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1. ALVVAYS - S/T
2. SHARON VAN ETTEN - Are We There
3. THE WAR ON DRUGS - Lost In The Dream
4. OWEN PALLETT - In Conflict
5. VA - Country Funk II: 1967-1974

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FEATURED RELEASES

Thursday
Feb062014

WARM SODA - Someone For You

We definitely missed Warm Soda's Someone For You when it was released last March, but we've been quickly charmed by its guileless mix of all things '-pop': glam, punk & power! Luckily for us latecomers, they are a prolific bunch and will have a new album out, Young Reckless Hearts, this March 11th.

"Matthew Melton, previously of the spontaneously combusted Bare Wires, has created a lean, mean gang of masterful power pop tunes with just the right blend of studio sweetness, teenage angst, and gritty bubblegum. All killer, no filler." - Castle Face Records

"If you like your music fast and catchy, with a little garage-rock power behind it, then Warm Soda is a band you are going to want to check out. Someone For You, their debut LP, is loaded with sugary power pop jams that will rot your teeth and plant worms in your skull that will be tough to get rid of. Matthew Melton, formerly of Bare Wires, definitely knows his way around a catchy song, and his playing and arrangements put what bands like The Strokes are currently doing to shame." The Fire Note

Wednesday
Feb052014

BILL CALLAHAN - Have Fun With God

This dub treatment of last year's Dream River makes perfect, unexpected sense straight from first listen, emphasizing the cyclical riffs and percussive accompaniment that were on the tapes all along, while leaving enough of Callahan's vocals unmuted to manage to tease out flashes of narrative and ensure that the originally-sung stories aren't entirely left by the wayside. Take the next stool down at the bar, No Protectionyou've got company.

"[This] experiment serves to draw attention to the enduring spaciousness of Callahan’s music, to the sense that the most significant details in his songs are unspoken, hidden in the interstices between his lines. This last point is hammered home very hard when you hear the project in its entirety. Brian Beattie, who mixed Dream River and handled the remixes for Have Fun With God, hasn’t wandered too far from the original: the eight songs run in the same order, and are recast not as reggae, exactly, but as reverb-heavy and mostly instrumental pieces that point up the rich musical subtleties that initially underpinned Callahan's vocals." - Uncut

the experiment does serve to draw attention to the enduring spaciousness of Callahan’s music; to the sense that the most significant details in his songs are unspoken, hidden in the interstices between his lines.”
Read more at http://www.uncut.co.uk/blog/wild-mercury-sound/have-fun-with-god-bill-callahan-in-dub#AjHjEKv7hQVpxBkb.99

the experiment does serve to draw attention to the enduring spaciousness of Callahan’s music; to the sense that the most significant details in his songs are unspoken, hidden in the interstices between his lines.”

This last point is hammered home very hard when you hear the project in its entirety. Brian Beattie, who mixed “Dream River” and handled the remixes for “Have Fun With God”, hasn’t wandered too far from the original: the eight songs run in the same order, and are recast not as reggae, exactly, but as reverb-heavy and mostly instrumental pieces that point up the rich musical subtleties that initially underpinned Callahan’s vocals.


Read more at http://www.uncut.co.uk/blog/wild-mercury-sound/have-fun-with-god-bill-callahan-in-dub#AjHjEKv7hQVpxBkb.99

the experiment does serve to draw attention to the enduring spaciousness of Callahan’s music; to the sense that the most significant details in his songs are unspoken, hidden in the interstices between his lines.”

This last point is hammered home very hard when you hear the project in its entirety. Brian Beattie, who mixed “Dream River” and handled the remixes for “Have Fun With God”, hasn’t wandered too far from the original: the eight songs run in the same order, and are recast not as reggae, exactly, but as reverb-heavy and mostly instrumental pieces that point up the rich musical subtleties that initially underpinned Callahan’s vocals.


Read more at http://www.uncut.co.uk/blog/wild-mercury-sound/have-fun-with-god-bill-callahan-in-dub#AjHjEKv7hQVpxBkb.99
Wednesday
Feb052014

BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY - S/T

We were very excited to source a limited amount of CD/LP copies of this self-released, self-titled effort straight from the Royal Stablelike its eponymous predecessor, what it lacks in running time it more than makes up for in tenderly oblique acoustic balladry, and some of the strongest, strangest Will Oldham songs we've heard in years.

