NEW THIS WEEK AT THE SHOP:
A new record from Texas trio KHRUANGBIN offers a fresh glance of a band in full blossom. The group has championed eclectic influences since their beginnings; wandering guitar leads influenced by Thai countryside funk, pop balladry from Mexican and middle-eastern traditions, taut Purdie-esque breakbeats, and a spartan sense of Texan minimalism. On 'Mordechai', they go even further into open-source global pop, adding nods to doo-wop, Tom Tom Club, and that hardest style to assimilate: surf rock. Indeed, the Ventures made their name on a revamping of the Greek folk tune 'Misirlou', and here stands a band half a century later, dreamily returning the volley. Quietly cemented in their own tradition is the longtime bicoastal folk-rock outfit WOODS, who return from hiatus with their best album yet, 'Strange to Explain', a twilit album of propulsive yet mellow jams to burn one down to. If Fleetwood Mac went underground after 'Penguin', this is what they'd have come up with. Unapologetic pop brilliance is de rigeur from HAIM, who return with 'Women In Music, Pt. III'. Genre fluid hip-hop expressionism from Baltimore rap artist NAEEM is here via the exceedingly well-curated Vernon/Dessner label People.
Charismatic trumpeter AVISHAI COHEN convenes a stage band for his latest, 'Big Vicious', which comes at us with chops and aggression seldom-seen from the ECM label. Guitarist KURT ROSENWINKEL has a new trio record that melds streaky, Metheny-style playing with a little more of a proggy bite. Heaven sentry on earth NICOLE MITCHELL has a new duo record with fellow composer LISA E. HARRIS called 'EarthSeed', constructed as a response to the African American scifi writer Octavia Butler, who foretold our societal unraveling with works like 'The Parable of the Sower'.
New folk and pop is in on vinyl and CD from RAY LAMONTAGNE, COIN, and WILL HOGE.
The Numero Group's latest conceptual compilation is called LOUIS WAYNE MOODY HIGH, and it collects ephemeral 60s garage, bubblegum, and proto-punk b-sides in their inimitable fashion, capturing a forlorn genre of suburban yearning softof like the soft counterpart of their Darkscorch Canticles private hard rock comp. The voices continue to guide Mr. ROBERT POLLARD, who lays on us a new 7" EP that comes packaged in a 237 page book of his collage art, called 'Eat 16: the Soundtrack to Planet Cake'. Okey doke, Bob. Folktronic brilliance is here with the sophomore album from Australian artist GORDI.
Lush, introspective gloom rock is here from MIDWIFE, a "heavenly metal" musician from Denver. 'Forever' reminds me a bit of earlier Chelsea Wolfe, or Dorthia from Windhand's solo stuff. West Coast songwriter/rocker KATIE VON SCHLEICHER has a great new record called 'Consummation' that sands some of the prickers off the sound of Sharon Van Etten. Few wield effected guitar tones as expertly as the New York musician NOVELLER, whose new album 'Arrow' envelops you with precision and patience.
Mythical NYC band IKE YARD were the first American act to release on Factory Records with 1982's album 'A Second', an LP that hasn't lost any of its menace over the decades. Few groups took the post-punk brief as seriously as they did on this slab, which makes Suicide's albums (a huge influence no doubt) seem extravagant by comparison. In the same year, at the other end of the world, Australia's SLUGFUCKERS released their lone LP on a label run by Severed Heads's Tom Ellard. 'Transformational Salt' is schizo industrial synth-pop in the realm of the Residents or early Yello, with a uniquely Aussie bent. One of the first bands to shine out of the muck of early LA punk was The Bags, and lead singer ALICE BAG has kept at it at the microbial DIY level since then. Their last Madison show was at the dang Tip Top, even. 'Sister Dynamite' is a killer new album of righteous power in the spirit of classic X and Runaways records.
Some rather massive recent pop-country albums get released on vinyl for the first time this week; we've got MIRANDA LAMBERT's 'Platinum' and CARRIE UNDERWOOD's 'Some Hearts'. A 2LP set called 'Easy Rider' collects the best JOHNNY CASH tracks from his 80s/90s years on the Mercury label, and we have a new vinyl edition of ERIC CLAPTON and BB KING's classic collab, 'Riding With the King'.
A pair of rather hefty rap releases hit the vinyl format this week, including POST MALONE's rather ambitious lateral move into millennial pop, 'Hollywood's Bleeding', and the latest from the lyrically-skilled badboy PROF, 'Powderhorn Suites'.
An outsized portion of the ROLLING STONES discography gets reissued on vinyl this week in audiophile half-speed remaster treatment. We've got 'Exile on Main St', 'Some Girls', 'Tattoo You'', 'Steel Wheels', and the highly coveted 90s albums 'Voodoo Lounge' and 'Bridges to Babylon'.
In the late 70s, Congolese musicians SEKE MOLENGA and KALO KAWONGOLO arrived in Jamaica, invited by a promoter who quickly vanished. Fortuitously, they huddled up in the studio with none other than Lee Perry, shortly after he had finished engineering 'The Heart of the Congos'. Their sole LP features six tracks of a wonderfully potent amalgam of dub and tribal rhythm, returned to us now via the Antarctica Starts Here label, alongside SCIENTIST's groundbreaking 1980 album 'The Best Dub Album in the World', and the iconic 1968 debut from THE UNIQUES. The vocal trio of Slim Smith, Jimmy Riley, and Lloyd Charmers set up at Treasure Isle studios to record perhaps the definitive rocksteady album; miles deep in soul, threaded with a crack-of-midnight sense of dread and despair.
Michigan drone-zone lifers WINDY & CARL return with 'Allegiance and Conviction', which sounds like a Galaxie 500 record playing inside one of Brion Gysin's dream machines. Rising composor ERIK HALL and convened a fresh, yet reverent take on STEVE REICH's 'Music For 18 Musicians', and we have the most inviting record yet from Glasgow's CUCINA POVERA, an adventurous trip through delicate sound extremes not too far off from the recent work of Scott Walker.
Memphis blues-rock regents REIGNING SOUND see their 2005 classic 'Home For Orphans' reissued on LP, and we have a great new album from the Dutch group LEWSBERG. 'In This House' borrows the sunny minimalist rock of VU's 'Loaded' and leavens that with clever observations out of the Parquet Courts playbook. Australian post-punkers THE SHIFTERS dropped one of the last decade's greatest unheard rock albums on cassette only in 2015, which now gets its first vinyl edition.
Our first big metal delivery of the Covid era has arrived, bringing some truly blighted masterpieces on LP. 'Reflections of A Floating World', the opus of the mighty Boston band ELDER has a new pressing. We have a pair of diverse albums from OLD MAN GLOOM, the long-running supergroup with members of Isis and Mutoid Man. Brutal grindcore is in from CAUSTIC WOUND and FULL OF HELL, and we have a pair of modern classics from the Canadian death metallers TOMB MOLD.
Unheard acid-drenched blues rock ala Free or The Guess Who is unearthed from the early 70s Indianapolig group ICE. Psych-pop brilliance abounds on THE TURTLES' 1969 album 'Turtle Soup', now back in print, and we have an LP of unheard early 90s music from MUDHONEY, 'Pedazo de Pastel'.