Father John Misty/Pure Comedy
Limited colored vinyl LP pressing, includes digital download. 2017 release. Pure Comedy, Father John Misty’s third album, is a complex, often-sardonic, and, equally often, touching meditation on the confounding folly of modern humanity. Father John Misty is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Josh Tillman. Tillman has released two widely acclaimed albums – Fear Fun (2012) and I Love You, Honeybear (2015) – and the recent Real Love Baby single as Father John Misty, and recently contributed to songs by Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Kid Cudi. While we could say a lot about Pure Comedy – including that it is a bold, important album in the tradition of American songwriting greats like Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, and Leonard Cohen – we think it’s best to let it’s creator describe it himself. Take it away, Mr. Tillman: Pure Comedy is the story of a species born with a half-formed brain. The species’ only hope for survival, ﬁnding itself on a cruel, unpredictable rock surrounded by other species who seem far more adept at this whole thing (and to whom they are delicious), is the reliance on other, slightly older, half-formed brains. This reliance takes on a few different names as their story unfolds, like love, culture, family, etc. Over time, and as their brains prove to be remarkably good at inventing meaning where there is none, the species becomes the purveyor of increasingly bizarre and sophisticated ironies. These ironies are designed to help cope with the species’ loathsome vulnerability and to try and reconcile how disproportionate their imagination is to the monotony of their existence. Something like that. Pure Comedy was recorded in 2016 at the legendary United Studios (Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Beck) in Hollywood, CA. It was produced by Father John Misty and Jonathan Wilson, with engineering by Misty’s longtime sound-person Trevor Spencer and orchestral arrangements by renowned composer/double-bassist Gavin Bryars (known for extensive solo work, and work with Brian Eno, Tom Waits, Derek Bailey).
Cold War Kids/La Divine
Vinyl LP pressing. 2017 release. LA Divine, Cold War Kids most expansive and ambitious effort so far, pays tribute to Los Angeles in all it’s strange glory, embodying the Long Beach-bred band s endless fascination with their adopted hometown. In many ways, LA is the least divine city, the most hedonistic and irreverent and disconnected from history, says Nathan Willett. “LA’s so massive, I feel like I’m always finding something new in it,” adds bassist Matt Maust. “It’s an incredibly weird place, and I’m happy to have made an album that totally honors that weirdness.” Includes the single ‘Love Is Mystical.’ Forming in 2004 in Fullerton, the band’s early releases came from independent record label Monarchy Music. In 2006, Cold War Kids signed with Downtown/V2 and released their major label debut Robbers & Cowards to cult appeal from fans and critics. 2008’s Loyalty to Loyalty and 2011’s Mine Is Yours saw the band develop different musical sounds and lyrical content throughout. In 2013, Cold War Kids released their fourth album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts. The band then released their fifth album Hold My Home in 2014.
New Pornographers/Whiteout Conditions
Vinyl LP pressing. 2017 release. Whiteout Conditions is the follow-up to 2014’s Brill Bruisers. ‘Cohesive.’ It’s a word New Pornographers founder A.C. Newman still sounds a little bit surprised to say as he describing the band’s seventh album, Whiteout Conditions. It’s a quality that you wouldn’t necessarily intuitively associate with a so-called supergroup that, by it’s very collective nature, seems bound to have a good deal of stylistic variance built into the formula (or lack of it). Can an outfit built on the appeal of multiple frontmen and frontwomen develop a signature sound after all? Maybe, and maybe better late than never. The focus on Whiteout Conditions (The New Pornographers’ first album on their own imprint, Collected Works Records, in partnership with Concord Records) comes down to a couple of notable shifts: increased tempos, for one, and increasingly blended vocals, for another. There are fewer extended solo lead vocal turns by any of the band members and more choral effects or interplay between the men and women in the group. If you’re of a certain age, you might start thinking of them as an indie-rock Mamas and the Papas, or… ‘I’ll take that,’ Newman says, ‘but the Fifth Dimension is always the one we’re going for, way more than the Mamas and the Papas! I hesitate to throw out catchphrases that might be repeated back to me a thousand times, but at the beginning of this record, there was some thinking that we wanted it to be like a Krautrock Fifth Dimension. Of course, our mutated idea of what Krautrock is probably doesn’t sound like Krautrock at all. But we were thinking: Let s try and rock in a different way.’
Future Islands/The Far Field
Vinyl LP pressing. After the success of Singles and the hundreds of Future Islands shows played in that period, the band began writing new material on the coast of North Carolina, and continued throughout the year in Baltimore before road-testing these songs at a series of secret shows under fake names. Later that year, they traveled to Los Angeles to record with Grammy Award-winning producer John Congleton at the legendary Sunset Sound, where everyone from The Beach Boys to Prince have laid down masterpieces. With string and horn arrangements by Patrick McMinn, The Far Field is the first Future Islands record to feature live drums by Michael Lowry, who joined the band prior to their sensational performance of “Seasons (Waiting On You)” on David Letterman’s late night TV show. Blondie’s Debbie Harry also makes a guest appearance, in a duet with Herring on penultimate track “Shadows.” Across The Far Field’s twelve chest-pounding love songs and odes to the road, Future Islands brilliantly expresses the band’s central themes they’ve been exploring for the last decade: that there is power in emotional vulnerability, that one can find a way to laugh and cry in the same breath – and be stronger for it.
Joey Bada$$/All-Amerikkkan Bada$$
Vinyl LP pressing housed in a gatefold sleeve, includes digital download. 2017 release. All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ is the sophomore album from Joey Bada$$. The project features some high profile artists. Joey Bada$$ is coming off the heels of starring in the award-winning TV show Mr. Robot and his single, Devastated being RIAA certified gold. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Joey is a founding member of the hip-hop collective Pro Era, with whom he has released three mixtapes. He released his debut mixtape, 1999, in June 2012 to critical acclaim and recognition, followed by Rejex in September, and Summer Knights on July 1, 2013. His debut studio album, B4. DA. $$, was released January 20, 2015. In July 2016, he made his television debut on the USA Network series Mr. Robot.
Stevie Wonder/Fulfillingness’ First Finale
Vinyl LP pressing. Directly from Stevie Wonder’s string of classic albums, FFF, originally released in 1974, was the follow-up to Innvervisions. It was a #1 hit for several weeks, led by the #1 single ‘You Haven’t Done Nothin’ and ‘Boogie On Reggae Woman.’ This vinyl re-release features a reproduction of the original collage artwork depicting Stevie’s life on original gatefold cover, with full (and, in some cases, corrected) lyrics inside. Winner of three Grammy Awards including Album of the Year. FFF is Wonder’s nineteenth album overall, and seventeenth studio album. According to Billboard magazine, it was Wonder’s first studio album to top the Pop Albums chart where it remained for two weeks, while it was his third album to top the R&B/Black Albums chart where it spent nine non-consecutive weeks. Subsequent to the epic sweep and social consciousness of Innervisions, this set projected a reflective, decidedly somber tone.] The musical arrangements used in several songs while masterly could be considered sparse in comparison to others among his 1970s masterworks, evident especially in the bleak “They Won’t Go When I Go” and understated “Creepin'”. While largely a stripped down, more personal sounding record, Wonder had not completely foregone social commentary on the world around him.
Raymond Scott/Manhattan Research Inc.
Limited triple 180gm red, white and blue colored vinyl LP pressing including digital download. Raymond Scott (1908-1994) was a renowned bandleader, composer and pianist from the 1930s to the 1950s. Many of his playful riffs, originally recorded from 1937 to 1939 by the Raymond Scott Quintette, are genetically encoded in every earthling, having been adapted by Warner Bros. Music director Carl Stalling in over 100 Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons. (These themes were later featured in The Ren and Stimpy Show.) The rediscovery of Scott’s original novelty jazz recordings led to a belated reappraisal of Scott’s timeless and long forgotten genius in the 1990s. During Scott’s career as a popular bandleader, there were reports of an alter ego – inventor, professor in the lab coat, electronic music pioneer. But little of this work received public exposure. That changed in 1997 with a reissue of Scott’s 1963 Soothing Sounds for Baby (SSFB) trilogy. These albums, largely overlooked upon their original LP release, contained gentle, all-electronic sonic companions designed to calm and delight infants. In retrospect, however, Scott’s pioneering and little-heard explorations of synthesized rhythmic minimalism and low-key ambience foreshadowed the subsequent conjuring of Terry Riley, Phillip Glass, Kraftwerk and Brian Eno. Most of Scott’s works were performed on vacuum tube- and transistor-rigged music machines which he designed and built. Now, Music on Vinyl presents a new edition of MRI in a triple LP set, including full track notes, a historical overview, and newly designed covers. The package contains an 8-page booklet and printed inner sleeves.
Guided By Voices/August By Cake
Double vinyl LP pressing. 2017 release. Guided by Voices’ August By Cake is the one hundredth studio album that Robert Pollard has released since 1986’s Forever Since Breakfast. To put that in perspective, Bob Dylan has released roughly thirty nine studio albums since 1959. And that includes the Traveling Wilburys. This is a highly anticipated record, which includes the new line-up (returning GBV veterans Doug Gillard and Kevin March, virgins Bobby Bare Jr and Mark Shue) that has been wowing audience in clubs and festivals throughout 2016. It’s the most musically adept and versatile line-up Pollard has ever assembled. With thirty two songs, this album is also GBV’s first ever double album, and song contributions from all five band members is additional icing on the cake, setting album #100 apart from the previous 99. The double album is an important format in Pollard’s own musical iconography, and he doesn’t take the form lightly – one reason he’s planned and abandoned several would-be GBV double albums in the past is his high regard for foundational works like Quadrophenia, the White Album, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Daydream Nation, Zen Arcade, Double Nickels On the Dime – “defining records for these bands,” says Pollard. It’s important to him that August By Cake not just be a double album but that it be a great one.
Vinyl LP pressing. Silver/Lead is the 15th studio album from musical pioneers Wire. It arrives on the 40th anniversary of their debut performance. Yet it’s about as far from nostalgia as you could get. This is the sound of a uniquely addictive 21st century psychedelic post-punk. Colin Newman and Matt Simms’ guitar work is alternately jagged and luminous, while bassist Graham Lewis’s ear-catching lyrics are vivid yet oblique. Meanwhile, drummer Robert Grey provides a virtual masterclass in percussive minimalism. But it’s how the various instruments mesh together that really counts. And Newman’s production creates a sonic space in which even the smallest gesture is accorded some recognition. Highlights include the optimistic dazzle of ‘Diamonds In Cups’, with it’s almost T. Rex-style buzz and chug, and the moody swing of ‘This Time’. Elsewhere on the musical spectrum, there’s the menacing widescreen grandeur of ‘Playing Harp for the Fishes’ and breakneck-paced guitar pop of ‘Short Elevated Period.’
Timber Timbre/Sincerely, Future Pollution
Vinyl LP pressing housed in a gatefold sleeve, includes digital download. Timber Timbre’s music has always traced a shadowed path, using cues of the past to fuse the sound of a distant, haunted now. It’s fourth record – Sincerely, Future Pollution – is the cinema of a dazzling dystopia, rattled by the science fiction of this bluntly nonfictional time. Taylor Kirk and co-composers Mathieu Charbonneau and Simon Trottier, together with drummer Olivier Fairfield, offer their most daring artistic work yet. With the palette of archetypal synthesizers at La Frette studio outside Paris, the long-time collaborators took a unique approach to Timber Timbre’s characteristic sonic invention. The first single – “Sewer Blues” – is an ironclad groove marked by plodding, heavy rhythm, cavernous delay, and a backdrop of starry synthesizers. Sincerely, Future Pollution is a romance of neoteric machines and dark, futuristic hues, with promise as beautiful as it is unsettling. Covering a spectrum of New Age to Popular French Disco Revival, the sound is synthetic, exotic, yet familiar, with Kirk’s chilling croon and the mid-apocalyptic setting of his poetry. This is Timber Timbre’s document of our generation’s degeneration and disarray: Signed and sealed / Sincerely, The Pollution.
Limited 180gm vinyl LP pressing including digital download. 2017 release form the alt-country singer/songwriter. The album was self-produced and recorded in the spring of 2016 at Tweed Studios in Oxford, MS with a tight three piece: Branan on lead vocals and guitar (both electric and acoustic), Robbie Crowell (formerly of Deer Tick) on drums and percussion, keys, and horns, and James “Haggs” Haggerty on bass. Additionally, Amanda Shires contributes on fiddle and vocals, and Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! And Dave Hause provide guest vocals. Cory Branan has four previous full-length releases: The Hell You Say (2002), 12 Songs (2006), Mutt (2012), and The No-Hit Wonder (2014). His music has received critical praise from the likes of Rolling Stone and Rolling Stone Country, NPR All Things Considered, Noisey, Wall Street Journal, Paste Magazine, Oxford American, Consequence of Sound, Southern Living, and many others.
Sean Rowe/New Lore
Vinyl LP pressing, includes digital download. I’ve always been tied to the idea of having each record sound different from the one before it, and there’s no exception with this one. My writing on this one is really reflective of the story that I’ve been living out over the past few years-as a musician, a father, and a human trying to navigate this crazy world. It’s also the stories that we all share: the everyday stuff, and the big stuff. As always, I poured my heart into these songs. When I came across the opportunity to link up with an internationally acclaimed producer who I have long admired, I knew he would be able to add some deep mojo to the recordings. Matt Ross-Spang (Grammy-Winning engineer of Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free, one of my favorite records of last year) is a musical Willy Wonka, and his Chocolate Factory is the legendary Sam Phillips Studio in Memphis, TN. This place has an unmatched soul and a vibe that stems from the history of Memphis as a haven for many of my musical heroes. I’m incredibly honored and excited to have worked with Matt and the team at Sam Phillips to make this record the best that it can be. -Sean Rowe
What If – HAUSCHKA / Since 2004, Volker Bertelmann – aka Hauschka – has, steadily earned a remarkable reputation as a purveyor of imaginative, distinctive, prepared piano music. On What If – which finds him adding player pianos (also known as pianolas) to his arsenal – Bertelmann expands his range even further, defying expectations and delivering what is without a doubt his most ingenious album yet. While engaging with his trademark technique of utilizing unusual objects – art erasers, for example – to treat (or ‘prepare’) the piano, Hauschka also programmed parts for player pianos, exploiting the speed at which they could play, manipulating the resulting sounds, and building layers to emphasize a composition’s meter. What If aims to provoke reflection beyond the musical sphere with the titles of the both the album and it’s individual tracks. Overflowing with haunting melodies, mysterious sounds, and complex patterns, What If crowns an extraordinary couple of years for Hauschka. Likely to prove one of 2017’s most original albums, What If redefines the very notion of piano music in dramatic and exceptional fashion. It stands as a rebuttal to those who lazily shoehorn Hauschka’s work into the so-called, uncomfortably broad ‘new classical’ category, and instead underlines his status as a unique and invaluable artist.
Nouvelle Vague/Pop Mambo Cha Cha Jazz
LP version. Nouvelle vague is a mythical movement that redefined France’s canons, not only in film but also music. A time – the late ’50s and early ’60s – when all the young musicians broke free from the older generation and created their own movement drawing from a large palette of influences. From jazz and soundtracks to bossa nova, folk and cha cha, this set brings you the unique sound of French pop during the nouvelle vague years. Featuring sophisticated pop songs by Serge Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy, and Claude Nougaro as well as the crème of nouvelle vague soundtracks – including The 400 Blows (1959), Breathless (1960), Lola (1961), Cleo From 5 To 7 (1962) – and a cool mix of rare tracks by Rita Cadillac (an ex of Alain Delon), Christiane Legrand, and the jazz vocal groups Les Blue Stars. Tune up to the cool French sounds of the nouvelle vague – pop, mambo, cha cha, jazz, bossa nova with a French touch. The 40 track compilation comes with an essay, with track-by-track analysis, from French journalist Jacques Denis. Vol. 2 LP features: Dario Moreno, Brigitte Bardot, Sacha Distel, Boris Vian, Miles Davis, Magali Noel, Leo Ferre, Jacqueline Dano, Les Blue Stars, Georges Delerue, Marie Laforet, Franck Barcellini, Christiane Legrand, Martial Solal, Serge Gainsbourg, Dalida, Corinne Marchand, and Rita Cadillac.
Various Artist/Kids Original Soundtrack
Limited colored vinyl LP pressing. Long out of print Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the controversial Larry Clark directed/Harmony Korine written 1995 film Kids about New York City teenagers navigating the worlds of sex and drugs during the height of the AIDS epidemic. The classic alt-rock soundtrack was overseen by Lou Barlow and features eight songs by his group Folk Implosion including hit single “Natural One,” plus further tunes from Barlow’s Sebadoh and disparate artists like Daniel Johnston, Slint and Lo-down.
Vinyl LP pressing. XO is the fourth studio album by singer/songwriter Elliott Smith. It was recorded from 1997 to 1998 and released on August 25, 1998 by record label DreamWorks; Smith’s first solo album on a major record label. Two singles, “Waltz #2 (XO)” and “Baby Britain”, were released. An early working title for the album was Grand Mal. The title of the first track, “Sweet Adeline”, was inspired by Smith’s recollections of his grandmother singing in her glee club, Sweet Adelines International. “Amity” is believed to be named after a friend who can be seen in photographs from Smith’s 1997 tour. XO was well received by critics upon it’s release. Mark Richardson of Pitchfork Media wrote, “Smith’s songwriting continues to improve, as each of [the album’s] fourteen tracks displays his inarguable mastery of the pop song structure more clearly than ever.” In it’s retrospective review, BBC Music wrote, “the budget might have gone up, but Smith’s masterful way with an understated melody and melancholic lyric remained firmly intact”, calling XO “perhaps the greatest long-player Smith released; if not, it’s certainly the equal of the preceding Either/Or. Repeat listens don’t dull it in the slightest, every barbed one-liner and exhalation of despair perfectly preserved”.
Elliott Smith/Figure 8
Double vinyl LP pressing. Figure 8 is the fifth studio album by Elliott Smith, and the final album he completed before his death. It was recorded from 1998 to 2000 at numerous studios and released on April 18, 2000 through DreamWorks Records. Preceded by the singles “Happiness” and “Son of Sam”, Figure 8 was Smith’s second release on a major label. Initially titled Place Pigalle, Figure 8 was recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, Sonora Studios in Los Angeles, Capitol Studios in Hollywood and Abbey Road Studios in London. Smith described the songs on the album as “more fragmented and dreamlike”. With Figure 8, Smith attempted to create “a happy-sounding record.”
Various Artists/Gunsmoke 2: Dark Tales of Western Noir
Stag-O-Lee present the second volume in a new limited edition series, Gunsmoke. This is a collection of oddball country weepers, moody rockabilly, and popcorn noir from the 1950s and early ’60s. So turn out the lights, sit back and relax to the soundtrack from a jukebox in a ghost town. For best results: listen to after dark. Packaged in a nice 10″ sleeve with hole; Edition of 666. Features: Billy Fury, Steve Arlen, Jerry Irby, Johnny Pelvin, Magnificent Seven, El Clod, Warren Smith, Steve King, Danny Welch, Ric Cartey, Johnny Bond, and Sons Of The Pioneers.