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Courtesy of Collective Concerts, enter here for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Foy Vance on Monday, October 21 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Last Month's Top Sellers

1. BEATLES - Abbey Road (50th Anniversary)
2. BON IVER - i,i
3. SANDRO PERRI - Soft Landing 
4. RHEOSTATICS - Here Come The Wolves
5. JOAN SHELLEY - Like The River Loves The Sea

Click here for full list.

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FEATURED RELEASES

Monday
Nov052007

OST - I'm Not There

ost-i'm%20not%20there.jpgWhether too close to the bone or unnecessarily eccentric, tribute albums usually just serve to remind you how much you'd rather listen to the originals. So go figure that this Dylan covers fest is great: varied, passionate, and remarkably consistent. Cat Power's take on "Stuck Inside of Mobile..." provides the jolt of energy her 2006 disc The Greatest sadly lacked, while Willie Nelson sheds light on one of Bob's better unsung tunes, "Senor" off 1978's Street Legal. From Yo La Tengo to Richie Havens, Karen O to Roger McGuinn, the roster is as eclectic as the man himself. Far more daring than the recent redundant Dylan hits pack.

Monday
Nov052007

BARNEY WILEN & DIESE 440 - Live In Paris-8 Janvier 1983

wilenb.-live%20paris.jpgFrench saxophonist Barney Wilen is perhaps best known for his work on Miles Davis’s soundtrack for Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows from 1958. A restless visionary, the Frenchman later experimented with tapes of a car race, and in 1972 released the colossal Moshi, an ambitious spiritual jazz travelogue of his two-year journey through Africa. Ten years later, he hooked up with the hard-edged atonal electronic ensemble Diese 440 for a set of whirring and pulsating improvisations. It’s an unlikely combination but is utterly convincing and miles ahead of what Wilen’s former leader was doing at the time.

Friday
Nov022007

NATHAMUNI BROTHERS - Madras 1974

nathamuni%20brothers-madras1974.jpgSimilar to how Albert and Donald Ayler used marching band music to their own jazz ends, so did these brothers incorporate horns and woodwinds within the realm of Indian ragas. Along with the Yaala Yaala releases, this has to be one of the most fascinating international reissues I've heard all year!

Wednesday
Oct312007

RICHARD HAWLEY - Lady's Bridge

hawleyr.-lady's%20bridge.jpgSome artists use new albums to test techniques or redefine their approach. Others have no such inclination. And a select few, have no such need--artists like Richard Hawley. Blessed with a deep, rich voice to compliment his romantic sensibilities, Hawley was born to be a nocturnal storyteller. Wherever a head hangs low, a heart retreats to lick its wounds, or a midnight rain falls, he is there to document and turn it into a song. And not just any song, but a woozy, haunted concoction with slow melt of a great scotch. Lady's Bridge is just like all of Hawley's albums: timeless, refined, and darkly gorgeous.

Tuesday
Oct302007

BACH/WEBERN - ricercar

ricercar.jpgSeperated by 200 years of musical development--from the late Baroque to the 20th century's second Viennese school--this coupling may at first seem odd. However, both styles arose from their fluency in contrapuntal invention and motivic control. The repertoire includes two ricercar from Bach's "Musical Offering", a early cantata (BWV 4), Webern's 1905 string quartet and his stunning "Five Movements for String Quartet op5" (written when he was 22!). The Hilliard Ensemble, Muncheber Kammerorchest, and Christoph Poppen highlight tremendously the connections between these two composers.  

Tuesday
Oct302007

JOY DIVISION - Unknown Pleasures/Closer/Still (2CD Collector's Editions) / OST - Control

joy%20division-unknown.jpg    joy%20division-closer.jpg    joy%20division-still.jpg    ost-control.jpg

What better way to celebrate Halloween than with some Joy Division. On the eve of this holiday comes both the soundtrack to Anton Corbijn's new film, Control, and a trio of collector's edition reissues. Unknown Pleasures and Closer, the two proper studio albums by the band, remain iconic touchstones of an at-the-time unheard of style of bleak, cutting songcraft. The half studio/half live Still is a slightly more uneven listen, but still contains stellar highlights, including "Dead Souls" and an early live version of "Ceremony", which became New Order's first single. As for the bonus material, each edition comes with a complete live set. The live sound quality is erratic and primitive, but it suits the band's twitchy, acidic performances perfectly, especially that of their darkly charismatic singer, Ian Curtis. Curtis himself is the main focus of Corbijn's Control, and the soundtrack sets the mood well. This collection won't provide much in the way of surprises for diehards (and some of the surprises, like the Killers' cover of "Shadowplay", may not be seen as a wise idea by all), but the cast themselves do a bang up job on "Transmission" and the rest of the soundtrack is a solid catalogue of influences and pivotal Joy Division/New Order tunes.

Tuesday
Oct302007

YOUSSOU N'DOUR - Rokka Mi Rokku (Give and Take)

n'doury.-rokku%20mi%20rokka.jpgAfter spending so much of the 80s and 90s trying to fit himself into the Western mold of an African singer, N'Dour took the new millenium as an opportunity to reclaim his roots. Rokka Mi Rokku is more light-hearted and playful than recent discs Egypt or Nothing's In Vain, but it remains an album based in African ensemble playing. It's not that N'Dour has completely turned his back on the West--Neneh Cherry of all people even duets on closer "Wake Up (It's Africa Calling)"--it's just that now he makes fond allusions rather than forced concessions to it.

Tuesday
Oct302007

BUCK 65 - Situation

buck%2065-situation.jpgHow a white guy from Nova Scotia managed to find a wide audience rapping like the Dukes Of Hazzard narrator with a sore throat is something of a mystery. But Buck 65 is a master of odd detail and populates his tunes with the kinds of characters rarely seen in hip hop. In many ways, his success is a great acknowledgement of just how many white kids listen to hip hop--a fact he embraces by having never succumbed to misguided attempts to make himself more street. Situation is another collection of intelligently composed music and honest-yet-bizarre tales of worlds outside the present-day sphere.
Friday
Oct262007

KITES - Hallucination Guillotine/Final Worship

KITES2.jpgThis is possibly my favourite album of the year. Kites' Chris Forgues does extremely well with producing distinct harsh noise records. Forgues refrains from using any digital effects, instead focusing on building his own noise insturments. One of my favourite things about his work is that the production value is pristine; you can actually hear everything that's going on. It's nice to hear the harsh sounds he's making, not losing them in a lo-fi squalor that is common to a lot of records of the same ilk. This album is pleasantly cold and I approve of its overall shape.

Thursday
Oct252007

THE TWO MINUTE MIRACLES - Volume IV "The Lions Of Love"

twominutemiracles-volume4.jpgIf there's one person who hasn't profited nearly enough from the recent boom in Canadian music, it's J. Andrew Magoffin. As a producer/engineer, his London, Ontario studio, House Of Miracles, has been responsible for an endless amount of killer albums by Constantines, Great Lake Swimmers, Jim Guthrie, Royal City, not to mention his own band, The Two Minute Miracles. The Miracles, mind you, have never courted the spotlight, retaining a low-level profile. As such, The Lions Of Love is just another day in the office for Magoffin--16 perfect country-pop songs from a world of economy and anonymity. It's a little slice of heaven.
Thursday
Oct252007

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Jamaica Funk

va-jamaicafunk.jpgA casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that reissue label Soul Jazz wouldn't touch any Jamaican music that wasn't recorded at the seminal Studio One; to date, they have a staggering 23 volumes in their S1 series. But not only does their brand new Jamaica Funk break with that unwritten rule, it also proves that their reggae reissue well is anything but dry. This excellent release combines covers of American funk material from artists such as The JBs, Al Green and The Stylistics, as well as original Jamaican music owing to these styles. Big Youth, Augustus Pablo, The Upsetters all appear on this great disc.

Thursday
Oct252007

VOICE OF THE SEVEN WOODS - S/T

voiceof.jpgB-Music's latest and Selda endorsed, Voice of the Seven Woods is Richard Tomlinson, a man who gives psych-folk fans a reason to live in the present. With his talent, it would be an injustice to slap the "freak-folk" label his way. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Tomlinson works equally in British Folk, Turkish Psych and Krautrock. "The Fire in My Head" starts with a fuzzed out Middle Eastern Guitar and continues to add layers into a full-on assault. "Silver Morning Branches" highlights his gentle, sometimes eerie voice, while other tracks showcase his abilities to pick like folk greats Bert Jansch and Sandy Bull.

Wednesday
Oct242007

BILL FAY - From The Bottom Of An Old Grandfather Clock

fay%20b.-from%20the%20bottom.jpgAn idea of a demos album might scare people--well, monsters should scare people. This makes me so happy that my joyous feelings could slay any monster. Happy Halloween.

