Strictly Discs

November 11, 2021


A huge week of new releases from all over the world kicks off with one that's very local to us here in Southwestern Wisconsin. It's been a few years since the Numero Group took the unexpected but perfectly sensible step of buying the digital rights to the Cuca Records catalog, making the entire Wisco roots label roster available on streaming services for the first time, and carrying the torch for a very important ethnographic project first begun by our friends at the Mills Music Library here at the UW. Now we get to reap the rewards of their first vinyl compilation, 'DRIFTLESS DREAMERS IN CUCA COUNTRY', a raucous and revealing trip through the archives of one of the American century's greatest independent labels, which turns up all manner of country, folk, polka, and pop gems like only the Numero curators can do. With the nation's eyes on Wisconsin for some less than stellar reasons lately, it's nice to have this lovely celebration of the wild and woolly side of the Driftless region in the shop, including some copies on 'glacial blue' vinyl. After a string of very successful albums of swaggering Americana, what next for NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHT SWEATS? We find out on 'The Future', in the shop in a striking limited edition gold foil sleeve with 'black ice' vinyl. Modern blues legends GOV'T MULE return with a new album of originals and covers, on blue smoke vinyl, and we have a new album from the explosive UK noir punkers IDLES.

On her masterful new album as GROUPER, Liz Harris perfects a minimalist folk habitat, like a small bird adorning its nest with twigs. To the uninitiated, the results may look uneven, but everything has been placed with purpose. Your only invitation is to come inside and have your own unique experience within its tunneling, mystifying structures. 'Shade' is perhaps the strongest overall album from Harris' very-long running catalog, with a closing track in particular that ought to come with some kind of warning from the FDA. It contrasts well with the equally immersive maximalism of the new album from guitar titans ENDLESS BOOGIE, who ably carry the banner of the Hooker n Heat album from which they get their name on a fresh double LP of sauntering stoner blues. Tropical jazz fusion with an irresistibly tender center thrives on 'Traditional Heart', a new record from German multi-instrumentalist GIANNI BREZZO. British ensemble VANISHING TWIN must have one hell of a record collection; a phenomenal new record from them sounds like Broadcast covering Martin Denny, with a helping from Can's multidisciplinary palette.

Another stunner arrives from one of the modern era's greatest lyricists, COURTNEY BARNETT, who leaves her formula for slack pop perfection intact on 'Things Take Time, Take Time', available here on limited blue vinyl. Chicago indie pop original BONZIE delivers a fresh record of slinky, low-key pop inflected with R&B ala Sylvan Esso on 'Reincarnation'. Up and coming social media influencer TAYLOR SWIFT continues to re-envision albums from earlier in her career with 'Red (Taylor's Version)', expanded to 4 LPs with the inclusion of 9 vault tracks. We will be receiving stock on this release during the day on Friday, so please be patient. LA songwriter KATELYN TARVER makes a touching debut on 'Subject To Change'.

The second volume in the JONI MITCHELL archive releases arrives, with a new 5 CD set covering her Reprise label years from 1968 to 1971, alongside a resplendent triple vinyl set featuring her full debut Carnegie Hall performance from 1969. 'Live at the Forum '76', a huge live release from THE EAGLES, sees its first ever release on vinyl, and we have a new gold wax edition of the mighty WAR's 'Greatest Hits 2.0'.

Just a bit over 30 years ago, the scruffy dudes in NIRVANA and producer Butch Vig hauled into a studio in Van Nuys to make a record. Whether they knew it or not, they were re-stranding the DNA of rock and roll itself. In the vast expanse of time between 1991 and now, we have heard some version of this story enough times to make it seem banal, but if you can find a way to hear this record with fresh ears, it's still capable of knocking you flat on your ass. 'Nevermind' is reissuedthis week on a remastered LP in a gatefold sleeve with a bonus 7", along with a 2CD edition with a disc of ferocious 1991 live material, and as a super deluxe 5 CD set. A pair of crucial reissues from Merge document where it all began for THE CLEAN, the New Zealand trio who fed a mash of surf rock, psychedelics, and upstart punk into their own still on a pair of EPs, 'Boodle Boodle Boodle' and 'Tally Ho!' way back in 1981. Just a few years later, Kansas indie pioneers THE EMBARRASSMENT followed suit with their classic mini-album 'Death Travels West', back in print now on LP.

Too much ruckus for you? Lettuce chill out with a new ambient album from Blur's DAMON ALBARN, 'The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows'. We recently lost longtime flautist and soundtracker JOEL VANDROOGENBROECK, renowned for his series of albums on the Coloursound library label, and now we have an incredible single LP overview of the best moments from over a dozen records with 'Far View'. British producer LEIF turns in another stellar album of stark, detailed ambient depth charges ala Tim Hecker or Richard Skelton on '9 Airs'. With his melodic roots in the dramatic, fuzzy post-punk of his prior band Vazz, pianist HUGH SMALL delivers emotional keyboard work that plays well with the reeds of his much younger collaborator BRIAN ALLEN SIMON on 'The Side I Never See'.

An early classic from BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS, 'Soul Revolution Part II', stems from their brief, fertile period working with producer Lee Perry, and is reissued this week on red wax. A new collab from AESOP ROCK & BLOCKHEAD is called 'Garbology' and comes on random color vinyl. A new record from digital-dub whiz DISRUPT goes to a heavy scifi realm, and we have a fresh repress of the incredible rap/calypso/disco gem from 80s Trinidad act BROTHER RESISTANCE on 'Rapso Takeover'.

'The Invisible Girls' was a brief late 70s project of producer MARTIN HANNETT and keyboardist STEVE HOPKINS from the earliest days of Factory Records, and a new LP collects their oddball assortment of tracks that play chicken/egg with Joy Division and the Durutti Column. 'In Absentia', the 2003 breakout album from PORCUPINE TREE gets a nice reissue, and we've got new records fromULVER (which I think was meant to be here before Halloween) and DAVE GAHAN & SOULSAVERS.

Two long-demanded albums from CAGE THE ELEPHANT are back in print on limited color pressings this week, 'Tell Me I'm Pretty' and 'Melophobia'. Not sure why, but the bands TROPICAL FUCK STORM and PSYCHEDELIC PORN CRUMPETS always get lumped together in my mind, and this week they *both* have new albums out on LP. How bout that.Stylish jangle pop perfection comes through on a debut album from CHIME SCHOOL, while CHARLIE HICKEY blesses Phoebe Bridgers' Saddest Factory label with an album that shares her knack for pop-confessional brilliance.

Guitarist and vocalist MELANIE CHARLES revisits torch classics from the Verve catalog, recasting them as pleas for appreciating the labor of black women on a powerful new album.
Longtime NYC saxophonist and composer DARIUS JONES has a daring new solo slab called 'Raw Demoon Alchemy', featuring reworks of classics from Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman, and Roscoe Mitchell. A positively jubilant new(ish) album from Johannesburg's SISONKE XONTI finally hits the vinyl format, and a new reissue from Matsuli Music rescues a deliriously groovy early Cape Jazz record from organist GIDEON NXUMALO.

Unclassifiable international pop update: at last, the Freedom to Spend label brings us their reissue of the 1992 debut album from French sibling duo UMAN, 'Chaleur Humaine'. Take a braised Orb, some sliced Julee Cruise, and drizzle with a bit of Art of Noise aioli to make this deliciously weird dish. The Growing Bin label plunks down an absolute doozy of obscure soft rock perfection from GUY MAXWELL with a new reissue of his lone 1980 album, 'Outside My Window'. Uruguayan folk rocker turned synth popper EDUARDO DARNAUCHANS found the absolute sweet spot between those two sounds on 1985's 'Nieblas Y Neblinas', a dead rare album which delivered a track on last year's stunning 'America Invertida' comp. Azymuth founder and generational groove rider IVAN CONTI has a new double A-side EP with jazz unit GRASSMASS that is a real big mood.

Aussie gentlemen LOW LIFE drop a bomb of gazey wave fit for the first generation of 4AD on 'From Squats To Lots: The Agony and XTC of Low Life'. Haunting, sad and revelatory darkness comes in from EMMA RUTH RUNDLE on 'Engine Of Hell'. Glaswegian trio SOURSOB channel Huggy Bear, Red Monkey, and Shop Assistants on their jolting debut, while a new Swiss trio ONETWOTHREE connects three bassists from the earliest days of post-punk (Klaudia Schiff was in Kleenex/Liliput).

A gorgeous new LP collects four long pieces for Buchla easel by SUZANNE CIANI, from a recent live performance in Switzerland. A new LP from LA producer BENEDEK blends raw techno and modern funk for the perfect album of bangers. A new compilation from the Italian label Random Numbers called SECOND WAVE collects a slew of quality electro and illbient tunes from Bologna and beyond recorded during lockdown. A pair of records are back in print from ARPANET, yet another alias from Gerald Donald of Drexciya infamy, 2002's 'Wireless Internet' and 2006's 'Inertial Frame'. Last up, a proper remastered reissue of one of the greatest, and earliest deep house records to come out of Detroit, 'Ocean Between Us' by THE WAMDUE KIDS.


An extra-special haul is here in this week's used vinyl alert, as we roll out eye popping runs of some classic rock, psych, and jazz titles. Early and collectible pressings are in from David Bowie, King Crimson, the Kinks, Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Blue Cheer, Bob Dylan, John Fahey, Bert Jansch, Tim Buckley, the Groundhogs, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Captain Beefheart, Skip Spence, and Tim Buckley.

Highest quality jazz is in from John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Pharaoh Sanders, Thelonious Monk, Red Garland, Eric Dolphy, Roland Kirk, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, Jimmy Smith, and many more. Some very rare pressings here.

A deep trove of new wave, punk, and other 80s flotsam is present, including LPs from the Clash, the Cars, Duran Duran, Devo, Camper Van Beethoven, Abba, Sisters of Mercy, the Tar Babies, Alien Sex Fiend, Lords of Acid, the Meatmen, Ministry, Violent Femmes, INXS, the Cure, and Cabaret Voltaire, plus some killer early acid house and industrial comps.

Copious country is in from Glen Campbell, Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle, the Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, and Dolly Parton. Soul and R&B comes through from Al Green, Archie Bell, Whitney Houston, David Ruffin, Otis Redding, James Brown, and many more. Reggae is here from Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Max Romeo, and Peter Tosh. A nice assortment of blues, folk, and bluegrass, as well as some choice soundtracks and children's LPs as well!


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


Strictly Discs will be the place to be this Post-Thanksgiving-Shopping-Melee-Day, also known as Black Friday.

And that's because certain indie stores across the country will be the place to get special releases created just for you, for giving and getting this holiday season, and they're scheduled for release on Black Friday, November 26, 2021.

Now, this is not Record Store Day, Jr., but it is brought to you by the powers-that-be at Record Store Day. This is a group of special releases you can only find at certain independent record stores nationwide. The magic of these pieces (many uber-limited) is that every one of them is something someone will really LOVE to get, and you'll really ENJOY giving. And you may have the added nice feeling of supporting a local, independently owned (Strictly Discs, Independently Owned since 1988) business during the holidays.


The DEADLINE for making or modifying Black Friday Wishlists wasWednesday, September 22 at 10AM.

Ron, Ryan, Angie, Marty, Evan, Matt, Ed, Jack, Eric, Steve, Nick, Matt B. & Mark

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