Another big release week kicks off with a proper new album from the gatekeeper of expressionist guitar rock NEIL YOUNG, reconvened with his merry band CRAZY HORSE for the first time since 2012's 'Psychedelic Pill'. The new album, Colorado is available on both CD and LP (and every purchase between now and Sunday at close, will be entered to win a test pressing of the album)! CIGARETTES AFTER SEX follow up their sensational 2017 debut with 'Cry', a lovely album of sultry yet winsome dream-pop that lends itself to, well, the acts discussed in the band's name (we have lovely embossed lyric books free with purchase, while they last). In an unexpected but welcome return, we have a new album from THE DESERT SESSIONS, the loosely-defined pan-genre jamrock band that Josh Homme convened in his Joshua Tree weed ranch in between his time in Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age. The list of participants this time around reads such that you might want to write it on your arm just in case you can't remember it in the morning: Billy Gibbons, Les Claypool, Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa, Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters, Matt Sweeney, Royal Blood's Mike Kerr, and probably Dave Grohl. Literally as of the writing of this email, UK mopey rock icons COLDPLAY are announcing a new record. Third Man is releasing a limited edition 7" to kick off the festivities, and only a few stores in the states will have copies for you. Are we one of those stores? Well, heck yeah man, we are. Stop in Monday for a copy. And lastly, much beloved jam band WIDESPREAD PANIC releases one of their most sought-after live sets in full, 'Carbondale 2000', on a lushly packaged five LP set.
A whole wing of indie songwriter hall of famers deliver new music this week, starting with a deep new record from songwriter SIMON JOYNER. 'Pocket Moon' is replete with the subtly stunning observations that have made him a peer of contemporaries like the Mountain Goats and Jason Molina, and are the reason why he's still the best songwriter to come out of Nebraska (sorry, Bright Eyes). High Llamas founder SEAN O'HAGAN isn't a household name, but his production stamp is all over the early seminal work of Stereolab, and he flexes his symphonic pop muscles on his first solo album in many many years, 'Radum Calls, Radum Calls'. Dreamy folkies VETIVER return with 'Up On High', and we have a great new album of poignant guitar pop from MIKAL CRONIN. Because they get jealous whenever anyone else puts out an album, we have another one from GUIDED BY VOICES, and it's called 'Sweating the Plague'.
Across her wisp of a discography, London's CARLA DAL FORNO has embedded more memorable tunes than most musicians manage in a lifetime. She ups this number considerably on her third-ish album 'Look Up Sharp', a self-released affair on her own label Kallista, which refines her frail, bedsit pop into something much more muscular. Turning the tropes of 'dream pop' on their sleepy ear, Dal Forno towers high here, rendering kiss-offs like 'So Much Better' and tributes to ambivalence like 'Don't Follow Me' with elegantly snarling power. Also back in stock, two LPs from the edges of Europe that share an eerie control of vagueness and the beauty of remove with miz CDF. 'Uzun Havalar' is the revelatory 2018 album from Turkish artist ANADOL, an exquisitely unpeggable suite of noirish jazz-dub that holds itself puzzlingly aloft while resisting the urge to drift off into oblivion at any moment. 'Gallop' is the 1985 album from Greek visionary pop artist LENA PLATONOS, with skeletal synth drama underpinning hushed vocal performances that take the vibe of similar artists like Laurie Anderson or Anne Clark into seemingly ancient realms.
Archival releases are here from a pair of perplexing artists who I'm guessing probably would not have gotten along. Mexican Summer begins its trek through the early tapes of ARIEL PINK with a reissue of 2002's 'Loverboy' and a new comp of unheard tracks called 'Odditties Sodomies Vol 2'. Blessed (or cursed) with an uncanny ear for the entirety of the American pop music canon from a frighteningly early age, Mr. Pink cranked out esoteric tape and CDr only releases with his band HAUNTED GRAFFITI throughout the Bush II era, mastering, disfiguring and discarding sounds within the span of a single song: T-Rexian bombast, AM rock haze, Kim Fowley bubblegum, Cheap Trick sneer, Van Dyke Parks whimsy, and Harry Nilsson's panache all get photocopied over and over again until unrecognizable on 'Loverboy'. A Californian of an earlier era, JIM SULLIVAN recorded 2 albums worth of tunes with studio pros the Wrecking Crew before heading east to make it big in Nashville. At some point things went sideways for Jim and he ended up walking off into the New Mexico desert, never to be seen again. Light in the Attic has made re-centering Sullivan's work in the history of West Coast rock a passion project, and they continue with a reissue of his self-titled 1972 album for Playboy Records (Hef was a fan) and a disc of unheard demos of songs that would later appear on his iconic 1969 album 'U.F.O.'
Hard stuff is in the house from upstarts NYC band WIVES who channel a tougher version of the Strokes on 'So Removed'. Olympia death-metal quartet MORTIFERUM have a late entry for the top doom album of the year with the impeccable 'Disgorged From Psychotic Depths', a dense album of plodding technicality cast in a (dare i say it) grungy haze. Robed warlords SUNN O))) bequeath us with a stunning new slab called 'Pyroclasts', and we have an incredible debut album from a longtime Bay Area musician who goes by ONLY NOW, which manages to blend crushing metal with kuduro rhythms and a whole lot of tension. Never really heard anything like this before!
Enough time has passed now to make HOMEBOY SANDMAN an "old school" rapper, but he hasn't lost a single step on his instant classic new record 'Dusty', which finds his elastic, clever flow working in unison with traditionally funky beats; and we've got a new record from pop-tuber REX ORANGE COUNTY. It's been years since we last heard from the producer TEEBS, who returns at last with an elegant album of fluid electro-pop with diverse guests like Sudan Archives and Panda Bear.
The estate of FRANK ZAPPA gets in the spirit with a selection of performances from his 'Halloween 73' shows. We have this on a single CD and in an expanded box set that comes with a life size Frank Zappa mask, just in case you are still trying to dial up a costume this year. 'Time and Place', the indelible 1971 album from powerful soul-shouter LEE MOSES is back in print, and we have a remastered anniversary vinyl edition of THE KINKS' iconic album 'Arthur'.
On the jazz front, we've got a pair of fresh albums from some units pushing the cosmic gumbo jam sound of the Medeski Martin and Wood axis. There's the cooler poise of 'Activate Infinity' from THE BAD PLUS, and the more lively liquid funk of GO GO PENGUIN's 'Ocean In A Drop'. The Blue Note Tone Poet series continues with two new entries from TINA BROOKS and GRANT GREEN.
Indie, shoegaze and art-pop aplenty from a variety of names, including HEAVEN'S CLUB, a new band from one half of Deafheaven. Bay Area stalwarts KAMIKAZE PALM TREE have a new LP that continues the clever/sexy stylings of groups like White Fence and early Cate Le Bon. FOXES IN FICTION's latest album, 'Trillium Killer', is hook-laden dream fuzz somewhere in between the sound of Wild Nothing and Snail Mail, and on a slightly darker note, we have the solo debut from MICHAEL A. MULLER of Austin's late great downer rock band Balmorhea.
On the reissue front, we've got some heavies. ARAB STRAP's 1996 debut 'The Week Never Starts Round Here' is back, as well as the criminally overlooked late 80s album from THE WIPERS, 'Land of the Lost', which contains just as much kaleidoscopic, emotional guitarwork as their classic early albums. SLOWDIVE's canonical album 'Souvlaki' is back in print in a limited run of black/clear marble vinyl, and we have the 1979 debut by Irish punk legends STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, 'Inflammable Material', back in the house on wax.
A panoply of reissues cover nearly every aspect of the Japanese avant-garde this week, starting with the legendary 1975 album 'Roots of Electronic Sound' by pioneer MATSUO OHNO who, alongside fellow titan Takehisa Kosugi, created an alien soundworld that would be used as the soundtrack for the famed Japanese cartton 'Astroboy'. Little heard live recordings from a rare collaborative live appearance of LES RALLIZES DENUDES and TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS are here on LP, documenting the expansive, ruminative psychedelia that laid the groundwork for modern day groups like Acid Mothers Temple. The Empire of Signs label (Hiroshi Yoshimura, Inoyama Land) continues their deeply-considered investigation of 80s ambient with a stunning set of archive tunes from MASAHIRO SUGAYA, which blend minutely muted synths, piano, and strings. A pair of pitch-perfect LPs that bridge fusion and pop like no other are here, HIROSHI SATO's playful, zoological 'Orient' and NINA ATSUKO's dreamy, latin-influenced 'Play Room'. In a bit darker shade, we have a repress of the lone 1980 album from BGM. 'Back Ground Music' captures another side of the Japanese underground at the opening of a fruitful decade, crafting odd and unnerving post-punk and industrial ambient puzzles of sound.
A thrilling new compilation from Soundway called BODY BEAT collects 2 decades worth of b-sides, dubs, and otherwise deep cuts from the wild and tough-to-navigate world of electro-soca. Soul Jazz delivers CONGO REVOLUTION, a well-considered set of afro-latin jazz from 1950s Congo. Few singers out there can claim that one of their songs became their home country's national anthem, but OM KALSOUM can. The "Voice of Egypt"s most popular song 'Enta Omri' is so epic that it fills an entire record, which is now back in print. This 1964 piece and it's dominance of Egypt's influential radio station ushered in the modern era of music from that region. Years and years out of print, we now have a new LP version of the FANIA ALL-STARS legendary 1975 concert at Yankee Stadium, which captures many of the titans of the Nuyorican salsa movement: Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Johnny Pacheco, Larry Harlow, Willie Colon are all in the mix, it's no wonder they needed a whole stadium to fit them. A fiery new group called LAKOU MIZIK traces the two-way influence of the jazz scenes of Haiti and New Orleans.
Big dogs of the ambient worlds of now and then are in the building this week. We've got the limited collection of K. LEIMER's earliest tape releases on 2LP, going all the way back to the pioneering musician's late 70s albums 'Translucent / Memory' and 'The Mind And Its Likeness'. Private issue new age hero DON SLEPIAN's 1980 release 'New Dawn' is released on vinyl for the first time ever, containing vista after blissful, pealing vista. One of SARAH DAVACHI's more standout releases, 2016's 'Dominions', gets a much needed reissue on LP, as well.
Some real blazers in the house on the techno and dance front, starting with a beautiful new mini album from French producer VOISKI, who takes a deep plunge into blinding, pneumatic trance on 'At the Speed of Love'. UK producers CALL SUPER and PARRIS are constantly reinventing their sound, and do so again with a new collab EP called 'Can U Feel The Sun On Your Back' with two elliptically leftfield trips. House stalwart Fred P is back under his BLACK JAZZ CONSORTIUM alias with a sprawling album that weds tender deep house with angelic R&B. Chicago rave explorer HIEROGLYPHIC BEING has a new record out called 'Synth Expression/Rhythmic Cubism', and we have a powerful new EP from post-dubstep mangler PINCH on the Berceuse Heroique label. Finally, legendary party DJ and reigning king of the disco edit DANIEL WANG emerges from years of relatively quiet output with 'Don't Go Lose This', a delirious two-part re-imagining of Hugh Masekela's afro-electro classic 'Dont Go Lose It Baby'.