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Check Your Head'
Check Your Head (Awaiting Repress)Some albums define an era, a place, a certain time in one's life. The Beastie Boys Check Your Head practically defined the summer of 1992 for those who were wary of the mainstreaming of rap and the insurgency of grunge. It was here that MCA, Adrock and Mike D. created a musical montage that defied genre, one with the swagger of punk and the rootsy earthiness of early-'70s soul-jazz, all layered with a hip-hop consciousness. Lo-fi, garagy, guitar-riff-loaded tracks like Pass Da Mic and Gratitude made it clear that the Beasties could be taken as serious musical forces, even innovators. Yet they still brilliantly tempered the proceedings with romps like Professor Booty and Funky Boss. One of the best albums of the '90's, Check Your Head was a turning point for the band and the genesis of a new musical hybrid. Reissued here on Limited Edition Double 180g Vinyl.1. Jimmy James
2. Funky Boss
3. Pass the Mic
5. Lighten Up
6. Finger Lickin' Good
7. So What'cha Want
8. Biz Vs. The Nuge
9. Time for Livin'
10. Something's Got to Give
11. Blue Nun
12. Stand Together
15. Groove Holmes
16. Live at P.J.'s
17. Mark on the Bus
18. Professor Booty
19. In 3's
20. NamastÉ$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
The In Sound From Way OutOriginally released through the Beastie Boys' French fan club, The In Sound From Way Out! is a collection of the
group's funky instrumentals from Check Your Head and Ill Communication, with a couple of new tracks thrown in.
The Beasties have a flair for loose, gritty funk and soul-jazz, and the stuttering, greasy keyboards of Money Mark
give the music an extra edge -- he helps make the music sound as authentic as anything from the early '70s.1. Ricky's Theme
2. Groove Holmes
4. Son Of Neckbone
5. Bobo On The Corner
6. In 3's
7. Eugene's Lament
8. Futterman's Rule
12. Drinkin' Wine$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
OVSE-MOV-1431xSly & The Family Stone
Small Talk is the seventh album by Sly and the Family Stone, released in 1974. This album was the final LP to feature the original Family Stone, which broke up in January 1975.
Singles include Time For Livin' (the band's final Top 40 hit) and Loose Booty, an up-tempo funk track which uses the names of Bible characters Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as a chant, sampled by the Beastie Boys on their masterpiece Paul's Boutique in 1989. Beastie Boys also covered Time For Livin' which was released on the album Check Your Head in 1992 along with a live music video augmented with skateboarding footage.
Pictured on the album cover with Sly are his then-wife Kathleen Silva and his son Sylvester, Jr.1. Small Talk
2. Say You Will
3. Mother Beautiful
4. Time For Livin'
5. Can't Strain My Brain
6. Loose Booty
7. Holdin' On
8. Wishful Thinkin'
9. Better Thee Than Me
10. Livin' While I'm Livin'
11. This Is Love$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Are We Not Men? We Are Diva! (Awaiting Repress)In that mythical era known as the 90's, five brave young men emerged from the legendary halls of some of the mightiest bands on Fat Wreck Chords with a single mission: make all the rest of these dildo punk bands covering popular songs obsolete. They crowned themselves Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and the world rejoiced. Now, seven records, scores of singles and nearly a thousand years later, having tackled every genre under the sun, the bold young knaves known colloquially as the Gimmes have ridden their success hard, and decayed into desiccated, old divas. Yet, the diva, she is immortal. And thus, imbued with the old-world, Mystic Pizza-esque swagger of Cher, the modern pop-art sensibility of Lady Gaga and the enthusiasm-for-drug-consumption of Whitney Houston, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have returned from their beauty rest, busting out of their sequined gowns, and throwing vases at their assistants in order to present you with their latest opus, entitled Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!, slated to be released on none other than Fat Wreck Chords. And you'd best believe, whether because of their tantrums or their virtuosity, once you hear these fat ladies sing, there's not gonna be a dry eye in the house.
