New Releases - 2/8/19
Bob Mould - Sunshine Rock CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Ever-evolving artist Bob Mould - whose face belongs on the Mount Rushmore of alternative music - decided to "write to the sunshine," as he describes it, not because he likes the current administration. It comes from a more personal place - a place found in Berlin, Germany, where he's spent most of the last three years. Here, Mould would draw inspiration from the new environments. "'Sunshine Rock' was such a bright, optimistic song, and once that came together, I knew that would be the title track, and that really set the tone for the direction of the album," Mould says. The theme, the cathartic vocals, and the strings on Sunshine Rock all amount to his catchiest album since Copper Blue, the acclaimed 1992 debut of his trio Sugar. Back then, Mould's work in Hüsker Dü, as a solo artist, and in Sugar, helped define the sound of guitar rock in the alternative age. Sunshine Rock finds him doing it again for an era that has ostensibly eschewed rock. [Limited indie-exclusive vinyl pressing.]
Jason Ringenberg - STAND TALL (Courageous Chicken Records)
You may know Jason Ringenberg for his band, known to have "singlehandedly rewrote the history of rock 'n roll in the South" according to Rolling Stone. Jason & The Scorchers' instinctive ability to combine traditional country music with high-energy punk rock has not been surpassed to this day. In 2008, they were honored with the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance. Since then, the "Godfather of Americana" (Mojo) has released five solo albums, with everyone from the BBC to USA Today lauding his songwriting. Jason's high octane one-man show prompted The Times (UK) to call him, "one of the most exciting performers of his generation." His new album - "STAND TALL" - was written while participating in the Artist in Residence Program for the National Park Service at Sequoia National Park. It is not hard to imagine him writing songs whilst climbing a 10,000 foot Sierra Nevada mountain! That restless spirit will not be stilled. "Jason Ringenberg is Nashville's most electrifying performer, but his most enduring attribute, his songwriting, is also his most criminally overlooked." (USA TODAY). Jason Ringenberg will be performing a residency at The Five Spot in East Nashville every Tuesday in February.
Mercury Rev - Bobbie Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited CD/LP (Partisan)
Mercury Rev's tribute To Bobbie Gentry's 1968 album, The Dela Sweete, features guest contributions by Hope Sandoval, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Phoebe Bridgers, Margo Price, Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Beth Orton, Marissa Nadler, Vashti Bunyan, Kaela Sinclair, Susanne Sundfør & Carice van Houten. In October, 1967, while Gentry's debut album Ode To Billie Joe was still in the Top Five, she began recording The Delta Sweete, a connected set of a dozen songs that extended the narrative dynamics of that single with personal reflection and set her folk-siren charisma in a richer frame of dream-state orchestration, swamp-rock guitars and big-city-R&B horns. But the album - released in March 1968, only three months after Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding and right as The Byrds came to Nashville to cut Sweetheart Of The Rodeo - was too soon in its precedence. The Delta Sweete, the first country-rock opera, was ignored on arrival, not even cracking Billboard's Top 100. It was as if Billie Joe had risen out of the Tallahatchie River and thrown that record off the bridge instead. This reimagined version of Delta Sweete is her long-delayed justice - Mercury Rev's committed and an affectionate resurrection of an album that anticipated by three decades their own pivotal expedition through transcendental America, 1998's Deserter's Songs.
The Lemonheads - Varshons II CD/LP+MP3 (Fire)
The Lemonheads follow up the critically acclaimed Varshons from nearly ten years ago with another eclectic collection of covers. Varshons II brims with the slowly-matured vocal of Evan Dando as he lures a host of personal faves to his melodic lair.
