New vinyl featuring NZ artists and more

Image from amazon.co.uk

New vinyl features fantastic new releases by Kiwi artists; Hex and Marlon Williams. Our vinyl collection keeps getting bigger and better. Come and have a look.

Hex – The hill temple
“HEX is the progeny of wives Kiki and GG Van Newtown, a musical love affair who draw on influences spanning classical to folkto punk to metal. Together with Jason Erskine they align quick, incisive lyrics and rock opera levels of riffage to reflect the chaos approaching post-capitalism with fury and laughter.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Marlon Williams – Make way for love
“Known for his effortlessly distinctive voice, Make Way For Love marks Marlon’s exponential growth as a songwriter. Throughout 11 original songs, he explores new musical terrain and reveals himself in an unprecedented way in the wake of a fractured relationship. While Make Way For Love draws on Marlon’s own story, it captures the vagaries of relationships we’ve all been through: the bliss, ache, uncertainty, and bitterness.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Rolling Stones – On air
“A collection of rarely heard radio recordings from their formative years. The songs, including eight the band have never recorded or released commercially, were originally broadcast on bygone UK BBC shows such as Saturday Club, Top Gear, Rhythm and Blues and The Joe Loss Pop Show between 1963 and 1965.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Nick Cave – Abattoir blues ; The lyre of Orpheus
“This masterful double album was produced by Nick Launay at Studio Ferber in Paris in March–April 2004 with Cave splitting drumming duties for the two parts, with Jim Sclavunos on ‘Abattoir Blues’ and Thomas Wydler on ‘Lyre Of Orpheus’. The entire album was completed in twelve days, and notably, the last track on the album, ‘O Children’, was featured in the 2010 film Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part One. The song is also referenced as an achievement in Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7!” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Belle and Sebastian – How to solve our human problems
“Taken as a whole piece, though, the striking thing about How to Solve Our Human Problems is neither the finely honed sense of craft — evident in both the compositions and sharp production — nor how the group now excels in churning out a disco epic like the six-minute ‘Sweet Dew Lee.’ Rather, it’s how Belle and Sebastian have completely devoted themselves to joy, squeezing out any remnants of melancholy that may have lingered in their music.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Penguin Cafe Orchestra – The imperfect sea
“The album title refers to a saying by his father that ”we wade in a sea of imperfections,” reflecting upon the idea that beauty can be found amongst the chaos. ”If there is a narrative to the album it’s coming to the acceptance of the imperfections in all aspects of life; moreover, the recognition that these imperfections and tiny randomnesses are in fact what make up the best parts,” Arthur explains. Predominantly self-composed, the new album also features covers of electronic works by Simian Mobile Disco and Kraftwerk, along with a re-working of Simon’s ‘Now Nothing’.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Maps, Middle-Earth & Miss D: New film and TV books

Cover from Syndetics

Take a journey through your favourite movies with the gorgeously illustrated Cinemaps: an atlas of great movies. New books on movies and TV shows also feature the intriguing Movie Geek and The Girl in the Show. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverCinemaps : an atlas of great movies / maps by Andrew DeGraff ; essays by A. D. Jameson.
“This beautifully illustrated atlas of beloved movies is an essential reference for cinephiles, fans of great films, and anyone who loves the art of mapmaking. Acclaimed artist Andrew DeGraff has created beautiful hand-painted maps of all your favorite films, from King Kong and North by Northwest to The Princess Bride , Fargo , Pulp Fiction , even The Breakfast Club –with the routes of major characters charted in meticulous cartographic detail.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMovie geek : the Den of Geek! guide to the movieverse / Simon Brew with Ryan Lambie & Louisa Mellor ; foreword by Mark Kermode.
“Movie Geek is a nerdy dive into popular movies, brought to you by the hugely popular entertainment and pop culture fan website Den Of Geek. Discover hidden stories behind movies you love (and, er, don’t love so much), and find out just why the most dangerous place to be is in a Tom Hanks film.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girl in the show : three generations of comedy, culture, and feminism / Anna Fields.
“For fans of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer–and every other “funny woman”–comes a candid feminist comedy manifesto exploring the sisterhood between women’s comedy and women’s liberation. At its heart, The Girl in the Show captures the urgency of our continued struggle towards equality, allowing the reader to both revel in–and rebel against–our collective ideas of “women’s comedy.”” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI’ll have what she’s having : how Nora Ephron’s three iconic films saved the romantic comedy / Erin Carlson.
“A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy– When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle –which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham. In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiss D & me : life with the invincible Bette Davis / Kathryn Sermak with Danelle Morton.
“For ten years Kathryn Sermak was at Bette Davis’s side–first as an employee, and then as her closest friend–and in Miss D and Me she tells the story of the great star’s harrowing but inspiring final years, a story fans have been waiting decades to hear. Miss D and Me is a window into the world of the unique and formidable Bette Davis, told by the person who perhaps knew her best of all.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiddle-Earth from script to screen : building the world of The lord of the rings & The hobbit / foreword by Peter Jackson ; written by Daniel Falconer – additional writing by KM Rice.
“For the first time ever, the epic, in-depth story of the creation of one of the most famous fantasy worlds ever imagined–an illustrious compendium that reveals the breathtaking craftsmanship, artistry, and technology behind the magical Middle-earth of the blockbuster film franchises, The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar Trek beyond : the makeup artistry of Joel Harlow / Joe Nazzaro.
“With the release of Star Trek Beyond in 2016, viewers were given a spectacular visual treat as a whole host of new aliens made their appearance for the first time in the rebooted franchise. At the heart of the process of bringing these breathtaking intergalactic species to life was Academy Award-winning make-up artist Joel Harlow. Star Trek Beyond – The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow presents the extraordinary work done by Harlow and his crew. Featuring fascinating pencil sketches, stunning concept art and beautiful photography, this visually arresting book gives fans a unique in-depth look into the remarkable work that went into this immensely popular movie.” (Syndetics summary)

New CDs in our AV collection

More new CDs, including fantastic box sets from The Fall and Wilco, have been added in our popular CD collection. Check also the exciting newcomers such as Moses Sumney and Sunflower Bean.

Sunflower Bean – Human ceremony
“Drawing inspiration from a vast pool of influences such as Black Sabbath and The Cure, Sunflower Bean refine their sound and take it to the next level on Human Ceremony. It is a crystalline, bright, sparkling record, tipping its cap to the likes of The Vaselines, The Velvet Underground, The Feelies, and more, loaded with an innate artfulness that belies the band’s young age: all three members are under 21.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Eminem – Revival
“Eminem releases his new album and it features collaborations with Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys, Pink, Kehlani, Skylar Grey, X Ambassadors and Phresher.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Moses Sumney – Aromanticism
Aromanticism is a concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape. It seeks to interrogate the social constructions around romance. The debut includes single “Doomed,” as well as new versions of standouts “Lonely World” and “Plastic.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The Fall – Singles 1978-2016
“The band is noted for its prolific output: as of autumn 2017 they have released over 32 studio albums, and more than triple that counting live albums and other releases. This is the first collection of all The Fall singles recorded across a multitude of labels and this edited 3-CD set features all of the A-Sides.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Wilco – Being There [bonus tracks]
“The DELUXE EDITION builds on the original with 15 bonus tracks released for the first time, including alternate versions of tracks “I Got You” and “Say You Miss Me”. It also features Wilco’s 20-song performance at the Troubadour from November 12, 1996, combining songs from A.M.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The Residents – 80 aching orphans
“Extended, 4CD anthology set chronicling the career of the legendary San Francisco experimentalists and curated with the band themselves, from the debut 1972 single to the band’s most recent album, The Ghost Of Hope. •Singles, fan favourites, album highlights, live recordings and material never before available on CD.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

INXS – Kick 30
“4-Disc 30th Anniversary Edition featuring the remastered original album, B-Sides, rare mixes & more across 3CDs plus a Blu-ray disc with the full Kick album mixed in Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound by Giles Martin & all the music videos. Housed within DVD sized ‘fan-deluxe’ packaging including 48-page booklet with interviews, essays & rare photos.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Jam – 1977
“40th anniversary five-disc box set (4CD/1DVD), celebrating the Jam’s debut year when they released two albums and three hit singles. Features ‘In The City’ & ‘This Is The Modern World’ – original albums re-mastered as well as unreleased demos and live recordings. The DVD features TV appearances and promo videos from 1977.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Dr. John – The Atco albums collection
“All seven studio albums included in the collection have been remastered for the first time. The set features: Gris-Gris (1968), Babylon (1969), Remedies (1970), The Sun, Moon & Herbs (1971), Dr. John’s Gumbo (1972), In The Right Place (1973), and Desitive.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The life of a song: New books on popular music

Check out this wide range of intriguing books on popular music. They include The Life of Songs which is the fascinating backstories of hit songs, the rare study about ‘post-rock’, and the insightful biography of Joni Mitchell.

Syndetics book coverA brief history of album covers / Jason Draper ; foreword by Paul Du Noyer.
“Cover art can be an influential factor in a record’s success, and some designs are so memorable that they go down in design and music history – who doesn’t instantly recognize the covers for the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon? Now celebrate some of the greatest covers of the last 50 years alongside entertaining and informative text, in this great little book that will make an ideal gift for any music aficionado or art and design enthusiast.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe life of a Song : the fascinating stories behind 50 of the world’s best-loved Songs / edited by David Cheal and Jan Dalley.
“Each 600-word piece gives a mini-biography of a single song, from its earliest form (often a spiritual, or a jazz number), through the various covers and changes, often morphing from one genre to another, always focusing on the ‘biography’ of the song itself while including the many famous artists who have performed or recorded it. The selection covers a wide spectrum of the songs we all know and love – rock, pop, folk, jazz and more. Each piece is pithy, sparkily written, knowledgeable, entertaining, full of anecdotes and surprises. They combine deep musical knowledge with the vivid background of the performers and musicians, and of course the often intriguing social and political background against which the songs were created.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new electronic guitarist : new technologies and techniques for the modern guitar player / Marty Cutler.
“In The New Electronic Guitarist, Marty Cutler puts more than thirty years of expertise at your fingertips, explaining the nature and history of guitar synthesis before walking you through all the tools you need to find your sound. This unprecedented, pragmatically subjective book contains everything you need to know while scouting and adapting today’s finest products and technologies to your favorite guitar. From the Beatles to Prince, from Hendrix to EVH, all the greats have obsessively managed and altered every element that influences their tone. Why restrict your creative potential? Boldly take your twentieth century rig into the twenty-first with The New Electronic Guitarist !” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReckless daughter : a portrait of Joni Mitchell / David Yaffe.
“Joni Mitchell may be the most influential female recording artist and composer of the late twentieth century. In Reckless Daughter , the music critic David Yaffe tells the remarkable, heart-wrenching story of how the blond girl with the guitar became a superstar of folk music in the 1960s, a key figure in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1970s, and the songwriter who spoke resonantly to, and for, audiences across the country. Reckless Daughter is the story of an artist and an era that have left an indelible mark on American music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaximum volume : the life of Beatles producer George Martin, the early years, 1926-1966 / Kenneth Womack.
Maximum Volume offers a glimpse into the mind, the music, and the man behind the sound of the Beatles. Martin s working-class childhood, his education, and his musical influences at London s Guildhall School of Music and Drama profoundly shaped his early career in the BBC s Classical Music department and as head of the EMI Group s Parlophone Records. These musical influences would become the fount out of which flowed the genius behind his seven years producing the Beatles incredible body of work, including such albums as Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSo much things to say : the oral history of Bob Marley / text and photographs by Roger Steffens ; introduction by Linton Kwesi Johnson.
“Roger Steffens is one of the world’s leading Bob Marley experts. He toured with the Wailers in the 1970s and was closely acquainted with Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and the rest of the band members. Over several decades he has interviewed more than seventy-five friends, business managers, relatives and confidants–many speaking publicly for the first time. Forty years in the making, So Much Things to Say weaves this rich testimony into a definitive telling of the life of the reggae king–the full, inside account of how a boy from the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, became a cultural icon and inspiration to millions around the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPop stars in my pantry : a memoir of pop mags and clubbing in the 1980s / Paul Simper.
“Author, columnist and TV writer Paul Simper had a front-row seat at one of pop stardom’s most exciting shows: the 1980s. His memoir, Pop Stars in My Pantry, is an account of a wide-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears lad from Wiltshire landing in London just as the capital’s club scene went into orbit. As a pop writer and fellow clubber, he had unique access to the artists who would become the biggest pop acts of the decade.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFearless : the making of post-rock / Jeanette Leech.
“In 1994, the music critic Simon Reynolds coined a new term: post-rock. It was an attempt to give a narrative to music that used the tools of rock but did something utterly different with it, broadening its scope by fusing elements of punk, dub, electronic music, minimalism, and more into something wholly new. Drawing on dozens of new interviews and packed full of stories never before told, Fearless explores how the strands of post-rock entwined, frayed, and created one of the most diverse bodies of music ever to huddle under one name.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMeet me in the bathroom : rebirth and rock and roll in New York City, 2001-2011 / Lizzy Goodman.
“In this fascinating and vibrant oral history, acclaimed journalist Lizzy Goodman charts New York’s explosive musical transformation in the early 2000s. Drawing on over 200 original interviews, Goodman follows the meteoric rise of the artists that revolutionised the cultural landscape and made Brooklyn the hipster capital of cool–including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend. Meet Me in the Bathroom is the definitive account of an iconic era in rock-and-roll.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUncommon people : the rise and fall of the rock stars / David Hepworth.
“In Uncommon People, David Hepworth zeroes in on defining moments and turning points in the lives of forty rock stars from 1955 to 1995, taking us on a journey to burst a hundred myths and create a hundred more.” (Syndetics summary)

Exciting new CD arrivals

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. They include the new albums by Bjork and Taylor Swift. Fantastic box-sets keep coming to our extensive collection and REM’s much-loved Automatic for the People is back as a super deluxe box-set!

New Albums

Björk, Utopia
“2017 release, the ninth studio album from the Icelandic singer/songwriter. Björk began working on Utopia almost immediately after releasing Vulnicura in 2015. The artwork was created by Jesse Kanda.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Taylor Swift, Reputation
“2017 release, the sixth studio album from the pop singer/songwriter. Reputation is the long-awaited follow-up to her 2014 album 1989. One of the leading contemporary recording artists, Taylor is known for narrative songs about her personal life, which have received widespread media coverage.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rest
“The eleven essays on Rest are nothing if not sure-footed, proffering a compelling fusion of gleaming, string-emblazoned modern electro-pop and cinematically textured avant-chanson – their magical music box melodies kissed by bruised, introspective, occasionally disquieting lyrics.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

U2, Songs of experience
“U2 return with their hotly anticipated new studio album ‘Songs of Experience’. The new album – their 14th – is the companion piece to 2014’s ‘Songs of Innocence’, the two titles taking reference from English poet William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’. ” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Morrissey, Low in high school
“Low in High School is Morrissey’s first studio album since 2014 and was recorded at La Fabrique Studios in France and in Rome at Ennio Morricone’s Forum Studios. Morrissey’s talent for combining political statements and beautiful melodies is more prevalent than ever on Low in High-School, capturing the zeitgeist of an ever-changing world.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Box Set/ Reissue

Bob Dylan, Trouble no more : the bootleg series vol. 13, 1979-1981 : deluxe edition
“30-track set spanning his controversial ‘gospel years’ 1979-1981. Includes 14 previously unreleased songs + live performances, rare studio outtakes and more.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

REM, Automatic for the people : 25th anniversary deluxe edition
“Commemorating the album’s 25th Anniversary, this remastered Deluxe edition boxset features previously unreleased material, including 20 never-before-heard demos, and the previously unreleased tracks “Mike’s Pop Song” and “Devil Rides Backwards.” A Blu-ray disc offers the full album (with bonus track “Photograph” featuring Natalie Merchant) mixed in Dolby Atmos, plus a high-resolution master of the album, music videos, and the original 1992 EPK. Also included is Live At The 40 Watt Club 11/19/92 – a live set performed in R.E.M.’s hometown of Athens, GA.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Black Sabbath, The end
“The End is a celebration of Black Sabbath’s final hometown concert at Birmingham’s Genting Arena on February 4th, 2017. This unforgettable farewell show from one of the biggest bands in the world will be released by Eagle Vision on November 17th, 2017. The limited deluxe collector’s edition contains: The End on DVD and Blu-ray; The End on double CD; The Angelic Sessions on CD; a 32-page perfect bound book.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Ramones, Rocket to Russia [deluxe].
“Contains two different mixes of the album: a remastered version of the original and a new 40th Anniversary Tracking Mix by originalRocket To Russia engineer/mixer Ed Stasium. The collection also includes a number of unreleased studio recordings, plus a previously unissued recording of the band’s 1977 concert in Glasgow, Scotland.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Monkees, Monkees 50 : classic album collection
“THE Monkees 50 is a three-CD set packed with 50 unforgettable songs from the band’s historic career, including She Makes Me Laugh and You Bring The Summer” (adapted from mightyape.com)

Have a browse of recent additions to our CD collection

New albums by big names such as Beck, Robert Plant and Pink are now here in our proud CD collection. The new star Kelela’s debut album and Cat Steven’s The Laughing Apple which celebrates his 50 year career, have also arrived. Check them out!

Beck, Colors
“The album is cheerier and more experimental than Beck’s last album, something attributed to his happiness with his wife, Marissa Ribisi. Those good feelings permeate the music, an experimental collage of bright pop sounds. Possibly the most aptly titled work in Beck’s storied discography, Colors unfolds in an intoxicating rainbow of auditory tricks and treats, making it a shoo-in for summeriest smash of the autumn season.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

St. Vincent, Masseduction
“Themes of power and sex, imperiled relationships and death slice through the album, St. Vincent – aka Annie Clark’s first since her 2014 breakout ‘St. Vincent.’ The thirteen tracks on ‘MASSEDUCTION’ swirl with guitar and piano, synths and strings, and drum beats that punch with purpose. ‘MASSEDUCTION’ is the culmination of years of writing, with songs crafted from voice memos, text messages, and snippets of melodies that came to Clark while traveling the globe.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Robert Plant, Carry fire
“Robert Plant’s eleventh solo album and first full-length release since 2014’s acclaimed ‘lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar’. Robert, who lived in Texas for a time before returning to England three years ago, together with his friends, present the songs Carry Fire, melding unusual rhythms with naturalism and smouldering power.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Pink, Beautiful trauma
“The singer/songwriter is a happily married mother of two, creeping up on her 40th birthday — but her decision to do little more than nod at contemporary musical trends is deliberate, a reflection of how her hits and audience have crept toward the adult contemporary charts, but she’s still as liable to curse as croon” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Sam Smith, The thrill of it all
“Following an incredible success with his debut album In The Lonely Hour – including four Grammy Awards, both an Academy Award and Golden Globe, three Brit Awards, and amassing over eight billion streams to date – Sam Smith is back with his sophomore record The Thrill Of It All. The first single off the album, “Too Good At Goodbyes”, debuted at #1 on multiple global charts.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Kelela, Take me apart
“With great anticipation, Kelela’s debut album emerges as an epic portrait of an artist spanning the past and future of R&B. In her hands, however, the genre knows no boundaries and so Take Me Apart exists as an absolutely singular and fearless addition to a canon of recent classics. From her very earliest work, honesty and vulnerability have been cornerstones of Kelela’s art – even when clad in the armor of the avant-garde electronics she so deftly inhabits – and Take Me Apart sees her double down on both the emotional intensity and resonance of her message as well as the sonic seeking she is renowned for.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Yusuf/Cat Stevens, The laughing apple
“The Laughing Apple brings Yusuf’s career full circle, coming 50 years after his first album. It reunites him with producer Paul Samwell-Smith and guitarist Alun Davies, prominent collaborators on landmark recordings including 1970’s multi-platinum Tea for the Tillerman. The Laughing Apple follows the common ’60s template of combining newly written songs with covers from Yusuf’s catalog, presenting some of his earliest material as he has always wished it had been recorded.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

New vinyl for the new year

Check out some of these newly catalogued vinyl LPs in our AV collection. They include the 50th anniversary deluxe reissue of Rolling Stones’ Their satanic majesties request and the intriguing collaboration album by Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile. Our vinyl collection keeps growing. Come and check them out, as well as our new vinyl display at Central library.

Rolling Stones, Their satanic majesties request
“To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stones’ 1967 psychedelic classic, comes this limited edition, remastered double-vinyl, double-CD deluxe package. The set contains both stereo and mono versions of the album, remastered at Abbey Road by Bob Ludwig, and presented on two 180-gram vinyl LPs and two Super Audio CDs (compatible with all players). The sleeve features a fully restored 3-D lenticular of Michael Cooper’s iconic cover shot, with all discs coming housed in a bespoke fold-out limited edition numbered package with a 20-page book featuring a host of further photos from Michael Cooper and new liner notes by Rob Bowman.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Lotta sea lice
“Standard Black Vinyl Edition. A conversation between friends, documented in raw, unvarnished song form, brimming with personal history, crackling with energy and shot through with humour – this is the collaborative album of Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile. Two of the most acclaimed and gifted song writers of our generation “Lotta Sea Lice” also sees them roping in friends such as Dirty Three, Stella from Warpaint and Mick Harvey to create a body of work that sounds organic & candid.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Pearl Jam, Let’s play two : Pearl Jam live at Wrigley Field
“In celebration of Pearl Jam’s legendary sold out performances at Wrigley Field on August 20th & 22nd, 2016 during the Chicago Cubs historic World Series championship season, Pearl Jam is set to release the documentary film Let’s Play Two and this accompanying soundtrack album. With Chicago being a hometown to Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam has forged a relationship with the city, the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field that is unparalleled in the world of sports and music.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Tom Petty, Hard promises
“This is where Petty’s Dylan influence begins to rear its head. He made his name as an all-American, Byrds-inspired rock & roller, but on HARD PROMISES Petty began to explore a more reflective style, leaning on the softer side of his folk-rock roots. HARD PROMISES is Petty’s first step towards the eclecticism that would mark his later work, and it’s easily his most underrated album.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Four Tet, New energy
“New Energy, his 2017 full-length, seems somewhat ironically named at first, as it finds him revisiting the downtempo sound of earlier productions such as his 2003 breakthrough, Rounds. New Energy is one of the most accessible, listener-friendly releases in the Four Tet catalog, but it still maintains the creativity and unpredictability that have always made his work stand out.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

We’ve made a list and we’re checking it twice: Staff pick CDs

Check out more staff pick CDs featuring from Beach House to Alice Coltrane to New Zealand composer Ross Harris. We will be back with our ‘Best of 2017’ early next year so keep checking!

John’s Picks – continued

Wire – Silver / Lead
Highly influential UK post punk band, Wire’s first gig was on April 1 1977 and to mark the 40th anniversary their 16th album, ‘Silver / Lead’, was released on March 31 2017. Less fast and angular than usual, on this record the band explore a slower and darker, introspective realm which opens up a more emotional edge to their characteristic cerebral remove. The slower pace also enables the band to create some gentle and haunting moments within what is arguably their most accessible album to date.

Radiohead – OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997-2017
Radiohead’s ground breaking third album gets a remastered 20th anniversary re-release which includes b-sides and tracks rejected from the original. The album’s prescience in portraying the digital angst and alienation that was just around the corner, coupled with its bravely experimental approach to songcraft has ensured the album classic status and twenty years on that status is definitely justified.

Laurel Halo – Dust
Anyone following US born, Berlin based electronic musician Laurel Halo’s career will be pleasantly bewildered by her third release as it is as different from 2013’s ‘Chance of Rain’, which featured dance based electronics, as that release was from 2012’s vocal leaning ‘Quarantine’. On ‘Dust’ her music remains as unclassifiable as ever and, as much jazz as electronica, has attained a new found warmth and softness with her treated vocals woven through absorbing and often playful sound textures and beats to create a collection of tracks as original and beguiling as anything you will hear this year.

Beach House – B-Sides & Rarities
Spanning the ten years of their career, this compilation flows as well as any of the indie star duo’s releases and offers some lovely peeks into their creative process via demo versions and unreleased tracks alongside remixed and live versions of their woozy lo-fi dream pop. While this album is a treat for established Beach House fans, surprisingly, it would serve well as an introduction for the curious to one of the most consistent indie acts of the 2010s.

Can – The Singles
One doesn’t immediately think of German art rock innovators, Can, as a singles band, but they actually did write the occasional offbeat pop song, and these are all compiled here from the bands most creative period – 1969-1978. Surprisingly, the 1971 single “Spoon,” actually reached the German Top Ten after it was featured as the theme song to a popular television show and the cosmic disco single “I Want More” hit the U.K. Top 30, and even resulted in an appearance on the BBC’s ‘Top of the Pops’. The odd whimsical inclusions, such as an instrumental version of Silent Night, sit well alongside more serious tracks over what pretty much amounts to an alternate universe hit parade.

Beach Fossils – Somersault
NY based Beach Fossils’ third album is possibly their best yet as they take their sweet indie pop one step further with the addition of orchestral and easy listening sounds including strings, flute, sax, piano and harpsichord, a move that is sure to have Brooklyn hipsters drooling into their cupcakes. The melodies, as lovely as ever, are delivered via Dustin Payseur’s wry, weary vocals, accompanied by characteristic jangly guitars, lyrical bass and the aforementioned orchestral touches which help to create gorgeous shimmering soundscapes.

Mark’s Pick

Phil Seymour – Prince of Power Pop
Singer-songwriter, drummer-guitarist Phil Seymour was half of Tulsa rockers the Dwight Twilley Band who scored a big hit with the song ‘I’m on Fire’ in the mid 70s. Twilley and Phil Seymour met in Tulsa in 1967 at a theater where they had gone to see The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, and soon began writing songs and recording together under the name Oister. Eventually, they went to Los Angeles & signed with Shelter Records, a label co-owned by Denny Cordell and Leon Russell, in 1974.Cordell promptly changed the group’s name from Oister to the Dwight Twilley Band, which set the seeds for future problems arising from Seymour’s anonymity in the partnership. Their first single, “I’m on Fire”, reached #16 on the charts in 1975, but a follow-up single, failed due to distribution problems, as just after the single was released Shelter Records collapsed in the midst of a lawsuit between Russell and Cordell. The Dwight Twilley Band’s first completed album went unreleased for 10 months losing all the bands momentum to that point. A label shift and a second album also didn’t score commercially, leading Seymour to quit the band in 1978. In 1980 he signed to Boardwalk Records and he released his first solo album, titled Phil Seymour, which became a revered power-pop classic. A second album followed in 1982 but was weakened by his drug problems at the time, along with the death of Boardwalk Records founder Neil Bogart who died shortly after its release, collapsing the label. In the mid-80s he joined roots rock band the Textones, as a singer/drummer. While touring he noticed lumps appearing on his neck, and he was subsequently diagnosed with lymphoma. Seymour moved back to Tulsa to undergo treatment for the cancer and continued to record and play on the local scene until his death on 1993 at the age of 41. One of the most respected singers of the power-pop genre, and one who never quite had the career his talent deserved. This compilation collects up some of the best tracks from his first 2 albums with some outtakes and unreleased material, to present a solid picture of another great artist who left us too soon.

Shinji’s Picks

London Grammar Truth is a Beautiful Thing
Working Week, Young Disciples, Portishead – the trio bands consisting of a female singer and two male musicians have been notable in the UK music scene, and London Grammar is the newest and possibly the most important addition. Like the aforementioned bands, the female singer Hanna Reid, who is often compared with Florence Welch, is the centrepiece of their music, and her melancholic, mesmerising voice is truly remarkable. They keep their music simple and the atmospheric otherworldly soundscape they deftly create is the perfect pallet for Reid’s voice. For this sophomore album, they invited eminent producers, including Paul Epworth and Greg Kurstin -both have worked with Adele-, and sharpen up their intimate yet emotional world which impressed us immensely in their successful debut album If you Want. This is a beautiful thing.

Portico Quartet – Art in the Age of Automation
The previous album issued from Ninja Tune was performed by the trio under the name of Portico, but back to the quartet, Portico Quartet presents an excellent album. They also found their new home; Manchester’s label Gondwana Records. The up and coming talents, whose pursuit of new music based around jazz, such as Gogo Penguin and Matthew Halsall, have made a breakthrough from them, and for Portico Quartet it’s the ideal home for their fresh start. They use a unique instrument, hang – a custom made steel drum like percussion – and ingeniously blend its metallic yet lyrical sound into their music. A great variety of musical elements, namely jazz, ambient, post rock, downtempo and so on, can be heard in their music but their genre is none of them. This new effort shows their ability to weave beautifully textured, tonally inventive hybrid music, and it seems as though they make a new departure while summarising their musical journey to date. Brilliant.

Neil J’s Picks

Ibibio sound machine – Uyai
This is a truly global album fusing musical elements and cultures from all over the world from sleek 80s pop synth lines to African jazz and techno it’s all in there in. In this fantastic cultural mash up that never sounds lost or confused. Probably because wherever this eight piece band draws its diverse inspiration from they always infuse it with a heavy sprinkling of Nigerian highlife . An exuberant, joyful and rhythmic album.

Relative Abundance – Ylem
Ylem is a multilayer soundscape album comprising of numerous elements but at its core is one big concept, the band wanted to incorporate sound from the birth of time onwards and from the entire universe. To do this musical explorer Robert Baldock, erected a radio antenna and recorded the background radio transmissions from deep space, these by their very nature span across time and space , from the birth of the universe and the big bang and onwards and outwards and come from all areas of our universe. He then used these radio transmissions to trigger a series of hand built modular synthesisers. Using this as the core sound, fellow band members Emma Bowen and Neil Johnstone added a wide variety of content including auto harps, musical saws, found recorded sound, and a wide variety of synthesisers. The music is strangely in sympathy were with the strange ethereal haunting mood of the original “cosmic” sources . A really out there experimental piece and quite unlike anything else I’ve heard.

Alice Coltrane – The ecstatic music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda
After many years an album featuring a small amount of Alice Coltrane’s mythical Ashram music has finally been released. Alice Coltrane was already a musical prodigy before she married the legendary Jazz musician John Coltrane and after his sudden death she retreated to Sai Anantam Ashram and devoted the rest of her life to seeking spiritual enlightenment. These compositions were made to nourish this community and act as a meditational aids and were never intended to be heard beyond that community. The music is at once South Asian, African American, tranquil and uplifting . Constantly seeking like Alice herself musical and spiritual transcendence.

The Innocent Railway – Sweet pea
A truly beautiful and sad album it feels as if the musicians are exploring what it means to be truly lost . It shifts from delicate melancholic songs to strange haunting soundscapes whilst carefully retaining overall cohesion. It’s difficult to describe but if Nick Drake or Tim Buckley had created a half sung ambient album with Brian Eno it might just have sounded like this.

David Long, Richard Nunns and Natalia Mann – Utterance
This is a truly remarkable album, it is what great music sounds like, this is a major work in any sphere of artistic endeavour and it’s what many musicians strive their entire lives to achieve and is one of the finest albums in any genre from anywhere I have heard in a very long time . It is the culmination of a lifetime for Richard Nunns who knew from the start of the albums production it would be his last work and it sounds as if he has placed some deep aspect of his very being into the piece. It is a modern beautiful abstract work that is very aware of the deep spiritual and cultural traditions from which it springs and embraces these roots whilst being totally unique and new and timeless. Its powerful, emotional, challenging, spiritual and simultaneously personal and universal.

Ross Harris – Requiem for the fallen
Ross Harris is New Zealand’s greatest living classical composer and is arguably the greatest composer this country has ever produced. He is going through a creative golden age as witness by his remarkable output recently his as yet unreleased sixth symphony is a remarkable and beautiful work and will be heralded on its release ( it was premiered earlier in the year in Auckland). In Requiem for the Fallen he brings a lifetime of experience to bear on a deep, serious subject matter and produces a deeply moving, melodic, powerful and compassionate work. Highly recommended.

Staff picks from our extensive CD collection

Our music enthusiast John has selected his recent favourites from our extensive CD collection. More coming soon, so keep checking!

John’s picks

Thurston Moore – Rock ‘n’ Roll Consciousness
Sonic Youth fans are in for a treat here as that legendary NY band’s guitarist, Thurston Moore, explores five lengthy, textural, guitar centred songs that are reminiscent of his playing on the groundbreaking Sonic Youth album, ‘Daydream Nation”. Accompanied by long time fellow traveller, drummer Steve Shelley, this is like a lost Sonic Youth album with My Bloody Valentine’s Deb Goodge on bass instead of Kim Gordon and James Sedwards on guitar instead of Lee Renaldo. The only difference being that Moore indulges in lengthy solos – which, as it turns out, is a very good thing indeed.

Public Service Broadcasting – Every Valley
The London based duo have moved on from their potentially novelty roots, featuring archival plummy British spoken word samples, to become something akin to musical documentarians. Their debut focused on WWII, their follow up on the 1960’s space race, and now for their third album, they focus on the rise and fall of the Welsh coal-mining industry. They manage to turn that potentially dry subject into a vital and relevant commentary on progress and social awareness and have made an excellent socially conscious pop record that sounds like a good idea turning into a great one.

David Long, Richard Nunns & Natalia Mann – Utterance
Rattle Records describe this beautifully packaged release as a tribute to Richard Nunns, who’s ongoing health issues, very sadly, see this collection of 11 improvisations as his final recording. A key figure behind the revival of interest in ancient Maori instrumentation, here he uses his formidable kete of instruments to create mesmerizing atmospheres alongside David Long’s plucked and looped banjo and Natalia Mann’s haunting harp and zither.

Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology
UK artist Jane Weaver wrote, produced , sings and played synths, keys, guitars, bass and drum machines on this impressive release that combines the hypnotic pulse of krautrock with an unearthly cosmic pop. The follow up to her 2014 release, ‘The Silver Globe’, which found her recognition after seven albums and 22 years as an idiosyncratic solo artist whose work included acoustic folk balladry, avant garde electronics and improvisation. Here she manages to meld all of her arcane source material into a rich, melodic and engaging contemporary psychedelic pop, her crisp vocals floating over gorgeous musical backdrops that include early 80s synth pop, eerie folk, library music and experimental vintage electronics.

Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder
Broken Social Scene are a Canadian musical collective with 15 members, two of whom have been pushing it all along since 2001. This is their fifth album, their first in seven years, and finds them refining their sprawling ramshackle sound into a great collection of distinctive and vibrant indie pop. Anthemic without being cheesy, the collective nature of this band comes across in the music which is relentlessly positive while maintaining a political awareness.

Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet
The second solo record from Michelle Zauner, the former singer for US EMO band Little Big League, is a nice blend of experimental pop, incorporating elements of shoegaze, electropop, soft rock, ambient and indie, all wrapped around her soft yearning vocals. It is a confident and engaging record that runs the risk, however, of being too pop for those who like experimental sounds and too experimental for those who like pop, but those with open ears will be well rewarded.

Dauwd – Theory of Colours
Electronic producers often find it difficult to maintain an entire album and it is nice to be able to report that UK artist Dauwd, bucks that trend. This album, on Ninja Tune offshoot Technicolour, presents a distinctive take on electronic music that manages to communicate emotional content, yet remain danceable. Most of the seven tracks maintain a lovely rolling chilled rhythm with deep bass lines and skittering hi-hats pushing it all along, while warm analog synth flourishes and electronic samples dance around over the top.

The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile started The War On Drugs in 2008, with Kurt Vile leaving after their debut album. Since then, each of them have been rewriting Americana for the new millennium with Kurt Vile’s Violaters picking up the jam band mantle from precursors like the Grateful Dead while Adam Granduciel’s War On Drugs reinvents the wide open, heart-felt grandeur of artists like Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and even Bob Dylan. Their last album, ‘Lost In the Dream’, topped numerous end-of-year best album lists and this follow up looks to repeat that success.

The National – Sleep Well Beast
It’s good to see that by their seventh album US band The National haven’t slipped into a formula. While ‘Sleep Well Beast’ maintains the band’s well recognised brooding sound fronted by Matt Berninger’s distinctive baritone vocals, this time around they move deeper into a beautiful chamber pop incorporating extensive use of piano, string arrangements and, surprisingly, electronics and samples provided courtesy of collaborators, Cologne electronic artists, Mouse On Mars.

LCD Sound System – American Dream
The story goes that David Bowie told James Murphy to restart LCD Sound System after he had ended the project in 2010, so he took Bowie’s advice and here, seven years on, we get the fourth LCD album and it’s as good as anything they have done. The album starts with a characteristic musical tribute, this time to recently deceased electronic pioneer Alan Vega, and from then on it’s the expected grab bag of influences with Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed and David Bowie name checked within a simmering survey of modern America. Anything but a cynical cash-in this album confirms James Murphy as a major artist. Continue reading “Staff picks from our extensive CD collection”

There’s movie guides galore in these new film & tv books!

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on movies and TV shows, including the historical side stories of the very popular TV series; Game of Thrones and Doctor Who. A variety of movie guides such as The Bad Movie Bible should not be missed.

Syndetics book coverYou win or you die : the ancient world of Game of Thrones / Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.
“In this essential sequel to Carolyne Larrington’s Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones, Ayelet Haimson Lushkov explores the echoes, from the Summer Islands to Storm’s End, of a rich antique history. She shows how the wanderings of Tyrion Lannister replay the journeys of Odysseus and Aeneas. She suggests that the War of the Five Kings resembles the War of the Four Emperors (68-69 AD). She also demonstrates just how the Wall and the Wildlings advancing on it connect with Hadrian’s bulwark against fierce tribes of Picts. This book reveals the remarkable extent to which the entire Game of Thrones universe is animated by its ancient past.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBBC Doctor Who : a brief history of Time Lords / Steve Tribe ; original illustrations by Richard Shaun Williams ; design by Richard Atkinson.
Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time Lords tells the story of all of this ancient, legendary civilization, of notable historical figures, of Gallifrey itself, of the Time War and much more. The planet Gallifrey. The Shining World of the Seven Systems. Often to be found in the constellation of Kasterborous. Birthplace of one of the oldest civilizations in the universe: The Time Lords. Featuring full-color, never-before-seen illustrations and a beautiful interior design, this is a highly collectible in-world companion no Whovian can be without.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMonty Python’s Flying Circus : hidden treasures / Adrian Besley ; foreword by The Pythons ; artwork by Terry Gilliam.
“This is the story of Monty Python, one the most popular and influential forces in modern comedy–and of their TV show–told in words and images. This celebratory book includes 22 facsimiles of rare memorabilia from their official archives, including hand-scribbled scripts, cue sheets, character lists, posters, and animation artwork. Written with active input from the Pythons themselves, the book recounts the adventures of all six members and their TV show, from early days in the Cambridge Footlights through early appearances on the BBC, global stardom, the inevitable fights, and their triumphant reunions.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTalking pictures : how to watch movies / Ann Hornaday.
“In Talking Pictures, veteran film critic Ann Hornaday walks us through the production of a typical movie-from writing the script and casting to the final sound edit-and explains how to evaluate each piece of the process. How do we know if a film is well-written, above and beyond snappy dialogue? What constitutes a great screen performance? What goes into praiseworthy cinematography, editing, and sound design? And what does a director really do? Full of engaging anecdotes and interviews with actors and filmmakers, Talking Pictures will help us see movies in a whole new light-not just as fans, but as film critics in our own right.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMovies of the 2000s / ed. Jürgen Müller.
“Through the gripping stories, insightful dramas, and thrilling, mindless escapism, Movies of the 2000s gathers the best of the best round the globe, from the blockbuster Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings installments to cult classics Lost in Translation, Inglourious Basterds, and No Country For Old Men, The Lives of Others, and Y Tu Mama Tambien. Each movie masterpiece is profiled with stills and production photos, a synopsis, analysis, and movie-buff trivia, as well as cast, crew, and technical listings.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bad movie bible / Rob Hill.
“Most movies aren’t very good. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. But nor should it be a surprise that some are so bad they possess a unique appeal arising specifically from their inadequacies. This book is a celebration of, and guide to, those movies.
– Analysis and reviews of 101 of the best good-bad movies of the last fifty years
– Exclusive interviews with heroes and villains
– First-hand accounts from genre legends who explain what went wrong, and why it isn’t their fault
– Unique behind-the-scenes images
– Future classics are exposed, old mysteries solved
Whether you realize it or not, you probably enjoy bad movies.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRogue One, a Star wars story : the official mission debrief.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – The Official Mission Debrief presents an all-encompassing guide to the hugely successful movie, with unprecedented access to the making of the film, its stars, its crew and its stunning landscapes. Relive the latest movie in the world’s biggest franchise over and over again. A must for any fan of Star Wars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnne Bancroft : a life / Douglass K. Daniel.
“In the first biography to cover the entire scope of Bancroft’s life and career, Douglass K. Daniel brings together interviews with dozens of her friends and colleagues, never-before-published family photos, and material from film and theater archives to present a portrait of an artist who raised the standards of acting for all those who followed. Daniel reveals how, from a young age, Bancroft was committed to challenging herself and strengthening her craft. Her talent (and good timing) led to a breakthrough role in Two for the Seesaw, which made her a Broadway star overnight. The book offers new insights into the life and career of a determined actress who left an indelible mark on the film industry while remaining true to her art.” (Syndetics summary)