For the uninitiated, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes consist of Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape on the guitar, Shiflett brother (and Foo Fighter) Chris Shiflett on the other guitar, Lagwagon drummer and Fat Wreck utility superhero Dave Raun on the skins, and are rounded out by Fat Wreck-head-honcho/NOFX main-dude Fat Mike, and incomparable crooner Spike Slawson. Together, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes-an outfit that has always operated more like a beer-hall Pussycat Dolls than a regular mortal band-contain so much hot air, so much pomp, so much attitude, that it's a wonder that these guys can still manage to pull their five individual tour buses into the same parking lot, put their differences aside and belt out the ballads without clawing each other's eyes out. But they do, for the love of the fans, the music, and of course, the applause.
In the past, The Gimmes have tackled such disparate genres as Motown, country, show tunes and even Japanese pop (sung in real live Japanese!) but none of that enabled them to truly soar as high above the eagles as they desired, feeling the wind of other, lesser bands beneath their wings. So this time, the Fat (Wreck) Five decided to take on the un-take-on-able and hit us with cuts from the likes of Celine (gasp!) Christina (Sigh!) and Paula Abdul (oh no you di'int!) among others. And as Spike's baritone somehow manages to make Whitney Houston's (Dolly Parton-penned) Theme Song To The Bodyguard EVEN MORE EPIC, you will be moved to tears. You will find joy. You will shake in your very skin as the music of these divas gently takes you by the hand and shows you how to love again. AND! You'll buy tickets to see 'em on tour.
Because that's right folks! Nothing says 'diva' like coming to your town to bask in the torrential, gushing blasts of your love, and the Gimmes will be hitting the entire world in support of Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!, except maybe Mike, who's such a diva that he's got substitutes on hand! So grab those flowers off of your grandma's grave and head out now, to check out Me First and the Gimme Gimmes on wax and in your town, before these five outrageous harpies either kill each other or wind up as a Vegas destination act, bloated, high on pills and uh, nevermind that last part. Just go see em, eh? It's a helluva time.
- Troy Michael (Innocent Words)1. I Will Survive
2. Straight Up
5. My Heart Will Go On
6. I Will Always Love You
7. Top of the World
9. Karma Chameleon
10. Crazy for You
11. On the Radio
12. The Way We Were
$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
This Time I'm Swingin'
Numbered Limited Edition 180g LP from Mobile Fidelity
Legendary Crooner Backed by Orchestra Conducted by Nelson Riddle
1960 Capitol Album of Then-Recent and Classic Standards Arguably Martin's Most Timeless Set: MoFi Edition Includes Bonus Track Ain't That a Kick in the Head
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: No Martin Album Sounds Like This
Dean Martin was always at his best when he sounded effortless, when the singing required no exertion-just the same amount of investment required to order a martini. Confident, refined, breezy, and easygoing, this 1960 Capitol album epitomizes the crooner's charm. In pairing with arranger and Frank Sinatra right-hand-man Nelson Riddle, Martin strikes all the right notes on this collection of then-recent and retro standards.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's 180g LP gets inside the core being of Martin's impeccably smooth, relaxed singing by presenting every phrase, dip, and inflection with lifelike realism. The LP does similar wonders for Riddle's backing orchestra. Horns teem with punch and midrange; rhythms possess incredible pacing; strings saunter and float. No Martin album has ever sounded like this. Mobile Fidelity also secured the rights to a bonus track, Ain't That a Kick in the Head, left off the album and released as a single in order to promote the movie Ocean's Eleven.
While Martin enjoyed his biggest commercial success at Reprise, the aptly titled This Time I'm Swingin' is considered by many critics and vocal-pop fans to be his finest studio hour. He approaches each song with supreme confidence and debonair control, never overreaching his limits or breaking a sweat. Here, he more than lives up to his nickname: The King of Cool. Charismatic, assured, and note-perfect, the album belongs alongside any of the period sets cut by his pal and once-and-future labelmate Sinatra. No wonder that his most recognized hit, the aforementioned and included "Ain't That a Kick in the Head," was actually cut at these sessions.
Riddle's expert ordering of the charts and direction of horns, strings, and piano equates to jazz and swing genius. Brass blows hard and strong during breaks, calm down for verses during which slinky 88s and swaying strings join the dance, and then rise up, the mix elegantly performed and irresistibly catchy. If you're not snapping your fingers and instantly transported to a swank nightclub within the first few passages of the opening "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me," check your system's setup.
Yet Martin is the real star. Hearing him handle such classics as the devotional "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," upbeat "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You," hopeful "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)," bluesy "You're Mean to Me," and clever "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" with such aplomb-and now, in such ravishing detail-will remind you why you love music, and why nothing of this ilk will likely ever be made again.
Martin convincingly conveys the mood each song demands, but a sense of optimism, playfulness, and feel-good romance pervade this stylish effort. If you are a fan of real singing and emotional crooning, you cannot live without this analog edition. A veritable gem.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
2. True Love
3. You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You
4. On the Street Where You Live
6. (It Will Have to Do) Until the Real Thing Comes Along
7. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
8. I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
9. Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)
10. Mean to Me
11. Heaven Can Wait
12. Just In Time
13. Ain't That a Kick in the Head$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Double VisionSo much for sophomore jinxes that almost always go hand-in-hand with groups that explode onto the scene. Overflowing with first-rate songwriting, lascivious hooks, and sing-a-long choruses, Foreigners Double Vision lays waste to conventional sophomore-release wisdom and went on to actually exceed the popularity of the bands blockbuster debut. More than seven million copies and two Top Five singles later, the 1978 set still rocks with definite purpose.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelitys collectible audiophile 180g LP of this longtime favorite classic-rock staple bursts with tremendous dynamics, soaring vocal timbres, bottom-end punch, and newfound instrumental separation. Sure, you may have heard songs such as Double Vision and Hot Blooded countless times, but trust us, youve never really heard them (outside of an arena setting, stadium amplifiers blaring) like this. You may just find yourself investing in a new power amp to get every last degree of detail thats been uncovered!
Synonymous with AOR (album-oriented rock), Foreigner essentially perfects the style throughout this concise, focused, down-and-dirty ten-song set. The key to any memorable 70s rock record is a catchy single, and the quintet has several lying in the waiting. The title track, inspired by New York Rangers goalie John Davidson getting whacked in the head by a hockey puck, spills over with double-entendre meaning, tough-cut riffs, and a rotating groove, not to mention a mystical keyboard refrain. Equally memorable, and a permanent part of any radio stations rotation, Hot Blooded is the ideal come-on, the groups open-ended rhythm and dance-inspiring beats pouring with promise, salaciousness, and ass-kicking sexuality. A terrific power ballad infused with woe and longing, Blue Morning, Blue Day features insistent harmonies and piano notes that grab you by the collar and doesnt let go.
Of course, great songs alone dont make for great records. The bands chemistry and performance needs to be on par with that of the material. And what else can be said of leather-lunged vocalist Lou Gramm and guitar-hero Mick Jones save for the fact the pair combine for a legendary one-two punch, leading their mates through sensational melodies and swaggering leads. Seldom has the balance between tough and polished, light and heavy, fun and reserved been better established and maintained.
Ready to rock out? Wait until you hear Mobile Fidelitys analog remaster. Itll bring back (double) visions of hot stage lights, dry-ice fog, feel-good times, and amplifiers cranked to 10only this time, the experience will take place inside the confines of your own home. Check it and see!
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Hot Blooded
2. Blue Morning, Blue Day
3. You're All I Am
4. Back Where You Belong
5. Love Has Taken Its Toll
6. Double Vision
8. I Have Waited So Long
9. Lonely Children
10. Spellbinder$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
SaosinSaosin is the debut album by post-hardcore band Saosin. Includes a matte finish with spot UV gatefold jacket and full color inner sleeve.
The long wait is over. California's Saosin issued their debut EP Translating the Name in 2003. They already had a well-developed fan base for their unique, even enigmatic brand of post-hardcore screamo. The band, having undergone some personnel changes -- most notably singer Anthony Green's departure in 2004 and the enlisting of Cove Reber as his replacement -- also underwent a sonic change on their self-titled 2005 EP. That primer was a guidebook to the band's new sound. Their Capitol debut, produced by Howard Benson, who also plays keyboards and does minimal programming, is a much slicker and far more imaginative outing than the band's underground fans may appreciate. That's not to say it's not impressive. It is. Quite so. This quintet are fine songwriters, excellent musicians, and have actually taken their post-underground hardcore beginnings and turned them into something that may indeed further rock music itself. This is not an idle claim. The songs on this album are tight, finished, and full of unexpected twists and turns, varied dynamics, fine lyrics, and, most of all, they're surprising. The hard twin-guitar sound at the front drives a rhythm section that is always in the pocket. Justin Shekoski and Beau Burchell work symbiotically with one another. They twin riffs and single lines without ever devolving into guitar heroics. They play as a unit. Reber's beautiful high-pitched voice walks the line but never resorts to screaming, because he doesn't have to: his instrument is powerful enough to ride the top of the musical swirl. The rhythm section carries the cradle of all this innovation, never slipping or abandoning these songs to mere workmanship. Check the killer counterpoint leads on Follow and Feel, and how drummer Alex Rodriguez takes the beat to the band inside the tune. When Reber enters with Don't let them know you're watching their situation crumble... his lyric is one of dislocation and the futile attempt to understand distance and dissolution. The killer, all-out rock riff in It's So Simple is beguiling as the song's dynamics and pace change three times inside of four minutes. That's the other beauty of this record; all but one track are under four minutes. The album flows from top to bottom; songs bleed into one another yet keep their distinctive identities. It's a strange comparison, but Saosin are as unique in their way as U2 were in their right from the beginning. Though they are seasoned road warriors, it's no mean achievement that a debut album carrying so much weight seemingly so effortlessly, is so utterly sophisticated and complete . Sure, Capitol will try to make them the next big thing, and maybe they should -- when's the last time you heard anything really new in rock music? Bury Your Head is the only track here that is a carry-over from Saosin's EP. Its woven textures, explosive singing, knotty basslines, and call and response vocals are chilling and utterly effective. Saosin walk that line between metal, indie rock, post-hardcore, and many other things. But that tautness is what gives their songs such power and ruddy grace. The album may garner the charges of sell-out from the underground, but musicians grow. In a relatively short time, Saosin has evolved into a smart, utterly talented and perhaps even visionary unit that is rewriting the book in the 21st century. They have delivered a debut album that is mature, truly original, that can garner the attention of those kids -- and hopefully, older adults who still care about rock -- from almost any side of the rock & roll spectrum. - Allmusic.com1. It's Far Better to Learn
3. It's So Simple
5. Finding Home
6. Follow and Feel
7. Come Close
8. I Never Wanted To
10. You're Not Alone
11. Bury Your Head
12. Some Sense of Security$25.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP Buy Now
Wake The Dead (Awaiting Repress)It's a beautiful thing when a good band turns to great; when they put out an album that ends all skepticism concerning the band and turns everyone's head. Such is the case with Comeback Kid's spectacular sophomore effort, Wake The Dead.
The band's passion-filled debut, Turn It Around, put this band near the forefront of the straight edge hardcore movement, with its breakneck speeds and heart-stomping breakdowns. Still, people argued that it was a bit too generic for comfort, and that the album's songs blended into one another after five songs, making for a rather boring listen after ten minutes. Now, I don't know if the band took those comments to heart, but Wake The Dead has remedied any problems the band has had in the past and has turned out to be a flawless effort from a band who will no doubt be name-dropped as one of the most elite bands in hardcore after this release.
Where Turn It Around failed, Wake The Deaad excels; each song is rather distinct, not in the fact that there are a lot of "departures" to be found, but that each song has its own identity and its own parts that are unique to the song. Also, the length of the album has been cut short by four tracks, from fifteen to eleven, making for a more concise (but no less intense) listen. Lastly, the production is as in-your-face as a hardcore album could sound, making the move to Victory Records (I know, we all groaned when we heard it) a seemingly helpful move. Simply put, Wake The Dead sounds as amazing as the music is. The vocals are cleaner, the drums are more effective, and the gang vocals sound fuller. Check the end of the title track for proof; it's the best sing-along since Bane's "Can We Start Again."
Comeback Kid's music has also taken a turn towards the more punk rock-influenced hardcore spectrum, exchanging breakdowns for sheer speed and surprisingly more melodic (but no less hard-hitting) riffs. In fact, there's almost nary a breakdown to be found here; you've got your typical slower-paced rhythms to get the kids stomping, but nothing as earth-shattering as the end of, say, "All In A Year," the opener from the band's debut. The most amazing part is that you will not even notice; the songs are that good. Besides, you can still get all of the breakdown mayhem found on their debut if you see them live, which I highly consider, for they're currently on the straight edge hardcore tour of a lifetime, opening for Bane and With Honor.
There's also nothing like listening to an album for the first time and being ripped in half by an amazing album opener; "False Idols Fall" is the quintessential hardcore anthem. It's got speed, power, gang vocals, and a powerful closing, and all you can do after the song is over is smile because it was just so absolutely perfect. I can't remember the last hardcore song that made me smile. From the opening, to the insane gang vocals of "Wake The Dead," to the anthemic and soon-to-be crowd favorite "Partners In Crime," to the technicality of "Bright Lights Keep Shining," you're left in awe at how good this band sounds. Scott Wade's vocals are top-notch and unbelievably charismatic, and the guitar work is spectacular, not for its technicality and hard-to-play parts, but just for making some of the best hardcore riffs I've ever heard. Every song is excellent, and, as stated before, each has its own identity, something that is hard to come by in recent years with hardcore music.
This is a hands down ten out of ten. I've heard very few albums that have knocked me on my ass past a month's worth of listening, but Wake The Dead has done it. This is one hell of musical accomplishment, and is 100% deserving of a perfect rating. Pick this up TODAY.
- Dan Perrone (Punk News)1. False Idols Fall
2. My Other Side
3. Wake the Dead
4. The Trouble I Love
5. Talk is Cheap
6. Partners in Crime
7. Our Distance
8. Bright Lights Keep Shining
9. Falling Apart
10. Losing Patience
11. Final Goodbye$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
NightbringersAny band that has earned an army of devout followers through dropping seven killer full-lengths - and touring their collective ass off for sixteen years - could perhaps be forgiven for thinking they could take it easy as they wade into their eighth release. But that's just not The Black Dahlia Murder's style, and Nightbringers is testament to that. Having released their most accomplished, aggressive, and emotionally diverse music to date in the form of 2015's Abysmal, the Michigan quintet have once more pushed themselves to new heights, and the 34 minutes of searing melodic death metal that comprises Nightbringers is riveting listening. "I always feel a responsibility to the people who support this band when we start making a new record," asserts vocalist Trevor Strnad. "The pressure that comes from people being excited to hear what you come up with next can be intimidating, but it's so exciting that those people love you so much for just doing what you do. It makes you want to honor what you've done in the past, but also excite them with where you go next, and that definitely drove us on Nightbringers. When we started writing I honestly didn't know we had this album in us, and I feel really proud of it. It's a great moment for us."
Rather than meticulously plan things out or stick rigidly to any kind of template, when it comes to writing The Black Dahlia Murder prefer to let things happen organically. In the hands of guitarist Brian Eschbach - who co-founded the band with Strnad in 2001 - and new recruit Brandon Ellis (Cannabis Corpse/ex-Arsis) Nightbringers is rich with dynamic riffs that are at once fresh and classic TBDM, resulting in a collection that shifts through many moods and effortlessly incorporates various elements of extreme metal. With guitarist Ryan Knight having amicably stepped down in 2016, the addition of twenty-four-year-old Ellis to the band's ranks has helped usher in an exciting new era. "He's very professional for his age, I think he's skilled far beyond his years, and his live energy is exceptional. When Max (Lavelle, bass) joined the band he challenged a lot of us on stage to raise our personal bar, and Brandon's pushed that even further," states Strnad. "Brandon coming into the band and writing a bunch of songs was an awesome surprise too. He really took the reins, and this record is also the most involved that Alan (Cassidy drums) has been too. The way that we were doing the demos and bouncing things back and forth he had a lot of room to do what he wanted to do, and I think it's definitely a more colorful album for that. I also think as we get older the emotional content goes up. I think we better realize how to grip the listener. Personally, I try to write lyrics that are going to match each part, and kind of ramp up those feelings that we're putting across." Strnad's statements are vividly borne out by every moment of Nightbringers. For fans attending 2017's Summer Slaughter tour, the first taste of of the record came with the inclusion of the title track in their set, which has an undeniable immediacy to it, rich with hooks and boasting a "circusy, evil and playful" air. By contrast, "Catacomb Hecatomb" is suffused with tragedy, the mournful tone of its slower passages deeply affecting. This too is dramatically different to "As Good As Dead", which has some swagger to it that Strnad likens to Megadeth, or "Matriarch", described by Eschbach as a "wild, neoclassical romp" and stands as one of the most cutthroat and all out aggressive tracks in the quintet's arsenal. Upon first hearing the latter, Strnad was intent on matching its visceral intensity. "I felt inspired to write very violent lyrics to it. It's told from the perspective of a woman who is trying to have a child and not having any luck, and she goes kind of crazy and stalks this other woman who is due to have a child. She finds her moment to take it from her, cutting it right out of her stomach." While Strnad explores a variety of themes and ideas with his lyrics, they are united by the album's title, which embraces a tenet that has been central to The Black Dahlia Murder's output since the very beginning. "A lot of archaic ideas that are still upheld - such as marriage and monogamy - came from Christianity, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, and to me, death metal has always been bucking that. It's 'being-the-villain music', because we're the enemy of Christianity, the enemy of all that is good and traditional. Death metal is for free thinkers, it's for showing people the path to inner strength and operating on your own will, instead of being told what to do and living in fear, and songs like the title track and "Kings Of The Nightworld" are about leading a legion of awakened minds into battle." Following this theme also motivated Strnad to forge into ever-darker territory, even when this meant tearing things up and starting over. "I felt I needed to rise to the occasion to make as much of the blood and guts and heinousness as possible, and there was actually a couple of points where I rewrote some songs. I just didn't feel like they were dark enough, or violent enough, so I was really trying to ramp up the monstrous aspects of things, and definitely trying in different ways to take down tradition."
Rather than decamp to a single studio, the members split off when it came time to start laying down the songs - all well versed in how to get the best out of their individual performances. With former bassist Ryan Williams once again assisting, the drums were tracked at The Pipe Yard in Plymouth, Michigan and rhythm guitars in the band's practice space in Warren, Michigan [was bass tracked there too?]. Ellis then recorded his many blistering solos in his home studio, while Strnad headed to Full Force Studios on Long Island, with Joe Cincotta (Suffocation, Internal Bleeding) overseeing his sessions. For the unique and haunting cover art they turned to Kristian Wåhlin, aka Necrolord, who has designed seminal artwork for the likes of At The Gates, Bathory, Emperor and also TBDM's 2007 release, Nocturnal. "I think he's the most prominent artist when it comes to classic releases in the melodic death metal genre, and kind of bringing things full circle with it being the ten-year anniversary of Nocturnal felt right. By now people probably wouldn't have expected us to go back to him, so it's kind of a surprise, but at the same time it's a very classic cover too." With the band celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the aforementioned album by playing it in its entirety on Summer Slaughter, it has given them a moment to reflect not only on the road that has led them to here but also that which lies ahead. "When I think back to when we started the band I feel very proud of everything we've done, and I also see a lot of improvement over the years," says Strnad. "In the early songs I can hear us as kids, and then segueing into our adulthood as musicians and writers, but sixteen years in I still feel young as a band. I feel like we have a shit ton left to do, and I think we're sitting pretty with the best lineup we've ever had. I also think Nightbringers could be our finest hour yet. I feel very strongly that it will affect people, I want to get all of these songs in people's ears, and I want them to check out everything we've got on this record. There's so much variety and so many great ideas, and I think that this could take us to another place."1. Widowmaker
2. Of God and Serpent, of Spectre and Snake
6. Kings of the Nightworld
7. Catacomb Hecatomb
8. As Good as Dead
9. The Lonely Deceased$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Little Girl Blue (Pure Pleasure)
Little Girl Blue, released in 1957, was Nina Simone's first recording, originally issued on the Bethlehem label. Backed by bassist Jimmy Bond and Albert 'Tootie' Heath, it showcases her ballad voice as one of mystery and sensuality and showcases her up-tempo jazz style with authority and an enigmatic down-home feel that is nonetheless elegant. The album also introduced a fine jazz pianist. Simone was a solid improviser who never strayed far from the blues. Check the opener, her reading of Duke Ellington's Mood Indigo, which finger-pops and swings while keeping the phrasing deep-blue. It is contrasted immediately with one of the -- if not the -- definitive reads of Willard Robison's steamy leave-your-lover ballad Don't Smoke in Bed. The title track, written by Rodgers & Hart, features Good King Wenceslas as a classical prelude to one of the most beautiful pop ballads ever written. It is followed immediately by the funky swing in Love Me or Leave Me with a smoking little piano solo in the bridge where Bach meets Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons.
It's also interesting to note that while this was her first recording, the record's grooves evidence an artist who arrives fully formed; many of the traits Simone displayed throughout her career as not only a vocalist and pianist but as an arranger are put on first notice here. My Baby Just Cares for Me has a stride shuffle that is extrapolated on in the piano break. Her instrumental and improvising skills are put to good use on Tadd Dameron's Good Bait, which is transformed into something classical from its original bebop intent. You'll Never Walk Alone feels more like some regal gospel song than the Rodgers & Hammerstein show tune it was. Of course, one of Simone's signature tunes was her version of I Loves You, Porgy, which appears here for the first time and was released as a single. Her own Central Park Blues is one of the finest jazz tunes here.
- Nina Simone (piano, vocal)
- Jimmy Bond (bass)
- Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)
About Pure Pleasure
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.1. Mood Indigo
2. Don't Smoke In Bed
3. He Needs Me
4. Little Girl Blue
5. Love Me Or Leave Me
6. My baby Just Cares For Me
7. Good Bait
8. Plain Gold Ring
9. You'll Never Walk Alone
10. I Loves You Porgy
11. Central Park Blues$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Rumor and Sigh
The Most Cohesive and Accessible Album of Richard Thompson's Career: Brilliantly Diverse, Savagely Witty Rumor and Sigh Includes All TIME 100 Song 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes, Pressed at RTI, and Strictly Limited to 3000 Numbered Copies: Rumor and Sigh on 180g Vinyl 2LP for the First Time, Features Dynamic Production
Richard Thompson manages all of his usual superhuman feats on Rumor and Sigh. Rippled, vibrant guitar lines that sound like they're coming from four guitars? Check. Lyrics that expose the delicate quirks of human behavior in witty, truthful manners? Here. Engaging vocals that arrive as if they are sung only to you, the words doubling as whispered thoughts in your own head? Yep. But Rumor and Sigh goes further by featuring astute, lively production and well-planned arrangements that turn the 1991 album into one of the - if not the - most cohesive and accessible efforts of Thompson's storied career. And now, courtesy of Mobile Fidelity, it's his best-sounding record.
Mastered from the original master tapes, pressed at RTI, strictly limited to 3000 numbered copies, and on 180g vinyl 2LP for the first time ever to provide needed groove space, Mobile Fidelity's analog edition breathes with an effervescent openness that makes the music emerge with a livelier sheen, standout dynamics, and unstoppable energy. The dead-quiet pressing makes it immediately evident Rumor and Sigh endures as a very special album - a cohesive, varied, and fun set spiked with some of Thompson's finest compositions and an exoticism that extends to the modest use of the hurdy-gurdy, mandolin, concertina, and crumhorn.
Casual fans will likely even recognize the Mitchell Froom-produced release includes the incomparable 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, a motorcycle-based tale of desire, love, and death rightly recognized by TIME magazine as one of its All TIME 100 songs. It, and the other 13 tracks, takes on newfound radiance that showcases the brilliant range of Thompson's instrumentation and tone. You could plug in a guitar amplifier right next to you, connect a Fender, and strum. Yet you still wouldn't have the depth, intimacy, and detail afforded by this audiophile edition. It's that remarkable.
So is the diversity of the album's sonic signatures and themes. Opener Read About Love provides an electric-start jolt, its upbeat tempos, shimmering accents, and massive hooks framing Thompson's amusing story of an inexperienced introvert that applies pop-culture ideas of romance to the real thing. The master wordsmith finds similar ironies in the mischievous intent of I Feel So Good, a Celtic-flavored tune whose uplifting emotions contrast with the character's out-of-control desires. Humor further wriggles in the jaunty Psycho Street and spirited Don't Sit on My Jimmy Shands, an enduring tribute to the Scottish accordionist and the pursuit of collecting rare 78 records.
The singer-songwriter's knack for accentuating biting contrast - and for delving into darker regions where jealousy, bitterness, and self-deprecation reside - pervades Rumor and Sigh in the same manner his band shades his every move with narrative skill. Just listen to the faint keyboard cues on I Misunderstood or Jim Keltner's crisp, hi-hat cracks on You Dream Too Much. Of course, everyone stands aside for the folk-leaning 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, a solo tour de force of musicianship and lyricism that confirms Rumor and Sigh survives not only as one of the finest records of the 1990s - but one of the best platters of the last three decades.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Read About Love
2. I Feel So Good
3. I Misunderstood
4. Grey Walls
5. You Dream Too Much
6. Why Must I Plead
7.1952 Vincent Black Lightning
8. Backlash Love Affair
9. Mystery Wind
10. Don't Sit on My Jimmy Shands
11. Keep Your Distance
12. Mother Knows Best
13. God Loves a Drunk
14. Psycho Street$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Undefeated (Out of Stock)Bobby Bare, Jr. could've phoned in a career. He could've exploited the fact that he's the son of iconic Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Bare, was born into Nashville's Music Row elite, and counted artists like Shel Silverstein as close family friends and George Jones and Tammy Wynette as next door neighbors. Instead, Bobby blazed a path of unique songwriting craftsmanship with a voice that blows through you like an unyielding wind on the desolate prairie.
Undefeated is BBJ's first release since 2010 and what he calls his "break-up record," but the whole of it is much more involved: this isn't escapism; it's an emotional survival guide. Undefeated is ten songs of reality checks, clever wordplay, and daring arrangements, the aural companion to that buddy who pulls up a bar stool next to yours to help soak away your sorrows.
Like a bespectacled, curly haired prizefighter whose opponent is on the ropes, Bobby goes at each release as if it might be his last round, focused, and full of energy and purpose. Undefeated is no different. The song list is a war chest of formidable uppercuts (e.g. distorted pop rock gems "North of Alabama By Mornin'" and "Don't Stand At the Stove"), eye-splitting right jabs (open and orchestral "Don't Wanna Know" and "The Elegant Imposter"), and sneaky left hooks (the crescendoing "As Forever Became Never Again").
Undefeated is an album of distinct balance, but with raw and varied textures. "North of Alabama By Mornin'" leads with a murky, palm-muted electric guitar and striding, crunchy organ backbeat; a combination that is undeniably kinetic à la Humble Pie's '70s boogie grooves and sinister and sexy, like a Southern doppelganger to Greg Dulli/The Twilight Singers. Bare Jr.'s ghostly high/low vocal layers echo the bleak picture of a metaphorical road trip, when his confidence slips, "Am I holding the steering wheel or is it holding me?/ The transmission is slipping like a pigeon through a tiger's teeth." By the song's finale, though, jubilant yelps ("Oh! Ho! Ho! We're goin' home!") and the electric guitar's pinch-harmonic wailing, indicate that things are headed in the right direction.
What's most striking about BBJ is his proficiency with a broad sonic palette that fluently conjures uncommon impressions of life's soul-arresting experiences. "The Big Time" is rock 'n' roll reinterpreted through the lens of soulful pedaled bass, celebratory and punchy brass, and the facade of big-city talk ("You're gonna miss me after I hit the big time/ Gonna get brand new famous friends."). In "Blame Everybody (But Yourself)" the band - Young Criminals' Starvation League - taps into a piano-inflected British invasion/Herman's Hermits sort of vibe, blended with the melancholic echo chamber aesthetic of My Morning Jacket.
At other moments, Bobby channels his country DNA (like in the Hayes Carll co-penned "My Baby Took My Baby Away"), mirror-ball gazing '70s R&B/soul ("Undefeated"), and bright ballads from the hills and hollers of Venice Beach ("If She Cared"). From anyone else, this refusal to play it on the straight and narrow would sound cluttered and disjointed, but Bobby never breaks a sweat.1. North of Alabama By Mornin'
2. If She Cared
3. The Big Time
4. Don't Wanna Know
5. The Elegant Imposter
7. My Baby Took My Baby Away
8. Blame Everybody (But Yourself)
9. As Forever Became Never Again
10. Don't Stand At The Stove$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock