New Releases - 6/28/19
The Black Keys - Lets Rock CD/LP (Nonesuch)
The Black Keys' long-awaited album ninth album Lets Rock - the band's first in five years - is a return to the straightforward rock of singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney's early days. Auerbach says, "When we're together we are The Black Keys, that's where that real magic is, and always has been since we were sixteen." The 12-track collection was written, tracked live, and produced by Auerbach and Carney at Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville and features backing vocals from Leisa Hans and Ashley Wilcoxson. "The record is like an homage to electric guitar," adds Carney. "We took a simple approach and trimmed all the fat like we used to." Rolling Stone said that with lead single "Lo/Hi", "The Keys have officially returned, louder than ever" while the New York Times hailed it as "the kind of garage-boogie stomp that the band never left behind." Equally as infectious follow-up single "Eagle Birds" is anchored by some stellar blues guitar work from Auerbach. [Indie-exclusive red, white & blue vinyl pressing is here in limited quantities, limited 1 per customer. Standard black vinyl is also available.]
The Tallest Man On Earth - I Love You. It's A Fever Dream. CD/LP (Rivers/Birds)
"Last summer, Kristian Matsson lamented that steady touring had slowed the arrival of I Love You. It's a Fever Dream., his fifth album as The Tallest Man On Earth. 'I can't write good stuff on tour,' he complained. 'I can't write about life on a tour bus.' Ironically, Fever Dream arrives as a focused and frequently lovely rumination on life lived on a tour bus. Songs unfold in hotel bars, on open roads, beneath vast blue bowls of rural sky. The rhythms of perpetual travel pulse beneath acoustic melodies that lie somewhere between Dylan and Sufjan-a few gentle, a few forceful. With depth and delicacy, Matsson explores the banalities and oddities of tour, like the phenomenon of performing for an adoring audience to whom you are a stranger. Perhaps Matsson isn't up to writing about life on a tour bus; perhaps the spinning wheels below make him seasick. But he has written about life on a tour bus, and in so doing, located the love contained within." - Pitchfork
Chris Stamey - New Songs For The 20th Century 2xCD (Omnivore)
Chris Stamey's new double-CD set, New Songs For The 20th Century, finds the singer-songwriter taking a striking turn in his already storied career. Inspired by sheet music (Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.) discovered in an old piano bench when it, and the accompanying instrument, arrived at his home in 2015, the North Carolina-based musician wrote a series of songs inspired by the Great American Songbook. Assembling a series of players who were dubbed the ModRec Orchestra, Stamey includes 26 compositions on this new album. A range of vocalists lent their talents to the material: Familiar names such as Don Dixon, Marshall Crenshaw, and Caitlin Cary as well as the equally formidable Django Haskins, Nnenna Freelon and Millie McGuire. The result is an album that spotlights Stamey's musical versatility and fertile imagination plus his ability to accurately capture the spirit of the songs and composers who inspired this new journey.
The Allman Betts Band - Down To The River CD (BMG)
Led by Devon Allman, son of founding Allman Brothers Band keyboardist and singer, Gregg Allman, and Duane Betts, son of founding Allman Brothers Band guitarist and singer, Dickey Betts, Down To The River was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studios with producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine and Elvis Presley). The beginning of the partnership between Devon Allman and Duane Betts goes back to the Gregg Allman tribute show at the Fillmore in San Francisco. It was time, in that historic venue, to pass the spirit to the next generation. It was time to take all the lessons of the past, all their collective experiences, and make something new.
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown - Truth And Lies CD/LP (Spinefarm)
The third album from blues rockers. Truth And Lies crackles with intensity and explores Bryant's blues heritage ("Ride"), heartfelt balladry ("Out There"), southern roots ("Trouble"), love of '90s rock 'n' roll ("Eye to Eye") and more.
Pony Bradshaw - Sudden Opera CD (Rounder)
On his 2019 debut album Sudden Opera, 38-year-old Pony offers a convincing argument in favor of art made by adults who have had time to live, screw up, try again, and find their voice. The record's title is an apt description: it's sound hits abruptly then steadily, like a flood-swells of moody strings, thundering low ends, and dramatic keys, led by Pony's swinging soul vocals yearning, consoling, and questioning.
