Staff Pick CDs – Aug/Sep

Some new Staff Pick CDs, of new releases and older material. We hope you find something to enjoy!

Bon voyage.
The French alt-pop artist’s second album, coming six years after her great debut, is a challenging and rewarding listen. To imagine putting classic French pop, exotica and psych rock into a blender may give some idea of the fertile ideas behind these songs. Driven by standard drums, bass and guitars, the songs evolve and mutate minute by minute, some morphing from what could be a Francoise Hardy pop song, through classic exotica, laden with flutes and strings, to end up as an indie rock out. Somehow it all works in a beguiling and strangely immersive way and fans of imaginative psych pop should be intrigued. (John)

Alterum.
Born and raised in Scottish island North Uist, Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis has well established herself as a leading artist of its kind, and this alluring fifth album would give her international fame. The project began to explore Gaelic songs of the ‘otherworld’ or supernatural and it grew to the idea of reaching out to other world while celebrating her own culture. This album features a couple of English language songs for the first time which sit nicely among Gaelic songs, and everything – the well thought out arrangements, the excellent performance by the band, and above all, her gentle yet effective voice and modern interpretation – hit the right note. Although rooted heavily in tradition, her music has a universal charm, and this album should appeal to a wider audience. (Shinji)

No sounds are out of bounds / The Orb.
Thirty years after their debut, UK electronic chillout stalwarts The Orb, throw a real curveball by releasing an album on Cooking Vinyl featuring a host of guest artists that works so well it’s hard to believe it’s the same band that made 2016’s ambient “Chill Out World”. The driving dub bass lines that propel each track are the only constants over a record that touches so many bases, including female vocalists, dub melodica, ambient piano, house beats, mellow grooves and jazz guitar, all peppered with The Orb’s distinctive humorous vocal samples. It’s a wild ride and, against all odds, is arguably the most commercially accessible and one of the best releases of their long and befuddling career. (John)

A deeper understanding / The War on Drugs.
I absolutely love this album. I didn’t know The War on Drugs and came by them from a various best of 2017 cd. “In chains” and “Pain” are highlights but each song has its own interest. Not in any way innovative or surprising but the songs are full and lush and sometimes long, but are complete. Someone called it Dad rock, but who cares, I’m a dad and it is just lovely. (Martin)

I’m all ears.
The second album by the UK teenage duo is receiving rave reviews worldwide and rightly so. That two 19 year old girls making music for teenagers about being a teenager can have appeal across all age groups is remarkable and this is due to the standard of the song writing, the great instrumentation and the original and creative arrangements. Their vocals can take a bit of getting used to – think early Kate Bush – but, once you are tuned in, the journey through their bold and intense contemporary pop is hard to resist. (John)

We light fire.
I recently went to see Julia Dean’s album release and loved it! She was amazing! I highly recommend her album – a must listen! (Lisa)

 

 

Weather diaries.
Remarkably, almost 30 years on the early ‘90’s UK shoegaze sound appears to be in fine form and, following the excellent recent new release from Slowdive, we now have the first new Ride album in 20 years and, yes, it’s pretty good. Come back albums are challenging when you helped create an entire musical sub-genre, however, Ride fare pretty well. Their vocal harmonies haven’t changed at all, the big guitars are in full force and the song writing is up to scratch – the only nod to a new century is the inclusion of London DJ Erol Alkan on production duties who sharpens their classic jangle pop and shimmering guitars for a new era. Turn it up and party like it’s 1989! (John)

Sassafrass!
At the moment I can’t get enough of Sassafrass! by Tami Neilson. She was amazing in concert and this album rocks just as much! Perfect listening for those who love that old-time country/lounge/touch of rockabilly vibe. A great collection of touching songs about family, and brilliantly getting her own back on those who unashamedly tout judgements and double standards. Available on CD and vinyl, it’s most definitely sassy and frassy. (Belinda)

Knock knock.
The German electronic artist who started out as a DJ/remixer has grown into a respected artist and now runs his own label – Pampa Records. His new release is a good intro to the small unique sub-genre he has helped create that generally features warm bass, gently alluring beats and imaginative use of sampling and electronics underpinning a range of guest vocalists. He has a strong sense of the whimsical but manages to balance this, through this collection of lovely wonky downbeat grooves, with a genuine emotional resonance too often absent from electronic music. (John)

Soar / Catrin Finch, Seckou Keita.
Prominent Welsh classical harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora (often described as Africa harp) player Seckou Keita first collaborated together in 2013 and made an acclaimed album Clychau Dibon which won the best album of 2014 in both Froots and Songlines magazine. Four years down the line, their unique bond gets stronger and this sophomore album finds both artists in sublime form, showcasing the elegant, seamless conversations. Their dazzling virtuosities allow the two string-instruments from Africa and Europe to blend into each other and create beautifully textured, glorious soundscape. Most of the music is original but taking also from African griot’s number and Bach’s Goldberg Variations, they are searching for a new musical language by looking back at their traditions. Brilliant. (Shinji)

Shearwater drift / Al Fraser, Steve Burridge, Neil Johnstone.
The delicacy and sublime power of Taongo Puoro (traditional Maori instrumentation) is explored beautifully on this recent release by three Wellington musicians. What is created here is a fully immersive sonic collage that, over 18 tracks, features Taongo Puoro within soundscapes created by synthesisers, percussion, treated samples and other instruments. Its not an easy listen, at times it can be quite eerie, but the dark and ethereal ambient atmosphere is the perfect vehicle by which the mystery of these ancient instruments can be experienced. The whole thing is beautifully packaged in a thick cardboard case that features evocative art by Neil Johnstone. (John)
This is the voyage of a shearwater as it ventures into enigmatic scenery; familiar yet vague, both disturbing and comforting. Alistair Fraser’s deep connection with taonga pūoro sets the backdrop of this story with great sensibility, establishing the melancholic mood that Māori instruments so readily evoke. Over this panorama you’ll encounter the mysterious electronics of Neil Johnstone piercing through the organic weave, juxtaposing the nature of the ever changing reality with those aspects that belong to the future and the beyond. In the midst of this seamless movement are motifs of humanity embodied by accordions, pianos, and other familiar noises which serve as geographic beacons. At times submerged into deep water, at others flying high and fast through the forest, the shearwater glides with grace, undisturbed by the weather or the metropolitan traffic. There is a cyclical aspect to this album, easily lending itself to sound installations or an environment of discovery and inspiration. The overall tone invites you to slow down and ponder, paying attention to the nuances that crop up from all angles thanks to a high quality production. My recommendation is to let the music permeate your surroundings, allowing yourself to drift into what lies in your depths, waiting to be found. (Axel)

Listening to pictures : pentimento volume one.
The former jazz trumpet player, who initiated the idea of the “Fourth World” alongside Brian Eno on 1980’s ‘Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics’, has released, at 81 years old, an incredible record on Ndeya, a sub-label of the UK’s Warp Records. Fusing hi-tech minimalism with world rhythms he has collaged a dream world marked by a flickering, hallucinatory energy and built around stuttering beats through which dense, treated layers of trumpet, synth, piano, and violin edits cascade and undulate. Its a remarkable release from an artist so late in his career, when most others are merely re-treading old ground. This album also features a cover art sampled from Mati Klarwein, the artist responsible for the cover of Miles Davis’ ‘Bitches Brew’. (John)

The dark side of the moon [remaster].
The Dark Side of the Moon is one of the bestselling albums of all time. It was PF’s 8th album, and spent 11 consecutive years in the top 100 and 14 years lodged in the same place. It was recorded at Abby Road studios between May 1972-January 1973, and rather than separate tracks the album is one continuous piece of music. With estimated sales are over 45 million, the themes it explored include greed (Money track) conflict and time. (Max)

Box-set Bonanza: New CDs

We have an extensive box-set-CD’s collection and they keep coming! Check out some of these newly catalogued box-sets, including the Robert Plant’s 10 discs-set, and the 13 CDs-set by Ben Folds. They cost merely a dollar. Reserve them now or come in to check our big display.

Robert Plant – Nine lives
“Legendary vocalist Robert Plant’s extraordinary post-Led Zepplin career is celebrated in an inspired 10-Disc box encompassing his nine solo albums – expanded and remastered – plus a DVD with a one hour documentary.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Public Image Ltd – The Public Image is rotten (Songs from the heart)
“To celebrate their 40th Anniversary, John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd (PiL) are pleased to announce The Public Image is Rotten (Songs from the Heart) Box Set will be released on 20th July 2018, coming in the form of a staggering 5CD/2DVD, 6LP and Digital. The box set will feature the PiL Singles Collection (1978-2015), B-sides, Rarities and Radio Sessions, 12” Mixes, Unreleased Mixes and Tracks and a Live concert from New York Ritz in July 1989.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Ben Folds – Brick : the songs of Ben Folds 1994-2012
Brick – The Songs of Ben Folds, 1994-2012 features 13 CDs housed in a unique brick box set. This collection of 192 tracks spans the career to date of one of the most adventurous and exciting songwriters and performers of his generation, who has not only worked with a diverse range of artists including William Shatner, Sara Bareilles and Regina Spektor, but authors Nick Hornby and Neil Gaiman.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Bruce Springsteen – The album collection. Vol. 2, 1987-1996
“Cardboard sleeve box set release from Bruce Springsteen contains five albums released from “Tunnel of Love” (1987) through “The Ghost of Tom Joad” (1995) as well as two EP works “Chimes Of Freedom” & “Blood Brothers.” All albums are remastered for this release by Bob Ludwig and Toby Scott. Comes with a deluxe booklet. Each mini LP faithfully replicates its original vinyl design. Comes with lyrics and a description.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Flaming Lips – Seeing the unseeable : the complete studio recordings of The Flaming Lips 1986-1990
“Limited six CD set. Seeing The Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings Of The Flaming Lips 1986-1990 brings all four studio albums that the band released on Restless Records between 1984 and 1990. This set is also packed with rare recordings originally released as b-sides, flexi discs, and on various compilations.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Def Leppard – CD collection volume 1
“Def Leppard brings a box set with seven discs total, focusing on their recordings from the 1970’s to the 1980’s. Features SHM-CD format, except for Disc 7. Disc 1-4 are the original albums (“On Through the Night” to “Hysteria”). Disc 5 features their concert in 1983 at LA Forum. Disc 6 is a compilation with 10 rare tracks compiled by Joe Elliott. Disc 7 (standard CD format) is their commemorative debut EP (1979), becoming as CD format for the first time.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Rolling Stones – No security : San Jose ’99
“DVD-Video + 2CD. TRACKLISTING for 2CD+DVD: 1. Jumpin’ Jack Flash 2. Bitch 3. You Got Me Rocking 4. Respectable 5. Honky Tonk Woman 6. I Got the Blues 7. Saint of Me 8. Some Girls 9. Paint It Black 10. You Got the Silver 11. Before They Make Me Run 12. Out of Control 13. Route 66 14. Get Off of My Cloud 15. Midnight Rambler 16. Tumbling Dice 17. It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It) 18. Start Me Up 19. Brown Sugar 20. Sympathy for the Devil” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Grateful Dead – Anthem of the sun
“The CD includes two versions of the original album – one fully remastered from the original 1968 mix, and the other remastered from the more well-known 1971 mix. The set also includes a bonus disc with a previously unreleased complete live show recorded on October 22, 1967 at Winterland in San Francisco, this is the first known recording of the Grateful Dead with Mickey Hart, who joined the band in September 1967.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Fab gear : the British beat explosion and its aftershocks 1963-1967
“BRITISH BEAT was the term adopted to describe the exciting new sounds out of Liverpool and other cities in the wake of The Beatles’ explosion onto the world stage in 1963/64..Named after the slang term forever associated with The Beatles, this mammoth 6-CD box set offers around 180 tracks in chronological order from the mid-1960s, many of which are new to CD and some of which are previously unissued.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

New and remastered: Fantastic new CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection, including Florence + The Machine’s fantastic new album, and the first solo album in more than a quarter century by Roger Daltrey (The Who). See also the 18-album set by Chet Baker and the wonderfully remastered Mixed Up from The Cure.

Florence + The Machine – High as hope
“Fourth studio album by the English indie group, fronted by Florence Welch. The record features more stripped-down and minimalist recordings than some of the band’s previous albums, and includes the singles ‘Sky Full of Song’ and ‘Hunger’. The album peaked at #2 in the UK Albums Chart.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Kali Uchis – Isolation
Isolation is Kali Uchis’s debut album and features an impressive cast of featured artists and collaborators. Jorja Smith, Damon Albarn, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Tyler, The Creator, Bootsy Collins, Steve Lacy, Two Inch Punch, BADBADNOTGOOD, Thundercat all appear on the American Colombian’s debut LP.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Nine Inch Nails – Bad witch
“Ninth studio album by the American rock band comprising Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The album was influenced by the final studio record by the late David Bowie (Blackstar), who Reznor previously collaborated with. It peaked at #12 in the UK Albums Chart and features the single ‘God Break Down the Door’.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

I Am Giant – Life in captivity
“After a decade of dominating mainstream rock radio and playing some of the biggest festivals around the world, I Am Giant are releasing their third and final album. Features ‘Playing With Fire’ and new single ‘Don’t Look Back’ – both strong airplay singles across The Rock network.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Roger Daltrey – As long as I have you
“The album is a mixture of self-penned tracks such as ‘Certified Rose’ and the soulful ballad ‘Always Heading Home’ along with songs that have inspired Daltrey over the years including Nick Cave’s ‘Into My Arms’, ‘You Haven’t Done Nothing’ by Stevie Wonder, Stephen Stills ‘How Far’ and the title track originally recorded by Garnet Mimms in 1964; the year that Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon changed their name from The High Numbers and became The Who.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Chet Baker – Portrait in jazz by William Claxton
“A definitive set compiling 18-CDs divided into 12 deluxe digipack volumes. Each volume presents carefully selected top Chet Baker recordings from his classic years, and features splendid photographs of the trumpeter by the great William Claxton. All of the digipacks on this collection showcase specific liner notes, as well as detailed discographic information.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Buffalo Springfield – What’s that sound? : complete albums collection
“Five CD set. Digitally remastered set that contains stereo mixes of all three albums plus mono mixes of the first two albums. May 5th marked the 50th anniversary of Buffalo Springfield’s final show, a performance which capped a two-year period which saw the band releasing three studio albums: their debut album Buffalo Springfield, their sophomore effort, Buffalo Springfield Again, and their swan song, Last Time Around.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Garbage – Garbage
“20th Anniversary remastered reissue of Garbage’s acclaimed second album. Charted at #1 in the UK + certified double platinum with over 500k sales. Nominated for two Grammys + three MTV Europe Awards. Includes the Top 10 singles ‘Push It’ (No 1 most added track at European radio and top 20 European radio airplay hit) + ‘I Think I’m Paranoid’. Single CD format includes an 8-page booklet.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The Cure – Mixed up [deluxe]
“Digitally remastered and expanded three CD edition includes two bonus CDs: Disc Two features additional remixes from 1982-90 while Disc Three – titled Torn Down – includes 16 new remixes by Robert Smith. Mixed Up is a remix album by British band The Cure originally released in 1990. The songs are remixes of some of their hits, reflecting the popularity of remixing of existing songs and dance culture of the late 1980s and early 1990s.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Recent favourites: Staff-picked CDs

Superorganism album cover

While we’re not busy with library duties, many of us here at Wellington City Libraries are avid music listeners. Here are a few recent highlights from our extensive CD collection.

Superorganism.
Wellington band The Eversons moved to London in 2015 and have grown into an eight piece collective consisting of members from Lancashire, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Aotearoa, that all now live together in a big house in London. They have created media waves with their fun, kooky and excellently produced debut album, which is loaded with crazy samples, playful beats, fat basslines, swirling synths and great guitar hooks, all underpinned by the oddly deadpan vocals of 17 year old Japanese vocalist Orono Noguchi who they auditioned on Skype. Sounding like the children of The Go Team! and MGMT, this is a technicolor rush of fun and densely layered quirky pop that sounds as though it was made by the band members emailing each other ideas from their rooms in the house – which it actually was! For an idea of where this extremely contemporary band are coming from check out the video for their hit ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous‘. (John H.)

Mi mundo.
An exciting music by a shining new star – a young Cuban singer and percussionist Brenda Navarrete infuses the traditional Afro-Cuban music with the modern stylish sound, and her debut album Mi Mundo (My World) is full of thrilling moments. Opening with Navarrete’s expressive voice and her percussions, which lead the charge throughout the album, music here is intricate and touches a range of musical styles. However, she and her Cuban all-star band show amazing skills and masterfully treat them, often with jazz idioms, and present smooth yet rich, dynamic sound. The album lasts only 37 minutes but shows Navarrete’s enormous talent and character. Sensational. (Shinji)

Wide awaaaaake!
It’s fitting that Texan indie rockers Parquet Courts are on Rough Trade Records as that label was the prime mover of the original early 80’s UK post punk sound and Parquet Courts arguably continue that tradition better than any other current band. Their sixth album is produced by Danger Mouse, who helps shape their characteristically spiky shambolic sound into a semblance of fun, danceable grooves. The post punk influences are still plentiful but the new album has a gloss of production that manages to expand their musical palette without losing the bands’ angular garage rock stance. With song titles such as ‘Normalisation’ and ‘Before the Water Gets Too High’ it’s reassuring to know that urgent and quizzical music such as this is being made. (John H.)

Rewa / Tania Giannouli, Rob Thorne, Steve Garden.
Rewa fuses the musical cultures of Western Greece, courtesy of Greek classically trained musician Tania Giannouli, and that of traditional Taonga Pūoro instrumentation, courtesy of Rob Thorne. The whole album was improvised over a two day recording session. The resulting album transcends musical boundaries whilst having both a classical and experimental feel. The individual pieces are often dark, brooding and intense with Steve Garden’s treatments, and delicate, thoughtful mixing making this album a rich, complex and rewarding listen. (Neil J)

Top gear.
Wellington based muso Stef Animal took time out from bass playing duties with The Golden Awesome to record this beguiling collection of 15 ‘song-in-a-day writing exercises’, each using sounds from a different piece of cheap or unfashionable musical equipment. The pieces are short – ranging from 30 seconds to 4 minutes – but are equally engaging, gradually drawing the listener deeper in to Stef Animal’s unique and intriguing sound world. The result is an unusual release that stands up as a bold and wholly successful experiment. (John H.)

Vortex / Sonar with David Torn.
Swiss jazz-progressive rock quartet (twin guitars, bass and drums) Sonar has established an utterly unique sound – often playing in irregular time and creating a minimal stoic groove which at times is as if 80s king Crimson is playing Steve Reich-ish minimal composition – and with this new album featuring the one-of-a-kind guitarist David Torn, they seem to move to another level. Torn originally worked as a producer but ended up playing on all tunes as well, which is very welcome. Torn brings a sonically inventive soundscape with huge improvisations on some tracks. Their chemistry is fantastic and Sonar has sharpened their trademark polyrhythmic groove, and makes the whole sound even more dynamic. This is risk-taking music and marvellously executed. (Shinji)

Englabörn & variations / Jóhann Jóhannsson.
Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson passed away earlier this year at the early age of 48. His story was a very successful one, growing from the fringes of the electronic / neo-classical world with his early releases on Touch and 4AD to worldwide acclaim providing soundtracks for films such as Arrival and The Theory of Everything. His use of electronics and treated voices within ambient / chamber pieces was radical in 2002 and had become familiar by 2018, but he was a true pioneer. This remastered re-issue of his first record, 2002’s Englaborn remains impressive and features 16 relatively short works of beautiful and stately contemporary ambient music, predominantly featuring strings and delicate electronics, with an accompanying disc of remixes by a range of current ambient musicians. (John H.)

5.
The first release on Prins Thomas Musikk, the new label started by the popular Norwegian electronic producer and remixer, is his fifth album and finds him expanding his by now predictable space disco sound. Apparently inspired by Teenage Fanclub, American jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and UK duo Plaid, he here presents a set of pared down, predominantly downbeat compositions featuring sweet basslines, guitars, bubbling synths and ambient flourishes to create warm and intimate grooves that lovingly reference the IDM sound of the mid ‘90’s. (John H.)

In Paris: the definitive ORTF recording.
Another classic Jazz concert receives it’s first official release, after being previously available in bootleg form. Montgomery hated to fly, so it was a rare opportunity for European audiences to see him perform in 1965 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, featuring an all-star band with pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Arthur Harper and drummer Jimmy Lovelace, & special guest tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin. Montgomery delivers a searing set of tunes with one amazing solo after another, in what is considered one of his best live performances ever, melodic, inventive and endlessly swinging. Listening to this reissue, it’s easy to see why he is still regarded as one of the most influential Jazz guitarists in history. (Mark)

July’s staff picks from our CD collection

Ventriloquism cover

Check out these music picks by some of our staff members. A wide variety of music styles are listed here and you might find something new or intriguing.

7.
Seven albums in and US dream poppers Beach House show no sign of losing their edge as they continue to explore the parameters of their distinctive sound. On their seventh album they’ve replaced their long-time producer with MGMT producer and former Spacemen 3 member Peter Kember. The result is their most immersive, and possibly their most engaging, album to date. In a recent interview vocalist Victoria Legrand said that in creating this work, the band sought to use “bigger canvases, a stronger solid line”, and the sound is perceivably darker and more dramatic, with the usual gentle drum programming replaced by a thunderous live drummer that helps move this record into the deeper realms of dream pop inhabited by bands such as My Bloody Valentine. (John H.)

Singularity.
The London based electronic producer release his follow up to the very well received 2013 release Immunity. Once again the production is perfect – crystal clear tones and beautifully constructed beats throughout an album that, however, probably works best on vinyl, as there are two distinct ‘sides’. The first four tracks (side 1) offer a deeper journey into electronic rhythms with Hopkins’ ambient sensibilities and compositional flair ensuring that the crunchy grooves remain quite removed from most generic dance based electronica being produced. The next five tracks (side 2) are lovingly crafted ambient pieces featuring gentle piano and delicate synths that are about as far removed from the grooves of side 1 as possible. Overall some great sounds but maybe best appreciated in two sittings. (John H.)

My design, on others’ lives.
It must be one of the most difficult gigs a musician can do. Being the warm up act to a huge star who hasn’t toured for ages and has legions of passionate fans. Estere’s support slot for Grace Jones in Queenstown was a stunning success for this new artist. She handled her time with poise and aplomb gaining a fair few fans in the process. Her self-produced debut album is a lush hybrid beast, a unique combination of sonic elements from pop/jazz melodies to sensual electronica and serious rhythmic cores. She also has a beautiful soaring voice and a fine turn in lyrics, and whilst it is definitely a mainstream album it certainly has some experimental leanings too. This album marks the entrance of a vibrant new voice and sounds to this reviewer, like the kind of album a future superstar would release. (Neil J)

Black magic.
Yemi Alade is the African Madonna of Pop. She has a strong sexy African female voice combined with beats to make you shake it. Her song ‘Johnny’ from her debut studio album King of Queens (2014) hit the charts in Africa and in the UK. She won MTV Africa’s Best Female Artist of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
The music videos, mostly directed by Clarence Peters, are a fantastic high production show of contemporary African fashion and dance combined with humorous storylines and female perspectives. The videos also show a side of Africa that doesn’t always make it onto African Pop music videos or Nollywood movies; real backgrounds of village life, the grit of the city, and the African landscape feature here. No million dollar yachts and polished marble – Africa is beautiful, real and alive. We have two of her albums in the library: Mama Africa (2016) & Black Magic (2017). (Zoe)

The final tour : the bootleg series vol. 6 / Miles Davis & John Coltrane.
This entry in the ongoing Bootleg Series features five concerts from the Miles Davis Quintet’s Spring 1960 Jazz at the Philharmonic European tour, the first legitimate release of this material with remastered sound. Coltrane was anxious to leave the group at this point, and was a very reluctant part of the Tour, which results in a dichotomy of styles that provides some fascinating listening. Coltrane plays with an aggressive style that is almost a year ahead in terms of his musical development, while Miles and the remaining members of the group: Wynton Kelly (piano); Paul Chambers (bass) & Jimmy Cobb (drums), try to hold the centre down to a more familiar framework that European audiences & critics were comfortable with. The audience (particularly in the Paris concerts with the whistling and feet stamping – the French version of booing) were scandalized, as were local critics, and these new versions of this material prove the legendary status of these recordings was not overrated. (Mark)

A man I’d rather be (Part I).
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of folk guitarist/vocalist Bert Jansch in not only the early development of the British folk revival, but also in the ensuing development of UK rock, with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page a self-confessed fan (see if you can spot the opening bars of ‘The Waggoner’s Lad’ on Led Zeppelin 3) . Most famous for the jazz/folk band Pentangle, Bert Jansch started out as part of the UK folk scene of the early ‘60’s, which carried the genesis of the ‘60’s counter cultural movement. This box set contains his first four albums (disc 4 with John Renbourn) and is to be followed by Part 2 featuring his other four. The first two albums here were recorded when Jansch was only 21 and his distinctive finger-picking blues style, which incorporated percussive, African and Eastern-influenced tunings, was already well formed. Bert Jansch was an enormous talent who applied his guitar and banjo picking skills and distinctive vocal style to a merging of American blues with the swing of jazz within a very English esoteric folk sensibility and, hopefully, re-releases such as this will help him find a wider audience. (John H.)

Ventriloquism.
From the big names such as Prince, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson and Sade to the typical 80s hit by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, they are all songs from ‘85 to ‘90 (except TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ in ‘94). A cover album of the 80s R&B classics is something rare and what Meschell Ndegeocello does with them is totally original. With the minimal arrangements, she and her regular band display superb performances and colour them with a murky textured otherworldly ambience. Ndegeocello debuted with the Grammy-nominated album Plantation Lullabies in 1993 and had a commercial success in her earlier career. The label had kept telling her to make the same sort of albums but she never did. She lost the support from the label, but this uncompromised spirit made her one of the most forward-thinking, singular artists. This is a covert album like no other and one of her best. (Shinji)

Music for installations.
With a gentle nod to the past (Eno’s ground-breaking late ‘70’s ambient releases included Music For Films and Music For Airports), Brian Eno re-affirms his standing as the Grand Master of ambience with a stunning six disc set. The compositions cover over 30 years, from 1985 to 2017 and all feature slightly different approaches to the airy, light world of generative music, designed to create sound that permeates the environment like clouds of incense. Filled with gorgeous washes of bells and drones and unidentifiable luminous shimmers moving across widescreen stereo fields, the pieces are beautiful and always different, yet always the same, and with an accompanying booklet of extensive liner notes, this box set offers an excursion into a deep and mysterious netherworld by a key contemporary artist. (John H.)

The lookout.
The wonderful collaborations with Neko Case and KD Lang (2016’s Case/Lang/Veirs) finally gave her the kind of fame she deserved, and the Portland-based singer-songwriter Laura Veirs continues to impress both new and old fans with this new album. Her thoughtful songs; wistful lyrics and sensitive drifting melodies are as fine as ever, and her husband and the master producer, Tucker Martine, who has worked with The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket and many more, gives another stellar job and envelopes them with warm arrangements. Best of all, they deftly keep everything simple and clear, and make it a neatly-crafted dreamy folk/pop album. Sufjan Stevens and Jim James make cameos. A gem. (Shinji)

Hormone lemonade.
Ex-Stereolab guitarist Tim Gane’s kraut rock inspired project release their third album and this time around their sound is aimed predominantly at the rhythmic end of things with propulsive motorik beats prevailing. Sequencers, drums and drum machines pump out the hypnotic grooves, while synths and guitar provide a measure of melodic injection over ten pieces, avant-garde yet accessible. Taking bits of inspiration from the past, with Neu! and Suicide obvious reference points, the trio build them into a highly futuristic sounding present. And, yes, for long time fans, occasional fleeting traces of Stereolab can be detected here! (John H.)

Classic and contemporary: New books on Popular Music

Paul Simon book cover

A variety of fascinating titles have been added to our collection of books on popular music. They include Twilight of the gods: a journey to the end of classic rock which is one of Newsweek’s 50 Best Books of 2018 (so far) and the finally available Paul Simon’s biography. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverTwilight of the gods : a journey to the end of classic rock / Steven Hyden.
“Since the late 1960s, a legendary cadre of artists–including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Black Sabbath, and the Who–has revolutionized popular culture and the sounds of our lives. In this mix of personal memoir, criticism, and journalism, Hyden stands witness as classic rock reaches the precipice. Traveling to the eclectic places where geriatric rockers are still making music, he talks to the artists and fans who have aged with them, explores the ways that classic rock has changed the culture, investigates the rise and fall of classic rock radio, and turns to live bootlegs, tell-all rock biographies, and even the liner notes of rock’s greatest masterpieces to tell the story of what this music meant, and how it will be remembered, for fans like himself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaul Simon : the life / Robert Hilburn.
“A publishing event from music legend Paul Simon: an intimate, candid, and definitive biography written with Simon’s full participation–but without his editorial control–by acclaimed biographer and music writer Robert Hilburn. For more than fifty years, Paul Simon has spoken to us in songs about alienation, doubt, resilience, and empathy in ways that have established him as one of the most beloved artists in American pop music history. But Simon is a deeply private person who has resisted speaking to us outside of his music. Finally, Simon has opened up–for more than one hundred hours of interviews–to Hilburn and the result is a landmark book that will take its place as the defining biography of one of America’s greatest artists.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDylan on Dylan : interviews and encounters / edited by Jeff Burger.
“In a 1969 conversation with Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, Bob Dylan proclaimed, “I don’t give interviews.” But in truth, he has spoken at length with print publications large and small and with broadcast media around the world, given numerous press conferences, and even answered listeners’ questions on call-in radio shows. Dylan can be as evasive and abstruse as he is witty; he can also be cranky and sarcastic. But in the right moments, he offers candid, revealing commentary about his groundbreaking music and creative process. These engrossing provide glimpses into the mind of one of the most important performers and songwriters of the last hundred years.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGudinski : the godfather of Australian rock ‘n’ roll / Stuart Coupe.
“Often referred to as ‘the father of the Australian music industry’, he has nurtured the careers of many artists – Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, Skyhooks, Split Enz, Yothu Yindi, to name just a few. A self-made multi-millionaire, Gudinski is the Australian equivalent of Richard Branson or David Geffen, but who is this tough, inspired, flamboyant and impassioned businessman who has shaped Australian popular culture? Where did he come from, and how has he stayed relevant for so long in an industry notorious for its fickleness? Rock journalist Stuart Coupe delves into Gudinski’s life to find the answers – and in doing so gives us a backstage pass to forty years of Australian rock.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInner City Pressure: The Story Of Grime [hardback]
“The definitive history of the most innovative, thrilling and controversial music of the 21st Century – grime. As Britain celebrates the new millennium, something fluorescent and futuristic is stirring in the crumbling council estates of inner city London. Making beats on stolen software, spitting lyrics on tower block rooftops and beaming out signals from pirate radio aerials, a group of teenagers raised on UK garage, American hip-hop and Jamaican reggae stumble upon a dazzling new genre. Here, for the first time, is the full story of grime.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemphis rent party : the blues, rock & soul in music’s hometown / Robert Gordon.
“The fabled city of Memphis has been essential to American music–home of the blues, the birthplace of rock and roll, a soul music capital. We know the greatest hits, but celebrated author Robert Gordon takes us to the people and places history has yet to record. A Memphis native, he whiles away time in a crumbling duplex with blues legend Furry Lewis, stays up late with barrelhouse piano player Mose Vinson, and sips homemade whiskey at Junior Kimbrough’s churning house parties. A passionate listener, he hears modern times deep in the grooves of old records by Lead Belly and Robert Johnson.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhil Gernhard : record man / Bill DeYoung.
“In 1960, ‘Stay’ reached number one on the charts. The song was impossible to get out of your head: Stay–aaah–just a little bit longer. The innocuously catchy R&B song was produced by Phil Gernhard for South Carolina doo-wop group Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. At just 19 years old and with no formal training, Gernhard was a go-getting, red-headed kid eager to break into the music business. ‘Stay’ was just the beginning of a career that would span nearly fifty years’ worth of chart-topping songs. Phil Gernhard, Record Man is the story of a self-made music mogul who dropped out of law school to open a tiny office and studio in Florida and went on to produce hits that would rock the airwaves and resonate throughout the country.” (Syndetics summary)

Amazing new CDs including box-sets and more!

7 album cover

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection including the fantastic box-sets by Simple Minds and Brian Eno’s Music for Installation. We also have the amazing 22 CD-set by the legendary guitarist of Canterbury scene Steve Hillage (Gong). Also check out the new albums by the likes of Beach House and Tami Neilson which have already proven popular.

Beach House – 7
“Their approach in the creation of 7 was one of rebirth and rejuvenation. Scally and Legrand used to limit themselves to what they thought they could perform live, but this time that limitation was ignored. Also, instead of one long studio session, Beach House recorded when inspired by batches of songs, which resulted in five mini-sessions over the course of eleven months. Unlike the last four albums, 7 didn’t have a producer in the traditional sense.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Parquet Courts – Wide awaaaaake!
“Parquets Courts’ fifth album Wide Awake! – produced by Danger Mouse – is a groundbreaking work, an album about independence and individuality but also about collectivity and communitarianism. The songs, written by Andrew Savage and Austin Brown but elevated to even greater heights by the dynamic rhythmic propulsion of Max Savage (drums) and Sean Yeaton (bass), are filled with their traditional punk rock passion, as well as a lyrical tenderness.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Neko Case – Hell-on
“Producer/singer/songwriter Neko Case has won a large and loyal audience for her smoky, sophisticated vocals and the downcast beauty of her music. Hell On is an indelible collection of colorful, enigmatic storytelling that features some of her most daring, through-composed arrangements to date. Produced by Neko with help from Bjorn Yttling (Peter Bjorn & John), Hell On is simultaneously the most accessible and most challenging album in a rich and varied career that’s offered plenty of both.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Tami Neilson – Sassafrass!
“She’s back, the gloves are off and she is coming out swinging. Tami Neilson won’t be staying New Zealand’s secret for much longer. With her new album, Sassafrass!, Neilson takes a giant step forward. On this 11-track knock-out, she places a heavier emphasis on soul music without abandoning her country and rockabilly roots. Neilson conjures up a wonderfully retro style that sounds like it could be a lost gem from the late ’50s or early ’60s; however, beneath the classic veneer are frank, highly relevant lyrics.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Kody Nielson – Birthday suite
“From Unknown Mortal Orchestra Songwriting Collaborator and Drummer. Kody Nielson’s groundbreaking production, songwriting and exhilarating live performance with art punk pioneers The Mint Chicks helped to secure the group fans worldwide. Since the group’s disbanding in 2010, his solo project Silicon has been praised by the likes of Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake, as well as winning the prestigious Taite Music Prize for the 2016 album Personal Computer. Now, Nielson returns with Birthday Suite, notably the first full-length to be released under his own name. Set for release via Flying Nun Records this marks Kody’s own birthday; with each of the record’s 12 songs written for one of the artist’s family and friends’ birthday.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Simple Minds – New gold dream (81-82-83-84)
“Originally released in 1982, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) was Simple Minds’ fifth studio album and turned the band into a major force in pop music, spending a full year on the UK album chart. This stunning new deluxe box set consists of six discs including an Abbey Road remaster of the original album and a swathe of remixes, 12” versions, radio edits and an entire disc of previously unreleased John Peel and Kid Jensen radio sessions, recorded in 1982. The set is completed by a DVD, featuring the 2005 5:1 Mix of the album by Charlie Burchill and Ronald Prent as well as promo videos and, being made available commercially for the first time, Top Of The Pops performances of ‘Promised You A Miracle’ and ‘Glittering Prize.’” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Brian Eno – Music for installations
Music For Installations is a collection of new, rare and previously unreleased music, all of which was recorded by Brian Eno for use in his installations covering the period from 1986 until the present (and beyond). Over this time, he has emerged as the leading exponent of “generative” music worldwide and is recognised as one of the foremost audio-visual installation artists of his time. Eno’s visual experiments with light and video have proved to be the fertile ground from which so much of his other work has grown and they cover an even longer span of time than his recordings, paralleling his musical output in recent decades.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Todd Rundgren – All sides of The Roxy
“In May 1978 Todd Rundgren performed a series of concerts at The Roxy Theater in West Hollywood, California. The highlight of this residency was a concert on the 23rd May 1978 which was the largest concert simulcast on American FM radio at that time with an estimated audience of over ten million listeners. Hosted by the legendary DJ Wolfman Jack, Todd tore through a wonderful set that included material from both his solo albums and his work with Utopia. He was joined on stage by such illustrious company as Hall & Oates, Stevie Nicks, Spencer Davis, Rick Derringer & Kasim Sulton.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Steve Hillage – Searching for the spark
“Extremely limited deluxe 22 CD box. Searching For The Spark is a set containing all the work guitar great and electronic music innovator Steve Hillage recorded from his studio debut (1969’s Arzachel) to the first System 7 album in 1991, and four discs (Sparks Volumes 1-4) packed with previously unheard and unreleased tracks, demos and alternate takes. Accompanying the recordings is a magnificent 188 page – 32,000 word – coffee table book. Written and assembled by Steve Hillage and Gong family expert Jonny Greene, the book contains hundreds of rare and previously unseen photographs and cuttings.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Local to international: New CDs

Dirty Computer

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection including the fantastic new albums by Kimbra and Arctic Monkeys. The gorgeous box-set by Procol Harum and the 30th anniversary edition of Bruce Springsteen’s classic Born To Run offer rare footage as well. We have a lot of box-sets and they keep coming. Come in and check them out!

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base hotel + casino
“To the fact that Alex Turner was a mere 32 years old when he unleashed Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino onto the world, a young age that seems older because Arctic Monkeys released their debut when he was just 19. Throughout Tranquility Base, Turner comes across as if he were much, much older than his actual age, cocking an eyebrow to a potential paramour who has the audacity to have never seen Blade Runner, and reminiscing about the ’70s — a decade he never saw.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Janelle Monae – Dirty computer
“2018 release, the third studio album by singer Janelle Monáe. Dirty Computer is the follow up to her critically acclaimed studio albums, The ArchAndroid (2010) and The Electric Lady (2013). Includes the singles ‘Make Me Feel’ and ‘Django Jane’.” (adapted from mightyape.co.nz)

Laurie Anderson – Landfall
“The piece, which was inspired by Anderson’s experience of Hurricane Sandy, is the first collaboration between the iconic storyteller/musician and the groundbreaking string quartet, who perform together on the recording. Landfall juxtaposes lush electronics and strings with Anderson’s powerful descriptions of loss, from water-logged pianos to disappearing animal species to Dutch karaoke bars.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Kimbra – Primal heart
“For her follow-up to The Golden Echo, Kimbra could have expanded on any one of its eclectic sounds. Instead, on Primal Heart she combines all of the styles she explored on that album into a more cohesive — and immediate — approach. A consistently winning album, Primal Heart finds Kimbra hitting the sweet spot between imagination and accessibility — if her nods to the mainstream get more ears pointed her way, so much the better.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Delaney Davidson – Shining day
“Delaney Davidson looks wryly at the packed suitcase, nailing the last things into place for his 2018 migration. It was supposed to be a year of settling in but the world has other plans for him, starting with his new album release. 50 days into 2018 and Davidson has ticked off a 6 song writing session with SJD (Sean James Donnelly), album production for Belladonna (Lytteltons black metal doom band). UK label Glass Records Redux (Spaceman 3, Spiritualized) has picked up Shining Day his 9th solo album. It has been 2 ½ years since the release of his last studio album Lucky Guy.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Julia Deans – We light fire
“With the release of bold first single ‘Walking In The Sun’ in September 2017, Julia Deans whet the appetite of fans and critics alike for her new album. The album has been recorded in a home studio in Northcote, Auckland, which Julia’s partner David Wernham built over the course of six months 2011, and she began writing the songs not long after. While writing the songs was a very solo pursuit, the recording of them was less so, with Deans working closely with Wernham on “pulling the musical story together”.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Procol Harum – Still there’ll be more : an anthology 1967-2017
“This eight disc set comprises five CDs and three DVDs, of which the first three discs draw upon the key tracks from Procol Harum’s illustrious career. Disc four features the band’s legendary concert at the Hollywood Bowl on 21 September 1973, whilst disc five features a previously unreleased concert at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens on 17 March 1976. Still There’ll Be More is the most elaborate celebration of Procol Harum’s music released to date and this deluxe boxed set is a fine tribute to fifty years of one of Britain’s greatest bands.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Miles Davis – The final tour : the bootleg series vol. 6
“The latest entry in the award-winning Miles Davis Bootleg Series focuses on the final chapter in the landmark collaboration between Davis and saxophonist John Coltrane: their last live performances together, in Europe in the spring of 1960. These historic performances marked Miles and Trane’s last outing together and showcased both musicians’ incredible influence on the changing sound of jazz. The beautiful music they made together is presented here officially for the very first time.” (adapted from amazon.com)

The Who – Live at the Fillmore East 1968
“April 2018 – the 50th anniversary of these legendary unreleased recordings from the Fillmore East, New York City, Friday April 5 & Saturday April 6, 1968. Both nights were recorded by Who manager Kit Lambert with the intention of releasing as the Who’s fourth album after Sell Out and before Tommy. Remastered for optimum sound quality, this will enhance The Who’s reputation as the best live act of the time, regarded by fans as something of a ‘holy grail’ in live shows.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Bruce Springsteen – Born to run
“Personally supervised by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau, the bookset includes Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75, an astonishing film of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s legendary 1975 concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London; the new film Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run; the classic album in remastered cd form; and finally, a 48 page booklet of previously unpublished photographs. With its two DVDs, the package offers approximately four hours of previously unseen footage.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Yacht and roll: New books on Popular Music

The Yacht Rock Book

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on popular music including David Bowie Made Me Gay, the first book to document the history of LGBT music and musicians, and the intriguing The Yacht Rock Book. A lot of rock fans contributed their photos and stories to Smithsonian and made a fantastic book Smithsonian rock and roll: live and unseen.

Syndetics book coverSmithsonian rock and roll : live and unseen / Bill Bentley.
“In December 2015, the Smithsonian called on rock and roll lovers around the world to collect photos and stories of their favorite moments in music. Fans dug through attics, basements, closets, shoeboxes, digital cameras, and photo albums to post great rock shots to rockandroll.si.edu. From Woodstock to the Whisky a Go Go, and all the rockin’ places in between, fans overwhelmingly responded with their favorite rock and roll moments. Iconic artists ranging from the Who to Nirvana to Chuck Berry to the Jimi Hendrix and many more are celebrated here.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCoal black mornings / Brett Anderson.
“Brett Anderson came from a world impossibly distant from rock star success, and in Coal Black Mornings he traces the journey that took him from a childhood as ‘a snotty, sniffy, slightly maudlin sort of boy raised on Salad Cream and milky tea and cheap meat’ to becoming founder and lead singer of Suede. Coal Black Mornings is profoundly moving, funny and intense – a book which stands alongside the most emotionally truthful of personal stories.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDavid Bowie made me gay : 100 years of LGBT music / Darryl W. Bullock.
“LGBT musicians have shaped the development of music over the last century, with a sexually progressive soundtrack in the background of the gay community’s struggle for acceptance. With the advent of recording technology, LGBT messages were for the first time brought to the forefront of popular music. David Bowie Made Me Gay is the first book to cover the breadth of history of recorded music by and for the LGBT community and how those records influenced the evolution of the music we listen to today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAstral weeks : a secret history of 1968 / Ryan H. Walsh.
“Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend, a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. In his first book, acclaimed rock musician and journalist Ryan H. Walsh unearths the album’s fascinating backstory – along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed it: Boston 1968.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemphis 68 : the tragedy of southern soul / Stuart Cosgrove.
“In the 1950s and 1960s, Memphis, Tennessee, was the launch pad of musical pioneers such as Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Al Green and Isaac Hayes, and by 1968 was a city synonymous with soul music. The book opens with the death of the city’s most famous recording artist, Otis Redding, who died in a plane crash in the nal days of 1967, and then follows the fortunes of Redding’s label, Stax/Volt Records, as its fortunes fall and rise again. But, as the tense year unfolds, the city dominates world headlines for the worst of reasons: the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe yacht rock book : the oral history of the soft, smooth sounds of the 70s, and 80s / by Greg Prato.
“Just what is ‘yacht rock,’ you ask? Perhaps the easiest description is music that would not sound out of place being played while carousing aboard a yacht back in the good old days. But these songs were also some of the top pop gems of the 1970s and ’80s. And while some associate yacht rock’s biggest songs with one-hit wonder artists, several of rock’s most renowned artists fall under this category, too – including Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, The Doobie Brothers, Toto, and more. This is the definitive story of the yacht rock’s creation, rise, chart-smashing success, fall, and stunning rebirth.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExperiencing film music : a listener’s companion / Kenneth LaFave.
“Of all the elements that combine to make movies, music sometimes seems the forgotten stepchild. Yet it is an integral part of the cinematic experience. Minimized as mere “background music,” film scores enrich visuals with emotional mood and intensity, underscoring directors’ intentions, enhancing audiences’ reactions, driving the narrative forward, and sometimes even subverting all three. Experiencing Film Music: A Listener’s Companion opens the ears of film-goers to the nuance behind movie music, laying out in simple, non-technical language how composers and directors map what we hear to what we see–and, not uncommonly, back again.” (Syndetics summary)

New CDs from New Zealanders and rock legends

Sex and Food

New CDs in our extensive AV collection feature the new album by Unknown Mortal Orchestra led by our very own Ruban Nielson as well as the fantastic box sets by the rock legends such as Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa. Check them out!

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & food
Sex & Food is a delightfully shapeshifting album that filters real-deal serious themes through a vibrant sonic lens that spans battered drum machine funk, doomy and thrashing rock and pinkhued psychedelic disco.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

David Byrne – American utopia
American Utopia is Byrne’s first solo album since 2004’s Grown Backwards, and fits hand-in-hand with Byrne’s vision for his series ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ – an ongoing series curated by Byrne of hopeful writings, photos, music, and lectures – named for the song by the late Ian Dury. Over the last year, Byrne has been collecting stories, news, ideas, and other items that all either embody or identify examples of things that inspire optimism, such as a tech breakthrough, a musical act, a new idea in urban planning or transportation.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Moby – Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt
“Following a pair of angsty punk blasts with the Void Pacific Choir, Moby dipped back into what he does best: soulful electronic soundscapes. If the VPC albums were Moby’s outward displays of anger and frustration surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt was his depressed and introverted response to the subsequent societal fallout. Despite the overwhelming melancholy that drenches the album, it remains a gorgeous collection that is mostly indebted to trip-hop and his pre-millennial output.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Yo La Tengo – There’s a riot going on
“While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Frank Zappa – The Roxy performances
“43 years ago in December 1973, Frank Zappa played a series of legendary concerts at the famed Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Considered a high-water mark of his career, owing to the incredible, virtuosic performances of himself and his stellar band The Mothers, the five shows. The Roxy Performances, a definitive seven-CD box set that collects all four public shows from December 9-10, 1973, and the December 8th film shoot/soundcheck, each presented in their entirety for the first time, along with bonus content featuring rarities from a rehearsal, unreleased tracks and highlights from the Bolic Studios recording session.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Bob Dylan – 1974 tour live
“For Dylan’s first proper tour since 1966, he was joined by his longstanding colleagues The Band. Expectations for both acts ran high, with huge venues swiftly selling out and immense media interest. It was no nostalgia act, though: whilst Dylan performed old material, he did so with considerable attack, as well as showcasing songs from his new Planet Waves LP. The Band also played alone, showing themselves to be arguably the finest group of their sort in the world. This release offers two historic shows from the early part of the tour, both originally broadcast on FM radio.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

George Harrison – Concert for George
“On November 29, 2002, one year after the passing of George Harrison, Olivia Harrison and Eric Clapton organized a performance tribute in his honor. Held at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the momentous evening featured George’s songs, and music he loved, performed by a lineup that included Clapton, Jools Holland, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Monty Python, Tom Petty, Billy Preston, Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, Ringo Starr, Dhani Harrison and more. This new combo package comprises 2-CDs and 2-DVDs.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Joni Mitchell – Transmission impossible : legendary broadcasts from the 1960s-1990s
“This three CD boxed set features a number of live recordings of Joni from concerts and sessions recorded for FM Broadcast in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Starting with a number of live cuts from shows she performed in the mid to late 1960s, her full set from the Newport Folk Festival in 1968, and a couple more cuts recorded in the early 1970s.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – Transmission impossible : legendary radio broadcasts from the 1970s & 1990s
“This 3 CD Set contains broadcast recordings from CSNY’s heyday, which together form a majestic collection of their live work. Kicking off with an early show recorded at the Fillmore East in New York, in June 1970, the set continues with a fine gig from the group’s 1974 reunion tour, at the Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island, also in New York. Completing this collection is a set the foursome performed at the Bill Graham Memorial Concert, held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in 1991.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)