"Will Oldham hasn’t run out of tricks in his 20-plus years of sharing his music with Louisville and beyond. Having played with identity and consistently challenged the music industry's rigid rules throughout that time, Oldham's latest twist is a self-produced, self-released album that originally had only been available at local shop Astro Black Records. The collection is his first full-length since 1994 to consist entirely of his voice and guitar, otherwise unaccompanied, and it's telling to hear how much older and more confident he sounds now compared to then." - LEO Weekly

Wednesday
Feb052014

BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE - Piano Nights

The dead of winter is not only the perfect time of year for Piano Nights' release, but also for one to acquaint themselves with Bohren's gloomy, haunting take on jazz in general, a catalogue that now runs (trudges?) a daunting eight albums deep.

"There's something about the brooding pace, the somber saxophone and the wistful keys of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore's music that evokes the imagery of midnight city streets more vividly than it seems music should be capable of capturing. Of course, when your music is often referred to as 'noir jazz' because it exists as a distant, moody offspring of noir film soundtracks, it benefits from the previously existing association that the noir era created between low-key jazz and dark cities. But there’s a reason this type of music was specific to that style. These instruments, when played at this brooding, lustful pace, simply ooze the shadowy, melancholy feelings that are naturally associated with rain highlighted by streetlights, fog illuminated by headlights, and jazz bar stage lights filtered through cigarette smoke." - Sputnik Music

Monday
Feb032014

VA - Haiti Direct: Big Band, Mini Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds, ,1960-1978 / VA - Peru Maravilloso: Vintage Latin, Tropical and Cumbia

Enlisting the respective ears of Sofrito's Hugo Mendez and Martin Morales of the Ceviche restaurant and its new Tiger's Milk imprint offshoot, Strut yet again does a fantastic job of looking out from its present-day London vantage point to the heyday of tropical hybrid musics made for the dancefloor, whether then or now.

"Haiti Direct's intent is to shine a spotlight on the sounds that go beyond the regular Voodoo stereotypes of the country. While Cuba was refining salsa and Jamaica was staking its claim on reggae back in the 1960s, Haiti was instead twisting meringue into fresh sound compas direct. Big band rivals Nemours Jean-Baptiste and Webert Sicot were the genre's initial pioneers, but towards the end of the 1960s, the genre made room for a handful of smaller, more urgent outfits that blended electric guitars and paved the way for the 70s. As the 70s took hold, the Haitian sounds spread rapidly through South America and France, and had a resounding influence on zouk in the 1980s." - FACT

"The 1960s were a pivotal era not only for young Americans in the U.S. but also for their counterparts in Peru. The country’s music scene also underwent a pivotal shift from classic, traditional sounds to the new sounds of tropical and psychedelic music. Peru Maravilloso collects a number of these songs from a variety of influential artists of that era in one neat compilation, chosen by Duncan Ballantyne, Martin Morales and Andres Tapia (of Resychled Records). The trio had one mission in mind when choosing the songs for the record: 'rooting and unearthing tracks that take the listener by surprise whilst avoiding the more mainstream sounds of cumbia and chicha prevalent at the time.'" - Huffington Post

Monday
Feb032014

THE NEW MENDICANTS - Into The Lime

Although the group name might not yet register, The New Mendicants consist of a trio of Toronto transplants (of varying degrees) whose names you'll likely recognize: Joe Pernice, Norman Blake and Mike Belitsky, banding together to play a brand of sprightly-strummed pop which blends the singing and songwriting voices of Blake and Pernice to breezily catchy effect. 

"Into The Lime does much to dispel the received wisdom that side projects are little more than exercises in vanity wherein the cast-off songs from the individual players' day jobs are given a new lease of life in order to satisfy egos while nursing the bruises of rejection. No, this a welcome shot of vitamin D in the cruellest month of the year where summer seems to be an eternity away while the filling of tax return forms only adds to the harshness of January." - The Quietus

Wednesday
Jan292014

DOUG PAISLEY - Strong Feelings

With longstanding co-producer Stew Crookes capturing a live-off-the-floor feel from such players as Garth Hudson, Bazil Donovan and Emmett Kelly and guest vocal turns by Mary Margaret O'Hara, Afie Jurvanen of Bahamas and Tamara Lindeman of The Weather Station, Strong Feelings serves both as a great intro for those new to Paisley's work as well as another solid batch of songs sure to satisfy his already-substantial fan base.

"Doug Paisley is a singer-songwriter out of place and time. His songs are steeped in the steely resolve, forlorn soul-searching, and regrettable heartbreak of classic country tunes. His guitar parts can be as spare and searching as a Nick Drake ballad, or as ornate and filigreed as the stitching on a Nudie suit; his vocals are equal parts Merle Haggard and Jackson Browne, a wistful tenor with a slight quiver. Like its predecessor, 2010's Constant Companion, Strong Feelings is an exquisitely warm, intimate recording—you can hear Paisley's fingers shift on the strings of his guitar, and the faintest creak each time Garth Hudson presses down on his keyboard." - The Grid

"Paisley gave himself a little extra time while making his new album. After recording his previous two LPs in something of a hurry, the Canadian singer and songwriter allowed himself to stretch out more in the studio while recording these ten songs. The result is an album of tasteful subtleties: warm guitars unspooling over the gentle hum of an organ enveloping Paisley's AM-gold voice with just a hint of a twang, on songs that glide by like beautiful scenery." - Wall Street Journal

Tuesday
Jan282014

VA - Punk 45 Vol. 2: There Is No Such Thing As Society. Get A Job, Get A Car, Get A Bed, Get Drunk! Underground Punk and Post-Punk in the UK 1977-81

Boasting liners that, as with most Soul Jazz comps, thoroughly put the era under scrutiny into context (in this case including interviews with the indie distributors and label-runners on the front lines when Year Zero hit, along with quality shots of each featured 45's original album art), this CD/2LP fills out the UK side of the punk picture provided by the series' related coffee-table book.

"While the first album in this series, Punk 45: Kill The Hippies! Kill Yourself!, focused on underground punk in America, this album charts the rise of punk and post-punk in Britain in the years 1977-81.

This new Punk 45 album features a collection of seminal, classic, obscure and rare punk and post-punk singles from the likes of The Art Attacks, The Mekons, TV Personalities, Swell Maps, and many more, charting the rise of independent music and Do It Yourself culture that exploded in Britain in the wake of punk." - Sounds Of The Universe/Soul Jazz Records

Thursday
Jan232014

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS - Give The People What They Want

Finished before Jones' recent struggle with pancreatic cancer, both her and the indefatigable Dap-Kings stick to the template they've perfected over the course of five records now, offering up a thoughtfully arranged, freshly throwback, full-throttle half-hour of soul power.

"Bosco Mann’s production treats the horns, backing vocals, and acoustic rock instruments like a small orchestra, fiddling with every tone so that each stands out behind Jones' powerful voice. On upbeat tracks like 'Now I See' and 'Stranger To My Happiness,' each instrument can be picked out of the stereo field, concentrated on, and the pure musicianship at work absorbed.

Whereas I Learned The Hard Way suffered from a lack of variation in songwriting, Give The People What They Want traverses the dictionary of soul and pulls out a few different entries, making it a much more engaging record. 'Get Up and Get Out' recalls Sam Cooke with a loose, jazzy backbeat and interweaving brass; 'Making Up and Breaking Up' touts the album’s catchiest chorus and would’ve been a hit had Diana Ross and the Supremes sang it 50 years ago." - TIME/Consequence of Sound

Wednesday
Jan222014

BRIGITTE FONTAINE - Est...Folle / Comme À La Radio

Fontaine's first two albums, now reissued by San Francisco-based Superior Viaduct (a recently-launced, primarily punk/leftfield archival imprint whose catalogue is getting stronger by the year), successfully put the various sides of this strange songstress on display, the beginnings of a career that would flourish well into the '70s and beyond (most notably the ensuing/ongoing collaborations with percussionist/co-vocalist Areski). 

"On Est…Folle, Fontaine takes flight over conductor Jean Claude Vannier's brilliant arrangements. Vannier, best known for his work on Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire De Melody Nelson, is in fine form, using what would become his trademark stylings: lush strings, taut rhythms culled from across the globe and a healthy dose of whimsy.

