Assembling a lot of talent, power, and good will in one place isn't a simple task, just ask the Avengers, the human heart, or the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, who I like to imagine inspired the name for BIG RED MACHINE, the ongoing big tent collab of Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon from some bands. On their second bi-annual report, 'How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?', the fellows have gathered a dream team of folk-pop boundary pushers like Anais Mitchell, Fleet Foxes, Taylor Swift, Naeem Juwan, and Sharon Van Etten, for a record that rewards fans of any or all of these names, in the house on limited opaque red wax. Something like a veteran on the scene now, HALSEY returns with their fourth and deepest realized album of spectral, spectacular gothic pop, with Reznor at the controls. 'If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power' gives Lorde's new record a run in the cover art category, and comes to us on super-limited clear orange wax. CHVRCHES stay running up that hill on a long-awaited new record, 'Screen Violence', in the house on red wax, and we finally have the vinyl edition of 'Ashlyn', the debut full length album from Cali indie-pop songwriter ASHE.
Are we dreaming? Nope, it's true, the duo of MARISA ANDERSON & WILLIAM TYLER, trusted keepers of the American stringed-folk tradition, have finally made a record together. 'At the Edge of the World' is seance mode from start to finish, guitars and fiddles blazing away into the night. From the same generation of guitar heroes is STEVE GUNN, who continues to polish his honey-hued voice across electric Pentanglish arrangements on 'Other You'. Somewhat belatedly but no less blastedly psychedelic, we roll in copies of the latest albums from Philly burners BIRDS OF MAYA and Virginia rootsmen EIGHT POINT STAR.
Legendary rapper J. COLE loosens up a bit on the refreshing 'Off-Season', now in stock on LP, along with 'Nightmare Vacation', the latest from trap goddess RICO NASTY. The iconic "silver foil cover" version of MF DOOM's 'Operation: Doomsday' is back in stock, alongside a very, very much overdue repress of KENDRICK LAMAR's statement making album 'Good Kid, M.A.A.d. City'.
Depending on who you ask, Japanese trio BORIS are a psych band, a noise project, or a synth-pop act, but to many they are defined by the artful, post-everything doom of 2000's 'Flood', an (until now) CD-only hourlong suite of solar-powered gloom channeling Reich and 'Dopesmoker'. Third Man has undertaken a vinyl edition of this beast at last, with some stunning cover art, pairing up nicely with the first widely available pressing of the band's 2020 album 'No', which stands up as one of the group's strongest punk-inflected albums of stoney thrash. Aussie pop-punkers WITH CONFIDENCE emerge with a killer third album, and we have a mightily potent trio of new releases from US DIY punk label Feel It Records. Seattle punkers LYSOL dig Dead Moon and Motorhead on the fired-up 'Soup For My Family'; Boston's SWEEPING PROMISES deliver richly-rendered mod pop on 'Hunger For A Way Out', and Portland's SMIRK does a dead-eyed take on Total Control and Television.
Carrying on the tradition of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane doesn't seem too much of a weight for breakout jazz harpist BRANDEE YOUNGER, whose latest album 'Somewhere Different' blends elegance with touches of irreverent funk. UK trumpeter EMMA-JEAN THACKRAY goes all-world on her full length debut, 'Yellow', a cosmic jazz delight. Detroit saxophonist KENNY GARRETT leans afro-latin on his latest sparkler, 'Sounds From The Ancestors', plus back in stock after a long wait, the majestic box set of SADE studio albums, with its title 'This Far' implying with great semantic certainty that there must be more albums still to come!
Moments after putting on the latest album 'Luminol' by Denver gloom-pop genius MIDWIFE, Matt called up from the basement to say "I dig this, it's a heavier Grouper". That's it, that's the review! Another winner rolls in from pop songwriter MEGA BOG, who loves Kevin Ayers just as much as Cate Le Bon (maybe even moreso) on 'Life, and Another'. Guitarist and songwriter MEGAN SIEBE has lent her talents to many mythically great midwestern underground folk records, and now cuts her first solo record which lands mysteriously like a lost 70s private press gem. Texan sound-artist CLAIRE ROUSAY crafts ambient pieces that put you in the room with her, drawing equally on Robert Ashley and Stars of the Lid on 'A Softer Focus'.
