January 30, 2020

NEW THIS WEEK AT THE SHOP: 

  
Get some push-ups in and find a comfortable seat, as this week's wild slate of new releases takes some time to get through, and it's worth it until the end. We begin with the latest album from DESTROYER, the long and winding project of Canadian songwriter Dan Bejar. 'Have We Met' is classic new material for the man, mixing his latest penchant for triumphant synth-pop with the delicate breeziness of faved albums like 'Kaputt'; as always, Bejar matches his production eye with an equally keen lyricism that ranges from pithy storytelling to meta-meta observations on the musician's life. An early entry for the most sensational rap release is here with RAPSODY's stunning sixth album 'Eve'. The North Carolina MC sounds like a hybrid of Lauryn Hill and Jay-Z as she tears through righteous tracks of empowerment that elegantly avoid cliche and actually take the "power" part of that word seriously. Guests like D'Angelo, J. Cole, and freakin Queen Latifah lend a lot of cred to this record, but the spotlight is dead-set on Rapsody. Many moons have risen and set on this cold, barren earth since we had a true new studio album from CHROMATICS, one of our most beloved synth-pop institutions. 'Closer To Grey' remedies that in wondrous fashion, with a dozen fresh runway-ready tunes crafted by Johnny Jewel and cooed by Ruth Radelet. Some limited copies on red and clear vinyl are here on these while they last.


  
Big CD releases from the hip-hop and pop worlds are here with KESHA's latest, 'The High Road', 'Shake the Snow Globe' from RUSS, and (if you haven't had enough white dudes in suits yelling at you lately) the latest disc from rapper EMINEM.


  
Reliable rock lifers DRIVE BY TRUCKERS reconvene for 'The Unraveling', and we have a snappy new album from the even-longer running institution that is WIRE, with 'Mind Hive'. After some relatively hidden years, DIY pop innovator DAN DEACON redeploys with a shimmering, rewarding, and psychedelically dense new album called 'The Mystic Familiar'.


  
Twin Cities masters of mood POLICA took a hiatus for awhile after vocalist Channy Leaneagh fell off of her roof while clearing ice. The completion of 'When We Stay Alive' had to wait for her yearlong recovery to succeed (way to go!) and the result is a mightily powerful album of redemption and rebirth, cast in the groups lush, heavy dreamscape sound. Talented NYC songwriter TORRES returns with a light synth touch on a record of relationship anguish, which pairs well with 'Likewise', the debut solo album from Hop Along frontwoman FRANCES QUINLAN, who explores her lightning-in-a-bottle skills as a pop/life observationist on a record that defers the guitar rock leanings of her band.


 
Having done perhaps everything he could have already done within the pop/rock idiom, sultan of pumpkin, dreamer of Siamese WILLIAM PATRICK CORGAN sets out for the deep South on 'Cotillions', his second explicitly solo album on which he embraces, wait for it, country music. To quote the meme, "he do be articulating a unique vision of America though". Pennsylvania shoegaze-folkies THE INNOCENCE MISSION (shoutout Lancaster County) return with yet another great record, decades into their humble career, and we welcome a snappy new EP from the princes of showroom art-pop WILD NOTHING. 


  
Stop what you're doing, open up a window, open up a tab to play ANDRAS' new song 'Honeybird', and find the song you've been waiting for your whole life. The Australian's buoyant new album 'Joyful' begins here, in as perfect a description of the hypotenuse between dance and pop music's historical trajectories as you are likely to hear this year. Led by a gladdening acid squelch that exudes multicolored juice from start to finish, the track manages to wrangle Sebastian Tellier-style keys, bursting peaks of snare, and canned chorales with expert economy, telling a story of rejuvenation with just a single sampled word. And that's just the first song! Dance records in 2020 better step up. Equal to that task are none other than luminaries SQUAREPUSHER and DIPLO. Both go back to their bread and butter on great new records; 'Be Up A Hello' has Tom Jenkinson dusting off his 90s hardware, and 'Higher Ground' finds Wes Pentz going back to roots with some house bangers, easily his best work since he DJed the Super Bowl afterparty when the Philadelphia Eagles Won the Super Bowl In 2018, remember when that happened?


 
   
Another classic 00s CD only IDM classic gets reborn on vinyl with the beautiful new edition of MOVE D and BENJAMIN BRUNN's microhouse gem 'Lets Call It A Day'. A rare new LP from longtime French producer KELTON PRIMA is in the house, and it's a remarkable diverse, understated suite of house and modern funk expressed through a cosmic haze. Not to be outdone on the haze front, we have a new double LP from TASE, an alias of the rugged German producer Sven Rieger aka SVN, in which he revisits early synth experiments for a deep exercise in hauntological house. 


