CDs + Vinyl:
Amen Dunes – Freedom CD/LP+MP3 (Sacred Bones)
Over the course of 10 years, Damon McMahon aka Amen Dunes has transformed continuously, and Freedom is the project’s boldest leap yet. On the surface, it’s a reflection on growing up, childhood friends who ended up in prison or worse, male identity, McMahon’s father, and his mother, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of recording. The characters that populate the musical world of Freedom are a colorful mix of reality and fantasy: father and mother, Amen Dunes, teenage glue addicts and Parisian drug dealers, ghosts above the plains, fallen surf heroes, vampires, thugs from Naples and thugs from Houston, the emperor of Rome, Jews, Jesus, Tashtego, Perseus, even McMahon himself. Each character portrait is a representation of McMahon, of masculinity, and of his past.
Eric Andersen – The Essential Eric Andersen 2xCD (Real Gone Music)
Eric Andersen is one of the greatest singer-songwriters to emerge from the fabled Greenwich Village folk scene of the ’60s. But the one thing that was missing from his catalog is a true, career-spanning anthology chronicling every phase of his multi-faceted career. The Essential Eric Andersen, is a double-CD, 33-track set that spans 45 years, 10 different labels, and 19 different albums.
Anna & Elizabeth – Comes To Us CD/LP (Smithsonian Folkways)
Praised by many well-known musicians and widely loved for their moving minimalist arrangements, Anna & Elizabeth pioneer new ways of presenting old songs and stories to modern audiences. Co-producer Benjamin Lazar Davis (Cuddle Magic) and legendary avant-rock drummer Jim White (The Dirty Three, Xylouris White) assist in the duo’s vision of breathing life and new perspective into the crackling and disintegrating recordings and artifacts of the past. Rarely does an album based on traditional folk music resonate so strongly in modern times.
Ayreon – Ayreon 2xCD/2xCD+DVD/3xLP+MP3 (Music Theories)
After creating rock operas in the studio for more than 20 years, prog mastermind Arjen Lucassen, aka Ayreon, finally took his Universe to the stage in September 2017. The best of these shows, Ayreon Universe is a full-on rock extravaganza, featuring songs from all Ayreon albums. Guests include Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot), Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gentle Storm), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Mike Mills (Toehider), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion), Irene Jansen, Robert Soeterboek (Star One), John Jaycee Cuijpers (Praying Mantis), Edward Reekers (Kayak), Jay van Feggelen, Maggy Luyten (Nightmare) and Lisette van den Berg (Scarlet Stories). [Stand-alone DVD and Blu-ray editions are also available.]
Barbarossa – Leir CD/LP (Memphis Industries)
Picking up where 2015’s Imager left off, Lier is further electronic wizardry from Barbarossa (London-born James Mathé) – one of the UK’s finest song writing talents. This time, his vocal is at the forefront on some of the most accessible pop songs he’s ever written.
Apollo Brown & Ghostface Killah – The Brown Tape CD/LP (Mello Music)
The official reissue of Apollo Brown’s re-imagining of Ghostface Killah’s striking 2013 release Twelve Reasons To Die. The legendary Detroit producer was asked to record an alternate album at the same time as Adrian Younge created Twelve Reasons To Die. Keep in mind, Brown was given access to Ghostface’s original recordings and constructed beats around the rapper’s work. Cinematic and nasty, this is hip-hop at its most raw.
Cabbage – Nihilistic Glamour Shots CD/LP (BMG)
Faced with a band as explosive as Cabbage, it’s disturbing if unsurprising that untruths have clouded the positivity of their intent. Here are some certainties among the drama: Cabbage is a band to believe in. Compromises will not be considered. And the group’s music is the most thrilling way imaginable to convey their message. Equally drawn to socialist politics and titting about, they’re devotees of both big choruses and anarchic totems like GG Allin, Genesis P Orridge and Butthole Surfers. It’s a mixture writ large throughout Nihilistic Glamour Shots, from the frenetic opening salvo of “Preach To The Converted,” “Arms Of Pleonexia” and “Molotov Alcopop,” via “Perdurabo’s” swampy blues and wild funk of “Exhibit A” to the devastating seven-minute finale “Subhuman 2.0.”
Camp Lo –On The Way Uptown & The Get Down Brothers 2xLP (Vodka & Milk)
In celebration of 20+ years since their classic 1997 debut Uptown Saturday Night, Bronx duo Camp Lo present a On The Way Uptown & The Get Down Brothers. On The Way Uptown is a collection of demos and unreleased songs made between ’94 – ’95, leading to their official debut in early 1997. On The Get Down Brothers, Camp Lo completely pivot away from their ’90s nostalgia into a much more futuristic and experimental sound. Although the production is different, their signature tongue-twisting and hype flows remain, creating a unique and seamless fusion packed into 10 dynamic tracks.
