With Black Friday drawing nigh, with all of its special exclusive releases, you might not think we had time to roll in some regular new titles. Well, you're wrong! And happy Thanksgiving! Here's a quick rundown of our fresh selections this week, starting with a pair of stunning, long-awaited vault excavations.
Pop icon PRINCE left behind a zip-code's worth of unreleased material when he left this world, which his estate has been judiciously making available for the first time. For it's 37th anniversary, the eminently visionary '1999' album now gets the deluxe treatment on a five-CD or 10-LP set collecting the original album remastered, over 40 unheard vault tracks, and two live sets. For a rare few artists, a trip into the archives reveals much more than just 'alternate takes'; we've got a whole alternate universe taking shape here. The same effect hits you while listening to 'Iowa Dream', a new double album set of unheard songs from progressive songwriter savant ARTHUR RUSSELL. In his too-short life, Arthur traveled in seemingly every experimental music circle, through stints on the West Coast, his birthstate of Iowa, and his spiritual home of downtown NYC. Where previous collections of Russell's music have focused on a specific style, 'Iowa Dream' accounts for them all, with demos and home recordings (all sounding quite "finished", naturally) reflecting his love for winsome country-pop, avant-garde investigations of echo, the rollicking pastiche of collaborators Blue Gene Tyranny and Robert Ashley, mutant funk-punk, and mournful love songs. It's truly marvelous. We already have a dozen timeless Arthur Russell records, we don't deserve any more, and yet here's 2 more LPs full of absolute crushers.
THE FLAMING LIPS celebrate twenty years of their landmark album 'The Soft Bulletin' with a new vinyl edition of the album played in full at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony. Not what I would have expected when I first heard "She Don't Use Jelly" on the radio back in junior high, but life is truly full of surprises. PINK FLOYD do us a super solid with a 'Best of the Later Years' 2LP set collecting top tunes from their late 80s and 90s albums.
Open up and say ANDY STOTT. The UK bass auteur's first new music since 2016's 'Too Many Voices' is here; 'It Should Be Us' (damn, always with the great titles) sees the man heading back to the churning, slow-mo techno he first made his name on, with an ever keen eye on haunting detail. While they last, we have a few of these on limited pink vinyl. Just as revered is the Italian producer DONATO DOZZY, whose contribution to the 'One Instrument' label's series of albums made with, yep, one instrument is an absolutely marvelous full-body ambient trip, all composed on the rare early 70s EMS Synthi AKS. One of the pop world's greatest cold cases is JAI PAUL, sees his beguiling EP 'BTSTU' come back in print. There's supposed to be so much more coming from this cat, but for now we have two versions of one very, very good song. The Italians Do It Better tease their impending release of a new Chromatics LP with another album length stunner from a newcomer, JORJA CHALMERS, which has a lovely Julee Cruise vibe laid over classic Johnny Jewel production.
Classics old and new from the underground rap world this week. SCALLOPS HOTEL, a seemingly-improvised side project from rapper Milo, released a great album of off-the-cuff raps and brainy beats last year called 'Sovereign Nose of Your Arrogant Face', and we now have a vinyl repress. There's a great new one from emcee MICK JENKINS, and a fresh repress of the timeless, druggy jazz-bient instrumental album from FAT JON called 'Wave Motion'. Insane Clown Posse top dog SHAGGY 2 DOPE has a new LP called 'Fuck Off'. I won't, but thanks!
The Numero Group's steady accounting for the classic, out of print LPs from the influential art-core band UNWOUND reaches the group's restless apex, 1995's 'The Future of What'. They're so tight on this record, they seem mad at themselves. Merge collects the double-EP debut from beloved guitar rockers POLVO, which opened the decade of the 90s with incredible stringbending promise. New Zealand mopey psych kingpin ROY MONTGOMERY sees his incredible 1995 solo debut 'Scenes From the South Island' come back on LP. Roy was a crucial link in the Kiwi guitar rock underground chain, capable of constructing vast, unpeopled landscapes with his dense and hazy playing, and he's in best form here.
Some obscurities from the catalogs of a couple legends are in this week: MIKE COOPER's early bluegrass rumble 'Oh Really!?', STEVE LACY's 'Threads', with ALVIN CURRAN and FREDERIC RZEWSKI from AMM in the mix, and ROKY ERICKSON's 1985 smoker 'Clear Night For Love'. Tragically little-heralded Ohio DIY rock legend JIM SHEPARD laid the groundwork for groups like Guided by Voices with his limitless, ramshackle garage scuzz, now celebrated on a new 2 LP of unheard takes called 'Heavy Action'.
Funky stuff incoming. LES MASQUES were a one-off combination of a French vocal group and a Brazilian jazz trio, and their lone 1969 album took decades to find an audience. Lovely, lively bossanove here, before we turn up the funk for the French library record from JACKY GIORDANO, 'Organ Plus', with good vibes galore. There's a new pressing of the timetraveling classic from producer Adrian Younge and THE DELFONICS, and, what's that? Somehow we've come up on new copies of long, long, longtime SD staff fave, 'Sweetback' by IVAN BOOGALOO JONES. If you listen well, you can still hear Ron whispering his name on the wind!
Sensational Denver deathmetal real ones BLOOD INCANTATION achieved the metal dream, as the first pressing of their latest album 'A Hidden History of the Human Race' sold out the weekend of its release. This is a truly insane ripper of an album, and we were lucky to snap up some of the last copies out there! We've also got the incredible new Japanese ambient album 'Stealth', from TAKAO back in the house, and a new LP from underground indie-pop heroes ROCKETSHIP that's good n gazey.
A pair of releases from the sadly departed composer JOHANN JOHANNSSON are in the house: 2004's classic 'Virdeglu Forsetar', and a new vinyl release called '12 Conversations'. The Swedish folkrock collective ENHET FOR FRI MUSIK see their incredible 2017 album 'Det Finns Ett Hjärta Som För Dig' (There is A Heart For You) come back in print, striking a perfect poise between their forbears like Trad Gras and Parson Sound with an occult, nocturnal bent. The Etats-Unis label reveals a deep rarity in the 80s album from experimentalist TERRY FOX, who removed piano wires from their typical location and generated new rhythmic possibilities.
We mourn the sudden loss of LA production legend RAS G with a new edition of his final album, the housey, righteous 'Dance of the Cosmos'. Ohh Ras! Trombonist and bandleader RYAN PORTER sees his latest album hit vinyl at last, and we have a new collection of demos for 'The Pleasure Principle', the iconic synth-pop cookbook from GARY NUMAN. Last up, some late 80s synthwave devilry from the unsung legends DARK DAY, who had shrugged off most of their punky trappings by now, and head straight for haunting, bleak atmospheres. Good times!
USED VINYL ALERT: