NEW THIS WEEK AT THE SHOP:
A hefty week of new arrivals kicks off the first of what may be several 2020 albums from the lab of MADLIB, as we welcome the debut LP from THE PROFESSIONALS, his long-running match-up with OH NO on the mic. This foreboding slab sees the veteran beat-digger in typical maestro form, weaving samples into something more feverishly emotive than just a backing track, with Oh No and guests like Elzhi and Chino XL in battle mode. Leave it to these guys, as the saying goes. The latest missive from pianist and arranger ROBERT GLASPER is here, and it's more of a multi-session hang suite mixtape than an album, with guests like Yaasin Bey, Audra Day, Herbie Hancock, and SiR turning up in Glasper's NYC studio to lamp over mellifluous downtempo groove. Veteran mc BROTHER ALI comes correct with a powerful new record called 'Secrets & Escapes', with guest bars from Pharaohe Monch and Talib Kweli, and killer mid-fi production from Evidence.
Bombastic soul-punk unit ALGIERS have been smoking stages with their adventurous yet calculated take on messianic hardcore that has roots in the records of bands like Bad Brains, the Nation of Ulysses, and Refused. On 'There Is No Year', they hit these notes perfectly, then turn around and drop a crossover gospel blues number that wouldn't sound out of place in an Alabama Shakes set. Huh! Another elegant hybrid rolls in from the widely-admired group PINEGROVE, who scan a vintage, sunset hued midwestern emo sound (American Football, Christie Front Drive) through a filter of nu-country crispness. It may not work for you or your garage band, but it's paid off for these guys! We've also got the vinyl version of the great new record from LA heavies HAUNT.
We're thrilled to have beaucoup copies of the first ever vinyl release of DWIGHT YOAKAM's triumphant 2005 album 'Blame the Vain'. Decades into his career as a breakout honky-tonk star, Yoakam retreated from the spotlight for this self-produced affair that truly showcases his range, and rivals his early classics for the best album of his discography. Same goes for 'The Wind', the final studio album from WARREN ZEVON, released just before his death and featuring guests like Jackson Browne and Emmylou Harris. A longtime vinyl rarity, we're happy to have this one back in print on vinyl alongside his seminal 1978 album 'Excitable Boy'. We've also got the latest live archive set from WIDESPREAD PANIC in the house. The fourth volume contains their entire Montreal 1997 set.
Longtime Japanese psychedelic pop innovators OOIOO continue their solitary path across distant thermospheres with 'Nijimusi'. The group's first album in six years finds them in an angular, transcendental Crimson mode. Co-released (and hand delivered) by a label here in town, we have a fierce new LP from the Italian atmospheric doom band DOLPO; 'Inner Himalayas' blends barren earth riffs with Tibetan field recordings in an altitude-sick jam that would appeal to fans of other robed metal acts. A gorgeous, welcome new album is here from post-rock hero CHRIS BROKAW, who assembled various longtime collaborators with the stated brief of playing "the last song of the night". That mission is accomplished here in instrumental form, with every song striking a mournful, weighted note, or disappearing into blissful oblivion. Brokaw's been cutting deep into these type of vibes since his early 90s days in bands like Codeine, and he's only gotten better at it. Easily the week's most pleasantly bonkers album comes from Baltimore pianist LIZ DURETTE, who sheds the avant-jazz styles of her earlier work for an album of transgressive, childlike waltzes played on the "polyphonic expressive keyboard". Full of odd, yet even, asides, dartings, and curlicues, this record sounds a bit like an alien civilization trying to communicate with us through a pump organ.
Urban Outfitters might be where all the cool kids get their "vinyls", but being an authorized Indie dealer has its privileges too! Like, IDK, for instance, these limited warehouse copies of crucial reissues from Vinyl Me Please? We haven't seen any of these in the shop on vinyl for many years, or ever, and they are looking so very nice. Snag TV ON THE RADIO's monster jam 'Return to Cookie Mountain', MANNIE FRESH's 'The Mind Of...', LORETTA LYNN's 'Coal Miner's Daughter', and the almighty JORGE BEN's 'Africa Brasil'.
When the Music From Memory label began its forays into the Spanish ambient world with collections of work by Suso Saiz, it seemed only a matter of time for them to release one of that drifting scene's vinyl grails, the MUSICA ESPORADICA album, a 1985 record that found guitarist Saiz joined up with percussionists Glen Velez and Pedro Estevan, synthesist Miguel Herrero, and vocalist Maria Villa. Sensuous, rainforest canopy-misted fusion perfection abounds on this record's four expansive tracks; well suited to flipping the LP over and over and over. MFM's sub-label Second Circle also keeps pace with a new EP from Indonesian duo ZATUA, who cook up some marvelous hothouse dub-dance on 'Sin Existencia'. A pair of classic Japanese electronic records return to the shop for the first time in awhile; 'Invitation of the Dead' collects rare mid-80s darkwave with an elegant touch from TOMO AKIKAWABAYA, and 'Acid Mt. Fuji' from SUSUMU YOKOTA, to this day one of the best ambient techno albums to come out of Japan or any other corner of the world.
A re-edition of French group NEF's only album, the 1983 LP 'Mais Alors!!?... C'est Ŕ L'Envers' delivers rare, funky fusion with a Rock in Opposition flavor, and enough freewheeling breaks to keep you waist-deep in samples for days. Gabonese guitarist and composer FRANCOIS N'GWA cut several excellent records through the 80s that pushed traditional folksong into synthetic territories, flirting equally with zouk, synth-pop and funk. These unfindable records have now been collected on a truly stuffed compilation called 'Ogooue', and land in a similar zone to those Digital Zandoli comps, or the epic Zazou / Bikaye/ Cy1 album. Blazing Fania salsa is back in print with the 1972 album from ORCHESTRA DICUPE, and we have a repress of the epically moving spiritual jazz album 'World of the Children' from SHAMEK FARRAH and SONELIUS SMITH.
The late 70s output from the shortlived postpunk group FOTE is collected on a terse LP, revealing a band that had some very clever takes on odd-timed, minimalist punk, which makes sense since bassist Trefor Goronwy would later join This Heat and Camberwell now. The PALE SAINTS grungy dream-pop masterpiece 'The Comforts of Madness' turns 30 this year, and gets a fresh remaster and an extra disc of demo version. DEVO's 'Freedom Of Choice' is back in print, and we have another LP edition of BOBBY BEAUSOLEIL's soundtrack to Kenneth Anger's 'Lucifer Rising'.
Tantalizing tastes from around the world of techno this week, starting with Portuguese producer DJ FIRMEZA, who drops off a killer EP of buoyant batida-house on the Principe label. Indonesian producer MUNIR delivers 'Eastern Sun', a massively grooving record of urbane boogie. Iconic IDM producer OVAL returns with 'Scis', an album with some callbacks to the glitchiness of his earliest records, but a whole lot more melody. Finnish electro in the vein of Legowelt is here from JESSE, and we have a repress of the timeless Norwegian house EP 'Conga' from Skatebard. Last up, the power couple of DJ FETT BURGER and SPECKGURTEL, who team up for a double LP as Red Scorpions. Speckgurtel ("Bacon Belt" if my German is still funktioniert) is a cheeky alias of German producer LAUER, which gives you an idea of the colorful range of clubby house you get on this cracking album.