Chris Staples - Holy Moly CD/LP+MP3 (Barsuk)
Following 2015's beautifully written introspective album Golden Age, singer-songwriter Chris Staples is back with his upcoming full-length release, Holy Moly. While maintaining the authentic reflection Staples is known for in his songwriting, he has embraced a cautiously optimistic outlook for his future. Staples finds gentle melodies with his trademark stripped-back guitar, and introduces new sounds by integrating keyboards for sonically lush arrangements. [Limited blue colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Jade Jackson - Wilderness CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
"Jade Jackson's sophomore album Wilderness (produced by Social Distortion's Mike Ness) is her first music release in two years. The twelve-track album focuses heavily on self-discovery using country and folk rock to aid in her storytelling. The first single released from the album, 'Bottle It Up', is best described as a toe-tapper of a tune - a statement of independence while recognizing those parts of a relationship worth valuing. 'Secrets', one of the darker tracks on the album, tells a story of addiction, loss and how the failure to fulfil your dreams means being stuck in the same place. The highlight of the album is Jackson's voice, particularly on two of the record's ballads, 'Dust' and 'Shiver', where she's accompanied by little more than a plaintively strummed, acoustic guitar. Arguably one of the best vocalists on the current music scene today, it's her singing combined with some quality songwriting that make this album a success." - Americana UK
Horse Jumper Of Love - So Divine CD/LP (Run For Cover)
Memory looms large on Horse Jumper Of Love's hypnotic sophomore album, So Divine, but it remains elusive. Throughout the record, tiny snapshots from the past float to the surface, baring themselves for brief moments before diving back into the ether. Like abstract collages, the Boston-based three-piece's songs jumble richly detailed scenes and vivid imagery, papering over one moment with the next until each string of seemingly unrelated thoughts coalesces into a breathtaking work of art, one that reveals deep truths about us and our psyches. [Limited gold colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Doll Skin - Love Is Dead And We Killed Her CD/LP (Hopeless)
Blending punk rock with powerful messages, the all-female band creates a safe, empowering environment through music, especially for young women.
Night Moves - Can You Really Find Me CD/LP (Domino)
John Pelant and Micky Alfano, better known as Night Moves, have grown up. Over the past few years, they have perfected their brand of poppy psychedelia, culminating in Can You Really Find Me - their new album. The songwriting, while still steeped in super-catchy, velvety riffs and pure pop glaze, feels more sophisticated and modern. Since the pair met in high school, awestruck by such ear-candy wizards as Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, they set off to craft their version of what sophisticated, emotional modern pop music should sound, and feel like.
Pepper - Local Motion CD/LP (Law)
Local Motion, the eighth studio album from Pepper, finds the trio reaching inward and harnessing the power of the community they helped shape to take their career to even greater heights. In creating the album, the band collaborated with various producers and song writers from the reggae rock scene and beyond to reconnect with their signature "Kona Dub Rock" sound that launched their careers with the 2002 release of Kona Town. This sound can be heard throughout the album and is apparent on the lead track "Warning" which features Scott Woodruff of Stick Figure as a producer and vocalist. Local Motion positions the band to further solidify their sound within their fan base as well as cross over to break new ground bringing in an entire new generation of Ohana.
The Alarm - Sigma CD/LP (Twenty First Century)
Sigma acts as a sequel to 2018's Equals and features musical contributions from original Alarm guitarist Dave Sharp and Billy Duffy from The Cult. The album features a vast array of instrumentation that The Alarm currently has at its disposal, with guitarist James Stevenson playing both guitar and bass through a unique combination of pedals, double neck, six and four string instrumentation. Charismatic drummer Smiley drives the rhythm unit with a traditional acoustic drum kit augmented by electric percussion and diverse tribal beats. Pianist Jules Peters deploys a wide-ranging palette of orchestral string and synthesized tones, along with pure pianoforte for some of the stripped down sections the songs demand. Throughout, Peters is at the forefront with his impassioned vocal delivery and ever changing use of electro-acoustic instrumentation, custom developed by British luthiers Auden Guitars, to represent the beating heart of the group's signature sound.
Daughter Of Swords - Dawnbreaker CD/LP (Nonesuch)
Daughter of Swords is Alexandra Sauser-Monnig of Mountain Man. Buoyed by the insistent patter of a drum machine and rich acoustic guitars, Sauser-Monnig finds herself in search of new thrills, whether pondering the fleeting nature of existence at a waterfall's edge or watching the shapes of mountains seemingly dance beneath her headlights. While we can hear the muted, harmonica-lined boogie that begins with a vulnerable confession, a revelation of loneliness; it is, however, a low-key anthem for the open road, about giving oneself over to the infinity of solitude and an endless strip of asphalt. Sauser-Monnig captures these scenes with a painter's eye and delivers them with a novelist's heart.
Mariee Sioux - Grief in Exile CD/LP (Night Bloom Records)
Mariee Sioux's finger-picking guitar has been compared to the greats of Nick Drake and Bert Jansch, and her music has been described as hallucinatory with a trance-like performance. Her 2007 debut Faces in the Rocks is considered a cult classic and garnered attention from such artists as Mazzy Star and Bonnie "Prince" Billy. Poetic mysticism and ancestral remembrance have always been deeply embedded in Mariee Sioux's music, as she comes from mixed Polish, Hungarian, and Native American heritage. In her 20s, seeking relief for from alcoholism and depression, she started to explore the worlds of plant medicine and ceremonial ways to find healing. Her third album Grief in Exile feels like a refined culmination of these profound experiences, sharing stories of deeply intimate and relatable feelings on heartbreak, loss, indigenous prophecy, and the need to welcome grief back into our lives for the health of society.
Georgia Anne Muldrow - Vweto II CD/LP (Mello Music)
New album from the Los Angeles singer, songwriter, and producer. "Sprawling like a jam session, the record contains a kaleidoscopic blur of 1970s and '90s sonic references, through a 2050 filter. Across its 16 tracks, Muldrow deftly weaves the digital with the physical: on Old School Fonk, squelchy bass faces off with feathery, ASMR melodies." - The Guardian
Abdullah Ibrahim - The Balance CD/LP (Gearbox)
At the age of 84, Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand) releases his first new album in four years. Entitled The Balance, this project features his long-time septet Ekaya, a line-up that he's been recording with since 1983. In this case, the album was recorded over the course of one day at London's RAK Studios in November 2018. The lush horn lines, lilting melodies, and uplifting chord progressions are characteristic of Abdullah's all-encompassing Township-Jazz. This is contrasted with various solo piano improvisations, which epitomize the nostalgic yet hopeful nature of Abdullah's musical spirit. Hence, The Balance. In his own words: "We push ourselves out of our comfort zones. So that we can present to the listener our striving for excellence. So that we can engage with our listeners without any barriers of our ego. It's not jazz. For us, it's a process of transcending barriers."
Chick Corea - The Spanish Heart Band - Antidote CD (Concord)
New release from the jazz legend. The Spanish Heart Band - Antidote is a musical cure for a turbulent time, bringing together artists from diverse cultures to make harmonious music together. In addition to this stellar new ensemble, the recording features guest appearances by the acclaimed Panamanian vocalist Rubén Blades and gifted singers Gayle Moran Corea and Maria Bianca. [Vinyl edition due July 19.]
John Zorn - Nove Cantici Per Francesco D'Assisi CD (Tzadik)
Composed for a museum residency at the Frick in New York City, Nove Cantici is a beautiful suite of music inspired by the life and thought of the beloved spiritual figure Saint Francis of Assisi. A fitting follow-up to the beautiful and moody acoustic guitar CD Midsummer Moons from 2017, here the astounding guitar duo of Julian Lage and Gyan Riley is expanded to a trio with the addition of legendary guitarist Bill Frisell. Ten lovely, spiritual compositions for meditation and contemplation performed by three of the most renown guitarists in the world.
Vai/Wylde/Malmsteen/Bettencourt/Abasi - Generation Axe - The Guitars That Destroyed The World: Live In China CD/2xLP (earMUSIC)
Roaring sounds, cutting-edge solos, colossal power - Generation Axe is the American rock guitarist supergroup formed by guitar wunderkind and three-time Grammy winner Steve Vai (Frank Zappa Whitesnake, David Lee Roth). For this superb project, the exceptional musician assembled the collective epitome of world-class rock guitarists by his side. Part of this group are, besides Vai himself, legendary guitar heroes Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne), Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme) and Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders). Generation Axe: The Guitars That Destroyed The World: Live in China was culled from various performances on their last and very successful tour of Asia. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
He Is Legend - White Bat CD/LP (Spinefarm)
Sixth album from the North Carolina post-hardcore band.
Live & in Concert
Various Artists - Woodstock: Back To The Garden 10xCD/3xCD/5xLP (Atlantic)
The Deluxe 10xCD edition of Woodtock's 50th Anniversary Experience features 162 tracks; it is the first Woodstock collection to include live recordings of every performer at the festival. [The 3xCD and 5xLP sets feature highlights from the 10xCD set.]
Gov't Mule - Bring On The Music - Live At The Capitol Theatre 2xCD/2xCD+2xDVD/Blu-ray (Mascot Label Group)
Gov't Mule - Bring On The Music - Live At The Capitol Theatre: Vol. 1 2xLP (Mascot Label Group)
Gov't Mule - Bring On The Music - Live At The Capitol Theatre: Vol. 2 2xLP (Mascot Label Group)
No two Gov't Mule shows are alike, as the band draws on the more than 300 songs in their repertoire (and often a host of special guests) to create a unique experience each time. Bring On The Music - Live at The Capitol Theatre was recorded at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, on April 27th and 28th, 2018. The title is taken from Gov't Mule's song of the same name that touches upon the passing of time and appreciating life's journey, is a nod to the band's treasured relationship with their fans. The Capitol Theatre has been the backdrop of many unforgettable shows for the band and is one of Gov't Mule's favorite venues to play. Live At The Capitol Theatre is available in a variety of configurations: a 2xCD+2xDVD deluxe package (the CD and DVD feature entirely different track lists and includes bonus videos of "Soulshine" and "Traveling Tune"), two separate double-vinyl packages, digital, Blu-ray and a 2xCD package (featuring audio from the film). [Limited transparent purple (Vol.1) and blue (Vol.2) colored vinyl pressing are also available.] Vinyl for this title has not yet arrived. Hopefully it's here on Friday...]
Motörhead - Stage Fright [Reissue/2005] CD+DVD (BMG)
Stage Fright was filmed on Motörhead's 30th anniversary tour on December 7, 2004 at Phillipshalle in Dusseldorf. CD contains the 17 best tracks from the set, while the accompanying DVD features the entire show. [Stand-alone DVD edition also available.]
Yob - Live At Roadburn 2010 CD/2xLP (Roadburn Productions)
Yob - The Unreal Never Lived. Live At Roadburn 2012 CD/2xLP (Roadburn Productions)
Yob - Live At Roadburn 4xLP (Roadburn Productions)
Live At Roadburn 2010 and The Unreal Never Lived. Live At Roadburn 2012 are now reissued on vinyl and CD formats in honor of the doom/stoner metal band's European tour. [The vinyl versions have been combined in the 4xLP Live At Roadburn box set].
Compilations, Best Of's, & Sundry Collections
Kylie Minogue - Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection 2xCD/2xLP (BMG)
With a peerless career of era-defining music to her name, Kylie Minogue releases an album of greatest hits titled Step Back In Time. This definitive collection of Kylie's most beloved tracks to date serves as a reflection of her record-breaking career, from the global No. 1 smash hit "I Should Be So Lucky" in 1987 through to her most recent album, Golden released in 2018. [Limited green colored vinyl pressing and limited CD book edition also available.]
Various Artists - The Rough Guide To Country Blues CD (World Music Network)
From sublime bottleneck guitar and upbeat rags to classic songster tunes and hokum, this Rough Guide highlights the many different facets of country blues, with tracks by blues legends including Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Skip James and many, many more.
New on Vinyl
Yeasayer - Erotic Reruns LP (Yeasayer/Park The Van)
Now in stock on vinyl. Yeasayer's latest LP is perhaps their greatest. Erotic Reruns captures what it's like to be alive in 2019 with wide-eyed clarity. The songs veer from the intensely personal and romantic to the fervently political-an eminently danceable record that challenges their audience and makes them think a bit more slowly to ponder issues so germane to our maddening, speed of light era of content consumption.
