vs. Dempsey, we reissued the album along with all known tapes leading up to and around it as a deluxe box set, but the standalone LP has long remained incredibly rare. Now is the time for a new generation of freaks to lose their shit when settling into the cushy beat of ‘Shakey Jake’ and answer McPhee’s call with the only appropriate response: It’s NATION TIME.” —John Corbett

File Under: Free Jazz
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855985006765_mainRichard Pinhas: Iceland (Superior Viaduct) LP
In tomorrow…. Originally released in 1979, Iceland is Richard Pinhas’ third solo album and his first following the breakup of Heldon. While moving away from the maximalism of his old band, paring down Heldon’s hybrid of otherworldly sci-fi imagery and pummeling psych-prog riffs, the journey through Iceland is decidedly more inward. Consisting of longer, brooding synth-based pieces as well as short proto-industrial études and interstitial sketches, Iceland features Pinhas’ delay-ridden electric guitar, pulsating machine rhythms and analog synthesizer washes—all vivid in texture and timbre, notwithstanding an undeniably chilling ambience. This first-time vinyl reissue includes “Wintermusic,” an immersive 25-minute bonus track recorded in 1983 and appearing here on vinyl for the first time. Pinhas’ excursions channel the season’s stillness and sublimity, its majesty and its threat. Without a doubt, one his finest moments. Recommended for fans of Cluster, Mica Levi and Fripp & Eno.

File Under: Electronic, Prog
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5bd0a5cdb9ef2_mainJessica Pratt: Quiet Signs (Mexican Summer) LP
Jessica Pratt is not a loud performer. She does not have to be. In a club of a few hundred, even the bar staff are known to go quiet while she’s on stage. Her third album, Quiet Signs, feels like a distillation of this power. The album leads off with “Opening Night,” a nod to Gena Rowlands’ harrowing, brilliant performance in the John Cassavetes film of the same name. It’s also an emblem of where this spare, mysterious collection of songs falls in the course of Pratt’s career. After a collection of demos and early studio recordings (Jessica Pratt, Birth Records, 2012) earned her a small, dedicated audience, Pratt moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and recorded her first intentional album in her bedroom in a matter of months. That album, On Your Own Love Again (Drag City, 2015), would bring her around the world many times, leading many to fall under the spell of Jessica Pratt the performer, the songwriter, the singer with the heavy-lidded voice that feels alien and familiar at the same time.

File Under: Indie Rock
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LDR35226__Michael Rother: Solo (Groenland) Box
Berlin label Groenland is pleased to present a box set of Neu!/Harmonia/Kraftwerk guitarist Michael Rother’s first four solo albums. Titled Solo, the 6LP-set encompasses Flammende Herzen (1977), Sterntaler (1978), Katzenmusik (1979) and Fernwärme (1982), as well as unreleased soundtracks for the films Die Raeuber and Houston and an album of live tracks and remixes. The box set also includes liner notes penned with the help of the Jam’s Paul Weller and U.K. group Boxed In. Speaking about the release, Rother said: “I’m incredibly excited to announce my new boxset ‘Solo’. The opportunity to release my first four solo albums, as well as some new music in one package is amazing. This is a body of work that I’m very proud of.”

File Under: Electronic, Krautrock
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LDR41411_Rustin Man: Drift Code (Domino) LP
Rustin Man aka Paul Webb, formerly the bass player in Talk Talk, releases his new album Drift Code via Domino. Webb has released one record under the moniker Rustin Man so far, the superb Out Of Season in 2002 – a collaboration with Beth Gibbons of Portishead. He has been working on the follow-up ever since, recording it in his home, a converted barn, in an Essex field three miles from the nearest village, an extraordinary building as much Old Curiosity Shop as modern living space. Creating that, and raising two daughters with his wife Sam, was happening alongside the making of Drift Code. The long-awaited album has a warm, wise kind of euphoria to it, coupled with an acute sense of storytelling and surreality. As you might expect from someone of Webb’s pedigree, Drift Code is a deep, detailed work. The passage of time, the living space full of art, treasured objects and junk, the years spent listening to film music and ‘40s standards are all audible. But there’s a surprising spontaneity to it too. Though he did much of it alone, Webb’s recording technique made the music feel as if it has been recorded by a group of musicians playing in the same room. Raw demos written on a Dictaphone provided the basis for tracks begun with drums played by Webb’s former Talk Talk and O’rang colleague Lee Harris. Then, one instrument at a time, Webb created arrangements from multiple takes, each one recorded with six microphones positioned at different distances from the instrument. This way he could place each instrument in a different part of an imagined room. When he had finished all the guitars, he picked up a bass and went back to song number one. When he’d got all the bass lines, he moved on to keyboards. This approach means that Drift Code’s songs have matured, in a unique way. 180 gram heavyweight LP housed in a single LP jacket that includes a four page booklet and a download card.

File Under: Rock, Talk Talk
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LDT96938_Teeth of the Sea: Wraith (Rocket) LP
Who can say when, or how, the Wraiths began to make their presence felt. Yet when Teeth Of The Sea entered their base of operations The Facility to begin work in Autumn 2017 on their fifth album – the follow-up to 2015’s Highly Deadly Black Tarantula – it seemed hard to deny that these ghostly interruptions were at play. By November, all three members were in agreement that the disturbances were tangible and impossible to ignore. It wasn’t just the more familiar spectres of the band’s collective and overactive imagination – the unruly morass of ‘80s horror and sci-fi movies, industrial ballast, 2000AD terror, ‘70s-damaged experimental brinksmanship and atmospheric grandeur that they’d somehow conspire to sculpt into coherent structures. For as much as the band were determined to create a vivid and maximalist work that threw all of the wildest imagination into sharp relief, what resulted summarily went beyond anything they could have expected. Moving down to Soup Studios, located in the liminal zone of East India Dock on the Thames, these spectres contributed to influence a collection of tracks that soon began to represent a fearsome and transporting marriage of the ferocious and the melancholic. Alchemized trash, kitchen-sink surrealism, out-of-order intensity and ritualistic overtones collides and colluded into a monstrous hybrid – this was a world where Tetsuo-The Iron Man would happily share space with Judee Sill, and where the acid guitars of Helios Creed would happily conspire with the Acid Rock of Rhythm Device. “Hiraeth” – its title deriving from a Welsh word meaning a longing for home – may be the most richly cinematic track the band has ever created. Building from a bleak and beatific Morricone-esque soundscape haunted by melancholic brass, it builds to a furious and dramatic crescendo underpinned by a merciless electronic pulse and dub-tinged disorientation alike. “I’d Rather, Jack” sees Erol Alkan using all the tools at his Phantasy Sound studio to manifest its strains into an angular banger equal parts mariachi elegy and electro euphoria. Percussionist Valentina Magaletti (Tomaga/Raime/Vanishing Twin) brought her unique talents to the Reichian (Steve/Wilhelm) epiphany of “Visitor.” Chlöe Herington (Chrome Hoof/Knifeworld/Valve) and Katharine Gifford (The Wargs/Snowpony/Stereolab) were also on board to assist this unholy assemblage of inspiration, irreverence and otherworldly infiltration. Teeth Of The Sea are frankly none the wiser as to what these disturbances meant and what caused them – a fissure in the astral plane, psychic disturbances brought on by societal collapse, or just a collective hallucination. Whichever, they can’t help but be grateful that these voices and visions made their mark on this record, and can only hope the music has allowed them safe passage to the beyond. Ladies and Gentlemen, pray silence for the Wraith.

File Under: Psych, Prog, Electronic
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5c3fae6df163b_mainTelekinesis: Effluxion (Merge) LP
If Michael Benjamin Lerner has given us nothing more than an opportunity to nudge the word “effluxion” into the common vernacular, it is still a crowning cultural achievement. But he has given us much more than that. The fifth full-length album he’s recorded as Telekinesis is perfect, unfussy power pop—romantic and hopeful and skittish and fresh and familiar, with hooks in all the right places. He called the album Effluxion because he too found the word a little alien when he first heard it in passing, but it also captured the spirit in which the album was made. After Lerner largely traded guitars and drums for moodier synthesizers and drum machines on 2015’s Ad Infinitum—more OMD than GBV—Scottish indie-pop gods Teenage Fanclub invited Lerner on board as a touring member in 2017. In addition to this being genie-lamp wish fulfillment for a devoted acolyte, playing those songs every night with his heroes brought him back to known pleasures. Effluxion is a back-to-basics album—not just in its reaffirmation of the sound and style that made Lerner an indie wunderkind a decade ago at age 22, but in the way it was created. Using the same now-discontinued MacBook microphone he used to record his earliest tracks, he holed up in the basement of his West Seattle home and put the album together piece by piece over the past two years, playing every instrument. While previous albums had former Death Cab For Cutie guitarist CHRIS WALLA—who discovered and championed Telekinesis’ demos—and Spoon’s JIM ENO serving as producers and sounding boards and sidemen and general voices of authority and experience, Lerner wanted to do this one entirely on his own.

File Under: Indie Rock
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600197014721_mainTiny Ruins: Olympic Girls (Ba Da Bing) LP
In tomorrow…. A rare blend of eloquent lyrical craft and explorative musicianship, the songs of Tiny Ruins are etched into the memories of crowds and critics worldwide. Traversing influences that cross genre and era, the artistry of Hollie Fullbrook and her band spans delicate folk, lustrous dream pop and ebullient psychedelia. Building on the sparse arrangements and “a novelist’s eye for detail” (Uncut) cultivated over the past several years, the group’s greatly anticipated third album Olympic Girls is replete with vital lyricism and galvanizing rhythms. Sparkling electric guitar jangles pull against the unique thrum of Fullbrook’s acoustic as the cryptic poetry she is known for rings out. Hollie Fullbrook is no stranger to acclaim. Debut album Some Were Meant For Sea (2011) saw her name on billboards, playlists and blogs worldwide. The album’s clutch of “gorgeous vignettes” (BBC) put the artist on the map. Second album Brightly Painted One earned more accolades, championed by The New York Times, NPR and David Lynch, and winning Best Alternative Album at the New Zealand Music Awards in 2014. “An album of quiet, devastating beauty,” wrote Pop Matters. The album saw Fullbrook join forces with producer Tom Healy, whom, alongside long-time tour-mate bassist Cass Basil and drummer Alex Freer, Fullbrook has worked and toured with ever since.  While spanning continents, the band won fans in critics, crowds and became a sought after collaborator. A New York recording session culminated in the EP Hurtling Through (2015) with indie-rock legend Hamish Kilgour (The Clean), while 2016 single “Dream Wave” was recorded and produced by award-winning cult filmmaker and musician David Lynch. Headhunted by Lorde for the Hunger Games soundtrack blueprint she curated, Fullbrook teamed up with legendary filmmaker Lynch for the collaboration.  This album was made over a drawn out period of spontaneity and experimentation, stridently reaching beyond Fullbrook’s formerly minimalist domain. Production from Tom Healy and Fullbrook is exercised with muscular aplomb; marrying the intricately woven poetics of Leonard Cohen, the shimmering dream-pop landscapes of Beach House or Mazzy Star, and the off-kilter experimental pop of Broadcast or John Cale.

File Under: Indie Rock
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5c6b4a276a9f9_mainTraffik Island: Nature Strip (Flightless) LP
In tomorrow…. “One of the standout tracks on the Anti-Fade compilation, New Center of the Universe Vol. 3, this year was a track from Traffik Island. The band is largely the solo output of Zak Olsen from Orb, The Frowning Clouds and Hierophants. While he’s had a handful of singles scattered over the last few years, news today comes of a debut album on Flightless. The pairing makes sense, given Orb’s standing at the label, and first track ’17’ is a delightfully sunny swath of psych-pop that’s a far cry from Orb’s windpipe crushers. Instead the track, like previous outings from Traffik Island, is a sparkling jangler full of bright harmonies that bring to mind The Free Design, Euphoria, Sapphire Thinkers, or any other manner of the bittersweet brand of sunshine psych. The LP, Nature Strip is out next year and this track gives it a glow of promise. Definitely excited for this.”—Raven Sings The Blues

File Under: Rock, Psych
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5c3907efb6c71_mainX: Los Angeles (Fat Possum) LP
In tomorrow…. A reissue of X’s essential debut album originally released by Slash in 1980, and the first in a series of X reissues on Fat Possum. Ranked # 286 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

File Under: Punk
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…..Restocks….

Bell Witch: Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore) LP
Charles Bradley: Victim of Love (Daptone) LP
C.I.A.: s/t (In the Red)LP
Alvin Curran: Canti E Vedute Del (Superior Viaduct) LP
Daktaris: Soul Explosion (Daptone) LP
Death Grips: No Love Deep Web (Harvest) LP
Elder: Lore (Armageddon) LP
The Fall: Live at the Witch Trials (Superior Viaduct) LP
Nils Frahm: Encores 2 (Erased Tapes) LP
Nils Frahm: All Melody (Erased Tapes) LP
Jacco Gardner: Somnium (Polyvinyl) LP
Harmonia: Musik Von Harmonia (Gronland) LP
Tim Hecker: Ravedeath 1972 (Kranky) LP
Tim Hecker: Virgins (Kranky) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: I’m In Your Mind Fuzz (Castleface) LP
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Quarters (Castleface) LP
Curtis Mayfield: Curtis/Live (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
Drew McDowall: The Third Helix (Dais) LP
Meters: Look-Ka Py Py (Josie) LP
Kelly Moran: Ultraviolet (Warp) LP
Ennio Morricone: Un Uomo Da Rispettare (Superior Viaduct) LP
Oh Sees: Castlemania (Castleface) LP
Oh Sees: Orc (Castleface) LP
Oh Sees: Smote Reverser (Castleface) LP
Om: Advaitic Songs (Drag City) LP
Pharoah Sanders: Thembi (Impulse) LP
Scientist: In The Kingdom of Dub (Superior Viaduct) LP
Ty Segall: Fudge Sandwich (In the Red) LP
Siouxsie & The Banshees: Juju (Universal) LP
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (Goofin) LP
Sonic Youth: Evol (Goofin) LP
Sons of Kemet: Your Queen is a Reptile (Impulse) LP
Stars of the Lid: And Their Refinement of the Decline (Kranky) LP
Stars of the Lid: Avec Laudanum (Kranky) LP
Stars of the Lid: Ballasted Orchestra (Kranky) LP
Supersilent: 14 (Smalltown Supersound) LP
Talking Drums: Courage (Dark Entries) LP
Upsetters: Double Seven (Antarctica Starts Here) LP
Weakerthans: Left & Leaving (Anti) LP
Ween: 12 Golden Country Greats (Plain) LP
Ween: Chocolate & Cheese (Plain) LP
Ween: God Ween Satan (Plain) LP
White Stripes: Destijl (Third Man) LP
White Stripes: Elephant (Third Man) LP
White Stripes: Get Behind Me Satan (Third Man) LP
White Stripes: s/t (Third Man) LP
White Stripes: White Blood Cells (Third Man) LP
Wipers: Youth of America (Jackpot) LP

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