While her debut was a unique take on French chanson, [on Comme À La Radio] the Art Ensemble Of Chicago provides the perfect setting for Fontaine's exploration of free-verse poetry. Often arrhythmic and spoken, her vocals command the same spontaneity and grace that her collaborators applied to their instruments. The overall effect is chilling, and it is no surprise that Comme À la Radio is often cited as Fontaine's best known work." - Superior Viaduct

Friday
Jan172014

VA - Angola Soundtrack 2: Hypnosis, Distortions & Other Sonic Innovations 1969-1978

Latin America's musical influence on Lusophone Africa is in infectious, dancefloor-bound full bloom on this second set of Angolan rumba funk, focusing on the record industry which flourished in the capital city of Luanda throughout the Seventies.

"An exceptional set of circumstances existed in the history of Angola before Independence that created the giant leap in the style and standard of bands and recordings of the time.

When Portuguese repressive measures prevented the small Turmas, street musician groups, from being able to perform in Carnaval celebrations in 1961, a Portuguese civil servant, entrepreneur and Angolan music fan named Luis Montês was already in a position to capitalise on Luanda's need for a live music scene. His self-designed 'Kutonocas,' Sunday afternoon live music festivals, delighted a Luandan population hungry for a communication between the city and musseques (townships). It also forced groups to adapt to a different style of playing that would accommodate large stages and broader audiences. They equipped themselves with electric guitars, and fed on the musical influences from Cape Verde, Congo and the Dominican Republic, while staying patriotically true to their own musical legacy and unique rhythms." - Analog Africa

Sunday
Jan122014

GEORGE JACKSON: Old Friend: The Fame Recordings Volume 3

We're on record as long-standing admirers of Jackson's unique way of conveying both vulnerability and swagger whenever he stood at the mic for a vocal take, and with the recent theatrical success of Muscle Shoals (set to be available on DVD and Blu-ray by the end of February), this third volume from the Fame archives is set to introduce the man to more receptive ears than ever.

"Old Friend, the third volume of George's Fame recordings, is possibly the best of the three we’ve issued to date. There are a handful of songs which will be familiar via the versions of other acts. Unlike the first two, however, most of the tracks were recorded by George alone. Nevertheless, these predominantly-unheard songssome of which were written by George's friends and peers O.B. McClinton and Dan Greerare just as strong as those covered by Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett et al. All would surely have been hits for anyone who did pick them from George’s massive catalogue of potential hits.

The fabulous musicianship of the Muscle Shoals-based Fame rhythm sections is all over the majority of these recordings, including, on a couple of cuts, the stinging guitar work of Duane Allman. None of our featured tracks has appeared on CD before, which makes their presence here all the more vital; all but two have never been issued before. It’s a real pleasure to be able to keep George Jackson’s name alive with music of outstanding quality."
- Ace Records

“Old Friend”, the third volume of George’s Fame recordings, is possibly the best of the three we’ve issued to date. There are a handful of songs which will be familiar via the versions of other acts. Unlike the first two, however, most of the tracks were recorded by George alone. Nevertheless these predominantly-unheard songs – some of which were written by George’s friends and peers O B McClinton and Dan Greer – are just as strong as those covered by Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett et al. All would surely have been hits for anyone who did pick them from George’s massive catalogue of potential hits.

The fabulous musicianship of the second and third,Muscle Shoalsbased Fame rhythm sections is all over the majority of these recordings – including, on a couple of cuts, the stinging guitar work of Duane Allman. None of our featured tracks has appeared on CD before, which makes their presence here all the more vital; all but two have never been issued before. It’s a real pleasure to be able to keep George Jackson’s name alive with music of outstanding quality.

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/old-friend-the-fame-recordings-volume-3#sthash.BUsyp7Dd.dpuf

“Old Friend”, the third volume of George’s Fame recordings, is possibly the best of the three we’ve issued to date. There are a handful of songs which will be familiar via the versions of other acts. Unlike the first two, however, most of the tracks were recorded by George alone. Nevertheless these predominantly-unheard songs – some of which were written by George’s friends and peers O B McClinton and Dan Greer – are just as strong as those covered by Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett et al. All would surely have been hits for anyone who did pick them from George’s massive catalogue of potential hits.

The fabulous musicianship of the second and third,Muscle Shoalsbased Fame rhythm sections is all over the majority of these recordings – including, on a couple of cuts, the stinging guitar work of Duane Allman. None of our featured tracks has appeared on CD before, which makes their presence here all the more vital; all but two have never been issued before. It’s a real pleasure to be able to keep George Jackson’s name alive with music of outstanding quality.

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/old-friend-the-fame-recordings-volume-3#sthash.BUsyp7Dd.dpuf

“Old Friend”, the third volume of George’s Fame recordings, is possibly the best of the three we’ve issued to date. There are a handful of songs which will be familiar via the versions of other acts. Unlike the first two, however, most of the tracks were recorded by George alone. Nevertheless these predominantly-unheard songs – some of which were written by George’s friends and peers O B McClinton and Dan Greer – are just as strong as those covered by Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett et al. All would surely have been hits for anyone who did pick them from George’s massive catalogue of potential hits.

The fabulous musicianship of the second and third,Muscle Shoalsbased Fame rhythm sections is all over the majority of these recordings – including, on a couple of cuts, the stinging guitar work of Duane Allman. None of our featured tracks has appeared on CD before, which makes their presence here all the more vital; all but two have never been issued before. It’s a real pleasure to be able to keep George Jackson’s name alive with music of outstanding quality.

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/old-friend-the-fame-recordings-volume-3#sthash.BUsyp7Dd.dpuf

“Old Friend”, the third volume of George’s Fame recordings, is possibly the best of the three we’ve issued to date. There are a handful of songs which will be familiar via the versions of other acts. Unlike the first two, however, most of the tracks were recorded by George alone. Nevertheless these predominantly-unheard songs – some of which were written by George’s friends and peers O B McClinton and Dan Greer – are just as strong as those covered by Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett et al. All would surely have been hits for anyone who did pick them from George’s massive catalogue of potential hits.

The fabulous musicianship of the second and third,Muscle Shoalsbased Fame rhythm sections is all over the majority of these recordings – including, on a couple of cuts, the stinging guitar work of Duane Allman. None of our featured tracks has appeared on CD before, which makes their presence here all the more vital; all but two have never been issued before. It’s a real pleasure to be able to keep George Jackson’s name alive with music of outstanding quality.

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/old-friend-the-fame-recordings-volume-3#sthash.BUsyp7Dd.dpuf

“Old Friend”, the third volume of George’s Fame recordings, is possibly the best of the three we’ve issued to date. There are a handful of songs which will be familiar via the versions of other acts. Unlike the first two, however, most of the tracks were recorded by George alone. Nevertheless these predominantly-unheard songs – some of which were written by George’s friends and peers O B McClinton and Dan Greer – are just as strong as those covered by Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett et al. All would surely have been hits for anyone who did pick them from George’s massive catalogue of potential hits.

The fabulous musicianship of the second and third,Muscle Shoalsbased Fame rhythm sections is all over the majority of these recordings – including, on a couple of cuts, the stinging guitar work of Duane Allman. None of our featured tracks has appeared on CD before, which makes their presence here all the more vital; all but two have never been issued before. It’s a real pleasure to be able to keep George Jackson’s name alive with music of outstanding quality.

- See more at: http://acerecords.co.uk/old-friend-the-fame-recordings-volume-3#sthash.BUsyp7Dd.dpuf
Saturday
Jan112014

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS - Wig Out At Jagbags

Malkmus and co. follow up 2011's Mirror Traffic with more ever-detached observations and lyrical absurdity matched with proggy, '70s-indebted riffs and licks, as the Jicks somehow simultaneously shrug and showboat their way through yet another impressive effort.

"The fact is no one sounds like Stephen Malkmus, no matter how hard some have tried. Interviewing him a few years ago, I noticed that even when he talks he's got his own neo-boho vocabulary. Wig Out At Jagbags is loaded with Malkmisms (from the song titles right down to the album name itself). There's also a sense of reflection, especially on songs like 'Rumble At The Rainbo' and first single 'Lariat,' which contains the line 'We grew up listening to the music from the best decade ever / Talkin' 'bout the ADDs.' There are plenty more wry lines throughout, but they come off less like jabs and more like they should be accompanied by a wink.

Wordplay aside, the music is simpler—no extended guitar jams—but Malkmus is still a damn fine axeman. He rocks out on 'Scattegories' (with the line 'Mott the Hoople’s got no scruples') and closer “Surreal Teenagers.'" - Paste

Friday
Jan102014

VA - Chimpin' The Blues with Jerry Zolten & R. Crumb

This compilation of '20s and '30s blues 78s and banter between R. Crumb and Penn State professor and author Jerry Zolten sounds like a radio program because, well, it was, having been first broadcast on college station/NPR affiliate WPSU back in 2003, and the casual conversation between these two lifelong record collectors (nevermind the great selections played and discussed) makes this set well worth the reairing.

"Raised in McKeesport, Pa., Zolten began collecting 45 RPM records as a teen and started DJing at record hops. Soon he became a junior historian, delving deep into recordings made decades before his birth, especially the work of overlooked African-American gospel and rhythm and blues artists. He went on to become an educator, musician and producer.

A mutual acquaintance in record collecting circles introduced Crumb and Zolten in the early 1980s. Crumb offered his original artwork in exchange for records; Zolten, a fan, jumped at the chance. They shared a fondness for 78s with each boasting collections of several thousand and would meet for marathon listening sessions. After one especially fruitful meeting of 'chittering back and forth about petty details,' Zolten thought the rare music and Crumb’s commentary might have broad appeal. Eventually, the two friends were chimpin’ in WPSU’s studio." - Penn State News

Sunday
Dec152013

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS 2013

Our Staff Best Of 2013 list is now posted, as is our earlier write-up re: the new Nick Lowe, Elizabeth Mitchell holiday releases, but in the meantime since the season is now upon us, this gift guide will hopefully help you hit the right notes for all the music lovers on your list (current availability cannot be guaranteed):

 

FOUR LADS FROM LIVERPOOL (and a Muswell Hillbilly)

THE BEATLES: The BBC Archives 1962-1970 (hardcover)
THE BEATLES - On Air: Live At The BBC Volume 2
(CD/LP)
TUNE IN: The Beatles - All These Years, Vol. 1
(hardcover)
THE JOHN LENNON LETTERS
(paperback)
RAY DAVIES - Americana: The Kinks, The Riff, The Road: The Story
(hardcover)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HELP FOR THE HOLIDAY BLUES

BLUES IMAGES 2014 CALENDAR: Classic Blues Artwork From The 1920s, Vol. 11 (CD included)
VA - Chimpin' The Blues with Jerry Zolten & R. Crumb
(ft. between-track commentary)
VA - R. Crumb's Heroes Of Blues, Jazz & Country
(book + CD)
VA - The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27) (800-song USB drive, 6LPs and two books [art book + discography] enclosed in ultra-deluxe wooden 'wonder cabinet'!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOUL, R'N'B, ROCK'N'ROLL & GOSPEL

RESPECT YOURSELF: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion (hardcover)
VA - New Orleans Funk 3: Two-Way-Pock-A-Way, Gumbo Ya-Ya & The Mardi Gras Mambo
VA - Purple Snow: Forecasting The Minneapolis Sound
(2CD + book/4LP + book)
THE T.A.M.I. SHOW: Collector's Edition
(DVD)
OST - Muscle Shoals
VA - Jukebox Jam! Volume Two
OXFORD AMERICAN - Annual Southern Music Issue (magazine + 2CD)
VA - I Heard The Angels Singing: Electrifying Black Gospel From The Nashboro Label 1951-1983
(4CD)

 

 

 

 

 

MOPERS & MOPEDS: IVO, ELLIOTT, MOLLY, MOZ N' ROSES

FACING THE OTHER WAY: The Story Of 4AD (hardcover)
TORMENT SAINT: The Life Of Elliott Smith
(hardcover)
MOLLY DRAKE - S/T
(CD/LP)
MORRISSEY: Autobiography
(hardcover)
MORRISSEY - 25: Live
(DVD/Blu-ray)
THE STONE ROSES: Made Of Stone
(DVD/Blu-ray)

 

 







PUNKS vs. HIPPIES

THE CLASH - Sound System (11CD + DVD)
VA - Punk 45: Kill The Hippies! Kill Yourself! The American Nation Destroys Its Young
PUNK 45: The Singles Cover Art Of Punk 1976-80
(paperback)
UGLY THINGS #36 (Fall/Winter 2013)

 

 








MUSIC FANS-IN-TRAINING

THE POINT: Definitive Collector's Edition (DVD)
LEARN TO SPEAK MUSIC: A Guide To Creating, Performing And Promoting Your Songs
(paperback)
BUN B'S RAP COLORING AND ACTIVITY BOOK
(paperback)
OST - Sesame Street Old School Volume 1
(3CD)
VA - Smithsonian Folkways Children's Music Collection

 

 

 

 

LIFELONG STUDENTS OF MUSIC

DAVID BYRNE - How Music Works (new paperback edition/hardcover)
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC: The Science Of A Human Obsession
(paperback)
UNDERSTAND RAP: Explanations Of Confusing Rap Lyrics That You & Your Grandma Can Understand
(paperback)
1,000 RECORDINGS TO HEAR BEFORE YOU DIE: A Listener's Life List (paperback)

 

 

 

 

 






SASSY CHANTEUSES, PARK-BENCH POP & HAZLEWOOD'S STABLE

YE-YE GIRLS OF '60s FRENCH POP (paperback)
VA - Saint Etienne Presents Songs For A Central Park Picnic
VA - There's A Dream I've Been Saving: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1966-1971
(4CD/4CD + DVD + book)

 

 

 

 







SHAKEY, VAN, THE BAND & THE MAN (In Black)

NEIL YOUNG - Live At The Cellar Door (CD/LP)
VAN MORRISON - Moondance
(2CD Expanded Edition/4CD + Blu-ray Deluxe Edition)
THE LAST WALTZ
(DVD/Blu-ray)
THE BAND - Live At The Academy Of Music 1971
(2CD Expanded Edition/4CD + DVD Deluxe Edition)
JOHNNY CASH - The Life
(hardcover)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS OF FANCY

VA - Longing For The Past: The 78 RPM Era In Southeast Asia (4CD + book)
VA - Angola Soundtrack 2: Hypnosis, Distortions & Other Sonic Innovations 1969-1978
(CD/LP)
VA - Red Hot + Fela











THE GIFT OF MUSIC

TICKET STUB DIARY (to store/record memories of your showgoing year)
GIFT CERTIFICATES
(which can be written out in any denomination)

 

 

 

 

 

 
Happy holidays!

Friday
Dec062013

CATE LE BON - Mug Museum

Our Staff Best Of 2013 list will be posted soon is now posted, but as a preview, this late-year release worked its way onto four staff members' lists (more than any other title), and thus is our shop's favourite new release of the year!

"Welsh songwriter Cate Le Bon returns, less than two years removed from her triumphant Cyrk. There's a dreamy, gauzy feel in many of the record's 10 tracks; Le Bon's recent relocation to sunny California—Mug Museum was recorded in Los Angeles—could have a lot to do with it. 'No God' is embodied by a strong, rolling bass line and high-gain guitar; 'Mirror Me' floats on faint, feverish church organ and sluggish, thumping drums. There's a palpable heat in her new songs that's more intense than her previous work; you can hear the fiery psychedelia in the swirling, clashing woodwinds and scorched, distorted chords." - Under The Radar

"'Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic,' wrote novelist Norman Mailer when describing the
so-called City Of Angels, so it's no wonder alarm bells rang earlier this year when Welsh maverick Cate Le Bon swapped her home of Cardiff for the west coast of America. Since her 2009 debut
Me Oh My, the singer's records have been full of bizarre meditations on death and mortality, wrapped in strange flurries of experimental noise. It was easy to worry that being surrounded by wannabe film stars and sunshine would rid Le Bon of her idiosyncrasies, but she hasn’t been sucked dry by L.A. On the contrary, buggering off to new climes may be the finest decision she’s ever made. Mug Museum, her third full-length, is as wonderfully weird as any of its predecessors. And there's now sparseness in her music, plus a cool, controlled confidence that showcases her knack for the surreal more than ever." - NME

Thursday
Dec052013

NICK LOWE - Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family / ELIZABETH MITCHELL - The Sounding Joy: Christmas Songs In And Out Of The Ruth Crawford Seeger Songbook

This year's batch of new holiday music includes titles from Erasure, Bad Religion and the two releases highlighted here, so if you've played out Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas and Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift For You, why not explore some new holiday tunes? Also, be sure to check out Jingle Bell Rocks!, screening at the Bloor Cinema over the next few days, for more off-the-beaten-track festive sounds.

"[Quality Street] is an amalgamation of Christmas classics, unusual covers and some newly written original songs. Ron Sexsmith contributes a song especially written for the album, along with a new Ry Cooder/Nick Lowe tune. It's the new songs written by Nick Lowe, though, that are the heart of the album—'Christmas At The Airport' is a playful take on the travel tie-ups we've all experienced, complete with Ray Conniff-style backgrounds punctuated by terminal PA voiceovers. Meanwhile, the stunning 'I Was Born In Bethlehem' unfolds as an inventive retelling of the nativity. Lowe says, 'It’s this amazing story that everyone knows, but I was trying to write it as if you'd met Jesus on a plane, and he just started chatting away about that night. I tried to make it very conversational and sort of matter of fact.'" - Rockshot UK

"The Sounding Joy is a spirited collection of folk carols drawn from Ruth Crawford Seeger’s 1953 songbook American Folk Songs For Christmas. Featuring Elizabeth Mitchell and a luminary list of her musical family, friends, and neighbors, this album celebrates the spirit of community and homespun traditions that existed in times before the commercialization of Christmas. Natalie Merchant, Aoife O’Donovan, Amy Helm, John Sebastian, Dan Zanes, Happy Traum, and many others including special guest Peggy Seeger all add their voices to pay tribute to a collection revered in the canon of American Music." - Smithsonian Folkways

Tuesday
Dec032013

KRONOS QUARTET Plays Music By BRYCE DESSNER - Aheym

Classical music doesn't get much play time in our shop, but every once in a while it'll find its way into the queue. When we played this latest Kronos Quartet release a while ago, it generated a flurry of interest from the handful of customers in the shop at the time. Perhaps more in-store play of classical music is in the offing?

"Aheym, Dessner's collaboration with contemporary-classical hip-uncle figures the Kronos Quartet, is the result of a working relationship that dates back a few years. Three of its four pieces were written specifically for Kronos, and the title track has been a fixture of their concerts for a few years now. 'Aheym' begins with all four members digging into their strings and producing hard, sinewy sforzandos, or sudden, violent accents, before subsiding quickly into an agitated, seething hum. The cello plays lopsided arpeggios, each one nervously edging forward, while pizzicato prickles tension higher. It is fierce, vivid music." - Pitchfork

Wednesday
Nov202013

VA - I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990

With such labels as EM, Numero and RVNG/FRKWYS having already issued solo and collaborative material (both old and new) from Iasos and Laraaji (both featured herein), and the post-noise/nu-new-age/neo-kosmische tape-trading heyday just having passed, what better time than now to honour the roots, peak and decline of this most earnestly transcendental (and unabashedly tacky) of American private-press scenes?

"Ever marvel at how much experimental indie music these days sounds like Enya? This smart, trippy, well-annotated archaeological dig helps explain why, connecting the dots between psychedelia, electronic music, yoga soundtracks, drone art and Muzak, showing how musicians questing for enlightenment through sound birthed a mainstream market niche, and then a hipster touchstone. Inspiring stuff." - Rolling Stone

"Though most new age music has rightfully been associated with the cynical postmodern business of sonic backdrop music of the 1980s, '90s, and early 21st century, it was originally an outgrowth of the spiritual adventurousness of the 20th, particularly during the late '60s and '70s. Light In The Attic presents the first overview of the genre from the private-press side—in other words, its most authentic expression, since the vast majority of the records surveyed here were released by artists who had no regard for economic remuneration. This set collects 20 tracks from both well-known and hopelessly obscure musicians and places them in an historical and qualitative context which focuses on musical adventure and/or spiritual intention—most of what's here was released long before the genre became an industry. This is the music of the true believers." - Allmusic

Wednesday
Nov202013

NATIONAL WAKE - Walk In Africa 1979-81

An understandably politicized Joburg blend of punk, new wave, reggae and hard rock (check "It's All Right"'s surprisingly downright Rush-like ascending riff!), National Wake are a must-hear for any fans of The Clash, The Police and The English Beat, as well as such pre-punk acts as Detroit's Death and Zambia's WITCH and Amanaz (as especially heard on "Time And Place").

"The South Africa of the late 1970s was neither the right place nor time to launch a mixed-race punk band. Yet, following the student-inspired Soweto Uprising of 1976, it was also exactly the right conditions to foster a band like National Wake, one formed in an underground commune and one whose very name exists in protest at the divisive, racist apartheid regime. Never before collected together, Light In The Attic has now released National Wake’s full body of work as Walk In Africa 1979-81.

Featured heavily in the recent documentary Punk In Africa, National Wake played punk, reggae and tropical funk, equally at home in the city’s rock underground and the township nightclub circuit. Ivan Kadey started the band with two brothers, Gary and Punka Khoza. [...] Later joined by guitarist Steve Moni, the whole band grew up against a backdrop of township unrest, social upheaval and suburban tedium that characterized apartheid-era South Africa." - Light In The Attic

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