 
 
In an unexpected but welcome development, Russian producer NINA KRAVIZ was tapped to curate a complete remix album for ST. VINCENT's 2018 album 'Masseducation'. With Kraviz' deep Rolodex, we get a lot of cool, sometimes complete alterations and interpretations of this acoustic pop marvel, from names like Buttechno, Jlin, Mala, and Laurel Halo. 'Over The Sand' is the killer debut album from French musician DISSEMBLANCE, on which she shreds gothy darkwave, like Tropic of Cancer with a dubbier twist. New York in/outsiders SLENDER deliver a phenomenal debut record that proves their earlier work in bands like Crazy Spirit was no fluke. 'Time On Earth' is smart yet slovenly caveman psych-punk not far off from the last Total Control album, or earlier forebears like Thinkin Fellers Union or Strapping Fieldhands. And speaking of Siltbreeze, the lazarus Philly label awakens again to release a new record from French duo CIA DEBUTANTE, who carry on the caustic tradition of unrock bands like The Shadow Ring in ludicrous detail. 


 
In a very exciting development, we have the first wave of what we hope are many more new editions of the classic Smithsonian Folkways albums. First up, a showcase of Gambian kora music recorded in the late 1970s from ALHAJI KONTE, DEMBO KONTE, and MA LAMINI JOBATE, and sparkling mid-century calypso from LORD INVADER. Folkways set the standard for ethnomusicological collections with these LPs across the 20th century, and many of these beautiful editions have been impossible to find for decades. 


  
A pair of Blue Note rarities are back on LP this week from ART BLAKEY and TONY WILLIAMS, and we have a top-class Soul Jazz reissue of the 1976 heater 'Rhythmatism' from STEVE REID, a marvelous album that manages to keep a foot in the funk while it stretches into a cosmic expanse.  


 
 
NENEH CHERRY put every nightclub on permanent notice with her breakout 1988 album 'Raw Like Sushi', primarily enforced by opening cut "Buffalo Stance", which ran London Swing, Salt N Pepa, and dancehall through a Miami sound blender. It's back in print now, alongside another immeasurably crucial crossover record from 20 years prior, BRIDGET ST. JOHN's morose folk revival beauty, 'Ask Me No Questions'. Gleaming funky soul pearl 'Express Yourself' from CHARLES WRIGHT and the WATTS 103RD ST RHYTHM BAND has been out of print for far too long, and we get a truly exclusive peek into a lost modern soul gem from LAROMBE, the little-known project of Philly vocalist Larom Baker.


 
 
Early soundscapes from far and wide are back in print this week, starting with an LP edition of a fantastic 1980 cassette from EMERALD WEB, the pioneering American scifi/new-age duo. Just as flute laden, but even more ambitious are the pair of BRAINTICKET albums back on wax this week, 'Adventure' and 'Voyage', which also date from the late 70s and find the Joel Vandroogenbroeck (RIP) helmed space-rock group heading deeper into the void. One of the rarest LPs from Italian library composer EGISTO MACCHI's esoteric catalog is his 1972 album 'Fauna Marina', which puts you straight into the green glow of an old Cousteau film, 


  
A trio of iconic, if obscure, 90s European dance records return to vinyl this week, starting with an emboldened 25th anniversary edition of 'The Orion Years' by AGE, aka Thomas Heckmann. A definitive gesamtkunstwerk within his vast catalog, this double pack of dreamy, trancy acid sounds evergreen right about now, and transitions nicely to a new edition of rare UK rhythm tracks from ALIEN DISCO, a pair of underrated producers from the late 90s operating in parallel to Jeff Mills' Axis label. Danish new beat group ELECTRODELIA only cut a few early 90s records, but one track, "Visions of Electrobombay" truly stands the test of time, and is now reissued with an unheard b-side.  


 
 
Though released at the dawn of the 1980s, the debut album 'Clean' from the Australian group SEVERED HEADS still echoes. With few rules even yet written there to be flouted, the DIY pioneers literally sliced their way through pop, noise, industrial, and punk, using and abusing whatever modern technology they could get their devious hands on. The Dark Entries label, a trusted patron of the Heads tradition, has at last restored this one to wax. I hadn't heard of MAN JUMPING until this reissue of their 1984 debut 'Jumpcut' came along. I mean, I'd heard of men jumping, some of them professionally, but this LP of Jah Wobble-style dub-dance with a dash of jazz? It's pretty amazing. Same goes for the re-creation of a 1980 one-off from NYRA BAKIGA, a mysterious Dutch experimental group that, in the span of one eternally-running 20 minute track, channeled no wave, Afro-cosmic dance, musique concrete and political dub into one scarcely manageable beast. From Peru, we get an incredible LP of archival theatre score material by guitarist and composer MIGUEL FLORES, who took traditional Peruvian music to its furthest vistas with his experiments in the 80s. Many refreshing left-turns abound on this understated LP.