Nashville songwriter MADI DIAZ draws comparisons to Patty Griffin with her latest, 'History of a Feeling', plus we've got new Americana slabs from SONNY AND THE SUNSETS and SOUTHERN AVENUE, and a new Spanish language version of ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO's album 'The Crossing' or 'La Cruzada'.
There are a lot of things that only MICHAEL HURLEY and nobody else would ever do; lucky for us he's done so many of them. One such thing is producing and curating his own tribute album, a project which, perhaps not surprisingly, has been in the works a very long time. Some of the songs on 'Snockument: Songs By Michael Hurley' were recorded as far back as 1986. This LP flows like any other Hurley gem, easy to keep playing over and over again, and features covers from Calexico, Yo La Tengo, Cass McCombs, Cat Power, and more. The dynamic, dreamy 1970 debut LP by Canadian folk institution BRUCE COCKBURN is back in print, alongside new editions of the timeless 'Cruel Sister' and self-titled albums from PENTANGLE. The vault stays open for ALAN VEGA, who never died and never will, on a new unreleased session from 2015 that finds him back with a band that includes guitarist Ben Vaughn; if you dug their album 'Cubist Blues', this nocturnal jam continues in that vibe. A nifty new 45 from Third Man sources a pair of out-take versions of BOB DYLAN's 1983 song 'Blind Willie McTell', from the Sly & Robbie sessions that produced 'Infidels'.
DIY hip-hop meets ancestral trad folk on a new album from Niger's MAMAKI BOYS, while a crisp reissue of a 1983 album from Zimbabwe's EPHAT MUJURU restores some glorious mbira-led ceremonials, and the latest in the reissue campaign of ORCHESTRE POLY-RYTHMO brings back their 1974 album 'Le Sato'.
The landmark dub techno album 'Biokinetics' from German duo PORTER RICKS gets a stunning new edition on the Mille Plateaux label, said to eclipse the mastering job done by the Type reissue from a decade back (though I don't envy the engineer tasked with making music this resonant lay flat on an LP). We've got piano records new and old from NILS FRAHM and DUSTIN O'HALLORAN, plus an incredibly dreamy new record from CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA, 'Late Spring', which beautifully illuminates a space similar to the Budd/Eno album 'Pavilion of Dreams'.
Last up, some most wanted reissues include THE DARK KNIGHT soundtrack, a new Verve Acoustic Sounds cut of the lovely 'Trio 64' by BILL EVANS, the greatest mambos from PEREZ PRADO, the SUPERGRASS classic 'In It For the Money', and a pair of long out of print stunners from THIS MORTAL COIL, relevant as ever, 'It'll End In Tears' and 'Blood'.
USED VINYL ALERT:
Quite the dazzling haul in this week's Used Vinyl Alert! In addition to a deep crop of 70s and 80s hard rock, soft rock, and in between, we've got some 80s and 90s grails from Guided By Voices, Slint, Dinosaur Jr, the Replacements, Butthole Surfers, Sebadoh, Stereolab, Pylon, Patti Smith, REM, OMD, the Verve, the Replacements, Game Theory, the Cars, Sinead O'Connor, Blondie, and Yo La Tengo.
Classics are in from Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground, Tom Petty, Gentle Giant, Journey, the Grateful Dead, the Eagles, Metallica, Thin Lizzy, ZZ Top, Leo Kottke, and many more.
Jazz here from Gil Scott Heron, Ramsey Lewis, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Mongo Santamaria, and a slew more latin, funk, and fusion jazz heat on the affordable side. Soul is in from Margie Joseph, Ray Charles, Whitney Houston, Prince, Tower of Power, Sade, and the Temptations, and we've got hip hop from 2Pac, Public Enemy, Sage Francis, and more. A nice run of 80s electro disco and 90s house is in, plus a super rare early Aphex Twin EP.
STRICTLY DISCS IS HIRING:
VINYL PRICING SPECIALIST AND/OR SHOP CLERK:
Excellent customer service skills; ability to anticipate customer needs
A passion for music, anda 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
To apply, submit letter of interest & resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
BILLBOARD MAGAZINE'S BIWEEKLY 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: