LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 29 JULY 2016
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>Death Grips - Bottomless Pit CD/LP (Harvest)
Bottomless Pit finds Ride (aka Stefan Burnett), producer Flatlander (aka Andy Morin), and drummer Zach Hill in their most cohesive and incendiary form since 2012’s The Money Store. Flatlander obfuscates and annihilates seemingly insurmountable soundscapes with the help of Hill’s passioned and precise drumming, as well as Ride’s occultist and misanthropic rage. All of this is focused through a new lens where the band’s actions no longer dictate their relevance — Death Grips are Death Grips because of what they make, not what they do. Bottomless Pit is Death Grips 2.0, as promised.” – Consequence Of Sound
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>Modest Mouse – Night On The Sun [Reissue/1999] CD/EP/12” (Glacial Pace)
Originally released as a 700 CD limited run in Japan in 1999,
Night On The Sun features alternate versions of tracks that later appeared on The Moon & Antarctica and Everywhere And His Nasty Parlour Tricks.
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>The Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel CD/LP (Silver Arrow)
When the Chris Robinson Brotherhood headed into the studio to begin recording their fourth album,
Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel, no one knew just what to expect. These would be the band's first recordings with new drummer Tony Leone (Ollabelle, Levon Helm), their first since the departure of founding bassist Mark “Muddy" Dutton,” and their first time producing themselves. But as anybody who's been following the CRB can attest, this is a band that thrives on the unexpected. “Instead of seeing these things as challenges, we started to see them as something exciting,” explains Robinson. “It was an opportunity to see where our expression could take us. Some people get really uptight when they're making records, but for us, the looser it gets the better. It's all about taking our intuition and following it to where our ideas can really manifest themselves. This turned out to be the most spontaneous record I've ever been a part of.” Not coincidentally, Robinson also cites it as perhaps the best recording experience of his life. The band relocated to northern California for the sessions, recording on the side of a mountain overlooking the foggy Pacific Ocean and channeling the natural majesty and melancholic weather of their surroundings into the album's eight, epic, immersive tracks.
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>Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate CD/LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
On their first album in 12 years, vocalist Milo Aukerman, drummer Bill Stevenson, guitarist Stephen Egerton, and bassist Karl Alvarez channel an energy just as raw and jittery as in their earliest days—a time when the band was driven by the equally mighty forces of “rejection, food, coffee, girls, fishing, and food.”
Hypercaffium Spazzinate began taking shape soon after the Descendents surfaced from extended hiatus for a series of gigs in 2010. With Milo now living in Delaware, Karl and Bill in Colorado, and Stephen in Oklahoma, the album came to life over a three-year period in which the band sent tracks back and forth and occasionally met up in Karl and Bill’s adopted hometown of Fort Collins. “Since the dawn of rock-and-roll every band’s tried to pretend they exist in the age group of 18 to 35, no matter how old they get,” says Karl. “But this band’s very honest about the fact that we’re not teenagers anymore.” “Each time we make a record it’s almost like the first time all over again,” says Bill. “There’s a quote from Ornette Coleman about how the song is the territory, and what you do with the song is the adventure. We’re definitely still going on all these little adventures together.” [CD is available in regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds five bonus tracks. Limited white vinyl pressing also available.]
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>Owen – The King Of Whys CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Polyvinyl)
Owen – the solo musical guise of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mike Kinsella – releases the first work in his two-decade-plus career to be made entirely outside of his beloved Chicago home base.
The King Of Whys was produced by S. Carey over 18 days last winter at Justin Vernon's April Base Studios in Eau Claire, WI. Songs like “The Desperate Act” and “Sleep Is A Myth” remain spare but with a distinctly outward shift in scope, their open-armed sonic range a perfect foil to Kinsella’s evocative explorations of marriage, melancholia, and modern middle age. Fraught with hurt and wry humor, The King Of Whys is a portrait of a restless artist grappling with doubt and ghosts of the past but searching for meaning through candor, creativity, and an ardent need for emotional release.
for the week of 22 JULY 2016
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>The Amazing – Ambulance CD/LP+MP3 (PTKF)
Despite reflecting Chris Gunrup's often-bleak worldview, the music is expansive and beautiful, marked by playing that is as much free jazz as rock -- pure music without any showiness. The songs unfold slowly, without a traditional verse/chorus structure, spinning gauzy webs of shimmering mystery with their own inimitable dynamic of sinuous, swirling guitars; rich, ambient bass lines; crisp percussion and restrained, church-like, keyboard textures.
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>Gucci Mane – Everybody Looking CD (Atlantic)
Everybody Looking is Gucci Mane’s first album since his being released from prison. After his release from prison, Guwop quickly got back in the studio with his day one producer, Zaytoven, who expressed nothing but excitement at Gucci Mane getting back to work. He told HipHopDX that his friend didn’t skip a beat after being locked away for three years. “Gucci is a guy that I think that has a sound that has created a way, even if you listen to the music today, it’s all, like 90 percent of it stems from the rap music that Gucci really created maybe 10 years ago,” he said, “so he just got out and got back to business, got back to doing what he do. Just like me, the sound I’ve created and the sound I have I’ve been doing since we’ve started, so there’s nothing that we really had to go and change. Of course we kinda sparked it up a little bit, added a few new things, we started working. But for the most part, he got back to doing what he been doing before he left. He knew how to do that so good, as you can see, he dropped so much music while he was gone, people hardly know he was gone.”
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>Various Artists [DJ Mark Farina] – Mushroom Jazz 8 CD/LP (MRI)
Over 20 tracks that epitomize the soulful, jazzy, and hip-hop influenced sound of Farina's pioneering
Mushroom Jazz movement.
for the week of 15 JULY 2016
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>Clams Casino - 32 Levels CD+MP3/2xLP+MP3 (Sony)
The hip-hop producer's new album includes 12 original tracks with vocal appearances from an impressive cast of collaborators, including Vince Staples, Kelela, Sam Herring (Future Islands), Joe Newman (alt-j) and more. CD version includes a digital download of instrumental versions of all songs on the album (all included on the double-vinyl edition).
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>Jeff Beck – Loud Hailer CD/LP (Rhino)
Legendary guitarist Jeff Beck's first studio album in six years,
Loud Hailer, combines fluid fretwork with topical lyrics to make a powerful statement about everything from the love of power, to the power of love. Loud hailer, which is another name for a megaphone, is a suitable moniker for an album that isn't shy about speaking its mind. The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer explains, “I really wanted to make a statement about some of the nasty things I see going on in the world today, and I loved the idea of being at a rally and using this loud device to shout my point of view.” To help him write the 11 tracks on Loud Hailer, Beck enlisted two fierce young females from London -- singer Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg. Beck produced the album with Filippo Cimatti, who also works with Rosie and Carmen. In addition to the core trio, the album also features drummer Davide Sollazzi and bassist Giovanni Pallotti, who were both recruited by Cimatti. Bones lends her powerful voice to nine of the 11 songs, which is then rounded out by two signature Beck instrumentals.
for the week of 08 JULY 2016
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>The Avalanches – Wildflower CD/2xLP (Astralwerks/XL)
16 years after the release of their critically acclaimed, award-winning debut
Since I Left You, The Avalanches return with their second album, Wildflower. Created by the band’s core duo Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi, Wildflower is like The Beach Boys’ Smile re-imagined in the Daisy Age: a mind-bending cartoon road movie that’s best viewed with closed eyes and an open mind. Here’s what Chater has said of the 16 year hiatus: “What kept us going during the making of the record was a belief in the day-to-day experience of music as a life force – an energy capable of changing your life. Hearing a certain song on a certain morning can change your day; it can make the world look different. It can change the way you perceive light refracting through the atmosphere for the rest of the afternoon. Literally changing the colour and feeling-tone of our world.” Wildflower includes 21 tracks and features from Danny Brown, MF Doom, Toro y Moi, Camp Lo, Biz Markie, and more.
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>Aphex Twin – Cheetah EP CD/LP+MP3 (Warp)
The Aphex Twin
Cheetah EP uses digital sound generation techniques combined with wave sequencing technology to bring you sounds with movement and depth rarely found on records today. To assure you that your Cheetah EP will give you many years of enjoyment, please be sure to read the owner’s manual car.
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>The Julie Ruin – Hit Reset CD/LP+MP3 (Hardly Art)
Mixed by Eli Crews (with whom the band worked on Run Fast),
Hit Reset expands on the The Julie Ruin’s established sound: dancier in spots and moodier in others, with girl group backing vocals and even a touching ballad closer. “Throughout Hit Reset, Kathleen Hannah faces down the abuse she’s suffered in her life, beginning in a youth spent with a father she feared: ‘Slept with the lights on, on the floor / Behind a chair that blocked the door,’ she sings in low tones in the album’s opening title track. Hit Reset is by her own admission some of her most personal work, the result of insights she’s gained about how her all-too-common childhood experiences connect to both her adult struggles with chronic illness and her life as a feminist. Hit Reset takes a wide perspective on an adult woman’s decision to ‘be more hellbent on living than that I am just surviving.’ Some songs are tender; others, like ‘Mr. So And So,’ an anti-ode to an entitled male fan, are amiable sarcastic. But the music always generates joy.” -- NPR
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>Big Business – Command Your Weather CD/LP (Joyful Noise)
Recorded in Joshua Tree, CA,
Command Your Weather sees Big Business return to its original two-man lineup of Jared Warren and Coady Willis. It is a haunting dream about the struggle for dominance of will over the power and unpredictability of nature. Or it is just a really great rock record – it depends on how weird you’re willing to get.
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>Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis CD/LP (WB)
As is tradition, writing sessions for the album saw Biffy Clyro – Simon Neil (vocals/guitar) and the Johnston brothers James (bass) and Ben (drums) working in the intimate environment of their practice room. They then headed to Los Angeles for recording sessions with producer Rich Costey (Music, My Chemical Romance, Sigur Ros). Citing influences as diverse as Tears For Fear’s
Songs From The Big Chair album, DJ Arca and Deafheaven, Simon Neil has described Ellipsis as “more of a punch to the nose than a big cuddle.” Lyrically, the album’s songs tackle personal issues with the idea of “fighting back” a recurring theme. Such themes are also apparent in the album’s visceral first single “Wolves Of Winter” which captures Biffy Clyro’s famous blend of angular riffs, pummeling rhythms and strident hooks. Says Neil: “‘Wolves Of Winter’ is about us being wolves on a patch and if you come onto that patch, we’ll tear you limb-from-limb.” [CD version is available in Regular and Deluxe editions.Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
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>BADBADNOTGOOD – IV CD/2xLP+MP3 (Innovative Leisure)
BADBADNOTGOOD is the talented young quartet of Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, Alex Sowinski on drums and Leland Whitty on saxophone. They formed and became inseparable friends at Humber College’s Music Performance program in 2011 and have been on a critically acclaimed, rule bending musical journey ever since.
IV continues their forward thinking progression, sounding something like a jam session in space between Can, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, Weather Report, Arthur Russell and MF Doom. With tracks like “Time Moves Slow” featuring haunting vocals from Sam Herring of Future Islands, the syncopated groove of “Lavender,” a collaboration with Montreal based producer Kaytranada, the rumbling fusion build of “Confessions Pt. II” featuring Colin Stetson on the bass sax, “Love” which is highlighted with smokey left field raps from Mick Jenkins and the epic chords of “Speaking Gently,” IV is an exploration in post-genre virtuosity.
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>J Dilla - The Diary Instrumentals CD/LP+MP3 (Mass Appeal/Pay Jay)
Back in April, after a very long wait, J Dilla’s long-lost solo album,
The Diary, was released. Now, the instrumental tracks from that LP are available on their own. Some of the producers on the album include Madlib, Pete Rock, and Karriem Riggins.