LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 11 FEBRUARY 2014...
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>Sun Kil Moon – Benji LIMITED EDITION 2-CD (Caldo Verde)
Features guest musicians Steve Shelley, Jen Wood, Will Oldham, and Owen Ashworth. Double-CD version includes five track bonus disc and a lyric poster. “There are 11 songs on Sun Kil Moon’s astonishing sixth LP
Benji, and in nearly all of them, somebody dies. Mark Kozelek wants us to know that they all lived, loved, fought, f##ked up, and often did the best they could. While Benji is consumed with death, sadness, and tragedy, there's gratitude within this melancholy, and it’s Kozelek’s most life-affirming record.” BNM [9.2] – Pitchfork
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>Band Of Horses – Acoustic At The Ryman CD/LP+MP3 (Brown Records)
A 10-song virtual "greatest hits" set of acoustic renditions of songs from across the Band Of Horses catalog, recorded at Nashville's legendary Ryman Auditorium over two nights in April 2013. Available on CD and on HQ-180gm vinyl.
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>Tinariwen – Emaar CD/2xLP+CD (Anti)
For Saharan blues band Tinariwen, the desert is home; their hypnotic and electrifying guitar rock reflects the melding of their Tuareg musical heritage with modern urban blues. Their 2011 album
Tassili, recorded in the Algerian desert, won a Grammy Award for Best World Music album. Now their new record Emmaar returns to their roots, delivering stripped-down dirges and effervescent electric anthems.
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>Cheatahs – Cheatahs CD/LP+CD (Wichita)
Cheatahs’ long-awaited new album is first and foremost an exploration of the possibilities of modern guitar music. A blend of ecstatic noise, ambient drone and visceral, ear-splitting alt-rock, combined with lyrics that touch on the complexities of relationships, nature, the city, memory, dislocation and self-identity,
Cheatahs displays a giant creative leap from the lo-fi fuzz of the band’s first two EPs.
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>Cibo Matto – Hotel Valentine CD (Virtual Label)
The ‘90s group returns with a fresh serving of kaleidoscopic grooves, demented horns, crazy synthesizers and funky-but-chic blasts of pure danceability on their first new album in eight years.
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>Thumpers – Galore CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
The London-based band duo creates colorful, exuberant alt-pop that celebrates their innate musical kinship and draws upon their shared childhood memories. Layered androgynous vocals are backed by muscular drums, astral synths, and shimmering guitars in a celebration of the breathless sensations of youth and coming of age.
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>Blondfire – Young Heart CD/LP (Tender Tender Rush)
Blondfire is songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Erica Driscoll and her brother Bruce. The two have been playing together since they were kids growing up in Grand Rapids, MI. Their new album channels the irresistible synth-pop feel of British new wave bands like Depeche Mode, New Order, OMD and Pet Shop Boys, as well as the larger-than-life arena-rock ambitions of U2, Coldplay, and even Arcade Fire.
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>The Casket Girls – True Love Kills The Fairy Tale CD/LP+MP3 (Graveface)
The Girls provide lilting, almost whimsical melodies about chemical hazes and love gone sour like a couple of f##ked up Shangri-las, to which Ryan Graveface added a bevy of grinding, multi-dimensional psych-rock synths that will be familiar to anyone with a Black Moth Super Rainbow record in their collection.
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>Fanfarlo – Let’s Go Extinct CD/LP (Blue Horizon Venture)
There aren't many bands that can combine the ambitions of progressive rock storytelling with the kind of hook-friendly accessibility demanded by today's oft-distracted music listener. Fanfarlo can without sounding either pretentious or way out of their element (think a very European Okkervil River). They do it with ease, and the folky elements blend nicely with the contemporary production sounds on all of their releases, but maybe best yet on
Let’s Go Extinct.
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>Neil Finn – Dizzy Heights CD/LP (Lester Records)
Third solo album from the New Zealand-based singer/songwriter best known for his work with Crowded House and Split Enz.
Dizzy Heights was co-produced with Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Tame Impala, The Flaming Lips). “I didn't want to make it a solo record in a stripped back singer/songwriter sort of way,” Finn says. “I had a feeling Dave would be good at adding some odd shapes to the music, which I always welcome -- making things a little more expansive. He is good at subverting things, and making things sound a bit messed up and not as obvious, rather than being too tasteful, which is always a temptation.”
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>Coil/Nine Inch Nails – Recoiled CD (Cold Spring Records)
Recoiled is a rambunctious alchemy of magical Coil sensibilities and hi-tech home circa '90s mixing technique, all fused in the cave-like early studios of Danny Hyde/Peter Christopherson. These were the unrestrained pre-big studio mix downs of four songs which long time Coil admirer/collaborator Trent Reznor requested Coil to remix. Reznor sent over the original multi-tracks and DATs to Hyde/Christopherson, who independently mixed versions and then met to synch both creations, molding them into these master versions.
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>Dead Moon – In The Graveyard [Reissue/1988] CD (M’Lady)
Dead Moon – Unknown Passage [Reissue/1989] CD (M’Lady)
Dead Moon – Defiance [Reissue/1990] CD (M’Lady)
Remastered reissues of rare early recordings (previously reissued on vinyl by Mississippi) from the Oregonian punk rock legends.
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>Camper Van Beethoven – Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart [Reissue/1988] CD/2xLP (Omnivore)
Camper Van Beethoven – Key Lime Pie [Reissue/1989] CD/2xLP (Omnivore)
Camper Van Beethoven signed with Virgin Records in 1988 and delivered a record,
Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, that defied those who thought the band might 'sell out.' The band returned the following year with what most deem their masterpiece Key Lime Pie. Once again produced by Dennis Herring (Elvis Costello, Counting Crows), the album continued the journey into the world of CVB, but with higher production value and sound than had been heard before. Initial limited quantities of Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart are available on turquoise colored vinyl, while Key Lime Pie has been remastered across two LPs for higher fidelity with an added bonus track, and is pressed on key lime colored vinyl (initial limited quantities, with black to follow).
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>Various Artists – Punk 45 Vol. 2: Underground Punk In UK 1977-1981 CD/LP (Soul Jazz)
Soul Jazz Records’ new
Punk 45 album charts the rise of underground punk across the US in the years 1973-1980. The album coincides with the release of the label’s massive new deluxe 400-page Punk 45s cover art book edited and compiled by Jon Savage (author of the seminal book on punk, England’s Dreaming) and Stuart Baker (founder of Soul Jazz Records). This compilation features a selection of seminal, classic, obscure and rare punk and proto-punk 7” singles from the likes of Pere Ubu, The Zeros, The Randoms, Electric Eels, The Pagans, The Deadbeats, The Lewd and many more.