NEW THIS WEEK AT THE SHOP:
A cool week of new releases commences with the first proper studio album from BONNIE PRINCE BILLY in many years, after quite a few reissues, cover albums, collaborations, and whatnot. 'I Made A Place' is one of the more grounded records I've heard from Will Oldham under any of his guises; you get the sense that he's responding to the country's political and cultural turmoil in his own way (and it's hard to shake the image of Stable Will comforting his flock in the wake of the tragic passing of his friend David Berman). The songs on this album are more or less in a straight bluegrass mode, with a band that includes the cask-aged voice of Joan Shelley, plus ample banjo, horns, and fiddle. Where past albums have dwelt on topics like sex and death and whatever happens in between, here BPB has a renewed focus on faith (in what, I can't say), resilience, and simplicity, while still taking time for whatever mild psychedelics allow him to write a song about "the eye of the squid". A few years back, we were blessed with an incredible album of unheard 1970s gamelan from DANIEL SCHMIDT, a largely overlooked California artist in the instrument-building tradition of pioneers like Harry Partch and Lou Harrison. That was easily one of the most beautiful albums we'd ever heard, and now the Recital label carries Schmidt's story onward into the 1980s with another record of unheard material called 'Abies Firma'. In this period, Schmidt began experimenting with his own song structures outside of the traditional scales of Javanese gamelan, and the results are just as startling as his earlier material, although much more varied. Working alongside his mentor Harrison, utilizing Frippertronics-style tape loops, and reflecting upon changes in his life after becoming a father, Schmidt crafted sound at a wondrous fringe that still feels untrodden in the present day. This is quite an edition here, with the LP augmented by an extensive booklet of essays and photos, and a CD that includes an even longer version of the album.
Lucky us (and you), this week brings reissues of two of the most requested LPs at Strictly Discs in the last several years. In 1999, DR. DRE re-introduced himself to the scene he'd helped create with his ferocious sophomore album '2001', in which he aimed to top his classic debut, both in vulgar, quotable bravado and ear-throttling production magic. For reasons unknown to us, this album has remained out of print on LP for close to two decades, a mighty long time in terms of the staying power of a rap album (or any album). Well, wait no longer, the next episode is back. And if the bravado is too much for you (and honestly, going back through these songs was more than a little eye-opening), there's also a new pressing of the album's instrumentals, which gives you the opportunity to really appreciate the Dr. in peak form behind the boards. Before he was known beyond tight-knit Chicago jazz circles, MAKAYA MCCRAVEN released a live album called 'In The Moment' which, true to its title, seemed like a very momentary thing. By the time we'd caught wind of this incredible new force in jazz, the record was out of print. The International Anthem label rewards us this week with an expanded reissue, combining the original double LP with a 3rd disc of bonus material, all pressed on a nice copper-colored vinyl.
The iconic UK electronic label Warp turns 30 years old this year, and has been celebrating accordingly with all kinds of special presentations of their legendary roster. This week, they dole out a whopping ten EPs from some of the biggest acts across the history of the label, all culled from Peel Sessions and other radio shows. While they last, we have them all in the house. That's records from FLYING LOTUS, BOARDS OF CANADA, LFO, SEEFEEL, APHEX TWIN, PLAID, KELLY MORAN, BIBIO, and ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER. Not a bad hand!
NYC party art-punks GUERILLA TOSS have a fully re-energized new album called 'What Would the Odd Do?', and we have a long-awaited new record from UK pop sculptor ANNA MEREDITH called 'Fibs'. Melodic mope-rock lifers TINDERSTICKS return with a lovely new album called 'No Treasure But Hope', in the house on CD and limited edition LP. A curious pairing of the Serbian electronic duo TAPAN and nomadic Tuareg group GENERATION TARAGALTE really pays off with a mini album called 'Atlas', where the musicians find a delirious, propulsive middle ground between their disparate traditions.
A long time ago, in a galaxy several time zones away, and while Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were still underclassmen at San Jose State University, a British blues band formed by the name of FLEETWOOD MAC. Led by guitar prodigy Peter Green, this version of the Mac released a handful of albums and compilations, including the classic 'Then Play On', and met its swift demise shortly after Green lost control of his dependence on LSD. With all due respect to the later iterations of the Mac, this was quite a fertile period for a young band experimenting with blues and rock traditions, and now we get a deeper dive into that era with a new 3 disc set of demos and live material called 'Before the Beginning'. THE BAND's self-titled debut album turns 50 this year, and now we get a new version of it with a full remix and remaster. The 2 CD version includes their full set at Woodstock, and the vinyl edition has been pressed at 45 RPM for the audiophiles for the first time ever. We've also got a new live LP from JAMES BROWN, and a full-on super deluxe edition of the ROLLING STONES' 'Let It Bleed' with all the trimmings. Santa alert!
More reprints and new editions are here including TURBONEGRO's 'Apocalypse Dudes', ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN's complete Peel Sessions on vinyl, MOGWAI's 1997 LP 'Ten Rapid', which collects some of their earliest, most tender material, and a new pressing of EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL's 1996 album 'Walking Wounded'.
A quartet of compilations covers just about every available mood and groove from the dance world. JUNGLE's edition of the 'Back to Mine' series showcases their fave downtempo tracks from names like Mocky, Mansur Brown, BadBadNotGood, and KAMAAL WILLIAMS, who also happens to be the host selector for the latest in the 'DJ Kicks' series, where he presents a wild array of jazz, house, and jazzy house. The KOMPAKT label's 'Pop Ambient' series has been delivering the goods since the turn of the century and now bring us this year's installment, which features tunes from label legends like Markus Guentner, Jorg Burger, and T. Raumschmiere. The GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL label is also celebrating some decades in the game, and a new label comp called 'Thousands of Eyes in the Dark' features an impressive roster of lowkey brilliant ambient artists from points everywhere, such as The Sight Below, Suzanne Kraft, Emily Sprague, and Khotin.
The Analog Africa label returns from a brief hiatus with another sure shot, this time culling 1970s tunes from the northern Brazilian state of Para for a new set called JAMBU. In urban areas flanked by the Amazon, musical forms from as far away as Benin, Cuba and the Dominican Republic intermingled, creating a hypnotic, insistent blend of Afro-Brazilian music utterly unique to one city. After dozens of compilations like this, the AA label has a hard-won trust, and they don't disappoint on this one. We've got a fresh repress of a bubbling zouk-fusion delight from FRANCK VALMONT et SYNCRO. Ghanaian high-life legend GYEDU-BLAY AMBOLLEY is still blowing his horn at 72, and brings us a spectacular new album celebrating his birthplace. The modestly titled 'Armenian Pop Music' LP from HAMLET MINASSIAN actually contains some of the most mind-melting discoid funk from any continent ever.
New hip-hop CDs are here from some of the biggest names in the game. Check out 'Woptober II' from GUCCI MANE, a surprise return from GANG STARR, and the latest from SNOOP DOGG, 'I Wanna Thank Me'. You're welcome.
New jazz CDs are here from STEVE LACY and the MAT MANERI QUARTET, and we have the delectable soundtrack for 'Far From the Apple Tree' composed by neofolk queen ROSE MCDOWALL. Sound artist YANN NOVAK lived here in Madison in the 1990s, and his latest release for the Room40 label, 'Slowly Dismantling' reflects on his time here as a queer youth, and it's cover depicts the remnants of the Hotel Washington after it burned down in in 1996.
Some truly glorious entries from the disparate realms of rhythmic ambient, art-pop, and synthwave roll in this week, starting with the 1990 album 'Ecophony Gaia' from the group GEINOH YAMASHIROGUMI, best known for their soundtrack for the film 'Akira'. Belgian artpunk JAN VAN DEN BROEKE formed a number of brief new wave groups, the best tracks of which appear on Stroom's compilation '11000 Dreams', a wonderful collection of drifting, dreaming songs that find a middle ground between gentle boogie and elegant repose. Same goes for 'Marea/Tide' a Music From Memory reissue of a hyper-rare art record from the Italian duo RUINS In 1984, Ljubljana new wave group VIDEOSEX risked more than most bands of the time did, making a truly provocative piece of gender and sexuality-bending new wave in post-Tito Yugoslavia that has attained cult status amongst headier European collectors.
Crispy new Blue Note pressings are in for HORACE SILVER's 'Doin the Thing', GRANT GREEN's 'Alive!', and a pair of ART BLAKEY's 'Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World', volumes one and two.
CHRISTOPHER WILLITS + RYUICHI SAKAMOTO's 2012 collaboration 'Ancient Future' gets a fresh repress on vinyl, and we have a new LP of de-/re-constructed violoncello music from LORI GOLDSTON. UK ambient musicians JONNY NASH (of Gaussian Curve) and KYLE MARTIN reunite as LAND OF LIGHT for a wondrously crafted new exploration of space.
Effervescent and mischievous house is here from Canadian producer REGULARFANTASY, your last chance at grabbing one of the 'Welcome to Paradise' compilations of rare Italian 'dream house' curated by YOUNG MARCO is now here, and we have a stellar new double album of drifting, amniotic techno from DJ Sports under a new alias, MEDIATED AMBIENCE.