Strictly Discs

June 6, 2024

New This Week At The Shop

It's pop at the tops for this week's newsletter, as we welcome the explosive new album from British star-on-her-own-terms CHARLI XCX. How do we know she's calling the shots? Just look at the cover for 'Brat': an awkwardly compressed piece of text on perhaps the most unappealing shade of green ever, which I assumed was just a placeholder image for an actual cover similar to her past albums. No dice, it seems. So, is this her middle finger to stardom, an experimental hard left into impenetrable avant-techno? Wrong again. If anything, 'Brat' is her strongest claim to the pop crown yet, in a year that's had some real contenders. Bobbing and weaving through brilliant clubby bangers, Charli waxes relatably about her discomfort with fame, crippling self-doubt (its not just for you and me!), how weird it is to hang out with celebrities, and whether she wants a life beyond pop music. After a record this good, she's got even more folks rooting for her to keep at it. Our limited copies come on clear pink splatter wax, and I can think of no better color to match up with the poison-control green we've got going on here. # Sticking with the theme of cover art beef: after a few listens to the phenomenal new album from NXWORRIES, the nom-de-combo of ANDERSON.PAAK & KNXWLEDGE, I've gotta ask why such a majestic album of sultry and slapped-out funk-rap has a rather menacing looking photo of two mountain goats on the cover. 'Why Lawd?' indeed! Is it because rapper Paak and producer Knx are the goats of their respective fields? Let's go with that. The sequel to 'Yes Lawd!' ticks all the boxes of their smash debut: Knxwledge could flip the DMV hold music into a Grammy-winning tune, and his woozy, babymakin' production pours like syrup under Paak's hilarious storytime flows that paint him as a loveable rogue. A-list guests include H.E.R., Earl Sweatshirt, Thundercat, and Snoop Dogg. Limited vinyl is in on a smoke/gold/blue variant. # Puerto Rican drill rapper BAD BUNNYemphasizes the badness on his menacing and salacious latest, 'Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va A Pasar Manana', which came out digitally last year but arrives this week on vinyl. # CHARIZMA & PEANUT BUTTER WOLF were the Nxworries of the early 00s in their own way, flexing verbal skills and sample flips on 'Big Shots', back in print this week on 'apple juice' colored wax.
Unlike many of the artists the Numero Group champions, MARGO GURYAN is not an unknown obscurity whose career fell sacrifice to circumstance. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of her story untold. She is mainly known for her lone 1968 solo album, 'Take A Picture', a marvel of jazzy folk-rock that has gained notoriety recently due to the song "Why Do I Cry" being covered countless of times on Tik Tok, where crying is very on-trend. Guryan wasn't merely a turtlenecked housewife, however: she studied jazz alongside Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman in their youth, penned liner notes for Impulse Records, and wrote songs performed by everyone from Miriam Makeba to Bobbie Gentry. 'Words And Music', a satisfying but not overwhelming three LP set, collects all of her recorded output in one place for the first time, including her album and demos, plus 16 unreleased songs and a detailed booklet. Few songwriters have mined their own life story so fruitfully and continuously as David Bazan has with his long-running project PEDRO THE LION, which roars back to life on 'Santa Cruz', the band's third album since resuming activity in the mid twenty teens. Early songs from this one sound cathartic as hell, both lyrically and guitaricly. Folk-rock supergroup BONNY LIGHT HORSEMAN hit a new level of realness with 'Keep Me on Your Mind/See You Free', a generous double album they recorded at a seaside pub in County Cork, Ireland, and you can really hear the oaky notes, and a biting bit of peaty realism coming through on here. Indie-folkster STRAND OF OAKS has discovered the transcendental work of Alice Coltrane and Ram Dass, which means the beard stays, but the songs about rock n roll have been replaced with soaring meditations on gratitude and impermanence on his latest album 'Miracle Focus'. His massive voice remains a refreshing constant.
As the countless classic jazz albums from the 70s and 80s up until today can attest, some of the best music comes from a group of talented, trusting players just happening to all be in the same place for a short period of time. Thats how it feels while listening to the new album 'There Is A Garden' by the one-off four piece BEINGS, which consists of guitarist Steve Gunn, horn player and vocalist Zoh Amba, bassist and synth wrangler Shahzad Ismaily, and drummer Jim White, all of whom trawl the innumerable alleyways of the NYC experimental scene in more formations than anyone can name. To my knowledge, none of these four have played in a studio together before, and yet their grouping on this refreshing record feels profoundly natural. Gunn's guitar is a tapestry of emotion, White's drumming volcanic, Ismaily handles low-end and bloops that keep things ceremonially cosmic, while Amba channels Ayler and Patti Smith, depending on her instrument. London trio GOAT GIRL reliably re-invent themselves with each record; their latest is 'Below The Waste', and its wonderfully moody art-rock with a synthy lurch, recalling the band Electrelane, who I love to recall and wish more people would. Our copies come with a lyric book and a sticker set while they last. Any booking agent with a decent sense of humor would love to plan a tour with Goat Girl and MAN MAN. Like a lot of things, the LA bizarro-pop institution didn't go away during Covid, just laid low gathering weirdo strength, brought to bear on a potent new record for Sub Pop called 'Carrot On Strings'. I was all set to herald news of a fresh album from Australian garage-pop genuises THE MURLOCS, but what we have here is the band's 2016 album 'Young Blindness', available outside of the antipodes for the first time, and on some of the most dazzlingly bright multicolor vinyl we've ever seen, to boot. A couple of the Gizzard boys are in this band, and if you like the King Giz stuff that sounds like the Kinks, or Ty Segall, hoo boy: this one's for you.
South Korean-born, Berlin-based DJ, producer and everything else-ist PEGGY GOU has quite a few impressive lines on her resume. She's the first Korean DJ to ever play Berghain, the first DJ to appear on the cover of Vogue (sorry Paris Hilton, you don't count), and she's released a slew of tunes like "Itgehane" that, as best I can tell, have gained universal approval from the DJ community at large, which includes an unlimited number of cantankerous, disagreeable pricks. She's released enough EPs and remixes to fill a decent record bag, but her first proper full length finally arrives this week with 'I Hear You', and its a spectacular spread of buoyant, colorful 90's style electro-house, with nods to italo and freestyle. She's even got Lenny Kravitz in the studio here, in perhaps his first appearance on a dance record since he remixed Madonna's "Justify My Love" over three decades ago. French dance-pop giants L'IMPERATRICE return with 'Pulsar', and we've got two absolute gems of ethereal post-IDM in the house: UPSAMMY's'Germ in a Population of Buildings' and 'Statik' from returning veteran ACTRESS each live up to the promise of their titles.
Zambian-born conceptual rapper SAMPA THE GREAT's fantastic 2022 album 'As Above So Below' is back in print on a new color pressing this week. Veteran beatmaker DJ MUGGS closes out the Madlib Invasion Library series with an appropriately bone-chilling collection of instrtumentals called 'Silver Cloud'. Bluesy, baritone-voiced Chicago rapper MICK JENKINS' 2015 classic 'Wave(s)' is back in print, and we've got an expanded edition of the groundbreaking 1998 debut album 'Negro Necro Nekros' from East Coast industrial noise-rap duo DALEK, who were peeling the paint off the walls of small clubs before anyone had even heard of a Death Grip.
You know we've got the jazz for you, as always. This week the audiophile Original Jazz Classics series lands on the 1963 essential piece from KENNY BURRELL & JOHN COLTRANE, which finds the groundbreaking groove duo in a rare lineup alongside Tommy Flanagan on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums. A pair of absolutely essential records from spiritual-fusion organist LONNIE LISTON SMITH are back in print: 'Cosmic Funk' and 'Astral Traveling'. The Mr. Bongo label continues its welcome foray into overlooked Cuban jazz classics with a pair of Areito gems by bandleader JUAN PABLO TORRES: 'Algo Nuevo' and 'Super Son' are rare late 70s albums that blend scorching afro-cuban guaguanco with elements of funky disco, as was the style at the time.
Reissued rock gems this week include 'Japanese Whispers', the early odds-and-sods comp by THE CURE; SMOKING POPES' 1994 classic 'Born To Quit' is perhaps the greatest pop-punk record to come out of Clinton-era Cook County; its been ten years since the release of Montreal globo-pop group TOPS' fan-fave album 'Picture You Staring', and that's how long it took me to hear it! A expanded deluxe edition of this under the radar gem seems timely for Khruangbin season. Philly psych-rock band THE ASTEROID NO.4 deserve to get mentioned alongside other revivalists of the genre like Dead Meadow, the Black Angels, and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, but they don't, because Philly doesn't get enough respect. A very deluxe new edition of their debut album called 'Re-introducing...The Asteroid No.4' ought to set that right.

Used Vinyl LP Alert

Here is your weekly update for June 6. 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: Grateful Dead, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, Harry Nilsson, King Crimson, Duran Duran, The Police, Tom Petty, Depeche Mode

Jazz: Herbie Hancock, Ginger Baker, Kenneth Bruce Gorelick aka Kenny G, Greg Osby, Miles Davis, Reuben Wilson

Folk/Country: Tony Rice, Joni Mitchell, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams Sr. & Jr.

Contemporary: Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Chris Stapleton, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rhianna, Zac Brown Band

Hip-Hop: Lil Peep, Quavo/Takeoff, Lil Yachty, Doja Cat, Gnarls Barkley, Young Jeezy, Flying Lotus, Lil Durk

Soul/Funk/Blues: Stevie Wonder, Howlin' Wolf, Smokey Wilson, Muddy Waters, Taj Mahal, The Drifters

Soundtracks/Comedy: Woodstock, Jaws, Baby Driver, Laurel & Hardy, Joan Rivers, Monty Python

Assorted Classical, mixed International LPs

Happy Digging!

Sell Us Your HiFi! Tuesdays 11 - 3 with Eric

Our HiFi Buyer/Tech, The Flavor That Kills drummer, Madison College teacher and all-around renaissance man Eric Hartz will be downstairs in the shop on Tuesdays from 11 - 3 in June evaluating HiFi buys.

If you have a receiver or turntable you're looking to part ways with, please do think of us. We are a bit selective and are particularly interested in 70s and early 80s silver-face and woodgrain HiFi components. Speakers can be challenge, especially if they take up a lot of space. But we're happy to hear what you have. Live chats with Eric on Tuesdays or a drop-off and a follow-up from us via phone both work.

SELL US YOUR LPS!

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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