July 30, 2020

BILLBOARD MAGAZINE'S WEEKLY FEATURE ON STRICTLY DISCS:

As part of Billboard’s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, Chris Eggertsen has been speaking with Angie every other week to chronicle the experience of an independent record store throughout the crisis.  Here is a link to the stories in the series so far:

Billboard Article #1 May 15th

Billboard Article #2 May 22nd

Billboard Article #3 May 29th

Billboard Article #4 June 5th

Billboard Article #5 June 12th

Billboard Article #6 June 19th

Billboard Article #7 June 26th

Billboard Article #8 July 10th

Billboard Article #9 July 30th



NEW THIS WEEK AT THE SHOP:

 
 
A spectacular week of new releases cracks open with a well-anticipated new record from Chicago duo OHMME, who got on our radar with two phenomenal DIY shows here over the last few years (remember those?). The pairing of multi-instrumentalists Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham generates the power of a dozen-strong backing band on 'Fantasize Your Ghost', a confident, complicated album of dreamy, then dramatic jazz-rock that, true to its name, conjures some strange fantasies. Depending on your angle here, you might hear The Roches, King Crimson, Sleater-Kinney, Beefheart, Cyndi Lauper, or the Breeders. While they last, we have colored vinyl editions with a bonus flexi-disc. British songwriter LIANNE LA HAVAS drops a stunner of a third album, this time self-titled, which delivers on the folky R&B promise of her early stuff. Montreal indie stalwarts LAND OF TALK return with a pristine new full-length, 'Indistinct Conversations', which bypasses the emo punch of their prior albums, but loses no potency, thanks to clarion vocalist Elizabeth Powell, who could make her car manual sound like a choir of angels. And speaking of choirs, the illustrious indie-pop duo WYE OAK check in with a delightful new EP, 'No Horizon', which prominently features the 30-odd strong Brooklyn Youth Chorus. 


  
SHIRLEY COLLINS was born before the Second World War, helped usher in the British folk revival in the early 60s on the strength of just an album or two, and she is still going. On 'Heart's Ease', her spare, emotionally ringing voice has never sounded as gripping. 
Brazilian-born guitarist FABIANO NASCIMENTO's albums are always a must, and his latest is no exception, paying deep respect to the family name on an elegant disc of silken instrumentals that conjure Pat Metheny and Bola Sete. UK soulful beatmaker ROMARE has a lush new record of gently-percolating tracks called 'Home'. 


 
Alongside their English comrades in Idles, the Irish band FONTAINES D.C. (stands for Dublin City) has put a potent new strain of post-punk in the water supply over in the ol' UK. Like their forebears in U2 or the Clash, these fellows aren't afraid to let their hard-charging, taut set-pieces take over a big stage, and yet the tunes that jag across 'A Hero's Death' sound sincere enough to belong to the basement generation. Some songs on this record remind me strongly of the under-rated early albums of Blonde Redhead in their mathematical snarl. That group was riffing hard on Sonic Youth's 'Daydream Nation', which was in itself a noise-rock response to U2, etc etc, so cheers to the endless dialectics that bring us such satisfying tunes! Any purchase of this new record gets you entered to win a test pressing copy, and we have some very cool signed posters and postcard packs to give away as added values.


  
While we wait patiently for his big new album coming in the fall, SUFJAN STEVENS wets our whistles with a limited-edition EP called 'America'. Hmm, kind of a touchy subject these days, Sufjan my friend! Anyways, this one is already sold out everywhere so come claim yours quick, and don't forget to pre-order your copy of 'The Ascension', out in September. How about this, there's a new film out called 'First Cow'. Still with me? The soundtrack is by none other than WILLIAM TYLER. Ahh, now we're talkin. The zen master of southern Appalachia lends his banjo and guitar splendor to eight spectral tracks here. Unless you live in Philadelphia (shoutout DA Krasner, shoutout Gritty) and its various rock clubs, MIKE POLIZZE might not be a familiar name to you, but he oughta. The guitar savant has led one of the city's fiercest shreddy bands in Purling Hiss, and he's lent his playing to acts like War on Drugs, Rosali, and Kurt Vile, who himself turns up on a couple of cuts on the lovely 'Long Lost Solace Find' playing the trumpet (he knows where to dump it). 


  
'Turn You To Love', the 1979 album on which TERRY CALLIER added some welcome funk to his blend of folky soul, gets an audiophile repress, and we get a stunning archive release from SHIRLEY SCOTT. 'One For Me' captures the organist in a little-heard Strata-East session with saxophonist Harold Vick and drummer Billy Higgins, on a promising new diggers label helmed by Gilles Peterson. Arranger and sideman JAMES BOOKER played a crucial role in the New Orleans soul-jazz scene but only cut a few records as a leader. We now have a fresh repress of his fantastic final album, 'Classified', dating to 1982.


  
We are always doing our best at Strictly Discs to make sure that you can obtain the rare works of mythical jam band WIDESPREAD PANIC, without having to fork over too much cash or plasma. This week, we welcome fresh, affordable pressings of 'Wood', 'Free Somehow', and 'Dirty Side Down', while copies last.


 
For someone so prolific, it still feels oddly rare to get a proper new record from the elusive producer/composer/theorist JIM O'ROURKE. On 'Shutting Down Here', commissioned as part of a series by the French sound-art studio GRM, Jim O turns in a remarkable synthesis of his various career tropes as a minimalist improviser. We've also got another edition in GRM's series from LUCY RAILTON, and a new CD edition of O'Rourke's landmark 2001 glitch masterpiece, 'I'm Happy And I'm Singing And A 1 2 3 4'. 


 
 
This week brings a repress of one of the most potent and hard to find albums from the world of Brazilian fusion, AIRTO MOREIRA's 1971 album 'Seeds On The Ground', which includes staggeringly beautiful collaborations with singer Flora Purim. Chilean folk-psych pioneers LOS JAIVAS see their self-released 1971 debut reissued as well, in a tantalizing edition. Before its persistent chorus was looped for Nicki Minaj's world-uniting crossover hit with Bad Bunny a few summers ago, PETE RODRIGUEZ's 'I Like It Like That' had already lived several lives as a boogaloo hit, from soundtracking films and tv shows, to turning up clubs in Nuyorican Harlem, and probably selling you string cheese in jingle form along the way. Like all good singles, this track is just the hook to pull you into an absolutely world-beating album of latin trance-dance that still hits as hard as it did back in 67. The latest LP from the direct-to-disk label Night Dreamer is here from Nigerian trumpeter ETUK UBONG, who leads a large ensemble in a fiery session of Afrobeat-inflected jazz. 


 
 
The strange and deep world of 1980s synth-jazz LPs can be risky territory for a record collector. Take it from the guy who has bought hundreds of these things; they are not all good. Luckily, the Numero Group gang has made the task utterly risk-free on 'Nu Leaf', their latest Cabinet of Curiosities compilation. Packaged like a softpack of menthols, this 8 track delight delivers all of the satisfaction with none of the risk. from rare tunes that run on fumes of DX-7, vibraphone, and pure desire. A nudge skronkier is the one-off collab LP between Velvets-chronicler ROBERT QUINE and Contortions guitarist JODY HARRIS, who crafted one strong elevator to hell with their lone 1981 LP 'Escape'. Courtesy of a tip from SD colleague Ed, we've sourced original stock copies of the incredible 1993 album from BIONAUT, an early alias of the German techno artist JORG BURGER. 'Frugivore' is an eclectic spree through proto-Gas ambient, bloopy acid, and vocoder funk that is inexplicably still in print (until now! mwahaha). We also welcome a reissue of the somewhat lost 90s album from ANNE CLARK. Known more for her early 80s tunes which branded her punky spoken word for the burgeoning New Beat club scene, on 'To Love and Be Loved', she reveals a more introspective, jazzy side not far off from Julee Cruise. 


 
 
Not letting up after two 2020 albums that have already put the DnB purists on notice, LUKE VIBERT is back again with a third banger called 'Rave Hop'. SPECIAL REQUEST applies his advanced breaks to a new EP, 'Spectral Frequency', with rare sleeve art from streetwear luminary and UW grad Virgil Abloh. One of the best techno albums of 2019, BARKER's 'Utility' is back in stock, and we have a crushing new record of post-everything UK bass from PINCH, called 'Reality Tunnels'. 


 
 
Minds differ on the latest opus from Australian duo CS & KREME's new album 'Snoopy', which came out digitally at the beginning of quarantine, and finally (finally) arrives in the shop on a beautiful 2LP. A friend told me one listen to its opening track was so frightening that he deemed it unfit for Covid-era listening. Personally, I have played some part of this album almost daily since March. These boys work up a spooky, purgatorial haze with organ, live bass, woodwinds and drum machine, creating vast, eerie, unpopulated worlds of glowing, profound decay, and then they have the gumption, the sheer 'nards, to call the whole thing 'Snoopy'. It's worth the $40. Also in stock from the Trilogy Tapes label is the latest from Russian techno imagineer PAVEL MILYAKOV, perhaps better known as Buttechno. The Astral Industries label lays a gorgeous double album on us from Italian duo LF58, which touches a bit on the Voices From the Lake project by Donato Dozzy, and we have a crucial new EP of strange afterhours jams from J. ALBERT. 


 
 
Back in print for the first time in awhile, (for some of them, in decades) are some classic LPs and EPs from the mighty JOY DIVISION. Lay claim to pristine remasters of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart',  'Atmosphere', 'Closer' and 'Transmission'.


  
Finally, after a patient wait, we get perhaps the crown jewel in the pantheon of Japanese ambient albums, HIROSHI YOSHIMURA's 1986 algorithm-dominating masterpiece 'Green'. Drawing on influences from Eno, Budd, and Suzanne Ciani, this record accomplishes a lot with a little; truly one of the most expressive slabs of minimalism one can here. While they last, we have copies on limited green vinyl, as well as black. As we gear up for her forthcoming August album, we get a fresh repress of KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH's excellent 2019 session 'Tides: Music For Meditation & Yoga' and lastly, a fresh copy of JOE HISAISHI's unforgettable soundtrack for 'My Neighbor Totoro'. 


USED VINYL ALERT:

Downstairs we go for this week's edition of the Used Vinyl Alert, which we could also call the Soul Alert this time around. So much soul! Many classics, many sealed, many in unusually flawless shape, from names like Booker T, Marvin Gaye, Eddie Floyd, Bobby Womack, Tower of Power, Pleasure, Letta Mbulu, Kool and the Gang, Mandrill, Rufus, Slave, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, MFSB, Soul Stirrers, the Stylistics, and many many more.

Strong jazz is in from Miles Davis, Red Garland, Bill Evans, Donald Byrd, Hugh Masekela, Eberhard Weber, Charles Earland, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Stitt, Jack DeJohnette, and scores more. We also welcome some fantastic international albums; some Latin, some reggae, some traditional island stuff, and several must-hears from Senegal and Nigeria. 

Choice picks from rock and pop include the Beatles, David Bowie, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, the Band, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Kansas, Santana, Rush, Badfinger, Janis Joplin, Traffic, the Allmans, and Wings, plus sweet ones from AC/DC, Quiet Riot, the B-52s, Motley Crue, and the Smiths.

Recent releases in used include Tortoise, Lana Del Rey, Floating Points, St. Vincent, J. Dilla, and Anderson Paak. We have a complete run of Blur LPs including their hardest to find ones, and we have some rare White Stripes and Third Man related box sets.

A deep trove of female vocalists, easy listening jammers, disco and HI-NRG bangers, soundtracks, and Kraftwerk finish us off for the week. Whew!



RECORD STORE DAY IS NOW RSD DROPS SPREAD OVER 3 DATES:

It's an unusual year, which means unusual news about Record Store Day.

Earlier this spring, Record Store Day announced a rescheduled June 20 date for the annual holiday, but with ongoing health and safety concerns, we now have a new plan.

Instead of a single-day global celebration, the 2020 releases will now be available over a series of monthly RSD Drops events, from August to October, followed by a regularly-scheduled Black Friday in November. This means we'll have four months of release events – the RSD 2020 exclusives spread out over three months, followed by a new round of exclusives for Black Friday – to end this strange year on a high note.

WISHLISTS:

Since so much has changed with Record Store Day, you will need to start a new list for any or all of the three dates. Lists made prior to April are no longer active/valid.

We will try to have ample stock (one of the deepest in the midwest) of all items, but please know that some of these products are extremely limited and will sell out quickly.

THE DEADLINE FOR WISHLISTS FOR THE AUGUST 29TH DATE IS WEDNESDAY JULY 8TH.

WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO MAKE A WISHLIST AS THEY WILL HELP US TO EASE CONGESTION/TRAFFIC INSIDE THE STORE ON AUGUST 29TH. 

WISHLISTS CAN BE MADE HERE.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we evolve on the fly with this one. Our goal is to keep the RSD spirit intact, connecting musicians, fans and record stores in a time where we need eachother the most!

Here's the official announcement from Record Store Day headquarters:

Since 2008, Record Store Day has grown into the world’s largest single-day music event, shining a light on the culture of the indie record store across the globe. In 2020, that world is different, so Record Store Day will be, too. RSD is now scheduled to be celebrated with special, properly-distanced release dates on Saturdays in August, September and October.

Record Store Day will look very different this year, but supporting indie record stores may be more important than ever. We don't know what sort of rules will be in place, or what sort of gatherings people will be in the mood for this year, so we're focusing on the music and getting the really great titles on the RSD official list this year into the stores and into your hands, in the most financially and socially responsible way.

Stay tuned for many more details in the coming weeks.







STRICTLY DISCS IS HIRING:

VINYL PRICING SPECIALIST:

Required skills:

Excellent customer service skills; ability to anticipate customer needs

Computer proficient

A passion for music, and a broad, deep base of recorded music history

Knowledge of Goldmine standards & experience grading and pricing records

Knowledge of stereo equipment/functionality

Availability to work nights and weekends

Ability to lift and carry 50 pounds repeatedly



RETAIL/FRONT COUNTER STAFF:

Required skills:

Excellent customer service skills; ability to anticipate customer needs

Computer proficient

A passion for music, and a broad, deep base of recorded music history

Availability to work nights and weekends


To apply, submit letter of interest & resume to angie@strictlydiscs.com




STRICTLY DISCS IS ON SPOTIFY!

Dogs and cats living together! Strictly Discs now has a Spotify channel. Every time one of us at the shop puts on a record, it's because we think someone else within earshot is going to like it, too. One of the things we've missed the most about having our doors temporarily closed is not being able to select the in-store play tunes for our customers to hear. It's the fun part of this job, and we want it back! Spotify users, point yourselves to our profile HERE and click around. We've compiled a number of playlists, with more to come. Be sure to subscribe and check in on the "STRICTLY SELECTOS" playlist, as it will change each week with a fresh rundown of the titles we are featuring in this very email! New songs will appear there every Thursday, and are available to order online or over phone/email.


SELL US YOUR CDS & LPS:

Yes, we are still buying! Call Ron to schedule (608.213.3610).




Ron, Ryan, Angie, Marty, Evan, Ben, Matt, Will, Ed, Mark, Jack, Eric & Dave