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Black Fire! New Spirit!Soul Jazz Records' new release Black Fire! New Spirits! Explores deep, radical and spiritual jazz in the USA in the period between 1957-75. In the 1960s and into the 1970s, jazz music in the USA was in an almost constant state of revolution, with the music and lives of African-American artists radicalised by the advent of the civil rights movement, Black Power, and a new spiritual awakening. For over 20 years now Soul Jazz Records have been exploring this rich area of deep and spiritual jazz music with an array of albums such as Freedom, Rhythm and Sound, Universal Sounds of America, New Thing, Soul Jazz Love Strata East and more. Soul Jazz Records have also released a steady stream of reissues of lost and classic deep jazz releases over the years from artists such as Art Ensemble of Chicago, Steve Reid, Pharaoh Sanders and others. This new album features groundbreaking and revolutionary artists such as Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, The Last Poets and Yusef Lateef as well as many rare and deep lost tracks from lesser known artists such as Creative Artists Ensemble, Granchan Moncur, Lloyd McNeill, Tyrone Washington and others.1. Yusef Lateef - Chang, Chang, Chang
2. The Last Poets - It's A Trip
3. Don Cherry - Utopia And Visions
4. Richard Davis - Dealin'
5. Archie Shepp And Jeanne Lee - Blase
6. Harold McKinney And The Creative Profile - In The Moog
7. Grachan Moncur III And The Jazz Composers Orchestra - Angela's Angel
8. Creative Arts Ensemble - Flashback Of Time
9. David Lee Jr - Second Line March
10. Lloyd McNeill And Marshall Hawkins - The Banjo Lesson
11. Tyrone Washington - Universal Spiritual Revolt
12. Pheeroan Ak Laff - Tzaddi Vau (Part 1)
13. Joe Henderson - Black Narcissus
14. Doug Hammond - Spaces And Things$31.99Vinyl LP - 3 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The Seal of the Blue LotusOriginally released on John Fahey's Takoma Records in 1965, The Seal of the Blue Lotus is the debut album from American guitar soli legend Robbie Basho. In college Basho immersed himself in the study of Asian art and culture, even changing his last name to that of the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho, and his music shows a much greater Eastern influence than contemporaries like John Fahey and Peter Lang. Basho was particularly entranced by the raga form which is apparent in classics like "Dravidian Sunday" from this album. A guitar soli masterwork reissued here on 180 gram vinyl.1. Seal of the Blue Lotus
2. Mountain Man's Farewell
3. Dravidian Sunday
4. Bardo Blues
5. Sansara In Sweetness After Sandstorm
6. Black Lotus - Hymn to Fugen$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
REDD-MOM-2216xJon Spencer Blues Explosion
Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015New York City is a big place. A loud place. Some of that noise is music. And some of the music is noise.
Sucking it all in and turning it loose with prejudice, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion takes a ferocious bite out of the Big Apple with their new long-player, Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015, the first record of the new era that demands to be stopped and frisked!
Like the best sides that percolated up from the Bronx, the Lower East Side, and Greenwich Village across the 1970s and '80s - Freedom Tower is more than a high-octane dance party record, it is a document of New York City, a chronicle of grit and terror and love!
It's all here: The Hustler and The Trust Fund Baby, the Mosh Pit Casualty, the Celebrity Chef, the Crooked Cop, the Struggling Artist, the Sucker MC, the forgotten Sex Workers and Last-Chance Cinderellas. Within these grooves are cold-water tenements, blue-chip galleries, dingy Avenue B studios, and the last real warrior poet whose dark magick brings garage rock ghosts back from the grave!
Freedom Tower is a radical portrait of New York City set to the savage funkacide of the Blues Explosion, locked and loaded with the most deadly, predatory guitar riffs that primitive magnetic tape can handle . From start to finish, Freedom Tower is overmodulated, cooked with dirt, and finished in acid rain! Freedom Tower is packed with the kind of beats and rhymes that will make even the most reserved Walter Mitty jump back and say "damn!"
For nearly a quarter-century the Blues Explosion have been sweating, freezing, eating, drinking, fucking, fighting, winning, and losing in New York City, perpetrating some of the most timeless moments of musical mayhem in the history of Manhattan and beyond. As ever, Jon Spencer tells the tales, Judah Bauer plays the blues, and Russell Simins smashes things to bits... And as always Blues Explosion stomp on the faux underground oasis peddled by bourgeois hipsters and marketing jocks to deliver the real deal - rock'n'roll that is unapologetically nasty and strong.
Rehearsed and polished in a string of secret gigs and unannounced opening slots in theaters, hotel bars, and dives (often under assumed names), and then recorded at the legendary Daptone House Of Soul in Bushwick and mixed with hip-hop cult legend Alap Momin at the cutting edge of Harlem, Freedom Tower is the most provocative statement of urban pathos and panache ever recorded.
Play this record at all-night rent parties, picnics, discotheques, and protests!
There are eight million stories in the Naked City - but there is only one Blues Explosion!
Freedom Tower - dig it now, while you still can!1. Funeral
2. Wax Dummy
3. Do The Get Down
4. Betty vs. the NYPD
5. White Jesus
6. Born Bad
7. Down and Out
8. Crossroad Hop
9. The Ballad Of Joe Buck
10. Dial Up Doll
11. Bellevue Baby
12. Tales of Old New York: The Rock Box
13. Cooking for Television$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Amadou & Mariam have long cultivated a spirit of openness that they often put into practice with musicians from all backgrounds and styles. Their journeys have allowed the couple to forge lasting friendships. M. and Vincent Segal were their guests, Keziah Jones and K'naan also interacted, the Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf and British guitarist Johnny Marr were invited to jam while Manu Chao and Damon Albarn produced them with skill. No doubt, the Malian couple's history is written in the plural suggestive of their affinities.
Their land, Mali, is currently one of the most attractive centers of globalized music. The couple still draws from their region's inspiration, a living spring they draw from beyond their region. Such is the strength of Folila, reflecting a growing openness to the world of music. The idea was to produce two albums: a crossover in New York, centered around meetings, and the other more roots in Bamako, with guests mainly African, says Marc-Antoine Moreau, their loyal manager and artistic director, with sound engineer Antoine Halet.
Stage one was recorded in three weeks at the Cooper Square Hotel, which accommodated multiple guests, including Santigold, who puts her voice on Dougou Badia. Tunde and Kyp, the two poets of the combo TV On The Radio, slide naturally on Wally Katasso, a ballad mixed by Keni Takamoto, the sound engineer for Danger Mouse. As for Theophilus London, the young poet prints a subtle flow of soul-jazz onto Nebe Meri, perfectly fitting with Amadou's blues accents.
Other esthete of great black music, Amp Fiddler brings some Detroit soul on Wari, before lending his keyboard lines onto Africa My Africa, boosted by Antibalas' section, the Afro-funk combo from Brooklyn, whose brass gleam here and there. As for Jake Shears, the soul of Scissor Sisters and a fan of the couple since a tour together in England, he served his high-pitched voice on the haunting disco blues of Metemya. Last but not least, Ebony Bones puts fire on C'est Pas Facile, a track that flirts with Congolese rumba and electro sounds.
During stage two of the process, it was back to Bamako, for another three-week session, this time in the studios of Manjul, a prominent rastaman installed in Mali. He has a clear idea: to use the same basic track, the same tempo, the same tones, but putting it into perspective with long-time friends, like the percussionist Boubacar DembelÉ and Yaho the totemic bassist, and guests.
Judge for yourself: Bassekou KouyatÉ and his ngoni, Idrissa Soumaoro on kamele ngoni, Toumani DiabatÉ on kora, Zu Tereta on monochord fiddle, Tuareg guitarist Abdallah Oumbadougou: all the best subtle strings of the universe are on this record. This album sounds at once organic and electronic, both roots and rock, both retro and futuristic, and totally unlike anything else.1. Dougou Badia (feat. Santigold)
2. Wily Kataso (feat. Tunde & Kyp of TV On The Radio)
3. Oh Amadou (feat. Bertrand Cantat)
4. Metemya (feat. Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters)
5. Africa Mon Afrique (feat. Bertrand Cantat)
6. C'est Pas Facile Pour Les Aigles (feat. Ebony Bones)
7. Wari (feat. Amp Fiddler)
8. Nebe Miri (feat. Theophilus London)
9. Another Way (feat. Bertrand Cantat)
10. Bagnale (feat. Abdallah Oumbadougou)
11. Mogo (feat. Bertrand Cantat)
12. Sans Toi
13. ChÉrie$32.99Vinyl LP w/ CD - Sealed Buy Now
Outside SocietyPunk rocks poet laureate, Patti Smith ranks among the most influential female rock & rollers of all time. Ambitious, unconventional and challenging, Smiths music was hailed as the most exciting fusion of rock and poetry since Bob Dylans heyday. Smith followed her own muse wherever it took her, from structured rock songs to freeform experimentalism. Her most avant-garde outings drew a sense of improvisation and interplay from free jazz, though they remained firmly rooted in noisy, primitive three chord rock & roll. She obliterated the expectations of what was possible for women in rock, and stretched the boundaries of how artists of any gender could express themselves.
The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees first career-spanning collection, Outside Society, is a new collection of 18 signature songs remastered from all ten of Smiths studio albums. The chronologically arranged tracks move from her 1975 debut album, Horses (Gloria, Free Money), through her last release in 2007, Twelve (Smells Like Teen Spirit). Outside Society features brief recollections of each song, written by Patti, who personally supervised the song choices.1. Gloria
2. Free Money
3. Aint It Strange
4. Pissing in a River
5. Because the Night
6. Rock n Roll Nigger
7. Dancing Barefoot
9. So You Wanna Be a Rock n Roll Star
10. People Have the Power
11. Up There Down There
12. Beneath the Southern Cross
13. Summer Cannibals
15. Glitter in Their Eyes
16. Lo and Beholden (Radio Edit)
17. Smells Like Teen Spirit
18. Trampin$39.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Weirdo Shrine (Awaiting Repress)For most, a brush with death would be cause for retreat, reflection, and reluctance, but Seattle band La Luz found something different in it: resilience. Having survived a high-speed highway collision shortly after releasing their 2013 debut LP It's Alive, La Luz, despite lasting trauma, returned to touring with a frequency and tirelessness that put their peers to shame. Over the past year-and-a-half of performing, the band arrived at a greater awareness of their music's ability to whip eager crowds into a frenzy. In response, frontwoman Shana Cleveland's guitar solos took on a more unhinged quality. The basslines (from newly-installed member Lena Simon) became more lithe and elastic. Stage-dives and crowd-surfing grew to be as indelible a part of the La Luz live experience as their onstage doo-wop-indebted dance moves. When it came time to record Weirdo Shrine, their second album-due out August 7th-the goal was to capture the band's restless live energy and commit it to tape. In early 2015, Cleveland and Co. adjourned to a surf shop in San Dimas, California where, with the help of producer/engineer Ty Segall, they realized this vision. Tracking most of the album live in shared quarters, La Luz chose to leave in any happy accidents and spur-of-the-moment flourishes that occurred while recording. Cleveland's newly fuzzed-up guitar solos-which now incorporated the influence of Japanese Eleki players in addition to the twang of American surf and country-were juxtaposed against the group's most angelic four-part harmonies to date. The organs of Alice Sandahl and the drumming of Marian Li Pino were granted extra heft and dimension. Thematically, Cleveland channeled Washingtonian poet Richard Brautigan on "You Disappear" and "Oranges," and sought inspiration from Charles Burns' Seattle-set graphic novel Black Hole. The resulting album is a natural evolution of the band's self-styled "surf noir" sound-a rawer, turbo-charged sequel that charts themes of loneliness, infatuation, obsession and death across eleven tracks, from the opening credits siren song of "Sleep Till They Die" to the widescreen, receding-skyline send-off of "Oranges" and its bittersweet epilogue, "True Love Knows." In describing Weirdo Shrine, Segall remarked that it gave him a vision of a "world burning with colors [he'd] never seen, like mauve that is living." In "Oranges," the Brautigan poem which inspired the aforementioned track of the same name, the poet writes of a surreal "orange wind / that glows from your footsteps." These hue-based allusions are apt: the sound of La Luz is (appropriately) vibrant, and alive with a kaleidoscopic passion. Weirdo Shrine finds them at their most saturated and cinematic.1. Sleep Till They Die
2. You Disappear
3. With Davey
4. Don't Wanna Be Anywhere
5. I Can't Speak
6. Hey Papi
7. I Wanna Be Alone (With You)
8. I'll Be True
9. Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine
11. True Love Knows$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
I'm New HereGil Scott-Heron is one of the most influential and important singer/songwriters to have come out of America in the second half of the last century. Much can be said about why Gil's lyrics are so original and powerful, but it is important not to overlook his utterly singular voice which is so distinctive and rough and tender. It's a voice of experience and the way his voice floats over the shifting funk rhythms and the deep jazz, soul and blues melodies is nothing short of sublime. It's also what enables him to draw you in to the difficult issues he does not shy away from dealing with. His sound is intimate and warm and direct and consequently it is hard to resist being moved and inspired by his message. Gil has been consistently relevant whether it be on a personal or political canvas.
Early on in his career he wrote and recorded the song that for many is regarded as one of the first great rap tracks,The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. From its opening lines which turn Timothy Leary on his addled head (You will not be able to stay home brother. You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out. You will not be able to lose yourself on scag brother, because the revolution will not be televised.), Gil threw down the gauntlet, challenging us to get involved, be informed, retain a sense of humour and do the right thing. He was angry, politically savvy, compassionate and very funny. When he was brought to Arista by Clive Davis in 1975, he was billed by the label as the black Bob Dylan, and whilst this reductive and over simplistic description is typical marketing bullshit, there is some raison d'etre for this moniker. For Gil is a protest poet of enormous subtlety who has railed against those things in the world that he believes are wrong. And like Dylan he has often used humour as a powerful weapon.