 
 
Twin titans of the early American synth avant-garde who never stopped working, KERRY LEIMER and MARC BARRECA have a gorgeous new split LP called 'Chains of Being', exploring new approaches to early music. This is an eye-pleasing package, as the LP comes with letterpressed postcards dedicated to each individual song. Italian sax and synth-whiz GIANNI GEBBIA's 1987 debut has been collector fodder for a minute, since the spectral beauty of this LP was first re-discovered, and we have a long overdue vinyl edition of the iconic ambient apex, 'Deep Listening' by PAULINE OLIVEROS, STUART DEMPSTER, and PANAIOTIS. Lastly, an overlooked 2019 gem: the debut album 'Esja' by the emerging Polish composer HANIA RANI, which should warm the cold souls of fans of Jon Hopkins or Olafur Arnalds. 



USED VINYL ALERT

Heading downstairs for this week's Used Vinyl Alert, we've got a properly eclectic mix for your browse. We continue to plumb the depths of some large collections that have turned up some truly elusive records for many months now, and the hits just keep coming! This week has a particular bent towards private press and obscure releases, many sealed, many signed and otherwise inscribed by the artist! Get your google fingers going, or just take a chance!

Another strong week for jazz LPs includes heat from Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell, Joe Zawinul, Miles Davis, Django Reinhardt, Gary Burton, Stomu Yamashta, Art Farmer, Bobby Hutcherson, Karin Krog, Sam Rivers, Charles Lloyd, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Ben Webster, Freddie Hubbard, Hugh Masekela, and Clark Terry. 

It's a great week for deviant experimental rock and electronics this week, with great LPs from the Residents, Magma, Severed Heads, Hawkwind, Cabaret Voltaire, Erasure, the Bevis Frond, Tangerine Dream, Tribes of Neurot, Pentagram, Bratmobile, and Maudlin of the Well. Lots of private/regional US new wave floating through, as well. More contemporary things are in from M83, Foals, Dessa, Merchandise, Modest Mouse, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and more.

The soul hole goes down very deep this week, with lots of under-the-radar heat from the Gap Band, the Sugar Sisters, Tina Turner, Rufus, Deeelite, Machine, Lou Rawls, Faze-O, Kim Weston, Sharon Redd, Gino Soccio, the Nevilles, and Isaac Hayes. The 12" front continues to stay interesting, with a slew of cool OG electro, disco, freestyle, house, and boogie bombs!

Assorted faves from the rock world like Syd Barrett, Cher, JJ Cale, Roy Orbison, XTC, Van Halen, Alan Parsons, and the Blackwood Apology join up with classic country from Tammy Wynette, Buck Owens, Gene Autry, Marty Robbins, Ernest Tubb, and Jerry Jeff Walker. Blues rolls in from Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Ram John Holder, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and we've got reggae from LKJ, Black Uhuru, Gregory Isaacs and Bob Marley.




USED CD ALERT:
Alright, alright, okay. This week is headlined by the mighty healthy jazz selection so let's start there. Plenty of Coltrane this week, with an emphasis on the OJC era back when Trane was serving in the Miles horn line, though there's still some Atlantic goodness and high points from his legendary run at Impulse, including the lost and discovered "Both Sides" album. Setting the coordinates to Saturn, we have a pair from Sun Ra from the 80s and back on our green-marble a trio of digipaks on Verve from Duke, Monk's take of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," most of Herbie Hancock's run on Blue Note and a bunch from Sonny Rollins across time and labels. Roots is looking good this week, too, particularly with a sixer from John Prine, a few from Steve Earle and a nice 2-cd anthology of Emmylou Harris's run at Reprise. Rock is rock-solid as well, with another deep week from Dylan, multiples from Santana and Patti Smith and ace sides from Black Keys, Van Halen, Iron and Wine and Al Green. 



STRICTLY DISCS IS HIRING:

VINYL PRICING SPECIALIST:

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 angie@strictlydiscs.com



STRICTLY DISCS 2019 STAFF TOP 10s:

OTHERS TALK BACK:

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.

The Dave Clark Five - “All The Hits”  It is hard to believe how successful the DC5 were in the sixties.  In fact, in the early years of the British Invasion, their popularity equaled that of the Beatles in the US.  And the DC5 placed twelve hits in the US Top Forty charts in the sixties. Listening to this disc you are instantly struck on how raw and wild many of their hits were.  Some of their out and out rockers made the Beatles seen quite tame in comparison This fifteen track best of collection fully illustrates their awesome power and even more awesome songwriting abilities.  I think that “All The Hits” gives us the ability to finally appreciate everything that the DC5 gave to the world. - Ted

The Black Lips - “Sing...In a World That’s Falling Apart” After twenty years and nine studio albums this garage rock powerhouse from Georgia has finally lost it.  They have ditched the garage sound and embraced country music whole hog, But with this being a Black Lips album they handle it with their usual over-the-top sense of humor and wry sensibilities. The band, however, makes the country and roots music shine as they do with their usual garagey sound.   The band simply has the ability to make any style of music sound great. “Sing...In a World That’s Falling Apart” is as good as the eight albums that preceded it. It is just a bit different that’s all. - Ted



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