Strictly Discs

May 16, 2024

New This Week At The Shop

A month or so back, a short email and a pithy social media post went out informing the world, in plain yet enigmatic terms, that a new album by SHELLAC would be out in mid-May. If your eyes were not trained to catch any mention of this group - which has continued its existence since the early 90s like a Lazarus, disappearing for years at a time only to re-emerge in the same reliable form - you could have missed the news entirely. It has always been this way: the band does no press junkets (although its members are happy to give interviews), their label sends out no promos, there are no watermarked advanced streams, and they tour sporadically to whichever region will have them, regardless of their release schedule. Shellac's music, a sometimes muted, sometimes bombastic strain of noise rock, exists solely for its limited audience to encounter on the band's terms, presented with extreme attention to detail, and all irritating middlemen removed from the picture. Well, all of that ends now with 'To All Trains', which will be the group's final album; guitarist Steve Albini signed out for good last week, leaving behind an immense legacy of sounds, ideas, and methods. Like the rest of their indomitable catalog, this record is a marvel of difficult rock music, full of details that reward to the listener in proportion to how closely they listen. I won't give any more surprises away, but it's safe to say this legendary band is going out on a proper high note. # How about a good surprise, for a change? We have a new record this week from BETH GIBBONS, the vocalist for darkened trip-hop legends Portishead, called 'Lives Outgrown'. With Portishead albums seemingly rare occurrences, its incredible to hear Beth on her own, with a different kind of accompaniment. Produced with renowned UK mixer James Ellis Ford and Talk Talk's Lee Harris, this album has a refreshing buoyancy that plays well against Gibbons' trademark somber lyricism. You probably never thought you'd hear her singing along with a youth choir, for instance. # The third album from BILLIE EILISH is here this week, and it cements her status as the most interesting pop star of the present day. Rather than delivering radio-friendly bangers, 'Hit Me Hard And Soft' keeps listeners guessing with a wild variety of styles, from downtempo house, to funky ska, to noisy EDM. Our copies come on sea blue colored vinyl and we have some lovely posters to give away with them, as well. # Beloved folk-rockers THE AVETT BROTHERS hit a new plateau with a new untitled album produced by Rick Rubin. We have some limited color vinyl copies, and all editions come with a substantial lyric book insert. As a matter of fact, the packaging on this release is pretty fantastic overall!
Bombastic pop balladeers CAGE THE ELEPHANT return with their first album in five years, 'Neon Pill', completed after frontman Matt Schultz faced down some tough mental health issues, and full of material that will quickly win over long time fans. SYLVAN ESSO celebrates ten years since the release of their groundbreaking self-titled album with a a new edition on black and white swirl vinyl and a fetching gold foil sleeve. MJ LENDERMAN's 2019 debut album is back in print, a marvel of Neil Young lyrical ramble and slowcore triumph. MODEST MOUSE's early 00s classic 'Good News For People Who Love Bad News' turns 20 with a new deluxe edition on color wax, with new artwork, bonus tracks, and a big booklet.
A splendid offering of jazz vinyl this week includes a Jazz Dispensary Top Shelf edition of JOE HENDERSON's mighty 1969 album 'Power To The People', which features some of his most ecstatic playing, and a band that includes Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette. HANK MOBLEY's 'Workout' and STANLEY TURRENTINE's 'Blue Hour' both get the Blue Note Classic treatment. DC bassist and composer LUKE STEWART is one of the most crucial voices of a new generation of players, and brings his long-running SILT TRIO to a new album called 'Unknown Rivers', made of takes culled from two recent live performances.
The entrancing, Indian-influenced groove music of Aussie trio GLASS BEAMS has never sounded as intoxicating on a new limited run EP called 'Mahal', in on orange vinyl. Senegalese guitarist and field recorder TIDIANE THIAM delivers serene and transportive ambient folk on 'Africa Yontii'. A pair of classic beat-jazz sessions from Swedish composer SVEN WUNDER are back in print: 'Wabi Sabi' and 'Natura Morta'. JOHN ZORN convenes his NEW MASADA QUARTET (Julian Lage, Jorge Roeder and Kenny Wollesen) for an electrifying series of LPs priced high to benefit his long-running Tzadik label, which has run into some deadbeat distributor woes.
If you're my age, BEN FOLDS FIVE is "that band Mom likes", especially when it came to their early classic 'Whatever And Ever Amen', which ends a long period of out of print-ness with a fresh edition. Partisan's essential run of CYMANDE reissues continues with their third album 'Promised Heights', which contains one of their classic and most-sampled tunes, "Brothers On The Slide". Numero's done a fresh edition of one of their all-time greatest reissues; the 1977 Ohio soul classic 'You Can Fly On My Aeroplane' by the ever-so-appropriately named WEE. This gem is like a playful cousin to Stevie Wonder's Innervisions. Speaking of the Number Gang, they've also brought out another can't miss comp, just in time for the season, called SOFT SUMMER BREEZES, which collects esoteric and addicting soft rock and folk-pop.
Dynamics and catharsis run rampant on a powerful new record from doom-merchants PALLBEARER called 'Mind Burns Alive', in on limited orange wax. Ripping death metal is in from GATECREEPER on 'Dark Superstition'. New York noise-pop trio LIP CRITIC are doing interesting new things on 'Hex Dealer', including naming a song "In The Wawa (Convinced I Am God)". Been there, dude! Modern yet old-school emcee CHUCK STRANGERS is back with his first full length album in years, another stone-cold classic of golden era callbacks called 'A Forsaken Lover's Plea'.

Used Vinyl LP Alert

Here is your weekly update for May 16. 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:

Jazz/Vocals: Woody Shaw, Horace Silver, Billie Holiday, Red Garland Quintet, Richard Groove Holmes, John Coltrane, Bud Shank, Sidney Bechet, Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Max Roach, Chico Hamilton

Rock/Pop: Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation, John Martyn, New Order, Lemon Drops, Grateful Dead, MC5, Toadies, White Noise, REM, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Queen

Soul/Funk/Blues: Ohio Players, Wayne McGhie, Louisiana Red, Bobby Womack, Champion Jack Dupree, Allen Toussaint, Memphis Slim, Leroy Hutson

Hip Hop: Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, G-Unit, Kanye West, Outkast

Contemporary: Matthew Sweet, Avett Brothers, Wilco, Nathaniel Rateliff, Pharrell Williams

Country: Dolly Parton, WIllie Nelson, Faron Young, Merle Haggard

Happy Digging!

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