Strictly Discs

Email May 10, 2018

MAY 10, 2018:


Two of the 21st century's most reliable bands do us a huge solid this week. Beach House unfurl their seventh studio album, helpfully titled '7', and it's a soothing balm for anyone in need of their bold, bright dream pop. The duo haven't strayed far from their usual formula, but '7' sounds fuller and denser than past efforts, like a cleaner MBV. Gorgeous lenticular artwork on this one, too, with yellow Sub Pop Loser edition vinyl while supplies last. On their sixth studio album, Arctic Monkeys sound like a band with renewed powers as they head into their second decade. 'Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino' is high-powered arena pop, artful and sleek while undeniably catchy. Available on clear vinyl for its initial pressing.

It's been six years since we last heard from Chicago art-poppers The Sea and Cake, and 'Any Day' reveals itself with such gentle assuredness that you won't notice it's been that long. The jazz-rock sophisticates strip away some of the synthetic beats of recent releases here, returning to the feather and eggshell-light breeze pop of their earliest efforts. White vinyl! West coast neo-surf poppers La Luz drop a fantastic new album via Hardly Art, in yet another catchy reinterpretation of their influences, which include the Ventures and the Shangri-Las.

A couple of holes in your Dead Shelf get filled this week. First off we've got a comprehensive set of early Jerry Garcia recordings that seem to date back to just after he first learned to walk and talk. On either 4 CDs or 5 LPs, you've got over ten different coffeehouse, club and radio show performances culled from uncirculated masters, showcasing the roots of his unique vision, plus a booklet of essays and memorabilia. Speaking of memorable, we've also got vinyl copies of the Grateful Dead's 1977 stand at Cornell University, frequently held up as a peak live document of the band. Five LPs in this puppy!

Two titles that many of you have been asking for on vinyl are here on wax at last! John Prine's magnificent swansong 'The Tree of Forgiveness' and Kendrick Lamar's (and friends) soundtrack for 'Black Panther'.

The remastered Tom Waits journey continues this week with two of his cult favorites, 'Nighthawks At the Diner' and 'Heart of Saturday Night', both of which have been out of print on LP for years now.

Guitarist Ry Cooder offers new originals and interpretations of early American blues standards on his first new album in 6 years, 'The Prodigal Son'. Jazz bass legend Dave Holland has a new quartet featuring improv heavyweights Evan Parker, Craig Taborn, and Ches Smith.

"Eclectic" doesn't even begin to sum up the bodies of work of musicians like Ben Lamar Gay and Louise Bock (the nom de guerre of local/international improviser Taralie Peterson). An Ikea is eclectic. Wes Anderson's costume department is eclectic. These two performers (who travel in similar, if parallel circles) aim for the encyclopedic. Lamar Gay has recorded seven albums in the last decade but released none of them; 'Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun' compiles the best tracks from all 7, in a freewheeling Sun Ra-meets-Last Poets-meets-Jobim-meets-D'Angelo suite of cosmic funk. On 'Repetitives in Illocality', released on the Feeding Tube label partially run by defining American freak Byron Coley, Louise Bock stages a personal atonal seance via sax, voice and lap-steel, which you may have been lucky to witness at happenings around town over the years.

We've got fresh hip hop vinyl from Tory Lanez, Denmark Vessey, Eminem, and the Ezra Collective, plus a killer slab of modern funk from Prophet, and something we can't talk about from Earl Sweatshirt.


Ladies we love both new and old deliver some stunning studio efforts this week. We've got fresh albums from time-honored sirens Francoise Hardy and Carla Bozulich, plus two fresh, haunting takes on trad folk from Sarah Louise and Jess Williamson.


The latest edition of the super-fun 'Too Slow To Disco' compilations turns to the country of Brasil and uber-collector Ed Motta, who compiles a deeply funky set of rare boogie, samba-funk and AOR tracks pulled from the Pindorama. The Stroom label delivers a compilation of rare tracks from the elusive Belgian studio collective Pablo's Eye, who's delirious take on dub tracks somewhere between Laraaji and Steve Roach. We have a repress of the 1987 album 'Bload Stations' by the Spanish explorer Polonio, which is a delightfully melodic trip through synth miniatures. The 'Dutch Wave' comp takes a deep retrieval mission through minimal synth and cold wave released on cassettes in early 80s Holland, and does not disappoint.

Two acts that challenge their listeners in very different ways have new releases this week: The Body and Mark Kozelek. Maybe they will collaborate next year. We've also got new releases from Luke Winslow-King, the National Reserve, Marian Hill, U-Roy, Sevendust, Simian Mobile Disco, the Pineapple Thief, Idris Ackamoor, Charlie Puth, and a collaboration between Venetian Snares and Daniel Lanois.

Two big modern classical releases return this week. We've got an expanded 2 CD version of Max Richter's landmark 'Blue Notebooks', and a fresh vinyl pressing of the recently departed Johann Johannsson's soundtrack for 'The Theory of Everything', on blue wax.

Deep into the archives slash mists of time we go with some crucial reissues this week. Japanese improv unit Taj Mahal Travellers pioneered an indescribable freeform organic drone sound with their seminal 'August 1974' live recording, now back on LP. Jef Gilson and Hal Singer's 'Soul of Africa' is a jewel of the early 70s French jazz scene's fixation on Afro-Cubans and is a must for any fan of esoteric, groovy jazz. Peru's El Polen founded that nation's first ever hippie commune and also released 2 absolute stunner LPs in the early 70s, 'Cholo' and 'Fuera De La Ciudad', each endlessly listenable excursions in gothic/traditional hippy/art folk ala Catherine Ribeiro or Areski & Fontaine. Back in print at last!


It's a huge week in the techno and dance world, with a crazy amount of big releases, both brand new and classic reprints. DJ Koze pulls out all the stops on his huge, party-forward new album 'Knock Knock'. UK rootsy house don Steven Julien crushes it with a new album called 'Bloodline'. Call Super's wondrous 2012 album 'Suzi Ecto' is back in print on vinyl, as is the all-time best Chicago house album 'Virgo' from the Virgo Four aka Ace and the Sandman aka Eric Lewis and Merwyn Sanders, who brought machines to life and described the heavens with them all the way back in 1989. Plus new EPs and LPs from Jamal Moss, Maurice Fulton, Melquiades, Sullric (aka Steve O'Sullivan and Ricardo Villalobos), DJ Central, String Theory, Isorinne, I:Cube, Oyvind Morken, Ross From Friends (yup), and an extremely vital Bicep EP with a vibrant remix from Fourtet.



Remember Y2K? The Mayan apocalypse? The Swing revival? It seemed like we might not make it to the other side of those events as they loomed before us, but we're fine. And so, Monroe Street construction has begun, and the disruption it has wracked upon our lives…is not that bad. Really.

We've got helpful directions on our site involving a couple of side streets and gentle re-routing. You can still get here, just consult the map of your choice and give yourself a little extra time.

We’ll still be putting out a minimum of 500 incoming used records out every Friday and we’ll keep bringing in today’s freshest titles. While you’re here, make it count and pay a visit at one of our friends in the neighborhood. Even when a bit of dust kicks up, we like it here, and it's gonna look even better when all this pounding is done!


From Regent Street:

Continue on Regent through the Monroe St intersection

Turn Left on SPOONER ST

Turn Right on West Lawn or Keyes

Turn Left on Harrison St.

We are on the corner of Harrison & Monroe Streets (the street level parking lot outside of the Trader Joe's doors is a public City of Madison lot & the side streets all have FREE 2 hour parking.




Our next MUSIC TRIVIA at the High Noon Saloon is Tuesday, June 5th. Registration starts at 5:30 with the first question from Angie and Marty at 6PM. Save the date for July 10th!

Ron, Ryan, Angie, Marty, Evan, Matt, Michael, Ben, Will, Ed & Isaac

back to top