Toronto Public Library

Make Some Noise: Casper Skulls & Joseph Shabason
Sat. May 25 7PM North York Central Library FREE


Courtesy of Hot Docs, enter here for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Rod The Mod and a post-screening discussion with the legendary Andrew Loog Oldham on Thursday, May 30 at 7:15pm at Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema.

Last Month's Top Sellers

2. VARIOUS - Floating Points: Late Night Tales
3. VARIOUS - Three Day Week
4. WEYES BLOOD - Titanic Rising
5. JENNY LEWIS - On The Line

Click here for full list.




LEE MOSES - Time and Place (2016 reissue)

"Lee Moses was a huge talent and if he’d had the big hit album he richly deserved, Time And Place would’ve been it. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Moses cut his teeth in the clubs of Atlanta, the ‘Motown of the South’, where he frequently performed alongside his contemporary Gladys Knight (who reportedly wanted him for the Pips, but couldn’t pin him down).

It was, however, in New York in the ‘60s that Moses made his greatest bid to find the solo fame he desired. Moses began working there as a session player, even playing frequently with a pre-fame Jimi Hendrix, but his close relationship with producer and Atlanta native Johnny Brantley eventually saw him getting his own break via a series of 45s in 1967 – most notably with covers of Joe Simon’s “My Adorable One”, The Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” and The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”.

It was 1971 before Moses’ dream of being at stage front was realized, when he released his Brantley-produced LP Time And Place for Maple Records. Recorded with a band including members of The Ohio Players and Moses’ own backing group The Deciples, it was, nonetheless, Moses himself whose star quality shone through, via his scratchy guitar riffs, his throat-ripping vocals and the stirring mood that permeates the LP’s heady mix of funk, soul and R&B." - Light In The Attic


COPENDIUM: An Expedition Into The Rock'n'roll Underworld by Julian Cope

Published in the UK in 2013, now available in North America...

"I like to fancy I know a little bit about the more obscure corners of the rock world. Did I not, after all, spend 20 years listening to John Peel? Did I not sneer at and spurn the mainstream? I am now chastened. I know nothing. Or at least, nothing compared to Julian Cope, erstwhile frontman of the Teardrop Explodes, now writer, unofficial warden of the ancient sites of Britain, and, by his own admission, spaced-out freak. (And by my own earnest assertion, under-appreciated national treasure.)

Here is a book of umpteen reviews by Cope of umpteen bands, a book so thick that its spine alone can accommodate not only the book's title and author, Faber's logo and a drawing of the Cerne Abbas giant waving an electric guitar, but three quotes from reviews of the book itself (from Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Roddy Doyle and Q magazine). Of these umpteen bands, I had heard of about 11.

The reason you want to read that is – apart, of course, from the idea you might learn something – because of Cope's prose. As far as I know, both the Oxford Style Guide and Faber's in-house manual do not explicitly rule out spelling "was" "wuz", but they don't rule it in, either. Cope uses that spelling when mentioning the band the Pretty Things, who, as Cope puts it, "wuz Born Never Arsed a full decade too early". (In other words, they were punks avant la lettre, and he's right.) The book is almost all written in an unapologetic, Lester Bangs mid-to-late stoned NME style, and it's no accident that the late-hippy adjective "righteous" not only comes up frequently, but is the first word of the book after its introduction. Sentences are long, quirky but controlled – and hugely informative. It is, in short, a celebration of the music Cope is himself celebrating: loud, irreverent, verging on the apparently mindless, but actually possessed of an underlying tight control and intelligence. In other words, just right." - The Guardian


VA - Celestial Blues: Cosmic, political and spiritual jazz 1970-74

"Something strange happened to jazz last year. An album by a previously under-the-radar session saxophonist broke through to international acclaim. “The Epic” by Kamasi Washington, an aptly named three CD set, paid homage to an era of jazz that had been rather overlooked. Sometimes called spiritual jazz, it dates from the latter part of the 60s and early 1970s. Many of the political and philosophical concepts of the time were used as guiding points for jazz’s increased mysticism. Searching for deeper meaning, the musicians were looking for jazz’s next great leap forward, while building on the post-bop and free jazz templates laid down by John Coltrane and Miles Davis, as well as contemporary sounds such as funk and soul, African and Middle Eastern music with touches of rock and contemporary composition.

This development was set against a background of American jazz at a crisis point. The neighbourhood clubs had begun to close as the jazz audience diminished; black Americans had found new sounds to dance to and enjoy. Jazz took on a new role, as its practitioners began to create challenging new music, providing hooks through funk bass-lines, boogaloo beats and sometimes vocals. This form was unlikely to ever enjoy large sales and could only be found on independent labels such as Prestige, Muse, Black Jazz, Strata East or Tribe." - Ace Records


HOWARD TATE - I Learned It All The Hard Way

"A killer collection of work from the great Howard Tate – a stunning soul singer who recorded mostly during an initial decade in the studio, then briefly returned to fame in the few short years before his death – always with a depth and vibrancy that set him apart right from the start! Tate was born in the south, but raised in Philly – and as such, has this unusual blend of deep soul vocals and more sophisticated modes – heard most famously in his early work with producer Jerry Ragovoy, but carried on strongly in his 70s records too – all of which are sampled here, in a collection that includes material from Howard's sessions for Verve, Atlantic, Epic, HT, and Turntable Records! CD features a massive 29 tracks in all..." - Dusty Groove


HANK BALLARD - Unwind Yourself: King Recordings 1964-67

"Unwind Yourself focuses on the period in Hank Ballard’s long career that has remained relatively under the radar in the CD era. It features every surviving record he made between early 1964 and late 1967, a period during which soul took over from R&B and his King label-mate James Brown spearheaded the funk revolution. Ballard made every effort to remain up-to-date but struggled to get his records heard by a wide audience. Whatever reasons DJs might have had for ignoring them, it surely was not the quality of the records or Ballard’s performances, which are first-rate throughout.

While this collection is aimed primarily at soul and funk fans, there are lots of choice R&B cuts to grab the attention of those who enjoy music of an earlier vintage. The vast majority of the tracks here have never been reissued. All but three are presented in the straight-ahead mono sound of the original King singles and albums. The remaining three are heard in genuine stereo (rather than pesky 2-track, with vocals on one channel and everything else on the other). Featured musicians include Lonnie Mack, Beau Dollar and a host of other Cincinnati notables, not to mention James Brown himself. The CD booklet offers a vast array of original labels, album sleeves and beautiful period photos, some of which have never been seen before." - Ace Records


BETTY DAVIS - Columbia Years 1968-69

"Miles and Betty fans have long debated the truth of a near mythological session recorded in Studios B and E at Columbia’s 52nd Street Studios on May 14th and 20th, 1969. The landmark session was produced by Miles and Teo Macero and featured Betty on vocals, accompanied by Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, guitarist John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock on keys, and Dylan/Miles session bassist Harvey Brooks. Other players included bassist Billy Cox (Band of Gypsys), saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and organist Larry Young. Now, Light In The Attic, with full support from Betty herself, presents these recordings to the public for the very first time. These historic sessions—never heard, never bootlegged—predate Miles’ revolutionary album,Bitches Brew, and are the true birth of Miles’ jazz-rock explorations, along with the roots for Betty’s groundbreaking funk that came years later, starting with her self-titled debut in 1973. While, ultimately, these recordings would go unreleased for nearly half a century, they would greatly shape each of their careers.

The vibe is intrinsically unique, fresh, and futuristic—jazz heavyweights playing psychedelia, rock, and jazz-fusion long before the term became commonplace. The songs include Betty originals and covers of classics by Creedence and Cream. The concepts explored on these previously unheard sessions fueled concepts that wouldn’t be fully realized until years later with Miles’ seminal On The Corner." - Light In The Attic


VA - Soul On The West Coast Vol.2

"In the early 1960s, African American music styles were still hugely diverse, and several regions had their own distinctive style. The West Coast was generally quite pop-oriented, yet the magnificent Bobby Taylor and Alexander Patton prove that there were plenty of deep, soulful singers located in California. Here's another full-tilt collection of the very best that the busiest LA studios had to offer in the early-mid sixties. Quality music from 50 years ago that still moves the feet and the heart. Timeless!" - History Of Soul


VA - Modernism

"Since the dawn of club culture modernists have looked for the very best black American music. Here are 24 tracks that would have filled dancefloors at any time in mod’s history. Some, of course, were looking for more, wanting to go deeper. They were given the chance by a group soul collectors who wanted to revive the musical fun of the original mod clubs. These included my colleagues DJ Tony Rounce and co-compiler Ady Croasdell, who with Randy Cozens ran the influential 6Ts Rhythm ‘N’ Soul club nights with a music policy that comprised a mixture of soul, R&B and whatever else worked.

