Strictly Discs

October 31, 2019

There's so many great new records to warm up your igloo this week! We start with the latest from MICHAEL KIWANUKA, the UK indie-folk rising star who's naked brilliance shines stronger with each album. 'Kiwanuka' is rooted songwritership painted with a psychedelic soul brush, and a beautiful vinyl edition is here on yellow wax. Speaking of naked, that's SUDAN ARCHIVES herself cast in bronze on the cover of her first full-length album for Stones Throw. 'Athena' is a full-blown realization of the stunning prospects hinted at in her early EPs, as the violinist, singer and beat-maker crafts boundary-pushing, expressive R&B influenced by Greek myth and Francis Bebey. If you didn't get the memo, HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH are not only cool again, they always were. On 'Imperfect Circle', we're treated to a more oakened version of Darius Rucker's baritone and it is very nice. Bandleader, pianist, TV star, and overall great-at-literally-everything guy JON BATISTE has a new live disc out documenting his residency at the Village Vanguard last year, and covers his more raucous New Orleans-influced side.

The latest entry in the BOB DYLAN 'Bootleg Series' investigates his late 60s recordings in Nashville as he immersed himself in country roots while cutting LPs like 'John Wesley Harding' and 'Nashville Skyline'. While holed up in Music City, Dylan played in several sessions with JOHNNY CASH and the Scruggs Brothers, which are documented here in comfortable detail. 3 CDs on this one, or 5 LPs. The ROLLING STONES' iconic bonfire of an album 'Let It Bleed' turns 50 this year, so we've got new expanded/recut editions of that one, and we revisit R.E.M.'s true blockbuster album 'Monster' with alternate takes, new artwork and photos, and present-day reflections from the band on the record that almost broke them up before reviving their reputation as a touring force. 

Melodic indie delights abound, starting with the debut album from long-timers CUP. The duo of YUKA HONDA (Cibo Matto, Plastic Ono Band) and NELS CLINE (Wilco, Geraldine Fibbers) have a whole new thing here with 'Spinning Creature', an inviting, enveloping album of abstract vocals, guitar, flute and electronics that finds the pair in top, ambitious form. Atlanta trio OMNI deliver their Sub Pop debut; 'Networker' is lightly-slackened, literary indie that sounds like Parquet Courts after a calming nap. TURNOVER bring us heartfelt, melodic pop in the 90s Merge vein on 'Altogether', and we have an overdue new album from the COLD WAR KIDS.

In the mid-1980s, the members of XTC reconfigured as the DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR to pay tribute to the psychedelic pop groups of their youth. Initially billed as the work of a new mystery band, '25 O'Clock' and 'Psonic Psunspot' outsold classic XTC albums for a very long time, and now they are back on LP. Industrial synth pioneers SKINNY PUPPY added guitar on their 1989 album 'Rabies', now considered one of their finest LPs. Louisville artpunks RODAN channeled their love of chamber music, hardcore and Slint into one perfect album in 1994, and recently found early demo recordings from a '93 Baltimore session that nobody's ever heard before. LIFETIME's anthemic pop-punk classic 'Jersey's Best Dancers' is back in print on LP, and we have a killer live record from the CLANDESTINE QUARTET, a group consisting of RICHARD and ALAN BISHOP from Sun City Girls, bonkers drummer CHRIS CORSANO, and UK improviser MICK FLOWER. Fans of the Girls' more guitar-oriented simpatico will love this one. 

UK psych seductress JANE WEAVER has a new project called FENELLA, and delivers unto us a marvelous soundtrack to the cult 1981 film 'Fehérlófia', by Hungarian animator Marcell Jankovics. If you've never seen this mind-alteringly trippy movie, find a way. Weaver's score is a truly wondrous companion, full of lavish soundscapes, poignant synth drama, and the occasional ominous note. At last year's Marfa Myths festival, CATE LE BON and BRADFORD COX met for the first time and holed up in a studio for a week to record a collaborative EP. Two pillars of contemporary 400-level pop working in unison doesn't always mean instant magic, but it does here, as both artists offer up songs faintly reminiscent of their recent work, and much farther off from it. Another fruitful duo of yore returns as well, as we have a much-needed new vinyl pressing of BETH GIBBONS and RUSTIN MAN's masterful 2002 album 'Out of Season'. Fans of Portishead and Talk Talk eagerly embraced this one when it was released, though it does a remarkable job of steering clear of both bands sounds, landing in a realm of enchanted, if bleak, folk beauty. Dazzling folk inspired by the American Southwest is here from ITASCA, and we have a gorgeous new album of neo-classical expressionism from RACHEL GRIMES.

Solo key-tinklers turn up big this week with a CD from NILS FRAHM collecting all three of his 'Encores' vinyl releases in one spot; a new live disc is in from KEITH JARRETT, and we have a new repress of the astonishing 2015 Buchla/cello album from CATERINA BARBIERI, 'Born Again in the Voltage'. 

Decades on from his albums with Stars of the Lid which changed the whole game for contemporary American ambient music, Adam Wiltzie is back with his new duo A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN alongside frequent soundtrack-man Dustin O'Halloran. 'The Undivided Five' is their first album for Ninja Tune, and it's blissful, dilaudid-dosed contemporary classical inspired by Hilma Af Klint and the "Fifth Chord". Norwegian disco-house producer LINDSTROM continues to stray from the funky bangers of his early days and while those tracks really knocked, I have no problem with the more meditative, free-range Schulze action going down on 'On A Clear Day I Can See You Forever'. Just as zenned-out is the latest LP from ambient trio SHORELIGHTS, on the always reliable Astral Industries label. Helmed by ROD MODELL of Deepchord fame, 'Bioluminescence' is a purely ephemeral affair, as swirling bits of sonic particulate foam, swirl, and hang in an endless dance. 

Leeds, UK post-punk band DELTA 5 shared stages (and members) with Gang of Four and the Mekons, but didn't see the same lasting fame. It's too bad! Many classic, taut and timely songs appear on the 'Singles and Sessions' compilation we have now from Kill Rock Stars. The weed priests of OM have new live album out called 'BBC Radio 1'. The Numero Group brings us yet another hero we didn't know we had with a compilation of the fascinating Israeli rocker CHARLIE MEGIRA. You'll never really hear *all* the amazing music RYUICHI SAKAMOTO has made, but you could at least start with his proper solo debut, 1978's 'Thousand Knives Of Ryuichi Sakamoto'. Made quickly on the heels of his graduation from the influential Tokyo University of Art and as he was becoming a very in-demand session musician, Sakamoto prefaced his later work with Yellow Magic Orchestra through an album that basically summed up the entire state of the Japanese pop avant-garde in one shot. It's now available on LP outside Japan for the first time in history. 

Two releases from BOOKER T. JONES this week span close to 50 years of time. If this seems improbable to you, recall that the man co-wrote the soul-jazz hit 'Green Onions' when he was still in high school. High school! Anyway, Jones delivers a new record that accompanies his memoir, 'Note by Note', and we have a new vinyl repress of the 1970 classic from the M.G.'S, 'Melting Pot' which is pound for pound one of the best funky soul-jazz crossover albums in human history!

APOLLO BROWN pays homage to his hometown with 'Sincerely Detroit', a sprawling new album with tons of guests from the D. Vinyl comes on this one next week. We've also got a new LP from alt-country boyo RAYLAND BAXTER, which is a tribute to fallen rap star Mac Miller. 

Released in the mid-80s by the influential Original Music label, JAMIILA: SONGS FROM A CITY is a collection of songs from a group of Somalian pop musicians who otherwise did not record. As such, it's a one of a kind document of traditional folk music intertwining with encroaching pop technologies of the studio, and it's been nearly impossible to find a copy for years. That's remedied briefly with a new LP repress that includes some research notes, and a lovely rendition of the original cover art. On a similar wavelength, we have a new pressing of the incredible late 70s recordings of MAMMAN SANI, a Nigerien musician who is likely the first musician to play traditional Sahelian music on the organ. 