Panda Bear - Buoys CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
From the opening minutes of Buoys, Noah Lennox's sixth solo album as Panda Bear resembles something both wholly new and intimately familiar to fans and followers of the musician and Animal Collective member's body of work. Lennox's bright, sincere voice is still front-and-center, along with his beatific approach to melodic structure and vocal phrasing - but there's miles of space surrounding it, a guitar and a few textured samples here and there fleshing out Buoys' dubby sparseness. The off-white loveliness of his 2011 LP Tomboy is recalled, as well as the sampledelia of 2007's landmark Person Pitch - but Buoys otherwise represents a surprising and intimately pleasurable new direction for an artist who's embraced not repeating oneself as its own creative ethos.
Cass McCombs - Tip Of The Sphere CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Tip Of The Sphere follows 2016's Mangy Love, which was named a "Best Rock Album Of The Year" by Pitchfork. While most of McCombs albums have been pieced together in different studios over an extended period, 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. 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." [Deluxe LP comes in an embossed cover and features three bonus tracks, a poster and a 'Castillo de la Esfera' created by fellow Northern California artist and contemporary Tahiti Pehrson as an homage to Brion Gysin's dream machine. When the 'Castillo de la Esfera' is placed on top of the record player, and as the record is played (with or without a lightbulb cantilevered in the center), thoughts are encouraged to wander. Don't miss our listening party this Friday, February 8th, at Noon. We'll have free beers for 21+ and prizes!
Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs CD/LP (Mexican Summer)
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. Her first album fully recorded in a professional studio setting, Quiet Signs finds Pratt's songwriting and accompanying guitar work refined - more distinct and direct. Songs like "Fare Thee Well" and "Poly Blue" retain glimmers of Oyola's hazy day afternoon spells, yet delicate flute, strings sustained by organ arrangements, and rehearsal room piano now gesture towards the lush chamber pop and longing of The Left Banke. On the album's first single, "This Time Around", Pratt hits on a profound, late-night clarity over just a couple of deep chords, evoking Caetano Veloso's casual seaside brilliance. And before the curtain drops on Quiet Signs, Pratt provides a show-stopping closer, "Aeroplane". [Limited indie-exclusive color vinyl pressing.]
Michael Chapman - True North CD/LP (Paradise Of Bachelors)
The masterful follow-up to his universally celebrated 2017 album 50, Michael Chapman's True North finds the elder statesman of British songwriting and guitar plumbing an even deeper deep and honing an ever-keener edge to his iconic writing. This authoritative set of predominantly new, and utterly devastating, songs hews to a more intimate sonic signature -more atmospheric, textural, and minimalist than 50, stately and melancholy in equal measure. [Limited 'red wine' colored vinyl pressing.]
Andrea Von Kampen - Old Country CD/LP (Andrea Von Kampen)
Nebraska-based songwriter Andrea Von Kampen has quickly established herself in the recording studio and on the road. Her deft guitar work and intuitive song construction display striking maturity, and her effortless vocal delivery has been praised by Hear Nebraska as soulful and worn-in. Andrea has shared the stage with Tall Heights, Gregory Alan Isakov, Dead Man Winter, John Moreland, Dead Horses, Ira Wolf, and more.
Sean McConnell - Secondhand Smoke CD/LP (Big Picnic)
13 modern folk songs. Over his career to date McConnell has written songs for Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Meat Loaf, David Nail, Brothers Osborne, Buddy Miller and Plain White T's.
Health - Vol. 4 Slaves Of Fear CD/LP (Loma Vista)
Few artists are better prepared to confront the confusion of life in 2019 than L.A.-based band Health. With their new album, Vol. 4: Slaves Of Fear, the trio has not only made the heaviest, most genre-obliterating record of its career; they've documented just how frightening it feels to be alive right now. From the sample-triggered thrash metal of "The Message" and "God Botherer", to the bone-scraping sub-bass of "Feel Nothing", and "Black Static", this is Health at their most lacerating. With Lars Stalfors, they've upended their sound palette for our post-everything era: "NC-17" feels like Arabic bass music dragged through hell; "Rat Wars" groans with derelict, slow-rolling L.A. funk. In the lyrics, singer Jake Duzsik confronts death, isolation and hopelessness with an uncommon candor and intimacy. Album closer, "Decimation", is the most radical move in the band's catalog to date: a gorgeous guitar ballad, a plea for purpose and meaning in a time that makes both feel impossible.