Wednesday
Oct242007

WAX POETICS - Anthology Volume 1

wax%20poetics%20anthology%20vol1.jpgThe Brooklyn magazine Wax Poetics has established itself as the consummate archival publication for the roots of soul, funk, hip-hop, jazz, Latin, and the like. Detailed histories, revealing interviews, and gorgeous vintage photography are rendered with the kind of reverence reserved for the obsessive music lover. This anthology collects the best material from the magazine's first five issues (2001-2003) in a beautifully presented hardcover volume. With Wax Poetics' popularity slowly increasing over the last few years, this is the perfect way to catch up on the origins of an excellent read.
Tuesday
Oct232007

VARIOUS TITLES - VP Records' 17 North Parade series (reggae reissues)

brown%20d.-visions.jpgWith the recent reissue standstill from labels like Blood & Fire, new material has become scarce for diehard reggae/dub collectors. These people can get excited about the 17 North Parade reissues from VP Records, which feature complete titles (many for the first time on CD) from artists like Joe Gibbs, Dennis Brown and Yellowman. The original year of release is marked on the cover for fans whose preferences tend to be defined by eras or in-house studio bands. Highlights include Dennis Brown's Visions and Gibbs' African Dub series Volumes 1-4, but the whole series is so affordable that the curious can take a chance.
Tuesday
Oct232007

HIGH ON FIRE - Death Is This Communion

high%20on%20fire-death%20communion.jpgMatt Pike is pretty much a latter-day stoner rock legend; his seminal band Sleep's Jerusalem is a hallowed, single 52-minute monolith of sludgy riffage. But his work in High On Fire has consistently been more and more aggressive with each new release, trading the molasses haze of dope for an athletic adrenaline. Death Is This Communion is yet another example of his exceptional skill at wrenching primal ferocity from the guitar, and his vicious bandmates never miss a chance to help him pummel a point home. Er, and by that I mean, it tears the flesh clean off your bones. You dig Mastodon? You'll love this.

Tuesday
Oct232007

NEIL YOUNG - Chrome Dreams II

young%20n.-chrome.jpgHow you view Neil Young's latest depends on a few things, not the least of which being whether or not an 18-minute song like "Ordinary People" is your idea of transcendence or self-indulgence. Despite having two tunes over 14 minutes, Chrome Dreams II is not the relentless guitar jam session you might expect. Whether the rockabilly-lite of "The Believer", the gospel-tinged "Shining Light", or the scuzzy "Dirty Old Man", this album shimmys from style to style. As for its place in Young's history, well, when you're up against some of the greatest albums ever made, it's hard to fault Dreams for being merely good.

Tuesday
Oct232007

ROBERT PLANT AND ALISON KRAUSS - Raising Sand

plant%20r.kraussa.-raising%20sand.jpgUnderstatement has never been Robert Plant's strong suit. In Led Zeppelin's heyday, that was a good thing. As he's grown older, however, his lack of restraint has been a real Achilles' heel. So, hearing him sing with such gentle touch on Raising Sand is quite mesmerizing. No doubt matching voices with the exceptional Krauss forced him to keep things in check, and the spooky guidance of T-Bone Burnett was likely a huge factor. Still, this record's bloody gorgeous. Saying that Raising Sand is Plant's best work since John Bonham was alive could be taken as faint praise; it's meant as anything but.

Tuesday
Oct232007

HOLY FUCK - LP

holy%20fuck-lp.jpgThis Toronto quartet have been successfully experimenting with the possibilities of live electronic music for a few years now, but with LP, they've happened upon the secret to bringing their party off the stage and onto record. Fashioned on the road, these tunes vibrate with tangible energy and locomotive intensity, but the secret is the dollop of sugar thrown into the mix. Instrumental pop hooks give these songs the added buoyancy that was lacking on their self-titled debut. What's more, their madcap ability to keep their bleeps and bloops fluid rather than rigid allows for a looseness missing from most electro-dance music.

Tuesday
Oct232007

CUFF THE DUKE - Sidelines Of The City

cuff%20the%20duke-sidelines.jpgFollowing singer Wayne Petti's tender solo album earlier this year, Cuff The Duke return with a third record that rests somewhere between the earnest straight-and-narrow of Blue Rodeo and Wilco's detours. If these references aren't exactly original, the songs are of strong quality--minus a couple slight lyrical missteps, this record is full of solid tunes and Petti's voice delivers them perfectly. "Remember The Good Times" should by all rights be a hit radio single (if those things existed anymore) and the band plays with a trained ear for loving detail.