Staff Pick CDs for Nov/Dec: Part 2

Toitu Te Puoro album cover

The second part of the last round-up of Staff Picks for the year features an eclectic mix of recommendations from Electronica to NZ, to Box-set reissues, and Indie.

Hot burritos! : the Flying Burrito Brothers anthology, 1969-1972.
The outlandishly titled Flying Burrito Brothers are the quintessential country-rock experimenters. Led by the legendary Gram Parsons, the group created a distinctive style of “cosmic American music” that fused country music with R&B, rock, gospel and vaguely psychedelic production. The heart-wrenching pinnacle of the collection is Parson’s stunning, strained and immensely emotive performance on the track ‘Hot Burrito #1’. The Burrito’s influenced everyone from the Rolling Stones to Wilco and left a musical legacy well worth exploring. (Joe)

Switched on volumes 1-3.
The UK post-rock pioneers, who have been on indefinite hiatus since 2010, are well on the way to becoming a cult band, with a worldwide dedicated fan base who refuse to accept that they are no more. Re-releases like this help keep their myth alive, collecting the band’s three ‘90’s compilations of singles and rarities in one nifty box set. This is a great opportunity for the curious to explore this unique band, as it runs from their very first 45 – Super Electric – through to their later more experimental phase on the third double disc compilation – Aluminium Tunes – originally released by Warp Records. The odd marriage of krautrock, exotica and electronics that created their sound has never been equaled (or even attempted for that matter) by anyone else and this collection is an excellent introduction. (John)

The animal spirits / James Holden & the Animal Spirits.
UK electronic producer James Holden has been pushing the boundaries of electronica for most of his career via his aptly named Border Community label and here, on his third record since 2006’s excellent ‘The Idiots Are Winning’, he has finally broken free of any constraints and has made a record far closer to jazz than electronica, playing his wonky synthesiser in a real live band with a drummer and free blowing saxophones and woodwind instruments. The whole thing was recorded live in the studio with no edits or overdubs (on a full moon according to the sleeve notes) and treads a path far more akin to the wild transcendence of free jazz greats such as Pharaoh Sanders than any current electronic artists. Brave and genre defying this is an exultant, joyous album and is highly recommended. (John)

Honey.
The Queen of melancholy dance beats returns with her first proper album in 8 years. Previous album Body Talk was compiled from a number of E.Ps and was almost like a mini-best of. ‘Honey’ moves away from an electronic-pop sound towards a more languid sensual vibe, featuring collaborations with Joseph Mount of Metronomy, Klas Åhlund, & Adam Bainbridge of Kindness. It’s one of those albums that doesn’t really impress on first listen. However repeated plays reveal the interlocking layers of the tracks, which function in many ways as an entire suite with overlapping lyrics, melodies and themes, revealing a more vulnerable state of mind following the tragic death of friend and collaborator, producer Christian Falk, the breakup of a relationship, and several years of intense therapy. Robyn has always seemed a pop star unlike any other, her music never in service to trends, producers du jour, or relentless cross marketing, and this release sees her following her own path once more. (Mark)

Greatest hits vol. 1 : deluxe edition.
The US experimental psychedelic alt-rockers, The Flaming Lips, over 20 albums and countless singles and side projects have become an institution by sheer persistence if nothing else. This three disc set, with excellent cover art, spans the 25 years of their Warners career from 1992 to 2017 with discs one and two featuring highlights chronologically and disc three assembling rare tracks and b-sides. The very fact that such an avowedly weird band can attain the festival headlining status they have enjoyed is remarkable in itself, and this collection includes all sides of their creative impulses from sweet sing along indie anthems to raucous freakouts. Taken in one sitting like this, the stylistic tangents the band have taken make more sense with it all hanging together remarkably well and this collection offers a great chance for the curious to delve into one of the most eccentric and creative acts of the past few years. (John)

Dance on the blacktop.
The shoegaze revival has been underway for long enough now for the style to become more than a nod to the past and a recognised contemporary sub-genre, and US band Nothing have the sound perfected. The production is crytalline and presents the huge guitar swathes in all their harmonic glory, with the half spoken vocals perfectly placed in the mix. This is the Philadelphia band’s third record and they have built a sizeable reputation over their short career as “the world’s unluckiest band” after a saga involving incarceration, a pharmaceutical sadist and permanent brain damage. “Dance On a Blacktop” is prison slang for fighting and here they appear use it to mean riding the chaos of existence with grace – which is a good way to describe their loud, dense and melodic take on indie rock. (John)

Treasure hiding : the Fontana years.
If there was ever a band seduced by beauty it was The Cocteau Twins. Their music is a heavenly ethereal sonic wash but the question that plagued the band pretty much from their formation is, was there more to their music than beauty alone? And perhaps is beauty enough? Well Treasure Hiding The Fontana Years goes some considerable way to answering these questions, sure their trademark ethereal sound is there but this box set contains some of their most experimental, progressive and at times personal works. It’s no secret that the band were suffering from personal difficulties and Elizabeth Fraser uses this as creative fuel bearing her heart in some of the lyrics. Other pieces are much more abstract and obtuse. The fantastic Otherness EP sees the band in an ambient, dubby impressionistic mode very different from their previous works but sumptuous none the less and with grit buried in the strange eeriness of the music. In these pieces you can clearly hear a rich new direction the band could have gone in if their internal problems hadn’t ripped them apart. (Neil J)

Infinite moment / The Field.
Swedish electronic producer Axel Willner, aka The Field, continues his musical pilgrimage chasing endless repetitive loops to an infinite beyond. His distinctive compositional style is either loved or loathed by listeners who willingly enter the hypnotic zones generated by The Field’s everlasting loops or find the very idea claustrophobic and relentlessly boring. Here, six albums in, Axel Willner shows just how finely he has mastered his craft – there are still no breaks, no drops and barely any key changes, instead, the tracks are a little longer, the 4/4 a little slower and the harmonics, melodies and variations that lurk within are a little more subtle; all in all a masterful achievement by one of the most original electronic producers active today. (John)

Bottle it in.
Kurt Vile has, over seven albums, gradually moved from the fringes of alt-rock to inhabit a central place. His latest album consolidates that position, as he applies his distinctive laconic stance to a collection of well written and produced songs, performed with the Violators as his backing band. His highly characteristic slacker Americana has by now become expertly crafted and via the unusual sense of intimacy he is able to create he maintains interest throughout this long album, taken at a very relaxed pace, and which includes several tracks over ten minutes long. Overall, this imaginative and curiously engrossing record ably validates his cultural niche as the new millennium’s equivalent of artists such as R.E.M and Neil Young. (John)

Aquemini.
Best known for their smash hits ‘Ms. Jackson’ (2000) and ‘Hey Ya!’ (2003), Outkast’s magnum opus arrived in 1998. Aquemini captures the pure alchemy of Big Boi and Andre 3000 at their finest, rapping over funky and futuristic beats. Big Boi grounds the group with his streetwise perspective and braggadocious charm while Andre 3000 reaches for the stars with his unique extra-terrestrial philosophy. Blaring horns, a pounding bassline and quirky storytelling make ‘SpottieOttieDopaliscious’ a highlight. Other standout tracks include the anthemic ‘Skew It on the Bar-B’, the iconoclastic ‘Return of the G’ and the catchy head-nodder ‘Rosa Parks’. (Joe)

Suspiria : music for the Luca Guadagnino film.
Thom Yorke’s soundtrack for the remake of the 1977 Italian supernatural horror film Suspiria is a surprise because, within the 25 tracks of the expected doom laden strings, suspense laden tinkly piano and creepy ambient electronics, are featured six new songs, which makes it considerably more than a mere soundtrack. In fact, if the two discs were edited down it would make a very fine Thom Yorke solo album. The context of a horror film allows Yorke to fully indulge his ever present melancholia and the results are very satisfying. This is definitely not sunday bar-b-que music, but the fine orchestral and choral arrangements, the creepy electronica and the gentle, sad, guitar based songs make for some great late night uneasy listening. (John)

Toitū te pūoro.
The perfect sound recordings made possible by modern state of the art studio technology is allowing contemporary listeners the privilege of being able to hear traditional Maori instrumentation as it has never been heard before. Al Fraser, the Wellington musician and instrument maker dedicated to the preservation and ongoing enhancement of this rich musical heritage, here, on his fifth CD release, takes the listener on a deep, dreamlike and evocative journey into the mysterious, mystical and unique sound worlds created by the ancient taonga puoro. Many of the sounds here are so fine and subtle as to be almost inaudible, but that is just the point, because in stretching the hearing of the listener, they are then drawn further in to ‘Te Korekore – the realm between being and non-being’. Take some time out to listen yourself. (John)

Solo anthology : the best of Lindsey Buckingham.
The now ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham’s solo albums have always seemed to be overlooked amongst the hype and turmoil of Fleetwood Mac, many of their later albums being structured around a bulk of songs he had set aside for solo projects. This 3-disc compilation includes material from his 6 studio albums, live albums, the collaboration with Christine McVie, tracks from 80s soundtracks, and a couple of unreleased songs. A nice mix of music from the catchy pop of his debut solo album Out of the Cradle to the more acoustic and layered works of later albums. What emerges is a portrait of a great guitarist (the fantastic classical styled playing on his first album still amazes) and songwriter, in search of something deeper than the music he was making in a hugely successful commercial band. Recommended if you’re a fan. (Mark)

Lageos / Actress x London Contemporary Orchestra.
Not an easy listen, but rewarding for the curious, is the recent collaboration between Actress, the London based electronic producer, and the modern classical ensemble, The London Contemporary Orchestra. It is an, at times, wild ride, veering from abstract noise to modern classical drones and treated piano, fractured beats to gamelan style rhythms and finally settling down a little for the last four tracks which have a lovely haunting beauty. The unlikely pairing works overall, creating a work that is intriguing and unsettling in equal measure. (John)

Bunny.
Difficult to stylistically pin down, Mathew Dear has been following a singular path of hybrid electro pop since 2003 across six albums under his own name, as well as producing dance floor techno under a variety of aliases. Since his predominantly instrumental 2003 debut, Leave Luck To Heaven, his solo albums have gradually become more songs based, culminating in his latest, which is as close to pop as he has ever strayed. However, it is a version of pop quite like no other, featuring his gravelly baritone voice amidst an array of funky, wobbly and expansive beats and sounds, mainly electronic, which turn these songs into what one could imagine hearing from an FM station broadcasting, possibly, from Venus. (John)

Vanished gardens / Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams.
Some say that this collaboration pioneers a new genre of ‘Americana Jazz’ and it’s a very good description of this music. For their second album, the legendary jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd and the Marvels invite one-of-a-kind singer Lucinda Williams, and present a wonderful music, bringing together jazz, country, blues and gospel. Not only Lloyd and Williams but The Marvels is also a group of master musicians – Bill Frisell (guitar), Greg Leisz (pedal steel), Reuben Rogers (bass) and Eric Harland (drums) – and everyone here marvellously displays their unique genius; unmistakable dusty Williams’ voice, Frisell’s texturized guitar, versatile Lloyd’s rich tone etc., to make a great band sound. Most of the songs are originals by Lloyd or Williams but the album closes with two glorious covers; Thelonious Monk’s ‘Monk’s Mood’ and Jimi Hendrix’s masterpiece ‘Angel’. Sublime. (Shinji)

Staff Pick CDs for Nov/Dec: Part 1

GAS CD Cover

The first part of the latest round-up of Staff Picks features an eclectic mix of recommendations from Electronica to NZ, to Box-set reissues, and Indie. Keep an eye out for part two coming soon!

Suffuse.
Christchurch based guitarist Roy Montgomery’s first band were the Pin Group whose 7” single ‘Ambivalence’ was the very first Flying Nun release back in 1981. Almost 40 years later Roy Montgomery continues to push the edges and his latest release finds him creating six deeply layered shimmering soundscapes, each featuring a different guest female vocalist including Liz Harris, aka Grouper, and Julianna Barwick. These beautifully produced ambient experimental drones are deeply hypnotic and are given an added edge by the vocal component that humanizes the sounds without detracting from their transcendental properties. Overall a very successful project that, in a perfect world, would find cult guitar legend Roy Montgomery a wider audience. (John)

DJ-kicks : DJ Seinfeld.
It’s a sure sign that a new electronic sub-genre has been validated when a leading DJ of the style is asked to submit a mix to the long running DJ Kicks series. Number 64 in the series is from Swedish producer, Armand Jakobsson, aka, DJ Seinfeld, a leading light in the fresh Lo-Fi House sub-genre. Confusingly, Lo-Fi House appears to be an attitude rather than an actual sound – predicated on a deliberately rough around the edges production style and a can-do, outsider attitude. Here we have a cool selection of contemporary electronica, light and groovy, that moves very smoothly through deep house, breakbeats, electro, downbeat and more with, interestingly, eight of the 21 tracks coming from Melbourne producers. (John)

Loving the alien [1983-1988].
There has been a few great David Bowie releases in 2018 including Welcome to the Blackout (live London 78) and December saw the first DVD release of his seminal Glastonbury performance from 2000, often cited as the greatest Glastonbury headline performance ever. There is also the continuation of the fabulous box set releases of his back catalogue, this one entitled Loving the alien (1983-1988), an eleven disc outing that covers his most commercial period. In late 60s Kenneth Pitt, one of Bowies early managers, tried to turn David Bowie into an all-round mass market entertainer and in the 80’s under his own steam that’s exactly what he became. And I guess that’s the only way you can view these releases. They just don’t inhabit the same worlds as his 70’s output- these albums are more Chic, or Michael Jackson, than Ziggy Stardust. However if you listen to them with your 80’s disco ears on there is a lot to be enjoyed! The remastered version of Lets Dance has many pleasures. The Loving the Alien album has one or two fine tracks but the most interesting aspect of this release is the new version of Never Let Me Down. This 2018 version has been totally reworked with many of the classic 80’s elements removed and replaced with completely new elements. This new version is certainly a vast improvement on the original release and free of the 80s bombastic production; it gains a new life with songs being given the space to breathe and so becomes subtle and complex in tone. (Neil J)

All that reckoning.
It was 1986 that the Canadian band Cowboy Junkies played a key part in creating the template for alt-country with their classic Lo-Fi album The Trinity Session. Exactly 30 years on, it’s great to hear, on their first record in six years, that these musos in their 50’s are still creating their beautiful, fiery, fragile sound world. This collection of dark, existentialist songs that deal with political, social and personal situations are beautifully delivered by vocalist Margo Timmins, accompanied by her brothers on guitar and drums, with bass player, Alan Anton. The often delicate songs are frequently shot through with discordant noise and a blurry psychedelic edge, sometimes subtle, other times harsh, to create atmospheres haunting, tender and tense. (John)