Xiu Xiu - Girl with Basket of Fruit CD/LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
A stark shift from the comparatively straightforward guitar-based art pop of their previous album, the latest from Xiu Xiu swings from experimental percussion freakouts with unsettling vocal samples and manipulation, to damaged torch songs, to sinister soundscapes and spoken word, unified by frontman Jamie Stewart's cathartic, occasionaly unhinged vocal performance and "imbued with the agitation, tension, sorrow and anger that has permeated the daily lives of so many over the last few years." ~Stereogum. [Limited 180gm colored vinyl LP pressing.]
Bright Light Social Hour - Jude Vol. I CD/LP+MP3 (Modern Outsider)
Released last week on vinyl - now available on CD. The Bright Light Social Hour is a psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas. Known for their incredible live shows, The Bright Light Social Hour has performed at major festivals including Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in addition to their own international touring. They have received acclaim from KCRW and Huffington Post.
Yak - The Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness CD/LP (Third Man)
Few albums in rock 'n' roll history have seen its creator's obsession veer so close to self-destruction, as London trio Yak's The Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness. For singer, guitarist and driving force Oli Burslem, making his band's second album became about pursuing his artistic vision at the expense of all else, including his own financial security and mental health. Who else these days invests every single penny available to them into recording, to the point where they become homeless? The result is a rare white-knuckle ride of an album in which his extreme commitment pulsates through every moment - much like Spiritualized's Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space and Tame Impala's Innerspeaker, both of whose creators had a part to play in its genesis - ranging from the gonzo-fuzz chaos of tracks like "Blinded By The Lies" through to the Roy Orbison-inspired heartbreak of "Words Fail Me". [Limited indie-exclusive vinyl pressing.]
Said The Whale - Cascadia CD/LP+MP3 (Arts & Crafts)
The Vancouver trio's sixth album is a big-hearted blend of indie rock and atmospheric folk.
Y La Bamba - Mujeres CD/LP (Tender Loving Empire)
Y La Bamba has been many things, but at the heart of it is singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza's inquisitive sense of self. Their fifth record, Mujeres, carries on the Portland-based band's affinity for spiritual contemplation, but goes a step further in telling a story with a full emotional spectrum. Mendoza forges new narratives from old stories of heritage and family, tracing history while forging modern Chicana feminism. The raw honesty of Mujeres is in fact the raw honesty of Mendoza. Armed with the emotionality of traditional música Mexicana and the storytelling of American folk, Y La Bamba's artistry is not just their musical ability but Mendoza's search for unadulterated truth. It is in an ancestral journey in which Mendoza comes to terms with the influence and limitations of her upbringing. While there is a celebration of the Mexican creativity that has informed Mendoza's life, there is a darker side to reconcile with.
Galactic - Already Ready Already CD/LP (Tchoup-Zilla Records)
Galactic's first new studio album in more than three years, Already Ready Already sees the renowned New Orleans-based instrumental outfit taking a distinctly contemporary approach towards their own progressive sound, interpolating modern rhythms and electronic instrumentation within the house-shaking framework of Crescent City funk pop 'n' roll. Produced by the band's Robert Mercurio and Ben Ellman, the new LP finds Galactic once again enlisting a diverse array of vocal collaborators to assist in their musical exploration, each of whom lend lyrical flavor and individualistic personality to the band's multi-faceted sonic grooves. Bookended by a high-powered pair of trademark Galactic instrumentals that give the album its title. The album is a short, sharp blast of undeniable creative muscle, from the stripped-down kick/snap verses of "Going Straight Crazy", featuring New Orleans singer (and YouTube sensation) Princess Shaw, to punk cabaret artist Boyfriend's quirky speed-rap on the breakneck "Dance At My Funeral". As ever, Galactic's omnivorous musical interests make easy classification difficult - Already Ready Already is as all-encompassing and universal as the band's moniker established long ago.
The Dip - The Dip Delivers CD/LP (The Dip)
Second full-length LP from the Seattle soul outfit. Vintage rhythm-and-blues combines with classic pop storytelling for an album that is simultaneously raw and polished, and perpetually danceable.
Eric Gales - The Bookends CD/LP+MP3 (Provogue/Mascot Label Group)
Eric Gales returns with his brand-new album, The Bookends. The challenge of making The Bookends was for Gales to challenge himself. "As a guitar player it's been established that I can play a little bit, just a little bit," he says. But for this album he not only wanted to push himself as a musician, but also as a vocalist, to build up his vocal discography. "What spearheaded that was the artists that I have on the record," he adds which includes B. Slade, Doyle Bramhall II and Beth Hart. If his previous album Middle Of The Road was the rebirth of Eric Gales, then The Bookends is him blurring boundaries and taking flight on a voyage of self-discovery.
Anton Eger - Æ CD/LP (Edition)
For over a decade, Anton Eger has made his mark in Europe as one of the most exciting and energetically virtuosic drummers on the scene. Following his captivating live performances and recordings with the likes of Phronesis and Marius Neset, Æ, his eponymous debut, is full of high-energy drumming, complexity and unpredictability, drawing on an eclectic genre-defying mix of electronica, hardcore contemporary beats and retro musical guilty pleasures.
Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch - An Attempt To Draw Aside The Veil CD/LP (Sacred Bones)
Experimental lute player Jozef Van Wissem and acclaimed film director and musician Jim Jarmusch have a working relationship that dates back to 2006, when they ran into each other on the street in New York City and quickly struck up a friendship. The mostly instrumental An Attempt To Draw Aside The Veil finds much of its power in minimalism. Van Wissem's unadorned lute traces the outlines of subdued electronics and ominous guitar drones laid down by Jarmusch. It's a subtle album, and repeat listens reveal vast depths in its dark corners. [Limited brown colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Miri CD/LP (Out Here Records)
Inspired by his journey back to his hometown Garana on the banks of the Niger, Malian folk artist Kouyate's fifth album is about love, friendship, family, and true values in times of crisis. The record features Kouyate's virtuosic bottleneck ngoni playing paired with a polyphonic chorus of griot singers and includes a eulogy for Kouyate's mother, an Afro-Cuban jam about Africa's love for Cuban music, and protest songs about the disconnect between those in power and the people they represent.
New on Vinyl
LCD Soundsystem - Electric Lady Sessions 2xLP (Sony)
Recorded at the famed Electric Lady Studios in NYC's Greenwich Village, Electric Lady Sessions is a live collection featuring classic LCD Soundsystem songs, three covers, and newer material from their 2017 album American Dream.
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody [Soundtrack] 2xLP (Hollywood)
Released last October on CD - now available on vinyl. Audio tracks from Queen's legendary performance at Live Aid are included as part of the soundtrack album to the Grammy-nominated biopic. Recorded at the historic Wembley concert in July 1985, these Live Aid songs are among the rare gems and unheard versions from the band's rich catalogue. Alongside the show-stopping Live Aid performances of "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Radio Ga Ga", "Hammer To Fall" and "We Are The Champions", the album features other rare live tracks spanning Queen's entire career, new versions of old favorites, and a choice selection of the band's finest studio recordings, among them some of Queen's biggest hits.
Kevin Morby - Harlem River Dub (Peaking Lights Remix) 12" (Woodsist)
Two extended Harlem River Dub remixes by Aaron Coyes aka Peaking Lights.
Emarosa - Peach Club CD/LP+MP3 (Hopeless)
Sixth studio album from the alternative rockers - their most pop-laden and personal album to date.
Lukas Graham - 3 (The Purple Album) LP (WB)
Released last October on CD - now available on vinyl. New album from the Danish soul-pop band. Easy pop hooks alongside soul-baring poignancy.
