Strictly Discs

March 7, 2024

New This Week At The Shop

Hang onto your noggins, as we have quite a new release rundown this week that covers a lot of ground. Fittingly, a week of unusual, bold and strange releases kicks off with the latest statement from KIM GORDON. The other members of Sonic Youth may be reflecting on the past through reissues and memoirs, but Kim stays ever in the now on 'The Collective', a chilling, occasionally perplexing album of her spoken word snarls bedding down with trap beats and industrial noise concocted by producer Justin Raisen, lately known for his credits on the recent Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Lil Yachty albums. This unconventional combo raises eyebrows, until you recall that Gordon was rhyming alongside Chuck D half her lifetime ago, or that when Thurston first met her in 1979, she was already in a three-piece all-female performance art group that had moved beyond the trappings of rock. Kim continues to define cool, muttering about her Eckhaus Latta amidst a smeared soundscape that's part Suicide, part Playboi Carti. # Few producers have put as strong a stamp on modern pop music as Jack Antonoff, who has the Grammy shelf for his work with Lana, Taylor, Lorde, Florence, and Carly Rae as a testament to his studio skills (and likely his people skills, as well), and who has revived his soft-rock band BLEACHERS for a new self-titled album, in on limited cobalt blue. # It's a pleasantly familiar tale: upstart indie band self-releases a brilliant EP or two, catches the ear of a big label (in this case, 4AD), and delivers a breathtaking debut album, which causes demand for those miniscule early pressings to skyrocket. So it goes with London indie-agita dealers DRY CLEANING, who pair up their two initial efforts, 'Boundary Road Snacks And Drinks' and 'Sweet Princess EP' on a new affordable pressing on clear blue wax. # Country-popper KELSEA BALLERINI expands her 2023 EP 'Rolling Up The Welcome Mat' with a second run of takes. # The Verve label celebrates ELLA FITZGERALD in its 'Great Women Of Song' series, while a new 3LP set from ROLLING STONES called 'Live At The Wiltern' recreates another of the band's rare small venue shows filled with rarities from their catalog, this time from the year 2002.
San Fran experimental poppers DEERHOOF are one of the longest-running bands of their kind: staunchly DIY, playing by their own rules, and creating a distinct musical language that is theirs and theirs alone since the mid 90s. They'd already been a band close to a decade when they released 'Reveille' in 2002, but it was their first widely-received album and the clearest statement of their sound, which still rings (to me, at least) as the platonic ideal of what the band could do with their odd combination of Beefheart, Pere Ubu and Devo influences, infused with a chaos half-alien, half-childlike. This gem's been out of print for a dozen years, and is now back on "sun colored" vinyl. # At the height of their term of underground rock dominance, THE PIXIES recorded a total of six sessions 'At The BBC', five with the illustrious John Peel. A selection of those songs were released on a CD in the 90s, but Pixies fans have long clamored for more! A lushly packaged 3LP set put these takes on vinyl for the first time, in full chronological order. # Philadelphia post-hardcore heathens NOTHING helped relaunch the shoegaze revival a decade back with their masterful debut album 'Guilty Of Everything'. With the passage of time, this one's become a vintage item as well, a heavier counterpart to 'Loveless' and 'Souvlaki'. Relapse celebrates with a new edition on black ice vinyl and a striking silver foil sleeve. # Like their spiritual counterparts the Slits and the Raincoats, the all-female German punk band XMAL DEUTSCHLAND weren't invited into their mostly-male scene, so they grabbed instruments and learned to play as they went along, letting passionate rage guide them. Their fiery early synth-punk singles set an early bar for the goth movement, and eventually grabbed the ear of the 4AD label (jeez, that's becoming quite a theme this week), and now its current-da goth standard bearer bringing 'Early Singles 1981-1982' back to a wider audience where it rightfully belongs. # Few teenagers made more of a lasting impact on modern music than Lydia Lunch did when, at the age of 17, she fronted the legendary No Wave band TEENAGE JESUS & THE JERKS. The trio made a hellish clatter of angular speed garage while she redefined what a frontperson could do for a band, shrieking and howling with all of her being. A nice reissue of their 1979 self-titled compilation collects their two early EPs and their tracks from the legendary "No New York" compilation. # One of the greatest albums in the wide world of outsider psychedelia comes from right here in Wisconsin: Milwaukee's MAJOR ARCANA were a short-lived project helmed by soft-rock vocalist Jim Spencer, featuring synth and flute work from the legendary Sigmund Snopek III. We've only ever seen original copies of this rarity once or twice before, so a nice official reissue is quite welcome.
Though highly regarded by Greenwich Village peers like Bob Dylan and Fred Neil, it took decades for KAREN DALTON to gain the kind of acclaim she deserved. Word of mouth, reissue labels, and the power of the internet have finally done the job of getting her name out, especially her 1971 swan song 'In My Own Time'. Her debut album, 1969's 'It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best', is just as transcendent. Dylan said it best: "She had a voice like Billie Holiday's and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed." A new edition from Light In The Attic features audio remastered from the original Capitol reels, a gatefold sleeve, and a new interview with Dalton's friends and family. # Nice up the bossa nova end of your shelf with crisp reissues of JOYCE's 1968 self-titled masterpiece, and a couple from ASTRUD GILBERTO, including the adventurously baroque 'I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do'. # The private press gospel gem 'Like A Ship (Without A Sail)' by PASTOR T.L. BARRETT and his youth choir returns after a long-while out of print. BOOKER T. & THE M.G.'S essential 1969 soundtrack for the film 'Up Tight' is back in print, and we are dazzled by a little heard obscurity from the LA soul duo THE CLASSIC EXAMPLE, which came out in1972 on the same label that released classic, often-sampled records from the Skull Snaps and the Whatnauts.
Before he ever dreamed of scaring a hoe, rap outsider JPEGMAFIA released one of the ineffable cloud rap genre's defining texts as DEVON HENDRYX with 2013's 'The Ghost~Pop Tape'. This strangely woozy, profoundly personal epic poem has been released in various ways as a cassette, CD, or digital release over the years, but never on vinyl until now. # Devotional folk-pop experimentalist EARTHEATER delivers what might be her strongest statement yet with 'Powders', an album of warped, ethereal gems that fulfills the promise of Coco Rosie. # Operating early on under the Dirty Beaches moniker, ALEX ZHANG HUNGTAI made some extremely interesting lo-fi anti-rock music that dazzled with its intense austerity. He's keeping a slightly lower profile under his given name, making freeform sonic collage rooted in a heavily textural free jazz on 'Young Gods Run Free', which features percussion from old friends Shawn Reed and Ryan Garbes from Wet Hair. # I'll cop to not having heard the name of HAKUSHI HASEGAWA before. Generally speaking, when the Brainfeeder label sees fit to do first-time vinyl editions of music that previously only came out on CDs in Japan, you know something cool is about to happen. Sure enough, the 'Air Ni Ni' and 'Somoku Hodo' albums are both something to behold, and challenging to describe. By the time I've told you the hyper-pop fever-dream fusion is as ornate as it is quick, these songs have moved on to something else: a soaring crescendo toggling between 64th note frenzies, gorgeous tapestries of keys and vibes, and breakcore-meets-Weather Report vibe that makes Sweet Trip sound like Lawrence Welk. Fans of Domi & JD Beck, Thundercat, and ADHD medication take note. # Equally fragmented but much, much...muuuch slower is the recipe for Glasgow producer DIP FRISO, who slices and sluices garage pop riffs to a narcotic level on a new self-titled mini album.
You know its a great week for dance records when we can dedicate a whole section to stuff from East Asia and the Pacific Rim. Chinese producer KNOPHA blesses the newly-revived Mood Hut label with an EP of absolutely perfect dream house on 'Kwong', lightly dusted with elements of Mark Fell-esque sound design and gorgeous female vocals. # Also new on Mood Hut, an EP of punchy BOC-esque mellow electro from Australia's COUSIN called 'HomeSoon'. # Soulwax's label Deewee turns us on to the Chinese-Belgian house producer BOLIS PUPUL, who keeps things brainy and fun on 'Letter To Yu', with influences from Yellow Magic Orchestra, Larry Heard and Gino Soccio. # Low-profile Japanese producer KUNIYUKI quietly lays claim as one of the greatest producers of jazzy, sensual deep house, and his 2010 album 'Walking In The Naked City' is a prime example. Elusive on vinyl, this one's back this week. # Aussie producer SEAN LA'BROOY has only put out a handful of records in his dreamy, delicate chillout style, but they've all become classics rather quickly. No reason to doubt his latest, 'Merchant', which is even more full of expertly articulated rhythms. # Few make booty-shifting rooftop tech house sound as exquisite as New Zealand duo CHAOS IN THE CBD, who deliver another banger EP called 'Sirena Deep'.
A pair of absolutely cracking albums from the must-hear Peak Oil label land this week. UK duo WRECKED LIGHTSHIP hit hard with 'Antiposition', a controlled descent into dubwise tribal madness and creative synth world building. These two were foundational in the early dubstep scene as Appleblim and Wedge, and their command of creative low-end rattle remains intact. # Chicago trio PURELINK's debut LP 'Signs' sold out before we could even lay our greasy mitts on it in 2023; glad for a repress of this gleefully abstract dub techno world-ender, which you can file alongside Harold Budd and Echospace. # Miami producer JONNY FROM SPACE hits up the Tony Naples Incienso label with 'back then I didn't but now I do', a gloriously slappy album of downtempo bleep. You don't see any capital letters in that title, do you? That means we are chilling out here. # Speaking of the big chill, few do the style as gracefully cinematic as the veteran producer FUNKI PORCINI, who compiles some lovely, rare-on-vinyl tracks on... 'Incredible Vinyl'. If that's not on the nose enough for you, the cover features a vinyl couch. # Portland producer STRATEGY has spent the past two decades making creative, bespoke techno, regardless of trend. His latest is 'The Wet Room', and it is a thrilling, eclectic dive through poppy IDM and shimmering trance. # Ok ok, lots of techno this week, but if you're still reading, your reward is perhaps the best of the bunch. 'Thoughts and Emotions' by UK producer DARREN NYE is a full-fledged cinematic electro masterstroke worthy of comparison to Fingers and Hood.
Words fail to quite describe the experience of hearing 'Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning', the latest album from CHIEF ADJUAH (formerly known as Christian Scott) which came out digitally last year but gets a vinyl release this week. The New Orleanian musician draws on traditions of the First Nations of North America, as well as the West African diaspora, tossed up in a Creole mix that I have no choice but to call a gumbo! This is incredibly powerful stuff which at times sounds like it could be coming from many centuries ago, until a drum machine or digital delay snaps back to the present day. # Chicago saxophonist and composer ISAIAH COLLIER has wowed Madison audiences with frequent visits alongside his group The Chosen Few, and now we get a taste of his live magic with 'Parallel Universe', a new double album recorded live in one take on the direct-to-disc label Night Dreamer. This jam-packed session careens with care from Afro-cuban styles to blues and gospel-influenced cuts. # Post-everything vocal futurist MOOR MOTHER returns with another epic album of abstract jazz/lofi blues called 'The Great Bailout', with guests like Lonnie Holley and Angel Bat Dawid. # Folk songs of the Palestinian liberation movement appear on vinyl for the first time with a new edition of 'The Dawn', a 1987 recording by the AL-FAJER GROUP, a quartet of oud, guitar, hand percussion, and the beautiful vocals of Sima Kanaan. # Palestinian beatmaker MUQATA'A's bass-heavy beat tape 'La Lisana Lah' lands on vinyl for the first time. # Long championed by prolific composers Charlie Haden and Jon Hassell, the 1975 recording of Guatemala's SAN LUCAS BAND is a truly unique excursion into non-Western scale and pitch. This collection of funeral marches will appeal to any fan of Albert Ayler's 'Spirits Rejoice' or Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra.
Brazilian fusion trio AZYMUTH only made good albums, and you can't go wrong picking up any one of them. My gateway, like many, was 1980's 'Outubro', which cast their strutting funk in a slightly more modern sheen, led especially by the vocoder-driven, slap-bass seance "Dear Limmertz", and is back in print this week. # The 1970 album 'Seasons' by PETE JOLLY is such a perfect example of grooving, thematic cool jazz, I'd probably have a harder time convincing you not to buy it. # Early Nuyorican salsa fire from Larry Harlow returns with 'Vision Divina' by LA CONTROVERSIA. # A pair of Japanese jazz inflected city pop gems land from NANAKO SATO and MAI YAMANE. # A nice reissue from Dig This Way restores a one of a kind record from 1987 Nigeria: ALPHONSUS IDIGO's 'Search' has touches of boogie funk and digital reggae.
'The Surgeon Of The Nightsky Restores Dead Things By The Power Of Sound', a deep 1987 album from JON HASSELL that's been hard to find for decades, returns this week, alongside a freshly pressed edition of the BRIAN ENO classic 'Music For Airports'. JOZEF VAN WISSEM and Jim Jarmusch's group SQURL's soundtrack for 'Only Lovers Left Alive' is back in print. New York's DISCOVERY ZONE turns in crystalline pop on a PC Music tip with 'Quantum Web'. Ambient composers JESSICA EKOMANE and LAUREL HALO share a new LP from the Editions GRM label. Fourth world home-taper CHARLES ESPOSITO's ambient jazz obscurities are celebrated on 'Accidental Music 1987-1991'.
We close things out with compilations galore. The mysterious UK coalition LIGHT SOUNDS DARK stirs up controversy with their unlicensed and uncredited collections of deeply-plumbed electro, synthwave, and occult industrial, but you can't fault their impeccable taste. You also can't identify any of the tracks on 'Intersection On The Point Of Parallel Vol. I and Vol. II' unless you are the Terminator programmed with all the information of the 2000's blog era. # A pair of Numero comps styles as soundtracks to forgotten movies provide an excellent framework to bring together moody garage, forlorn country, and loneristic R&B. Check out color vinyl pressings of 'You're Not From Around Here' and 'They Move In The Night'. # The best compilations tell you exactly what's going on inside them with their title, and that's certainly the case with the second volume of veteran UK balearic selector Paul Hillery's 'Folk Funk & Trippy Troubadours'. # A nice pair of collections go deep on the psychedelic folk of 70s Japan and the psychedelic funk of 70s Turkey!

Used Vinyl LP Alert

We'll update this section weekly where the Thursday night sneak peek video on our @StrictlyDiscs Instagram and Facebook left off. No frills. Just the artists. The rest is for your 500+ fresh-used digging pleasure downstairs. Some standouts this week:

Rock: Tracy Chapman, Rare Bird, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Grace Potter, Toto, John Lennon, Elton John, The Raconteurs + Jack White + The White Stripes, Band of Horses, Pixies, The Band, Doobie Brothers, The Stooges, Ratt, Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy, Doobie Brothers, Janis Joplin, INXS, Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly and Styx

Blues: Jonny Lang, J.J. Cale

Soul: Stevie Wonder, Commodores, Tina Turner, Pointer Sisters, Lizzo

Hiphop: Tupac/Makaveli, Dr. J.R. Kool, Run DMC, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Lady of Rage, Fat Boys, Deion Sanders, Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thugs, Project Pat, G-Unit, 2 Live Crew

Country: Willie Nelson, Alabama, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams, Jimmy Wakely

Jazz: Maynard Ferguson, Wes Montgomery, Yellowjackets, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Quincy Jones, Bill Evans

Soundtracks: The Story of Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever, Shaft

Happy Picking!

Record Store Documentary "Flipside" Sponsorship

Executive Produced by Judd Apatow, Flipside sees filmmaker Chris Wilcha revisit Pompton Lakes, New Jerseyís Flipside Records & Tapes, where he once worked at as a teenager. Through a smattering of Ira Glass and David Bowie stories coheres into something strange and expansive: ďa meditation on music, work, and the sacrifices and satisfaction of trying to live a creative life.Ē

We attended the First Look at the Fest last night and canít wait to watch some flicks April 4-11. The fest guide publishes in print today and online at The Isthmus.

Indy music retail supporting an indy film about indy music retail. Irony has never been so entertaining. Enjoy!

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