We welcome the debut album from songwriter DEVON GILFILLIAN, whose forceful, yet hushed folkie-soul delivery has drawn comparisons to Gary Clark Jr and Ben Harper. Pop singing force HALSEY sees the release of her already radio-dominating new record 'Manic' emerge on vinyl, plus we finally swing vinyl copies of two of 2019's most-requested pop records: SUMMER WALKER's dangerously titillating trap-soul bomb 'Over It', and the vexingly stylish neo-neo-soul of ARI LENNOX's 'Shea Butter Baby'.
UK pop singer GEORGIA traces an arc somewhere between Chvrches and Carly Rae Jepsen on 'Seeking Thrills', while we get a jam-packed remix album of FEVER RAY's 'Plunge'. The best remix records typically come courtesy of artists who have every modern producer at their disposal, but take great care in selecting the true offbeat weirdos to reimagine their work, and that's the case here with names like DJ Marfox, Tzusing, and Bjork in the mix. We've finally tracked down some LP copies of the great 2019 album from KLEIN called 'Lifetime', which made numerous year end lists with its unnerving, oddly soothing melange of modern classical space, minimalist grime dread, and vocal cut-ups. Veteran psych-techno producer STELLAR OM SOURCE releases her first new tracks in several years on 'I See Through You', spiraling cosmicity recorded with mixing assistance from good homie of the store Aaron from Peaking Lights.
As we continue to celebrate the second or third (or fourth? who knows) career renaissance of TRENT REZNOR, we've got freshly repackaged copies of NINE INCH NAILS' 2005 behemoth 'With Teeth' on vinyl, and an unbelievably detailed vinyl box set edition of Reznor's 'Bird Box' soundtrack with ATTICUS ROSS: a 4LP set of music that, over time spent recording in hotel rooms on tour with NIN, became more than just a soundtrack.
It's been years since we've seen copies of CHRIS BELL's iconic solo album 'I Am the Cosmos' floating around. Back in print on vinyl in a much more definitive and restored edition, this album captures a fleeting moment in a troubled musician's life. Recorded in the mid-70s after Bell left Big Star and before his sudden death, few people heard these songs until a CD release in 1992 revealed a hidden, staggering genius of folk-rock desolation. You'd be forgiven for not knowing that MANFRED MANN briefly reconfigured itself as a fusion-leaning jazz rock unit in 1969 with 'Chapter Three', a refreshingly polished yet free-form set of tunes that sound more than a little like classic Soft Machine of the era. We've also got fresh, standard LP represses of two classics from THE REPLACEMENTS: 'Don't Tell A Soul' and 'Pleased To Meet Me'.
A new LP pressing collects the complete output of the formative yet robust New Zealand post-punkers NOCTURNAL PROJECTIONS, helmed by brothers Graeme and Peter Jefferies in the early 1980s, before they formed bands like This Kind of Punishment and released classic solo albums. Little celebrated during their existence, the songs here nevertheless hold up quite well in comparison to titans of the genre like Joy Division and Wire. Name a better band to come out of Milwaukee than DIE KREUZEN. Go ahead, I'll wait! In the meantime, check out a fresh repress of their 1984 Touch and Go Records debut, which ranks alongside Black Flag and Void in terms of deranged yet focused hardcore punk. Ten years later, Touch and Go would release another pioneering band's debut with RODAN's 'Rusty', which deftly mixed muted, moody instrumentals with slovenly hardcore rage, years before anyone ever thought of putting a "post" before "rock".
We've got a new pressing of MODERN BASEBALL's 2016 album 'Holy Ghost', and a limited color vinyl repress of HIPPO CAMPUS' 'Demos I+II' release. FALL OUT BOY regale us with the second volume of their greatest hits on vinyl, and we have a fiery new album from glam-punkers BEACH SLANG called 'The Deadbeat Bang Of Heartbreak City'.
For the first time on vinyl, we have the incredible, overlooked 90s album from THE DURUTTI COLUMN called 'Fidelity'. This late-period Durutti classic blends Vini Reilly's iconic wispy guitar with sunkissed, post-acid house chill, and features exquisite new cover art and a pretty color vinyl pressing. A pair of doozies from the annals of COIL, the rambunctious British group who made equally pioneering strides in industrial, ambient, and pop music during their tenure: 'Stolen Moments' collects unreleased songs from around the period of their crossover classic 'Love's Secret Domain', while 'Themes From the Gay Man's Guide To Safer Sex' collects some of the group's strongest 90s work at the intersection of sound art and tribal house. Though cited less often than it's predecessor, 'Spiral Insana' - the second proper album from NURSE WITH WOUND - might be the best introduction to the mercurial group's sprawling catalog. Composed of mostly subdued, even mellow organ and guitar drones, the calming reveries of the album's long suites are occasionally punctured by staticky percussion, found sound, and remote human voice. Limited copies of the 2016 silver foil version of this epic have resurfaced, in stunning sound quality.
After studying on Alice Coltrane's ashram for a spell, Washington DC harp player JEFF MAJORS recorded just one privately-released album, the 1986 LP 'For Us All'. At it's release, it had a fan in the First Lady of DC, Marion Barry's wife Effi, but by the time I heard it, it was an obscurity known only to DC record diggers; a truly unique combo of spiritual jazz, new age, and modern soul that could have only developed in the District's fertile melting pot. The beauty on this album - Majors' gravity-defying flights on the harp, heartfelt, unproduced backing vocals, important messages to the community - couldn't stay hidden forever, and now the Invisible City label delivers a marvelous new edition, long in the works. From kindred spirits Seance Centre we get a lovely remaking of an extremely off-the-beaten track folk record from Zambia, 'Aunka Ma Kwacha' by SMOKEY HAANGALA, from 1976. Jovial yet haunting hymnal-style folk arrangements sit astride simple drum machine on this record that quickly makes itself plain to the listener, like a cool, soothing balm. This one or the latest LP from the jubilant gospel highlife group ALOGTE OHO & HIS SOUNDS OF JOY are probably your best bets for chasing the January gray away this week.
Ambient corner! We start with an LP edition of an early 80s tape from sound healer KARMA MOFFETT called 'Sitting Still Within Sitting Still Without', which conjures a truly restorative environment mostly with Himalayan bowls. Australian synth pioneer SAM MALLET sees a collection of his 80s rhythmic ambient experiments emerge in fuller detail. 'Motore Immobile', the peak work of Italian minimalism icon GIUSTO PIO, is back in print on LP, and we have a new LP of Buchla synth explorations from Bay Area instrument builder THOMAS DIMUZIO.
A new pairing of two Central European ambient pop power wranglers, CASS. and GIANNI BREZZO, have teamed up for a new record on Growing Bin called 'Masala Kiss', and it's getting 2020 off to an extremely breezy start. Across 11 lush tracks, the duo connect heaven and earth with a gauzy tissue of guitar and keys. A new yet old recording from a group called YOGTZE mines a similar eternal-sundown sound, and we have a second installment of rare material from the excellent Glaswegian synth-pop duo VAZZ. Calling to mind similar boy/girl pairings like Chris & Cosey, the Lives of Angels, or Deux, these songs sound both sexy and submerged in equal measure. Also on a synthy tip is the latest installment of the multi-label compilation series 'Elsewhere' from DJ SOFA. This edition is called 'Junior' and features a selection of rare electronics recorded by and for children (!!) across several decades, dating back to 70s atmospherics and 80s new wave from Der Plan. Quite the collection of strange and funky things here, made all the stranger by the many youths involved.
Lots of fresh heat in the reggae section starting with a fire comp of BUNNY LEE's productions called 'Rubadub Revolution', a new pressing of the insanely killer 1990s weird UK dub record from JONAH DAN, 'Intergalactic Dub Rock', a new collection of 70s soul and funk in a lovers rock style from DERRICK HARRIOTT, and a new pressing of SUGAR MINOTT's early turn towards digi-dub, 'Leader For the Pack'.
Classics of all styles back in print this week include BEBEL GILBERTO's chillout classic 'Tanto Tempo', a pair of must-hear albums from YASUAKI SHIMIZU, and a new pressing of the ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE's first ever album, 'The Melting Paraiso UFO'.
A pair of library reissues from the Be With label are truly killers in disguise. Don't let the ambiguous (yet still very tight) artwork on the PETER LUDEMANN / PIT TROJA album 'The New Generation', or the THEMES label's 'Breath of Danger' fool you. ARCHIE SHEPP's spiritual jazz jamdown 'A Sea of Faces' is back in print on LP, and we have a fantastic new selectors compilation from Dutch DJ SASSY J, which focuses heavily on deep cuts from contemporary Afrofuturist house and jazz.
A delightfully freaky new EP of plastique techno is here from SFV ACID, and then we have a trio of absolutely bonafide 90s dance reissues, starting with the bubbling homebrew scifi-house of DREAM 2 SCIENCE, a killer collection of deep EPs from the producer CALLISTO on the influential Guidance label, and an 1990 EP of Belgian proto-techno wizardry from LHASA.