Bowery Electric - Lush Life [Reissue/2000] LP (Beggars Banquet)
Bowery Electric formed in late 1993 and was comprised of Lawrence Chandler and Martha Schwendener. Lushlife, their third and final album, was nearly two years in the making and took even greater strides forward from their previous releases. "Lushlife is a morphine drip of an album, so clear and precise in its smokey, sexy grooves...Bowery Electric are a distinctly New York after-hours consortium, showing up on your doorstep at 2am looking like a sad, soggy kitten, hungry for milk and more." - The Austin Chronicle
The Work - Slow Crimes LP+CD (Spittle Records)
Originally released in 1982. From the heart of the late '70s/early '80s British underground scene, an extraordinary album at the edge between art-rock and punk. Unapologetically raw and direct, The Work were a full electric band featuring Tim Hodgkinson, his first project after the seminal experience of Henry Cow, and three younger maverick figures from the London underground scene: guitarist Bill Gilonis, bassist Mick Hobbs, and drummer Rick Wilson. Includes CD containing the album along with four extra tracks, three of which are from The Work's first and only 7", including the anthemic "I Hate America".
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - Live From Austin TX LP (New West)
Whether playing one of his blistering blues guitar solos or teasing a country or Cajun melody out of his ever-present fiddle, Gatemouth's versatility reflected the musical palette of his home turf - a potpourri of blues, jazz, Cajun, R&B, Texas funk and honky-tonk. Gate also borrowed heavily from the Big Band sound, and his music could swing with the best of them, as he demonstrated during his fourth and last appearance on Austin City Limits in 1996.
Albert Collins - Live From Austin TX LP (New West)
They called him the The Ice Man and The Master of the Telecaster, but above all else, Albert Collins was a consummate Texas bluesman and entertainer. He was on fire the night of his Austin City Limits performance on October 28th, 1991.
Wayne Shorter - Etcetera [Reissue/1980] LP (Blue Note)
Limited 180gm vinyl LP pressing. Recorded on June 14, 1965 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Etcetera was not released on Blue Note until 1980. The band features Cecil McBee (bass), Joe Chambers (drums), Herbie Hancock (piano), and Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone).
Chick Corea - Now He Sings, Now He Sobs [Reissue/1968] LP (Blue Note)
Chick's brilliant trio album from 1968, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs, is held in the same kind of rarefied esteem as the classic Bill Evans trio sessions. One listen will tell you why... The exquisite interplay between Chick, Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous and drum master Roy Haynes make it abundantly clear why this album has achieved such legendary status among jazz piano trio recordings. 180gm audiophile vinyl pressing.
Jeff Ballard - Fairgrounds LP (Edition Records)
Recently released on CD - now available on vinyl. Jeff Ballard ranks among the most inventive and adventurous drummers of his generation. He makes music that feels like the 21st century - open, fluid, ever-developing; a sound informed by jazz but truly coming to life where musical worlds collide: acoustic and electric, swinging and ambient, analogue and digital, accessible and experimental. With a rich and flexible musical language, embracing influences as diverse as jazz, rock, pop, electronica and West African music, Fairgrounds is a unique insight into his distinctive sound world.
Mary Lou Williams - Black Christ of the Andes LP (Down at Dawn)
Originally issued in 1965. A highly regarded piece of music from pianist and composer Williams, the concept behind Black Christ Of The Andes is about the ideal meeting between jazz and the spiritual, from the dark, smoky atmospheres of the Devil's music to the luminous sound of the African-American Church. The albums runs the gamut from "Jump Blues" numbers to a cappella choral pieces and striking piano trio cuts, all arranged and conducted by the great Melba Liston and featuring performances of jazz luminaries such as Milt Hinton, Grant Green, Percy Heath, and Williams herself.
Julie London - Julie Is Her Name 1 [Reissue/1955] 2xLP (Analogue Productions)
Sultry singer/actress Julie London's recording career was launched on the silver screen in the 1940s and in 1955 she made her debut album proper on the newly formed Liberty Records. Recorded in August of that same year, in state-of-the-art mono sound with Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass, the first of two Julie Is Her Name installments is regarded by jazz buffs and '50s pop enthusiasts alike as a genuine classic. Mono 200gm 45rpm double LP pressing.
Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell [Reissue/1993] 2xLP (Sony)
Vinyl reissue of Michael Lee Aday's sixth album. The original release of Bat Out Of Hell II returned Meat Loaf to the top of the charts, fueled by its Grammy-winning smash single, "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)".
Def Leppard - The Story So Far - The Best Of 2xLP (Mercury)
Def Leppard's 2018 greatest hits album is now available as a standard double-vinyl pressing.
August Burns Red - Phantom Sessions 12" (Fearless)
Limited salt and pepper colored vinyl LP pressing. Comprised of songs leftover from the metalcore band's 2017 album Phantom Anthem, Phantom Sessions includes their cover of a medley of music from The Legend Of Zelda video game franchise.
John Carpenter - Halloween [Original Soundtrack/Reissue/1979] LP (Sacred Bones)
For the first time, Sacred Bones Records is making the formerly mail-order exclusive art edition of John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies's Halloween soundtrack available to indie retail. This edition features deluxe packaging with unique art by Chris Bilheimer, as well as a massive foldout poster and is pressed on 'blood puddle' colored vinyl (clear vinyl with inset red puddle).
Guy Skornik - Tusk O.S.T. LP (Finders Keepers)
From the composer and arranger behind Popera Cosmic come the enigmatic instrumental cues that provided fellow existentialist and notorious auteur director Alejandro Jodorowsky with the soundtrack music to his most overlooked feature film, Tusk (1980). Cherry-picked from pre-recorded synthesizer-fueled, cosmic pop sessions by Skornik, these compositions provided Tusk with arabesque new age synthesis alongside full-blown ambitious electro rock, as well as classic French Fender Rhodes-driven romanticism during some of the film's most memorable moments. Guy Skornik's multifarious futurist-pop evokes worthy comparisons to Ash Ra Tempel, Eno's Bowie and Suzanne Ciani, mapping an unlikely journey between Magma and 10cc in the process.
Reissues & From The Archives
Prince - Musicology [Reissue/2004] CD/2xLP (Sony Legacy)
Prince - 3121 [Reissue/2006] CD/2xLP (Sony Legacy)
Prince - Planet Earth [Reissue/2006] CD/2xLP (Sony Legacy)
Digitally remastered CD and limited purple vinyl reissues now available. Musicology was the first album in five years that Prince released through a major label, having previously broken from WB and settling on his own NPG Records imprint.
Alex Chilton - From Memphis To New Orleans CD/LP (Bar/None)
Alex Chilton - Songs From Robin Hood Lane CD/LP (Bar/None)
Some know Alex Chilton as the lead singer of The Boxtops who had a number one hit in 1967 with "The Letter", others know him from the majestic Beatlesque pop of Big Star or as the name in a song by the Replacements ("Children by the millions sing of Alex Chilton..."). Others know him as the songwriter of the theme song for That 70s Show. He was at the height of his cult star fame in the mid-1980s when he recorded the songs collected on From Memphis To New Orleans. Songs From Robin Hood Lane is a set of jazz standards he recorded in the 1990s.
H.E.R. - H.E.R. [Reissue/2017] CD (RCA)
CD reissue of the enigmatic R&B singer's Grammy-nominated 21-track compilation which comprises songs from her two prior EPs along with six new tracks, including the duet "Best Part" from Daniel Caesar's album Freudian (2017). The six new songs were also released on a third EP, H.E.R., Vol. 2: The B-Sides.
Dominique Guiot - L'Univers de la Mer CD/LP (WRWTFWW Records)
The official reissue of the super-rare and fabled prog-rock/library/synth album written, composed, and played by Dominique Guiot with his Mellotron, Minimoog, clavinet, organ, and guitar, L'Univers De La Mer draws its inspiration from deep sea exploration, oceanic creatures, and underwater kingdoms. The 12-track album navigates organically through diverse mutations of the prog-rock and synth kind, from scenic meditation pieces, to medieval electronica, spacey smooth jazz, and funked-out fantasy folk, altogether painting a fascinating world of eerie magic and subaquatic sensuality. It's escapism at its best with subtle overtones of Schicke Führs Fröhling, Mike Oldfield, and Claude Perraudin.
Bob Marley & the Wailers - Soul Rebels CD/LP (Radiation Roots)
One of the greatest roots reggae albums of all time, Soul Rebels resulted from the intensive partnership brokered by the group and maverick producer, Lee 'Scratch' Perry. It was the first Wailers 'concept' album, conceived as a long-player based on a rebellious theme, rather than a collection of isolated singles, and the presence of the Barrett brothers in the rhythm section pointed the way for greater glories to come.
Compilations, Best Of's & Sundry Collections...
Various Artists - Two Tribes CD/2LP (Agogo Records)
Two Tribes gives insight in how musicians living in Europe today incorporate and transfer musical traditions particularly from the African continent into their own oeuvre. The material collected here ranges from Europe-based musicians with roots in African countries, to collaborations between European and African artists, from classical 'songs' using traditional instruments from both continents to electronic productions that combine musical heritage with current club culture. The music included refers to the musical traditions of Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Morocco, Zimbabwe and South Africa, while the involved musicians are spread all over Europe, from Finland to Great Britain, Italy, England, France and Portugal to Germany.
Various Artists - Reggae Mandela CD/LP (VP)
12 revolutionary recordings that mashed down apartheid from the likes of The Mighty Travelers, Johnny Osbourne, Yami Bolo and more.
Live & in Concert
Mavis Staples - Live In London CD/2xLP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Recorded at London's Union Chapel (which Mavis Staples calls "the best place in the world to sing") and produced by the singer herself, Live In London reveals that Mavis retains astonishing power after seventy years as a performer, and that while her repertoire continues to expand, her philosophy is unchanged since her days in the groundbreaking family group, the Staple Singers. For this project, Staples - who is still on the road almost 200 nights a year - welcomed the spontaneity and vulnerability of recording live. The album captures the spirit and energy, the commitment and intensity, that she brings to the stage every night. Ironically, her last live record - 2008's Hope At The Hideout - was cut against the background of her fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama's historic election, while the new album inevitably addresses the horrors of the Donald Trump era. Mixed in with these new songs (and "Let's Do It Again", which she notes is "the only secular song that the Staple Singers ever recorded") are a few selections chosen just to bring the funk - Funkadelic's "Can You Get to That" and "Slippery People" by Talking Heads.
Zadie Smith - Feel Free: Essays BK (Penguin Books)
Since she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel White Teeth almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world's preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. Feel Free gathers in one place for the first time previously unpublished work, as well as already classic essays, offering a survey of important recent events in culture and politics, as well as Smith's own life. Equally at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is by turns wry, heartfelt, indignant, and incisive--and never any less than perfect company. This is literary journalism at its zenith. Now in paperback.
Doug Hoekstra - Unopened BK (Five-Minute Books)
Chicago-bred, Nashville-based writer and musician Doug Hoekstra's third and latest book is an intriguing volume of previously published and unpublished poetry. Among Unopened's fifty-seven selections the reader will find poems that rhyme, poems that don't, prose poems, Sedokas, and yes, even an obligatory sonnet. Some are personal, some are societal. Some look inward, some look outward. Also featuring Hoekstra's original artwork on the cover, Unopened is a worthy addition to Hoekstra's body of work, living somewhere between the "five-minute worlds" of his songwriting and the short and long fiction of his prose writing.