Randy in particular was evangelical about the new mods getting into the sounds the original mods had danced to. He wrote to the music papers and eventually Sounds asked him to compile a list of the Top 100 original mod records. The list was of 99 records – all original UK issues – plus one made-up title, set as a trap for anyone who claimed to have all 100.

“Modernism” is our take on the records mods would have, could have and sometimes actually did dance to. With our cover picture of a group of mods from the mid-80s, it may seem we have taken a bias towards that period, but in fact we are trying to depict the timeless nature of the whole world of mod. These 24 slices of rhythm and soul would sound perfect in any mod club." - Ace Records


VARIOUS ARTISTS - First Class Rocksteady

"Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of Rocksteady, 17 North Parade presents First Class Rocksteady; a comprehensive 40-track collection of the pivotal selections from that genre that preceded reggae in Jamaica. The sound was a mid-step between ska, which was the leading island sound, and reggae; a sound that slows the tempo but keeps the guitar accent on the upbeat. The collection captures the early work from some of the genre’s defining artists including Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Techniques (featuring Slim Smith), Desmond Dekker, Johnny Nash and many others." - VP Records


NOVOS BAIANOS - Acabou Chorare

"Acabou Chorare (No More Crying in English) is the second album by the Brazilian musical group Novos Baianos. The album was released in 1972 by Som Livre, following the group’s somewhat successful debut É Ferro na Boneca (1970). The group adopted the expressive guitar of Jimi Hendrix and the “brasilidade”[this quote needs a citation] of Assis Valente, and was heavily influenced by João Gilberto, who served as the group’s mentor during the album’s recording.

Its opening track, “Brasil Pandeiro”, was suggested by Gilberto and is one of two sambas (along with “Recenseamento”), which Valente composed for the arrival of Carmen Miranda to the United States. The album title and its title track were inspired by Gilberto’s Bossa nova style, and by a story told he told the group about his daughter. The song lays out the main idea of the album: to criticize the sadness and melancholy that were on display in contemporary Brazilian music, and to replace them with joyfulness and pleasure. Some of the album’s most successful songs include “Preta Pretinha”, “Besta É Tu” and “Tinindo Trincando”.

40 years after its release, the album continues to be one of the most popular and influential of the Brazilian music in general. Later generations of Brazilian singers, especially women like Vanessa da Mata, Marisa Monte, CéU, Roberta Sá and Mariana Aydar, cite the album as one of the strongest inspirations. In 2007, in the “The 100 Greatest Albums of Brazilian Music” by Rolling Stone, Acabou Chorare came at the first position, being considered a masterpiece by the specialists, producers and journalists who were asked for their opinions." - Light In The Attic


VA - Eccentric Soul: Sitting In The Park

"From 2002-2014, listeners to Chicago’s WHPK could tune in once a week and hear songs from some of the most obscure and neglected corners of the region’s soul music legacy, courtesy of an eccentric and obsessed fan and record collector, Bob Abrahamian. Not only did Abrahamian spin singles from his collection of about 35,000 platters, he also regularly interviewed the artists who performed a style of vocal-harmony music known as Chicago Sweet Soul.  Unfortunately, Abrahamian’s obsessive personality and declining mental health got the best of him, and he committed suicide in 2014.

In this anthology, Numero Records drew on Abrahamian’s record collection to produce a tribute both to the man and the music he so passionately championed...Stylistically, this music would be in line with 1970s mellow soul, not particularly funky and also not on the fringes of disco. It’s similar to the vocal-group output by more-mainstream artists of the time recording for Motown, Philadelphia International and Atlantic. There is an emphasis on the bass line, and strings are often used to augment the vocal harmonies." - Black Grooves


VA - Olafur Arnalds: Late Night Tales

"With his star very much ascendant, Olafur Arnalds seems like an excellent choice for the latest Late Night Tales compilation, particularly as his mix happens to follow on from that of his friend and frequent collaborator Nils Frahm. His work with the Berlin-based musician is just one facet of Arnalds’ career: he’s made three critically acclaimed studio albums, won a BAFTA for his work on ITV’s Broadchurch, and teamed up with Janus Rasmussen to wow techno enthusiasts and festival crowds alike with their electronic side-project, Kiasmos.

With Arnalds himself describing his mix as 'the soundtrack of my life', it’s not surprising that much of his past work is touched upon here, either directly or indirectly. But the first thing that he chooses to reference is his heritage, with a traditional Icelandic song called ‘Ýta Eigi Feldi Rór’. He’s then quick to demonstrate his skill as a curator by following it up with the heavenly choral loops of Julianna Barwick’s ‘Forever’, seamlessly segueing old into new...Arnalds says he spent months agonising over this mix, and the effort shows. This latest addition to the Late Night Tales catalogue isn’t just a seamless journey into his music collection - by the end, you definitely feel like you can relate to him too." - Drowned In Sound


BEVERLY - The Blue Swell

"In 2014, Beverly debuted with Careers. It was a collaboration between bandleader Drew Citron and the better-known Frankie Rose, their voices melting together and sounding like one on irresistible cuts such as "Honey Do" and "Madora." Rose is no longer in Beverly, so instead it's now Citron and producer Scott Rosenthal (The Beets and Crystal Stilts) at the helm. Somewhat predictably, this second album is slightly more pop-oriented than—and not as harsh-sounding asCareers, but this plays to Beverly's and Citron's considerable melodic strengths. The best track here is "Crooked Cop," a what-if moment that answers the question of what would happen if Teenage Fanclub had a female singer. Other highlights, and there are many here, include the Kip Berman-penned "Victoria" and "You Used to Be a Good Girl," a rollicking number with an acidic lyric that could've ended up on Careers. Elsewhere, "You Said It" successfully mines the shimmering jangle-pop of The Pernice Brothers and is perhaps the album's most gorgeous cut, although there is competition from "South Collins," a shoegaze track that attains Lush-like bliss." - Under The Radar 



"Berlin-based composer and sound designer Ben Lukas Boysen has released his latest full-length, entitled Spells, on the London-based avant-garde imprint Erased Tapes. Home of composers Lubomyr Melnyk, Michael Price, and Nils Frahm, the label has proved to be a fitting home for Boysen and other envelope-pushing modern classical practitioners. "Finding my views understood, reflected and welcomed by Erased Tapes was an encouraging experience," Boysen says of the move, "crowned by the offer to release 'Spells' and re-issue 'Gravity' with them."

Mixed and mastered by Frahm himself—whose genre-transcending compositions have been leading the modern classical charge for some time now—the work fuses slow-building electronics with diverse instrumentation and thoughtful improvisation." XLR8R


DAN PENN - Close To Me: More FAME Recordings

"As with our well-received previous compendium “The Fame Recordings”, the selections on offer here have been carefully sifted from over a hundred items Penn cut at Fame up to the autumn of 1966. The Penn/Oldham oeuvre in particular is now irrevocably associated with the southern soul genre, but in his own influences and aspirations, Penn was reaching for all the formats of the R&B music he heard and cherished. Thus we also encounter uptown New York erudition, smooth Chicago harmony, warm New Orleans pop styling, melodic Motown rhythm, and fatback Memphis grooves. Southern soul classics ‘Without A Woman’ and ‘She Ain’t Gonna Do Right’ nestle with uptown gems and a handful of previously unknown copyrights such as ‘It Hurts’ and ‘Standing In The Way Of A Good Thing’. He duets with Don Covay on their collaboration ‘I Can’t Stop (The Feeling Won’t Let Me)’, and there’s a fly on wall peek at the creation of a Penn/Oldham classic in ‘Downright Uptight Good Woman’." - Ace Records


RADIOHEAD - A Moon Shaped Pool

You don't need us to tell you that Radiohead has a new LP out. That news has a way of traveling. But it's worth noting that unlike 2011's King Of Limbs (a prickly release whose character was ill-suited to the overwhelming weight of being a NEW RADIOHEAD ALBUM©), A Moon Shaped Pool is far more welcoming and at ease with expectation, all without being especially reminiscent of anything they've done before. It's a deep dive into the acoustic folk of John Martyn and Nick Drake, but through the lens of the quintet's trademark slippery studio tricks. It's a grower, but it's probably their best full LP since Kid A.

