City Music is the new album by Kevin Morby. Full of listless wanderlust, it’s a collection inspired by and devoted to the metropolitan experience across America and beyond by a songwriter cast from his own mould. As he puts it: “It is a mix-tape, a fever dream, a love letter dedicated to those cities that I cannot get rid of, to those cities that are all inside of me.”
His fourth album, City Music works as a counterpart to Morby’s acclaimed 2016 release Singing Saw, an autobiographical set that reflected the solitude and landscape in which it was recorded. It was imagined as “an old bookshelf with a young Bob and Joni staring back at me, blank and timeless. They live here, in this left side of my brain, smoking cigarettes and playing acoustic guitars while lying on an unmade bed.”
Driven by an entirely deeper dynamic than most pop artists, David Bowie inhabited a very special world of extraordinary sounds and endless vision. Unwilling to stay on the treadmill of rock legend and avoiding the descent into ever demeaning and decreasing circles of cliché, Bowie wrote and performed what he wanted, when he wanted. His absence from the endless list of “important events” has just fuelled interest. Constant speculation about what the guy was up to has even led some to wonder if this is his greatest reinvention ever. David Jones! David Robert Jones was born in Brixton on January 8, 1947. At age thirteen, inspired by the jazz of the London West End, he picked up the saxophone and called up Ronnie Ross for lessons. Early bands he played with – The Kon-Rads, The King Bees, the Mannish Boys and the Lower Third –provided him with an introduction into the showy world of pop and mod, and by 1966 he was David Bowie, with long hair and aspirations of stardom rustling about his head. Kenneth Pitt signed on as his manager, and his career began with a handful of mostly forgotten singles but a head full of ideas. It was not until 1969 that the splash onto the charts would begin, with the legendary Space Oddity (which peaked at No. 5 in the UK). Amidst his musical wanderings in the late 60s, he experimented with mixed media, cinema, mime, Tibetan Buddhism, acting and love. The album, originally titled David Bowie then subsequently Man of Words, Man of Music, pays homage to all the influences of the London artistic scene. It shows the early song-writingtalent that was yet to yield some of rock-n-roll’s finest work, even if it would take the rest of the world a few years tocatch up with him.
Limited edition seven inch picture disc vinyl pressing. Originally released in the UK in June 1977, “Be My Wife” was the second and last single to be taken from the groundbreaking album Low, the first of the so-called Berlin Trilogy of albums. The video for the track, which was Bowie s first since 1973’s “Life On Mars?”, was directed by Stanley Dorfman the original producer and director of the BBC s Top of The Pops. The b-side of the picture disc is a previously unreleased live version of the instrumental Low track “Art Decade” recorded in Perth, Australia in 1978 during the Isolar II tour.
Vinyl LP pressing of the digitally remastered mono mix of this classic album. A 1961 album that features both vibe player Milt Jackson and saxophonist John Coltrane, Bags & Trane was recorded at a time when Coltrane was about to exit Atlantic for Impulse Records. For that reason this particular album has long been considered part of Milt Jacksons catalogue, but there are compelling reasons for considering very much a joint effort. It was not the first album Coltrane had made as a co-leader (he recorded with Kenny Burrell in 1958, although this wasn’t released until 1963), nor would it be the last, but it is fairly safe to say that this was the strongest and satisfying of his joint albums. Milt Jackson is no slouch, as his work with everyone from Ray Charles to Wes Montgomery would confirm. Here both artists complement each other to perfection, with fine back up being provided by Hank Jones, Paul Chambers and Connie Kay.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2017 release from the Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, guitarist Jason Isbell and his mighty band, The 400 Unit. The Nashville Sound is the follow up to 2015’s critically acclaimed Something More Than Free, which won two Grammy Awards (Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song, “24 Frames”) and two Americana Music Association Awards (Album of the Year and Song of The Year, “24 Frames”). Without exaggeration, Jason Isbell has become one the most respected and celebrated songwriters of his generation. He possesses an incredible penchant for identifying and articulating some of the deepest, yet simplest, human emotions, and turning them into beautiful poetry through song. “There’s no better songwriter on the planet at this moment, no one operating with the same depth, eloquence or feeling,” says American Songwriter Magazine. Isbell sings of the everyday human condition with thoughtful, heartfelt, and sometimes brutal honesty, and the new album is no exception.
Vinyl LP pressing. A gifted songwriter and charismatic performer, Jimmy Cliff was one of Jamaica’s first international stars. His strongest material comes from his early years with legendary producer Leslie Kong. Together they recorded many of Jimmy’s classic hits including ‘Vietnam,’ ‘Many Rivers to Cross,’ ‘Wonderful World, Beautiful People’. Jimmy Cliff is the only living musician to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honor that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievements in the arts and sciences. Cliff starred in the film The Harder They Come, which helped popularize reggae across the world. Cliff was one of five performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2017 sees pop legend Alison Moyet return with her second studio album on Cooking Vinyl, which is also her second collaboration with producer Guy Sigsworth. Other finds Alison at the top of her game – making exactly the music she wants to at this moment in time. This is intelligent, adventurous electronic pop that’s defined by Sigsworth’s signature soundscapes. Despite Alison’s professing of age, the music bursts with clarity, vitality and freshness, whether in the zingy “Lover Go,” chic laid-back soundtrack-style “The English U,” “Beautiful Gun’s” nod to her rock and roll roots, the icy Germanic arpeggios of “Reassuring Pinches” or ambient, spoken-word poem “April 10th.” The hauntingly fragile and sparsely presented title track “Other,” serves as the album’s hypnotizing lead single.
Limited double vinyl LP pressing. Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz is the commercial debut album by Kentucky-based rap sextet Nappy Roots. It was released on February 26, 2002, the album was propelled by the hit-single “Awnaw” which was produced by James “Groove” Chambers. The second single was “Po’ Folks” featuring Anthony Hamilton, which reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album is certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Nappy Roots is an American alternative Southern rap quartet that originated in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1995. They were the best-selling hip hop group of 2002.
Double vinyl LP pressing. 2017 release, the long-awaited and highly anticipated third album from Fleet Foxes. Crack-Up comes six years after the 2011 release of Helplessness Blues and nearly a decade since the band’s 2008 self-titled debut. All eleven of the songs on Crack-Up were written by Robin Pecknold. The album was co-produced by Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset, his longtime bandmate, collaborator, and childhood friend. Crack-Up was recorded at various locations across the United States between July 2016 and January 2017: at Electric Lady Studios, Sear Sound, The Void, Rare Book Room, Avast, and The Unknown. Phil Ek mixed the album, at Sear Sound, and it was mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.
Double 180gm vinyl LP pressing. Digitally remastered and expanded edition. When the Cuban pianist Ruben Gonzalez recorded his first solo album in Havana in 1996 he was 77 years old. Released on World Circuit the following year, along with the Grammy-winning Buena Vista Social Club on which he also played, it led to a remarkable late flowering of his career that lasted until his death in 2003, as he toured the world and was revealed as one of the timeless legends of Cuban music. Recorded in two days immediately following the completion of Buena Vista Social Club with many of the same musicians, Introducing Ruben Gonzalez now gets a welcome reissue. Mastered from the original mix tapes by Alex Wharton at Abbey Road, several tracks are now heard in unedited, full length form for the first time with the addition of a further track that has never previously been released.
This album came about through a fortuitous convergence of circumstances. Shelly Manne & His Men were appearing at New York’s Village Vanguard, sharing the bill with the Bill Evans Trio. Getting Riverside’s permission to let the pianist participate, Creed Taylor set up a session at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio with Evans and Manne sharing top billing. Manne’s bass player, Monty Budwig, made up the trio. This was a busman’s holiday for Evans, who was freed from the musical parameters he had set for his then-current trio. The result is that his playing seemed lighter, freer, and more relaxed than it had for a while.
Double vinyl LP pressing. 2017 release from musician, songwriter, actor and author Steve Earle and his country rock band The Dukes. So You Wannabe an Outlaw, Earle’s first album for Warner Bros. Records since 1997’s El Corazón, explores his country songwriting roots and features collaborations with Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush, and Miranda Lambert. So You Wannabe an Outlaw is an homage to outlaw music and is dedicated to the late Waylon Jennings. “I was out to unapologetically ‘channel’ Waylon as best as I could.” Earle says. “This record was all about me playing’ on the back pick-up of a ’66 Fender Telecaster on an entire record for the first time in my life. The vocal part of it is a little different. I certainly don’t sound like Waylon Jennings. I moved to Nashville in November of 1974, and right after that Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger came out. I was around when Waylon was recording Dreaming My Dreams. Guitar Town (Earle’s 1986 chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning debut album) wound up being kind of my version of those types of songs,” Earle recalls. Earle is backed on So You Wannabe an Outlaw by his long-time band The Dukes – guitarist Chris Masterson, fiddle player Eleanor Whitmore, bassist Kelly Looney, and new members drummer Brad Pemberton and pedal steel player Ricky Ray Jackson. The album was produced by Richard Bennett and recorded at Arlyn Studios in Austin.
Chicago Slickers Vol. 2 presents another selection of the best and rarest Chicago blues recordings of the early postwar era. All of the selections included here were previously available on a limited edition double album on the Boogie Disease label, but in the many years since that important anthology was issued, several titles have been duplicated elsewhere, and thus the two discs have been re-edited down to one album of the most important and obscure sides.
Vinyl LP pressing. “Repetition is a form of change,” reads one of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies. Seth Haley knows the concept well, and his style of technicolor synth-wave takes the mantra as a challenge. Six years after Galactic Melt introduced the cosmic story of Com Truise, Iteration now concludes his sprawling saga. True to it’s name, the album is built on Com Truise hallmarks: neon-streaked melodies, big drums, robotic grooves, bleary nostalgia. But Iteration is also the most elegant and streamlined that Haley’s singular music has ever sounded. At the album’s heart is an elaborate narrative, one full of longing, hope, anxiety, and triumph. Iteration illustrates the last moments Com Truise spends on the perilous planet Wave 1, before he and his alien love escape it’s clutches to live in peace. “… Of Your Fake Dimension” launches the interstellar drama with it’s anthem swells and widescreen sound design, before lovesick songs like “Dryswch” and “Propagation” outline scenes wrought with cybernetic pathos. Later, the frantic rhythms of “Syrthio” conjure images of panicked flight as Haley’s gorgeous synth melodies gild the action in quiet heartbreak. Then comes the resounding “When Will You Find The Limit… “, when Iteration’s pain and sadness finds liberation in the vast unknown. The closing title track ends it all in a gush of majestic revelry.
Big Star/The Best Of Big StarDouble 180gm vinyl LP pressing. 2017 collection from the legendary ’70s band led by Alex Chilton. ‘Power pop pioneers’ doesn’t begin to cover it. They were only together for a brief spell in the ’70s, but Big Star left behind recordings that have exerted endless influence and inspiration over the decades. Here are 16 essentials from their three LPs plus rare single versions and new liner notes. You get single mixes of “In the Street,” “Don’t Lie to Me,” “September Gurls,” “Jesus Christ” and “O My Soul” plus “Thirteen,” “I’m in Love with a Girl,” “Take Care,” “Back of a Car” and more brilliant, beautiful Big Star!
Vinyl LP pressing. Commodores is the self-titled fifth studio album by the Commodores, released in 1977. The album included massive Top 5 singles such as ‘Brick House’ and ‘Easy’, moving the band into the pop mainstream. The band employed a variety of musical styles for the album, highlighted by the popular anthem “Brick House”. With Walter Orange’s squeaking/growling voice on the lead, and Ronald LaPread’s roundtone bassline, this track peaked on the U.S. Hot 100 at #5, and the U.S. R&B Chart at #4. As their second single, “Brick House” helped to propel the Commodores into the spotlight as a leading R&B act. In contrast to “Brick House”, “Easy” is a pop-soul ballad with mellow vocals by Lionel Richie with a Southern country twist. “Zoom” is one of the Commodores’ best known tunes, despite not being released as a single in the US. It reached #38 on the UK singles chart.
Double vinyl LP pressing. Brandy is the self-titled debut album by R&B singer Brandy. It was released by Atlantic Records on September 27, 1994. The album contains a range of contemporary genres, and the songs are a mix of soft hip hop soul, pop and contemporary mid-1990s R&B. They were chiefly produced by Keith Crouch who would contribute all four single releases from the album. Aside from Crouch, Norwood worked with a range of other writers and producers, including R&B group Somethin’ for the People, Arvel McClinton, and Damon Thomas and young Robin Thicke. Worldwide, the album has sold over six million copies. Four singles were released from the album, two of which became #1 hits on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles.
New York City’s purveyors of noise White Suns have returned with a new full-length recording titled Psychic Drift. Following the deconstructed rock instrumentation of 2014’s Totem, Dana Matthiessen and Kevin Barry continue their inexorable plunge into sonic abstraction. This latest album consists of four long-form compositions where synthesizers, field recordings, cut-up samples and lurching rhythms form a tapestry of shifting layers. The focus here is on texture and atmosphere, utilizing repurposed aspects of drone, industrial and harsh noise to create claustrophobic soundscapes that ripple and groan. White Suns has existed since 2006 and have released three full-length albums: Waking In The Reservoir (UgExplode, 2011), Sinews (Load, 2012) and Totem (The Flenser, 2014), along with a handful of small-run releases. Their material has received accolades from the New Yorker, SPIN, Pitchfork, and Tiny Mix Tapes among others. They’ve toured the U.S. extensively and garnered a reputation as a threatening and intense live act.
White Suns make a habit of crushing your soul. -Tiny Mix Tapes
Vinyl LP pressing. Ride’s first album in over twenty years, Weather Diaries, will be released June 16th via Wichita Recordings. The album was produced by legendary DJ, producer and remixer Erol Alkan, and is packed with all the classic elements that made Ride one of the defining bands of the early ’90s. Trembling distortion, beautiful harmonies, pounding rhythms, shimmering soundscapes and great songwriting all combine to make an album that’s ambitious in scope, timeless and thoroughly addictive. The album will be released through Wichita Recordings and sees the band reunited with label co-founders Mark Bowen and Dick Green, who worked with Ride during the band’s early years on Creation Records. It also brings the band back together with mixer Alan Moulder (Arctic Monkeys, Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers) who mixed their seminal 1990 album ‘Nowhere’ and produced it’s follow up ‘Going Blank Again.’
Limited 180 gram vinyl LP pressing. 2017 release. The ten tracks that are featured on How Did We Get So Dark? were written in instrumental form during sessions in Brighton, Los Angeles and Nashville. Always trying to explore ways of stripping their enormous sound back to give it more space and impact, inspiration for the lyrics came from events in vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr’s life since the band first found huge success. While the album finds Royal Blood refining their melodic might, there are other moments that fulfil their aim to create songs that will add new dimensions to their live sets. Adorned with Kerr’s falsetto, ‘Don’t Tell’ drops the intensity to mesmerizing effect, while ‘Where Are You Now?’ pulsates with a bounding energy that’s quite a step apart from anything else in their catalogue. The Royal Blood palette is also expanded with the inclusion of harmony vocals – something that they didn’t use on their debut.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2017 release, Shannon McNally’s blues-Americana return, Black Irish will make you dance, break your heart, and save your soul. The album was recorded in Nashville, but it’s distinctive sense of place lies 210 miles west, where Memphis meets Mississippi. The primary colors of American music are black and white, and Black Irish displays that hybrid in many shades, mixing country, blues, soul, rock, folk balladry and classic pop. Black Irish is McNally’s most personal project yet, which is saying a lot, given the Americana singer-songwriter’s deep catalog. But it speaks to the power of connection, and the power of music to create it and to reflect it. The kick off track “You Made Me Feel For You”, was written by her producer, Americana icon, Rodney Crowell, and serves as a metaphor for their collaboration-how his particular understanding of her unique gifts pulled out the career-defining album many have been waiting for since she came on the scene. The concept for Black Irish began in 2013, as Shannon was going through what she calls “a miserable divorce,” raising her daughter Maeve, and nursing her terminally ill mother Maureen. Her parents had relocated to Holly Springs, Mississippi, and McNally moved in, caring for her mom until her death in 2015.
Double vinyl LP pressing. Sons of Soul is the 1993 third studio album by Tony! Toni! Toné! The band originally recorded for the album at several studios in California, including Westlake Recording Studios and Paradise Recording Studio. When they became jaded with the various people frequenting those studios, Tony! Toni! Toné! moved their sessions to Caribbean Sound Basin in Trinidad, where they ultimately wrote and recorded most of the album. Sons of Soul was produced entirely by the group, who worked with various session musicians and utilized both vintage and contemporary recording equipment. They intended to pay homage to their musical influences-classic soul artists of the 1960s and 1970s-and incorporated live instrumentation, funk, and hip hop elements such as samples and scratches. Lead singer and bassist Raphael Wiggins handled most of the songwriting, which featured quirky, flirtatious lyrics.
Vinyl LP pressing includes digital download. With The Drums’ new Abysmal Thoughts, band founder Jonny Pierce is making the exact album he has always held in his heart. Of course, this is The Drums, so that heart is broken-but there’s beauty and even bliss in this kind of heartbreak, as well as that special kind of glorious delirium that comes from taking everything life can throw at you and still walking away triumphant. Abysmal Thoughts finds Pierce back in full control of The Drums, not just writing all the songs himself but playing every instrument and bringing his exact personal vision to life. Not coincidentally, it is some of the most revelatory work he’s ever done.
Limited edition 180gm vinyl LP pressing. The Kinks are universally recognized as one of the most important and influential British groups of all time, with millions of record sales and countless accolades to their name. From their explosive beginnings as part of the British Beat movement to forays into concept albums, stadium rock and acoustic balladeering, The Kinks have left an unimpeachable legacy of classic songs, many of which form the building blocks of popular music as we know it today. The Kinks’ final release of the ’70s, the hard rock 1979 album Low Budget, was their first recorded outside of England. It made the band belated rock stars in America where they gained a sizable chunk of the stadium rock circuit due in large part to constant touring and significant airplay of hit single “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman.” Low Budget followed an era of concept albums and saw Ray Davies returning to the craft of separate, simpler songs, alternating between being a romantic and a social commentator, though the album stresses the later aspect of his songwriting.