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  • Pop Life (Single) Pop Life (Single) Quick View

    $12.99
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    Pop Life (Single)

    12 Maxi-Single Reissue

    Featuring Pop Life (Fresh Dance Mix) And Hello (12 Extended Remix Version)

    Pop Life is a 1985 song by Prince and The Revolution. It was the second US (and final UK) single from their 1985 album, Around the World in a Day, reaching number 7 in the US charts. The song starts with a faded-in synth line and quickly starts the main tune. The easy groove is achieved with a smooth bass guitar and piano embellishments. A drum machine provides handclaps to make the song danceable. Pop Life was recorded before Purple Rain was completed, indicating the new direction Prince wanted to take after the success of that album and film.

    The B-side of the track is Hello, written quickly as a response to those who criticized Prince's lack of participation in the We Are the World event. The angry lyrics lambaste the prying media and false friendships, and is driven by a pulsing beat. The extended version of the song ends with a spoken word by Prince, which contain some self-humor about his high-heeled shoes.

    1. Pop Life (Fresh Dance Mix)
    2. Hello (12 Extended Remix Version)
    Prince and The Revolution
    $12.99
    12 Vinyl Single - Sealed Buy Now
  • Pop Crimes Pop Crimes Quick View

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    Pop Crimes

    Rowland S. Howard started playing in teenage bands in late
    70s Melbourne. Whilst still a callow youth he wrote "Shivers," an
    undisputed classic, (quietly ignoring the fact that Rowland perhaps
    doesn't see it that way and approaches the song as if it was written
    by someone else). The song was recorded by his band The Boys Next
    Door who mutated into the Birthday Party and then relocated to
    Europe to wage a guerrilla campaign against the trivialities of the
    80s, until they turned their fire upon themselves and disintegrated
    mid-decade.


    Whilst his former associates have moved on to weekend colour
    supplement acceptability, Rowland has commonly been perceived
    as the banished wastrel prince... exiled to a squalid garret on the
    colder edges of the kingdom, accompanied only by his dreams and
    inclinations. His demeanour (pale, gaunt, stick thin, sickly, dark
    humoured, fatalistic) has perhaps inadvertently added far too much
    credence to this interpretation of events. The shadow of this myth
    has seemingly obscured the sheer volume of his creativity and the
    singularity of his musical vision.


    Always respected by his peers, a scan through Rowland's
    catalogue of work sees him allied with the likes of Lydia Lunch,
    Thurston Moore, Wim Wenders, Barry Adamson, The Gun Club, Nikki
    Sudden, the Beasts Of Bourbon, the Hungry Ghosts and HTRK.
    Rowland's own ensemble These Immortal Souls gun their engines
    in the ill-lit background and the legacy of his work with The Birthday
    Party scores the skin of successive generations of musicians and
    fans.


    But it's a history Rowland would gleefully put a match to. With or
    without it Rowland S. Howard would make tense, beautiful music,
    would deliver us his personal vision of the world, would create Pop
    Crimes.


    Long-time faithful friends Mick Harvey (who played with Rowland
    for over 30 years), JP Shilo (Hungry Ghosts) and producer Lindsay
    Gravina make for a formidable backline. Out front the guitar playing
    couldn't be any one else but Rowland S Howard and his weary,
    almost journalistic vocal delivery dispassionately sits amidst the
    sweaty panic of the music, adding to the ill ease.


    The band lurch in to Pop Crimes as if dragging a rain soaked body
    across a muddy field. The ghosts of Lee Hazlewood, Snatch, Sergio
    Leone, The Shangri-Las and nameless guys from a never known chain
    gang watch on. Within the first few breaths Rowland references
    Stalin, Calvary and genocide, whilst razoring guitar lines the current
    crop of post-punk revisionists could only fantasize about.


    "Shut Me Down" is Rowland at his most romantic, though
    inevitably it's shot through with loss and longing. If only Dusty
    Springfield were alive to revel in its drama. Talk Talk's 'Life's What
    You Make It' is re-imagined as if it had risen from the grind of a
    Detroit auto plant's assembly line. '(I Know) A Girl Called Johnny'
    sees Jonnine D from HTRK sidle up to the microphone for a duet
    that will melt even the coldest of hearts. It's a glorious missing link
    between the New York girl group sound and the street smarts of
    Suicide. Townes Van Zandt's "Nothin" is given a chilling tenement
    building transformation. "Wayward Man" has the band wailing like
    alarm sirens before Rowland emerges at his most contemplative
    with the gorgeous, fragile build of "Ave Maria." Final track "The
    Golden Age Of Bloodshed" takes the album out on a swaggering,
    swashbuckling epic, with salvation slipping through the narrator's
    fingers.

    1. (I Know) A Girl Called Jonny
    2. Shut Me Down
    3. Life's What You Make It
    4. Pop Crimes
    5. Nothin '
    6. Wayward Man
    7. Ave Maria
    8. The Golden Age Of Bloodshed
    Rowland S. Howard
    $17.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Pull It Together Pull It Together Quick View

    $16.99
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    Pull It Together

    Pull It Together is Shannon Stephens' third album. Vulnerability has been replaced with a fierce confidence born of experience. Stephens sings out now with a voice free of youthful self-consciousness, filled instead with conviction, and no small amount of anger at the state of the world. She has always distilled powerful emotions into her music but this time the emotional dial is cranked.


    From the sweetly swaggering "What Love Looks Like" to the searing "Your Fabulous Friends," she balances cynicism with generous quantities of warmth, humor and empathy. Never is this fine balance more apparent than on "Faces Like Ours" where Bonnie Prince Billy (Will Oldham) weaves his voice with hers in a duet that wryly dissects the injustice of racial and economic privilege.


    The result of this new approach is an album that is gritty, fluid, and more accessible than her previous work. Call it pragmatic pop, optimism balanced with the sharp-edged reality of life in 2012.

    1. Wax and Feathers
    2. Care of You
    3. What Love Looks Like
    4. Girl
    5. Cold November
    6. Out of Sight
    7. Faces Like Ours
    8. Your Fabulous Friends
    9. Down the Drain and it's Gone
    10. Buddy up to the Bully
    11. Responsible Too Long
    Shannon Stephens
    $16.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Go Go Quick View

    $22.99
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    Go

    Jonsi has spent more than a decade writing epic compositions with Sigur Ros, creating some of the finest, most acclaimed albums of the last ten years. The choice to make an album of solo recordings came together as a solution to a backlog of songs Jonsi had written that didn't seem to fit within the Sigur Ros context. Go is a different beast entirely. Ecstatic, dramatic and alive, it features Jonsi's signature vocals throughout, with the majority of the songs sung in English.


    Not a straight ahead pop record, nor rock, folk, ambient or electronic, it encompasses all of these to create an expansive musical palette that's been brought to life by Jonsi alongside a number of free-spirited collaborators. Chief among these is Nico Muhly, the Philip Glass protege who is renowned for his work with Bjork, Antony & The Johnsons, Bonnie Prince Billy and Grizzly Bear. Also in the mix is the percussive genius of Samuli Kosminen, whose original drumming powers many of the songs along so you have a sonic landscape that bears little relation to anything else around today, yet explodes from the speakers with sheer happiness and wonder, wide-eyed and eager to be heard. The album was recorded in Iceland and Connecticut, was co-produced by Jonsi, Alex Somers and Peter Katis (The National, Interpol) and was mixed by Tom Elmhirst in London.

    1. Go do
    2. Animal Arithmetic
    3. Tornado
    4. Boy Lilikoi
    5. Sinking Friendships
    6. Kolnidur
    7. Around Us
    8. Grow Till Tall
    9. Hengilas
    Jonsi
    $22.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Wheedle's Groove: Seattle Funk, Modern Soul & Boogie: Volume II 1972-1987 Wheedle's Groove: Seattle Funk, Modern Soul & Boogie: Volume II 1972-1987 Quick View

    $25.99
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    Wheedle's Groove: Seattle Funk, Modern Soul & Boogie: Volume II 1972-1987

    In 2004, the first volume of Wheedle's Groove shone a light on the formerly unheralded soul scene in 1960s and '70s Seattle, followed by a new album in 2008, and then an award winning feature-length documentary film. The on-going Wheedle's Groove series continues to present a vast chapter of the city's musical heritage that has little to do with long-haired rock dudes with guitars. No - in the world of Wheedle's Groove, platform shoes and pimp hats were the order of the day.


    But unlike Volume I, Seattle's soul scene did not stop in 1975. A new volume, Wheedle's Groove Vol. II, documents the period from 1972 to 1987, when funk was superseded by disco and modern soul. Heading into the '80s, artists in the Emerald City caught wind of the hip-hop and electro scenes that were growing in bigger cities across America, and gave the music their own distinct spin.


    As the years unfurl in the tracks of Wheedle's Groove Volume II, so does the recent history of American music, the songs tracing technological changes and social change, and music's move from the club to disco as live bands moved aside for DJs. Witness Septimus, on the cusp of both, blending a live drummer with a Roland drum machine and cutting 'Here I Go Again' on a disco-friendly 12" single.


    Separated from the major centers of soul music, Seattle was a scene that developed out of the gaze of the mainstream music industry, but one that moved just as fast. As John Studamire of the band Priceless remembers, "A lot of the groups around town would have to incorporate that disco sound or you'd sound totally dated."


    Seattle's size and location had a great effect on its sound. Artists on the scene were accustomed to playing small, discreetly segregated club shows and pressing short runs of 45s for local radio stations. Touring happened mostly on a regional scale and artists popped up in a variety of different bands. Fans of Volume I will recognize some familiar names here: Robbie Hill's Family Affair turn in the soul-jazz gem 'Don't Give Up' and Cold, Bold & Together present the undeniable vocal beauty of 'Let's Backtrack.'


    Compiled and sequenced by Seattle's DJ Supreme La Rock, this 18-track compilation will also introduce you to the long-forgotten blue-eyed soul boy Don Brown ('Don't Lose Your Love') and frustrated talents Push, overlooked for record deals on account of singer "Big Joe" Erickson's larger-than-life heft ('You Turn Me On'). There's Frederick Robinson III and his gospel-funk protest tune 'Love One Another', Tony Benton of Teleclere being Seattle's answer to Prince ('Steal Your Love') and Seattle Mariners baseball star Lenny Randle recording a tribute to their infamous stadium.

    1. Epicentre - Get Off The Phone
    2. Priceless - Love In Your Life
    3. Don Brown - Don't Lose Your Love
    4. Deuce featuring Clevon - Your Love Is Fine (Lovin' Fine)
    5. Push - You Turn Me On (Portland Session)
    6. Seattle Pure Dynamite - I Wonder Love
    7. Septimus - Here I Go Again
    8. Priceless - Look At Me
    9. Lenny Randle & Ballplayers featuring Rashawna - Kingdome
    10. Malik Din - Trouble In Mind
    11. Romel Westwood - I'm Through With You
    12. Teleclere - Steal Your Love
    13. Steppen Stones - Darlin Oh Darlin
    14. Cold, Bold & Together - Let's Backtrack
    15. Unfinished Business - Holding On
    16. Frederick Robinson III - Love One Another
    17. Bernadette Bascom - I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love
    18. Robbie Hill's Family Affair - Don't Give Up
    Various Artists
    $25.99
    Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Ratchet Ratchet Quick View

    $22.99
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    Ratchet

    Shamir is Shamir Bailey, a 20-year-old Las Vegas native who grew
    up not on the strip but in the desert. His verve for life makes him
    almost impossible to categorize. As a young musician, he moves in
    and out of soul, r&b, house, disco, rap, and pop - in the tradition
    of artists like Prince, Grace Jones, David Bowie, and Madonna.
    Genre is a tool for Shamir, not a boundary. Or as Shamir would put
    it, "It doesn't matter what you sound like - you just have to be you."


    With an androgyne croon that recalls Nina Simone, Shamir rose
    from the suburbs of Vegas after sending demos to Nick Sylvester,
    who runs the GODMODE label out of New York. Together they
    made Northtown, Shamir's debut EP (2014), and continued their
    working relationship for Ratchet, Shamir's first LP for XL Recordings.
    It's an ecstatic dance-pop record that also has some dust and age
    to it, sparkling with the grit of a desert geode. The songs are about
    growing up in Vegas, though not the Vegas you think you know.
    The music is fun even when it's mostly introspective, introspective
    even when it's mostly fun. There's an obvious fluidity to Shamir. He
    transcends boundaries - genre, gender, age, geography. If he feels
    solitary, it's because there's literally no one else like him.

    1. Vegas
    2. Make A Scene
    3. On The Regular
    4. Call It Off
    5. Hot Mess
    6. Demon
    7. In For The Kill
    8. Youth
    9. Darker
    10. Head In The Clouds
    Shamir
    $22.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Rock Steady Rock Steady Quick View

    $24.99
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    Rock Steady


    Ranked 316/500 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


    They say you can never go home again.


    Yet, on their new Interscope Records release and fifth album, Rock Steady, No Doubt has embarked on a globe-spanning musical adventure that proves, once and for all, that home is where the heart is.


    At the heart of the quartet's fifteen-year musical journey is a sound, a style and a sensibility that celebrates their enduring bond with millions of fans worldwide: the sheer pleasure of pure pop - danceable, hummable, instantly accessible songs that have become indispensable additions to the soundtrack of our life and times. And now with Rock Steady, that soundtrack signals a return to some of the key creative elements that have made No Doubt one of today's most popular and enduring bands. Simply put, No Doubt is ready to party.


    "It's the hardest thing in the world just to be simple, to let the music and the words speak for what you're feeling and, hopefully, to share that feeling. And the feeling we all shared on this album turned out to be pretty simple, too: we were in a good mood."


    So says vocalist, lyricist and glorious gamine Gwen Stefani on the inspiration that ignited the dozen deliriously entertaining new tracks comprising Rock Steady. With all-original material penned by Gwen and No Doubt's dynamic songwriting duo of Tony Kanal and Tom Dumont and a roster of producers that pretty much covers the cutting edge of the studio art, Rock Steady, recorded in such far flung locations as London and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Jamaica, is without question the most eclectic, wide-ranging and stylistically diverse offering in the band's extraordinary career. It is also a loving tribute to the musical roots that have nourished No Doubt from their very inception.


    "We were on tour pretty much all of last year," explains drummer Adrian Young, "and whenever we had some down time, we found ourselves listening to lots of dancehall. It was kind of like getting back to where we once belonged." Dancehall, the exuberant evolution of reggae, ska and calypso currently rocking the clubs and studios of Jamaica, proved a potent point of departure for the group when they convened in early 2001 to begin work on a new album. "We were part of the whole ska revival back when we first got together," continues Adrian. "The fact is, we had to work hard to prove we had a wider range, and I guess we did that. Because this time around we didn't feel like we had anything to prove. The whole point was to follow the music, wherever it led."


    "Following the music" would lead the quartet to a variety of exotic locales as they indulged their instincts and experimented with sounds and settings that would capture the sensational new music beginning to emerge. "This album was less about technique and more about attitude," asserts Tony. "We took it one day at a time and it became a very spontaneous process. Tom had set up a studio at his place in L.A. and we'd meet there just to try out different ideas. Whereas before we'd write everything with a guitar or bass, this time we started with just beats and grooves and keyboards and built from there. After a week or two of songwriting, Gwen had a trip planned to London. Since we were having such a good time we just packed up and followed her over there. We knew we were onto something."


    "It felt like starting over," is Tom's assessment. "We had spent two years working on Return Of Saturn because we felt it was important to prove we could do a record that had depth and substance. Once we got that out of our system it was time to have some fun."


    Return Of Saturn, the group's smash 2000 release, did indeed establish No Doubt's ability to fashion songs of substance as well as style. It also conclusively demonstrated that the group's 1995 breakthrough release, Tragic Kingdom was more than a flash in the pan, although it was a distinctly dazzling flash that elevated the group to world class status with a solid string of hit singles. "We'd already done most of what we'd set out to accomplish," continues Tom. "We wanted try something fresh."


    Something fresh and, as it turned out, something tried and true. "With all the dancehall we'd been listening to it was only natural that some of that rhythm would seep into our new songs," Gwen adds. "We ended up going to Jamaica without really knowing exactly what we'd find when we got there. That was the whole plan from the beginning not to have a plan."


    What No Doubt found in the lush musical environs of the island was a creative collaboration with some of Jamaica's most revered producers including the legendary team of Sly & Robbie who sat behind the board for the album's debut single "Hey Baby" and "Underneath It All," a tune written by Gwen with Eurthymics mainstay Dave Stewart during the group's London sojourn. They would also go on record with the fast rising dancehall duo of Steely & Clevie, who worked their magic for the incendiary selection, "Start The Fire." Remarks Tom, "Going to Jamaica and working with the great artists there had always been a dream of ours. Having that opportunity is one the best things about having some success. It's more important than any amount of fame or fortune."


    As the spring of 2001 turned to summer the pace of recording stepped up, along with the group's increasingly bold ventures into new creative territory. In Los Angeles they added hip-hop to the mix with the streetwise sensibilities of The Neptunes, co-writers on the album's opening track, the scorching "Hella Good." Next they huddled with high-profile mixmaster Nellee Hooper on Rock Steady's title track as well as such standout selections as "In My Head," "Running," "Detective" and the above mentioned "Hella Good." Along the way they logged time with William Orbit for "Making Out," Ric Ocasek on "Platinum Blonde Life" and "Don't Let Me Down," and the inimitable Prince who co-produced and provided backing vocals on the drop dead gorgeous "Waiting Room."


    But mixing and matching songs and producers was only part of the creative evolution that took place with Rock Steady. Says Tony, "Our attitude from the beginning was that we'd do whatever it took to make the music work. We've always been a very self-contained unit. This time we wanted to open it up, to find out what other people could bring to the party."


    "The whole album was an exercise in spontaneity," adds Gwen, "and that challenged me to write more directly from my thoughts and feelings. I threw away my thesaurus and put aside my influences, everyone from Joni Mitchell to Sylvia Plath. I wanted to write songs about how it felt to be alive right now and that feeling, despite everything that going on in the world, is optimistic and full of hope. This is a time to affirm what's good and positive in our lives and if we can convey even a small part of the fun and excitement we had making this music, then we've done what we set out to do."


    Hot on the heels of Rock Steady's release comes news of an extensive touring schedule that includes select dates with U2 as well as an extensive itinerary of international headlining dates. "We're primarily a live band," comments Tony. "That's how we started and that's how we maintain contact with our fans. Over the past couple of years, as the No Doubt machine got bigger, it's been more difficult to maintain that connection. But this time around,we're determined to stay true to the spirit of the music. It's about having a good time, about dancing in aisles and singing along. We all need that and it's what this tour is going to be about."


    "After fifteen years together you naturally create all kinds of rules about how things should be," concludes Gwen. "There comes a time when you've got to throw the rules out and start all over again. That's what keeps it fun and interesting. For us that time has come."


    It's a sentiment that gets to the heart of the brilliant music on Rock Steady, an album that finds No Doubt comfortable at home with the risks and rewards of true originality. It's also proof positive that, when No Doubt throws a party, everyone's invited.

    LP1
    1. Intro
    2. Hella Good
    3. Hey Baby
    4. Making Out
    5. Underneath It All

    6. Detective
    7. Don't Let Me Down


    LP2
    1. Start The Fire
    2. Running
    3. In My Head
    4. Platinum Blonde Life
    5. Waiting Room
    6. Rock Steady

    No Doubt
    $24.99
    Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Soul Eyes Soul Eyes Quick View

    $19.99
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    Soul Eyes

    Singer, songwriter and pianist Kandace Springs will release her debut full-length album Soul Eyes on Blue Note Records. Produced by Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein (Lizz Wright, Melody Gardot, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock), the album touches upon soul and pop while channeling her jazz influences as well as her Nashville upbringing. Kandace counts such stylists as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack and Norah Jones as her heroes, but as evidenced by Soul Eyes, Springs mimics none of them.


    Kandace's journey to discovering her uniqueness didn't happen overnight. In fact, her 2014 self-titled debut EP had a decidedly contemporary R&B/hip-hop bent with production by Pop & Oak (Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Miguel). The EP was incredibly well-received and led to performances on Late Show With David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, as well as appearances at the Afropunk and Bonnaroo festivals.


    Kandace was dubbed a "suave songstress" (Wall Street Journal), "a versatile and vital artist" (Afropunk), and "a vocal force to be reckoned with" (Okayplayer). Essence Magazine named her a New & Next artist and Interview Magazine made her their Music Discovery, writing that while "Hearing the word jazz might revert a listener's thoughts to the music of yesteryear...Up-and-comer Kandace Springs aims to change this notion. The singer, songwriter, and pianist blends elements of soul, jazz, and pop, producing a unique and modern twist on the genre that appeals to young and old listeners alike."


    As amazing an experience as that was, as Kandace got ready to record her album she couldn't shake the feeling that she wasn't yet singing her true self. Conversations with her longtime producers Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers led to soul searching and rethinking her musical direction. Also during this period, Kandace attracted the attention of Prince, who heard her makeover of Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" on the website Okayplayer. The music icon invited her to perform with him at Paisley Park for the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain. "He encouraged me a lot before I recorded this new record, especially during the time in which I was trying to figure out my sound," Kandace says. "He told me that I needed to do what comes naturally to me. He was absolutely right."


    For Soul Eyes, Kandace continued working closely with Rogers and Sturken, but they also recruited Klein to help the singer bring out her distinctive artistic traits. "Larry wanted me to be free in the studio," she recalls. "I've been through a lot of other sessions in which the producer tries to take control of your sound. Larry was just like, 'Go in and play what you feel.' That ultimately led to the best outcome; he captured this record perfectly."


    Klein praises Kandace as a "natural." "In this era, in which flash and hunger for fame is often equated with talent, she's that rare person who sings and plays because that is what she needs to do in life," he says. "When I first heard Kandace, I was sold after hearing one song. Her smoky voice coupled with a sense of phrasing way beyond her years, and her angular way of accompanying herself on piano grabbed me right away."


    The eleven songs contained on Soul Eyes are a mix of Kandace's originals and co-writes as well as the jazz classic "Soul Eyes" and songs by Jesse Harris, Shelby Lynne, War, and others. The album features Kandace's playing piano alongside an illustrious cast of musicians that includes trumpeter Terence Blanchard, guitarists Dean Parks and Jesse Harris, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, organist Pete Kuzma, bassist Dan Lutz, percussionist Pete Korpela.

    1. Talk To Me
    2. Soul Eyes feat. Terence Blanchard
    3. Place To Hide
    4. Thought It Would Be Easier
    5. Novocaine Heart
    6. Neither Old Nor Young
    7. Too Good Too Last feat. Terence Blanchard
    8. Fall Guy
    9. The World Is A Ghetto
    Kandace Springs
    $19.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Psychic Temple II Psychic Temple II Quick View

    $19.99
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    Psychic Temple II

    It may seem hard to imagine a place where indie rock visionaries like Sufjan Stevens and Castanets' Ray Raposa could meld minds with the genius of Brian Wilson, where death metal pioneer Paul Masvidal might wield his legendary six-string chops on a blissed-out soul ballad, where adventurous young jazz players like Kris Tiner and Devin Hoff share credit with Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens and singer/songwriter Aaron Roche.


    Long Beach composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist (not to mention truck driver) Chris Schlarb has not only imagined such a place but has now made it manifest for a second time. Released by Asthmatic Kitty, Psychic Temple II is a labor of love, envisioned by Schlarb to bring his most far-ranging inspirations to life - as he puts it, "a dream ensemble that could never actually exist." The ensemble's sophomore release was painstakingly constructed over more than a year with the cooperation of some of the most progressive musical minds from a staggering variety of genres.


    "I love interesting juxtapositions, where you bring together people from different communities," Schlarb says. He cites iconoclastic predecessors like Bill Laswell's ever-changing group Material, which once brought together a young Whitney Houston with jazz legend Archie Shepp and future Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers producer Michael Beinhorn to cover a song by Hugh Hopper of English prog-rock pioneers Soft Machine. On 2010's Psychic Temple, Schlarb assembled a 29-member ensemble that included Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, vocalist Julianna Barwick, and pianist Mick Rossi of the Philip Glass Ensemble.


    "It seems like a crazy combination of people," Schlarb says, "but they're all just musicians. Why not bring them all together? It may not always work, but it's always worth reaching further."


    Psychic Temple II reaches beyond the long-form experiments of its predecessor for a more tightly focused yet conceptually dense collection whose songs are no less exploratory for their briefer durations. "I never see the point in continuing to regurgitate," Schlarb says of the new album's unique direction. "What was natural at that time would now feel contrived. I have to keep moving forward."


    Schlarb also includes three cover songs by composers who share his boundary-demolishing mindset: Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out," Frank Zappa's "Sofa No. 2," and Brian Wilson's "'Til I Die," a gorgeous, lesser-known Beach Boys song that features vocals by Sufjan Stevens, Castanets' Ray Raposa, and Cryptacize's Nedelle Torrisi.


    Psychic Temple had its origins in Create (!), a large improvising ensemble with which Schlarb used to perform. The free-form group would often incorporate multiple drummers, a concept that Schlarb decided to pursue in a more composition-oriented setting. No matter how much Psychic Temple mutates from track to track, the rhythmic possibilities of its two drummers (in this case, Tabor Allen and Andrew Pompey) remain intact.


    Schlarb's imaginative leaps are evidenced from the outset of Psychic Temple II, on the intoxicating opening track, "Seventh House." Featuring the sinuous vocals of Sarah Negahdari, who recently served as touring bassist for Silversun Pickups, the song weaves together lyrical and musical references to Neil Young's "Will To Love," to the Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers album Pisces, and to Sheena Easton's notorious Prince-penned pop hit "Sugar Walls."


    Then there's "The Starry King Hears Laughter" and "She Is the Golden World," two songs that pay simultaneous homage to poet William Blake and jazz legend Bill Evans; or "Solo in Place," Schlarb's attempt to filter classic soul through his own "weird prism," a missing link between the Isley Brothers and the Alan Parsons Project that features guitar wizard Paul Masvidal of the death metal bands Death and Cynic.


    Despite such a mind-blowing array of talent from the farthest reaches of the musical spectrum, Psychic Temple II is a surprisingly cohesive album, a testament to Schlarb's clear controlling vision. "One of the fundamental flaws of modern music is the idea of the record as a pastiche," he says. "With hip-hop and R&R records starting in the '90s, you had ten tracks with ten different producers so every track sounded completely different. There was no aesthetic where you could just put on a record and listen to it beginning to end. I admire people who are control freaks."


    Schlarb has wielded control over a number of vastly different projects himself. The New York Observer called his debut solo album, Twilight & Ghost Stories, "40 minutes of avant-garde bliss," while Interoceans, recorded with experimental jazz duo I Heart Lung, was chosen by NPR as one of the top five jazz albums of 2008. He composed the score for Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren's video game Nightsky and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and Meet the Composer. In 2001, Schlarb founded the eclectic Sounds Are Active record label, which has released music by the likes of Nels Cline, Mike Watt, and Castanets.

    1. Seventh House
    2. The Starry King Hears Laughter
    3. Solo In Place
    4. Bird In The Garden
    5. 'Til I Die
    6. She Is The Golden World
    7. Steppin' Out
    8. All I Want Is Time
    9. Sofa No. 2
    10. NO TSURAI
    11. Hyacinth Thrash Quarter
    Chris Schlarb
    $19.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Shelter (Pre-Order) Shelter (Pre-Order) Quick View

    $19.99
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    Shelter (Pre-Order)

    Release Date: June 15, 2018*


    London-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney follows her 2015 Nonesuch debut, The Longest River, with Shelter, also set for release via Nonesuch Records. The album was produced by Thomas Bartlett (David Byrne, Nico Muhly, The Magnetic Fields, Sufjan Stevens, The National, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, et al.) and features eight original songs, along with Chaney's interpretations of Purcell's O Solitude and Frank Harford and Tex Ritter's Long Time Gone, first recorded by the Everly Brothers.


    Chaney describes her time writing songs for Shelter: I had been on the road a lot and was struggling with the grit and loneliness of urban life. I think I'd been questioning what home, belonging, a sense of purpose, and my own culture even meant. I'd been craving wilderness and a return to essentials for a long time. Then, while touring in the US, I realized the place I needed was already in my life. It was ancient, barely habitable, and remote.


    Thus a crumbling eighteenth-century cottage in the austere but magical hills of the North Yorkshire Moors-a family retreat since my teens, with no electricity or plumbing, where the only water comes from a spring-became the home for my work on Shelter, she continues. We brought out an Arts and Crafts Bechstein piano and an old wood burner to the house; and as summer's end turned to autumn's shorter, colder days, the room with the upright and stove fueled my stay.


    Chaney says of working with Thomas Bartlett, His close affiliation with such a varied and acclaimed group of artists was of enormous importance. His taste and sphere of understanding were as diverse as mine. He prioritized my compositions' meaning and lyricism, rather than jumping on the bandwagon of noisy popularity. I wanted a recording as intimate as the songs and their form. The only other musicians are Thomas and Jordan Hunt, my longtime collaborator who adds strings on select songs. It's just the three of us playing every sound you hear, using our instrumental and compositional craft, and Thomas' musician-producer's ear extraordinaire.


    Born in Florence, Italy, Chaney grew up in Oxford, England, in a household whose intellectual and artistic engagement was complemented by an expansive musical soundscape. This included Billie Holiday, Mozart operas, Sandy Denny, Prince, Tracy Chapman, Bert Jansch, Michael Jackson, and Joni Mitchell. She studied at London's Royal Academy of Music, where she took in everything the conservatory had to offer. Her curiosity led her further afield, from Ligeti to West African pop, Edith Piaf to Laurie Anderson, Mary Margaret O'Hara to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Sonic Youth to Sappho, Kate Bush to old-time country music-all while finding her own voice.


    The range of artists she's shared a stage with includes Robert Plant, Zero 7, the Labeque Sisters, Martin and Eliza Carthy, and Kronos Quartet, with whom she also recorded two songs for the 2017 Nonesuch album Folk Songs. Most recently she fronted a Grammy-nominated album, The Queen of Hearts, forming a new outfit, Offa Rex, with The Decemberists. The Guardian's review of that album said that Chaney has a magical voice, full of heft, soul and sunlight, and fRoots said, Chaney has never sounded better, while the Arts Desk said it was her voice, with its clarity, power and emotional weight, that carries Offa Rex to the heights. The Financial Times added that Chaney's singing makes 'Willie O' Winsbury' one of the best versions ever.

    *Please note that release dates are subject to change.

    1. Shelter
    2. Dragonfly

    3. Arches
    4. IOU
    5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    6. Colin and Clem
    7. O Solitude
    8. Long Time Gone

    9. Roman Holiday
    10. House on a Hill
    Olivia Chaney
    $19.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
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