LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 26 MAY 2017
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>The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Reissue/1967] CD/2xCD/4xCD+DVD+Blu-ray (Capitol)
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles landmark album,
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has been remixed and remastered by George Martin and repackaged in a variety of configurations for the collector, including: a standard single-CD featuring George Martin’s new stereo mix; an expanded Deluxe double-disc CD featuring 18 unreleased alternate takes of the album’s 13 songs (the double-vinyl edition includes 13 of these bonus tracks), all newly mixed in stereo; and a Super Deluxe six-disc box set edition containing over 100 minutes of Sgt. Pepper sessions on discs two and three and, on the fourth CD, the original 1967 mono mix of the album and bonus tracks including three previously unreleased mixes. The accompanying Blu-ray and DVD discs feature the fully restored 1992 documentary The Making Of Sgt. Pepper, including interviews with Paul, George and Ringo and fascinating in-the-studio footage introduced by George Martin. Restored promotional films for “A Day In The Life,” “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” are also included, as well as hi-res 5.1 surround mixes and a 144-page hardback book.
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>Justin Townes Earle – Kids In The Street CD/LP (New West)
Kids In The Street marks a decade into Earle's recording career and follows his acclaimed companion albums
Single Mothers (2014) and Absent Fathers (2015). The deeply soulful set is both emotionally riveting and effortlessly uplifting. Now embracing sobriety, marriage, and impending fatherhood, Earle is enthusiastically looking to the future. “Life has changed a lot for me in the last few years,” Earle reflects. “I got married and am getting ready to become a father, and this is the first record that I've written since I've been married. There's definitely an uplifting aspect to this record in a lot of ways, because I'm feeling pretty positive. When I wrote songs in the past, I was looking in on what I was feeling, but this record's more about looking outward on what's happening, and writing about subjects like gentrification and inner-city strife. This record also has more of a soul influence to it, and it's got a deeper connection to the blues than anything I've done before.”
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>Logic – Everybody CD (Def Jam)
“Logic has returned with what may be his most impressive and ambitious long player to date,
Everybody. The album features fellow spitters Black Thought, Chuck D, Killer Mike, Juicy J and vocalists Alessia Cara, Khalid, Lucy Rose, Ansel Elgort, and Damian Lemar Hudson, as well as recurring appearances from Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tackling the topic of race and his own internal struggle with being biracial, Logic turns in an album that is filled with gems, like an exclusive J. Cole verse on ‘AfricAryaN,’ that keeps listeners on their toes.” – XXL
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>The Charlatans – Different Days CD/LP (The End)
For this new album, the core quartet of vocalist Tim Burgess, bassist Martin Blunt, guitarist Mark Collins and keyboard player Tony Rogers, opened their doors to allow an enviable cast of friends to contribute to their latest work. Initially, this happened out of necessity: following the passing of founding drummer Jon Brookes in 2013. So the first call went to Pete Salisbury, the former Verve drummer. Anton Newcombe from Brian Jonestown Massacre was sent an early version of “Not Forgotten” and had sent back some thoughts within 15 minutes. The admiration for the bands' new ideas continued, Johnny Marr dropped by for an hour but stayed for five and features on three songs including lead single “Plastic Machinery.” Similarly, Stephen Morris, of New Order, who briefly helped out on
Modern Nature, extended his role on this album to seven tracks of drumming and programming. Both Ian Rankin and Kurt Wagner offer spoken word contributions. As the spirit of collaboration prospered, Burgess fast-tracked a long-discussed team-up with Paul Weller, the expansive, album finale “Spinning Out.”
for the week of 19 MAY 2017
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>Nick Hakim – Green Twins CD/LP (ATO)
The story of Nick Hakim's debut album
Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his critically acclaimed Where Will We Go Pt. I & II EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot while playing the live circuit, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder, and embracing the local community of musicians by performing with bands like Jesse And Forever and Onyx Collective. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York, Philadelphia and London and built on them, keeping the original essence of the songs intact. Hakim says of Green Twins, “I felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs.” The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to My Bloody Valentine. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green's Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins.”
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>Jlin – Black Origami CD/2xLP+MP3 (Planet Mu)
A percussion-led tour de force, Jlin's long awaited second album
Black Origami is a creation that seals her reputation as a unique producer with an exceptional ability to make riveting rhythmic music. The album is driven by a deep creative thirst which she describes as “this driving feeling that I wanted to do something different, something that challenged me to my core.” Spirituality and movement are both at the core of Black Origami, inspired largely by her ongoing collaborations with Indian dancer/movement artist Avril Stormy Unger whom she met and collaborated with at her debut performance for the Unsound festival – “There is a fine line between me entertaining a person and my spirituality. Avril, who collaborates with me by means of dance, feels the exact same way. Movement played a great role in Black Origami. The track ‘Carbon 7’ is very inspired by the way Avril moves and dances. Our rhythms are so in sync at times it kind of scares us. When there is something I can't quite figure out when it comes to my production, it's like she senses it. Her response to me is always ‘You'll figure it out.’ Once I figure it out it's like time and space no longer exist.”
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>Wavves – You’re Welcome CD/LP (Ghostramp)
The word “brat” has followed Nathan Williams around for almost a decade, but at the age of 30, with a fully-fledged business to his name, as well as the ongoing success of band Wavves, his rebellious streak has proven not just purposeful but pretty damn inspiring.
You're Welcome is the soundtrack to this new lease of freedom. It's Williams' tongue-in-cheek rebirth as a self-released, self-actualized, self-promoting punk kingpin, and despite putting his money where his uncensored mouth is, he's emerged not just unscathed but with the upper hand. You're Welcome is mostly comprised of Williams' oddball, sample-led brainstorms: he came up with 40 tracks, now whittled down to twelve, fat-free punk zingers. A sample nerd, Williams delved into his obsession with 1950s doo-wop and – surprisingly – international folk, including Cambodian pop and '70s psychedelia from South America. The results make for one of the most diverse and intricate Wavves records yet. “Come To The Valley” contains a Phil Spector meets Beach Boys '60s high school dance vibe, whereas title track “You're Welcome” riffs on sound effects that could almost originate from Bizarro World, never mind Cambodia. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
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>The Mountain Goats - Goths (Deluxe Vampire Red & Tracklight Green 45RPM Vinyl) 3-LP set
From Peter Hughes: The theme this time around is goth, a subject closer to my heart perhaps than that of any Mountain Goats album previous. And while John writes the songs, as he always has, it feels more than ever like he’s speaking for all of us in the band, erstwhile goths (raises hand) or otherwise, for these are songs that approach an identity most often associated with youth from a perspective that is inescapably adult.
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>Aldous Harding - Party CD/LP (4AD)
4AD welcomes Aldous Harding, a remarkable talent from New Zealand. Aldous Harding’s music is not for the faint of heart. Disarming in its desolate imagery and stark instrumentation, her songs draw from the core facets of life: death, birth, grief and love. With echoes of folk luminary Linda Perhacs, Harding’s work is one step removed from the modern world, lying in the more savage and dramatic terrain where Kate Bush and Scott Walker reside, wrought with a wry wit and tenacious gall.
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>Mulatu Astatke – Mulatu Of Ethiopia [Reissue/1972] CD/LP (Strut)
Recorded in New York,
Mulatu Of Ethiopia arrived at a time when Astatke had begun to master the delicate fusion of styles needed to create Ethio jazz. “I left the UK for America and studied at Berklee College in Boston. I learnt the technical aspects of jazz and gained a beautiful understanding of many different types of music. That's where I got my tools. Berklee really shook me up.”
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>Wynton Kelly Trio/Wes Montgomery - Smokin' In Seattle: Live At The Penthouse CD (Resonance)
Previously unreleased live sets by jazz guitar icon Wes Montgomery with the irrepressibly swinging pianist Wynton Kelly and his trio captured live at the Penthouse in Seattle, WA on April 14
th and 21st, 1966. Recorded less than a year after Wes and Wynton's classic 1965 live album Smokin’ At The Half Note, which guitarist Pet Metheny calls “the absolute greatest jazz guitar album ever made,” Smokin' In Seattle finds the dynamic duo joined by the solid rhythm section of bassist Ron McClure (Charles Lloyd, Joe Henderson) and legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb.
for the week of 12 MAY 2017
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>Todd Rundgren – White Knight CD (Cleopatra)
Veteran producer, pioneering performer and legendary songwriter Todd Rundgren returns with a new album featuring a stellar line-up of all-star guest performers.
White Knight showcases Rundgren's incredibly diverse range of styles from soulful art rock to ambient synth pop and includes performances from Rundgren's equally diverse musical companions such as Trent Reznor, Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Joe Walsh (The Eagles), Daryl Hall, Dam Funk, Joe Satriani, Robyn and others. Rundgren says: “It's easy to get used to playing to your own audience, even if you are absorbing and experimenting with new ideas. I wanted to collaborate not just for the musical possibilities, but also to play for new audiences and expose my fans to the range of artists I enjoy working with.” [Vinyl edition due June 23.]
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>Elf Power – Twitching In Time CD/LP (Orange Twin)
New release from the Athens, GA-based indie rockers and part of the legendary Elephant Six Collective.
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>Woods – Love Is Love CD/LP (Woodsist)
“Wisdom comes with age, so it's no surprise that Woods have grown more sage in the twelve years since they formed, expanding from sylvan drum circles into increasingly elaborate, transcendent psychedelia.” -- Pitchfork
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>Various Artists – Uzelli Psychedelic Anadolu CD/LP (Virtual Label Group)
Uzelli Psychedelic Anadolu is a new, stimulating and refreshing compilation of psychedelic sounds from Turkey, offering a new perspective, fresh names and undiscovered genres. Diving into its huge archive, Uzelli presents the classics and previously undiscovered names of Turkish psychedelic anadolu music, showcasing less known but extremely exciting sub-genres. This compilation focusses on the period between 1975 - the high point of the vinyl culture - and 1984 - the culmination of the cassette industry.
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>Paul Weller – A Kind Of Revolution CD/3xCD/LP+MP3/5x10”+MP3 (Parlophone)
Weller releases his eagerly awaited thirteenth studio album
A Kind Revolution -- ten absolute classic modern Paul Weller songs (expanded double-CD and five-piece 10” vinyl editions contain both an instrumental version of the album as well as eight remixes and the non-album track “Alpha”). By “modern Paul Weller songs” we mean, instantly recognizable but in no way predictable. He doesn't make a “kind of” album, he fits together all his influences - rock, R&B, soul, jazz, funk, folk...whatever - and builds a song from them, delivering something that drifts through genres unselfconsciously and at ease. Two great examples of this are two of the most reflective, contemplative songs, “Long Long Road” and “Hopper,” which in lesser hands might have been delivered as ballads, but Weller adds so much texture and color to each that they defy categorization. With great age comes great wisdom...
for the week of 05 MAY 2017
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>Slowdive – Slowdive CD/LP+MP3 (Dead Oceans)
UK shoegaze pioneers Slowdive enter their second act and offer up a fourth studio opus, their first in 22 years. Self-titled with quiet confidence, Slowdive's stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears. Deftly swerving what co-vocalist/guitarist Rachel Goswell terms “a trip down memory lane,” these eight new tracks are simultaneously expansive and the sonic pathfinders' most direct material to date. “It's poppier than I thought it was going to be,” notes principal songwriter Neil Halstead, who was the primary architect of 1995's previous full-length transmission
Pygmalion. This time out the group dynamic was all-important. "When you're in a band and you do three records, there's a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record.” “There's a different energy about it,” adds drummer Simon Scott. “It took ages to get back together and write songs and for it to click in the studio, but this album doesn't feel like a bolt-on -- it's got an energy that's as vibrant as Souvlaki and Just For A Day. It feels very relevant to now.” [Limited edition silver vinyl pressing also available.]
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>MAC DEMARCO - This Old Dog (Indie Exclusive White Vinyl) LP (Captured Tracks)
Before you ancients out there turn your heads and scoff at the premise of a twenty-something rock-and-roll goofball calling himself an old-anything, consider this: said perpetrator, he who answers to the name Mac DeMarco, has spent the better part of his time thus far writing, recording, and releasing an album of his own music pretty much every calendar flip, and pretty much on his own.
This Old Dog makes for his fifth in just over half a decade -- bringing the total to three LPs and two EPs. According to the DMV, MacBriare Samuel Lanyon DeMarco is 26. But in working-dog years, ol' Mac here could easily qualify for social security. To stay gold, turns out all he needed was some new tricks. [Limited edition white vinyl pressing also available.]
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>Bonny ‘Prince’ Billy – Best Troubador CD/LP/Cassette (Drag City)
With
Best Troubador, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy pays homage to a long-time and forever hero, the late Merle Haggard. A singer who, some 25 years previously, first performed in public by playing a Merle Haggard song, Bonny has often cited Merle's work in performance, on records and in conversation with anyone who was around, even talking to Merle himself for Filter magazine in 2009. The songs sung on Best Troubador are pulled from all over -- from Haggard's third album in 1967 through to his 47th in 2011 -- but this is no simple hits compilation. Capable only of occupying a shared space between himself and Merle Haggard, Bonny chose personal favorites, singing the songs he wanted to sing, to find Merle and himself together in the music. Only two of Hag's thirty-eight (!) country number ones are included, and only two others that charted at all. Seven of the sixteen songs are from his later period, after his long run at the top of the country charts had ended, but before encroaching mortality could finally cease the singular and indefatigable creativity of Merle Haggard.
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>Blondie – Pollinator CD/LP+MP3 (BMG)
Pollinator is Blondie’s 11th album. Alongside original band members Chris Stein, Debbie Harry and drummer Clem Burke, the album also features contributions from Johnny Marr, Sia, Dev Hynes, Charli XCX, Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), Nick Valensi (The Strokes) and The Gregory Brothers. “Pollinator starts strong with four hook-driven tracks, each a unique pop offering accented by song-launching drumrolls, funk-inspired riffs, and plenty of synth for ears to swim in. Joan Jett duets with Debbie Harry on album opener ‘Doom Or Destiny,’ a fitting match that pairs the rough edge in Jett’s voice to Harry’s sweeter croon. She’s not the only guest, not by a long shot, and it’s the corollary talent that winds up making Pollinator such a success” – Consequence Of Sound. [Limited edition color vinyl pressing also available.]
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>Afghan Whigs – In Spades CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
From its evocative cover art to the troubled spirits haunting its halls,
In Spades casts a spell that challenges the listener to unpack its dark metaphors and spectral imagery. On the one hand, it is as quintessentially Afghan Whigs as anything the group has ever done – fulfilling its original mandate to explore the missing link between howling Midwestern punk like Die Kreuzen and Hüsker Dü, The Temptations’ psychedelic soul symphonies, and the expansive hard-rock tapestries of Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. At the same time, this new record continues to push beyond anything in the Whigs’ previous repertoire – another trademark, along with the explosive group dynamic captured on the recording. “This is the first time since Black Love [the Whigs’ 1996 noir masterpiece] that we’ve done a full-blown band album,” Greg Dulli says. The joys, sorrows, and upheavals of innocence and experience echo throughout In Spades: it powerfully documents where The Afghan Whigs have been, and where they might go next.
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>Brother Ali – All The Beauty In This Whole Life CD/2xLP+MP3 (Rhymesayers)
Over the past 17 years, Brother Ali has earned wide critical acclaim for his deeply personal, socially conscious, and inspiring brand of hip-hop. “This entire album is based on the reality that beauty is the splendor of truth,” says the Minneapolis MC. “Beauty in all of its forms is the outward manifestation of love and virtue. It soothes the soul and pulls it gently toward the truth it communicates. Every word and note of this album is intended to either reflect beauty, or expose the ugliness that blocks us from living lives of meaning.” [Limited clear vinyl pressing also available.]
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>Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Lovely Creatures: The Best Of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds (1984-2014) 2xCD/3xCD+DVD/3xLP (Mute)
Lovely Creatures was compiled by Nick Cave and founding member Mick Harvey, with help from the current Bad Seeds. Band members past and present raided their personal archives to provide previously unseen photos and memorabilia which have been collected into a beautiful hardcover book, along with a series of original essays. The book is available as part of the limited edition Super Deluxe album collection that also comes with a two-hour DVD containing rare and unseen archive footage. Lovely Creatures is available in four formats, all featuring personal and rare photographs of the band. “There are some people out there who just don’t know where to start with The Bad Seeds. Others know the catalogue better than I do! This release is designed to be a way into three decades of music making. That’s a lot of songs. The songs we have chosen are the ones that have stuck around, for whatever reason. Some songs are those that demand to be played live. Others are lesser songs that are personal favorites of ours. Others are just too big and have too much history to leave out. And there are those that didn’t make it, poor things. They are the ones you must discover by yourselves.” -- Nick Cave
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>Perfume Genius - No Shape CD/LP+MP3 (Matador)
2014’s
Too Bright showcased Mike Hadreas stepping out saucily onto a bigger stage, expressing, with the production help of Portishead’s Adrian Utley, emotions arranged all along the slippery continuum from rage to irony to love. Here in 13 new ferocious and sophisticated tracks, Mike Hadreas and his collaborators blow through church music, makeout music, an array of the gothier radio popular formats, rhythm and blues, art pop, krautrock, queer soul, the RCA Studio B sound, and then also collect some of the sounds that only exist inside Freddy Krueger. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
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>Joan Shelley - Joan Shelley CD/LP (No Quarter)
In December 2016, after more than a year of touring the world behind her 2015 LP
Over and Even, Joan Shelley and Nathan Salsburg headed a few hours north to Chicago, where they joined Jeff Tweedy in Wilco’s Loft studio for five days. Spencer Tweedy, home from college, joined on drums, while James Elkington (a collaborator to both Tweedy and Salsburg) shifted between piano and resonator guitar. Jeff added electric accents and some bass, but mostly, he helped the band stay out of its own way. Half of these songs are first takes.
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>Jesu/Sun Kil Moon - 30 Seconds Over Planet Earth CD (Caldo Verde)
Sun Kil Moon and Jesu teamed up for the aptly titled collaborative album Sun Kil Moon/Jesu back in January 2016. Now, a little over a year later, they’re back with a follow-up.
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>Diana Krall - Turn Up The Quiet CD/2xLP (Verve)
Diana Krall's latest album celebrates Jazz and the Great American Songbook, reuniting Diana with Grammy Award-winning producer, Tommy LiPuma.
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>Nite Jewel - Real High CD/LP (Gloriette)
Recorded over the course of four years, with the help of Cole M. G. N., these songs of absent love and relentless nostalgia present the most personal, lyric driven Nite Jewel record to date. With everything from expansive, futuristic balladry to mellow dance floor hits,
Real High acts as the artists most focused and bold effort yet. Featuring contributions from long-time collaborators such as Dâm-Funk, Droop-E, and Julia Holter, the timeless production, unique voice, and pristine song-craft of Real High create an irresistible combination that only seeks to enhance its affecting message.
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>Little Dragon – Season High CD/LP (Loma Vista/Concord)
Gothenburg, Sweden Grammy-nominated electro-pop outfit Little Dragon follow-up their acclaimed 2014 album
Nabuma Rubberband with Season High co-produced by James Ford who also mixed the record. Consequence Of Sound called lead single “High” a “warm slice of alternative R&B” while equally as captivating second single “Sweet” is a saccharine-induced dance floor number framed by lead singer Yukimi's lush vocals. Yukimi muses, “We want to exist in our own bubble where we can stay curious about sounds. The magic feeling that sounds can sprinkle over any boring day is what got us all hooked. That feeling of escapism...maybe because Gothenburg is a grey place for most of the year, our curse and blessing is that we never quite succeed.” [Limited white color vinyl pressing also available.]
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>Chris Stapleton – From A Room: Volume 1 CD/LP+MP3 (Mercury Nashville)
Chris Stapleton follows up his Grammy award-winning 2015 debut
Traveller with not one but two albums in 2017. From A Room: Volume 1 is the first, while the second installment From A Room: Volume 2 will appear later in the year. “I'm real proud of this record,” Stapleton exclaimed at a record release party at RCA Studio A in Nashville, TN. “We made it right here in (RCA Studio A) like the last one. We camped out in here...and had a lot of fun recording things.” Produced by Dave Cobb and recorded live with Stapleton's band, the nine-track affair includes eight originals co-written by Stapleton and the lone cover “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning” which has been recorded by Willie Nelson. Chris' soulful vocals and understated guitar work are supported here by Cobb on acoustic guitar, Morgane Stapleton on harmony vocals, J.T. Cure on bass, Derek Mixon on drums, Mickey Raphael on harmonica, Robby Turner on pedal steel, and Mike Webb on keys.
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>Grateful Dead - Cornell 5/8/77 3xCD (Grateful Dead)
Cornell 5/8/77 was recorded live directly from the soundboards by Betty Cantor-Jackson. After several years the master tapes were seemingly lost for good, but that all changed at the end of 2016. The lost tapes, or lost “Betty boards” as they are commonly known, finally made their way back home to the Grateful Dead vault, making it possible to officially bring the world this legendary show just in time for its 40th Anniversary.
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>Alice Coltrane - World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music Of Turiya Alice Coltrane CD/2xLP+MP3/Cassette (Luaka Bop)
Alice Coltrane remains a singular figure on the fringe of American music but her appeal is growing. While Coltrane's music is gaining wider acceptance there is an entire era of her recorded output that remains obscure, almost as if by design. Her four self-published, devotional albums of the ‘80s and ‘90s were recorded during a period in which she had withdrawn from secular life. They were manufactured and distributed in limited quantities amongst her spiritual community. Operating outside of the constraints of the commercial recording industry Coltrane was free of external pressures whether monetary or deadline. She recorded this music totally on her own terms. The resulting compositions synthesized her spiritual and musical outlook into a highly original work that is unique unto herself.
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>The Head And The Heart – Stinson Beach Sessions CD (WB)
Unreleased demos from the writing of the
Signs Of Light album and three previously unreleased songs.
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