Strictly Discs

March 28, 2024

New This Week At The Shop

First up, a bit of business: Strictly Discs is closed this Sunday, which is Easter Sunday. Enjoy your day however you wish, but if you want it to involve new records, please pay us a visit on Friday or Saturday. This week's newsletter starts off on a welcome soft note. A few months after he surprised just about everyone on Earth with the announcement, we've finally got the vinyl edition of ANDRE 3000's new triple album of flute-centered ambient music, 'New Blue Sun'. It goes without saying that, after almost two decades of no new tunes from Outkast and only occasional, fleeting guest appearances from 3 Stacks on tracks from Frank Ocean, Erykah Badu, and Tribe, fans were beginning to wonder if they would ever hear a full new project from one of the most talented, innovative and magnetic figures in modern pop. I'm sure at least one of them even said, "I'd take a 90 minute album of flute meditations, just give me some Andre!". Well, here you go. If you've been lucky enough to be in Benjamin's presence the last few years (anyone? no?), he's been carrying a flute with him everywhere he goes. The first track on the album is called "I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a 'Rap' Album but This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time", and that invocation of wind feels very intentional. He linked up with jazz arranger Carlos Nino in LA, and 'New Blue Sun' was born. An ace list of session guests reads like a who's who of the LA fringe, including Nino, keyboardist Surya Botosafina, guitarist Nate Mercereau, vocalist Mia Doi Todd, drummer Deantoni Parks, and synthesist Matthewdavid. The album is vast; most of these amorphous tracks clock in at over ten minutes, and ebb and flow with a broad sense of patience that will completely disrupt your concept of linear time. The geothermal ambient work of Jon Hassell is a clear comparison here, as well as the sound-collage work of 70s jazz artists like Wadada Leo Smith, Michael White, Marion Brown, and Stephan Micus. It's true, there are zero raps on this record, not even a DJ Drama vocal drop, but I can't imagine a better gateway listen for a new crowd of ambient music fans. # We rewind fifty years for an incredible album that has a similar healing quality to Andre's latest, but has languished out of print forever. Only the most dedicated sample-diggers even know the magic of JOHNNY LYTLE's 1973 album 'People & Love', I'd definitely never heard of it, and now the Jazz Dispensary is here to change that. With an ensemble of relative unknowns, vibraphonist Lytle turns in an incredibly sensual album of moody jazz-funk, culminating in a soaring cover of "People Make The World Go 'Round". This one may not have been on your wantlist before, but it should be now! # Here's a wild one. DC jazz-rock trio THE MESSTHETICS team up with ferocious tenor saxophonist JAMES BRANDON LEWIS for an LP on Impulse. If you've not been keeping up, The Messthetics feature Brendan and Joe, the longtime rhythm section of Fugazi, and guitarist Anthony Pirog, whose aggressive leads now have the perfect counterpart in Lewis. This might be the first time Bob Weston has cut a lacquer for an Impulse release and it is sounding properly scorching! # An incredible new Numero comp restores the identity of a long-ignored Detroit band called MAJESTY CRUSH that you really had to be there for. Or, more accurately, they had to be somewhere else. If they'd been storming stages in Manchester instead of the Motor City, legions of fans would still be paying to hear the songs on 'Butterflies Don't Go Away': they blend a taut yet heavy shoegaze pop punch with a glammy sense of desperation, courtesy of frontman David Stroughter, who seizes the role with a disturbing level of passion. A song like "Uma" has so much conjuring power, you almost expect Mz. Thurman to manifest right out of your speakers.
What's this, are PacNW indie stalwarts CHASTITY BELT going Big Dumb Cups-mode on us with their latest, 'Live Laugh Love'? Ah, a joke I see. Nevertheless, I would welcome hearing their deeply-dreamy guitar bops on my next (first) visit to HomeGoods. # The great DAN BOECKNER has graced many a stage as part of Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits, and many other bands, and now rolls out a new solo album of twitchy, canny synth-pop that feels like a demented version of The Cars, with a rather epic backing band including Brad Laner from Medicine, Randall Dunn from SunnO)), and drummer Matt Chamberlain from Critters Buggin. At last, a mention of Critters Buggin in the newsletter! # Hat-tip to Strictly colleague Matt B for the tip on a reissue of MICHAEL NAU's folk-pop classic 'Mowing', originally released in 2016 and laying under the radar since then. Fans of Cass McCombs oughta tune into this one. # Hat-tip to Strictly regular Peter F for the tip on RATBOYS' excellent 2023 album 'The Window', which gets a new color vinyl pressing this week. This Chris Walla-produced gem of heavy indie-twang lands somewhere in between Uncle Tupelo, Husker Du, and those early Phantogram records.
LA psychedelic soul merchants CHICANO BATMAN have really put in their time, building up a sound that may have seemed a tad outre when they began playing it in the late 00s, but is certainly on trend as of now. 'Notebook Fantasy', their latest, feels like a nice, funky victory lap. Alt-country veteran ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO reinvents himself anew on the playfully reverb-drenched 'Echo Dancing', his first new record in six years, which comes just ahead of his show at the Barrymore on April 26th. Muscle Shoals singin duo THE SECRET SISTERS return with another album of redemptive old time country on 'Mind, Man, Medicine', which is in stock on limited color vinyl and lovingly signed by the gals. Carolinian country rockers SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS leaven their snarl with some gorgeous twin guitar reveries on 'Revelations'.
Bassist RON CARTER's first album as a leader was 1962's 'Where?', which found him teamed up with saxophonist ERIC DOLPHY (also on flute for two tracks!) and legendary pianist MAL WALDRON. Unlike most of her classic albums which featured her voice with minimal accompaniment, ELLA FITZGERALD's 1961 album 'Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!' captures her with a quartet in full swing, replicating the way most people saw her perform live back then. This all time classic gets the Verve Acoustic Sounds treatment, featuring a legend in her prime. More hi-fi quality jazz reissues in this week include TONY SCOTT's 'Music For Zen Meditation', and the EDDIE FISHER QUINTET's 'The Third Cup'.
Post-classical pianist KELLY MORAN returns with a strengthened, hypnotic approach to the 88 keys on 'Moves in the Field', available from Warp Records on clear wax. Alongside the more-requested 'Chelsea Girl', NICO's 'Desertshore' stands out as one of her most approachable albums, heavily influenced by the baroque pop production of her fellow Velvets bandmate John Cale. Its been hard to find a decent repress of this one for decades, so it's nice to have a new reputable cut, remastered from the original tapes. A pair of Numero comps roll in, collecting tunes from the TRAGAR & NOTE labels, while BEEHIVE BREAKS highlights 15 rare funky soul cuts, all headlined by female vocalists like Marva Whitney and Betty Wright.
Speaker boomers beyond style SHABAZZ PALACES make the scene once again with not one but two new LPs. 'Robed in Rareness' dropped digitally last year, a fresh dose of deep space funk and refreshingly BS-free rhyming, and now lands on wax bestowed in pythons. Paired with it is 'Exotic Birds of Prey', a far more experimental session of high-concept post-apocalyptic mythmaking, which fulfills the yin-yang quality of this endlessly inventive project from original Digable Planet Ish Butler. Versatile avant-R&B whiz SERPENTWITHFEET continues to strengthen with 'Grip', featuring guests like Nosaj Thing and Ty Dolla Sign.
'Aluminum Tunes', the legendary 1998 rarities compilation from STEREOLAB, is back in print, alongside a new double album of unreleased 90s material from the legendary ambient bedroom pop duo WOO. 'Xylophonics / Robot X' is issued by the legendary American DIY label Independent Project Press, who have spent decades producing some of the most dazzling, intimate, labor-of-love style record packaging on the planet. A pair of landmark dance records each celebrate anniversaries this week: SOULWAX's banging post-electroclash classic 'Nite Versions' turns 20, while TOSCA's epically chill 'No Hassle' turns 15.
In addition to providing the backing tracks for just about every record on Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound label, the UK reggae band CREATION REBEL cut a series of unstoppable instrumental dub LPs for the label which remain the standard for the genre, over 40 years later. A pair of early ones, 'Rebel Vibrations' and 'Close Encounters of the Third World', get lovely reissues this week. Don't think we've ever seen a copy, original or reissue, of TOM ZE's infamously awesome, marble madness, experimental samba album from 1973, 'Todos Os Olhos'. THIEVERY CORPORATION released their late-career classic, the bossa nova-focused 'Saudade', ten years ago at the nadir of vinyl production, so thats rectified this week with a tenth anniversary vinyl pressing. If you slept on this album like most, don't miss it any more!

Used Vinyl LP Alert

Here is your weekly update for March 28. We'll pickup 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 of the headliners this week:

Rock - Kate Bush, Prince, Davie Bowie, Beatles, Blondie, REM, Tears For Fears, The Cure, INXS, The Clash, Accept, Axe, Saxon, Def Leppard, Anvil, AC/DC, Them, Cream, Pink Floyd, Tom Waits, Iggy & The Stooges, The Cramps, Velvet Underground

Contemporary Rock / Pop - Dawes, Mom Jeans, Sylvan Esso, Drive By Truckers, Decemberists, Jenny Lewis, Zola Jesus, Radiohead, Regina Spector, She & Him, Evanescence, American Football, Black Keys

Jazz - Count Basie, Mandrill, Kenny Burrell, Keith Jarrett, Art Pepper, Miles Davis, Joao Donato, Eberhard Weber, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Eddie Harris

Soul - Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Steve Wonder, Roberta Flack, Smokey Robinson, Sly & Family Stone, Isaac Hayes

Country - Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens, Hank Williams Jr, George Jones

Blues - John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, Albert King

Soundtracks - Quincy Jones, Dominic Frontiere, RD Burman, Dave Grusin, Bernard Hermann, Miklos Rosas, Jerry Goldsmith

Happy Digging!


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