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2017-11-10
Angel Olsen: Phases

How do you best describe Angel Olsen? From the lo-fi, sparse folk-melancholy of her 2010 EP, Strange Cacti, to the electrified, polished rock 'n' roll bursting from 2016's beloved and acclaimed MY WOMAN, Olsen has refused to succumb to a single genre, expectation, or vision. Impossible to pin down, Olsen navigates the world with her remarkable, symphonic voice and a propensity for narrative, her music growing into whatever shape best fits to tell the story. Phases is a collection of Olsen's work culled from the past several years, including a number of never-before-released tracks. "Fly On Your Wall," previously contributed to the Bandcamp-only, anti-Trump fundraiser Our First 100 Days, opens Phases, before seamlessly slipping into "Special," a brand new song from the MY WOMAN recording sessions. Both "How Many Disasters" and "Sans" are first-time listens: home-recorded demos that have never been released, leaning heavily on Olsen's arresting croon and lonesome guitar. The b-sides compilation is both a testament to Olsen's enormous musical range and a tidy compilation of tracks that have previously been elusive in one way or another. Balancing tenacity and tenderness, Phases acts as a deep-dive for longtime fans, as well as a fitting introduction to Olsen's sprawling sonics for the uninitiated.

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2017-11-10
Autobahn: The Moral Crossing

A sliver of strings, a squeal of feedback, pulsing drums, sheets of steely guitar and sonorous bass, and a rough, declamatory voice - from these primary components, Leeds, UK quintet AUTOBAHN unfurl their second album, The Moral Crossing, which adds more finesse, dynamic color to the commitment and energy shown on their 2014 debut, Dissemble. To capture the new sonic details of the band, lead singer and principal songwriter Craig Johnson, guitarists Michael Pedel and Gavin Cobb, bassist Daniel Sleight and drummer Liam Hilton decided to give up their practice room that doubled as a hardcore/punk venue and build their own studio space (in Holbeck, Leeds' red light district) and record it themselves with Craig leading that charge. It took a year to finish from ripping out the existing contents to finishing the album which was then mixed by Ben Greenberg (Uniform, The Men). Johnson's lyrics on The Moral Crossing combine to form a whole: the theme of a birth, "but that person had no choice in the decision. And then it's about the different outcomes that could happen. Which could be glorious or torturous."

AUTOBAHN have checked their own moral compass, and chosen the hard way, but their music is infused with the joy of exorcising the darkness: to be there, and rise on through.

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2017-11-10
Compton White: Compton White (Reissue)

Conceived in a constant state of limbo, the self titled, 'Compton White' EP tells the story of a childhood lived between many homes. It's creator, 21 year old UK based producer and multi instrumentalist, Lloyd Whittle, is part of a generation of Romany showmen - 'Sand Scratchers' - who settled on the coasts of Great Britain 100 years or so ago. Growing up, the seasonal nature of his family's business put him in a state of constant migration between the Isle of Wight, 'the island' and London 'the mainland'. The EP was written in an attempt to capture this duality. It therefore makes sense that the EP traverses a number of styles and genres; boom bap beats dripping in nostalgia, and jagged grime textures hit hard alongside hazy, warm ambiance and distinctly British, pastoral, almost prog like elements, with the occasional pirate radio static cutting through proceedings. What holds these disparate elements together is the confidence with which Compton throws everything together, which is made all the more impressive when we keep in mind this is his debut release. Aside from the record being a sonically inventive head-rush of a listen, it exudes emotion and feels like an incredibly personal statement. As some have begun to note, 'Compton White' signals the emergence of an artist who is surely one to watch.

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2017-11-10
Dawn People: The Star Is Your Future

Dawn People's "The Star Is Your Future" is a studio collaboration between New York musicians Nick Forte and Peter Negroponte. The pair's mutual disregard for musical categorization results in a genre-bending ride on the nine-track LP, which portrays their diverse backgrounds while maintaining a sense of accessibility, continuity, and purpose.

Both veterans of the underground experimental scene, the duo entered into the project preparing to make a serious racket. In time, their mutual appreciation for breezy 70's jazz fusion, kraut rock, and library funk became apparent, setting the course for the sessions. In the summer of 2016, they started tracking live jams with drums and electronics at the Outlier Inn studio in upstate New York with engineer Josh Druckman. As the tracks took shape, Forte and Druckman arranged the material and Negroponte overdubbed guitar, synthesizer, bass, and percussion. Finally, the tracks were handed to Abe Seiferth for mixing and post production.

The sound of this LP harkens back to a time not too long ago, in the early - mid 90's, with groups like Air, Cornelius, Stereolab, Tortoise, and Cibo Matto. All these artists combined a love of Krautrock & David Axelrod records into a lushly produced jigsaw puzzle of live instrumentation, editing, sampling, and immaculate production. It is a genre that Pitchfork's Eric Harvey recently described as "recombinant pop", which is applied to "adventurous, sample-driven and style-copping music".

"The Star Is Your Future" shifts aesthetically and dramatically between sections and phrases, woozy in the best way and never unfocused. Together, Forte and Negroponte have cobbled together a dazzling scope of sonic elements to create something cohesive and mesmerizing - put on the record and get lost in the haze.

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2017-11-10
Escape-sim: Introduction to Escape-ism

Introduction to Escape-ism by Escape-ism isn't a typical record.

Oh, sure, it looks like one, with a label in the center and mysterious grooves etched on a sleek, black disc that glints in the light with a perverse air of knowing treachery. But this disc is different.

Why? Because it's the first "solo" record by Ian Svenonius - of groups The Make-Up, Chain & the Gang, XYZ, Weird War, etc. - and as such, it's profound, prophetic, perverse, and poetic... It's introverted glitter, violence against the state, obsessive desire; it stomps on convention, shreds constitutions, clobbers pre-conceived notions of what a record can be.

A drum box, a guitar, a cassette player, and a single slobbering, sinful voice singing out... for a way out. Live, it's a new paradigm of performance: raw, gestural, idiotic, sublime, revolutionary, poetic, faux naïf, unknowing, a drainage pipe that leads to who knows where.

Escape-ism's Introduction to Escape-ism isn't just the soundtrack for a late-night drive on a lonely interstate, or a platter played to incite abandon at a pajama party with one's pals. It's also a tunnel to tomorrow. It's a mineshaft to the motherlode.

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2017-11-10
Exploded View: Summer Came Early

Exploded View is: Annika Henderson, Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo.

After finishing the songs that became their self-titled debut LP for Sacred Bones, Exploded View decided to go back into the studio and record some more. Mixed in with some of the outtakes of the first record, such as "Mirror of the Madman," the songs on Summer Came Early signal a step forward for the band, revealing more clarity and focus than the first, yet retaining a certain messy experimentalism that gives them the freedom they crave.

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2017-11-10
Four Tet: New Energy

This is the new Four Tet album on gatefold double vinyl format.

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2017-11-10
Gun Outfit: Out of Range

Like a stone eroded by years in the arroyo, Gun Outfit's enveloping "Western expanse" aesthetic of guitar levitations and honky-tonk hexes has become gradually smoother over time. Their fifth LP ranks as their most brutally beautiful statement yet. Drawing from mythologies both classical and postmodern, Out of Range builds a world in which Brueghel the Elder, St. Augustine, and the ancient goddess Cybele ride with John Ford, Samuel Beckett, and Wallace Stevens on a Orphic-Gnostic suicide drive towards the hallucinatory vanishing points of the Southwestern desert, debating the denouement of the decaying American dream.

Dreamers wielding slide guitars. A tradition-warping band, with a punk aesthetic deep at the center and double-guitar desert-rock psychedelia at the surface. - The New York Times

With its echoing grooves, drifting landscapes, and new textures - bits of bluegrass banjo, homemade electric sitars - it has the blue-sky sensibility of a soul-searching road trip. You want to get lost inside of it, to turn it up on a road trip that lasts for weeks. - Pitchfork

Peyote for the ears... Expansive, arid, and dusty. - Uncut

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2017-11-10
Hüsker Dü: Savage Young Dü

Experience the punishing sonic origins of a punk icon. Collected here for the first time, and skillfully remastered from original board tapes, demos, and session masters, this collection is an authoritative chronicling of the wellspring and maturation of Grant Hart, Greg Norton and Bob Mould - three Minneapolis teenagers who'd go on to become the most heralded trio of the American punk underground. Follow the Hüskers to their earliest gigs in 1979, through extensive road dog touring, and to the start of their partnership with West Coast tastemaker SST in 1983.

This primitive stage in the fabled career of Hüsker Dü is presented as a deluxe box set and packaged with a hardbound book crammed full of never before seen photos, flyers, and a sprawling essay with participation from the band. Spread across four LPs or three CDs, 47 of the 69 songs compiled here are previously unissued. Also included are Statues/Amusement, In A Free Land, Everything Falls Apart, and an alternate recording of the Land Speed Record set.

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2017-11-10
Howard Hello: Election Year

After more than ten years apart, multi-instrumentalist songwriters Marty Anderson (Dilute, Okay) and Kenseth Thibideau (Tarentel, Sleeping People) have reconnected to resurrect Howard Hello. Originally founded to craft music inspired by the American Zeitgeist, Election Year finds Howard Hello returning to familiar themes: The dichotomies of reality and illusion; organic and synthetic; sincerity and irony; faith and fact. These themes, however familiar, are perhaps no more confusing and confounding than right now in present-day United States (hence the album's title). Musically Anderson and Thibideau use music as an analogy, fusing abstract and traditional instrumental textures with angelic, distorted layers of vocal accompaniment. Their collaborative connection is extraordinary and rare, symbiotic craftsmen of profound meditations that are as fascinatingly weird as they are irrefutably wonderful.

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2017-11-10
Kllo: Backwater

Kllo, an electronic pop collaboration between Melbourne cousins Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam, waded in figurative backwater for much of 2016, amidst an extensive world tour. These were exciting times; the duo's Well Worn EP furthered the promise of 2014 EP Cusp, receiving millions of streams and landing Kllo on festival stages as well as Artists-to-Watch lists. Nonetheless, the stretch kept them far from home, isolated and vulnerable, treading through perpetual uncharted territory while yearning for the comforts of the familiar.

Kllo have officially come out the other end of the stilted estuary with twelve compositions cultivated to feel timeless and crafted, and equally current. The duo’s debut full length - and their most realized work to date - Backwater celebrates the ephemeral and the enduring changes in emotion, the downfalls and the dissolves. It’s an album that parts course with its flow, and flourishes in a lowland.

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2017-11-10
Odonis Odonis: No Pop

Since their blown-out 2011 debut Hollandaze, Toronto trio Odonis Odonis has continued to push their sound further into the depths of post-apocalyptic experimentation. Following 2016's foreboding Post Plague, No Pop is the band's starker, more dance-floor-friendly fourth LP. Executed with precision, every sonic component of No Pop commands attention. Stripping down instrumentation to a handful of synths and an electronic drum kit, the band worked quickly to write and record, bringing demos and improvised takes into the studio and completing the recording process over the course of three days. The result is a focused blend of hard-hitting industrial, techno, and noise - but each track on No Pop is never just one of those elements. Pulsing rhythms lay the ground for textural soundscapes masterfully woven together to create a palpable sense of doom that is thick and satisfying. Taking its name from the anti-commercial No Pop movement, which infers that there "is no expiration date on music nor is it limited by geographic or regional boundaries," No Pop is raw with emotion that's elevated by deft production. Each hypnotizing meditation captures an uncomfortably honest cynicism with a brush of humor, emphasized by sparse vocals that taunt the current dystopia of technology, human emptiness and the mundane. No Pop is the soundtrack of a sinking ship, and we're all happily aboard to go down with it.

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2017-11-10
Pauline Anna Strom: Trans-Millenia Music

Otherworldly and anomalous, hushed and hallucinatory, Pauline Anna Strom's unique style of inner space music reaches across time to futures and pasts far from our own. Trans-Millenia Music compiles 80 minutes of Strom's most evocative work, composed and recorded between 1982 and 1988 across seven albums released in minimal vinyl and cassette editions. Strom's heightened sensitivity to sound and spirited sensibility with the primal synthesizer tools of her trade elevates this music beyond the catch-all containers of New Age and ambient music into a realm of its own. RVNG's double LP and CD collections feature original artwork by visionary Karma Moffett, printed inner sleeves and booklet with extensive liner notes scribed by Britt Brown.

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2017-11-10
Peter Oren: Anthropocene

Indiana-born, everywhere-based singer-songwriter Peter Oren possesses a remarkable singing voice, low and deep and richly textured: as solid as a glacier, as big as a mountain. It rumbles in your conscience, a righteous sound that marks him as an artist for our tumultuous times, when sanity seems absent from popular discussions. The songs on Anthropocene are direct and poetic, outraged and measured, taking in the entire fucked-up world from his fixed point of view.

Oren attracted the attention of Ken Coomer, the former drummer for Wilco and a producer in Nashville. Together, the duo assembled a backing band featuring some of the city's finest session musicians, including keyboard player Michael Webb (John Fogerty), singer Maureen Murphy (Zac Brown Band), and guitarists Sam Wilson (Sons of Bill) and Laur Jaomets (Sturgill Simpson). On Anthropocene they provide stately backing for Oren's songs, with drips of pedal steel and quivers of strings subtly reinforcing his observations about the state of the world. "Throw Down" bristles with energy and resolve, penned for "the people on the far, far left," Oren says, "the anarchists and the rioters. There's not often a voice that's trying to understand those people or defend those positions."

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2017-11-10
Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger In The Alps

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2017-11-10
Robert Haigh: Creatures of the Deep

A new album of piano driven ambient music from British composer Robert Haigh. Following in the path of his albums for the Japanese Siren label, Creatures of the Deep is an underground vantage of a meeting between the musical worlds of Harold Budd and Erik Satie. With a storied musical career that has ranged widely in style - from his industrial-avant-garde works on Nurse With Wound's United Diaries label as SEMA to his legendary ambient drum and bass records as Omni Trio on Moving Shadow - Robert Haigh's work occupies a space between music and mystery. With Creatures of the Deep, Haigh is at the peak of his powers. Among noir, minimal, neo-classical landscapes are robust scatterings of bright reflection and a musical expression that is subtle and elusive yet uniquely Haigh's in its voice and masterful execution. The closer we examine, the more is revealed, and the less is defined.

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2017-11-10
Sean Nicholas Savage: Yummycoma

Many cassettes into the career of Sean Nicholas Savage, Yummycoma is further indication of an artist with ambitions beyond industry or conventional realities, with ambitions of the heart and soul. A life in song. Awake and dreaming. Yummy gently pursues a myriad of thoughts and emotions, set in a cool and rainy atmosphere, with each genre bending treat, painted upon a cloud of reverb. In 2017, Savage’s voice seems distant and deformed, swinging between a Boy George, Roy Orbison, and perhaps even Cher, whilst his signature whisper screams and moon howls are more developed and sober than ever before. Savage is famously known to record with a full take vocal method, in which no comps or cuts are made. This being one of his most unrealistic performances to date, is a statement in itself. As the cassette title Yummycoma suggests, although savage's melodies and words appear to be full of insight, optimism, and even joy, with upbeat rhythms and sparkling keys, yummy on the tongue - the random deranged tones, drunk with reverb put our protagonist at a distance from the listener, half swallowed tales, half sunk on this dark and stormy horizon. Neither drowning, nor surfacing, but frozen, like a photograph. This might imply however, that although Yummy; poppy, bursting with flavour and life; this coma, this snapshot, could be either an evasion, a fantasy, a distraction from some opposition, equal in extremity, or simply a peaceful reflection found only thru boundless meditation. Hauntingly, Yummycomma is out this Friday the 13th of October on Arbutus Records.

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2017-11-10
Sugai Ken: UkabazUmorezU

With a melodic cluster dripping into a pool of dark water, UkabazUmorezU's arrival ripples as an apex in Sugai Ken's continued construction of a deeply resonant, enveloping sound world. Upon contact, UkabazUmorezU gently and generously unfurls across aural alleys and streets mundanely but mystically detailed with recontextualized Japanese rituals and tradition.

A lived experience of traditional Japanese music's conversation with environment, and vice versa, forms the melodic make-up and metaphysical philosophy conditioning UkabazUmorezU. Upon imagining a landscape, Sugai decomposes the image (and the images within the image) and replaces it with a sound representation - an artifactual terrain, tethered to but abstracted from the natural world.

The eleven pieces which form UkabazUmorezU dovetail meaningfully with the invented album title, roughly translating to "slow and steady wins the race." Made up of recordings sourced and appropriated from the local performing arts of Kanagawa, Japan (where Sugai lives), his daily surroundings, and Sugai’s tool kit of electronic synthesis, UkabazUmorezU evokes tranquil patience while never settling into a single style or still of sound for too long.

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2017-11-10
The 6th's: Wasps' Nest (Reissue)

Originally released in 1995, Wasps' Nests is the acclaimed, tongue twisting debut from the 6th's - the side project of The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt featuring guest vocal appearances by a who's who of 90's indie rock royalty including Dean Wareham (Luna), Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo), Mark Robinson (Unrest), Lou Barlow (Sebadoh), Mary Timony, Amelia Fletcher (Heavenly/ Talulah Gosh), Robert Scott (The Bats), Chris Knox, and more.

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2017-11-10
Whitney: Light Upon The Lake: Demo Recordings

Light Upon The Lake, the debut from Whitney, was born from early-morning songwriting sessions during one of the most brutal winters in Chicago's history. Vocalist/drummer Julien Ehrlich and guitarist Max Kakacek began writing unflinching, honest songs about everything from breakups to the passing of Ehrlich's grandfather. The pair leaned on one another for both honest critique and a sounding board for working through their newly-discovered truths. The brief, intense period of creativity for the band yielded Light Upon The Lake's exceptional, unfussy combination of soul, breezy Sixties/Seventies rock, and somber heartbreak woven together by hopeful, golden threads. After critical acclaim and nearly nonstop touring since the album's 2016 release, Ehrlich and Kakacek are going back to their roots - for the first time, the full demos from Light Upon The Lake will be made available. After a whirlwind year following the debut, the demos offer a way for listeners to get a glimpse into the very beginning of Whitney's sound. "After almost two years of non-stop touring, we decided we wanted to close the chapter on Light Upon The Lake by releasing the songs in their earliest incarnations alongside a cover of a band favorite by Alan Toussaint, and an unreleased track called 'You and Me.' We're looking towards LP2 as we finish out the year on the road." - Love, Max and Julien

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2017-10-20
CCFX: CCFX EP

CCFX are a new trio from Olympia, Washington, featuring Mary Jane Dunphe (Vexx, CC Dust), David Jacques (CC Dust) and Chris McDonnell (TransFX). Collectively coming from a background of punk, new wave, and shoegaze, all three members embody Olympia's historical ethos of DIY, and join forces for a record that is a showcase of what is currently coming out of the Pacific Northwest.

Recorded and mixed with Captain Tripps, the CCFX EP is a testament to the nostalgic properties of 80's UK chiming and melodic guitar parts that counter and complement Mary Jane's emotional vocals. Undeniably indebted to the sounds of The Cure, New Order, The Smiths, and My Bloody Valentine, Chris McDonnell has made much of the kinship he feels between Olympia, Washington and Manchester, England. And like the Brits across the ocean, CCFX strike that delicate balance between heartfelt and gloomy, but there is an earnest sincerity to these tracks that sets the band apart.

The timbre of the music is warm and just slightly fuzzed out, and the expressive quality of Mary Jane’s voice is pushed to the front. These four songs allow access to suppressed and forgotten feelings from youth - punk's not dead, and neither are its descendants. This is the stuff indie dance nights are made of.

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2017-10-20
Cut Worms: Alien Sunset

"Alien Sunset" is a collection of home-recorded "demos" from Max Clarke's time living in Chicago (Side A) and New York City (Side B). Each track has a sturdy, four-legged American quality, but also contains a gentleness and sense of stolen privacy. The arrangements are both dense and airy, decadent without sacrificing an ounce of effervescence. Something about this EP looks back over time’s shoulder, but it isn't really "retro" music, it just glitters in a way you don’t often hear these days.

If this collection can be said to have any sort through-line, a whiff of motif, it revolves around the obvious delight Max takes in singing his heart out, despite variegated agony. The lyrical work moves from simple, diary-like musings, self-consciousness on the dance floor and general lust problems, to illuminated text. As a lyricist, Max draws upon the Romantics and Symbolists of the rock and roll poet tradition; "Song of the Highest Tower" was written the day Lou Reed died and is an adaptation of a poem from Rimbaud. The project itself, Cut Worms, borrows its striking and ambiguous imagery from the William Blake poem, "Proverbs from Hell": The cut worm forgives the plow.

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2017-10-20
Destroyer: ken

Of his 12th studio album and its enigmatic title, Destroyer's Dan Bejar offers the following:

Sometime last year, I discovered that the original name for "The Wild Ones" (one of the great English-language ballads of the last 100 years or so) was "Ken." I had an epiphany, I was physically struck by this information. In an attempt to hold on to this feeling, I decided to lift the original title of that song and use it for my own purposes. It's unclear to me what that purpose is, or what the connection is. I was not thinking about Suede when making this record. I was thinking about the last few years of the Thatcher era. Those were the years when music first really came at me like a sickness, I had it bad. Maybe "The Wild Ones" speaks to that feeling, probably why Suede made no sense in America. I think "ken" also means "to know."

ken was produced by Josh Wells of Black Mountain, who has been the drummer in Destroyer since 2012. The album was recorded in its entirety in the jam space/studio space that the group calls The Balloon Factory. However, unlike Poison Season, ken was not recorded as a "band" record, though everyone in the band does make an appearance.

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2017-10-20
Destroyer: ken (Deluxe Version)

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2017-10-20
Don Caballero: Singles Breaking Up (Vol. 1)

By no means a release of new or current Don Cab material (and originally released in 1999), Singles Breaking Up (Vol. 1) offers quite a range of the band's history to appreciate. The oldest recordings found here are programs 1-6 which became the first two singles and a b-side for the fourth. They were recorded in a 1/2 inch 8 track studio by Lee Hollihan of Valencia, PA (the original Good Morning Vietnam man) for only $25 an hour. The next batch, 7-9, were recorded by Steve Albini in his once home studio and were a part of the For Respect Sessions. Program 10 was also recorded in this same studio by colleague engineer Bob Weston. Program 11 was recorded in Detroit by engineer Al Sutton and was a part of the sessions for Don Caballero 2. Lastly, programs 12-13 were recorded again by Steve Albini in the B room portion of this Chicago studio Electrical Audio. The photographic art concept for the whole anthology is simply this: 7 inch phonograph singles breaking up, in the kind of setting of giving Abby Road back to the people.