Strictly Discs

May 23, 2024

New This Week At The Shop

Waving her headstock in the sun like a glinting talisman, Danish musician ML BUCH lets us know what we're in for on her breakout album 'Suntub': a brand new angle on guitar music. If you're attuned to the ever-refreshing world of experimental pop, you know what you like even though you may not know how to put your finger on exactly why. Since a friend passed me the Bandcamp link for this album last summer, I've gone back to it over and over again, charmed by its effervescent atmosphere while trying to solve the riddle of what exactly it is. Buch plays guitar with a modern yet bluesy grace, letting tones arc and ring out here, sampling and re-configuring virtual guitars there; she sings on most of these songs, often doubling and tripling her voice tracks to give it a monkish incantation feel; drum tracks and basslines appear only scarcely, removing all the trappings of typical guitar pop and leaving behind a profound meditation on the dance between Stratocaster and larynx. The blissed-out, vaguely terrestrial music of Julia Holter or Liz Fraser is a reference here, but I also hear traces of the sophisticated pop elegance of classic-period Island Records discs like John Martyn's 'One World' or (hear me out) Steve Winwood's 'Back In The High Life'. It's quite a unique record, and the long-awaited double vinyl edition finally lands here this week, ahead of her arrival in the States for a round of shows including the Pitchfork festival. # Ever since her 2014 debut 'Not So Deep As A Well' arrived without a note of publicity or marketing and instantly became a Desert Island Disc, I've been trying to tell anyone who will listen about Canadian folk musician MYRIAM GENDRON. A decade on, it's a relief to find that others have taken up the cause as well. She's just done a tour in support of Bonnie Prince Billy, and the Chicago indie institution Thrill Jockey has teamed up with Feeding Tube to co-release her latest album, 'Mayday'. There's an illustrious lineup on this one too: folk guitar legend Marisa Anderson is here, as well as Dirty Three drummer Jim White and experimental hired guns Bill Nace and Zoh Amba. Nobody's crowding Myriam, however. Her profoundly sorrowful guitar playing stirs, swells and soars as she branches out into more rough-hewn terrain, reflecting what sounds like a newfound confidence in approaching her carefully considered music with a sense of wild abandon. # Swaggering modern Wall Of Sound rockers LA LUZ return with another flawless record called 'News Of The Universe', which finds frontwoman Shana Cleveland channeling sci-fi writer Octavia Butler while searching for the latest frontiers in apocalyptic, psychedelic garage. From its writing and performance, to its recording and mastering, plus its stunning cover art by artist Mabel Esteban, every aspect of the creation of this record was done by a woman. We're proud to have this one in from Sub Pop on "Luzer Edition" orange crush colored wax. # Just to get it out of the way, CAOILFHIONN ROSE's first name is pronounced "kee-lin", and there's nothing else complicated about her fantastic new album 'Constellation'. Backed by the jazz band of Gondwana label head Matthew Halsall, this gorgeous suite of songs features her piano playing and ethereal voice, which is a dead ringer for Harriet Wheeler from the Sundays, with plenty of room to roam.
After a trio of Captured Tracks releases that moved from melodic jangle to a Pumpkinsian grunge, then a lengthy hiatus, Brooklyn's DIIV make a rather surprising return with a lush, nu-gaze classic called 'Frog In Boiling Water', in the house on limited green wax. Anthemic pop symphonies abound once again on the first album from TWENTY ONE PILOTS in three years; 'Clancy' is in stock on clear & red splatter vinyl. Having proved his range many times over, folk polyglot ANDREW BIRD returns to jazzy jamming on a new trio album called 'Sunday Morning Put-On', featuring guitar from Jeff Parker. I have laughed at him whenever I see him show up on my screen, but I don't know much in the way of a biography of comedian JOHN MULANEY. What's his deal? He seems nice. Anyway, notable comedy label Drag City has delivered a new double LP from him called 'Baby J', so gather the family round for some wholesome entertainment.
UK saxophonist and composer JASMINE MYRA continues her ascendance to the heights of a new generation of emotive and inventive players with 'Rising', her second album for Gondwana. Swedish multi-instrumentalist CHRISTER BOTHEN performed frequently with Don Cherry during the latter's powerful "Organic Music" period; his rare 1984 album 'Trancedance' showcases the multitude of musical tongues that fed into and out of this influential project, and it's back in print this week via Black Truffle. Hammond organ virtuoso LONNIE SMITH struck disco-funk gold with his 1977 album for Groove Merchant called 'Funk Reaction', which gets a mighty necessary reissue from Mr. Bongo. Known far more for his swinging, explosive big band records, DUKE ELLINGTON did up a real solid small group effort alongside alto saxophonist JOHNNY HODGES for the sensuous, bluesy 1959 album 'Back To Back', which gets the Verve Acoustic Sounds treatment this week.
Some of the best compilations out there illuminate a scene that you may not have even known existed. Such is the case with 'TriŠngulos De Luz Y Espacios De Sombra', a sprawling double LP collection that documents the under-appreciated world of Mexican new age music. Compiled with meticulous care by the always-reliable Smiling C and Seance Centre labels, this release immediately affirms the visionary sound of players like Antonio Zepeda, Josť Luis FernŠndez Ledesma, Jorge Reyes, Isaac Alva, and Eblen Macari, who crafted an alternate universe where pre-Columbian folk music and futuristic synth could mingle. Greek artist SISSI RADA constructs a vast environment from the limited palette of a harp, a single synth, and her voice on the beguiling 'Aporia', in from the avant-pop outpost Stroom. The seaside spell-weaving trio GAUSSIAN CURVE (Jonny Nash, Gigi Masin, and Young Marco) return with another classic slab, this one an EP called 'Winter Sun / Fever Dream' which features vocals for the first time. Tirzah confederate COBY SEY distilled the sound of *his* London with his 2022 album 'Conduit', a post-genre freeform collision of bass music, MCing and free jazz that never made it this far west until a recent repress.
As one half of influential electronic duo The Knife, OLOF DREIJER has kept a slightly lower profile than his sibling Karin aka Fever Ray, but its certainly not for lack of tracks. A new EP from him called 'Coral' embraces dreamy, pastel pads and subtly massive low end surprises. New Zealand futuristic R&B whiz JORDAN RAKEI just gets better and better with each record, hitting a powerful new stride on 'The Loop'. Beatmaster MACHINEDRUM drops his first album in a few years this week; '3FOR82' is not an homage to the year 1982 but a quirky formulation of his date of birth. A stunning array of guests on this genre-slippery record includes Tinashe, Tanerťlle, Duckwrth, and Mick Jenkins. The industrial techno underground lost a titan with the sudden death of SILENT SERVANT earlier this year. I honestly don't know what to make of the fact that his final EP, slated for release last fall, is called 'In Memoriam'. Its four tracks are flawless tributes to bygone strains of dark dance music: Detroit techno, Belgian EBM, Berlin dubtech, and UK rave. RIP Juan.
Chicago R&B vocalist DONNELL PITMAN is a huge part of the boogie funk scene that has thrived within and without the mainstream for decades. He's been making singles since the late 60s, most notably his 1982 classic 'Love Explosion', but not until now has he released a full album. Star Creature remedies that with the long-awaited 'Brand New Funk', which sounds like it could have come out in any of the last 5 decades. Speaking of timeless: YELLOWMAN's dancehall bomb 'Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt' turns 40 this year, and gets a fresh pressing on (what else) yellow wax. We've also got reissues of the very long out-of-print bangers from DANGER MOUSE & JEMINI: 'Ghetto Pop Life' and 'Born Again'. A delightful comp called 'Anima Pop: Music From Estonian Animations 1965-1986' collects a slew of irreverent, funky and catchy jazz-pop gems that you have likely never heard before unless you fit into a highly, highly specific demographic.
Last up, some crucial reissues! ELLIOTT SMITH's final studio album, 2007's 'New Moon' gets a fresh minting on silver vinyl, limited to 1000 copies. That's not very many! Ahead of a new album next month, pop punkers THE STORY SO FAR revisit their 2015 self-titled effort. Dutch darkwave legends XYMOX hit a new level of electro-pop sophistication with 1989's 'Twist Of Shadows', which gets a freshly dynamic remaster on color wax. Lastly, we welcome back a fresh addition of the French Touch classic by the duo CASSIUS, called '1999'. Hmm, weren't we supposed to do some partying then?

Used Vinyl LP Alert

Here is your weekly update for May 23. 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/Pop: Tom Waits, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Queen, Rush, Frank Zappa & Mothers, Violent Femmes, Joy Division, T. Rex, JJ Cale, Talking Heads, Terry Reid, King Harvest, Stooges

Jazz: Dexter Gordon, Grover Washington Jr, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Eberhard Weber, Terje Rypdal, Pat Metheny

Country: Dolly Parton, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline

Reggae: Bob Marley & Wailers, Jimmy Cliff

Contemporary Acid/Psych: Comacozer, Electric Moon, Demonauta, Deep Space Destructors

Soul/Funk/Blues: Diana Ross, Howlin' Wolf, Osibisa, O'Jays, Earth Wind & Fire, Roberta Flack

Soundtracks, Classical, mixed International LPs

Happy Digging!

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