"A Moon Shaped Pool, where Yorke somewhat loosens his death grip on that ol’ post-millennial angst as the rest of the band lets loose some of the most beautiful, composed, expressedly chill music of the lineup’s 30-year-long career. This isn’t saucy, jittery Radiohead (2011’s The King of Limbs), freaked-out New World Order Radiohead (2003’s Hail to the Thief), or pro-IDM, existentially-zombified Radiohead (2000’s Kid A, 2001’s Amnesiac). Instead, Pool somehow coalesces aspects all of these eras and emerges as a considered, filigreed, album-length sigh — a earnestly human sigh, a distinctly fortysomething sigh, with all the fears, trials, and exhaustions that middle age can accrue." - SPIN

"Never content to repeat themselves or fall into a conventional lane that defines what they are supposed to be, Radiohead is constantly pushing forward with new sounds and ideas that challenge the notion of rock and roll’s limits. Turns out there are none, at least in the hands of Radiohead. The band’s ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool, follows the logical progression of The King of Limbs. It moves even further away from their electric guitar-based indie-rock roots and into more inscrutable and uncharted musical territory. Although it’s recognizably Radiohead, the album is quite different from anything they’ve ever done. It’s also breathtaking from start to finish, a triumphant return after the longest gap between studio albums in the band’s career. 

Many of the songs on A Moon Shaped Pool have been percolating for years, waiting for the band to figure out exactly how to translate them successfully. The opener “Burn the Witch”, for instance, was demoed as far back as Kid A, and then again for several subsequent albums, but they were never quite able to get under its skin. They finally do, and it’s glorious. “Burn the Witch” begins the album with a bracing barrage of terse and thrilling strings (an effect created by the players striking their strings with a stick rather than a bow), reminiscent of guitarist Jonny Greenwood’s hair-raising orchestral work for Paul Thomas Anderson’s brutally dark cinematic masterpiece There Will Be Blood." - PopMatters



Regardless of Gord Downie's state of health (an unavoidable angle looking at this LP) this is easily the most adventurous, left-field Hip LP in a very long time. It's moody and sombre, but it's also full of moments that see a veteran band eager to prove themselves all over again, eager to make the most of the possibilites offered them by a studio. Downie's solo work has always been wilder and more rangey compared to that of his day job. Here, the rest of the band meet him halfway and the results are both surprising and quietly thrilling.

"Co-produced by Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) and Dave Hamelin (The Stills), this is the Hip at their most challenging, and least immediately accessible. But while some of the experiments with texture and colour don't land — the Kid A-inspired opening track, "Man," is a little too Kid A-inspired, I'm afraid — much of the record is driven by a welcome sense of discovery and of artistic experimentation.
Propelled by Gordon Downie's distinctive vocals, the best sounding studio drumming of Johnny Fay's career and a relaxed intimacy between guitarists Rob Baker, Paul Langlois and bassist Gord Sinclair, Man Machine Poem is the Tragically Hip's most cohesive release since at least Music @ Work.

Goddamnit, I just don't want — nobody wants — this to be the last album by one of Canada's most consistently rewarding bands. But what a piece of luck that we get to have this record. What a piece of luck that we've been able to enjoy their music for so many years. What a piece of luck that we'll always have the Tragically Hip. Fully, completely. Ours." - Exclaim! 



Some collaborations are shocking as to their origins and expectation of chemistry; others fall under the "I can't believe it took them this long" banner. case/lang/veirs is something else altogether: a pleasant surprise that few really saw coming, but one that undeniably brings a percolating sense of anticipation. To the shock of no one, these pros deliver big time. Fans of all three will be thrilled.

"The debut album by k.d. lang, Neko Case, and Laura Veirs has been compared to Trio, the 1987 effort from Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris, and the parallel makes sense in a way—there are few precedents for female solo artists banding together, and Americana is the black sheep on country’s family tree. But the titular Trio were at the height of their commercial powers in the late 1980s. Although titans in their respective fields, case/lang/veirs aren't really capitalizing on anything here. lang met Case and Veirs after she moved to Portland, and thought they’d be perfect for the punky girl group she wanted to form. She emailed them, simply stating, “I think we should make a record.” Within half an hour, they had both replied saying yes.

Rather than bring finished songs to the studio, they honored the spirit of collaboration, with Veirs and lang taking the bulk of the work, and Case, who lives primarily in Vermont, joining them when she could. These are three of the strongest voices in their field—lang the full-voiced seductress, Case the hurricane, and Veirs the wry storyteller—so things could easily have become overcrowded. Instead, they give each other space to take the lead on group-authored material, which wound up veering from lang’s original punk Ronettes template in favor of dusky songs about devotion, heartache, and awe at the simple power of human connection and creativity—the kind that underpins a project like this. “I Want to Be Here” is one of a few songs written by all three musicians, and finds them praising a misfit artist friend who “lost a front tooth, can’t keep a job,” Veirs sings, reassuring them, “but the things you make are so beautiful / They bring me joy / Don’t you ever stop.” Singing as a meditative campfire choir, they avow that “the hungry fools who rule the world can’t catch us / Surely they can’t ruin everything.”" - Pitchfork


PSYCHIC ILLS - Inner Journey Out

Think Spiritualized and Brightblack Morning Light and you get the vibe of this uber-laid back desert psych LP. Sooooooo chill. Sooooooo good.

"Remember several decades ago, when the Beatles asked us to turn off our minds, relax and float downstream? Psychic Ills clearly do, and if their approach to their music is a far cry from what the Fab Four were up to, they've created one of the truly great "drifting on a cloud of lysergic thought" albums with their fifth long-player, 2016's Inner Journey Out. Obviously built around the notion that less is more, Inner Journey Out is made up of slow, contemplative numbers that embellish circular guitar and keyboard patterns as the musicians reach out to their hypnotic potential. Approaching something like psychedelic minimalism, Inner Journey Out's 14 tracks don't offer much in the way of melodies or hooks, but give them half a chance and you'll sink deep into this album like it's a comfy easy chair. For the most part, Tres Warren's lyrics don't amount to much, and are clearly meant to not distract from the music. But he does show a playful wit when he wants to (especially on "Coca-Cola Blues"), and he uses guest vocalist Hope Sandoval (of Mazzy Star) to fine advantage on "I Don't Mind." The band knows how to switch gears from the peaceful meandering of "Hazel Green" to the mildly ominous "Confusion (I'm Alright)" without taking the listener out of the larger experience." - AllMusic



Essential 2CD/3LP set that reissues long lost NY proto power-pop band. Pretty much every song sounds like a hit even now. We love it. You will, too.

"Milk 'N' Cookies are the latest such group to benefit from this history-revising eye. They formed in the early 1970s in Woodmere, Long Island, a short drive from the bustling proto-punk scene in New York City, where the New York Dolls reigned supreme and their brand of glam-influenced gutter rock was already beginning to burn out under its own brilliance. While most of the local bands around them were steeped in stadium rock, Milk 'N' Cookies, still in their teens, decided to record 4-track songs influenced by the British glitter rock of the era—T. Rex, Bowie, Sweet, Roxy Music, et al.—and perhaps unwittingly became precursors to U.S. power pop. They have a major hand in creating the "tough glam" aesthetic, a sort of blend of UK androgyny, N.Y. grit and L.A. glamour that continued to rear its sequined head from the New Romantics to hair metal to Britpop, and beyond.

In their very first photo shoot, Milk 'N' Cookies sport long manes of brown hair, wearing novelty bowties and clutching teddy bears, yet the songs compiled on their first LP, reissued here by Captured Tracks, are all about girls, sex, and letting loose, still slightly scandalous subjects for suburban America at that point. Frontman Justin Strauss uses a sing-song, breathy voice, like a lovesick schoolboy taunting his crush on the playground. It's not emasculating at all, more of an assertion of desire that makes every Milk 'N' Cookies song seem ripped from a teenager's diary (which they very well may have been)." - Pitchfork