BILL CALLAHAN – Gold Record LP (Drag City) now on vinyl!
Just a little over a year after 2019’s excellent “Shepard in a Sheepskin Vest”, Bill Callahan is back with the aptly titled “Gold Record”. This time around Bill brings in even more colorful instrumentation & an expanded musical vocabulary- with mariachi trumpets & guitars, even cowboy whistles shifting in & out of focus to a near psychedelic effect. Every song has a story to tell, with Callahan’s free-wheelin’ & wry vocals reminding us of the great storytellers like TERRY ALLEN & KRIS KRISTOFFERSON. The record also contains some ‘gold’ Callahan lyrics, including “it’s almost beer-thirty”, “…with eyes like honey-drunk bees”, & of course the introductory line, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash”. As always, on Drag City & recommended!
IDLES – Ultra Mono LP/deluxe LP/CD (Partisan) “vortex” vinyl, + some ltd. signed prints!
As far as contemporary comparisons go, Bristol’s IDLES hews most closely to Detroit band PROTOMARTYR. These similarities are pretty striking, both in terms of the bands sonic qualities (both have punchy and muscular rhythm sections joined with feedback wall guitars and pointed shout-speak vocals) and in terms of thematic subjects (alienation, anti-capitalist disillusionment, navigating toxic masculine tendencies). What really separates these two bands – apart from nationality – is their outlook. Whereas PROTOMARTYR’s music is dour, IDLES seeks to provide their audience with uplift, and both of these expressions of our modern existence can be poignant and evocative, just in radically different ways. “Ultra Mono” continues right where “Joy as an Act of Resistance” left off, joining pummeling riffs with anthemic declarations of self-love. Whether that speaks to you is reflected in your own emotional life. And if so, this is another deeply rewarding IDLES LP.
KATE NV – Room for the Moon LP (RVNG)
The Russian experimental musician KATE NV returns with a new album in 2020. Her previous album was a more experimental affair, made on the legendary Buchla synthesizer but this one is more like her debut with rhythmic grooves, heavily gated drum sounds & a somewhat stream of consciousness singing style. This reminds us a lot of 80s Japanese pop like MARIAH & YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA & avant garde new wave like Grace Jones. RECOMMENDED
LOMELDA – Hannah LP/CD (Double Double Whammy) pink vinyl
Channeling the same open-hearted energy of songwriters like ALEX G, JULIA JACKLIN and ADRIANNE LENKER of BIG THIEF, Texas’ LOMELDA is able to craft an album that is at once both intimate and grandiose. The tracks on this aptly titled record focus on the lead singer and songwriter Hannah Read, touching upon her feelings of isolation, regret and manic joy. These songs are often structured elliptically, using the patterns to build dynamic change in the arrangements with tape effects, tasteful keys and ragged electric guitar, all in a way that feels effortless in its execution. RECOMMENDED.
MAKAYA McCRAVEN – Universal Beings E & F Sides LP (Int’l Anthem)
Much like he did for 2015’s “In The Moment”, MAKAYA McCRAVEN adds an addendum to his pond-crossing album “Universal Beings”, again featuring recordings from Chicago, London, New York and LA with a cast of fellow jazz luminaries. McCRAVEN’s track record is spotless, and this is yet another essential get on Int’l Anthem!
BOB MOULD – Blue Hearts LP/CD (Merge) limited tri-color Peak Vinyl edition
A year after the cheerful, aptly titled LP “Sunshine Rock”, BOB gets pissed off again with “Blue Hearts”. This is some of the most overtly political music of MOULDs career, digging into the deepening unrest and divides within the United States that have come to the forefront in the last four years (and especially in 2020). And “Blue Hearts” also explores some of MOULD’s past struggles, such as his time as a closeted gay man in the 1980s. Recorded at Chicago’s Electrical Audio, this is yet another bracing, heavy record from the punk legend and comes obviously RECOMMENDED.
CARLOS NIÑO & MIGUEL ATWOOD-FERGUSON – Chicago Waves LP (Int’l Anthem)
This impromptu set from drummer CARLOS NIÑO and multi- instrumentalist MIGUEL ATWOOD-FERGUSON was recorded at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport back in late 2018. The pair was there to help open for JEREMY CUNNINGHAM and his “Weather Up There” album, and they took advantage of the space and the energy to concoct this swirling, meditative piece of spiritual jazz. With NIÑO’s percussion and sound design backing up ATWOOD-FERGUSON’s affected violin, “Chicago Waves” is a document of an increasingly vital music scene with its roots here in Chicago. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
PRINCE – Sign O’ The Times 2LP/4LP box set /13LP box set/ 8CD box set, CD/ 3CD
The digging in Prince’s vault continues with this bonkers reissue campaign for his legendary 1987 album. First ever remaster with multiple versions including the original album & multiple deluxe versions with previously unreleased material & some live recordings.
OTHER IMPORTANT NEW RELEASES
WILL BUTLER – Generations LP/CD (Merge) limited red splatter Peak Vinyl edition
COUCH SLUT – Take a Chance on Rock ‘n’ Roll LP (Gilead)
DEATH BELLS – New Signs of Life (Dais)
DEFTONES – Ohms LP (Reprise) black or limited gold
GLOBAL COMMUNICATION – Chapterhouse Retranslated 2LP (Evolution) remastered
GLOBAL COMMUNICATION – 76:14 2LP (Evolution) remastered
KHOTIN – Finds You Well LP (Ghostly)
NAPALM DEATH – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism LP/CD (Century Media)
KELLEE PATTERSON – Maiden Voyage LP (Real Gone) remastered
PSYCHIC TEMPLE – Houses of the Holy LP (Joyful Noise)
LOU REED- New York 3CD/DVD/2LP (Rhino)
OMAR RODRIGUEZ LOPEZ – The Clouds Hills Tapes Parts I, II, III 3LP (Clouds Hill)
SURFER BLOOD – Carefree Theatre LP/CD (Kanine)
TRICKY – Fall To Pieces LP/CD (!K7) limited red vinyl
WAX CHATTELS – Clot LP (Captured Tracks)