Body / The Necks.
Back to the Chris Cutler (Henry Cow/Art Bears)’s ReR label, the world famous Australian cult trio, The Necks’ 20th album finds them a superb form. Once again, it’s a 60 minutes-long improvisation affair, opening and closing with the beautifully executed piano-led ambient sound. However, the chunk of middle part is a frantic electric guitar riff like a storm. This definitely comes as a shock for many but probably not so surprising, if you remember that they have been one of the most forward-thinking, push-the-boundary bands. It’s been almost three decades since they started performing together but they still have fresh ideas and keep evolving. This is one of their bests and confirms again that they are truly original. Phenomenal. (Shinji)

Loop-finding-jazz-records.
Originally released in 2001, Loop Finding Jazz Records was groundbreaking in the, then, new domain of minimal electronica, featuring subtle use of micro samples and flickering glitch generated rhythms to create music that was oddly mesmerizing. This record has become a cult favorite and has aged surprisingly well, the languorous textures and sub-sonic bass creating a timeless sound world, somewhere between ambient and sub-aquatic minimal house. Despite being created with micro-samples taken from jazz records, this album bears no resemblance to that genre, presenting more a strange and dreamlike soundtrack for an imaginary, removed and flawless post-human existence, perfect for home listening. (John)

Re:member.
Its hard to credit that Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds started out as drummer for a hardcore band, as this collection of incredibly delicate and achingly beautiful pieces for piano, cello, orchestra and electronics are about as far from hardcore drumming as can be imagined. Recognized as one of the leading figures in the modern classical genre, Arnalds here applies subtle electronic algorithms to his compositions via the use of software he developed that generates alternate notes on two other pianos from the notes he is playing. The results are gorgeous harmonics that add complexity to the deceptively simple and beautifully restrained compositions which straddle modern classical, ambient and electronica. (John)

Negro swan.
A deeply sensitive and resonant album, Blood Orange delivers beautiful production and emotive vocal performances. Pitchfork reviewer Jason King put it best when he described the album as capturing “the scattershot, jittery, anxious, blissed-out-depressive feeling of what it’s like to be a marginalized person at a toxic and retrograde moment in global culture and politics.” Recommended tracks are ‘Orlando’ and ‘Charcoal Baby’. (Joe)

Searching for the spark.
Special mention must go to the Steve Hillage Box Set – if only for its sheer magnitude – so make sure you are feeling fit if you decide to access this item, as just carrying the weighty box home presents a challenge. Contained within are 22 CDs and four books which encapsulate the UK psych-rock guitarist’s entire career. While not exactly a household name, Steve Hillage is probably most famous for his role as guitarist on Gong’s cult Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, after which he went on to a solo career – as documented in this box set. Of particular interest are the recordings of and writings about the early Canterbury scene, which he was a formative part of as guitarist for the bands Uriel and Khan. Also included is the first System 7 album, his, still current, techno based project, featuring guest artists such as Derek May, Alex Paterson and Paul Oakenfold. (John)

Rausch.
German electronic producer Wolfgang Voigt has been running his Gas project since 1996 and his music has taken a darker turn for this, his sixth release. His compositions feature processed orchestral samples densely layered, frequently over a deeply submerged 4/4 rhythm, that evoke, if anything, a warm, timeless cocoon. Here, however, the atmosphere has become foreboding with dissonance and anxiety entering into a world that once seemed welcoming. ‘Rausch’ translates as an ecstatic state or fever dream, and this music, which contains bright and beautiful moments emerging from an often imposing and dense gloom, while not for the faint-hearted, offers a rewarding deep listening experience. (John)

Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we? : 25th anniversary edition.
With Dolores O’Riordan’s distinctive voice, The Cranberries were one of those bands you either loved or hated, but there was no denying the success and pervasiveness of their first 2 albums in the early 90s. Last year the band came together to plan a 25th Anniversary Box Set release of their debut album, and following O’Riordan’s untimely death in January, the remaining band members have decided to go ahead with the 25th Anniversary Box Set as a tribute to her. As well as the original album, it includes a plethora of recordings from that era spread across 3 discs, including some rare tracks sourced from their early cassette releases as ‘The Cranberry Saw Us’. It also includes a 52-page hardback book that details the creation of the record and the history of the bands ‘rags to riches’ journey, which is itself a fascinating look back at a Music Industry that doesn’t exist anymore. A fitting tribute to one of the most iconic voices of popular music. (Mark)

The loneliest girl.
Difficult to pin down, AK pop chanteuse Chelsea Nikkel confounds with her fourth album, which extends her previous synth-pop arrangements into a wide array of new areas, with each of the 12 tracks pretty much inhabiting a different pop arena. Produced by alt-pop maestro Jonathon Bree, this is pop, but pop with a distinctly Lynchian feel, as within the sweet vocals and pink ribbons beats a dark heart delivering these thoughtfully produced bitter sweet songs. It all hangs together remarkably well, and beneath the la-la-las there lurks a deceptively subversive baroque take on the pop format that is entertaining from start to finish. (John)

Strictly rhythm : underground ’90-’97.
The latest edition in Cherry Red’s expertly curated re-issue series features a three disc collection of standout tracks from NY based Strictly Rhythm, the label that played a vital role in creating the dance genre known as House. Home to artists such as Roger Sanchez, Todd Terry, Louie Vega and Armand Van Helden, Strictly Rhythm was the leading US house music label throughout the ‘90’s. This retrospective is almost a history of NY underground house music itself, with the biggest hits deliberately overlooked in favor of club classics, hidden treasures and tracks never before released on CD. With all tracks fully restored and remastered this is a great peek into the roots of contemporary dance music. (John)

Anthem of the sun.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s second album. Their spacey, sun-tanned San Francisco rock is on form for these groovy and psychedelic tunes. The album is grounded in folk-rock and blues, but takes cues from free-jazz. Keith Richards once said of the Grateful Dead that they were “just poodling about for hours and hours. Jerry Garcia, boring s—, man. Sorry, Jerry.” But on this album, the Dead are tighter than ever. Standout songs include New Potato Caboose and That’s it for the Other One. The anniversary edition includes the 1968 version and 1971 remix of the original album and previously unreleased live recordings. (Joe)

The nature of imitation.
The new album by Oliver Johnson, AKA Dorian Concept, is on Brainfeeder, the LA experimental hip-hop label, which makes sense for a musician who played keyboards in Flying Lotus’s touring band and worked on Cosmogramma…  and the experience shows. This is music “meant to play on our short attention spans” and the live instrumentation inspired by jazz, fusion, prog and funk and subject to an intense process of digital editing, creates surprisingly listenable stuttered, chopped up shapeshifting music comparable to other Brainfeeder artists such as Flying Lotus and Thundercat with a solid nod to Squarepusher. With the fleeting appearance of soulful vocals and untreated piano to mellow things out, this is an intriguing musical ride. (John)

Collapse.
The appearance of cryptic 3D posters on the walls of the London Underground network bearing the Aphex Twin logo was a sure sign that something was brewing and when the video for a new track called Collapse was banned, as it failed the test for TV image sequences that would provoke photosensitive epilepsy, it became clear that Richard James aka Aphex Twin was in the area once again. This five track ep is the latest in a series of EPs that have followed Aphex Twin’s triumphant 2014 return with the album Syro and is his most familiar so far, bearing all of the hallmarks of classic Aphex Twin electronica – frantic stuttered beats, rubbery bass lines, beautiful submerged melodies, evocative vocal samples and complex shifting arrangements. (John)

More Box sets and Soundtracks: New Arrival CDs

Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack

Check out these much talked about soundtracks; music of Queen, A Star is Born which features Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, and Thom Yorke’s Suspiria. Amazing box sets keep coming in, including the deluxe version of John Lennon’s iconic album Imagine, and the Joe Strummer’s first solo anthology. Do not miss them!

Soundtracks

Bohemian rhapsody : the original soundtrack
Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

A star is born : soundtrack
“The official motion picture soundtrack to A Star Is Born – which features music from six-time Grammy Award-winner Lady Gaga and director Bradley Cooper. Featuring 19 songs in a wide range of musical styles, and 15 dialogue tracks featuring those moments that will take listeners on a journey that mirrors the experience of seeing the film, the soundtrack to A Star Is Born follows the musical arc and romantic journey of the movie’s two lead characters: Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine, and Lady Gaga’s Ally.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Suspiria : music for the Luca Guadagnino film
Suspiria consists of 25 original compositions written by Thom Yorke specifically for Luca Guadagnino reimagining of the 1977 Dario Argento horror classic. The album is a mix of instrumental score work, interstitial pieces and interludes, and more traditional song structures featuring Thom’s vocals such as “Unmade”, “Has Ended” and “Suspirium,” the album’s first single featuring the melodic theme that recurs throughout the film and its score.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Box sets

John Lennon – Imagine [deluxe]
“A truly unique expanded edition of one of the most iconic albums of all time. This new edition takes us on incredibly personal journey through the entire songwriting and recording process. Super Deluxe version includes 4 CDs (new stereo mix, outtakes, raw studio recordings, track-by-track) and 2 Blu-rays (5.1 surround mixes, HD audio, Elements mixes, Elliot Minz audio documentary).” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Cocteau Twins – Treasure hiding : the Fontana years
“The Fontana Years demonstrates a musical marvel which still makes your ears feel like they re sucking citrus fruits after years of licking ashtrays, while the rings of Saturn crash-land in your front room. This 4-CD set brings together the two albums the band recorded for Fontana along with B-Sides, EP s, Radio One sessions and the odd rarity.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Joe Strummer – Joe Strummer 001
“Ignition Records are proud to announce the release of Joe Strummer 001, the first compilation to span Joe Strummer’s career outside of his recordings with The Clash. Joe Strummer 001 includes fan favourites from his recordings with the 101ers and The Mescaleros, all of his solo albums, soundtrack work and an album of unreleased songs.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Bob Dylan – More blood, more tracks : the bootleg series vol. 14 : deluxe edition.
“The latest chapter in the highly acclaimed Bootleg Series makes available the pivotal studio recordings made by Bob Dylan during six extraordinary sessions in 1974 that resulted in the artist’s 1975 masterpiece, Blood On The Tracks. The 6CD full-length deluxe version includes the complete New York sessions in chronological order including outtakes, false starts and studio banter. The album’s producers have worked from best sources available, in most cases utilizing the original multi-track session tapes.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Lindsey Buckingham – Solo anthology : the best of Lindsey Buckingham
“The first-ever, comprehensive solo anthology by legendary artist, guitarist, song-writer and 3x Grammy® winner, Lindsey Buckingham. The Best of Lindsey Buckingham includes album, live and alternate versions from Law and Order, Go Insane, Out of the Cradle and more, and also incorporates songs from his collaborative album with Christine McVie released in 2017.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Cranberries – Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we? : 25th anniversary edition.
“Last year, the 4 members of the Cranberries came together to plan a 25th Anniversary Box Set release of their debut album, and one of the definitive indie albums of all time, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?. Following Dolores O’Riordan’s death in January this year, the remaining band members have decided to go ahead with the 25th Anniversary Box Set. Originally released on 12th March 1993, the album hit the No.1 spot in both the UK and Ireland and sold over 6 million copies worldwide.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Martin Phillipps is back: New CDs

Piano & a microphone 1983.

Martin Phillipps’ The Chills is back with the fantastic new album! Also amongst the recently arrived CDs are new albums by Paul Weller and Kurt Vile as well as the David Bowie’s 11-CDs box set. Check them out!

New Albums

Chills – Snow bound
“The latest postcard from The Chills’ epic journey is an album about ‘consolidation, re-grouping, acceptance and mortality,’ claims the chief Chill. ‘Hopefully a kind of Carole King Tapestry for ageing punks.’
Wow! Are rock bands allowed to grow old gracefully and assess the world’s and their shortcomings in the process? Is it possible to swerve the obvious and make something that’s bittersweet in tone but harmonious on the ear? Of course it is. In Snow Bound lost heroes are lamented, relationships are re-evaluated, atonement is sought, mortality is mulled over and fake news is undercut.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Prince – Piano & a microphone 1983
“Archive release from the late soul/funk icon. Recorded in 1983 at Prince’s Kiowa Trail home studio in Chanhassen, MN and engineered by Don Batts, Piano & A Microphone 1983 is a nine track, 35-minute album features a previously unreleased home studio cassette recording of Prince at his piano. The private rehearsal provides a rare, intimate glimpse into Prince s creative process as he worked through songs.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Paul Weller – True meanings
“‘To put it simply, True Meanings, the fourteenth Paul Weller solo album, the twenty sixth studio album of his entire career, is a record unlike any he has ever made before. On the 25th May this year, Paul Weller turned 60: a milestone that has unquestionably had an impact on the feel, both lyrically and musically, of True Meanings which comes across being the most singer-songwriter-style album he has ever made. However, it is also the most collaborative: with more guests than any record he’s been involved in before.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Paul Kelly – Nature
“Australia’s greatest and most enduring songwriter Paul Kelly returns with his new studio album Nature. Nature brings together poems from five literary greats – Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Phillip Larkin – alongside poems that Kelly wrote himself and later put to music, and his own original songs that came along in the usual way, as sounds sung to chords that then turned into words.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Wayne Shorter – Emanon
“Featuring a double-album and its companion piece – a self-penned, 84-page graphic novel – Wayne Shorter’s Emanon is the definitive look into his artistic multiverse. The standard three-CD set includes four studio tracks performed by Shorter’s quartet (pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade) and the expansive, 34-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, in addition to a 6 track live album featuring the quartet itself.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Kurt Vile – Bottle it in
“The first solo album in three years from the acclaimed indie musician. Bottle It In includes the single “Loading Zones.” Contributors include Kim Gordon (who plays acoustic guitar on “Mutinies”), Mary Lattimore, Cass McCombs, Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, and Lucius’ Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, among others.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Box-Sets

Tom Petty – An American treasure
An American Treasure-A 4-CD set that features all 60 tracks. All newly released recordings on An American Treasure have been mixed by Ryan Ulyate from pristine transfers of the original studio multitrack masters. All 60 recordings have been re-mastered for this collection by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Chicago – VI decades live : this is what we do
“Limited four CD + DVD set. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers celebrate their live legacy with a collection of previously unreleased concert recordings, which includes several deep cuts that have never appeared on any of the band’s live albums. Chicago: VI, Decades Live (This Is What We Do) was recorded between 1969 and 2014, including the band’s entire performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. The DVD features a concert that was originally broadcast on the German music television show Rockpalast in 1977.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

David Bowie – Loving the alien [1983-1988]
“Limited 11 CD set including 128-page hardcover book. David Bowie’s Loving The Alien (1983 – 1988) is the fourth in a series of box sets spanning his career from 1969. Among the studio and live albums from the period, the set contains an exclusive new production of the 1987 album Never Let Me Down.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Stereolab – Switched on volumes 1-3
“Anthology box set of Stereolab’s Switched On compilations of singles and rarities, originally issued between 1992 and 1998. Contains Switched On, Refried Ectoplasm [Switched On Volume 2], and Aluminum Tunes [Switched On Volume 3].” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

New books on popular music!

Memory Songs book cover

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on popular music. They include the unique studies of 60s music (You know what you could be : tuning into the 1960s) and the 90s (Memory songs : a personal journey into the music that shaped the 90s), as well as the two insightful books about Peter Gabriel.

Syndetics book coverYou know what you could be : tuning into the 1960s / Mike Heron & Andrew Greig.
“This singular book offers two harmonising memoirs of music making in the 1960s. Mike Heron for the first time writes vividly of his formative years in dour, Presbyterian Edinburgh. Armed with a love of Buddy Holly, Fats Domino and Hungarian folk music, he plays in school cloakrooms, graduates to rock, discovers the joy of a folk audience, starts writing songs, wishes he was a Beatnik all while training as a reluctant accountant. These entwined stories will delight anyone who has loved the Incredible String Band; and their differing portraits of that hopeful, erratic and stubborn stumble towards the life that is ours will strike a chord with everyone.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemory songs : a personal journey into the music that shaped the ’90s / James Cook.
“This is the story of a music-obsessed boy’s journey from his bedroom in Hitchin to the heart of nineties London just as Britpop is about to explode. More than a memoir, Memory Songs stands as a testament to music’s power over the imagination, the way it punctuates our past and shapes our future. Woven through with meditations on the artists who defined the UK’s last legendary scene, it delivers a passionate analysis of the music that shaped a crucial moment in British cultural history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA spy in the house of loud : New York songs and stories / Chris Stamey.
A Spy in the House of Loud vividly captures the energy that drove the music scene as arena rock gave way to punk and other new streams of electric music. Stamey tells engrossing backstories about creating in the recording studio, describing both the inspiration and the harmonic decisions behind many of his compositions, as well as providing insights into other people’s music and the process of songwriting. Photos, mixer-channel and track assignment notes, and other inside-the-studio materials illustrate the stories.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover3 kings : Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay Z, and hip-hop’s multibillion-dollar rise / Zack O’Malley Greenburg.
“Tracing the careers of hip-hop’s three most dynamic stars, this deeply reported history brilliantly examines the entrepreneurial genius of the first musician tycoons: Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z. These men are the modern embodiment of the American Dream, but their stories as great thinkers and entrepreneurs have yet to be told in full. Based on a decade of reporting, and interviews with more than 100 sources, 3 Kings tells the fascinating story of the rise and rise of the three most influential musicians in America.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHip hop raised me / by DJ Semtex ; foreword, Chuck D.
Hip Hop Raised Me is the definitive volume on the essence, experience, and energy that is hip hop, and its massive and enduring impact over the last forty years. It’s packed with contact sheets, outtakes, and glory shots of artists, collectives, and fans from iconic photographers including Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant, Eddie Otchere, Normski, Janette Beckman, Chi Modu, Nabil Elderkin, and Mark Humphrey, as well as photographs of hip-hop ephemera and vinyl courtesy of specialist collectors.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll gates open : the story of Can / Rob Young & Irmin Schmidt.
All Gates Open presents the definitive story of arguably the most influential and revered avant-garde band of the late twentieth century: CAN. It consists of two books.In Book One, Rob Young gives us the full biography of a band that emerged at the vanguard of what would come to be called the Krautrock scene in late sixties Cologne. Book Two, Can Kiosk, has been assembled by Irmin Schmidt, founding member and guiding spirit of the band, as a ‘collage – a technique long associated with CAN’s approach to recording. CAN were unique, and their legacy is articulated in two books in this volume with the depth, rigour, originality, and intensity associated with the band itself. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSiren song : my life in music / Seymour Stein with Gareth Murphy.
“Seymour Stein is America’s greatest record man. Not only has he signed and nurtured more important artists than anyone alive, over sixty years in the game, but he’s still the hippest label head, travelling the globe in search of the next big thing. Since the late fifties, Stein’s been wherever it’s happening: Billboard, Tin Pan Alley, The British Invasion, CBGB, Studio 54, Danceteria, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the CD crash. Along that winding path, Stein discovered and broke out a skyline full of stars: Madonna, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Madonna, The Smiths, The Cure, Ice-T, Lou Reed, Seal, and many others. Seymour Stein is a legend. Sung from the heart, Siren Song will etch his story in stone.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWithout frontiers : the life and music of Peter Gabriel / Daryl Easlea.
“Peter Gabriel rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis. After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career. The book details his time as lead singer of Genesis from its inception until he went out on his own in 1975 as a singer-songwriter, soundtrack composer, and innovator in music videos and digital music recording and distribution. It examines how he became well known as an anti-Apartheid activist for his efforts to bring different styles of international music to the attention of the West by establishing the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPeter Gabriel : global citizen / Paul Hegarty.
Peter Gabriel offers nuanced and trenchant insight into this enigmatic, questing musician and his works, into an artist whose constant traveling–through identities, influences, and media–defines him as one of modern culture’s truly global citizens. At the heart of Paul Hegarty’s analysis is the idea of locatedness: what it means to be in a specific place at a given time, and to reflect on that time and the changes which inevitably occur.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThis thing called life : Prince, race, sex, religion, and music / Joseph Vogel.
“What were Prince’s politics? What did he believe about God? And did he really forsake the subject- sex- that once made him the most subversive superstar of the Reagan era? In this illuminating, thematic biography, Joseph Vogel explores the issues that made PRince one of the late 20th century’s most unique, controversial, and fascinating artists.” (book jacket)

New CD Arrivals

The Beths album cover

New CDs in our AV collection feature awesome new releases from Aotearoa artists; the wonderful collaboration album by Neil and Liam Finn, and the new Auckland band The Beths’ debut album which Pitchfork gave 7.9 points. Some of the biggest names in the industry such as Paul McCartney and Paul Simon also issued superb new albums. Check them out!

Neil Finn – Lightsleeper
“Neil Finn of Crowded House fame and the newest member of Fleetwood Mac, needs no introduction. After Liam Finn moved to London with his band Betchadupa, they split and he began a solo career, attracting worldwide acclaim with the I’ll Be Lightning album, and touring with Eddie Vedder, The Black Keys and Wilco. In 2005 father and son came together onstage, including a show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, following which they worked together to create this their debut album, sharing writing duties equally.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The Beths – Future me hates me
“The Beths from New Zealand occupy a warm, energetic sonic space between joyful hooks, sun-soaked harmonies, and acerbic lyrics. Their debut album Future Me Hates Me, forthcoming on Carpark Records, delivers an astonishment of roadtrip-ready pleasures, each song hitting your ears with an exhilarating endorphin rush like the first time you heard The Breeders/Jale/Veruca Salt.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Paul Simon – In the blue light
In The Blue Light is legendary songwriter, recording artist and performer Paul Simon‘s 14th studio album. Produced by Simon and Roy Halee, who have worked together since the 1960s, the album features a talented cast of musicians who have joined Simon to lend fresh perspectives on 10 of the artist’s favorite (though perhaps less-familiar) songs, drawn from his unparalleled body of work.” (adapted from amzon.co.uk)

Paul McCartney – Egypt station
“Paul McCartney invites you on a musical journey to Egypt Station. Sharing a title with one of Paul’s own paintings, Egypt Station is the first full album of all-new McCartney music since 2013’s international chart-topping album New. The result is a kaleidoscopic journey through myriad musical locales and eras, yet firmly rooted in the here and now–with Paul’s singular unmistakable melodic and lyrical sensibility serving as a guide.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Alice in Chains – Rainier fog
Rainier Fog marks a few firsts for the band: in addition to being their first album in five years, it’s their first album with BMG and their first time recording in their hometown of Seattle in more than 20 years (worth noting that the album title is a tribute to Seattle). They recorded at Studio X, the same facility where they tracked 1995’s self-titled Alice in Chains album (back when the studio was known as Bad Animals).” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Aphex Twin – Collapse
“Mythical electronic producer Richard D James aka Aphex Twin returns on Warp Records with the new 4-track EP Collapse which follows-up his 2016 Cheetah EP and 2014 full-length Syro. The cryptic release is introduced by the pummeling lead cut, ‘T69 Collapse’ whose mind-bending video premiere was pulled from Adult Swim at the last minute for failing the Harding epilepsy test.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Charles Lloyd – Vanished gardens
“At 80 years old, NEA Jazz Master Charles Lloyd remains an intrepid musical pioneer, entering his ninth decade at a creative peak in what now stands as a mountainous and formidable career. Now on Vanished Gardens, he and his band The Marvels add a new dimension by collaborating with revered singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams to pioneer a new genre of Americana Jazz that draws on the musicians many influences and experiences.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Nick Mason – Unattended luggage
“Nick Mason is one of the biggest selling artists of all time. A co-founding member of Pink Floyd, he is the only constant member of the group, performing on all of their albums as well as all of their live shows. Unattended Luggage is a further celebration of Nick Mason and his undeniably significant contribution to music. The set contains the albums Fictitious Sports, Profiles and White Of The Eye.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

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)