Strictly Discs

April 18, 2024

New This Week At The Shop

Happy Thursday evening, readers! Record Store Day is in two days, and seeing as we are a record store, we've got a whole lot planned. Click around on our site and our social media for all the details. In the meantime, the usual Friday arrivals haven't stopped! In fact, we've got some rather big ones this week. The headliner naturally is TAYLOR SWIFT, who is delivering us her eleventh studio album. Normally, I'd say "I've been listening to this one all week and you're gonna love it!" but you know that's not the case, as not a note of it has been made available. In fact, at the time of this writing, it isn't even here! We have faith that it will arrive soon, and for now all we can do is speculate on what music it contains. Some theorize it may be a meditation on the Kubler-Ross model; personally, I'm hoping 'The Tortured Poets Department' is a highly-politicized concept album about the Pinochet junta. We'll just have to find out, won't we? Our copies will be on "ghosted white" color, and while there are other things I'm not allowed to tell you about what we will have regarding Ms. Tay, there's no rule about telling you there are things I'm not allowed to tell you about! # In the meantime, lets turn the spotlight towards some incredible albums that won't quite get the same level of shine, but are no less thrilling. I first heard some absolutely entrancing songs from the mysterious duo A.S.O. last fall, and the copies of the LP I've been trying to lay hands on ever since are finally here. The Aussie-via-Berlin duo of producer Tornado Wallace and vocalist Alias Error began woodshedding a new project during lockdown, and emerged with something really special, a modern take on classic triphop that breathes a surprising amount of new life into a long-dormant genre. We've heard several electronic producers make surprise turns towards pop these last few years, but this might be the best one yet. Wallace orchestrates gritty, vaporous breakbeats, while his counterpart intones gently slicing lyricism with a dark and gothy edge, crafting songs that are simultaneously vulnerable and steel-strong. Imagine a combination of that angelic first Esthero album and the menacing Portishead debut, and you're getting close. # When Julia McFarlane (guitarist of the beloved Australian indie-rockers The Twerps) spun off a new group of her own called J. MCFARLANE'S REALITY GUEST, we were all ears. Her 2019 debut was a lovely if unsurprising slab of sharply minimalist post-punk, but now she returns with a whole different thing called 'Whoopee', reimagining the project as a kaleidoscopic interior dream-world. An eclectic batch of influences drift through these brilliant songs: a touch of Stereolab's space-age lily pads here, delirious Goa trance breaks-and-birdsong there, walking basslines and jazzy percussion everywhere, like something off of the first handful of Ninja Tune records, all led by elegant, noirish lyrical confessionals ala Annie Lennox or, more recently, Carla Dal Forno. 'Whoopee' is the kind of record that's probably too esoteric to become a smash hit, but that ain't what we're about around here! # The Peoples Potential Unlimited label has made quite a name unearthing lo-fi boogie funk and electro gems from the past, so anytime they release music from an active group of current-day musicians, you know something good is coming. The new mini-album 'Ramble In The Rainbow' from the Tokyo quartet TAMTAM is quite a reward: this young group has a brilliant handle on lilting, gossamer dream-pop with just the right amount of dubwise, head-knocking rhythms and soul-warming bass. Could see these guys opening up for someone like Thundercat or Brittany Howard and making millions of fans. The only issue with this album is that it's kinda short, but I have remedied that by simply playing it over and over.
It's been the season of HERBIE HANCOCK round these parts, after a rousing concert at the Overture that seemingly everyone in town went to except me. We've been enjoying the recent repress of Hancock's classic 'Maiden Voyage', and now we get its follow up and brother in spirit, 'Speak Like A Child', back in print via the Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series. Despite opening with a track called "Riot" and coming out in the tumultuous year of 1968, this LP offers a melodic refuge from the turmoil rocking society at large. Leading an unconventional lineup that includes flute, flugelhorn, and trombone, Hancock's expressive, colorful playing stays front-and-center for nearly all of this essential LP. Herbie turns up as well on the 1967 touchstone 'Happenings' by vibraphonist BOBBY HUTCHERSON, one of his finest early outings for Blue Note. An explosive 1990 live set from ARCHIE SHEPP & RICHARD DAVIS called 'Body and Soul' captures two players who defined their instrument in peak form, done in audiophile style by the Pure Pleasure label, while the ECM Luminessence Series restores an incredibly organic session from the JAN GARBAREK QUARTET; 'Afric Pepperbird' features some of Garbarek's most daring saxophone work and standout post-blues playing from a young Terje Rypdal.
Grit-rock lifers PEARL JAM return with a great new album called 'Dark Matter' that, like its predecessor 'Gigaton', finds a band in their third decade losing none of the ferocity/velocity that initially propelled them to stardom. Producer Andrew Watt succeeds again in doing what he did most recently for the Rolling Stones: making a gracefully aging band sound young and gnarly again. Black vinyl on this is available Friday, and then a special color edition will be in the crates on Record Store Day! # Fire up your Wizard of Oz DVD, for there is a new 50th anniversary edition of PINK FLOYD's 'Dark Side of the Moon' going live on Friday, this time pressed on clear vinyl with UV artwork. Not sure exactly what "UV artwork" means; something like a prism, innit? # Progressive soft-poppers the MATTSON 2 turn in another clever and eclectic mix of jazzy fusion with 'Bohsheekwo', while APRIL MAGAZINE deliver insomnolent indie in the vein of the Cat's Miaow on 'Wesley's Convertible Tape For The South'.
I'm the parent of teenagers, so I can tell you with confidence that the DLC referred to on JPEGMAFIA and DANNY BROWN's new EP 'Scaring the Hoes: DLC Pack' refers to the extra stuff you download to add on to an existing video game you're already playing. Do you have to own the 'Scaring the Hoes' LP to fully appreciate the new EP? I don't know, but I do know that I have found the least cool way to describe this record as I possibly can. # Venezuelan producer DJ YIRVIN is one of the most recognizable names in the Caracas soundsystem scene known as Raptor House, which exploded in the oughties and has more recently become celebrated worldwide. A jam packed sampler LP called 'El MŠximo Creador' features eleven of his hottest cuts which whip elements of techno, house, salsa, and dancehall together into a club-detonating brew. # The Mississippi Records sub-label Cairo did the music world a solid with their series of American Soul Music compilations a few years back. What these collections lack in slick production budgets, they more than make up for with deeply-plumbed rare tracks from household names, sequenced alongside complete unknowns, and paired with well-researched liner notes for a unique alternate history of the genre. The first two volumes in the series, 'The Love You Save' and 'All Of This Goes Too', get fresh pressings this week, with some slight adjustments to their tracklists, presumably due to lawyers and such. Treat yourself.
Much is deservedly made about the DC punk scene as documented by Dischord Records throughout the 80s and 90s and up to the present day, but they were just one label run by a handful of people; they could only put out so many things! Underground rock lifer Andy Coronado (the Monorchid, Glass Candy, Wrangler Brutes) has stepped into that void with his bespoke label L.G. Records, restoring gems and obscurities from the wildest and weirdest branches of the DC punk family tree that have languished out of print forever. We've got three this week, starting with the never-before-heard debut album from CIRCUS LUPUS, who actually formed right here at the UW in Madison when Chris Thomson from Soulside and Fury moved here from DC for a year, if my timeline is correct. Circus Lupus are a deeply under-rated band: imagine if the Jesus Lizard sounded friendly, somehow. YOUNG GINNS were another band of punk luminaries caught in a single moment. Tim Green from Nation of Ulysses, Justin and Brandt from the original lineup of Unwound, an unknown and untrained young vocalist from the Bay Area, in a band named after Greg Ginn from Black Flag, performing blistering original songs as well as a Void cover. What more do you need to know? L.G. goes deeper into the vault with the never-released 1987 album 'Lysergic Lamentations' by VILE CHERUBS, a shortlived band featuring Tim Green (again) and Seth Lorinczi when they were only high-schoolers, playing a bewildering mix of then-on trend hardcore and the experimental psych of 50 Foot Hose, Beefheart, and the Fugs. Not on L.G. but there in spirit: a new reissue of the HEATMISER but album from 1993 called 'Dead Air', featuring some of Elliott Smith's earliest work as a vocalist.
Time means nothing to the MELVINS, who press on into their fifth decade as a band with 'Tarantula Heart'. An incredible live album called 'From The West' captures the mighty stoner rock trio EARTHLESS in full flawless flight. Rowland S. Howard and his brother Harry spun off from Crime and the City Solution to form THESE IMMORTAL SOULS with their 1987 debut 'Get Lost (Don't Lie!)', back in print this week. TYPE O NEGATIVE's classic 'Life Is Killing Me' turns 20 this week with an expansive anniversary edition.
Founding member of Stars of the Lid ADAM WILTZIE has been making his name of late with some high profile soundtrack work, but he makes a welcome return to his drone home on Kranky with a deliriously sprawling new solo record, 'Eleven Fugues For Sodium Pentathol', which features guest playing from Mark Nelson of Labradford, a Hungarian symphony orchestra, and the mixing hand of the legendary Robert Hampson of Main. We're still riding the chill waves of GREG FOAT & GIGI MASIN's sensual collab album "Dolphin", and now we get a limited run live album from the duo, 'The Fish Factory Sessions', which finds them joined by a rhythm section for an even more transporting experience. BILL FRISELL takes on new ground with 'Orchestras', and pastoral guitarist STEVEN R. SMITH returns with another gem on 'Olive'.
New York post-hardcore unit SLENDER surprise us with a new album called 'Learn To Die' that further extends their secret language of genre outsiderness. Austin supergroup WATER DAMAGE are back with a new double album called 'In E', bringing more hypnotic Reichian rock monoliths. Dutch jazz-punkers THE EX have a vast catalog without a single dud, but 1984's 'Blueprints For A Blackout' stands out for a lot of fans as the point where the band left punk convention behind for something far more avant-garde. Philadelphia's CRASH COURSE IN SCIENCE will forever deserve more credit for being one of, if not THE first synth-punk band to emerge in the United States, forming way back in 1979. They released a handful of small but mightily influential EPs, but their 1981 album 'Near Marineland' never saw release until the 21st century, and it contains many of their most diabolically great songs. For the first time, it's on vinyl now via Dark Entries.
Too much punk? Bliss out with some lush selections of dreamy electronics new and old, with a nice reissue of SPACETIME CONTINUUM's late 90s classic 'Fluresence', a new record from the Canadian duo COUSIN & PRIORI called†'Numina', which deals in pillowy, dubby breaks, a collection of rare tunes the Japanese house producer SOICHI TERADA composed for Playstation games in the 90s, called 'Apes In the Net', and a crucial compilation called 'Lost Paradise: Blissed Out Breakbeat Hardcore 1991-94'.

Used Vinyl LP Alert

Here is your weekly update for April 18. 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 - Dan Fogelberg, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, George Harrison, Eddie Money, Steve Winwood, Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, Jim Croce, Boston, Pat Benatar, Queen, Blue Oyster Cult, Bealtes, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, Foghat, The Cars

Contemporary Rock / Pop - Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, System of a Down, Jonas Brothers, The Record Company, Kid Cudi, Green Day, Maroon 5

Jazz - Herb Alpert, John Coltrane, Quincy Jones, Grover Washington, Commodores, Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery

Soul/Hip-Hop/Blues - The Motown Story, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Donna Summers, Billy Preston, Earth Wind & Fire, The Crusaders, Dr. Drew, Kendrick Lamar, Nina Simone

Happy Digging!

Record Store Day - Event Logistics

Last week's Words on Sounders will recognize this info but nothing wrong with a little attention to detail before we meet Saturday.

Our email formatting be what it is, so be sure to look for these graphics on our website and Instagram as well.

Record Store Day - Event Logistics - Map Key

All RSD 24 logistics and title info can be viewed at

The line culture of RSD headed west down Monroe will be alive and well. But as you get closer to your prize, we're putting on a little something extra this RSD. We can't wait to get down!


We OPEN at 7AM for RSD shopping

Line to form westbound on Monroe Street. We'll have loaded grab bags for the first 50 early bird customers FREE with every RSD purchase.

While in line, you will be handed a menu of all RSD titles

We will pull your requests & you will check out outside

After checking out, browse the event perimeter with fellow recordheads for some outdoor bins of the usual weekly fresh-used LPs, specialty 12s, 45s and RSD merch.

The shop will open for our annual, top-notch used collectibles and normal browsing when the RSD line is gone. RSD titles will be located upstairs.

Harrison Street DJ Sets:

8 - 9: DJ Paul Grain aka Strictly Discs' own Dru Korab
9 - 10: The Real Jaguar
10 - 11: Evan Woodward & Strictly Discs alum Zack Stafford
11 - 12: DJ Bruce Blaq
12 - 1: DJ Nate Zukas
1 - 2: DJ Slimzy aka Andrew Thomas


Yes, we are still buying! Call us at the shop to schedule: 608-259-1991
Ron, Ryan, Angie, Evan, Ed, Eric, Matt B., Steve, Mark, Marty, Brad, Adam, Andrew, Rick, Dru & Ashley.
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