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Last Month's Top Sellers

1. CAT POWER - Wanderer
2. KURT VILE - Bottle It In
3. GONZALES - Solo Piano III
4. ELVIS COSTELLO - Look Now
5. SPIRITUALIZED - And Nothing Hurt

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FEATURED RELEASES

Tuesday
Feb272018

MARLON WILLIAMS - Make Way For Love

"...This release, however, is far more focused, comprised of songs written in the aftermath of a relationship's end. Within this theme, Williams explores the full gamut of emotions, and that rich and resonant voice is the perfect vehicle. There is the passionate pleading of "Can I Call You," with lines like "let her find her way to you, I can't be sure if she ever will." Beginning with sparse piano and a guitar strum, it builds with strings that will tug at your heartstrings without becoming melodramatic. "Party Boy" is a jealousy-fuelled tune with a touch of malevolence, yet it has a frisky '50s vibe to it. Another highlight is "Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore," a lush duet with Aldous Harding. The fact that this was recorded after Williams' breakup with the singer adds further intensity to the powerful ballad.
 
There is definitely something retro about Williams' vocals and the production on the album, with obvious reference points being such emotionally expressive balladeers as Roy Orbison (an acknowledged influence), Scott Walker and Chris Isaak. On "I Didn't Make A Plan," he goes to a deeper register, convincingly, but it is his pure and soaring delivery that generally holds court (Jeff Buckley is another point of comparison)...The result is a stunning work that will draw you back to repeated, if oft intense, listening." - Exclaim

Friday
Feb232018

VARIOUS - These Great Stars Are On Fire & Fury

"The postwar explosion of independent rhythm and blues record companies included an extremely important group of African American-owned firms that played hardball with the big boys long before Berry Gordy established Motown. Heading the list were Vee-Jay Records in Chicago, Don Robeys hard-boiled Duke/Peacock empire in Houston, and Bobby Robinsons Harlem-based Fury and Fire logos. Robinson accrued his early industry experience from behind the counter of Bobbys Record Shop, located down the block from the Apollo Theatre. The store opened for business on August 20, 1946, and it became a gathering place for record buyers and music luminaries alike. Stars would wander down between their Apollo shows, and label honchos would stop by to see what was selling. Along the way, Robinson learned the ingredients that went into a hit." - Waterfront Records

Tuesday
Feb202018

ROBERT EARL THOMAS - Another Age

"There are a million songs dressed in white t-shirts and American denim, songs that drift through open spaces in some busted sedan, over lost highways that become tributaries to eventual static, crawling traffic and stifling density. There are a million more songs about being wild and green in the cities and outside them: a song about love for every person on this earth. Another Age, the debut album from Robert Earl Thomas, avoids inhabiting these clichés even as it embraces their personal influence, distilling plucky observations and reveries into something both universal and specific.  This is an album about small moments with big emotional footprints, told humbly and honestly.
 
It’s a debut that plays the part without succumbing to it, more pastel romantic comedy than sepia historic drama. Thomas addresses with uncommon gentleness his own pet preoccupations with iconic imagery and tones: there are stylistic nods to Springsteen and Dire Straits, Arthur Russell’s more folk-leaning output, the various collaborations of Tom Petty & Jeff Lynne. But Thomas seems intent on conveying his specific take on these things over emulating them; you get the impression that he’s just as inspired by karaoke renditions of “I’m On Fire” or “Romeo and Juliet” as he is by the originals. As a narrator, he steers a road song away from jaded indifference, and his self-aware ballads are concerned not with broken hearts (or breaking them) but with city-induced anxiety, complex and unfamiliar love, and soft ruminations on getting older..." - Captured Tracks

Monday
Feb192018

DANIEL BARENBOIM - Claude Debussy

"During his years as principal conductor of the Orchestre de Paris – from 1975 to 1989 – Barenboim made an intensive study of Debussy’s harmonic and rhythmic innovations and his extraordinary palette of tonal colours while preparing a number of the composer’s orchestral works for concert performance. That wealth of experience has also enriched Barenboim’s examination of Debussy’s piano works, enabling him to realize their orchestral dimensions by means of his agility and range of colours at the keyboard. Served by sensuous, grounded, and powerful playing, the pianist becomes a gripping storyteller who masterfully sustains the music’s broad arches and enlivens each piece with immediate intensity and a potent sense of atmosphere.