Rhye - Spirit LP (Loma Vista)
Limited baby pink vinyl LP pressing in gatefold jacket. Per Mike Milosh of Rhye, the sound of Spirit was born out of falling in love with playing the piano again. "Out of the many sketches, Spirit started to take shape: a collection of songs that I did alone in the studio with just a piano, intertwined with collaborations with some of my favorite piano-based musicians. These are songs about love in my life, but also about the love for piano brought back into my life."
Stevie Nicks - Stand Back: 1981-2017 6xLP (Atlantic)
Recently released on CD - now available on vinyl. 44-track career-spanning six-LP set including solo hits, studio recordings, collaborations, soundtrack work and live cuts.
David Bowie - Mercury Demos LP (Parlophone)
Ten early Bowie recordings captured live in one take to a Revox reel to reel tape machine in Bowie's flat in spring 1969, with accompaniment from John "Hutch" Hutchinson on guitar and vocals. Deluxe set housed in a replica of the original tape box and features one LP, a print, two photo contact sheets, and sleeve notes by Mark Adams.
David Bowie - D.J. b/w Boys Keep Swinging [Reissue/1979] 7" (Parlophone)
Limited 7" picture disc vinyl pressing. "D.J." was the second and final single from The Lodger in the UK and the follow up to "Boys Keep Swinging". The A side of this picture disc features a previously unreleased single edit of the track from The Lodger (2017 Tony Visconti Mix). The previously unreleased version of "Boys Keep Swinging" recorded especially for The Kenny Everett Video Show features on the AA side.
Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks [Reissue/1975] LP+MP3 (Sony)
Vinyl reissue of Dylan's 15th album. Blood On The Tracks has been viewed as an outstanding example of the confessional singer-songwriter's craft, and it has been called the truest, most honest account of a love affair from tip to stern ever put down on magnetic tape.
Starcrost - Starcrost [Reissue/1975] LP (Jazzman)
Vinyl reissue of a jazz/rock fusion rarity.
Baby Huey - The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend [Reissue/1971] LP (Run Out Groove)
James Thomas Ramey, better known by his stage name Baby Huey (taken from the Paramount Pictures animated giant cartoon duckling), was born in Richmond, Indiana but had move to Chicago in the early 1960s to front his band The Babysitters with co-founders Melvin Deacon Jones on organ/trumpet and Johnny Ross on guitar. By the time recording took place for The Living Legend, only Huey and Jones remained from the original line up. According to band members at the time, Huey's rhymes were very similar in style to those later popularized by rappers in hip-hop.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - That's It [Reissue/2013] LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - So It Is [Reissue/2017] LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
At a moment when musical streams are crossing with unprecedented frequency, it's crucial to remember that throughout its history, New Orleans has been the point at which sounds and cultures from around the world converge, mingle, and resurface, transformed by the Crescent City's inimitable spirit and joie de vivre. Nowhere is that idea more vividly embodied than in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which has held the torch of New Orleans music aloft for more than 50 years, all the while carrying it enthusiastically forward as a reminder that the history they were founded to preserve is a vibrantly living history. The band's 2013 and 2017 albums have been reissued by Sup Pop, who will also soon be issuing new music by the band.
Various Artists - The Rough Guide To World Jazz LP (World Music Network)
From the guitar artistry of jazz-fusion legend John McLaughlin to Skandi-jazz innovators the Karl Strømme Quintet, this Rough Guide showcases some of today's pioneering artists who share the same goal of pushing the boundaries of jazz with truly remarkable results.
Various Artists - The Rough Guide To Mali Blues LP (World Music Network)
From the beating heart of the capital city Bamako to the rich musical soils of Niafunké, Mali has become synonymous with the raw desert blues sound. Featuring the likes of the legendary Tuareg band Tartit as well as Songhai bluesman Samba Touré, this Rough Guide also includes tracks by other unsung heroes, all of whom share the same goal of preserving a culture under serious threat. [CD edition due July 26.]
Gang Starr - Step Into The Arena [Reissue/1991] 2xLP (Virgin)
180gm vinyl reissue of the second studio album by the hip-hop duo. Step Into The Arena received critical acclaim and was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Joseph - Stoned Age Man [Reissue/1970] LP (Sundazed)
Limited gold colored vinyl pressing. Rooted in the steamy backroads of Texas and deep-fried at a Memphis recording studio, Joseph's Stoned Age Man was served up like a sizzling hot rattlesnake appetizer slathered in fuzz-blooz grease in 1969.
R.E.M. - Document [Reissue/1987] LP (Capitol)
180gm colored vinyl reissue. The R.E.M. of 1987's Document was a sinewy, muscular rock beast, primed and ready to dominate the airwaves. The album's savage break-out single "The One I Love" provided R.E.M. with their first major US hit single when it peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard singles chart.
Billy Idol - Rebel Yell [Reissue/1983] LP (Capitol)
Limited translucent red colored vinyl pressing of the second studio album by Billy Idol. After the release of his 1981 eponymous debut album, Idol continued his collaboration with Keith Forsey and Steve Stevens. The album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York. Initially recording without a drummer, utilizing only the electronic drum machine LinnDrum, Forsey and Stevens later decided to hire Thommy Price to play drums on some of the songs.
Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks: Limited Event Series OST 2xLP (Death Waltz)
Featuring tracks by Angelo Badalamenti, Johnny Jewel, David Lynch & Dean Hurley, split across 2 LPs. The package complements the previous Twin Peaks Death Waltz releases with a red die cut spot gloss sleeve that reveals a key moment in the show. Mike Bozzi at Bernie Grundman Mastering has mastered the vinyl and Bernie Grundman supervised the cutting master with pressing duties being handled by QRP. The work here is incredible, whether breathing new life into familiar themes or creating brand new ear worms in the form of smokey jazz, Ambient and Industrial stylings. The score is thick with atmosphere and dripping in mood and tension proving once again that Lynch & Badalamenti are both bona fide geniuses who deserve every plaudit given to them.
Crows - Silver Tongues LP (Balley Records)
London's Crows are the latest signing to Balley Records (IDLES, Heavy Lungs, Lice) and deliver their long-awaited debut album, Silver Tongues. The album's thrilling first single "Chain of Being" is a widescreen slice of post-punk that combines heaviness and brooding melody in equal measures. Joe Talbot said the following of his decision to sign Crows to his label: "I saw them play at the Louisiana in Bristol a few years ago and both the performance and the quality of their songs blew me away. Everything about them excites me."
Big Joanie - Sistahs LP (Daydream Library Series)
London black feminist punk band Big Joanie are inspired by The Ronettes, Nirvana, Breeders, and Jesus and Mary Chain, and have described themselves as being "similar to The Ronettes filtered through '80s DIY and Riot Grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis." One of the main reasons for coming together was to create an atmosphere to be "completely ourselves as black women and discover what was possible to realize in those spaces." The Daydream Library Series of records and tapes is the independent house label of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and Eva Prinz's publishing imprint Ecstatic Peace Library, who discovered Big Joanie when they opened for The Ex in London. Sistahs is an optimistic album about friendship, melancholic memories, and the belief in a modern future.
Nasca - Nasca LP (Cortizona)
In October 1987, Gerry Vergult (Aroma Di Amore, Fred A., Adult Fantasies) and Gerrit Valckenaers (Adult Fantasies, The Colorist Orchestra) decamped to a desolated studio in Ghent, where they sneakily crafted and shaped this Nasca record while they were supposed to be finishing a new Fred A. record. They created an abstract universe where minimal post-punk basslines blend together with radio sounds, tropical tribal vibes oscillates between futuristic nostalgia and haunted dreams, a sampled heartbeat slowly mutates in mesmerizing midnight jazz, and drugged-out dub groove transforms into inner city blues. Personnel: Gerrit Valckenaers - piano, saxophone, clarinet, synths, samples, electronics; Gerry Vergult - guitar, bass, synths, samples, electronics. RIYL: Jah Wobble, Jon Hassell, Brian Eno & David Byrne, dub, world, jazz, dreamy electronica.
Fairuz - Wahdon LP (Wewantsounds)
Originally released in 1978 by legendary Lebanese diva Fairuz. The '70s had seen Fairuz rise as an international star, playing sold out concerts in the US and in Europe. She had had a long-lasting artistic collaboration with her husband Assi Rahbani and his brother Elias (aka The Rahbani Brothers), but Wahdon, with her 22-year-old son Ziadtook serving as producer, composer and musical director, showcases a moment in Fairuz's career when she switched from traditional to more modern arrangements. The first side of the record is filled with more traditional Arabic strings and percussion, while the two long tracks on side B bring a hipper, contemporary funk and disco feel that has made the album such a collector's item with DJs and diggers around the world. Clocking at almost nine minutes "Al Bostah" (The Bus) tells the story a woman in love remembering a bus journey with her lover under a scorching heat, enhanced by an hypnotic up-tempo funkified disco beat, while "Wahdon" brings a slower and jazzier underlay to Fairuz's superb singing.
Kevin Richard Martin (The Bug) - Sirens LP (Room40)
Room40 presents Kevin Richard Martin (The Bug)'s Sirens, his solo debut. "Sirens, which documents the intensities surrounding the delivery and early days of his first child, carries in it a sense of deep affect. The album, unlike the crushing bass-heavy live work it originated as, traces out a dynamic sound world that is both tender and caustic. Within each piece, microcosms of sensation unfold, Kevin deftly maneuvers us through the tumultuous journey. Sirens somehow creates a sense of time that is without anchor and foggy in a way that is profoundly unique. His new work Sirens is a life journey transposed into sound that is truly personal, but effortlessly universal. It is the start of a new chapter, one that I know will only strengthen his place as one of the critical voices in contemporary electronic music." --Lawrence English, March 2019
Rafael Anton Irisarri - Solastalgia LP (Room40)
Irisarri is a New York-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer, whose ambient and experimental work often has a mournful, elegiac quality; ostinato phrases tap into minimalist ideals while atmospheric layers of effects suggest a more cinematic approach. Building on the echoes of landscape that guided his previous Room40 editions, Solastalgia utilizes a range of unexpected variables, automations and uncontrolled systems in the creation of the recordings, seamlessly weaving together intense layers of texture and saturated harmony. Distant melodies emerge, and in their wake the listeners' focus shifts again and again. Solastalgia encourages us to remain unsettled and attentive in the moment, and prompts us to listen deeper and imagine what lies beyond or in excess of our expectations.
Viviankrist - Cross Modulation LP (Diagonal)
Japanese crust punk and grindcore icon Eri Fuzz-Kristiansen keeps the curveballs coming on Diagonal with a bloodied mastication of charred noise and rhythmic electronics. Viviankrist has explored her acridly personalized solo sound since 1995 in Tokyo, and her music is still sorely raw, yet riddled with a new found poignance and atmospheric unease, sometimes placing her music as close to Kali Malone's see-sawing dissonance as to the power electronics of Pan Sonic or the possessed pulses of Conrad Schnitzler and Merzbow. Alloying avant-metal with rhythmic noise, ambient techno and mind-bending drone to a metallurgic tang, Cross Modulation serves a dense flux of energies in seven parts, piercing a path thru maelstrom electronics to churn up grizzled Vainio-esque rhythms, while elsewhere tenderly bruised ambience provides a bittersweet palette cleanser for slow gripping psychedelia and rugged North European pastoralism.
Various Artists - La Danza del Agua LP (Discrepant)
An eclectic musical journey through Latin American experimentalism -- a sort of unofficial companion to the Antologia De Musica Atipica Portuguesa volumes, but focusing on South America. Not to be seen as exhaustive document representing the wide styles of the even wider continent, it hopes to showcase some of its more marginal music with artists from a variety of countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela. As such, this compilation shines a wider light on new and exciting sounds from the vast continent with a wide range of styles such as digital cumbias, sound experimentation, freak folk, noise, exotica, danceable beats, and much more, mixed together to give life to the continuing strange world of contemporary South American experimental music.
Birds of Prey - Vanishing Point LP (Mysteries of the Deep)
If emptiness is heaviness is Godliness, Birds Of Prey's third full-length LP is an immaculate conception from on high. Deep, droning, and dub wise, Vanishing Point cascades in elegance. Its reference points call towards the sample manipulation of American tape music and the downward gaze of amniotic British bass music. Each member of the four-piece is an artist in their own right, but their collaborations in studio take on a greater shape, whittled and edited into cosmic formlessness. Although borne of improvisation, you may never know that in the listening. Rippling tones become glacial melodies. Cavernous drums emerge barely from the ether. Rhythms interlock, interpolate. Patterns repeat and dissolve whence they came. There is untold potency in simplicity, and Birds Of Prey make it known.