German jazz ensemble FAZER have quickly set-up shop as a vanguard for futurist fusion in their city of Munich, and we now belatedly have their latest album 'Nadi' up for grabs. One of the better "never been heard before" discoveries in recent memory comes in the form of Paul Gardner's score for a 1979 TV crime drama called 'The Italian Heist', If this show ever even aired to begin with, I don't know, but the soundtrack was never released, and it is absolutely blazing. With heavy hitters like Ndugu Chancler, Jimmy Smith, Eric Gale and Monk Montgomery in the mix, you really can't go wrong here. And you don't! The Athens of the North label has been blowing minds the past decade or so with it's immaculate string of reproductions of private-press, independent disco. At last, they do the right thing and fire up the compilation-style serving with DISCO WITH A FEELING, and every track on it is quite deadly!

Melismatic group-sounds abound with a dazzling new album from composer JOHN CHANTLER, whose 'Tomorrow Is Too Late' was recorded partially at the esteemed INA-GRM studios. Around the turn of the century, a group of Bay Area and/or Eastern European musicians convened for awhile as the Jewelled Antler collective, bringing the free-improv, high-concept, deeply-participatory sound of groups like MEV, Taj Mahal Travellers, and Third Ear Band into a new century. One of the strongest moments of the group came from THUJA's majestic 2002 album 'Hills', now rescued from CD-R obscurity with a new vinyl edition. You ever hear a storm drain try to have a conversation with you? That's Thuja style. In a similar, though far more serene spirit is this lovely reissue of the sole 1985 album from Italian trio MOON ON THE WATER, who conjure an entire aquatic dimension using only percussion. 

Dance music with a big emphasis on fun, honesty and expression this week, as we welcome a full length album from Stockholm mixer BELLA BOO. Playful yet floor-forward, this record really sums up what's so reliably enjoyable about the Studio Barnhus label. After a couple of unnervingly great EPs of wavey acid techno, most people guessed that ROY OF THE RAVERS was the work of an oldhead from the early days of UK rave like Ceephax. Turns out, its just a bloke named Sam from Nottingham. 'Who Are Ya?' plays lightly with these expectations, as ROTR unrolls his first full-length LP, and keeps the hand-punched headwringing at a maximum. West coast producer SPACE GHOST drops an expertly-blended record of new agey house and topdown modern funk on 'Aquarium Nightclub', a record that should probably go in the Happy Kit for the cold winter months ahead, and we have a new, very limited pressing of HIEROGLYPHIC BEING's 2008 artist statement, '‎So Much Noise 2 Be Heard', which chronicles the Chicago producer's one of a kind learning journey through house and techno. 


Heading downstairs for this week's edition of the Used Vinyl Alert, we're coming at you this time around with a fantastic crop of audiophile LPs and rare early mono pressings, spanning jazz, rock, folk and things in between plus keeper copies of classic albums turning up in spades this time around.

Check out big classics from famed names like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, the Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Van Morrison, Captain Beefheart, and some rare early ones from Link Wray. Rock n roll continues on with LPs from Steppenwolf, Cream, Leon Redbone, Buddy Miles, Little Richard, Queen, the Who, the Byrds, Traffic, and Rush.

Hard rock and new wave is here in big quantities from Patti Smith, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Black Sabbath, the Clash, The Sound, REM, Madness, Duran Duran, X, The Smiths, the Cure, Adam and the Ants, Human League, the Eurythmics, and more. 

Jazz stunners are here from Miles Davis, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Burrell, and Herbie Hancock. Some lovely soul LPs are in from Stevie Wonder, Parliament, and Marvin Gaye, and we have some early folk blues from Josh White and Lightnin Hopkins. 

Reggae classics from Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff turn up alongside a nice, thorough crop of older international LPs that leans heavy on the Latin and Brazilian end of things. A couple cheap lovelies here and a couple of very rare ones! We cap it off with some sweet 80s electro and hip hop collections, a smattering of Don Voegli 70s synth albums, and some more recent electronic and indie rock. 

We train our sights west this week to the land of hotdish and Grain Belt for the lead off. No P.R. Nelson as we open November, but there is peaks Replacements with the entirety of the “Let It Be” – “Tim” – “Pleased” trifecta and a triple of Husker Du titles cut for SST and a stray shot from Soul Asylum in the pre-Winona days. Soundtrack the mundanity of your day-to-day with a double dose of Explosions in the Sky widescreen goodness, washing the dishes will now take on heightened drama. We got a 6-pack of crowd pleasers from Old 97s, a pair from Neko Case and wiseacre material from Nick Lowe and Warren Zevon.


Strictly Discs will be the place to be this Post-Thanksgiving-Shopping-Melee-Day, also known as Black Friday.

And that's because certain indie stores across the country will be the place to get special releases created just for you, for giving and getting this holiday season, and they're scheduled for release on Black Friday, November 29, 2019.  

Now, this is not Record Store Day, Jr., but it is brought to you by the powers-that-be at Record Store Day. This is a group of special releases you can only find at certain independent record stores nationwide. The magic of these pieces (many uber-limited) is that every one of them is something someone will really LOVE to get, and you'll really ENJOY giving.  And you may have the added nice feeling of supporting a local, independently owned (Strictly Discs, Independently Owned since 1988) business during the holidays.

Our list of Black Friday exclusives can be found HERE. You've got to register for our list or you can also jump over to the RSD site which shows the list (just without our pricing). And while we will try to have ample stock (one of the deepest in the midwest) of all items, please know that some of these products are extremely limited and will sell out quickly.

If you created a wishlist  (deadline was October 16th), it will be updated within our system prior to November 29, 2019. We expect that you will be in the store on November 29th to pick up any requested items. And remember, a wish is NOT an order. Thank you!



Required skills:

Excellent customer service skills; ability to anticipate customer needs

Computer proficient

A passion for music, and a broad, deep base of recorded music history

Knowledge of Goldmine standards & experience grading and pricing records

Knowledge of stereo equipment/functionality

Availability to work nights and weekends

Ability to lift and carry 50 pounds repeatedly

To apply, submit letter of interest & resume to



This isn't the spot to lay down odds on the third race. OTB is where Others Talk Back and give you the lowdown on what they've been feeling lately. This one's for the customers.

Bruce Springsteen - “Western Stars - Songs From the Film” Yes, there is a film of Mr. Springsteen performing the songs from his June release of the same title.  The studio album was a homage to the sixties pop of Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell, along with a subtle nod to the Benedict Canyon singer-songwriter scene of the same time frame.  The studio album featured some of Mr. Springsteen’s best vocals in years, along with some of the best material that he had written in a long time. The live album features a small band and a small orchestra to bring the album to life, The sound is as lush as the studio album, but it has a sense of immediacy that only live albums can deliver.  And rest assured Mr. Springsteen can really pull off the studio album’s soaring vocals live. He simply sings the hell out of material. Not bad for a man of seventy. He really hasn't lost that much of his vocal range, and none of the power of his voice, In a way, I prefer this live collection to the studio album for its sense of excitement and immediateness that bring the songs to life right before your ears. - Ted

Mikal Cronin - “Seeker” Probably best known as Ty Segall’s bass player and right hand man, Mr. Cronin has also been a member of Thee Oh Sees and the Epsilons.  Mr. Cronin really is a “name” in the neo-garage rock world. But “Seeker” is not some garage rock manifesto like some of his previous albums. It is more power pop than anything, with a pronounced introspective bent to it.  The songs may be autumnal, but the song’s hooks are large. But I don’t think that Mr. Cronin knows how to write a bad song whatever the genre. And “Seeker” is the living proof of that proposition. - Ted

Sean O’Hagan - “Radum Calls, Radum Calls”  Like Mr. Cronin, Mr O’Hagan has an illustrious musical past.  He was a founding member of the Irish band Microdisney in the eighties and then played with Stereolab in the nineties and then into the next century.  But he may be best remembered as the founder and main mover and shaker of the High Llamas. The High Llamas have released ten studio albums over the last twenty-eight years and they are noted for their well-crafted Beach Boys and Beatles derived pop.  And “Radum Calls, Radum Calls” is only Mr. O’Hagan’s second solo album since the early nineties. If you enjoyed the High Llamas, you will probably enjoy “Radum Calls, Radum Calls.” There really isn’t that much difference between the solo album and the High Llamas.  There may be a more electronic feel to this release, but the sound is simply pure High Llamas. And that is not a bad thing at all. - Ted

Ron, Ryan, Angie, Marty, Evan, Matt, Ben, Will, Ed, Isaac, Larry, Andy, Mark, Jack, Eric & Mike

back to top