The album’s repertoire reflects Debussy’s compositional finesse and versatility. Alongside the delicate musical images of Estampes, the programme includes one of his best-known works, “Clair de lune” from the “Suite bergamasque”, which Barenboim also considers “one of the absolute masterpieces.” The leisurely waltz “La plus que lente” unfolds with subtle irony, followed by the halting, delicate melancholy of the “Elégie”, composed in 1915. The album is crowned by the first book of “Préludes” dating from 1909-10 and, on account of its poetic expressive power, occupying a unique place in Debussy’s output. The composer translated the literary associations that sparked his imagination into widely contrasting musical dream images that enchant us with their thrilling virtuosity or tender lyricism. Barenboim recorded “Préludes I” in 1998 at the Institut Pere Mata in Reus, Catalonia and has chosen to include the collection here alongside the works he recorded in Berlin in the autumn of 2017." - Universal Music Canada

Saturday
Feb172018

THE ORIELLES - Silver Dollar Moment

"The Orielles are a pop band in the purest, most unerring sense of the term. They play indie pop that’s informed by the past but which belongs entirely to now. Silver Dollar Moment is replete with hooks but it’s also filled with substance. Wiser than their tender years would suggest, this band’s various reference points - from Orange Juice’s blue-eyed soul to The Pastels’ gentle pop - would elude your average 17-year-old. ‘Old Stuff New Stuff’, for example, mixes 60s chamber pop with the band’s propensity for experimenting with dub and funk.

The Orielles defy indie pop logic by not making songs about romance and heartbreak. Instead they often borrow idiosyncratic and surreal themes from cinema (see single ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’, its title taken from Tarantino’s Death Proof, and ‘Let Your Dogtooth Grow’, inspired by Yorgos Lanthimos’ film Dogtooth). Their shunning of cliche doesn’t end there: ‘Sunflower Seeds’ navigates a path between psychedelia and shambling indie rock that’s as faithful to both genres as it is curiously idiosyncratic...

Silver Dollar Moment’s vibrancy is at odds with the current mood of the world, but it’s also a vital indication of where we’re at now in terms of indie music’s trajectory. It shakes off any negative connotations of modern indie, particularly in the ‘landfill’ sense of the word, and reclaims it. This is not a new development, of course - women have long been doing this in DIY scenes everywhere - but The Orielles’ success on this album only brings this perfect indie pop further out into the sunlight." - The Quietus

Saturday
Dec022017

OXFORD AMERICAN 2017 Music Issue 

"Now in its 19th year, the Oxford American’s annual Southern music issue has long held special meaning for our readers, many of whom collect it, eagerly anticipate it, and enthusiastically tell us what we get right (and wrong) every year. In 2017, we’re featuring the music of Kentucky, highlighting some of the Commonwealth’s most enduring legends and local favorites while celebrating overlooked and lesser known musicians. With contributions from Sturgill Simpson, James Lindsey, Bill Monroe, Julia Perry, King Kong, and Loretta Lynn, this 27-track compilation includes songs from 1927 to the present, with two extra bonus tracks on our first ever digital download." - Oxford American

Saturday
Nov042017

JACKIE SHANE - Any Other Way

"Recognized by genre aficionados as one of the greatest singers and most riveting stage presences in soul music, Jackie Shane has remained largely unknown outside Toronto, where her career briefly flowered in the 1960s. Ms. Shane is a star without parallel—a pioneer of transgender rights born in a male body, living her entire life as a woman at a time when to do so seemed unthinkable.

Any Other Way is the first artist-approved collection of Ms. Shane’s work, collecting all six of her 45s and every highlight from the legendary 1967 live sessions at the Sapphire Tavern, including three mind blowing, previously-unreleased tracks. Any Other Waymarks Jackie Shane’s first communication with the public in nearly half a century. Rob Bowman's extensive liner notes tell, for the first time ever, Ms. Shane’s story in her own words, copiously illustrated with never-before-seen pictures from a career and life unlike any other." - Numero

Friday
Oct272017

JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD - Sorry Is Gone

"On her latest, Sorry Is Gone, Jessica Lea Mayfield creates a manifesto for living apology-free. Its title track is a mantra for those who are simply over saying the “S” word, which is important, especially for women in a society that expects us to say it too often. Lyrically, it has an empowering effect, with applause-inducing lines like “It’s nice to have a guy around / For lifting heavy things and opening jars / Should we really let them in our beds.” Mayfield’s blunt narrative will resonate with anyone who has had enough of their partner’s perpetual shtick.

Sorry is born from especially difficult subject matter. Written as Mayfield endured what she has alleged were years of domestic abuse, it was composed mostly on an acoustic baritone guitar, her source of peace in an unimaginably dark time. Through writing Sorry, she found the strength to say her last apology and leave her marriage...Her influences range. Tracks like “Safe 2 Connect 2” take a lyrical cue from Patti Smith, while “Soaked Through” oozes with a resemblance to Slowdive’s Souvlaki. On the latter, Mayfield’s garage influences soak through, with blaring guitars and hazy, dream-like vocals that pull us into a deep, rock-fueled trance..." -Paste

Friday
Oct272017

ACETONE - 1992 - 2001

"Between 1993 and 2001 the trio released two LPs and an EP on Vernon Yard—a Virgin subsidiary—and two LPs on Vapor, the L.A.-based label founded by Neil Young and manager Elliott Roberts. In that span, they were selected to tour with Oasis, Mazzy Star, The Verve, and Spiritualized. Against a rising tide of post-Nirvana grunge and slipshod indie rock, Acetone tapped into a timeless Southern California groove by fusing elements of psychedelia, surf, and country.

They rehearsed endlessly in an empty bedroom in northeast Los Angeles, recording hours of music onto cassettes that were subsequently stuffed into shoeboxes and left in a shed behind the drummer’s house. Those tapes are being released for the first time in this anthology, which also includes highlights from Acetone’s official releases. “I think our music is all about moods and feeling but hopefully it will get as weird as it possibly can,” said Richie Lee in 1997. “We want things to get weird in the way that you could hear an Acetone song and know that no one else in the world could make that kind of music but us.”" - Light In The Attic

Saturday
Sep302017

CASTLEBEAT - Castlebeat

"While all the jangle-pop-shoegaze emerging from the West Coast States is no facsimile, it does hold up a rather humbling mirror to the slew of comeback bands from eighties/nineties Britain. This next generation from over the water actually sound bigger, are politically bolder and more beautiful than ever before. And they are DIY. Castlebeat’s self-titled debut is no exception and it gives us some of the catchiest sad pop you’ll hear this summer.

If you’re a regular Bandcamp surfer, you’ll already know how prolific Josh Hwang is, with several scrapbook albums of insanely good tunes under his own name. ‘Castlebeat’ sees a concerted effort to pile all that greatness into one release. Everything you hear was recorded in the twenty-two-year-old Californian’s garage. It’s hard to believe, when you’re soaking up the hazy vibrations of ‘Falling Forward’ or ‘Poolside’, or riding the clattering 170 beats per minute of ‘Downstairs’, that he spent $0 on studio time, producers and audio engineers. Cramming atmosphere and a sense of place into a four minute track is not easy, but somehow he does it with simplicity. For example, ‘Change Your Mind’conjures up a night time driveway somewhere in 80s suburban America, porch light casting onto the silhouette of a young couple trying to resolve their differences. Hushed voices and stolen kisses, as a light in an upstairs bedroom flicks on…" -Goldflakepaint

Saturday
Sep302017

VARIOUS - EXPO 1

"Deutsche Grammophon kick off a new, neo classical compilation series with this 14 track selection featuring work by Jonny Greenwood, Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Chilly Gonzales, Ólafur Arnalds, Philip Glass and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, among others. If you follow the world of modern or neo classical composition, then we’d wager you already know most of the artists and much of the material on offer. But for everyone else it’s a fine entry point or primer, opening with Max Richter’s 21st century standard, Vladimir’s Blues, and cycling thru the spectrum of classical connotations and flirtations with ambient, jazz, anything else it fancies really." -Boomkat

Tuesday
Sep262017

VARIOUS - Jesus Rocked The Jukebox

"A fantastic collection of postwar gospel – one that really keeps the spirit of the "jukebox" in the title! The tunes here are all upbeat, and often share a lot with R&B material of the 50s – especially the vocal group numbers, which often echo more secular modes of early doo wop, but rise the lyrics towards more heavenly aims – while often imbuing the tunes with lots of earthy energy! All the tracks here are from the Vee Jay and Specialty Records labels – and in the case of Vee Jay especially, the well-chosen selection of tracks provides a long-overdue focus to tunes that have mostly been reissued for the spiritual market, and haven't gotten the kind of exposure in the soul scene that they've needed over the years! This collection really corrects that – handled by the excellent Craft division of Concord who've been giving us some great Stax reissues – and the package is overflowing with rare singles, a total of 40 tracks in all – accompanied by great notes in a really well-done package." - Dusty Groove

Tuesday
Sep262017

DREAM SYNDICATE - How Did I Find Myself Here?

"...The new Dream Syndicate record, How Did I Find Myself Here?, doesn’t sound like any of the old Dream Syndicate records, which is something that can be said, actually, of each of the previous Dream Syndicate records. Does 1988’s Ghost Stories really sound like the same band (or half that original band) that had made Days of Wine & Roses in 1982? Nope. Should both be called “Dream Syndicate records”? Absolutely. The current Dream Syndicate lineup features three of the four members who recorded that last studio album: Wynn, drummer Dennis Duck, and bassist Mark Walton. As he has since the Dream Syndicate’s 2012 reformation as a touring unit, Jason Victor (Wynn’s longtime partner in Miracle 3) has replaced Paul Cutler on guitar. With three years of touring under their belts, including two 2014 Atlanta performances featuring both Days of Wine & Roses and The Medicine Show played in sequence, this group was tight and possibly more cohesive when entering the studio than any unit previously recording under the name. 

How Did I Find Myself Here? sure sounds like it: confident and playful, amped up and in sync. Each of the album’s eight songs is unique unto itself, yet all flow together into a cohesive set. The album sounds a bit like the ‘90s bands that Dream Syndicate influenced, a joyful immersion into collective melodic noise. Few units can soar, grind, and spasm in the ways Dream Syndicate has always been able to conjure at will. “Filter Me Through You” opens the album with an explosion of full-on aggression, all players on hand in a classic song of heartbreak and perseverance. Wynn has always been a great pop songwriter, and this is one of his strongest. So, too, is “Glide”, with its soaring chorus of “I just glide / I may never get higher / I don’t have to come down.” The song, possibly a comment on expectations, both those he set for himself and those imposed by others, is as uplifting as the washes of Wynn and Victor’s paired guitar drones..." - Pop Matters

Tuesday
Aug292017

VARIOUS - Complete Loma Singles: Volume 1 (2CD)