USED VINYL ALERT
Heading downstairs for this week's Used Vinyl Alert, we have matched the week's healthy crop of new releases with *more than the usual amount* of fresh used LPs in the new arrivals bin.
Lots of A material from the big names this week, including dozens of collectible, rare or otherwise obscure Beatles records, a handful of rare Stones including some cool boots, minty early copies from Pink Floyd, David Bowie, CSNY, the Kinks, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Tom Petty, Van Morrison, plus even more from the Beach Boys, Leonard Cohen, Argent, Beau Brummels, Orphan, Spencer Davis Group, Mountain, Eagles, Vanilla Fudge, Springsteen, Dave Clark Five, Frank Zappa, Harry Nilsson, Elvis Costello, the Dead Kennedys, the Stooges, Captain Beefheart, Davie Allan and the Arrows, and so many more!
The jazz selections are extremely strong this week, including a couple of very rare Coltrane and Monk LPs, plus heat from Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Lester Young, Gary Burton, Gene Ammons, Bennie Maupin, Dexter Gordon, Gil Scott Heron, Donald Byrd, Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, Mal Waldron, and Joe Henderson.
Some seldom seen soul and funk pressings are in from Instant Funk, the Sylvers, Freddie Scott, Ike & Tina Turner, James Brown, Bill Withers, Newcleus, The Time, Johnnie Taylor, Jackie Wilson, Barry White, the Supremes, and 9th Creation, plus some interesting one-offs from the worlds of reggae, folk, and blues.
Contemporary releases are here from the Flaming Lips, Twin Shadow, Radiohead, Sleater Kinney, Banks, Deerhoof, and Liars, plus hiphop from Black Milk, J Rocc, Notorious BIG and Jay Z, electronics from Pierre Henry, Amon Tobin, Kraftwerk, Bjork and Daft Punk, and a slew of cult soundtracks, weird novelty records, and Disney thangs.
USED CD ALERT:
New quantities is what was promised, new quantities is what you got. We've been geeking out over here on the healthy influx of titles from the rough-edged stable of Fat Possum artists. There's a couple from top attraction RL Burnside, but the real excitement is found in the more unheralded figures. We're talking Charles Caldwell, Asie Caldwell, Robert Balfour and Othar Turner. Raucous, spooked, unrelenting - this is some visceral material. Grab it, along with the batch of rough n' rugged gospel also arriving this week. Save for the sanctified subject matter, it sounds better suited for the juke than the pulpit. The gem of the whole lot is Reverend Charlie Jackson's "God's Got It," but there's more beyond to explore, including the Numero compilation "Downriver Revival." In more trad blues, check out strong work from John Lee Hooker, Son House, Lightning Hopkins and Bobby "Blue" Bland. We haven't ignored the rock side of town, with plenty good 'uns from Rodriguez, The Wipers (the tough 3CD set!), Modern Lovers and Nick Drake. Let's wrap things up with jazz courtesy of Herbie Mann's mindbending "Memphis Underground," Grover Washington's "Inner City Blues," and unimpeachable standards from Miles, Trane and Horace Silver. The racks have been stacked as well, so don't forget to hit the walls.
STRICTLY DISCS 2019 STAFF TOP 10s:
STRICTLY DISCS CUSTOMER TOP 10S:
R.I.P. Hayman- Dreams Of India & China (Recital)
Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society- Mandatory Reality (Eremite)
Maria Marquez & Frank Harris- Echoes (Strangelove)
Brannten Schnure- Erinnerungen An Gesichter (Low Company)
Erika De Casier- Essentials (Independent Jeep Music)
Kali Malone- The Sacrificial Code (Ideal)
Yu Su- Roll With The Punches (Second Circle)
G.S. Schray- First Appearance (Last Resort)
Georgia- Immute (Ekster)
Shabason/Gunning- Muldrew (Seance Centre)
Michael O'Shea 'S/T'
Various Artists 'A Short Illness From Which He Never Recovered'
JD McFarlane's Reality Guest 'Ta Da'
Chronophage 'Prolog For Tomorrow'
Anadol 'Uzun Havalar'
Bill Callahan 'Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest'
Aviador Dro 'Nuclear, Sí'
Arthur Russell 'Iowa Dream'
Beat Detectives 'Nefertiti Abstract Movie'
Murs, 9th Wonder & The Soul Council - The Iliad Is Dead and The Odyssey Is Over Brother Ali & Evidence - Secrets & Escapes Homeboy Sandman - Dusty Rapsody - Eve Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Bandana Self Jupiter - Sexy Beast Gang Starr - One Of The Best Yet Epic Beard Men - This Was Supposed To Be Fun Nikki Jean - Beautiful Prison Czarface - The Odd Czar Against Us