Yutaka Hirose - Nova + 4 (WRWTFWW Records)
An expanded reissue of one of the most fascinating Japanese ambient/environmental albums ever made, originally released in 1986 as part of the Soundscape series. Commissioned by Misawa Home Corporation for use in their prefabricated houses, Yutaka Hirose's NOVA has grown to become a mythical piece of the Japanese minimalist/ambient/environmental scene of the eighties. Yutaka Hirose's magnum opus serenely blends vintage synth with nature sounds, exploring soothing palettes and organic backdrops. For "Slow Sky", Hirose explains he "went for a pointillism-like sound, and tried to express a scenery of awakening, where the portal of a heart is opening up", while on "Humming The Sea", he "tried to compose a kind of music that expresses the daily, lazy life of child-like innocence in a summer vacation in some small town." The bonus material gathers four long unreleased sound sculptures created around the same period of time for installations. NOVA + 4 is a transcendent experience of nature in the urban context, an oeuvre which, much like Midori Takada's Through The Looking Glass, holds the power to appease the soul in turbulent times.
Reissues & From The Archives
Iggy Pop - Zombie Birdhouse [Reissue/1982] CD/LP (Caroline)
After three attempts at commercially viable albums for Arista, Iggy Pop teamed up with Blondie's Chris Stein for his album Zombie Birdhouse which was originally issued on Stein's short-lived Animal Records label in 1982. In addition to Stein who produces and plays bass, the album also features fellow Blondie member Clem Burke on drums and Rob DuPrey on guitar and keyboards. A heady concoction of drones, Afrobeat and freeform lyrics, the exotic 12-song set finds Iggy artistically unshackled and in top form on exhilarating cuts like "Run Like A Villain" and "The Ballad Of Cookie McBride."
The B-52's - Cosmic Thing [Reissue/1989] 2xCD (WB)
Digitally remastered and expanded double-CD 30th anniversary edition of The B-52's 1989 album. This edition of Cosmic Thing features remasters and remixes of the original album tracks, plus additional edits and remixes.
Os Novos Bahianos - É Ferro Na Boneca! [Reissue/1970] CD (Mr. Bongo)
Originally released by RGE in 1970 in Brazil, É Ferro Na Boneca! features 13 songs composed by Luiz Galvão and Moraes Moreira. The record shows the roots of the group, moving through psychedelics, edgy pop, rock and Tropicália. After writing É Ferro Na Boneca! their music began to move towards MPB due to the influence of João Gilberto, who began working with the group. In 1972 they released their incredible Acabou Chorare LP, which came top of Rolling Stone Magazine's list of 100 Greatest Brazilian Records (published in 2007). [Vinyl edition due July 5.]
Dave Alvin - King Of California [Reissue/1994] CD/2xLP (Craft Recordings)
Digitally remastered and expanded edition of this 1994 album from the former Blasters and X guitarist. A former member of various roots rock and punk bands, Alvin chose an acoustic, Americana approach for his critically acclaimed fourth solo album. Per AllMusic, King Of California showcases Alvin's dramatic sense of phrasing and marvelous feel for the characters he's created. Animals As Leaders - Animals As Leaders [Reissue/2009] CD/2xLP (Prosthetic) April 2019 marked 10 years since former Reflux guitarist Tosin Abasi created his eponymous debut as Animals As Leaders. Now a full-fledged trio, the metal outfit celebrated a decade since their debut release with a 2019 commemorative tour and CD and vinyl reissue. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Coil - Theme from the Gay Man's Guide to Safer Sex CD
Coil's unreleased 1992 soundtrack for the VHS only, pre-internet, sexual education documentary entitled The Gay Man's Guide To Safer Sex. Members for this project were John Balance, Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson, and Danny Hyde. According to Balance, the OST "is [a] slightly new age-y, progressive house type thing". Another way to approach it is as a delightful collection of Balearic beats, smoking jazz not far removed from Badalamenti's work with David Lynch, somewhat of an ambient house album for your home listening and early morning sunrise dances. Bonus tracks "Nasa-Arab" and "Omlagus Garfungiloops" are taken from the 1992 CD-only release Stolen And Contaminated Songs, both being original versions of the radically reworked (for the OST) "Nasa-Arab 2" and "Exploding Frogs." [LP version due in July.]