Finger-picked strings through gentle strumming into full sonic assaults. Oh, and late eighties Brazilian synth pop... This week has some real beauties.
Record of the Week is Third, the beautiful new album from Louisville folk guitarist Nathan Salsburg. The functionally titled (yes, it is his third solo LP) album is an evocative and elegant collection of ten instrumental tracks that display his incredible dexterity but also a warmth that is impossible not to be completely bowled over by. He has recently been collaborating with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Jim Elkington and of course with Joan Shelley (a genuine highlight of our 2016 Sea Change Festival), but with all those wonderful musical commitments aside, it's a real joy to have the solo record that we wanted him to make, nothing but the man and his guitar... it's pretty much perfect.
Joy is the second collaborative album between Ty Segall and veteran Los Angeles psych-pop experimenter White Fence, aka Tim Presley, formerly of The Nerve Agents and more recently Cate Le Bon’s partner in Drinks. 'Hippo Lite' the most recent Drinks LP is a pretty good frame of reference here actually, fragments of songs and ideas crackling and disappearing between reverbs and riffs and haze. It's genuinely psychedelic, it's a bit like the final side of The Beatles White Album in that way, there is something sinister or certainly unsettling there, but the riffs are still the best about and whether they are screaming or harmonising softly they are brilliant conductors. You knew we would, but we really like this.
Chicago’s Negative Scanner release the slightly gross Nose Picker on Trouble In Mind Records today. A very twisted take on pop and power-post-punk. Their collective tightness enables them to make sharp turns of pace whilst sounding ramshackle, and vocalist Rebecca Valeriano-Flores is the star of the show with a really addictive howl.
+ Pressed on exclusive Snot Green Vinyl for the indie
Across the Meridian is the first full-length release in 11 years from the British experimental pop band Pram. Another evolution in the lineup (including the departure of vocalist Rosie Cuckston) has created another change in tone, and Across the Meridian is both dreamlike and slightly nightmarish at the same time which is confusing. It's all very confusing, but in a way that you don't want to stop listening. Tropical soundtracks to B-Movies... which is certainly no bad thing! We're really relishing the weirdness of this one.
+ Limited indie pressing on silver vinyl.
Last week Deafheaven released their fourth album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love and it is pretty astonishing. We didn't have stock on time so we're only now mentioning, but this is one that you should all check out, not just the metal heads. You might remember we went pretty nuts for New Bermuda a few years back and Sunbather a few years before that. They are a band who make intense, heavy and full on music, but the way they move around in and out of that genre is pretty thrilling. It's a surprising album with all the potency you'd expect, but it's the little gestures that are the most enticing. Playing this a lot.
Also last week (or maybe even the one before) is an utterly lush compilation on Soundway called Onda De Amor... Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were [1984-94]. It's a ten year period that hasn't been hugely appraised and it would seem there is much to dig. The release is compiled by Millos Kaiser, one half of the Brazilian duo Selvagem, who are at the helm of throwing some of the country's best dance parties. A latin take on synth wave and electronic oddities.
Strut continue their essential work with the “Godfather Of Ethio Jazz”, Mulatu Astatke, with the first official reissues of his early classics Afro Latin Soul Volumes 1 and 2 from 1966, recorded as The Ethiopian Quintet. Arriving after Astatke’s life-changing years studying at Berklee College in Boston, the albums were the first experiments in his pioneering sound, fusing Ethiopian cultural music with Afro Latin and jazz forms. First official reissue of the landmark Mulatu Astatke albums from 1966, delivered as a double CD and two separate LP's in their full original artwork and painstakingly remastered by The Carvery.
Double repressing of The Pharcyde's iconic second LP Labcabincalifornia. A couple of massive singles, one groundbreaking video and one of the first breakout moments of the then virtually unknown J Dilla on production duties. This reissue features vinyl cut under the supervision of Dave Cooley who continued working with J Dilla for much of his career.
Lots of action from Drag City HQ with the very vast majority of their esteemed archive now available on the streaming sites, but they have kept is super OG with cassette reissues of Joanna Newsom's The Milk-Eyed Mender, Ys and a beautifully presented oversized Have One On Me triple pack. Very few songs in the eight years since it's release have come anywhere close to the grandiose of opening track Easy... pretty breathtaking.
The last one this week is both new and old, and deliciously weird too.
Black Lodge, AKA Mancunian producer Dan Dwayre, was to release material on Mo' Wax in the early 2000s, but the label folded and the release has languished in the vaults ever since. A new imprint from the Warp family called Disciples today releases Bitter Blood (A Collection of Archival Recordings), a suitably mysterious all-black LP with a sticker on the front. It's a collection of woozing drones and loops. Analog recordings, snippets and dreams, it's a pretty magical forty-odd minutes.