"The first volume of The Complete Loma Singles fully delivers on everything a soul aficionado would desire. In fact, it’s the most perfect blend of Motown, Stax and Phil Spector you’re likely to hear in one place. Classic r&b merges with girl group sounds while doo-wop stylings battle brazen blues for the rank of most brokenhearted. There’s even a handful of Booker T-inspired instrumentals to keep the party going. Powerful early singles by Ike & Tina Turner, Swamp Dogg (under the moniker Little Jerry Williams), as well as the entire recorded output of The Olympics (of “Good Lovin’” fame), appear here, alongside Bob & Earl’s Sam & Dave/Otis Reddingworship, Lucky Carmichael’s BB King stomp and Brenda Hall’s girl group straddle of Spector and Shangri-Las producer Shadow Morton. Billy Storm lives up to his name by alternating between a refined Sonics attack and a cover of Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger, and The Apollas give The Supremes a run for their money with their four sides. Both sides of Sugar ‘N’ Spice’s classic “Come Go With Me” round out the collection, along with numerous lesser-known artists whose voices are probably heard for the first time in fifty years." - The Big Takeover

Tuesday
Aug292017

CHRIS BELL - Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star

"The influence of the British mod and psychedelic music flows through these cuts in a way that distinguishes them from the sounds that Bell would develop with Chilton in Big Star, but the twisted pop sheen is already forming. Palmore’s “Feeling High” shows a clear Beatles influence, while Bell’s own “Psychedelic Stuff” evokes the Pretty Things, and “A Chance to Live” could be a lost track by the Move. Bell’s singing on the version of “My Life Is Right” first recorded with Rock City sounds more confident here, even, than on the version he recorded with Big Star. And the guitar tone on the collection’s opener “Think It’s Time to Say Goodbye” evokes “In the Street” from #1 Record...

...Listening to Looking Forward: The Roots of Big Star it becomes apparent that, without Chris Bell, there would have been no Big Star. The anthology makes it plain that Bell was one of the great collaborators in rock and roll history and adds further emphasis to just how cruelly the fates have treated him. Compiler Alec Palao makes all the right decisions in his selection and sequencing of these songs, presenting as complete a portrait of an artist still in formation as is possible, offering all sides of Bell: singer, songwriter, lead guitarist, accompanist, and, ultimately, catalyst." - Pop Matters

Tuesday
Aug292017

VARIOUS - Milk Of The Tree: An Anthology Of Female Vocal Folk & Singer-Songwriters 1966-73 (3CD)

"Over the course of four hours and sixty tracks, Milk Of The Tree focuses on the music made in the late Sixties and early Seventies in both Britain and North America by either female solo artists or acts with featured female vocalists. Along the way, we encounter San Franciscan psychedelia, LA folk rock, Swinging London pop-folk, electric folk, progressive folk and even folk club folk as well as (of course) a plethora of singer- songwriters (including various ladies of the Canyon) from the movement’s golden age.

As well as featuring most of the leading figures from both sides of the Atlantic, Milk Of The Tree includes many performers who received little attention at the time but who now have a cult reputation amongst collectors. A significant number of tracks were unreleased at the time, while the set also includes the first-ever appearance by pioneering female rock duo Emily Muff, two American girls who were based in England during the period in question but failed to land a recording contract.

With a 44-page booklet crammed with rare photos and details of the various acts featured, the clambox-housed Milk Of The Tree is not only a fascinating social document but, we hope, a hugely entertaining snapshot of a particular time, place and frame of mind that produced some enduring, spellbinding music." - Cherry Red

Tuesday
Aug292017

VARIOUS - Sing It High, Sing It Low: Tumbleweed Records 1971-73

"In February of 1971, Larry Ray and Bill Szymczyk fled an earthquake and a debauched L.A. music scene to claim their own slice of utopia in Denver, Colorado. After meeting and bonding at ABC-Dunhill, where Ray landed as general manager, and where Szymczyk had breezed in from New York — fresh off his first real hit as a burgeoning engineer/producer with BB King’s “The Thrill is Gone” — they’d often daydreamed about starting their own label.

In Denver, Ray and Szymczyk settled on the name Tumbleweed Records, and through industry connections they secured multi-million-dollar financing from Gulf + Western, whose head honchos believed they were bankrolling the hippie movement’s next big thing.

But instead of producing the next Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix, Ray and Szymczyk turned their sights on idiosyncratic wunderkinds like Pete McCabe, moody songwriters Robb Kunkel and Danny Holien, psych-folk rocker Arthur Gee, all the while providing a platform for more established musicians like Albert Collins and Dewey Terry (of Don & Dewey fame), while launching the career of Michael Stanley.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and, per Szymczyk, it was a “bitchin’ disco time.” Drugs, parties, poetry, celebrities, money—Tumbleweed had it all, except airplay and distribution. Two years after its storied start, the label was finished." - Light In The Attic

Saturday
Aug052017

ARTHUR ALEXANDER - Arthur Alexander

"Arthur Alexander is not nearly as well known as his influence suggests he should be. His songs have been covered by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley. He also helped found FAME studios, the Muscle Shoals, Alabama-based studio in which Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and many more recorded. Alexander's 1972 self-titled album has now been reissued by Omnivore recordings, including six bonus tracks.
 
This was a 'comeback album' after a bit of a career slump in the late '60s, and his sound was appropriately updated from the early '60s pop/R&B of his first album, 1962's You Better Move On, to the country-tinged Southern soul displayed here. Alexander's slight drawl on the word "home" from "I'm Coming Home" enhances the comfy feeling in this music, as does the acoustic plucking on "It Hurts to Want it so Bad" and "Down the Back Roads." The energetic horn arrangements on most of these songs evince a lively soul influence, and the tropical rhythms of "Call Me in Tahiti" and the gospel of "Thank God He Came" make for a rich musical gumbo..." - Exclaim

Saturday
Aug052017

B BOYS - Dada

"“Every day is a struggle to hold on to a sense of myself,” Britton Walker shouts on “Another Thing,” from his band B Boys’ full-length debut Dada. It’s hard to take him all that seriously. From their album art to their song titles (cue up “B Boys Anthem” to get things started) B Boys present a unified front of “selfness.” The Brooklyn trio—Walker, Brendon Avalos, and Andrew Kerr—embody the idea of a band as self-contained unit, a singular force against an indifferent world, a unified wall of inside jokes, jittery noise, and propulsive post-punk.  

On Dada, the band’s coherence is illustrated by compact songs, equal parts WipersSST hardcore, and brainy Devo-esque abstraction. Like their one-time tour mates Parquet Courts, B Boys are as witty as they are snotty, couching their poetic tendencies in a knotty squall. The songs are hooky, taut, and driving. Occasionally, like on the synth-led, Tubeway Army–recalling “Fade,” the crew land in more tempered territory, but mostly, they keep things speedy." - Flood Magazine

Saturday
Aug052017

WILSON PICKETT - Sings Bobby Womack

"Between 1966 and 1968 soul great Wilson Pickett recorded no less than 17 songs written by an up-and-coming singer/songwriter with whom he had much in common stylistically. Bobby Womack’s own time as a regular hit-maker was still a few years off; it was largely the popularity of Pickett’s versions of his songs which set him on his way to soul superstardom.

For years fans of Pickett and Womack have been hoping for a collection which brings together all of their collaborations – not least Cliff White, who conceived this project way back in 1984. At long last, here it is. (The reason for the lengthy gestation period is explained in the booklet.) As well as those Womack compositions, by way of a bonus the CD includes Pickett’s very apt version of Womack mentor Sam Cooke’s classic ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ and both sides of Womack’s own lone Atlantic single.

Recorded in Memphis and Muscle Shoals with the leading studio musicians of the day – including Womack on guitar and backing vocals on many of the tracks – “Wilson Pickett Sings Bobby Womack” is in many ways the great lost Pickett album, and one which compares very favourably with any of his official Atlantic releases of the period. Extensively annotated, handsomely illustrated and with a cover design that pays homage to those late 60s Atlantic albums, this is a compilation no Pickett fan can afford to be without." - Ace Records