A new record from Gil Scott-Heron, 40 years after his first solo album, is a cause for major celebration and something that the world needs now more than ever.1. On Coming From A Broken Home (Pt. 1)
2. Me And The Devil
3. I'm New Here
4. Your Soul And Mine
5. Parents (Interlude)
6. I'll Take Care Of You
7. Being Blessed (Interlude)
8. Where Did The Night Go
9. I Was Guided (Interlude)
10. New York Is Killing Me
11. Certain Things (Interlude)
13. The Crutch
14. I've Been Me (Interlude)
15. On Coming From A Broken Home (Pt. 2)$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Here Be Monsters
"When they didn't know quite what was there, they put Here Be Monsters. When I think of where my career has gone over the last 35 years, it's usually in that area - off the map." --Jon Langford
Here Be Monsters finds acclaimed musician/visual artist Jon Langford and his band Skull Orchard scanning the outskirts of popular culture, its title born of medieval cartographers' term for the dragons, sea serpents, and other mythical beasties that reside beyond the boundaries of the known universe. This new album will feature a unique piece of artwork specific to each track printed on individual inserts included with copies of the CD. Best known for his work in the The Mekons and the Waco Brothers, Langford has been a leading pioneer in the assimilation of folk/country music into punk rock since the genre's first evolution over 30 years ago.
The album sees the Welsh-born, Chicago-based singer/songwriter, bandleader, producer, painter, and poet plotting a clear-eyed, sharp-elbowed course through such far-flung subjects as alternative hierarchies and astronomy, perpetual war for perpetual profit, the culture of detachment, middle age, fatherhood, fame, and the fleetingness of love. The subtext of the album is maybe the things our civilization thinks of as fixed and immovable might actually be redundant/obsolete/discredited and it's up to us to question and find new rocks to be washed up on , says Langford, who called in Mekons/Waco Brothers veteran Mike Hagler (My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Neko Case, Billy Bragg) to record this album at Chicago's Kingsize Sound Labs. Skull Orchard used to be a fairly solitary activity - songs that didn't fit anywhere else - stuff that was too Welsh or personal to bother the Mekons or Wacos with, says Langford, but something happened with the band I formed to tour with the previous record. It turned into a real group, so this is much more of a band project than any of the solo things I've done before.
Also known for being a prolific visual artist, Langford designed all the artwork for Here Be Monsters himself, including individual designs for each track that will be showcased on separate inserts in the CD and in a collage on the LP jacket. This album really brings the art and the songs together - a chicken/egg which came first situation. The songs are very visual and in some cases came directly from the paintings, continued Langford. Star maps, strange creatures, sympathetic monsters, monsters we have created - the little poem at the top of the album is all about that.1. Summer Stars
3. Gone Without Trace
5. Sugar On Your Tongue
6. Drone Operator
7. Don't Believe
8. If You Hear Rumours
9. What Did You Do In The War?
10. Lil' Ray O' Light$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Lovers And LeaversI'm a singer-songwriter. I think "Lovers and Leavers" comes closer to reflecting that than any other record I've made. I didn't worry about checking boxes, making sure there was something here for everybody, or getting on the radio. I just took some much needed deep breaths and let them out on tape.
It's been a while since my last album by some measurements of time. Not "history of the universe time", or "getting a bill through congress time", but in the lives of dogs and recording artists, five years and fifty-three days is only a little less than an eternity. I went through a divorce. I fell in love. Changes were made, realizations were realized, and life was lived.
But, I kept on writing songs, on my own and with a cast of accomplished characters who combined their own stories and perspectives with mine. Songs about my friends. Songs about my son. Songs about beginnings and endings. Songs about songs. Songs about acceptance and regret. Songs about lovers and leavers.
With these songs in hand, I needed a co-conspirator to help me get them to you. I called on Joe Henry, a gentleman poet and an elegant artist who seemed a trustworthy steward for my collection. We recorded this record live in five days, using just an acoustic guitar, a mix of bass, percussion, pianos and organs, and a touch of pedal steel.
I didn't have one song that I knew would be a sing along or would make people dance. I felt vulnerable in a way that I hadn't in a long time. But I got what I wanted - a record with space, nuance, and room to breathe. It felt right for my art. It felt right for my life.
"Lovers and Leavers" isn't funny or raucous. There are very few hoots and almost no hollers. But it is joyous, and it makes me smile. No, it's not my "Blood on the Tracks," nor is it any kind of opus. It's my fifth record - a reflection of a specific time and place. It is quiet, like I wanted it to be.
Like I wanted to be.
-Hayes Carll January 1, 2016 Austin, TX.1. Drive
2. Sake of the Song
3. Good While It Lasted
4. You Leave Alone
5. My Friends
6. The Love That We Need
7. Love Don't Let Me Down
8. The Magic Kid
9. Love Is So Easy
10. Jealous Moon$19.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Age of Fracture (Awaiting Repress)The long-awaited new album from CYMBALS is named after a book by Princeton academic, Daniel T. Rodgers, which addresses the fragmentation of ideas towards the end of the last century and how collective meanings have become uncertain. Singer and guitarist Jack Cleverly writes: It hit me that I often feel paralysed by the feeling that everything is 'too complicated', and that many people I know feel that paralysis. I realised that this way of thinking can be traced through these songs. Produced by Dreamtrak (Swim Deep, Chad Valley, Hot Chip) in his Hackney studio and written collectively over the last 12-months, the group have taken their time to carefully piece the album together, song-by-song, in sequence. The album was completed following a final mix from Daniel Rejmer (Foals, Everything Everything) and the result is testament to the band s attention to detail: a cleaner, brighter sound than their brattier early recordings, edging towards the European sophistication of the end-of-the-century French house Jack grew up around. Singles 'Like An Animal', 'The End' and 'The Natural World' are characterized by an upbeat disco cool and all push the 7-minute mark, whereas Winter 98 , This City , and Call Me are brooding, stark synth-led numbers reminiscent of early-New Order, with some lyrics sung in Jack s native French. The literary inspiration runs further through the album. The track The 5% , more obviously making reference to the themes of the album's namesake, declares Time can be erased, you re stupid if you try and stay in place, over a pulsing bassline and swirling electronics. Like an Animal is inspired by the intellectual and moral confusion of the main character in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. The album has even garnered literary responses of its own by British poet and novelist Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine. I told Joe about the book and the way the album was kind of a reaction to it, and he threw my rationalisation of it back at me through a short story inspired by the album. says Cleverly. It helped reveal the emotional territory of the songs. He showed me how I had been dividing things up artificially - desires and priorities, getting older and not being able to stop writing music... Through the writing of this album, CYMBALS have inevitably matured. We've never been in it just for a laugh, says Cleverly; but things got confused when we said we wanted to keep it fun we just didn't want to end up bitter, having chased a hollow dream. But this album is less about us; it's more outward looking, more aware of the world at large. Despite the weighty literary influences, the band are keen to separate themselves from the over-earnestness that can sometimes accompany such associations. I hate the whole 'serious earnest-singer-songwriter-thing, says Jack. With this album I really wanted to get away from that and make music that makes people want to dance and feel joy. Neil's kick drum is the most important thing we have to say as a band. Is this all fun? Yes, of course, but at the same time, not just that. Produced by Dreamtrak & mixed by Daniel Rejmer.1. Winter '98
2. The Natural World
3. You Are
4. Empty Space
5. The 5%
6. The Fracture of Age
7. Like An Animal
9. This City
10. The End
11. Call Me$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
WildnessSnow Patrol is set to return with Wildness, their first album in seven years, which finds the band searching for clarity, connection, and meaning, while staying true to the melodic songwriting prowess that brought them to prominence. Wildness taps into something raw and primitive, and lead-singer and songwriter Gary Lightbody says of the album: "There are many types of wildness, but I think it can be distilled into two: the wildness of the modern age, all it's confusion, illogic and alienation and a more ancient wildness. Something primal, alive and beautiful that speaks to our true connectivity, our passion, our love, our communion with nature and each other. This is the kind of wildness the album is centered around. The loss of it. Trying to reconnect with it. To remember it."
Since their 1998 debut, Songs for Polarbears, Snow Patrol have racked up an impressive number of critical and commercial accolades, including 15 million global album sales, 1+ billion global track streams, 5 UK Platinum Albums, and are Grammy and Mercury Music Prize nominated. After their Fallen Empires tour ended in 2012, band members -which also include multi-instrumentalist Johnny McDaid, guitarist Nathan Connolly, bassist Paul Wilson, and drummer Jonny Quinn - decided to take a step back from the band, and focus on their own projects. Gary Lightbody continued his work with his Tired Pony side project with members of Belle and Sebastian, R.E.M, Reindeer Section and Fresh Young Fellows and moved to Los Angeles to begin writing songs for movies (including "This Is How You Walk On" for 2017's Gifted), and doing a number of high-profile co-writes with Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and One Direction. Taking this extended break from Snow Patrol proved to be a source of inspiration, and writing songs that were not pulled directly from his own psyche helped heal what Lightbody considered to be not so much writer's block as life block.
It's in this search for clarity and connection that these songs were written and refined. "I think it's the first record I've ever written that I haven't just asked a bunch of questions. I actually tried to figure out why I was unhappy, why I feel out of place, why I'm afraid," says Lightbody. "There's nothing really to protect myself for-- it's all in the album. I want to remember." This impulse was partially inspired by Lightbody's father, who is suffering from dementia. "I think the album is defined by memory in a lot of ways," says Lightbody, "including my father's loss of memory."
The songs are surefooted, displaying a newfound sense of self and purpose, and the rest of the band members rose magnificently to the occasion. The album is produced once more by the great Jacknife Lee, Snow Patrol's longtime producer and collaborator. "Life on Earth" opens the album with its mission statement, "this is something else, this is something else." "Heal Me" feels like an ancient hymn: "Finally, after way too many years of smashing my body to bits with booze, I met someone who helped me find my way back to health and clarity, says Lightbody. "This song is about her, that journey and is dedicated to her." "Empress," written for Lightbody's goddaughters, is fierce and heartfelt, with runaway drums and keen words of wisdom. "What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?" is a heartstring-puller, posing the question nobody wants to ask. The last track, "Life and Death," is a rumination, and a human story of love and forgiveness- mostly self-forgiveness for Lightbody, demonstrating that perhaps everyone ought to take this long between albums to reflect long and hard before they write.
"Seamus Heaney, my favorite poet of all time, said at 71 that he was only discovering what some of his poetry means, and this is coming from a Nobel Prize-winning poet. It's a great testament to inspiration," says Lightbody. "Sometimes it takes you five years to write the thing. Like now. And you know for sure when you finish an album like that, where you've poured over every detail and put every atom of yourself into it, everything makes sense and I bet you I'm never not proud of this record."1. Life On Earth
2. Don't Give In
3. Heal Me
5. A Dark Switch
6. What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?
7. A Youth Written In Fire
9. Wild Horses
10. Life And Death$29.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Love & Torture
Simultaneously claustrophobic and
mesmeric curiously unsettling.
"...Breathtakingly insightful and poetic..."
Beautifully desolate piece of Americana that
wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack
for True Detective.
- THE TIMES (UK)
A smokey lament that comes off like a
slightly jazzier Spiritualized.
Stone Jack Jones is a survivor. On two separate occasions the rare and mysterious blood
condition that courses through his steely West Virginian veins almost killed him. Doctors couldn't
fully explain or treat his malady, but Jack pulled through, even after receiving last rites on one
occasion. Spending a little time at Death's door gave him unique perspective on life. While
recovering from one of his near death experiences he deeply pondered the necessity of death,
the torturous pain that comes with the death of someone you love, and eventually arrived at the
simultaneously comforting and alarming conclusion that he was both alive and dead at the same
In 2014 Jack released Ancestor, an album which The Quietus called " breathtakingly insightful
and poetic ", and SPIN called undeniably compelling ". As a tribute to his father, Ancestor
was a remembrance of mountain string bands, with many of the songs worked out as an acoustic
three-piece sitting together in a bluegrass circle. For his new album Love & Torture he took a
different approach, working out the foundations for most of the songs in the studio with producer
Roger Moutenot. Rather than recording everything over of a few days or weeks in the studio, the
two met up sporadically over the course of many months, giving the songs plenty of time to
gestate and evolve in stride with Jack's life. When it felt right, they'd invite long-time collaborators
including Ryan Norris, Scott Martin, and Kyle Hamlett into the studio to improvise and explore
where each song would go next. Having worked and created with the same guys for several years,
their trust and intimacy let them extract moments of brilliance from the ether.
The album opens with the woozy groove of Shine (one of two songs on the album featuring
vocals by Patty Griffin), which Jack describes as a contemplation of what heaven might be like.
The following song Thrill Thrill explores the helplessness he felt in the clutches of the blood
disease that nearly killed him. Lambchop's Kurt Wagner contributes some serious low-end to the
song Circumstance. As Jack recalls, I asked Kurt if he thought he could sing lower than me and
he gave me a wily smile with a deep long ooooh yeah, took a sip of whiskey and put it in the
basement. The mood lightens a bit on the drinking song Russia on which Jack's wife Hollis
chants verses from Russian poet Alexander Blok, while Ben Smythe contributes a frenetic and
deranged penny whistle to the party. The album concludes with the joyful acceptance and
appreciation of Amen, another song about Jack's celebration of life. As dark as his creative
output can seem at times, it's heavily infused with Jack's undeniable light and his patient will to
...knock a hole in the sky. Seek light in the dark. Have secrets and make the air vibrate and
shake reality so she shows her many faces. Like a collection of swirling and inviting mantras
Love & Torture is a sonic dialog that pulses with the all of the grace and bliss that has touched
Jack's incredible life.1. Shine
2. Thrill Thrill
3. Q and K
10. Say Amen$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Beyond The BloodhoundsAdia Victoria spent the last few years writing, recording, touring and performing, while entrenched in the infamous artist R&R world - restaurants and retail work. Day jobs at a laundry list of Nashville it and not so it spots gave the musician lots of people watching time as well as the mental and emotional space to marinate in her art.
Adia blows the social hush-hush lid off the mental and emotional state of a young black woman growing up under the poverty line in the Deep South and all the implications of such. No pretense. No jive. But also, like the writing of Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams, there is plenty of Southern Gothic styled, marrow deep joy.
In a recent feature story, Fader encouraged us to, Meet Adia Victoria, A Poet Making Country Music a Little Creepier. She is found in album cuts like Sea of Sand and Stuck in the South, revealing some of her place-based aha moments. In the latter, she notes, I don't know nothin' about Southern belles/ But I can tell you something about Southern hell. As songs like Head Rot, and first single Dead Eyes show us, Adia says, it's an album of falling in love, dealing with loss, confusion, anger, love, and loving myself.
Produced by Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Sleater Kinney) and the artist herself, recorded at Nashville, Tennessee's Haptown Studios, Beyond the Bloodhounds features the indelible lyrics, voice, and guitar solos of Adia Victoria along with a band of talented musicians including Tiffany Minton (Drums), Alex Caress (keys), Mason Hickman (guitar), and Jason Harris (bass). She recalls, the studio is a Music City treasure. It used to be a car repair shop. You walk in and there are no windows. It's dark and moody. It feels like walking into the mind.
The result of a lifetime of introspection and a younger self marked by silent observation, Adia Victoria's Beyond the Bloodhounds was three active, recording years in the making. The title pays homage to a line in Harriet Jacobs' Narrative in the Life of a Slave Girl.
Ultimately, Victoria's debut album is more both/and, than either/or. The complexity of her Southern, barrel-aged roots and world traveling, bookworm woman ways will lure you out of the status quo.
Publications like American Songwriter, Rookie, and NPR are taking notice.
Now on the brink of her 30s, fluent in the language of her own self, Adia Victoria stands poised to take her place in a line of true artists. Her mother warned that she feels too much and would be torn up by the world. Adia will tell you that proved to be true. I've felt shredded, but I'm now blessed to embrace the intense feelings as part of my job. That's what I do. It's my bread and butter. My art depends on me feeling and experiencing. I show up, live, and come back and say, oooooh Honey, it was like this...1. I'm With You
2. Borderlines And Aliens
4. Ways To Go
5. Shark Attack
6. Sit Still
7. Hippy Hill
8. What I Know
9. Didn't Have To Go
10. Bitin' The Bullet
11. News To Me
13. Save The Party For Me$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ChromaticsWhen songwriter and producer Sam Genders last donned his Diagrams hat, captive listeners found themselves truly stunned by the Streatham Hill artist's imaginative and inventive arrangements that made up 2012s debut album Black Light. Having now upped sticks from his London lodgings and settled in Sheffield with a new lease of life and wife, fresh pastures and friendships are what form the heart of Diagrams' brand new album Chromatics.
"Relationships are a constant thread. In all their frustrating, exciting, mundane, beautiful, wonderful, sexy, scary glory," reveals Genders of the album's themes. "And there's lots of hope in the songs. They shouldn't be taken too literally mind you in my head Chromatics is life in Technicolor; with all its ups and downs."
Equally drawing inspiration from the writing on relationships by David Schnarch, Ester Perel and the book Division Street by Sheffield poet Helen Mort, whilst spending time in his own home studio for the first time, it's without doubt that the Steel city provided the ideal backdrop for Genders to write whenever the inspiration came and, essentially, whittle down the fifty or so tracks he had recorded as part of the album's creation. "There are woods over the road and a little garden out the back with a greenhouse, shed, and flower beds. Being in a new place has brought something special to the process. Sheffield is a very open and direct place and I'd say the songs are more that way too."
Whilst Black Light fizzed with electronic effects, synth-bass, programmed beats and low-key funk grooves that brought about comparisons to the leftfield pop of Arthur Russell, Metronomy, Steve Mason and Hot Chip, it's without doubt that Genders' next offering falls closer to home comforts and marks the next step in Genders' renaissance. Take lead track 'Phantom Power'; it's the track which truly sums up what it's like to find yourself forever reassessing. "It's about feeling like you're losing a grip on your sanity at one moment, then feeling inspired and up for anything the next. Or frustration with yourself yet believing that it's possible to sort yourself out," explains Genders. Elsewhere 'You Can Talk To Me's delicate rolling melody and 'Serpent' once again showcase the playful, eclectic slant to Genders' songwriting prowess alongside an innate sense of crisp production and programming techniques.
Never one to shirk away from those around him, Genders would be the first to call Diagrams, and particularly Chromatics, a collaborative process. Once again featuring a rolling cast of inspirational musicians the album includes vocals from, amongst friends and family members, The Smoke Fairies whilst the skilled brass and string arrangements come courtesy of Danyal Dhondy and Sam Ewens. 'London's greatest' drummers Karl Penney, and Cacophony drummer Fletcher Adams provide the beats whilst live band members Emma Black and Ben Malitskie lend their expertise of Baritone Saxophone and Viola. 'Brain' meanwhile, was co-written with long-time friend and collaborator Matt McKenzie and features an in utero recording of his son James' heartbeat.
Yet it's the partnership with producer Leo Abrahams (Wild Beasts, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, Ed Harcourt, Marianne Faithful et al) that has truly brought Diagrams to life. After a long search, Abrahams was picked to piece all parts together and as a result Genders found himself writing songs that worked across a variety of production styles. "Leo's incredibly good at what he does and virtually all the impressive production and soundscaping is down to him. He's also an amazing guitarist and played some of my favourite guitar moments on the album."
Who knows exactly what kind of relationships will inspire Genders next? Currently finding himself midst China's south central city of Changsha in Hunan as a Musician in Residence on behalf of the British Council and PRS foundation, life for Genders right now is all about new experiences, meeting new faces and learning from new friendships. "It feels like anything could happen from one day to the next. I'd like to record a Chinese version of 'Phantom Power' so that once I'm back in the UK I can reconnect with the music lovers I've met. I've heard lots of very poppy pop songs that incorporate both Chinese and English lyrics so I'd like to try my own twist on that."1. Phantom Power
2. Gentle Morning Song
5. You Can Talk To Me
7. Dirty Broken Bliss
9. The Light & The Noise
11. Just A Hair's Breadth$18.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Open BookFred Hersch has long been acclaimed as an exploratory artist, an outspoken activist, an influential educator and a uniquely revelatory and lyrical pianist. As one of the most expressive voices in modern jazz, Hersch has never been shy about letting listeners glimpse his most intimate thoughts and emotions. In September, however, Hersch's fans will be treated to even deeper, more revealing insights into the story of the renowned pianist when he publishes his much-anticipated memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz. As a companion piece, Hersch decided to present an equally direct and vulnerable glimpse into his private musical thoughts with his 11th solo release, Open Book.
The seven pieces on Open Book (set for release via Palmetto Records) offer some of the finest, most unguardedly emotional solo music that Hersch has created in a career unique for its profound poignancy and passion. Recorded in a South Korean concert hall on a superb Hamburg Steinway concert grand piano, the album captures the vital essence of the revelatory adventurousness and intense beauty that have made Hersch one of the most important solo artists in jazz. With more than 40 albums to his credit as a leader or co-leader, Hersch remarkably continues to discover new areas of inspiration and depths of feeling.
For the last two and a half decades I've been pretty open about who I am, what I like and what I'm dealing with at times, Hersch says. But I've always got to dig deeper, and I thought this might be a chance to make an album that's a window into the kinds of things that I play at home or don't play in public all that much.
The album arrives during a momentous month for Hersch. On September 12, the esteemed publishers Crown Archetype (Penguin Random House) will release Good Things Happen Slowly, Hersch's bravely confessional memoir. The book covers the pianist's meteoric rise in jazz from his sideman days alongside masters like Art Farmer and Joe Henderson to his gradual recognition as one of the most individualistic and innovative artists of his generation, a ten-time Grammy Award nominee and winner of countless accolades including being named a 2016 Doris Duke Artist as well as the same year's Jazz Journalists Association Pianist of the Year. But it also frankly reveals his story as the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician, tracing his path through hedonistic post-Stonewall New York City to the dramatic two-month medically induced coma in 2007 from which he emerged to make some of the most stunning and captivating music of his career.
Later that month Hersch will reprise his ambitious Leaves of Grass full-evening piece at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Room, the first time the song cycle has been performed in New York City since 2005. Vocalists Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry will reprise their roles from the original project, which sets the verse of American bard Walt Whitman. The legendary poet's timeless ode to the miracle of nature and openhearted love of all beings seems especially vital in our present socio-political moment.
The centerpiece of Open Book, and the spark that ignited the album, is the nearly 20-minute improvisation Through the Forest. Unique in Hersch's extensive discography, the stream-of-consciousness gem is a miniature masterpiece of narrative development, a compelling journey through an abstract, glimmering landscape, revealing that in his early 60s Hersch continues to take creative risks and daunting inventive leaps.
The creation of Through the Forest was as unplanned and spontaneous as the music itself. In Seoul for a pair of solo concerts during a break in a tour of Asia with his esteemed trio, Hersch overslept during an after-breakfast nap and rushed to take the stage at JCC Art Center Concert Hall for his afternoon performance. The titular forest is, in part, a jetlag and coffee-fueled dreamscape through which Hersch wanders, applying his vivid powers of observation to unusual terrain. I was a little groggy, my defenses were down, and rather than fight it I just gave in to it, Hersch recalls. I'd never really done anything of that length in public where I had no agenda and was able to stay in that zone for such an extended period of time. I realized it was something special, something different that might be the core of an album.
Through the Forest became the leaping-off point for an album intended to be singularly divulgent and reflective. A few months later, Hersch returned to the same hall and recorded the remainder of Open Book alone in the empty venue (with the exception of Benny Golson's classic Whisper Not, taken from a concert during that return engagement).
The album opens with the stark musings of The Orb, taken from Hersch's autobiographical music-theater piece My Coma Dreams. A love letter to Hersch's longtime partner, AIDS activist Scott Morgan, The Orb is the final dream depicted in the show, and in this solo rendition becomes a nakedly heartfelt outpouring of raw but tender emotion. The mood then takes a turn for the playful and swinging on Whisper Not, a longtime staple of Hersch's repertoire that here becomes a vibrant, virtuoso marathon of thematic exploration.
The piece also serves as an ideal mirror to the album's other composition from the pen of a jazz icon, Thelonious Monk's Eronel. Hersch has long been recognized as one of the premier interpreters of the Monk songbook, but despite including one of the iconic composer's pieces in every one of his sets for most of his career, Hersch had never tackled this particular tune, co-written by pianist Sadik Hakim. Monk's original stride-inflected lines come in for a dizzying array of variations in Hersch's endlessly imaginative take.
The music of Brazil has also been a constant in Hersch's career, in particular the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, the subject of one of the pianist's earlier solo efforts, 2009's Fred Hersch Plays Jobim. Picture in Black and White is a new addition to that repertoire, majestically transformed from a bossa nova feel to a crystalline hybrid with Chopin's last nocturne. On the other side of Through the Forest in the album's symmetrical structure comes Hersch's own classical-flavored Plainsong, a spare, lyrical piece composed in the bucolic setting of the MacDowell Colony, the inspirational artists' retreat in rural New Hampshire.
Open Book ends on a meaningful ellipsis, Billy Joel's moving And So It Goes. In title alone it's an apt conclusion, suggesting an embrace of life as lived and hinting at its open-ended continuation. The full lyrics, which Hersch has performed in duo settings with singers including frequent collaborator Kate McGarry, remain unspoken here but obviously deeply felt in every note. I connect with the sentiment of the words, Hersch says, and it felt like a good benediction to the whole album.1. The Orb
2. Whisper Not
4. Through The Forest
7. And So It Goes$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
6 Feet Beneath The MoonSix Feet Beneath The Moon is the long-anticipated debut album from Southeast London's King Krule.
Archy Marshall aka King Krule broke out two years ago, at the tender age of 16 with his eponymous
EP released on True Panther. King Krule's sound, a
hypnotic mixture indebted to working class British
song-smiths like Billy Bragg as much as NY No-Wave
and hip hop carries a maturity and depth far beyond
his years. The EP's lead single, "Noose of Jah City"
found a great deal of success on BBC's Radio 1,
and brought Archy praise from Pitchfork, The NY
Times, FADER and numerous other publications. His
music has also won him fans among today's young
music elite - Mac Miller, Frank Ocean and Tyler, The
Creator are all supporters, collaborators and fans.
Six Feet Beneath The Moon takes the potential
evident in the EP and blows it out of the water.
Across 14 tracks Archy expertly weaves incredible
stories of London life, his own relationships and
experiences with the swagger of a street poet, all in his incredibly distinct smoky baritone. The album, recorded mostly near Archy's South London
home with producer Rodaidh McDonnell (The XX,
Savages, How To Dress Well) is stark but incredibly
rich - painting with a palate full of hip hop, jazz, no-wave and poetic influences.
The album shares the electric confidence of some of last decade's most important debuts - Arctic
Monkeys' Whatever People Say I Am, That's What
I'm Not', The Streets' Original Pirate Material and
Dizzee Rascal's Boy In Da Corner. It is somehow
both a perfect summary of a young man's life in a
particular part of London and a universal, deeply
moving and compelling statement. Most importantly,
it is the flag ushering in a new and important musical voice that is sure to be with us for quite some time.1. Easy Easy
3. Has This Hit
6. Baby Blue
8. Lizard State
9. 'William, Here I Come
10. Ocean Bed
11. Neptune Estate
13. Out Getting Ribs
14. What Is There To Say?$27.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
A Natural, Acoustic Portrait of American Folk, Country, and Bluegrass Standards by Two Virtuosos: Jerry Garcia and David Grisman's Shady Grove Filled with Endearing Joy and Spirited Playing
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes and Strictly Limited to 3,000 Numbered Copies: Mobile Fidelity 180g 2LP Set Sounds Incredibly Realistic, Features Deluxe Booklet in Gatefold Jacket
Jerry Garcia began recording with longtime friend David Grisman at the beginning of the last decade of his life, the refreshing excursions marking a full-circle return to the roots fare the white-bearded virtuoso originally performed before co-founding the Grateful Dead. Garcia's dalliances with Grisman also served another equally important purpose given they provided a much-needed outlet from the demanding pressures, schedules, and business affairs associated with his main band. The endearing joy, contagious enthusiasm, and free-spirited playing on Shady Grove attest to the collection serving as not only the finest musical snapshot of Garcia's final years, but among the best of his storied career.
Mastered from the original master tapes, available on vinyl for the first time, and strictly limited to 3,000 numbered copies, Mobile Fidelity's 180g 2LP set presents the 1996 collection in exquisite sound. Originally recorded at Dawg Studios between August 1990 and June 1993, Shady Grove bowed as the first release of Grisman-Garcia collaborations in the wake of the iconic guitarist's August 1995 death - and remains, by way of its genre-specific organization, a passionate albeit naturally relaxed portrait of folk, country, and bluegrass standards that provide the foundation of American songbook. To experience it all in such brilliant fidelity is to pull up a chair at the sessions themselves and enjoy a transparent view into lasting tradition and instrumental virtuosity.
Entirely unplugged, the material emerges in three-dimensional detail on this very special audiophile pressing, the wooden tones and organic textures unfolding with wondrous openness, ease, and realism. Nothing is forced, brittle, or exaggerated. What you hear is on par with the acoustics you'd encounter at a world-class hall. Garcia and Grisman's clean, rustic picking on guitar, banjo, mandola, and mandolin harbors a rare intimacy mirrored by an equally uncommon chemistry evident by the seamless interplay.
These traits remain in tact even when the soul mates are occasionally joined by pals such as Jim Kerwin (acoustic bass) and Joe Craven (fiddle and percussion). Garcia's singing, replete with the slight, graceful, dignified shakiness that forever defined his deliveries, comes across with utmost purity and transparency. Emotions and eagerness pour over every note. At the end of several tracks, Garcia and company exchange remarks and laughter - all indicative of the camaraderie, looseness, and spirit that carries through each tune here.
Mobile Fidelity's audiophile edition of Shady Grove also features the kind of deluxe packaging only the best physical media can provide. Sixteen 12-inch x 12-inch pages bound to the gatefold jacket provide extraordinary insight into the songs, atmosphere, and history. Images of artifacts and telling photos serve as a visual guide. New Lost City Ramblers member John Cohen pens extensive liner notes that reveal the lasting importance and timelessness of the tunes herein. Among his observations:
Jerry and David's performances of these traditional folk songs and ballads reconnect us all - folk singers, Deadheads, university students, hillbillies, country and western musicians - with the America [poet Kenneth] Rexroth wrote about; that [Carl] Sandburg wrote about; that the cynicism of American wars and politics, culture wars and culture politics just couldn't destroy.
Indeed, the versions of barn-dance tunes (Shady Grove), jug-band standards (Stealin', also performed in the early days of the Grateful Dead), Delta ballads (Louis Collins), Civil War era fare (The Sweet Sunny South), and campfire songs (Down in the Valley) here astound with depth, soulfulness, and warmth. Deadheads will also find Garcia and Grisman putting a spin on two more tracks - Casey Jones and Jackaroo - long part of the iconic group's repertoire. In countless ways, Shady Grove is not to be missed, particularly on this unsurpassed pressing.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Shady Grove
3. Off to Sea Once More
4. The Sweet Sunny South
5. Louis Collins
6. Fair Ellender
8. The Ballad of Casey Jones
9. Dreadful Wind and Rain
10. I Truly Understand
11. The Handsome Cabin Boy
12. Whiskey in the Jar
13. Down in the Valley
14. Hesitation Blues$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The Other IBella Union are thrilled to announce the release of The Other I, the new album from 2:54.
Even before Colette and Hannah Thurlow wrote their new album, the London-based sisters' atmospheric, imaginative and thrilling vein of rock music under the name 2:54 was already a force to be reckoned with. But the events that tested their commitment and resilience have upped the ante, to produce the magnificent drama and beauty of The Other I. From the expansive, tempo-shifting opener 'Orion', and the pining roots of 'The Monaco' to the ambient haunts of 'Tender Shoots' and the shape-shifting tour de force of 'Raptor', the album significantly widens the net beyond the achievements of 2:54's self-titled debut. The Other I is all the stronger for Hannah and Colette's hands-on approach to production while Colette's lead vocals show a striking versatility. The album's emotional terrain has been carved from circumstances out of their control but equally their sisterly bond.
As Colette explains, the album's title was inspired by a favourite poet, Percy Shelley, "a rousing romantic, politically charged, a proto-punk of sorts. He called his friend and muse Elizabeth Hitchener the 'sister of my soul, my second self.' These lines kept returning to me last year and from there I arrived at 'The Other I'. The Other I is an enquiry into the duality of the human experience - the division between the self that pounds on like a juggernaut in your head, and the self you present to the world. The idea extends to Hannah and I, to our sisterhood. We know intrinsically what the other thinks and feels, music is just another language we use to communicate."
Written in Paris and London, the album was recorded at Bella Union's East London studio before the Thurlows and Alex Robins decamped to North London's Fish Factory to complete it alongside co-producer and mixer James Rutledge, who's worked with the likes of Radiohead and Fever Ray. 'In The Mirror' and 'Sleepwalker' are cited as key entry points to the album's core values, while lyrically 'Orion' sets the scene for the album's adventures. 'Raptor' is the album's brilliant finale, with its simmering intro, hypnotic flow, thrilling coda and rallying mantra: "Calling, I'm calling, I'm calling, I can hear it / You don't know us / One more turn and then I'll go / The end, the end, the end is close."1. Orion
3. In The Mirror
4. No Better Prize
6. Tender Shoots
7. The Monaco
11. Glory Days
12. Raptor$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Over And EvenJoan Shelly's new album, Over And Even, was written in the back of an abandoned beauty parlor on the island of Thessaloniki. The whole thing had something to do with Vashti Bunyan. That's what Joan told me, but Joan Shelley is a poet, so she makes things up. In a small, dark room that smells of expired hair-do chemicals, there is talk of hypnosis. All the windows are blacked out. Look into my eyes. White walls are blinding in the ancient sunlight. A bowl of oranges shines like solid gold, waiting for you. There is a small classical guitar, a sunburn, and a key that turns a lock, and songs come pouring out. Maybe the Greek deal was really about Leonard Cohen. That's Joanie's jam: songs wide open enough to let the wind blow the curtains around, and solid enough to hang a ton of heartache on. She writes smart, beautiful songs full of poetry, history, mystery and nature. Like all the best sad songs, they will make you cry. Then they will drag you outside and leave you flat on your back, staring up at the stars. Joan lands on a note like a laser beam on a diamond. Colors fly around the room, and her voice bends between them. People say her voice reminds them of Sandy Denny. It's more than the vocal range. It's a quiet power that draws you in. Maybe Over And Even wasn't written last winter on a Greek island. Maybe these songs were written a hundred years ago in a farmhouse somewhere in Kentucky. That's where Joan is from, and that's where she and guitar player Nathan Salsburg recorded all the basic tracks live. All the people who played on Joan's new record -- and Daniel Martin Moore who recorded and engineered it -- are friends. That comes through somehow in the sound of the album. Will Oldham and Glen Dettinger are genius harmony singers. They leave the perfect amount of space for microscopic shifts in Joan's voice, without sacrificing their own awesome idiosyncrasies. Nathan Salsburg's guitar follows every twist of the melody. When the song breaks your heart in two, Nathan is there with a high E-string to sew it back together. Joan Shelley's voice flows out like a river. It never travels in a straight line. It follows bends and curves carved by history. We are all lucky just to be swept away, and go with her wherever she's going. But it's not over by half There's a gold in your eyes blooming out through the black And you're still standing, your hand on the map No its not over, not over by half the end.1. Brighter Than The Blues
2. Stay On My Sure
3. Over and Even
4. Not Over By Half
5. Ariadne's Gone
6. No More Shelter
7. Easy Now
8. Lure and Line
9. Jenny Come In
10. Wine And Honey
11. My Only Trouble
12. Subtle Love$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Binary"My last record was very inward-looking," says Ani DiFranco. "I was pregnant and then raising a screaming infant. But now that kid is about to turn four, so I got out of the weeds of personal space and started looking outward again, being more engaged, more big 'P' Political. As an artist, I like to be out in the world, and what initially compelled me was to try to push society to a better place. So when I'm not in heartbreak or motherhood mode, that's where you'll naturally find me."
With her twentieth studio album, Binary, the iconic singer/songwriter/activist/poet/DIY trendsetter returns to territory that brought her to the world's attention more than twenty-five years ago. One of the first artists to create her own label in 1990, she has been recognized among the feminist pantheon for her entrepreneurship, social activism, and outspoken political lyrics. At a time of global chaos and confusion, DiFranco is kicking ass and taking names, with a set of songs offering a wide range of perspective and musical scope.
She describes a moment during the writing of "Play God," an unblinking pro-choice battle cry, as a particular breakthrough. (A live version of the song was included in the anti-Trump "30 Days, 30 Songs" campaign alongside tracks from Death Cab for Cutie, Aimee Mann, Franz Ferdinand, and more.)
"When I wrote the line 'You don't get to play god, man/I do,' I paused and thought, 'Can I say that?,' " she says. "It's not the first time I've thought that, but it's been a while. And in that moment, I thought, 'I'm back, mothafuckas!'"
"When you make a record about family and relationships, people assume you're mommy now and you've lost your edge, and it's going to be all buttercups from here on. So that line had the feeling of 'Take that! My kid is sleeping right now and I want to talk about some shit!"
On Binary, DiFranco tackles the challenge and necessity of teaching non-violence with "Pacifist's Lament" and the need for empathy in "Terrifying Sight." Remarkably, though, these songs-recorded, in her usual fashion, in a couple of short full-sprint sessions spread across several years-were all written prior to the 2016 elections and attendant political turmoil.
"I'm not surprised," says DiFranco. "Over twenty-five years, I've found that my songwriting is often full of premonition. It shows me, in a deep and spooky way, how we know things on levels below consciousness. I write songs and then they happen, and later I realize what they're about. I'm just happy to have some good tools in my toolbox to address what's happening now-the feminist diatribes are turned up nice and high on this record!"
She notes that Binary's title track is key to her intention on this project. "I always title a record from the song that seems to be at its core," she says. "An underlying theme in the songs, and in the feminism I want to engage society with, is the idea that autonomy is a fallacy-nothing exists except in relationship to something else. We are, in some senses individuals with individual liberties and unique powers, but that's only a surface story."
Though this concept is closely tied up in our present-day obsession with technology ("Sitting alone at home, staring at a screen, you can't really know anything, because knowing is engaging," she says), DiFranco also reveals a growing connection to nature and the physical world.
"Every year on Goddess' Green Earth, I understand my relationship to it more," she says. "My early songs were all human drama. I don't think I noticed the bigger picture at all-I was transfixed by power dynamics between people. Now I see that it's largely the providence of women to really embody nature, so I do think I'm getting back to basics, and it's a shift for me."
The backbone of Binary's sound is DiFranco's long-time rhythm section of bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Terence Higgins, but on much of the album, the trio is augmented with some all-star guests. "I knew I wanted to involve some of my brilliant friends this time out," she says. "We made some calls and got a party going. That was the idea, to reach out and have some other spirits enter."
Virtuoso violinist Jenny Scheinman and keyboard wizard Ivan Neville both join in for more than half of the record; "they are so captivating and they elevate my shit whenever they come near it," says DiFranco. Other contributors include the legendary Maceo Parker, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, and Gail Ann Dorsey, longtime bassist for David Bowie. New Orleans resident DiFranco takes special pride in the Crescent City funk spearheaded by natives Higgins and Neville on a number of the tunes. "Their souls are of this place," she says. "The feel they bring is something they got in utero."
For the better part of 2016, DiFranco beat the drum for voter turnout on her "Vote Dammit!" tour, focusing on registering and inspiring people to vote. In the days following the election, fans turned to her for guidance with renewed earnestness, anxious to hear music and wisdom from the longtime activist. Ani encouraged fans to take political action and did the same herself, participating in the Women's March on Washington and performing at the official Women's March after party benefitting Planned Parenthood with The National and Sleater-Kinney.
Binary, of course, is being released into a world in which music distribution and consumption have transformed rapidly and dramatically. For DiFranco, a true pioneer in the music industry with her Righteous Babe label, it's a time to reconsider the possibilities and ambitions of her business.
"While I was precedent-setting at one time with Righteous Babe and my indie crusade, I feel like, in the time it took me to nurse another baby into being, I've fallen behind," she says. "The universe and technology have continued to evolve, and the idea of harnessing technology and crowd-sourcing everything-money, knowledge, revolution-is a very powerful concept that I'm ready to get more involved with. Righteous Babe is starting to grow now into something that will hopefully become avant-garde once again- more of a collective, more dynamic."
"I'm trying to figure it out daily," says Ani DiFranco. "Just like always."1. Binary
2. Pacifist's Lament
4. Play God
7. Even More
10. Terrifying Sight
11. Deferred Gratification$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The Last Poets (Out of Stock)'An extraordinary distillation of fury and frustration. Instantly hailed as a classic, it has since been a direct influence on everything from gil scott-heron's small talk at 125th and lenox to public enemy's fear of a black planet.' -- uncut
'Proto-rap prophets 'proto-rap prophets of rage... Their righteous indignation still burns' -- record collector
Generally recognized as one of the first ever rap groups, The Last Poets' groundbreaking fusion of minimalist African beats with uncompromising lyrics dealing with life in the ghetto, civil rights and social injustice caused a major sensation when their eponymous debut album made the U.S. Top Ten album chart in 1970.
The group's militant message and delivery, coupled with their support for The Black Panthers, made them highly controversial at the time leading to the group's second album, 1971's This Is Madness, being placed on Richard Nixon's Counter-Intelligence programming list. Their pioneering sound continues to influence today's funk and hip-hop scenes, with their mark being heard on countless black musicians over the years.1. Run, Nigger
2. On The Subway
3 .Niggers Are Scared Of Revolution
4. Black Thighs
6. Wake Up, Niggers
7. New York, New York
8. Jones Comin` Down
9. When The Revolution Comes
10. Just Because
11 .Black Wish
12. Two Little Boys
14. Surprises$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock
Hustler's Convention (Out of Stock)'This is a masterpiece of jailhouse blues and cinematic street rap... it deserves its growing reputation as a lost classic.' * * * * - Uncut
'A cornerstone in the development of what is now a part of global culture' Fab 5 Freddy 'a verbal bible' - Chuck D (Public Enemy)
Brought to life by Lightnin' Rod a.k.a Jalal of the Last Poets and backed by music from Kool & The Gang, Buddy Miles, Billy Preston and more, Hustlers' Convention is a concept album documenting the rise and fall of Sport, a street gambler who ends up in jail after a shoot-out with the police.
His street tales of card games, throwing dice and chasing women influenced Wu Tang, Ice T, Public Enemy, Jungle Brothers and many more while also playing a key role in establishing rap as an accepted modern musical art form.
A documentary about the album and its pivotal role in the evolution of hip hop is currently being made. The film features interviews with Chuck D, Melle Mel, KRS One Fab 5 Freddy and more.
This vinyl edition is pressed on heavyweight (180g) vinyl and is packaged in a gatefold sleeve.Sport
The Cafe Black Rose
Brother Hominy Grit
Coppin' Some Fronts For The Set
Hamhock's Hall Was Big
The Bones Fly From Spoon's Hand
The Break Was So Loud, It Hushed The Crowd
Four Bitches Is What I Got
The Shit Hits The Fan Again
Sentenced To The Chair$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock