New Releases - 2/1/19
Mandolin Orange - Tides Of A Teardrop (First Edition) CD/2xLP (Yep Roc)
North Carolina-based singer-songwriter Andrew Marlin and multi-instrumentalist Emily Frantz, aka Mandolin Orange, release their first new music since 2016. Tides Of A Teardrom finds Mandolin Orange exploring the intimate grief at the frayed edges of their songwriting and confronting loss head-on, facing down the depths of despair and emerging with something renewed and redemptive. It's a progressive, personal statement from one of roots music's most thoughtful young groups. On the self-produced set, their slow-burning acoustic meditations on love and loss are belied by a newfound directness as Marlin tackles the death of his mother, who died when he was 18. Marlin's songwriting voice emerges clearer than ever throughout; whether it's the trilling, weighty atmosphere of the allegorical "Wolves" or the Appalachian yearning of the hymn-like "Suspended In Heaven", Marlin and Frantz's vocal and instrumental interplay is as dialed in as ever, the instinctual expression of deeply known but unspoken truths. [Limited blue colored vinyl pressing includes a bonus EP featuring four traditional cover songs.]
Beirut - Gallipoli CD/LP+MP3 (4AD)
Beirut's fifth album, Gallipoli, started life when Zach Condon returned to his old Farfisa organ, the same one he used to write his first two albums, Gulag Orkestar (2006) and The Flying Club Cup (2007). After stints writing and recording in both New York and Berlin, with time for Zach to recover from a broken arm factored in, band plus producer Gabe Wax (Speedy Ortiz, Soccer Mommy, Adrianne Lenker/Big Thief) headed to Puglia in Italy to finish the album. With the remote rural setting "the right amount of isolated", an intense month of 12 to 16-hour days in the studio with day trips around the coastline followed. Inspired by the surroundings, Gallipoli is unintentionally more visceral than Beirut's more recent albums, alive with an energy that is further enhanced by every creak and groan of their instruments, every detuned note, and all amp buzz and technical malfunction being left in the cracks of the songs.
Guided By Voices - Zeppelin Over China CD/LP (GBV Inc.)
Zeppelin Over China is a major and majestic work in the GBV canon, spotlighting the scope and genius of Robert Pollard's songwriting as he continues to deliver endless invention and emotional wallop in two and three-minute guitar rock gems. Pollard has assembled his greatest supporting cast ever-Doug Gillard (guitar), Kevin March (drums), Mark Shue (bass), Bobby Bare Jr. (guitar) and Travis Harrison (engineer)-and this line-up's virtuosic talents spur him to his most ambitious work yet, a grand album of emotional resonance and narrative drama. After well-deserved acclaim for the mind-boggling milestone of Pollard's 100 career albums, Zeppelin Over China is a wonderful entry point for new listeners to experience Guided by Voices for the first time. Not resting on his laurels, Pollard's tireless tenacity pays off with spectacular results.
Cherry Glazerr - Stuffed & Ready CD/LP/Cassette (Secretly Canadian)
After releasing 2016's critically acclaimed Apocalipstick, Cherry Glazerr spent the next 18 months touring the world on their own steam. Between DIY all-ages venues, rock clubs, large festival stages, and massive theaters with some of the world's best and most beloved bands (The Pixies, Flaming Lips, Slowdive, and The Breeders, among others), the band has really only stopped to work on their follow up, Stuffed & Ready. While furiously building the band's sound and ideas, front person Clem Creevy enlisted Carlos de La Garza to be the band's studio co-collaborator as they evolved the songs and refined the recordings. [Limited opaque red colored vinyl pressing.]
Girlpool - What Chaos Is Imaginary CD/LP (ANTI-)
With their powerful harmonies and imaginative songwriting in full force, Los Angeles, CA duo Girlpool (Harmonoy Tividad and Cleo Tucker) makes new creative leaps with their new album, What Chaos Is Imaginary. Combining elements of shoegaze, folk, and '80s postpunk with their own melodic gifts, these two great songwriters come up with a modern classic full of great tunes and sonic surprises. NPR has already praised the songs saying, "Girlpool's full-band transformation has illuminated its raw sound in deep and unexpected ways." Lead single "Hire" is a great example of the band's constant evolution and maturation. [Indie-store exclusive "pineapple" colored vinyl pressing.]
Le Butcherettes - bi/MENTAL CD/LP (Rise)
13 innovative, infectious, and artistic rock songs produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads. "Essentially, this record was inspired by the death of a living mother but none of that matters anymore. A disconnection in itself is so ravage so confusing it leaves one feeling incomplete...is there hope? Is there light? Maybe it all isn't so black and white. In the end there is a duality in all. Life is a cycle, the moon, the sun, the ocean waves transcending into sand. It will be okay," founding member, lead singer, and guitarist Teri Gender Bender says. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Ex:Re - Ex:Re CD/LP (Glassnote/4AD)
New solo recordings from Elena Tonra from Daughter. Running parallel to Daughter, she's assumed the pseudonym Ex:Re (pronounced ex ray) for her eponymously-titled debut solo album, a deeply personal record that was made with both a sense of urgency and a cathartic need. Tonra's candid solo songs document the time after a relationship ended and are written like unsent letters to herself and others. Taking on a creative moniker, she chose Ex:Re to mean 'regarding ex' and also 'X-Ray' as a way to look inside and see what is really there. Elena said of the album, "Although the record is written for someone, a lot of the time it's about the space without that person in it. In every scenario, there's either the person in memory or the noticeable absence of that person in the present moment. I suppose it is a break-up record, however I do not talk about the relationship at all, and he hardly features in the scenes. He is only felt as a ghostly presence."
The Specials - Encore CD/2xCD/LP (Island)
Encore is the ska revival band's first new album in 37 years to feature founding members Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter. 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the band's formation and the legendary Two-Tone label in Coventry in 1979. [Deluxe CD edition includes a bonus live disc.]
Rustin Man - Drift Code CD/LP (Domino)
New release from Paul Webb aka Rustin Man, former bass player in Talk Talk. Drift Code has a warm, wise kind of euphoria to it, coupled with an acute sense of storytelling and surreality. This title is scheduled to arrive on Friday.
Boy Harsher - Careful CD/LP (Nude Club)
Boy Harsher's second full-length album, Careful, further develops the band's brooding dance style, set up in their previous EP Country Girl. The ten songs, spanning forty-four minutes, contain eerie narrative soundscapes that are bracing, high tempo and dynamic. The album delivers manifold emotions, from the nostalgic yearning of "LA" to the gripping intensity of "Come Closer". The nervousness of Augustus Muller's bent, out of tune synths paired with the lush and sometimes brittle vocals of Jae Matthews, delivers an unsettled, yet fulfilling encounter with Boy Harsher. Careful summons a new spirit for the young band - that of growth and desire.
Emily King - Scenery CD/LP (ATO)
Lauded NY songstress Emily King is a Grammy-nominated artist with pop, indie and soul influences that she hones with carefully crafted compositions. King has already made fans of fellow artists like Sam Smith ("Unreal talent. In complete awe of this girl") and Justin Timberlake ("I love her voice").
The Moth & The Flame - Ruthless CD/LP (Robot Farming)
Produced by Grammy award winner Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Middle Kids) and Grammy nominated Nate Pyfer (Kaskade), Ruthless follows the Los Angeles, CA by way of Provo, UT band's 2016 release Young & Unafraid, which The Guardian hailed as "rock that is dour yet dazzling...lush, layered, and often complex." Ruthless marks The Moth & The Flame's return from a year-long hiatus after lead singer Brandon Robbins donated his kidney to Corey Fox (an early booster of the band, and owner of the venue Velour in Provo, UT). With songwriting as his outlet during recovery, Robbins along with bandmates Mark Garbett and Andrew Tolman, hoped to shed the realities of anxiety and depression through their new album. "There are some really dark and uncomfortable moments contrasted with breakthroughs of clarity, beauty and hope," Robbins shares. "It's something we feel really strongly about, especially with how prevalent depression is today."
Jealous Of The Birds - Wisdom Teeth CDEP/12" (Atlantic)
Irish singer-songwriter Naomi Hamilton, aka Jealous Of The Birds, follows-up her successful summer EP, The Moths Of What I Want Will Eat Me In My Sleep, with the new five-track EP introduced by lead track "Marrow". Hamilton explains that "Marrow" "is my attempt to articulate what it's like to be a human being navigating one's inner and outer worlds."
White Lies - Five CD/LP (PIAS America)
Five sees West-London trio White Lies scaling new creative heights with re-energized confidence. The writing and recording process took in both sides of the Atlantic, including a creative sojourn to Los Angeles where they worked on new material with old acquaintance Ed Buller - producer of two previous White Lies albums including the band's chart-topping debut To Lose My Life. Enlisting engineer James Brown (Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters), renowned producer Flood who can also be heard contributing synths and keys on a couple of tracks. Eminent Grammy Award recipient Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, The Killers), having worked on the band's first two albums, returned to mix the album. [Limited colored vinyl pressing.]
James and The Drifters - The Glow CD (Neat Neat Neat)
James and The Drifters have been traveling musical roads together for 8 years, dusting up the tour van and turning jam sessions and emotional narratives into self-produced records. The Drifters' sound is a joyous mix of rock and roll riffs, spirited acoustic jangle, and loose-lipped harmonies that rise into the air like smoke from a distant fire. The band builds immense sounds that are as raucous as a barroom tangle and as intimate as a whispered conversation under a blanketed night sky. Album opener "Dyring Season" swirls and sways in soaring four-part harmonies and a sonically rich musical landscape that gives the song both modern sheen and dusty classicist leanings. A nod to the past and the future. "Stars" is yet another stellar mixture of pop majesty and Americana grit. Lead single "Tides" is a perfect coming together of modern rock complexities with masterful pop leanings. A rhythm you fall right into, subtle keys, and the universal theme of love that needs a place to go and grow. Vinyl coming soon...
The Lonely Heartstring Band - Smoke & Ashes CD (Rounder)
The sophomore album from the Boston-based band defies standard genre boundaries, sliding the scale between bluegrass, folk, and Americana.
American Authors - Seasons CD (Island)
Third album from Brooklyn-based multi-platinum group. American Authors embraced formative '90s influences, from alternative stalwarts like Weezer and Nirvana.
Soen - Lotus CD/LP (Silver Lining)
Swedish-based progressive metal group Soen purge themselves of their fourth album, Lotus. Featuring nine pieces, Lotus is the latest in a line of aural therapies from the band, questioning much of today's darkness as juxtaposed with moments of great escape and hope. The lotus flower has always been a symbol of the purity rising from muddy uncertainties, and with songs such as "Covenant", "Rival", "Martyrs" and the title cut all expressing perspectives of life's darker moments, it was a natural title for this latest project. The center-point of the album remains Soen's trademark, snap-heavy, progressive riffs, while overall Lotus promises an exciting new chapter of skin-shedding, soul-searching journeys for all who dare to commit to the ride.
Live & in Concert
Linda Ronstadt - Live In Hollywood CD/LP (Rhino)
This archival release features amazing performances from a concert that Ronstadt recorded in 1980 for her acclaimed HBO television special. Recorded on April 24, 1980 at Television Center Studios in Hollywood, and produced by John Boylan, the concert captures Ronstadt at the peak of her reign as America's most popular female rock singer. [Limited edition red colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Phil Collins - Serious Hits...Live! [Reissue/1990] CD/2xLP (Rhino)
The Phil Collins Big Band - A Hot Night In Paris [Reissue/1999] CD/2xLP (Rhino)
Digitally remastered editions. Collins is one of the most successful songwriters and performers of all time, singing the lead vocals on dozens of hit albums and singles in the UK and the US between 1976 and 2010, either as a solo artist or with Genesis.
Reissues & From The Archives
Johnny Mathis - I Love My Lady CD (Real Gone Music)
The most adventurous of Mathis' 60-plus albums may be the one that got away. In late 1980, Johnny teamed up with the white-hot CHIC production team of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, fresh off triumphant collaborations with artists including Sister Sledge and Diana Ross, for I Love My Lady. Mathis took his voice into new, uncharted territory on eight anthemic, club-ready tracks that pushed the envelope of rhythm and blues as they incorporated funk, jazz, disco, and dance rhythms.
Hanif Abdurraqib - Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest (University Of Texas Press)
The first chronicle of A Tribe Called Quest - the visionary, award-winning group whose jazz-infused records and socially conscious lyrics revolutionized rap in the early 1990's,
creating masterpieces such as The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. Poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib digs into the group’s history and draws from his own experience to reflect on how its distinctive sound resonated among fans like himself. The result is as ambitious and genre-bending as the rap group itself.
New on Vinyl
David Mead - Cobra Pumps LP (self-released)
Mead's first new solo album in 8 years! According to David - "When it came time to figure how to release COBRA PUMPS, I needed money and, out of habit, approached a few different music business people for help. After a few slightly bizarre meetings in which algorithmically-induced metrics and social media compliance were discussed with a ferocity once reserved for killer hooks and Led Zeppelin, I deduced that I simply don't fit into the industry anymore, if I ever did. It now requires very different skill sets than the ones I have spent my life attempting to master. And that is OK with me..." Mead needn't worry. His new album is packed with great lyrics, melodies and hooks. It's vintage David Mead and his fans are in for a treat. [CD coming soon]
Deer Tick - Mayonnaise LP+7" (PTKF)
Limited edition white colored vinyl pressing featuring a bonus 7" single. "On Mayonnaise, you will find alternate versions of songs from Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 that we feel have their own merit and we wanted to share them with our fans. To add to this collection, we decided to record some of the cover songs that Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 inspired us to play along the Twice Is Nice Tour. We had such a good time playing these covers live that it felt appropriate to document them here. And, lastly, if we are going into the studio, why not write a few new songs, record them, and give the fans something new to round this whole collection out?"
Bright Light Social Hour - Jude Vol. I LP (Modern Outsider)
The Bright Light Social Hour is a psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas. [CD due 2/08]
OCS - Live In San Francisco 2xLP (Rock Is Hell)
A mesmerizing live set by OCS - John Dwyer and Brigid Dawson with a 7-piece backing band featuring Paul Quattrone, Tim Hellman, Tom Dolas, Heidi Maureen Alexander, and a string section comprised of Heather Lockie, Emily Elkin and Eric Clark. Recorded by Eric Bauer at the Chapel in SF, December 17, 2017.
Wallows - Live at Third Man Records LP (Third Man Records)
Leading up to the release of their debut EP Spring, Wallows, the Los Angeles-based indie band, made a stop by the Third Man Blue Room in Nashville to play and record a set in front of a sold-out audience. Featuring Dylan Minnette (of the wildly popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why) and Braeden Lemasters on guitar and vocals and Cole Preston on drums, the group commands a sunny brand of indie rock reminiscent of the breezier side of The Strokes' catalog.
Art Brut - Wham! Bang! Pow! Let's Rock Out! LP (Alcopop)
Released last November on CD - now available on vinyl. "After a seven-year absence, a band whose quest for rock 'n' roll fame always mixed a piss-take with genuine aspiration return in charmingly humbled fashion." - Pitchfork
Honey Lung - Memory LP (Kanine)
Drawing influence from Car Seat Headrest, Sparklehorse, Elliot Smith and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Honey Lung used their charity shop guitars and a modest home recording set-up to create songs for Memory.
Tiny Ruins - Olympic Girls LP (Ba Da Bing!)
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 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. Comprising a taut and agile quiver of songs, Olympic Girls dances with searching instrumentation and a buoyant pop sensibility that fizzes with life.
The Klitz - Rocking the Memphis Underground 1978-1980 LP (Mono-tone Records)
2019 repress. All girl band from Memphis who happened to be Alex Chilton's protégés; primal, loose rock n' roll à la Chilton/Jim Dickinson/Tav Falco in a wild and primitive no wave/DIY punk style. Whether you like Charlie Feathers or Kleenex, The Cramps or Lydia Lunch, you will adore The Klitz, the unadulterated sound of the Memphis underground. One side studio, one side live, both sides frantic, chaotic, and electrifying!
The Cardigans - First Band On The Moon [Reissue/1996] LP (Mercury)
Limited 180gm vinyl pressing in a gatefold jacket. First Band On The Moon is the third studio album by The Cardigans and is their best-selling album in the US. Featuring the international single "Lovefool", the album was a major breakthrough for the band in both their native country of Sweden and internationally. This version was remastered at Sterling Sound in NY.
Van Duren - Waiting: The Van Duren Story (Original Documentary Soundtrack) LP (Omnivore)
Memphis musician Van Duren had it all going for himself. He was managed and produced by Andrew Loog Oldham (The Rolling Stones) in the 1970s, he was a contemporary of Big Star and was in a post-Big Star band (Baker Street Regulars) with Chris Bell and Jody Stephens, and had made a debut album, Are You Serious?, that had some people comparing him to Paul McCartney. But instead of being the next big thing, he faded into obscurity. [CD version due March 29.]
Ron Wood & Ronnie Lane - Mahoney's Last Stand [Reissue/1976] LP (Real Gone Music)
What do two Faces do when their lead singer (bon vivant Rod Stewart) doesn't show up for the Ooh La La recording sessions? They work on a soundtrack for an obscure film by actor and friend Alexis Kanner (most famous for his guest roles on the late-'60s TV series The Prisoner) and draft the uppermost rank of British rock royalty to play on it.
NRBQ - Scraps [Reissue/1972] LP (Real Gone Music)
NRBQ - Workshop [Reissue/1973] LP (Real Gone Music)
Limited colored vinyl reissues. The wildly eclectic New Rhythm & Blues Quintet, better known to its worldwide legion of adoring fans as NRBQ (or just the Q!), is the only band on the planet that can play rockabilly, bar-band blooze, Beatles sound-alikes and Sun Ra-style free jazz in the same set and remain standing.
Neighb'rhood Childr'n - Neighb'rhood Childr'n [Reissue/1986] LP (Sundazed Music Inc.)
Marinated in such diverse influences as the mind-splintering mushroom folk-rock blast of the Jefferson Airplane and the feel-good pristine pop of the Turtles, original copies of the Neighb'rhood Childr'n's lone album trade hands these days for sums usually mentioned in ransom notes. Hailing from the tiny town of Phoenix, Oregon, the Childr'n made deep inroads into the early San Francisco scene, opening for the Who, The Grass Roots, and the Beau Brummels.
Dr. Timothy Leary - Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Reissue/1967] LP (Real Gone Music)
Limited red, blue and green "kaleidoscope" edition. One-part psychologist, one part psychonaut, and one-part huckster, Dr. Timothy Leary was one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures to emerge from the '60s, and the fact that he released a soundtrack to a film that nobody ever saw fits right in with his modus operandi.
Elvis Presley - G.I. Blues [Reissue/1960] LP (Friday Music)
Audiophile 180gm pressing of Elvis's third soundtrack album. [Limited yellow colored vinyl pressing.]
Mighty Ryeders - Help Us Spread The Message [Reissue/1978] LP (Ubiquity)
The birth of the minor funk group, The Mighty Ryeders - whose classic floor-filler "Evil Vibrations" was sample by De La Soul on "A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturday" - took place in April of 1977. Within a month after those first breaths, the gifted eight-member outfit began setting the stage to be the best or among the best recording and entertainment groups of their time. With this concept, and a wholesome amount of musical talent, this album of diverse songs was created. 1978's Help Us Spread The Message displays a wide range of creative songs expanding the spectrum of funk, disco, soul, pop and easy listening.
Darondo - Let My People Go LP (Ubiquity)
In his heyday, Darondo opened up for James Brown and lived a colorful lifestyle hanging with folks like the notorious Fillmore Slim, but disappeared about 25 years ago. He released three singles in the early 1970s, mixing lowrider soul with blues and RnB, from the socially-charged "Let My People Go" to the sexually-driven funk of "Legs". The six tracks from the three original singles are featured here, along with three previously unreleased songs that were recently discovered on a demo reel. Let My People Go has now reached "legendary" status, with tracks featured on numerous A-list shows such as Breaking Bad and CSI.
Betty Davis - This Is It! 2LP (Vampisoul)
2019 repress. Betty Davis was a woman with the strength of a Black Panther, a "nasty" woman in total control, but in the early 1970's, America was not yet ready to embrace a woman with such an explicitly sexual persona and a rougher edge than other female funk and soul artists of the time. Betty Davis' is one of the most extreme sounding debut records of the decade, which, like her ex-husband's Bitches Brew. takes equal parts inspiration from Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone. One critic aptly described her sound as something like a cross between Tina Turner, Funkadelic, and Sly & The Family Stone. Add the futurist fashion sense of David Bowie, and the flair of Miles Davis, and you have quite a cocktail.
Bataan - Afrofilipino [Reissue/1975] LP (Real Gone Music)
Joe Bataan's career offers a true All-American success story. Born on November 15, 1942 to African-American and Filipino parents in Spanish Harlem, Bataan briefly led a street gang and spent time in a correctional facility on a stolen car charge before emerging in the mid '60s to author his own unique blend of boogaloo, doo wop, and soul. Bataan's sound caught the ears of Fania Records, who signed him for a string of eight successful albums before Bataan left to cofound the Salsoul label-he also came up with the name, a combination of salsa and soul-where he recorded three albums, of which this 1975 record was the first. Limited opaque yellow colored vinyl edition.
Ken Boothe - Black Gold & Green [Reissue/1973] LP (Real Gone Music)
Memphis-meets-Kingston reggae soul at its very best repressed on limited black and green colored vinyl.
Analog Son - Funky Mother LP (Color Red)
Funky Mother is Analog Son's fourth full-length and the first release on Color Red, a new label founded by Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds, who also produced the record. Analog Son represents the new generation of heavy-hitting, authentic groove music that was cultivated in the 70s, utilizing vintage recording techniques like putting t-shirts on the drums and recording with minimal mics, intertwining beautiful vocals with rich horn harmonies. The album features guest appearances from Shane Endsley of Kneebody, Jeff Franca of Thievery Corporation, and Parris Fleming of The Motet.
Cassie - Cassie LP (Be With Records)
The first ever vinyl release of Cassie's self-titled chilly, electro-soul debut, originally released in 2006. The album has influenced Jamie xx, Four Tet, Hot Chip, and How to Dress Well, and features the summer smash "Me&U". Its 11 tracks serve to create a minimalist R&B masterpiece that still sounds eerily unique. Officially licensed and cut at Abbey Road Studios. 180 gram vinyl.
DAWN - new breed LP (Local Action)
Following her critically acclaimed trio of albums, electronic R&B innovator DAWN (formerly Dawn Richard) returns with new breed. Presenting a duality between the more soulful sounds of the more traditional forms of New Orleans R&B and DAWN's own innovative brand of electronic sonics, new breed sees DAWN at her most eclectic, largely self-produced but with contributions from Cole M.G.N (Christine & The Queens, Ariel Pink), Kaveh Rastegar (John Legend, Sia), and Hudson Mohawke.
Jedi Mind Tricks - Violent By Design [Reissue/2000] 2xLP (Babygrande)
One of the seminal underground hip-hop albums of the past twenty years, Violent By Design has been digitally remastered and repressed on red colored vinyl.
Amnesia Scanner - Another Live LP (PAN)
Debut album from the Berlin-based music duo, performing arts group, experience design studio and production house, created by Finnish-born Ville Haimala and Martti Kalliala. Founded in 2014, Amnesia Scanner's approach is informed by a unique perspective on technology and the way it mediates contemporary experience. System vulnerabilities, information overload and sensory excess inform their work, which has found a home in both clubs and galleries.
Nkisi - 7 Directions LP (UIQ)
NON Worldwide co-founder Nkisi's masterful debut album is informed by African cosmology and Congolese rhythms, aesthetically comparable to music ranging from Autechre's Incunabula to Lee Gamble hyperprisms and William Bennett's Cut Hands, but ultimately it's peerless in the (hyper)modern field. She inimitably unlocks and retunes the body's rhythmic anticipation with breathless batteries of incredible polyrhythms that arguably make most Western dance styles sound like rote line-dance music. Nkisi's drums writhe and rattle in a simultaneously ancient/futuristic style, as they reference percussive traditions older than Western civilization, but which have never been presented in this way before, alloyed with cosmic synth pads that draw lines from Detroit to the Lowlands and back to the source, way out in the cosmos.
Forest Drive West - Apparitions 2x12" (Livity Sound Recordings)
2019 repress. This extended double 12" is a fascinating further development of the London' based producer's intricate fusions of techno, dub and jungle, solidifying his own unique blend of complex rhythms and tactile sound design and distilling a rich history of UK musical influences into fresh new forms. This record continues in that tradition with a mix of sparse rhythm tracks that contrast heavyweight drum programming with rich and deft sound design. From menacing and mysterious, to cinematic and hypnotic, it makes for a compelling and immersive experience.
Axion117 - MCHD LP (Cold Busted)
The sophomore album from Japanese beat-master Axion117 further establishes him as a formidable sample samurai, cutting and slashing beats and phrases in a finely-tuned frenzy. The cuts that make up MCHD are varied and expressive, revealing jazzy beat structures, chopped-up melodic motifs, and buttery vibes that can be spread for days. From latin-tinged cuts, to smoked-out lounge grooves, to mellow boom-bap, Axion117 leads the listener through a rich crate-digging session.
Torae & Praise - All Praises Due LP (Internal Affairs Ent.)
All Praises Due is a collaborative project from veteran MC Torae and producer Praise. Torae has been busy since 2016 filming a movie and a television series with VH1. In that time he also joined Diddy's Revolt television network and hosted the revamped "Freestyle Friday" with BET. Praise has also been grinding, racking up production credits with artists like Pharoahe Monch, BJ the Chicago Kid, Joyner Lucas and more. You can even hear his hard hitting drums and infectious bass lines on recent EA Sports "NBA Live" video games.
Darksmith - Hatred of Sound LP (Second Sleep)
"Darksmith's records manage to escape any attempt at semantic classification and make even impossible the definition of an emotional tonality; rather the listening leads back to places of the familiar insignificance in which life is immersed. The two sides are both tripartite, perhaps less messed up than usual, with the usual limping of difficultly identifiable sounds, phantom appearances of music, deteriorated, elsewhere." - Francesco Tignola
Gonçalo Penas - Ego de Espinhos LP (Subtext)
Continuing Subtext's exploratory electronics and devastating sonics is the expansive Ego De Espinhos, the debut full-length from 22-year-old Porto, Portugal-based artist Gonçalo Penas. Described by Penas as a series of "self-exorcisms", Ego De Espinhos is the cathartic outcome of a highly introspective process. Created solely with digital instruments designed and built by the artist, Penas finds the freedom to articulate himself sincerely, unearthing beauty and acceptance amidst wreckage and devastation.
Palisades - Erase The Pain LP (Rise) Recently released on CD - now available on vinyl. Palisades is an American post-hardcore band from Iselin, New Jersey. Produced by Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Of Mice & Men, In Flames), lead single "War" is "about the notion that people can be completely consumed by the habits that they form. Most of us seem to find ways to cope in our lives by forming temporary fixes to numb the pain." says singer Lou Miceli Jr. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]