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2. CASE/LANG/VEIRS - Case/Lang/Veirs
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FEATURED RELEASES

Friday
Jan292016

TINDERSTICKS - The Waiting Room

"The Waiting Room might be Tindersticks’ most subdued effort to date, but it still flashes the irreverence that enlivened efforts like The Something Rain and Falling Down a Mountain. On "Help Yourself," an uncharacteristically louche Staples shakes off his troubles by swaggering onto the floor of the Shrine in Lagos circa '72 (and the novelty of the Tindersticks going Afrobeat is savvily mirrored by Denis’ companion clip, which depicts French-Caribbean actor Alex Descas roaming the shopping-mall concourse of a French train station, nonplussed by the white European consumer culture surrounding him). An even more wondrous surprise arrives in the form of "Hey Lucinda," a wobbly-kneed waltz that finds Staples communing with the spirit of the late, great Montreal chanteuse Lhasa de Sela, an occasional Tindersticks collaborator who died of cancer in 2010. It’s like a fleeting reminiscence of someone who’s passed, but one that leaves you smiling from the warm memories rather than weeping over their absence.

The beautifully languid "Hey Lucinda" contrasts sharply with The Waiting Room’s other big-ticket matchup, "We Are Dreamers," which sees Staples joining forces with Jehnny Beth of Savages and the Tindersticks tapping into that band’s brooding menace. It’s the moment where all of The Waiting Room’s mounting tension is finally released, into an outsider anthem that recasts material impoverishment as spiritual empowerment ("You can rob us/ You can trick us/ Peer over our shoulders and steal our ideas") as Beth and Staples’ voices intertwine and overlap before locking into the song’s rallying cry: "This is not us/ We are dreamers!" - Pitchfork

"The Waiting Room has a multimedia component, which is that each of the 11 tracks comes accompanied by a short film helmed by a different director (Claire Denis, Christoph Girardet, among others). This is ambitious if not altogether surprising, since Tindersticks has been recording soundtrack work (mostly for Denis) in between albums as far back as 1996. Pretty much every Tindersticks song reaches out for late-night visual accompaniment. So the three instrumental cuts here, if somewhat uneventful and one too many, have the feel of incidental music from a film. “How He Entered,” which name-checks two of the instrumental titles, shares that cinematic momentum. A character study of sorts, it’s one of the group’s most compelling spoken-word pieces since 1995’s “My Sister.” - Paste Magazine

Thursday
Jan282016

VA - Christians Catch Hell: Gospel Roots 1976-79

"Producer and label owner Henry Stone, who passed away last August at the age of 93, was the kind of mythic record label executive who turns up midway through music biopics, or as the 'other guy' in countless photos of famous artists, singlehandedly putting Miami on the map with his early '70s label TK Records. Though TK was Stone's primary concern, he also oversaw a fleet of smaller independent labels, each of which had a different stylistic focus, but were all loosely linked to R&B. One of those labels was Gospel Roots, which Stone founded in 1976 with Timmy Thomas. 

Like all of Stone's ventures, Gospel Roots quickly amassed a sprawling discography, releasing 50 LPs in just three years. Part of this was owed to the label's canny structure—rather than shelling out for recording and production, Stone snapped up pre-existing gospel masters from regional artists and simply pressed and distributed them through Gospel Roots.

According to the extensive notes included with Christians Catch Hell, Thomas rarely met—or even spoke to—the artists whose work he was commissioned to promote. The label expired just three years after it was founded, without scoring a single notable hit. That backstory makes Christians Catch Hell—a collection of 18 tracks from the Gospel Roots label—seem like yet another in a long line of barrel-scraping reissues of 'lost classics,' but the music it contains transcends record collector arcana, providing instead a snapshot of the underexplored intersection between disco, funk, and gospel." - Pitchfork

Friday
Jan222016

TY SEGALL - Emotional Mugger

The same things that make Mugger raw and powerful, though, will also make it Segall’s most polarizing solo album yet. His music has grown more accessible for general audiences over the years, but with Mugger — which officially comes out two months after VHS copies were sent to unsuspecting journalists — he reverses that trajectory. It’s a move back toward the noisier garage rock roots he established with his 2008 self-titled debut and 2009’s Lemons. In that same Spin interview, Segall talked about touring as it relates to the rest of his musical existence: “It’s not my favorite thing; recording is. It’s so fun. You can get weird." Mugger sounds like it was a hell of a lot of fun to make, and Segall gets plenty weird here, too, with guys like producer F. Bermudez, Dale Crover, Mikal Cronin, and King Tuff all contributing to the madness. - Consequence of Sound

Thursday
Nov262015

OXFORD AMERICAN - 17th Annual Southern Music Issue

"The Oxford American is proud to present its 17th annual Southern Music issue, which celebrates the immense musical legacy, both past and present, of the state of Georgia. 

Published in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development's Tourism Division, the issue comes with a 25-song CD compilation that features music by Georgia artists such as James Brown, Sandy Gaye, Gram Parsons, Otis Redding, OutKast, Indigo Girls, Drive-By Truckers, the Allman Brothers Band, and many more. This showcase of Georgia music also includes a cover of the song 'Midnight'—written by songwriting legends Boudleaux Bryant and Chet Atkins and recorded by Ray Charles—by the Athens-based band Futurebirds. This song was recorded exclusively for the Oxford American. The compilation ends with a recently discovered 1961 demo recording of Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer performing 'Moon River.' The CD was mastered by Grammy-winning producer Michael Graves of Osiris Studio in Atlanta.

In the magazine, more than 45 writers take on the task of chronicling numerous musical traditions and artists from Georgia—including legends, innovators, and the state's brightest visionaries. A few highlights: Peter Guralnick on his discovery of Blind Willie McTell and the electrifying experience of seeing the James Brown Show in 1965; Kiese Laymon on the influence of OutKast; Amanda Petrusich on the Allman Brothers Band and Capricorn Records; Elyssa East on Gram Parsons and his 'Nudie suits'; and Brit Bennett on Janelle Monáe and Wondaland Records. The issue also has a special section called 'Athens x Athens,' in which musicians from the city's famous scene share stories and anecdotes about what makes the town an unmatched hub for creativity."
- The Oxford American

Thursday
Nov262015

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - The Complete Matrix Tapes (4CD)

"The first song on the Matrix Tapes is a languid, 13-plus-minute-long version of 'Waiting for the Man,' complete with a whistling break and two previously unreleased verses, seemingly made up on the spot. But what makes this collection essential is the cohesion of the band and the setlists: the shows find the Velvets at their absolute peak as a live unit, with Reed and Sterling Morrison's guitarsthe former raucous and unhinged, the latter pristine and precisemeshing with an almost subconscious cohesion. The 42-track set finds the band cruising through some 22 different songs sprawling across their entire career: 'Sweet Jane' is rendered in versions much calmer than the familiar recording on Loaded, forceful on the first round (and with yet another unreleased verse), gentle on the second. Doug Yule introduces a loping melodic bassline into 'Heroin' (first night, second set) before moving over to organ. But most of all, the clarity of the soundwhich is drastically improved from the Live 1969 album, where several of these songs were first released, and The Quine Tapes collection, which is rough-quality audience recordings of songs from the same set of shows—makes it feel as if the band is performing right in front of you." - Billboard

Thursday
Nov262015

THE STAPLE SINGERS - Faith & Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976 (4CD) 

"Faith & Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976 isn't career-spanning, as stated by the Concord label. The proof is right there, in the title. Throughout the latter part of the '70s and during the mid-'80s, the Staple Singers recorded strong material for the Warner Bros. and Private I labels. Nonetheless, as of 2015, this box set was easily the most comprehensive Staples anthology. Physical copies consist of four discs, as well as a re-pressing of an early-'50s single, 'Faith and Grace' b/w 'These Are They' which alone is enough to stir the interest of longtime fans. Even without those two songs, Faith & Grace would be almost as close to essential as it gets for a box set, covering the group's stints with Vee-Jay, United, Riverside, Epic, and Stax, a rich period during which they evolved from an acoustic gospel-folk group that performed in small churches into a genre-crossing main attraction for 110,000 people at the Los Angeles Coliseum (as documented on Wattstax)." - Allmusic

Saturday
Nov212015

VA - Coxsone's Music

"Coxsone's Music is a stunning new 3-CD/two separate double LP (+ free download) collection featuring over two and half hours of early Jamaican proto-ska, rhythm and blues, jazz, rastafari and gospel music, charting the earliest recordings produced by Clement Dodd, in the years before he launched the mighty Studio One Records, brought together here for the first time ever. Featuring Don Drummond, Roland Alphonso, Derrick Harriott, Owen Gray, Clancy Eccles, Count Ossie, Monty Alexander, The Blues Busters, Ernest Ranglin, Rico Rodriguez and many, many more all captured here in their formative early years." - Soul Jazz Records

Saturday
Nov212015

SCOTT FAGAN - South Atlantic Blues

"Brill Building songwriter Scott Fagan was 20 or 21 when this 1968 debut album was released in the same week as Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, then disappearing without trace. At 48 years' distance, it's hard to fathom why—it's a marvellous record, full of slightly psychedelic folk, Donovan-ish pop and stripped-down, brass-powered, redemptive soul. There are songs about dying love, failure, the emptiness of hedonism and the lure of isolation and Fagan—the biological father of The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt—delivers them with humbling passion. The tremor in his voice recalls a young David Bowie, and the phrasing of Dusty Springfield, but he’' at his best when the tempo drops and he bares his emotions, such as in highlight 'The Carnival Is Over.' 'Crying' is another killer tune: when Fagan yells 'Lover, look at me,' the pain is audible. Fagan continued to record, and still occasionally performs, but his youthful opus is ripe for (re)discovery." - The Guardian

Saturday
Nov212015

MAKI ASAKAWA - S/T

"A stunning survey of the 1970s heyday of this great Japanese singer and countercultural icon. Deep-indigo, dead-of-night enka, folk and blues, inhaling Billie Holiday and Nina Simone down to the bone.  A traditional waltz abuts Nico-style incantation; defamiliarised versions of Oscar Brown Jr and Bessie Smith collide with big-band experiments alongside Shuji Terayama; a sitar-led psychedelic wig-out runs into a killer excursion in modal, spiritual jazz. Existentialism and noir, mystery and allure, hurt and hauteur." - Honest Jon's

Saturday
Nov212015

BEAT HAPPENING - Look Around

"Domino is proud to announce Look Around, a compiled retrospective from the legendary Beat Happening. Formed in the early '80s at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington by Calvin Johnson, Heather Lewis and Bret Lunsford, Beat Happening combined a modern primitive pop sound with the D.I.Y. ethos of 'anyone can do it', inspiring countless bands and labels along the way. The music community that arose around the band and their label, K, was in many ways, the sonic antithesis of their Seattle neighbors (and friends) but was no less influential. Look Around is a remastered, career-spanning double album anthology, handpicked by the band and a great starting point for the uninitiated as well as a refreshing reminder to those who caught the wave the first time around." - Domino Recording Company

Saturday
Nov212015

FRANCOISE HARDY - L'Amitié

"By 1965, Françoise Hardy was truly international. She'd hung out with The Beatles and The Stones, played high-profile shows in London, established a working relationship with British producer Charles Blackwell, and appeared in the film What's New Pussycat? She was also a fashion icon seen in the pages of Marie Claire and Vogue and on the cover of Elle, and her first US album was issued that year.

In France, Hardy was to release album number four, the second album to be recorded in London, where her celebrity was rapidly growing at odds with her natural shyness. 'In London, it was the first time I'd been made to think I had a certain charm or charisma,' she says now. 'Thanks to the time in England, I became aware I could be seductive.' L’Amitié, with its evocative, close-up album cover and late-night sound, is the result." - Light In The Attic

Friday
Nov202015

FLOATING POINTS - Elaenia

"It was the arrival of a Studer A80 master recorder at the front door of Sam Shepherd (otherwise known as Floating Points) that caused him to begin building the studio that led to the creation of his debut album, Elaenia. After a slight miscalculation meant that he could not physically get the thing inside his home, what happened next can only be described as a beautiful example of the butterfly effect. Breaking away from making electronic music on his laptop, the DJ, producer and composer spent the next five years engineering Elaenia, all the while deejaying in cities across the globe and working towards his PhD in neuroscience. An incredibly special album that draws inspiration from classical, jazz, electronic music, soul and even Brazilian popular music, Elaenia (named after the bird of the same name) is the epitome of Floating Points' forward-thinking vision in 2015." - Luaka Bop

Thursday
Nov192015

VA - Georgie Fame Heard Them Here First

"Ace's popular Heard Them Here First series continues to grow with each new volume eagerly anticipated by those with an interest in the inspirations of their musical heroes.

In their pomp, Georgie Fame and his group the Blue Flames regularly played four or five sets a night at London's Flamingo and Roaring 20s clubs, so were always on the lookout for new songs to play. Material came to Georgie from all directions: the GIs and West Indians who frequented the clubs and brought him new soul imports, friends such as clued-up Mick O'Neill (Nero of early-'60s instrumental specialists Nero and the Gladiators), the record collections of members of the Blue Flames, specialist soul/jazz/R&B record shop Transat Imports, and the copious record box of sound system operator Count Suckle. Musical sponge that he was, Georgie absorbed it all in order for the group to put their own spin on things.

This is an altogether terrific 25-track cross-section of material Georgie covered or revived across his early singles, his four Columbia albums and first CBS EP. Many of these originals will be familiar to lovers of vintage soul and jazz but we have included several major obscurities, a few of which, including Shorty Billups' original of Georgie’s rare single ‘Bend A Little,' are receiving their first ever reissue here." - Ace Records

Thursday
Nov192015

SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA - To Those Of Earth...And Other Worlds

"Following up on last year's collection In The Orbit Of Ra, we're diving headfirst back into the vast universe of Sun Ra with a a newly curated set from Ra's immense 125 LP back catalogue, compiled by Gilles Peterson. The BBC 6Music/Worldwide DJ is a long-time champion of Ra's music and the UK's leading tastemaker for jazz-based sounds. It serves as perhaps the best introduction yet to the music of Sun Ra for a whole new generation of converts.

For the CD version, Peterson picks personal favourites, classics and unreleased tracks and weaves them into a flowing piece across 2CDs, showcasing the incredible variety of Ra's work. The 2LP version features full-length versions of selected tracks from the mix (and also includes the full CD mixed version)." - Strut Records

Monday
Nov092015

STEVEN LAMBKE - Days Of Heaven

"Steven Lambke has always been the calm, introspective presence within the uninhibited Constantines. On his first solo release not under the Baby Eagle moniker, he forges deeper down that pensive path into places at once strange and comforting. Past Baby Eagle records employed heavy doses of twang, but Lambke now sounds more comfortable alone and quiet. On the harrowing 'Sunflower Mind,' he explores romantic, Latin-influenced acoustic guitar. Even more harrowing is the Dylanesque 'A Good Light And Tired Feeling.' Lambke slowly extracts every inch of love and other grit-laced emotions out of his short songs, just two and three minutes long." - NOW

Saturday
Nov072015

WILLIE THRASHER - Spirit Child

"Last year's Native North America compilation of First Nations folk and rock stood as one of 2014's best reissues. Put together by veteran crate-digger Kevin 'Sipreano' Howes, NNA brought many singers and bands from the '60s and '70s to a new audience—native and non—and left many of us wanting more. That's exactly what we get with Spirit Child, a Light in the Attic reissue of Willie Thrasher's 1981 LP.
 

Thrasher, born in the Northwest Territories in 1948, still makes a living busking in Nanaimo, BC, and plays regularly in Vancouver (including at last summer's Levitation festival), so it's a real bonus to be able to hear what he was doing over 30 years ago.
 
Recorded at a commercial studio in Ottawa (and reissued with the original
CBC album design), Spirit Child bridges country-folk styles—slack string and steel guitar, vocals reminiscent of Neil Young, outlaw country tinges that recall the likes of Waylon and Willie—and traditional Inuvialuit concerns. So, we have songs about whaling ('Shingle Point Whale Camp'), Inuit arts and crafts ('Old Man Carver') and a couple of tunes in Inuvialuktun and English ('Old Man Inuit' and 'Silent Inuit').
 
These last two—a sort of talking blues call-and-response—are, like many of Thrasher's songs, no doubt a response to his years in residential schools in the 1950s, where native children were forbidden to speak their own language and, in Thrasher's case, had their long hair cut."
- Exclaim!

Saturday
Nov072015

FUZZ - II

"Fuzz, the aptly named 'side project' Segall formed in 2011 with high school friends Charlie Moothart and Chad Ubovich, is not the product of a short attention span. The band's self-titled 2013 debut found them playing the role of music historians as much as musicians, calling forth the ghosts of metal past and trying their flowing robes on for size. Sabbath is the most glaring reference point, but the boys also did their homework on Hendrix, King Crimson, and deeper cuts like The Groundhogs. Basically, if it was British and heavy as hell, it found its way into Fuzz's collective conscious.

The fact that Segall plays drums instead of a beat-up Fender is already enough to distinguish Fuzz from his other work, but zeroing in on proto-metal has led to some of the most thoughtful (though still undeniably visceral) music of his prolific career. The second album from the California-bred group is meatier than its predecessor in every conceivable way, starting with the guitars, which have been pushed forward to the front of the mix in such a way that nearly relegates Segall's shrieking vocals to the role of wallpaper. Riffs are ultimately the fuel that powers the record's engine, a six-cylinder relic from the 1960s, and guitarist Moothart reigns as the MVP in spite of his drummer's more considerable star power." - Consequence of Sound

Saturday
Nov072015

CARRIE BROWNSTEIN: Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl

"Sleater-Kinney's intensity—derived from both its own talents and in part from the airing of repressed anger that was one of the triumphs of the Riot Grrrl scene—took its listeners to certain uncomfortable places, then asked them to stay there. Though Corin Tucker's voice has a purity of sound to it, ringing like a bell at midnight over the sound of raucous guitars, listening to the music can be complicated business. Not everyone is looking for that in a song.

Carrie Brownstein's new book has a similarly fierce approach, though her methods are complicated. While there are certainly places where an editor could and should have chiseled her prose down to make her points sharper and more affecting, this book is the clear product of a very intelligent person, and filled with flashes of insight and wit. Describing her younger self watching Tucker's previous band, Heavens to Betsy, for example, Brownstein writes,

Heavens to Betsy came across as the most serious of their peers. You stood up, you listened, and you were quiet. They were like really loud librarians.

But this is one of the few tiny moments of humour in the book. Instead, it delivers its goods in what I can only describe as a compellingly depressive register, which sounds like an insult but isn't. By keeping her affect flat, Brownstein is able to avoid melodrama, a good thing because there are elements of her life story she could have frothed up into soap." - The Guardian

Thursday
Oct222015

2016 CALENDAR - Classic Blues Artwork From The 1920's Vol. 13

"One of every October's delights for me is the arrival of Blues Images' annual 12×24-inch wall calendar for the next year. As ever, each month's illustration is a reproduction of the original ad for a vintage blues 78 RPM platter. An accompanying 20-track CD presents these songs plus eight bonus tracks – some the flip sides of songs on the calendar, while others are back-to-back sides of a rare vintage disc that isn't on the calendar.

Since the obscurities generally come from collectors' 78s, the audio can be scratchy. This year's good news is that Blues Images has teamed up with the creators of American Epic, a three-part documentary on 1920s-'30s music that will air early next year on PBS and the BBC. The American Epic's crew's work cleaning up some (not all) of the 2016 CD's songs is superb.

The 2016 calendar and CD extend from 1927 to 1933. We hear the famous (Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Ma Rainey, Barbecue Bob) as well as lesser-known artists such as Hattie Hyde (recording with Memphis Jug Band) and Charlie Kyle. The two sides from a 1930 Jaydee Short 78 come from the only copy of the disc known to exist." - Goldmine

Thursday
Oct222015

ELYSE WEINBERG - Greasepaint Smile

"The unreleased second album by an original lady from the canyon. Recorded and recanted in 1969, Greasepaint Smile is more assured than its self-titled, Tetragrammaton-issued predecessor. Weinberg's finger-picked acoustic is layered over distant drumming, while her gravel-pit voice evokes life, love, and mortality. Fellow Torontonian Neil Young sears 'Houses' with his signature fuzz-tone, casting chaos over the beautiful ballad, while J.D. Souther, Kenny Edwards, and Nils Lofgren, pick up the slack." - Numero Group

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