LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 26 FEBRUARY 2016
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>Lily And Madeleine – Keep It Together CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
Keep It Together, the third album in just over three years by Indianapolis-based sisters Lily & Madeleine is a spellbinding ten-song statement is the dynamic product of two distinct musical personalities, bound by kinship, melding seamlessly into one ephemeral and dreamy collection. Keep It Together is a bit of a departure from their last two records. They arranged all the songs with their friends Kate Siefker (drums, percussion, synth, bass) and Shannon Hayden (cello, guitar, mandolin, synth). Working with a closer knit team of just four ladies helped tighten their sound and unify each track into a complete collection. It's their voices you'll fall in love with,—both have a smoky, haunting voices which colours each song with emotion and depth.
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>The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It CD/2xLP (Interscope)
“When Manchester quartet The 1975 broke out in 2013 with their debut album
The 1975 (and its glammy single ‘Sex’), they were heralded as rock revivalists with a stylish mix of ’80s new-wave melodies and hip-swiveling grooves. But on their anticipated follow-up I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, The 1975 go in a ’90s-style pop direction thanks to an expanded pool of influences, from D’Angelo and early Christina Aguilera to Janet Jackson producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis” – Entertainment Weekly. (Limited copies also pressed on clear vinyl.)
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>Santigold – 99¢ CD/LP/Cassette (Atlantic)
Santigold’s third album,
99¢, features a collaboration with iLoveMakonnen as well as production from Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, Hit-Boy, TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, Zeds Dead, Patrik Berger, Justin Raisen, Sam Dew, John Hill, and Doc McKinney. “It’s impossible to not move to this album. There’s a wide array of rhythms, grooves, and sensibilities pulling from dancehall, soca, hip-hop, trap, and electro, but it is never overwhelming or underwhelming because it is balanced so well. The album is like pre-packaged diet meals in that respect, because there is just enough to fill you up and keep your senses engaged, but the artistry is in the portion control because it could easily be too much to handle. Santigold’s vocals vary as well, employing rap cadences, holding notes a bit longer for effect, leaning toward a Caribbean accent in spots, and scaling back for harmonies with other artists. The seemingly standard four-year hiatus she takes between albums is justified when it comes out sounding like this.” – Stereogum
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>Mount Moriah – How To Dance CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
The North Carolina-based band Mount Moriah seem insistent to grow. If their self-titled debut showed them standing with sea legs, determined to dream their way free from the dark crevices and corners of alt-country’s stiff template; and if
Miracle Temple, their second album, called that darkness by its Southern name and met it with fire; then their latest collection of songs, How To Dance, is a devotion to the cosmic light itself: moving towards it, moving into it, becoming it. Mount Moriah’s third full-length sees them stretching further to explore their collective interest in the intangible fringes of fate and synchronicity. With How To Dance, the band presents new themes of symbolism, mysticism, alchemy, universality, sacred geometry. There is color, confidence, self-direction, joy. There is also darkness, but only to show you how it found its light. In I’m Not There, a film supposition of Bob Dylan’s life, the version of Dylan played by Cate Blanchett—the pre-motorcycle crash, Blonde On Blonde Dylan—says that “a poem is like a naked person,” and then, blending into the same line, “but a song is something that walks by itself.” Mount Moriah have created a continuous dialogue with humanity, with the metaphysical, with the ecology right in front of us. Here, in How To Dance, everything walks by itself.
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>School Of Seven Bells - SVIIB CD/LP+MP3 (Vagrant)
“‘Ablaze,’ from School Of Seven Bells’ fourth and likely final LP, is composed of the same elements SVIIB have threaded together for years: heroic riffs, a colossus of a percussion track and Alejandra Deheza’s weightless sighs. The emotional clarity, however, is new; the song is an ode to redemptive love, delivered with full earnestness and complete surrender. ‘You saw the stars in me,’ Deheza sings, and her often-glassy voice and SVIIB’s usually-huge mixes turn into something more plaintive, almost a cappella: ‘You told me how you saw the stars/You told me that till I believed.’ It’s among the most life-affirming five minutes of pop music in recent memory. It is quite possibly perfect” – Pitchfork. (Limited purple vinyl pressing also available.)
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>Bonnie Raitt – Dig In Deep CD/2xLP+MP3 (Redwing)
Veteran singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt follows up her Grammy-winning 2012 LP,
Slipstream, with her 20th studio album, Dig In Deep. “Bonnie Raitt has got chops a mile deep on slide guitar. Within a few seconds, her tone is instantly recognizable, with its bluesy bent and hint of lingering melancholy, as if she were trying to savor a note just a little bit longer before it vanishes. Memories linger in much the same way, and Raitt's 20th album, Dig In” Deep, works as a survey of the singer's past and a mature expression of where she is now.” – The Chicago Tribune
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>Emitt Rhodes – Rainbow Ends CD/LP+MP3 (Omnivore)
Emitt Rhodes began his career in his teens, as drummer for the SoCal band The Palace Guard. He eventually took the reigns as leader of The Merry Go Round, who scored pop hits with “Live” and “You’re A Very Lovely Woman” in the late 1960s. At the release of his critically acclaimed eponymous debut in 1971, he gained a reputation as a “one-man Beatles,” since he wrote, recorded and produced the album in his home studio. But then, the way many music stories unfurl, after battling bad contracts and industry demands, Rhodes saw his last release,
Farewell To Paradise, in 1973. He never recorded or released another full-length LP. Until now. With a band that includes Emitt Rhodes, album producer Chris Price, Roger Joseph Manning Jr, Jason Falkner, Taylor Locke, Fernando Perdomo and Joe Seiders, Rainbow Ends features guest appearances from Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Jon Brion, Nels Cline & Pat Sansone from Wilco, Bleu, Probyn Gregory & Nelson Bragg from the Brian Wilson Band, and more. (Limited colored vinyl also available.)
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>Anthrax – For All Kings CD/2xLP (Megaforce)
“Eleven studio albums and 33 years into their career, Anthrax outputs quite possibly the best thing they’ve ever done Anthrax today, is not the Anthrax of 1987, and
For All Kings is not Among The Living, even though four-fifths of the band are still intact from their peak period. I say that in a good way, because as good as they were then, to put it simply, they’re better now. Better songwriters, better musicians, seasoned bandmates that know that they’re better together than apart. If you loved Worship Music as much as I did, you’ll love this album. When you can be a band that has played together for well over 30 years and still put out quality music like For All Kings, it’s nothing short of magic” – Infrared Mag. (Limited copies also pressed on colored vinyl with accompanying slipmat.)
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>Horace Andy
– In The Light [Reissue/1977] CD/LP (VP)
– In The Light In Dub [Reissue/1977] CD/LP (VP)
Reissue of 1977 dub classic
In The Light, paired with a long-awaited repress (in the iconic original sleeve) of its crucial dub companion.
for the week of 19 FEBRUARY 2016
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>Animal Collective – Painting With CD/LP+MP3/LIMITED LP+MP3 w/slipmat (Domino)
“Animal Collective’s tenth album,
Painting With, reunites the Merriweather lineup of Lennox, Portner, and Weitz, with Josh Dibb (a.k.a. Deakin) sitting this one out for a side project of his own. Built around modular synths and eccentric percussion instruments, it’s definitely in line with the group’s style. But one reference point tending to crop up in interviews now is the Ramones; stripping away any husk of reverb or ambient interludes for the very first time, the 12-song, 41-minute set distills Animal Collective’s sound to a potent, hypercolor dose. It’s poppier, in a characteristically warped way, than even Merriweather, the group’s most popular album to date. That’s down to the record’s rarely wavering energy; subtle details abound in the interplay between Lennox and Portner’s near-indistinguishably overlapping yawps, or in the giddy, ping-ponging sonic backdrops, but that’s all a bonus when the songs bounce along like Tigger in a 5 Hour Energy ad.” – SPIN
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>nonkeen – The Gamble CD/LP (R&S)
“Composer/producer Nils Frahm's latest album with his childhood trio nonkeen highlights that Frahm is best when he's having fun: proposing limitations but then pushing back against them when the musical moment seems to call for it.” – Pitchfork
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>Wild Nothing - Life Of Pause CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks/Bella Union)
Life Of Pause is the new LP from dream pop songwriter Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing. “Opener ‘Reichpop’ provides the first indication of Wild Nothing’s new direction, with its multiple layers creating a tropical backdrop to Tatum’s airy vocals, which sound remarkably similar to the husky tones of Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman. It may not be a radical transformation – the dream pop label could certainly still be attached – but the natural evolution of the track is evidence of the freedom Tatum allowed himself. The same is true of ‘Lady Blue,’ where the underlying synths and repeated ‘ooohs’ give it a summery, cool swagger, before it breaks down into an infectious hook as Tatum sings ‘Can you wait for ever girl?’. The title track is also wrapped in a cloak of haze as the prominent synths reach their peak on yet another catchy chorus (‘How can we want love?’), while the funky bassline works seamlessly in the background.” – Music OMH
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>Wolfmother – Victorious CD/LP (UMe)
Fourth album from the Australian hard rock band. “Possessing a fun lightness (and brevity) that Wolfmother have sorely lacked,
Victorious is an eminently listenable record: ‘Simple Life,’ ‘Baroness’ and ‘City Lights’ are high-order stompers, while ‘Pretty Peggy’ and ‘Best Of A Bad Situation’ are a pair of bucolic Zeppelin III changes of pace.” – Rolling Stone
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>Ra Ra Riot - Need Your Light CD/LP+MP3 (Barsuk)
After being a band for a decade, it's easy to get disillusioned with the tedium of adulthood, but
Need Your Light, the fourth full-length from Ra Ra Riot, is the sound of a band being reinvigorated by their own existence. Correspondingly, the album sees the group—which originated in Syracuse but has now dispersed all over the country—getting back to their house party roots without abandoning the more-heady soundscapes they explored with 2013's Beta Love. The result is an album that's celebratory without being saccharine, and that sees the group collectively mining their prior experiences to craft something that looks toward the future with an optimistic gaze. “Ra Ra Riot’s journeyed state of identity—adapting to several lost members of the years, incorporating synthesizers to their original baroque pop sound—has managed to culminate in their most balanced record to date.” – Flood Magazine
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>Prince - HITnRUN Phase Two CD (NPG)
Procured directly from Prince's camp—LUNA is one of the few retail outlets you can grab this new goodness...
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>Judith Hill - Back In Time CD (NPG)
Procured directly from Prince's camp—LUNA is one of the few retail outlets you can grab this new goodness...
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>Mavis Staples – Livin’ On A High Note CD (ANTI-)
The soul and gospel music legend takes on a set of 12 original songs written exclusively for her by a group of fine songwriters, including: M .Ward, Ben Harper, Valerie June, Neko Case, tUnE-yArDs, Nick Cave, John Baptiste, Justin Vernon, Aloe Blacc, and more. Vinyl edition due April 1.
for the week of 05 FEBRUARY 2015
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>DIIV – Is The Is Are CD/2xLP (Captured Tracks)
“There are plenty of bands that have served as their own worst enemies. DIIV had all the makings of a band banging on the door to stardom—hooks for days, a distinctive aesthetic in a crowded field, an edgy frontman who has acquired his own mythos. So the wait between their debut and sophomore efforts was an unwelcome wrinkle. After curating one of the finer entries into the Captured Tracks discography, the Brooklyn genre-melders hit a few snags, most notably Zachary Cole Smith’s arrest in late 2013 and drummer Colby Hewitt’s departure due to drug addiction. It all made a one-and-done affair seem like a real possibility.
Is The Is Are’s opening line captures this sentiment perfectly: ‘You’re out of sight/And out of mind.’ DIIV were essentially off the grid for three years, more than enough time to be supplanted by a new rival. But rather than a distraction, the tabloid drama surrounding the band became the fodder for their new album. Is The Is Are takes everything that DIIV did well on Oshin, deepens it, broadens it, fiddles with more permutations, and does it all to excess.” – Pretty Much Amazing
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>Junior Boys – Big Black Coat CD/LP+MP3 (City Slang)
Big Black Coat is a rich, direct, synth-pop record that introduces a new side to Junior Boys. It finds their signature sound counterbalanced by a new minimal approach. The second half of the album embraces a boiled down simplicity, incorporating elements of industrial and dubstep, reminiscent of long nights on the dance floor.
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>Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts Of Highway 20 CD/LP (Highway 20)
We’ve all heard about the iconic vibe of Route 66, the neon lights on Broadway and the ocean air of the Pacific Coast Highway. But there are untold stories emanating from countless blue highways across the land like Interstate 20, which cuts a 1500-mile swath from South Carolina to Texas, and cuts deep into the spirit of those who’ve spent their lives traversing it. Lucinda Williams is one of those people, and with the expansive, enveloping
The Ghosts Of Highway 20, she brings those stories to life and gives listeners a remarkably vivid look at how the highway has been a literal and figurative backdrop throughout her entire life.
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>Dr. Dog – The Psychedelic Swamp CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
“Philly's Dr. Dog made their first record,
The Psychedelic Swamp, in 2000 but never officially released it. Sure, there've been bootlegs, and any long-time Dr. Dog diehard can list the LP's songs — but the collection never got a chance to really shine. Now 15 years later, the album has gotten a complete makeover. The strange thing is not that the band is returning to the first thing they ever created together, but that returning was their intention all the while. ‘The concept behind it is that we were always going to redo it and make it super-accessible pop, which was built into the concept of The Psychedelic Swamp. Part of the original record that is so unlistenable is that," he pauses to laugh, ‘it was trapped in a psychedelic swamp.’” – Charleston City Paper
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>Jason Collett – Song And Dance Man CD/LP (Arts & Crafts)
“Song And Dance Man,” the title track from Jason Collett’s sixth full-length album, finds the singer/songwriter back at center stage, with three-minutes-and-change and a story to sing. Featuring the bright production touch of Bahamas’ Afie Jurvanen, “Song And Dance Man” covers the trials and triumphs of the modern musician with poignant poetry: If you can tweet something brilliant, you got a marketing plan.
Song And Dance Man’s thirteen songs bear the wit and melody of classic Jason Collett: contemplative reflections on getting older, backed with an affinity for freewheeling ‘70s dance music. The album’s conspiring themes of love and loneliness, sun and shadows, are buoyed by its soaring sound. Each song rises into an easy, spacious groove, lead by Jason’s languid melodies and Afie’s sun-drunk bass.
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>Field Music – Common Time CD/2xLP+MP3 (Memphis Industries)
“The first thing to note is the title. Field Music, aka the brothers Brewis, are not known for writing songs in ‘common time’, with regular numbers of beats to the bar. Their last, quite brill album
Plumb was full of tunes in wonky time signatures, just like their other three studio albums. Intelligent pop music like Hot Chip, Steely Dan and Pet Shop Boys are the models, but Field Music have a real claim on being their own genre. For all the lop-sidedness of their tunes, there are still tunes within them.” – Press PLAY
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>Nap Eyes – Thought Rock Fish Scale CD/LP+MP3 (Paradise Of Bachelors)
Recorded live to tape, with no overdubs, on the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Nap Eyes' quietly contemplative sophomore record refines and elaborates their debut, offering an airier, more spacious second chapter, a bracing blast of bright oceanic sunshine after the moonlit alleys of
Whine Of The Mystic. But the briny, cold Atlantic roils beneath these exquisite, literate guitar pop songs, posing riddles about friendship, faith, mortality, and self-doubt. For fans of The Only Ones/England's Glory, The Modern Lovers, The Clean, The Verlaines, The Go-Betweens, Bedhead, and all things Lou Reed.
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>Sunflower Bean – Human Ceremony CD/LP (Fat Possum)
“As a band, Sunflower Bean have grown exceptionally fast. On the heels of strong live shows around their Brooklyn hometown and festivals like CMJ, the three-piece dropped an EP earlier this year. Since then, they’ve nailed down tours with the likes of Wolf Alice, DIIV, Best Coast, and others, leading to a staggering 100 performances in the span of just one year. That’s a lot for a fresh outfit. Recorded in just seven days, Hum
an Ceremony sees them refining their psych rock ways into something with a bit more of a fuzzy pop edge, with a press release referencing influences like The Cure, The Velvet Underground, and The Feelies.” – Consequence Of Sound
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>The London Suede – Night Thoughts [Deluxe Edition] CD+DVD (Rhino)
This Deluxe edition of The London Suede’s seventh album includes a bonus DVD containing a film based on the album. “The mark of a successful relationship is if its parties can evolve together. Britpop luminaries Suede proved theirs could be built to last when they reunited after a decade apart for
Bloodsports in 2013, and lord knows they faced challenges during their ’90s heyday: industry pressure, member turnover (founding guitarist Bernard Butler acrimoniously left after 1994’s Dog Man Star), a frustrating name change (a lounge singer’s early ’90s lawsuit forced them to be billed as ‘The London Suede’ in the US), rampant drug abuse, and, ultimately, burnout. But breaks can lead to happy reunions, and on their second album post-comeback, Night Thoughts, the glam-rock revivalists again sound physically rejuvenated despite carrying an emotional albatross.” -- SPIN
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>Mass Gothic – Mass Gothic CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
Mass Gothic is led by former Boston-based band Hooray For Earth singer Noel Heroux. “If you've spent any time around rock and roll, you know that some great music has come out of depression, oftentimes when the musician explores it alone. In attempt to get back to his four-track days, Heroux made an album of weird synth-rock largely on his own, under the moniker Mass Gothic. It's a surprising album, mostly in its ability to sound buoyant and tense simultaneously; its first single, ‘Nice Night,’ is the apex of the latter.” – Vulture
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>Fat White Family – Songs For Our Mothers CD/LP (Fat Possum)
Some will hail this hair-raising, pulse-quickening and indignant collection of glitterball disco, smacked out psych, glam funk, heart-breaking torch songs and otherworldly slabs of kraut n’ western as the shot in the arm that independent rock has been ailing after. And a shot in the arm is exactly what this album is. For if modern indie rock, DIY, alt-country – call it what you will – is sick, then the Fat Whites are the pretty nurse with Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy, pushing down the plunger on the syringe; murdering the bed-ridden patient with a tainted injection right under everyone’s noses. They have witnessed an entire musical scene teetering on the verge of terminal irrelevancy and given it a hard shove void-wards.
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>Elton John – Wonderful Crazy Night CD/LP (Island)
rd album from Elton John -- co-produced by Elton and T-Bone Burnett. In addition to working again with longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin and producer Burnett, Wonderful Crazy Night finds John reuniting with some vital band members for the first time in nearly a decade: Drummer Nigel Olsson and guitarist Davey Johnstone, who first performed alongside John in the late- ‘60s and early- ‘70s, respectively, both appear on an Elton John album for the first time since 2006's The Captain & The Kid. Percussionist Ray Cooper, bassist Matt Bissonette, keyboardist Kim Bullard and percussionist John Mahon round out the Wonderful Crazy Night crew. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds two bonus tracks.
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>The Cult – Hidden City CD/2xLP (Cooking Vinyl)
Following up their 2012 album,
Choice Of Weapon, singer Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy teamed up for the writing as the band’s only remaining original members. Explaining the concept behind the new record, Astbury said, “Hidden City is a metaphor for our spiritual lives, our intimate interior lives,” adding “I find today’s gurus are trying to peddle some cure, product or insight as if it’s a new phenomenon. My place is to respond, not react, to observe, participate and share through words and music. There is no higher authority than the heart.” The song “Dark Energy,” opens the album with a jumpy, swinging rhythm that sees Astbury’s signature croon enter shortly after. Keeping the bouncing rhythm, Duffy injects his ethereal, textured guitar playing hinting back at the band’s post-punk and goth rock days while maintaining their modern day sound.
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>Luther Dickinson – Blues & Ballads (A Folksingers Songbook) Volumes I & II CD/2xLP+MP3 (New West)
“This acoustic collection of songs interpreted simply, recorded live, solo or with a small group of friends, celebrates my relationship between music, songs, the written word and legacy.
Blues & Ballads celebrates the American oral tradition of blues and folk songs, not only being passed down and evolving but being transcribed (the original recording technique) and entered into the discipline of written sheet music and songbooks. I represent the Memphis underground and the mid-south region's music. This art is not for the masses. It is meant to wither and fade and then rise from the ashes again and again, evolving and mutating.” -- Luther Dickinson 2015
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>Lou Doillon – Lay Low CD (Verve)
New release from the French singer/songwriter. Lou is Charlotte Gainsbourg's half-sister, the daughter of Jane Birkin and French filmmaker Jacques Doillon. Like her famous half-sibling, Lou also dabbles regularly in both music and film.
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>Elliott Smith – Heaven Adores You Soundtrack CD (UMe)
Heaven Adores You is the soundtrack to the 2014 documentary about the life and music of indie singer/songwriter Elliott Smith. In addition to having at least one song from each of his albums, the track listing contains over a dozen previously unreleased Elliott Smith songs, spanning the length of his career. Vinyl edition due March 18.
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>John Cale – Music For A New Society/M:FANS [Reissue/1982] 2xCD (Domino)
Cale’s long out-of-print 1982 masterpiece,
Music For A New Society, has been remastered and is now reissued along side a radical new reworking of that critically-lauded album entitled M:FANS. (Both were released on vinyl a few weeks ago.)
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>Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari - Tales Of Mozambique [Reissue/1975] CD/2xLP (Soul Jazz)
Count Ossie is the central character in the development of Rastafarian roots music, nowadays an almost mythical and iconic figure. His importance in bringing Rastafarian music to a populist audience is matched only by Bob Marley's promotion of the faith internationally in the 1970s. Soul Jazz Records reissues Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation's seminal 1975 album
Tales Of Mozambique in a fully remastered edition, expanded with two bonus rare single-only tracks.
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>Game Theory – Lolita Nation [Reissue/1987] 2xCD/2xLP+MP3 (Omnivore)
This expanded reissue of Game Theory’s ambitious fourth album adds a disc of alternate mixes, live recordings, and radio sessions – 48 tracks total. “Game Theory leader Scott Miller has never made much of a secret of his fondness for Big Star, but while Real Nighttime favored the sound of
#1 Record and The Big Shot Chronicles suggested the harder-edged tone of Radio City, Lolita Nation sounded like Game Theory's variation on the themes of Big Star's masterfully damaged swan song, Third/Sister Lovers. Certainly Game Theory's most ambitious album, Lolita Nation was a two-LP set that combined some of Miller's most user-friendly power pop with dark, moody ruminations on betrayal, failed love, and mortality, bursts of avant-garde noise, and fragments of unclassifiable studio doodling, all thrown into a sonic Cuisinart through Miller's aggressive use of aural montage.” – AllMusic