Mary Chapin Carpenter – Sometimes Just The Sky CD (Lambent Light)
Sometimes Just The Sky is not a greatest hits endeavor or a remastered compilation. It’s not a celebration or a souvenir. It is a reimagining of a most unusual nature. It is a collection of songs written across the decades, recorded in bucolic western England at Real World Studios with the great producer Ethan Johns. Carpenter sat with new and old friends who circled together in a wooden room and made music, in real time. What we hear is precisely what was played and sung, all at once. There’s a song originally recorded for each of Carpenter’s original studio records, and then there’s a new song, which was aided and abetted by hillside contemplation and a punk poet’s advice. [Vinyl edition due May 4.]
The Cars – Shake It Up [Reissue/1981] CD/2xLP (Rhino/Elektra)
The Cars – Heartbeat City [Reissue/1984] CD/2xLP (Rhino/Elektra)
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts The Cars in April 2018, honoring the legendary band’s incredible musical legacy and enormous commercial success. Rhino kicks off the celebration early with remastered and expanded editions of Shake It Up and Heartbeat City. [180gm vinyl editions also available.]
Critical Mess – Human Prey CD (Metalville)
Critical Mess formed around ex-Cripper vocalist Britta Görtz, Human Prey shows that they have remained faithful to the old-school death metal with which they grew up on. Featuring a blistering guitar solo by Jeff Waters (Annihilator).
Czarface & MF DOOM – Czarface Meets Metalface CD/LP (Silver Age)
Blending DOOM’s trademark abstractions and Czarface’s in-your-face lyrical attack, Czarface Meets Metalface is ripe with cartoon violence, societal observations and pop culture musings. Over banging beats provided by The Czar-Keys, the armored team give you the witty unpredictable treats any hip-hop fan can sink their fangs into. Expect beats, rhymes, and metal as Czarface controlled by Wu-Tang Clan powerhouse Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric team up with everyone’s favorite villain, MF DOOM.
Ramin Djawadi – A Wrinkle In Time [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] CD (Walt Disney)
The soundtrack to the 2018 motion picture includes a score composed by Ramin Djawadi and songs by Sade, Sia and others.
Eagle Twin – The Thundering Heard (Songs Of Hoof And Horn) CD/LP (Southern Lord)
Salt Lake City-based duo Eagle Twin release their long-awaited third LP, The Thundering Heard (Songs Of Hoof And Horn). Eagle Twin’s commanding sound delivers like a tectonic force, where doom and blues collide. Gentry Densley’s dominating low-end vocal tone is like an instrument in itself, rumbling alongside towering riffs, and Tyler Smith’s powerful rhythmic propulsion. It’s a compelling combination, particularly when you add melodious bluesy romp to the equation.
Entourage – Ceremony Of Dreams: Studio Sessions And Outtakes, 1972-1977 3xCD (Tompkins Square)
30 unreleased tracks by Entourage. Sampled by Four Tet and revered in underground circles for their two ‘70s Folkways LPs, The Entourage Music And Theater Ensemble was an ambient folk music group active from 1970-1983. The primary members were Joe Clark saxophones/keyboards, Rusty Clark viola/guitar, Michael S. Smith drums/percussion and Wall Matthews guitars/keys/ percussion.
Frankie Cosmos – Vessel CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
Frankie Cosmos has taken several different shapes since their first full-band album, 2014’s Zentropy, erupted in New York’s DIY music scene. For Vessel the band’s lineup comprises multi-instrumentalists David Maine, Lauren Martin, Luke Pyenson, and Greta Kline. The album’s 18 tracks employ a range of instrumentations and recording methods not found on the band’s prior albums, while maintaining the succinctly sincere nature of Kline’s songwriting. The album’s opening track, “Caramelize,” serves as the thematic overture for Vessel, alluding to topics like dependency, growth, and love, which reemerge throughout the record. Although many of the scenarios and personalities written about on Vessel are familiar territory for Frankie Cosmos, Kline brings a freshly nuanced point of view, and a desire to constantly question the latent meaning of her experiences. Kline’s dissonant lyrics pair with the band’s driving, jangly grooves to create striking moments of musical chemistry.
Gang Of Youths – Go Farther In Lightness CD/2xLP (Red Music)
Second studio album by Australian alternative band. James Clements of Rolling Stone Australia said Go Farther In Lightness “poetically explores the human experience in all its bleakness and triumph, confusion and clarity, heartbreak and joyousness” adding it’s a “remarkable odyssey of an album that’ll engulf you, leaving a bewildered smile on your face, a tear in your eye and a heart that’s full.” [Limited white colored double-vinyl pressing in gatefold jacket also available.]
The Garden – Mirror Might Steal Your Charm CD (Epitaph)
Taking the audience away into a still unfathomed sound world and bringing back some of the scuzzier elements of their earlier work, the duo’s more guitar focused third album is another sublime slice of post-modern pop. Welcome back to a land that’s familiar, slightly out of sync, and a little bit unnerving. [Vinyl edition due May 18.]
The Guess Who – So Long, Bannatyne [Reissue/1971] CD (Iconoclassic)
Digitally remastered and expanded edition. The Guess Who proved they could weather a significant personnel change with 1970’s triumphant Share The Land. The 1971 follow-up, So Long, Bannatyne saw the band branching out, embracing more eclectic and less polished and commercial material, much of it with a considerably darker hue than the band’s earlier material and heavily influenced by John Lennon’s visceral Plastic Ono Band.
Mary Halvorson – Code Girl CD (Firehouse 12)
“Guitarist Mary Halvorson is part traditionalist and part avant-gardist. Probably more the latter. She is a busy collaborator as well, having worked with Taylor Ho Bynum and many other creative band leaders recently. Halvorson has also been playing in projects with other extraordinary guitarists like Noel Akchote and Marc Ribot and the equally innovative pedal steel player Susan Alcorn. Halvorson’s new album, Code Girl, is her first to have lyrics and vocal melodies written by the guitarist.
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite – No Mercy In This Land CD/LP (ANTI-)
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite join forces once again for No Mercy In This Land, the first new music from the pair since the 2013 release of their collaborative album Get Up! which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Blues Albums Chart and won a Grammy Award for Best Blues Album. A musical expression of the kinship between the two, No Mercy In This Land is a blues record which recounts both Ben and Charlie’s personal stories and adds to the sonic history of American struggle and survival. “That first record happened in the studio,” Charlie says, “But then we toured together for nearly two years and it just kept getting better and better, the musical rapport, the band, the two of us personally. When we finally headed back into the studio we were just charged, ready to go, the songs were jumping out like wild horses ready to run.” Harper adds, “Everything I’ve ever done has had one foot in the blues. There has never been any doubt in my mind that if Charlie and I are on the planet together, we are going to be making music. The last record kicked the door open, but it was just the beginning. At this moment, I don’t think I could make a better record than this. I mean that.” [Limited 180gm pressing also available.]
Hexed – Netherworld CD (ViciSolom)
Hexed is a Swedish metal band fronted by the amazing vocalist Tina Gunnarsson. Their music is a blend of thick driving rhythms, melodic guitars and are sometimes progressively orientated, but always with catchy chorus lines and strong powerful female vocals.
Holy Wave – Adult Fear CD/LP (Levitation Partners)
Holy Wave’s third albumsees the Austin, TX quintet forging deeper into hazy synths and expansive melodies, coalescing their myriad of influences into a signature sound.
Insanity Alert – Insanity Alert [Reissue/2014] CD/LP (Season Of Mist)
Austrian party-thrashers Insanity Alert exploded out of the underground in 2014 with their blistering and irreverent crossover thrash attack. Their self-titled debut album is a fast, fun, and filthy affair that highlights their devotion to raging, skating, and ripping ’80s thrash metal. The group features vocalist Amirtha Kidambi.” – Hartford Courant [New album due this year.]
Jukebox The Ghost – Off To The Races CD/LP (Priority)
A giddy, vibrant fifth album from the long-running trio of piano pop wizards. Every generation has a band that puts a fresh twist on piano-rock, and Off To The Races serves as a memorably vivid and kaleidoscopic step forward for the genre.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup CD/LP (ATO)
Domestic issue of the Australian psychedelic rock band band’s 13th studio album, Gumboot Soup, originally released last December. In an interview with Consequence Of Sound, the band’s Stu Mackenzie described their final record of 2017 as a “place for us to put a lot of different ideas that we’re trying to experiment within the song, rather than within the whole record. And for me, some of my favorite songs of the year are on the fifth record. It’s more song-oriented than album -oriented.”
Hayley Kiyoko – Expectations CD (Atlantic)
Placed among a list of Rolling Stone’s “10 New Artists You Need To Know,” Hayley Kiyoko is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, director, and actress.
Bettye LaVette – Things Have Changed CD/2xLP (Verve)
For her tenth album and first album on a major label in nearly fifty years, legendary soul singer Bettye LaVette takes on the songs of Bob Dylan with the grit and experience that makes her one of the greatest soul singers alive. Things Have Changed is a masterpiece of interpretation of one of the greatest songwriters alive, by one of the greatest soul singers alive. Produced by Steve Jordan, the album spans Dylan’s catalogue and features guest appearances by Keith Richards and Trombone Shorty.
The Lawrence Arms – We Are The Champions Of The World CD/2xLP (Fat Wreck Chords)
In honor of The Lawrence Arms’ almost 20 years in the game, Fat Wreck Chords presents a 29-song best-of collection that chronicles the band’s steady evolution over the past two decades.
Light The Torch – Revival CD (Nuclear Blast America)
New album from the metal band featuring former Killswitch Engage vocalist Howard Jones.
The Lonely Biscuits – The Universe In You CD/LP (Soundly Music, LLC)
The Lonely Biscuits is an alternative rock band hailing from Nashville, TN. With a sound reminiscent of early ‘90s slacker rock, the band continues to mature by leaps and bounds here while still showcasing their playful and lighthearted musical personality.
The Manhattan Transfer – The Junction CD (BMG Rights Management)
The legendary vocal group release their first new studio album in 10 years.
Ashley McBryde – Girl Going Nowhere CD (Warner Music Nashville)
Ashley McBryde’s Girl Going Nowhere is a collection reflective of her authentic, take-no-prisoners honesty and willingness to not just look at life, but live it, and reflect that experience in her music. Produced and mixed by award-winner Jay Joyce, the album showcases an artistic vision that proves her to be one of the genre’s keenest working storytellers, bringing unwavering honesty back into a pop-preoccupied genre. [Vinyl edition due April 13.]
Geoff & Maria Muldaur – Pottery Pie [Reissue/1968] CD (Omnivore)
Geoff & Maria Muldaur – Sweet Potatoes [Reissue/1972] CD (Omnivore)
In the early ’60s, Maria Muldaur could be found performing in the Village in NYC, playing alongside regulars like Bob Dylan, Stefan Grossman, David Grisman, and many others. Geoff Muldaur was a founding member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band which Maria later joined. After the Kweskin Jug Band broke up the Muldaurs produced two albums together. This is the first time both of those albums are available on CD in the US.
Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour CD/LP (MCA Nashville)
Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves returns with her reflective third full-length studio album, Golden Hour. Recorded at Sheryl Crow’s Nashville, TN studio, Musgraves told EW that the LP has a “trippy twist” and cites the Bee Gees, Sade, and Neil Young as influences as well as her recent marriage to fellow musician Ruston Kelly. “I was thinking about how there are different masks that we wear that represent different sides of us,” she says of the album’s theme. “None of the masks are solely us, but they’re all us. On this record, there’s the lonely girl, the blissful girl, the new wife, the girl that’s missing her mom, the angry girl, the sarcastic girl, the ‘60s-sequined Cruella de Vil with the beehive, the shy girl, the life of the party, the winner, the loser – they’re all characters. None of them alone are me, but the golden hour is when they all come together, and you see me as a whole.” [Limited edition colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Musta Paraati – Peilitalossa [Reissue/1983] CD (Cleopatra)
Digitally remastered and expanded edition of the 1983 debut album from Finland’s premiere post-punk/goth rockers.
Naked Giants – Sluff CD/LP (New West)
Sluff is the debut release from the Seattle, Washington band, Naked Giants. The specific goal here was to capture “that live energy” in a recording, but as the energies of the studio processes began to mingle, the album became an entity unto itself. Bassist Gianni Aiello explains, “We played our very best on this album, but there are still a good amount of mess-ups and rough edges that give it that ‘first album’ character. The album gets its personality in large part from the play between the planned and unplanned. With producer Steve Fisk (Nirvana, Low, Damien Jurado, The Posies), we could carefully craft some sonic signatures just as easily as stumble upon some random noise or mic technique. There’s no underlying concept for the album, but it’s this sort of order and chaos attitude which gives it a cohesive feeling.” Sluff is a rock and roll record for the modern rock and roller. Some songs are long, some are short, and some are even shorter than that. It’s full of hooks and plenty of guitar solos. The most important thing is that everything hits you all at once, feeling like it could all happen in a matter of seconds.
Octopus – Supernatural Alliance CD/LP (Rise Above)
Supernatural Alliance is the debut album from Detroit’s turbo-powered psychedelic rock experience, Octopus. Featuring members of Big Chief, Speedball, Electric Six and Seduce, amongst others, the rock & roll pedigree on display here is massive. If the music on Supernatural Alliance tells you anything, it’s that the spirit of low-slung and bowel-rattling psych rock is alive and well. Veering from thunderous, Sabbath-fueled rampages like “Beyond The Center” and the album’s mighty title track to the piano-driven, old school rock ‘n’ roll clatter of “Strike (While The Iron is Hot)” and the woozy, kaleido-blues of the wryly titled “Fleetwood Mac,” it’s a bold and supremely confident opening salvo from a band that seems destined for big things. [Limited edition colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Lindi Ortega – Liberty CD/LP (Soundly Music, LLC)
New release from the country music singer/songwriter. Lindi wrote half of the 12 tracks on her fifth studio album, working with co-writers Aaron Raitiere, Bruce Wallace and John Paul White (formerly of the Civil Wars). Liberty is what Ortega calls “a three-part concept album reflecting loss, seance, resurrection and freedom.”
Primordial – Exile Amongst The Ruins CD/2xLP (Metal Blade)
Hitting home with what vocalist A.A. Nemtheanga describes as “a direct energy” and wielding an urgency that is undeniable, the veteran Irish quintet once again effortlessly blend elements of Celtic folk and black metal on their ninth full-length, Exile Amongst The Ruins. [Limited edition colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Red Sun Rising -Thread CD (Razor & Tie)
Produced by Matt Hyde (Deftones, AFI, Porno For Pyros) and mixed by Jay Ruston, Thread continues to expand on Red Sun Rising’s concept of mixing different genres and influences to create a unique sound.
Kim Richey – Edgeland CD/LP (Yep Roc)
Since appearing on the Nashville music scene in the mid-’90s, Kim Richey has been nominated for two Grammy awards, recorded seven studio albums, and collaborated with everyone from Trisha Yearwood to Jason Isbell. After a nearly five-year hiatus, Richey returns with her eighth studio album, Edgeland. Richey teamed up with producer Brad Jones at his studio Alex the Great Recording in Nashville during the summer of 2017, where she created a 12-track collection of work showcasing her Americana roots, songwriting prowess, and musical adaptability. Special guests on the record include Chuck Prophet, Robyn Hitchcock, Pat Sansone, and more.
Saxon – Saxon [Reissue/1979] CD/LP (Union Square)
Saxon – Wheels Of Steel [Reissue/1980] CD/LP (Union Square)
Saxon – Strong Arm Of The Law [Reissue/1980] CD/LP (Union Square)
CD and vinyl reissues of the NWOBHM pioneers’ first three albums.
The Shacks – Haze CD/LP (Big Crown)
“The Shacks were recently featured in an iPhone 8 commercial, but they could have popped up in nearly any era by the sound of their wonderful new album Haze. They’ve made huge waves in 2018, but the tunes could be pure ‘68. Rotary organ like a lost Kingsmen joint? Check. A pouty, teen-drama vocal like the Shangri-Las? Oh, yeah. These anachronistic twentysomethings are proud to be the odd men and women out of the digital-recording rat race.” – Billboard
Red Shahan – Culbertson County CD/LP (7013)
Some artists from Texas take the obvious blacktop roads and make country music with the typical Lone Star buzzwords, like bluebonnets and longhorns. Others, like Red Shahan, prefer to ride the Texas dirt roads and blend in some rock, Americana and blues with their country while touching on the grittier side of life in Texas. The sounds on Culberson County range from soft and subtle to hard and twangy. His lyrics jump the typical Texas songwriter tracks and deal with everything from the struggles of a traveling musician missing his family and paying the bills, to the dark methamphetamine fueled corners of society.
Shotgun Rider – Palo Duro CD (Torrez Music Group)
A mix of country twang and guitar-fueled rock & roll stomp, as epic and darkly cinematic as the Texas landscape that inspired it.
Sons Of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile CD/2xLP (Impulse)
Sons Of Kemet is the iconoclastic mix of tenor sax, tuba and double drums. On this third studio album, they bring a genre defying approach that celebrates the restless exploration of identity within the Caribbean diaspora within the UK. Your Queen Is A Reptile was recorded in London with a host of guests spanning the breadth of the U.K. scene including jungle legend Congo Natty and poet Joshua Idehen.
Soundtrack – Isle Of Dogs CD (Abkco)
Includes Academy Award-winning composer Alexandre Desplat’s original score, compositions from acclaimed Japanese films Seven Samurai and Drunken Angel, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s brand of American psychedelia, and The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra’s eccentric euphonies. [Vinyl edition due June 1.]
Romain Virgo – LoveSick CD (VP)
Reggae star Romain Virgo takes listeners through a cornucopia of emotions on his new album. The 16-track album explores the ups and downs of romantic relationships, and stages such as yearning, heartache, lust, and love, and includes a cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.”
The Voidz – Virtue CD/2xLP (Cult Recordings/RCA)
The Voidz (formerly Julian Casablancas + The Voidz) return with Virtue, their first new album in nearly four years. “When Julian Casablancas looks at the modern world, he sees the increasingly blurry distinction between lies and truth. On Virtue, his second album with the Voidz, the New York rocker ponders whether it’s possible to, as he told Vulture, ‘make complex truth sexy.’ He attempts this feat with a more eclectic approach than on the Voidz’s frustratingly abrasive 2014 debut, Tyranny. With Virtue, Casablancas casts a wide sonic net—from death-metal growl to chirpy falsetto, effects-laden synth-pop to lo-fi garage-punk—and doubles down on the Voidz’s fiercely political focus.” – Slant
Zeke – Hellbender CD/LP (Relapse)
Seattle punk legends Zeke return with their first new album in over 14 years. Short, fast, loud, and to the f**kin’ point, Hellbender contains 15 tracks laced with Zeke’s signature mix of hyper speed thrash-punk and Motörhead possessed, hard as nails, rock n’ roll.
Rob Zombie – Astro-Creep: 2000 Live CD/2xLP (Geffen)
1995’s Astro-Creep: 2000 (Songs Of Love, Destruction And Other Synthetic Delusions Of The Electric Head) was the final studio album by White Zombie and is performed front-to-back here by Rob Zombie at the Riot Fest in September 2016. [Vinyl reissues of the Rob Zombie back catalog are also available.]
DVDs + Blu-ray:
Ayreon – Ayreon DVD/Blu-ray (Music Theories)
After creating rock operas in the studio for more than 20 years, prog mastermind Arjen Lucassen, aka Ayreon, finally took his Universe to the stage in September 2017. The best of these shows, Ayreon Universe is a full-on rock extravaganza, featuring songs from all Ayreon albums. Guests include Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot), Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gentle Storm), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Mike Mills (Toehider), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion), Irene Jansen, Robert Soeterboek (Star One), John Jaycee Cuijpers (Praying Mantis), Edward Reekers (Kayak), Jay van Feggelen, Maggy Luyten (Nightmare) and Lisette van den Berg (Scarlet Stories).
This Week’s Vinyl Exclusives:
Auri – Auri 2xLP (Nuclear Blast)
Released last week on CD – now available on vinyl. Nightwish leader/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen has joined forces with his wife, Finnish singer Johanna Kurkela, as Auri. Auri celebrate a kind of epic-romantic ethno pop that seems to float in quaint spheres, which are intangible yet unleash multi-faceted sounds capes filled with powerful imagery. These sound cascades are based on Celtic traditional sounds, atmospheric-cinematic dream sequences, melancholic melodies and a touch of transfigured mysticism; beautiful instrumentation yielding an unfathomable depth.
By The Grace Of God – Above Fear 12” (State Of Mind)
Limited pink and black and limited purple and black colored vinyl pressings of a new EP by the seminal hardcore band.
Caveman & Bam Bam – Early Man 12” (Jett Plastic Recordings)
Ten high quality punk/stone age stompers.
Chromatics – Tick Of The Clock [Reissue/2012] 12” (Italians Do It Better)
Limited edition 180gm ultra-clear dipped in icy blue colored vinyl repress. “Tick Of The Clock” is a 2012 single featuring the Drive soundtrack number along with Visione’s “Stroke Of Midnight” remix version and an “Extended Overdrive” mix.
Corrupted – Felicific Algorithim LP (Cold Spring)
Corrupted is a mysterious Japanese doom metal band, formed in 1994. Immensely down-tuned guitar and crushingly slow bass are shrouded under deep layers of feedback.
Count Five – Psychotic Reaction LP (Craft Recordings)
Limited 180gm vinyl reissue of the first and only album by the American garage rock band. It
features the hit single of the same name which reached #5 in the Billboard charts in 1966.
Cut Chemist – Die Cut 2xLP (Cold Busted)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. On his long-awaited second full-length solo album Die Cut, the trailblazing DJ and producer underwent a creative birth reflected in its 17 tracks. The artist augments his signature approach famously earmarked by impeccable sample selection, searing scratching, and big-screen worthy arrangements with the inclusion of A-list musicians, songwriter structure, and a whole lot of team spirit including Los Angeles producer, curator and purveyor of culture, Carlos Nino.
Damnation Of Adam Blessing – The Damnation Of Adam Blessing [Reissue/1969] LP (Exitstencil)
Damnation Of Adam Blessing – Second Damnation [Reissue/1970] LP (Exitstencil)
One the biggest and best Ohio bands of the era, Damnation (taking their name from a pulp novel) recorded three LPs on United Artists, 1969,1970,1971, then changed name to Glory for one LP in 1973. The band started from a breakup of two popular local bands, the Purple Haze (formerly The Alarm Clocks) and The Society.
The Damned – Stiff Singles 1976-1977 5×7” (BMG Rights Management)
Limited edition 7” vinyl singles including the first-ever punk single “New Rose” and all the other early hits from the impressively chaotic punk quartet. All singles have been recreated with their original artwork, including the ultra-rare, previously fan club only “Stretcher Case Baby”. Also included is a Damned embroidered patch.
Donovan Wolfington – Waves LP+MP3 (Topshelf)
“Genre-bending, styles-mixing, mood-shaking, tune-crashing and all things in between. On Waves, Donovan Wolfington manage to ascend above the youthful naivety of their past work with bold new instrumental outbursts, blood-pumping energy and memorable song-writing, while still staying true to themselves with the general genre theme of a blasting heavy indie (with as much emo and pop-punk stacked into it, as possible).” – Sputnik Music
Elephant Gym – Balance  12”+MP3 (Topshelf)
Elephant Gym – Angle  LP+MP3 (Topshelf)
Elephant Gym – Work  LP+MP3 (Topshelf)
“It takes a fair bit for any band to rise above the constant white noise of new music, but Taiwanese three-piece math rock collective Elephant Gym did just that. And more astonishingly, they have garnered a large, devoted following in both Eastern and Western spheres of the globe, with less than an hour’s worth of recorded music to their name through their five years of existence. Comprised of siblings Tif Chang Kai-ting (or, KT) and Tell Chang Kai-hsiang on bass/ vocals and guitar respectively, and Tu Chia-Chin on drums, Elephant Gym helms an infectiously groovy and dreamy take on math-rock.” – Bandwagon
Glassjaw – Material Control LP (Century Media)
Seminal Long Island, NY post-hardcore band Glassjaw make their long-awaited return with first full-length effort in 15 years. Limited 180gm pressing in a gatefold jacket.
Good Lovelies – Shapeshifters LP (Good Lovelies/Fontana North)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Toronto based group has, over the course of their decade-plus career, covered plenty of stylistic ground, adding tinges of pop, roots, jazz, and even hip-hop to their country folk core.
Gulfer – Dog Bless LP+MP3/Cassette (Topshelf)
“One of the last revival-style emo bands standing sings about boredom and getting older on their frankly audacious second album.” — Pitchfork
The Idiot Kids – Skeleton Boy b/w Bonfire 7”+MP3 (Jett Plastic Recordings)
The Idiot Kids represent the new age of Detroit rock ‘n’ roll. Limited white 7” vinyl single.
Weldon Irvine – The Sisters LP (Nature Sounds)
Keyboardist and composer Weldon Irvine is among the most celebrated jazz-funk artists of all time. He was Nina Simone’s bandleader for years and wrote the lyrics for her iconic civil rights anthem “To Be Young, Gifted and Black”. Throughout the 1970s, Irvine released a series of seminal albums full of deep, soulful, funky grooves. The Sisters is a collection of lost tracks and demos from his late-1970s studio sessions with fellow jazz-funk luminary Don Blackman.
Isis – Mosquito Control [Reissue/1998] 12” (Hydrahead)
Vinyl reissue of the first studio release by the post-metal band.
Fumio Itabashi – Watarase [Reissue/1982] LP (Mule Musiq)
Vinyl reissue of the second solo piano album of the Japanese jazz pianist Fumio Itabashi, remastered from the original recordings. While diving deep into the seven compositions on Watarese, any sensible listener finds out, that the instrumental piano pieces are somehow soulfully connected to what Keith Jarrett plays on his legendary live album The Köln Concert (1975). Like Jarrett, Itabashi does not play his notes in an academic sense. He lets them fly, gives them some kind a life of their own, hits the piano keys deeply emotional and injects his compositions and interpretations some kind of nervous human soul. In terms of style, some call his Watarase recordings post-bop, others contemporary jazz.
Kooley High – Never Come Down LP (Mecca)
Kooley High has seen many acts come and go since their inception in 2008. This perseverance has led to several acclaimed releases, and the opportunity to craft their newest album with the assistance of Grammy award winning producer 9th Wonder. Never Come Down is a testament to Kooley’s growth sonically while MC’s Charlie Smarts and Tab-One have elevated their wordplay along with DJ Ill Digitz’ scratch work.
Lifted Bells – Minor Tantrums LP (Run For Cover)
Full-length debut from Chicago, IL’s Lifted Bells which features members of Their / They’re / There, Braid, Hey Mercedes and Stay Ahead of the Weather.
Jeremy Loops – Critical As Water LP (Yebo Music)
Juxtaposing booming city rhythms with lilting folk, Jeremy Loops perfectly captures the duality of his South African life on his highly anticipated new album.
The Music Machine – (Turn On) The Machine [Reissue/1966] LP (Craft Recordings)
While their West Coast brethren were slipping flowers into their hair, these ahead of their time L.A. proto-punkers were dyeing their hair black and exploring the dark side of psychedelia. (Turn On) The Machine, the Music Machine’s legendary 1966 debut album, is home to the group’s signature hit “Talk Talk” and fellow single “The People in Me” plus innovative covers of Neil Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry,” George Harrison’s “Taxman,” and Rudy Martinez’s “96 Tears.” 180gm vinyl pressing.
The Pandoras – Hey! It’s The Pandoras LP+MP3/Cassette (Burger)
Released last week on CD – now available on vinyl. New mini-album from Los Angeles garage-gals, their first in 29 years and the first with guitarist Kim Shattuck (The Muffs).
Rod Picott – Out Past The Wires  2xLP (Welding Rod)
Rod Picott’s eye for the revealing detail and sense of empathy has brought praise from music critics since his debut. Those quantities, as well as a potent defiance, is on full display across Out Past The Wires, the latest and one of the most potent pieces of work from Picott since he left his hammer to rust and sharpened a new set of tools all those years ago.
Ryan Porter – The Optimist 3xLP (World Galaxy)
West Coast Get Down’s Ryan Porter ushers in an instrumental body of work that encompasses the respite of Los Angeles jazz music. The Optimist pulls together veterans of the L.A. music scene, including West Coast Get Down alumni Kamasi Washington (tenor saxophone), Miles Mosley (upright bass), Cameron Graves (piano, fender rhodes), Tony Austin (drums), Jumaane Smith (trumpet), Edward Livingston (upright bass), Aaron Haggerty (drums), Brandon Coleman (fender rhodes), Dominic Therioux (electric bass), Robert Miller (drums), and Lyndon Rochelle (drums). [CD edition due April 6.]
Steve Reich – Pulse/Quartet LP (Nonesuch)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Pulse (2015) is performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) – an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced – and Quartet (2013) is played by the Colin Currie Group, an ensemble led by percussionist Colin Currie that specializes in the music of Steve Reich; these are also the ensembles that gave the world premiere performances of the respective works.
Max Richter – Hostiles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 2xLP (Deutsche Grammophon)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. The latest film score by the award-winning composer evokes with beauty and restraint the wild landscapes of a world in which individuals collide with forces beyond their control. Hostiles is set in the American West of the early 1890s, when the Second Industrial Revolution was fast changing society and the native population had finally been defeated after decades of war with the US Army. Echoing the compelling human drama of the film, the score for this period Western, performed by the Air Lyndhurst Orchestra, combines the haunting stillness and elegiac beauty of Richter’s Waltz with Bashir score with the noir-like intensity of his recent soundtrack for the BBC TV series Taboo.
Steppenwolf – Live [Reissue/1970] LP (Friday Music)
Limited edition 180gm audiophile edition.
C.W. Stoneking – Jungle Blues [Reissue/2008] LP (King Hokum)
Recently reissued on CD – now available on vinyl. The fourth album by Australian Hokum Blues musician C.W. Stoneking. In 2009, Stoneking received five ARIA Award nominations, Best Blues and Roots Album, Best Independent Release, Best Male Artist and Best Album Cover Art, eventually winning Best Blues and Roots Album for Jungle Blues.
Torae – For The Record [Reissue/2011] 2xLP (Internal Affairs)
15 tracks worth of high-caliber production and impeccable rhyme. Limited colored vinyl pressing.
George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Bad To The Bone [Reissue/1982] LP (Capitol)
George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Born To Be Bad [Reissue/1988] LP (Capitol)
George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Greatest Hits: 30 Years Of Rock [Reissue/2004] 2xLP (Capitol)
Limited 180gm vinyl reissues of the blues-rock band’s fifth and seventh albums, plus a first-time vinyl pressing of the 2004 hits collection.
The Vaccines – Combat Sports LP (Capitol)
The Vaccines return to their roots with an album of songs ranging from pure rock and roll to power-pop. [CD edition due April 6.]
Various Artists – Night Palms LP (Hobo Camp)
Night Palms explores the vibes of AOR, G-Funk, jazz, boogie, and soul; synthesizing these genres to a form more loaded and laid-back (perhaps on a careless night time stroll, returning from the dispensary or watering hole, to the jacuzzi, houseboat, or waterbed). A smoother approach to funk, similar in production ethos to many classic G-Funk tracks (where producers created or sampled the smoothest yacht-rock and jazz-funk moments to create bass heavy rap), Night Palms takes it one step further, offering original tracks that return more to the inspiratory sources of G-Funk… sonically and chillingly cruising at the perfect tempo.
Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe [Reissue/1998] LP (Geffen)
Rob Zombie – American Made Music To Strip By [Reissue/1999] 2xLP (Geffen)
Rob Zombie – The Sinister Urge [Reissue/2001] LP (Geffen)
Rob Zombie – Educated Horses [Reissue/2006] LP (Geffen)
Rob Zombie – Zombie Live  2xLP (Geffen)
Rob Zombie – Spookshow International Live [Reissue/2015] 2xLP (Geffen)
Vinyl reissues of the White Zombie frontman’s first three albums, the remix album American Made Music To Strip By, and two live shows.
Frankie Cosmos – Vessel (Sub Pop)
Frankie Cosmos has taken several different shapes since their first full-band album, 2014’s Zentropy, erupted in New York’s DIY music scene. For Vessel the band’s lineup comprises multi-instrumentalists David Maine, Lauren Martin, Luke Pyenson, and Greta Kline. The album’s 18 tracks employ a range of instrumentations and recording methods not found on the band’s prior albums, while maintaining the succinctly sincere nature of Kline’s songwriting
Gulfer – Dog Bless (Topshelf)
“One of the last revival-style emo bands standing sings about boredom and getting older on their frankly audacious second album.” — Pitchfork