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2016-07-08
Aparna Nancherla: Just Putting It Out There

Just Putting This Out There retains a warm, broad appeal as it progresses, inviting listeners into Aparna Nancherla's own personal headspace. Her frank discussion of mental illness is both self-effacing and revealing.

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2016-07-08
Beef Jerk: Tragic

Beef Jerk's debut LP "Tragic" was self-released in a small run by the band in 2015 & has now been re-released for a deservedly wider audience by Trouble In Mind in 2016. The band often get lumped in with the Australian "dolewave" scene - a joke title referring to bands of the jangling pop variety whose lyrics often touch on the more mundane aspects of modern life in Australia. Beef Jerk's principal songwriters' Jack Lee & Mikey Branson certainly write tunes that seem to fit that mold, but upon further investigation & attention, reveal an intelligent, deeper & poetic understanding of working class culture in Australia. "Tragic" is re-released by Trouble In Mind with all-new artwork, and includes a download code.

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2016-07-08
Big Business: Command Your Weather

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's a haunting dream about the struggle for dominance of will over the power and unpredictability of nature. Or it's just a really great rock record, it depends on how weird you're willing to get. But you've never had so much fun being crushed in the cogs of the universe's great machine, that much is for sure! I mean, there's no law against having a couple cold beers while we all burn in the fire of time, am I right?!

Recorded by Dave Curran of UNSANE/PIGS/BIG BUSINESS' previous record fame. Founded in 2003 in Seattle, WA., Big Business has spent the last 13 years touring the world and making records. In 2006 Jared and Coady joined forces with the Melvins and moved to Los Angeles. Performing as members of the Melvins and staying autonomous as their own band, they have been there ever since.

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2016-07-08
DJ Katapila: Trotro + Bonus Tracks

There's no other producer in West Africa like DJ Katapila. His album Trotro, reissued in March on Awesome Tapes From Africa, demonstrates a wild combination of breakneck rhythms steeped in his native Ga traditional dances. But the spiritual affinity his music share with the minimal sounds of early house and techno have not gone unnoticed by listeners worldwide. Ghana's tireless producer and DJ, aka Ishmael Abbey, singularly consolidates flavors. As new sounds wind their way from West African neighbors into urban Ghana - particularly the hectic and humid metropolis Accra - Katapila has absorbed and analyzed their insidious influence on local dancers and filtered them into his own works. The result is astonishing.

Two of the tracks here haven't been on wax before. This 12" single made specially for DJs and collectors adds to the lore of Katapila's days-long DJ sets and intensely original and (slightly bananas) FruityLoops-crafted minimalist productions. The two previously-unreleased tracks build on Katapila's international oeuvre significantly, painting a broader picture of what the iconoclastic road warrior dj-producer has been doing the past few years: making his own kind of electronic music that's both deeply personal and wildly international.

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2016-07-08
Eric Copeland: Black Bubblegum

Recorded at Copeland's old practice space in South Williamsburg, Black Bubblegum contains songs with more conventional sounds and songwriting than any of his previous releases. While there are similarities with Copeland's earlier work in the drum patterns, major scales and vocals, Black Bubblegum moves away from his trademark psychedelic dub towards strange and fantastical pop; imagine Arthur Russell going into the studio with the Ramones. Wanting to take a more "hands-on" approach to these recordings, Copeland exchanged sample-driven tech and hardware for keyboards, guitars and effect pedals, creating a new sound that is oddly easy to digest despite its rejection of melody in favour of discord and dissonance.

Eric Copeland has been sound clashing at full volume for over twenty years, first carving out a named for himself as one third of the legendary NY-via-Providence band Black Dice. A wildly prolific solo artist, Copeland has played shit houses, party palaces and seemingly everything in between all over the world.

A long time Brooklyn, resident, Eric recently relocated to where the L Train does not run - Palma de Mallorca, Spain. While maintaining a relatively humble and low key presence in a highly competitive musical world, he has releases a prolific amount of music every year through indie labels such as L.I.E.S., Escho (Iceage), PPM (No Age), Paw Tracks (Animal Collective) and DFA.

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2016-07-08
Gordi: Clever Disguise

Where is this generation's "In Your Eyes"? Our "Come Talk To Me"? You know, that song to blast as we passionately raise the boombox high over our heads outside our beloved's window. It's been a while since we had one of those songs - something expansive and elegant; big-pop that feels personal and tender. Let us humbly offer the music of Sydney's Gordi - 22-year-old Sophie Payten. Her debut EP, Clever Disguise, gets at it both ways - massive and personal music that doesn't concede an inch of artistic vision.

First single, "Can We Work It Out" has the big, worldly drums of those aforementioned Peter Gabriel classics and a towering, multi-layered vocal chorus that will instantaneously sear itself into your memory. The soft gallop and airy melody of opener "Nothing's As It Seems" feels like bittersweet sunset of a four-day weekend on the water. Clever Disguise was created with producers Alex Somers (Sigur Ros) and Francois Tetaz (Gotye). And if it's merely an aperitif for what Gordi has coming up, we're in for a magnificent show.

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2016-07-08
Ian William Craig: Centres

'Centres' is the stunning new album from Vancouver-based vocalist / composer Ian William Craig, and his first release for FatCat (Max Richter, Hauschka, Dustin O'Halloran, Johann Johannsson, etc) following two critically lauded back to back albums for Recital Program. Ian William Craig is a trained operatic vocalist who combines his voice with analogue synthesizers, reel-to-reel machines, and faulty tape decks to create sublime cascades of unpredictable decay and beauty.

The songs were created manipulating tape loops through two or three decks at once to create strange deteriorating delays with different colors. Craig would then circuit-bend the bias to create odd kinds of distortion, or bend the sound back into itself so it feeds back in unpredictable ways. 'Centeres' is a stunning album that stands with a similarly unique sense of vision and integrity as the likes of William Basinski or Colin Stetson.

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2016-07-08
King Tuff: Wild Desire (White Vinyl)

Kyle Thomas's work under the name King Tuff is a far cry from his primary gigs belting out stoner rock wails with Witch and conjuring lilting freak-folk with Feathers. With King Tuff, Thomas delivers no-nonsense, uber-posi, guitar-driven pop. His 2008 album Was Dead was a hit among fans of jubilant, fuzzed out rock n' roll, including the bigwigs at Sub Pop Records, who promptly snatched up King Tuff and Thomas's related project Happy Birthday. While the world waits for King Tuff to whip out another full-length dose of righteous tunes, they can find temporary satiation with the two-song Wild Desire 7" on Suicide Squeeze. Both the title track and B-side "Hole In My Head" revel in the sound of guitar jangle and unmitigated stokedness cranked into the red. As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a limited repress of the Wild Desire 7" on 500 copies of white vinyl with a download coupon.

Minus The Bear: Interpretaciones del Oso (Taos Blue & Gold Swirl Vinyl)

Minus the Bear's sophomore album Menos El Oso was a significant departure from their debut full-length Highly Refined Pirates. The playful guitar-tapping, fluid production, and nostalgia-bating melodies were largely excised for air-tight drums, glitchy guitar samples, and an overall air that was more of a futurist interpretation of sepia-toned noir than their predecessor's contemporary Polaroid romanticism. It was an album that already sounded like a dark, stuttering remix of their previous efforts. But Minus the Bear was still - in both spirit and instrumentation - a rock band, and those staccato riffs and dance beats practically begged to be re-examined from behind the producer's console. So the band enlisted a team of underground remix artists to reinvent each of Menos El Oso's eleven tracks. The resulting Interpretaciones Del Oso is a wild and imaginative ride through a dizzying array of sonic reconstructions. P.O.S. makes "Drilling" a club banger; FOG turns "Memphis & 53rd" into the kind of murky gloom churned out by reclusive black metalhead Xasthur; Dälek producer Oktopus transforms "The Game Needed Me" into a dreamy druggy daze; Battles' Tyondai Braxton deconstructs "Fulfill The Dream" into a send-up of classic Warp Records IDM. As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a limited vinyl repress of Interpretaciones Del Oso on 1000 copies of Taos-colored vinyl with updated artwork, printed inner sleeves, and a download card.

Modest Mouse / 764-Hero: Whenever You See Fit (Half Blue / Half Yellow Vinyl)

The mid-'90s were an interesting time in Seattle. The city had just experienced its brief period in the rock n roll limelight, but it was still a lonely outpost in a largely ignored corner of the United States. Touring bands were reluctant to make the trek up from San Francisco, or across the mountains from Denver, or from across the Great Plains from Minneapolis. There were barely any all-ages venues to play in town. Bands like Modest Mouse and 764-Hero helped fill the rainy void with a relentless schedule of writing and playing out. That creative thirst and no-one's-watching mentality prompted a lot of artistic exploration and experimentation, a phenomenon best captured on the collaborative single "Whenever You See Fit". Marrying Modest Mouse's jagged blowouts with 764-Hero's pensive songwriting, the track slowly came together over the course of a tour together, with the bands taking the stage together nightly and dueling over a few fleshed out chords. The resulting 15-minute marriage of sparse pop and guitar sturm-and-drang perfectly captured the wistful artistry and punk turbulence of Northwest indie rock at the close of the century. As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a vinyl repress of "Whenever You See Fit" with updated artwork by esteemed designer Jesse LeDoux. The 12" single - also featuring remixes by DJ Dynamite D and Scientific American on side B - is limited to 1000 copies on half blue and half yellow wax, includes a download coupon, and will be the first time the record has been available on colored vinyl.

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2016-07-08
Moon Bros.: These Stars

Matt Schneider's work under the Moon Bros. moniker is time-out-of-mind cooing folk played at painstakingly patient speeds - a decorous and underheard contribution to the ambient folk fray. Perhaps his recordings are projections of future scores to Cormac McCarthy adaptations; perhaps front porch Dust Bowl blues gospel. Either way, Schneider is a pointedly preeminent experimental guitarist in this day and age.

This iteration of Moon Bros. is a network of a few high-minded Chicago improvisers: Matthew Lux (Iron & Wine, Exploding Star Orchestra), Dan Bitney (Tortoise, Isotope 217), and Sam Wagster (Cairo Gang).

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2016-07-08
Omni: Deluxe

Omni - the band, not the hotel - are from the former home of the Braves: Atlanta. Playing lo-fi pop that channels the spectre of the late '70s and early '80s, Omni brings you back to an era where any sane person was reeling from the unfulfilled promise of the Space Age and Age of Aquarius bleeding into the looming threat of "Morning in America." Omni distills the buzz and grit that snakes through the best of Television, Devo, and Pylon into surprisingly danceable, hook-laden slabs of raw, angular, sonic bliss. It's still the summer of '78, and pushing the roots of rock & roll to its limits remains in vogue. "Deluxe" serves as a fresh reminder that rock music can work outside of blues rooted, formulaic progressions without playing it safe behind a wall of effects. Arty enough to impress record enthusiasts, yet melodically attractive enough to transcend to those who've never asked: "'Sister Midnight' or 'Red Money'?"

Pedro The Lion: Progress (Pink & Blue Swirl Vinyl)

Pedro the Lion's first full-length It's Hard to Find a Friend and subsequent EP The Only Reason I Feel Secure cultivated a dedicated fanbase for songwriter David Bazan's bittersweet melodies, somnambulist instrumentation, sparse arrangements, and introspective lyrics. When Pedro the Lion issued their second album Winners Never Quit, fans were challenged with a concept record with a heightened pulse, bolder guitars, and a long-form narrative that replaced Bazan's trademark truncated parables. Any concerns that Pedro the Lion were heading into more turbulent waters were quelled by the Progress EP released by Suicide Squeeze Records three months later. "June 18, 1976", a humble minor-key ballad that follows an unwed mother's postpartum tragedy, harkens back to somber simplicity of earlier tracks like "Secret of the Easy Yoke". Companion track "April 6, 2039" is a lush marriage of Pedro the Lion's singer-songwriter predilections with newfound electronic components. The song would later turn up as "Progress" on the Control album. The CD version of the EP contained acoustic renditions of classics "Of Up and Coming Monarchs" and "Letter From a Concerned Follower". As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a limited expanded vinyl repress of Progress containing all four songs from the CD version of the EP. The Progress 7" has also been given brand new gatefold packaging from esteemed designer Jesse LeDoux. The EP is limited to 1000 copies on pink-and-blue swirl vinyl and includes a download card.

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2016-07-08
Saqqara Mastabas: Libras

Somehow, condemned to the underworld/whateverworld, they sustained the light for millennia/millennials. Keeping their Ka-Ba intact and entire they always knew the Power and the Pleasure of the Sun God/Some Guy would grant (though they never fill out the forms) them so-called Eternal Creativity (i.e., QQreativity) if they could just complete the journey and Rise Above! Following their righteous path, they ignited Fiery Furnaces (FEE-ery Fur-Nace-es-EH) and stumbled the inner steps of the Sebadjoser pyramid to finally reach the Night Light!

The two ancient souls/old people from Under Earth had sublated their fate and became Children/Mature Students of the Upper Light - Hermopolis Magna became Matthew Friedberger and Waan'Ubyee Shemayet became Bob D'Amico. They are now proud makers of Joyful Noise (insert plug here) made possible by their Outlet to Eternity - the SAQQARA MASTABAS.

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2016-07-08
Sean McCaul: Midnight at Purple Palace

Vibraphonist Sean McCaul is a highly accomplished New York City based musician/composer who has performed and recorded with many notable and diverse artists, such as, Philip Glass and Yo Yo Ma (Sony Classical), Dean and Britta (Jet Set Records), Lucy Woodward (Verve Records), and, Shilpa Ray (Northern Spy Records). Playing many solo and group performances around the city, Sean has established himself as one of New York's finest mallet percussionists. He has also produced numerous musical soundtracks for independent films, performance art and dance pieces. Self produced independent CD releases include the solo vibraphone work "Alone", and, instrumental record "No Words", which, have sold over 10,000 copies to date. Currently, Sean's new album of instrumental music, "Midnight At The Purple Palace" is set to be released on Vinyl by Underwater People's Records and features 9 original new works, as well as, a solo vibraphone re-working of Chopin's "Prelude in E minor". His style of playing would be best described as "Jazzy-Psychedelic" .

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2016-07-08
Soviet Soviet: Nice

Post-punk leaning trio Soviet Soviet was born in 2008 on the Adriatic coast of Italy by guitarist Alessandro Costantini, vocalist/bassist Andrea Giometti and drummer Alessandro Ferri. In 2009, they gained notoriety in Europe with a handful of self-released singles and incessant touring. Pitchfork caught wind and said the band "... take a broad view of the genre (post-punk), ignoring timestamps and geographic restrictions to assemble a specimen uniquely theirs," and their influences seemed to suggest "... a passing familiarity with post-punk's steely derivatives, including French and Italian Cold Wave..."

The self-released singles were then turned into a nine track compilation titled Nice and re-released digitally by Italian label Tannen in 2011. In the same year, the trio Immediately followed up with the Summer, Jesus EP. In 2013, felte released their debut album titled Fate. felte is now reissuing these two releases leading into the band's sophomore album, Endless, also to be released on felte in October 2016.

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2016-07-08
Soviet Soviet: Summer, Jesus

Post-punk leaning trio Soviet Soviet was born in 2008 on the Adriatic coast of Italy by guitarist Alessandro Costantini, vocalist/bassist Andrea Giometti and drummer Alessandro Ferri. In 2009, they gained notoriety in Europe with a handful of self-released singles and incessant touring. Pitchfork caught wind and said the band "... take a broad view of the genre (post-punk), ignoring timestamps and geographic restrictions to assemble a specimen uniquely theirs," and their influences seemed to suggest "... a passing familiarity with post-punk's steely derivatives, including French and Italian Cold Wave..."

The self-released singles were then turned into a nine track compilation titled Nice and re-released digitally by Italian label Tannen in 2011. In the same year, the trio Immediately followed up with the Summer, Jesus EP. In 2013, felte released their debut album titled Fate. felte is now reissuing these two releases leading into the band's sophomore album, Endless, also to be released on felte in October 2016.

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2016-07-08
Sugar Candy Mountain: 666

LA/Joshua Tree based Sugar Candy Mountain deliver carefully built psychedelic odes in the style of Jacco Gardner and Tame Impala. Their newest album 666 feels like something unearthed from a box of records found in your dad's garage, glowing wistfully with vintage inspired tones, rambling organs, fuzzed out guitars, shimmering keys and sprawling drums. Ash Reiter's woolly voice croons with the icy warmth of Francoise Hardy, while Will Halsey's tender Lennon-esque vocals uncoil with easy languor. Recorded with Jason Quever of Papercuts, the bands sophomore album sits comfortably between 60's Laurel Canyon bliss and more modern production of Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips/Tame Impala). 666 is the band's ïrst record after deciding to retire Ash Reiter's eponymous solo project to focus solely on Sugar Candy Mountain. With this shift Ash became more heavily invested in writing for the project. On 666 the band moves away from the grandiose production of their previous album, Mystic Hits, on which some songs featured over two hundred instrument tracks. The majority of basic tracking was done on Jason Quever's 16 track Ampex tape machine through a Neve console, and completed at the bands home studio. Under Quever's guiding hand, production on 666 is signiïcantly simpliïed, favoring featuring strong melodies over the wildly playful orchestrations of Mystic Hits. Quever is also signiïcantly featured on the record as a player, with his inïuence distinctly coloring the album.

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2016-07-08
Tangents: Stateless

Stateless is the second full-length album of genre-hopping post-everything experimentalists Tangents. In a delectable hybrid of styles, Stateless cuts up and weaves together rich instrumental passages from the multi-talented ensemble of musicians whose collective resume spans decent swathes of recent experimental music history: British electronic music producer Ollie Bown (Icarus, Not Applicable); Adrian Lim-Klumpes (Triosk, 3ofMillions) on piano, Rhodes, vibraphone and marimba; Peter Hollo (FourPlay String Quartet) on cello; and the duo Spartak (free improviser Evan Dorrian and singer/producer Shoeb Ahmad on drums and guitar respectively). Sparse metal-coated drum hits stumble over glistening reverse vibes, Saharan guitar licks, Fender feedback and washes of filtered piano. Moments of acoustic jazz surface, flowing into stoic upbeat anthems, drenched with multilayered patterns of glitched strings.

These Arms Are Snakes: Tail Swallower & Dove (Renal Failure Color Vinyl)

Seattle's art-core outfit These Arms Are Snakes never really fit in anywhere. Over the course of their 2003 debut EP they vacillated between epileptic fits of '90s DIY post-hardcore, woozy narcotic jam-outs, fortified classic rock riffage, and slow-churning cataclysmic dirges. The band continued on a path made even more confusing but undeniably invigorating by the jarring synth hooks and four-on-the-floor pulse of their first album Oxeneers and the prog-rock forays of their sophomore full-length Easter. When it came time to record their final album Tail Swallower & Dove, the band was less interested in charting out new territories and more focused on turning their myriad of approaches into one cohesive sound. From the chugging thrust and Heldon-esque breakdown of dueling synth and guitars on "Woolen Heirs", to the jagged noise rock of "Red Line Season", to the 8-bit sludge of "Lucifer", to the climactic twang-and-crunch of side closers "Ethric Double" and "Briggs", These Arms Are Snakes managed to retain their broad palette of sound while reigning it all in to a cohesive style that continues to defy categorization. As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a limited vinyl repress of Tail Swallower & Dove on 1000 copies of Renal Failure-colored vinyl with expanded gatefold artwork and a download card.

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2016-07-08
Wymond Miles: Call By Night

Wymond Miles was raised in the working-class small towns of the American West. On Call by Night, the singer's latest widescreen opus, Miles masterfully evokes that lost landscape, all while grappling with issues of fatherhood, privacy, PTSD, police brutality, and love. The album adds a critical new chapter to the Fresh & Onlys guitarist's story as an artist, and reasserts him as a major voice in contemporary songwriting.

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2016-06-17
ALTO!: LP3

Portland, OR trio Alto! was formed in 2011 by guitarist Derek Monypeny alongside drummers Kyle Emory & Steven Stone, who over the course of five years have evolved into a fierce and explorative ensemble on the Portland scene. Having self-released two eponymous full length albums on Monypeny's Raheem Records in 2012 and 2014, Trouble In Mind presents their third album, the appropriately titled "LP 3". Past albums have seen Monypeny's guitar leading the fracas, & it's no surprise why; his style is equal parts influenced by the sunbaked deserts of Phoenix & the Bishop Bros (Alan & Richard - whose 'Freak of Araby' ensemble Monypemy was a member of) as well as the swirling sands of the Middle East & guitarists like Omar Khorshid & Bombino, but the real stars of "LP 3" are drummers Emory & Stone, who fuse together into an unshakeable elemental pulse, dancing around each other in dizzying & danceable polyrhythms. "LP 3" was mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk (Grouper / Golden Retriever) at Stereophonic Mastering, with artwork by band member Steven Stone.

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2016-06-17
Big Deal: Say Yes

Say Yes, the long-awaited follow-up to 2013's acclaimed June Gloom arrives on June 10th via the band's new home, FatCat Records. The record is a meteoric, towering return perfectly indicative of how Say Yes ups the band's stakes in every way.

Typically confessional, it's hard not to connect with the raw honesty of the lyrics on Say Yes. Sonically the record still sounds very much like Big Deal, but it evidences a certain newfound confidence. "We've done everything backwards," the pair explains. "Most bands spend a few years figuring themselves out before releasing a record. We released a record and then have spent a few years finding ourselves."

Say Yes is arguably the most open and emotionally provocative of all their works. "We've always been pretty private about our relationship within the band, but feel more comfortable talking about it for this record, as it's pivotal in the placement of our career." they explain. "It's about taking all kinds of heartbreak and defeat, and just looking at it dead in the eye and going for it."

Don Caballero: Got A Mile, Got A Mile, Got An Inch (Live) (Flexi Disc)

"Got A Mile, Got A Mile, Got An Inch (Live)" is a recently-unsurfaced "authorized bootleg" from math rock pioneers Don Caballero. Recorded in 2003 at a single show in Chicago, "Got A Mile" captures Don Cab's unrivaled musicianship in gritty, brash fashion. Featuring the lineup of Gene Doyle, Jeff Ellsworth, Jason Jouver, and (of course) Damon Che, the band performs material spanning from 1993's "For Respect" (Touch & Go) to songs that would end up on 2006's "World Class Listening Problem" (Relapse Records). While classics like "Fire Back About Your New Baby's Sex" and "Delivering The Groceries at 138 Beats Per Minute" are performed true to their recordings, the band also explores medley territory at times, weaving together songs like "Let's Face It Pal, You Didn't Need That Eye Surgery" and "You Haven't Lived Afro Pop" into the aptly named "Let's Face It Pal, You Haven't Lived Afro Pop".

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2016-06-17
FAWNN: Ultimate Oceans

Ultimate Oceans is the follow-up to 2012's Coastlines, a record that spent a couple weeks in the top 20 of the CMJ Top 200 Charts after having tracks featured by Noisey, Insound, and Consequence of Sound. Lead single "Galaxies" features FAWNN's signature hooky boy/girl harmonies, melodic guitar interplay and undeniable rhythm grooves, but like many of the more immediate cuts on Ultimate Oceans, the band has added a John-Hughes-era-credit-sequence chorus that is sure to have you fumbling for the "repeat" button. The Ultimate Oceans vinyl release features a spliff-and-headphone-friendly track sequence, complete with lock out grooves so you can continue your trip right on into next week, if you want. And, it comes with a digital download coupon, in case you decide to go back to work at some point and want to keep the party rolling. The Ultimate Oceans digital release includes four remixes by Zach Shipps (Electric Six, Ladytron, Belle Ghoul, Midnight Juggernauts), along with album outtake "Pixelfire," which is Such. A. Jam.

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2016-06-17
Hailu Mergia and Dahlak Band: Wede Harer Guzo

Hailu Mergia & Dahlak Band's Wede Harer Guzo is the third release on Awesome Tapes From Africa for Ethiopian keyboard and accordion maestro. In the years since Shemonmuanaye, Mergia has revamped his touring career, playing festivals and clubs worldwide, including a recent tour supporting Beirut. By 1978, Addis Ababa's nightlife was facing challenges. The ruling Derg regime imposed curfews, banning citizens from the streets after midnight until 6:00 am. But that didn't stop some people from dancing and partying through the night. Bands would play from evening until daybreak and people would stay at the clubs until curfew was lifted in the morning.

One key denizen of Addis' musical golden age, Hailu Mergia, was preparing a follow-up to his seminal Tche Belew LP with the famed Walias Band. It was the band's only full-length record and it had been a success. But his Hilton house band colleagues were a bit tied up recording cassettes with different vocalists. Still Mergia, amidst recording and gigs with the Walias, was also eager to make another recording of his instrumental-focused arrangements. So he went to the nearby Ghion Hotel, another upmarket outpost with a popular nightclub. Dahlak Band was the house band at Ghion at the time. Together they made this tape Wede Harer Guzo right there in the club during the band's afternoon rehearsal meetings, with sessions lasting three days.

Dahlak Band catered to a slightly more youthful, local audience, while Mergia's main gig with the Walias at Addis' swankiest hotel had a mixed audience that included wealthy Ethiopians, foreign diplomats and older folks from abroad. Therefore, their sets featured lighter fare during dinnertime and a less rollicking selection of jazz and r&b. Meanwhile, Dahlak was known more for the mainly soul and Amharic jams they served up for hours two nights a week to a younger crowd.

Mergia released Wede Harer Guzo ("Journey to Harer," a city in eastern Ethiopia) with Sheba Music Shop, which was located in the Piazza district but has long since shut down. His cassette copy is the only known source we could find. Jessica Thompson at Coast Mastering managed to restore the recording to clean up layers of hiss, flutter and distorted frequencies, made worse by years of storage. Although there are some remaining sonic artifacts of the era's recording and cassette duplicating quality, this reissue captures the band's inimitable vibe.

Recalling the audience's positive reaction to Wede Harer Guzo's novel arrangements, he says it sold well and found many fans. However, as no trace of the tape can be found online, there's no indication as to why the cassette appears largely forgotten until now.

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2016-06-17
Jerry Paper: Toon Time Raw!

From Los Angeles-based artist Lucas Nathan, Jerry Paper is a highly caricatured, stranger, and less-categorizable representation of his Self - fulfilling his need for a subversive outlet and catharsis, in general. Jerry's songs thematically deal with matters of loneliness, transcendence, war mongering and existential contemplations, all delivered with subtle humor.

The latest full-length from Jerry Paper is Toon Time Raw! sees itself as a a continuation of Nathan's of amoebic mission. Whereas his previous seven albums featured him alone - with his synthesizer, drum machine, and the occasional guitar - this new record features backing instrumentation from Easy Feeling Unlimited, a jazz band who have asked to remain anonymous. Though the synth sax has been traded for real brass, it's still the same Jerry songwriting.

Toon Time Raw! is a metamorphosis of Jerry's style that nonetheless retains his characteristic wit and sentimentality. Musically, the album fills the space somewhere between jazz-rock, sophisti-pop, and psychedelia. Lyrically, the album follows a cast of anthropomorphic animals navigating their cartoon reality, facing "the quotidian aches and pains of being a Being." Can you imagine if Martin Heidegger created Looney Tunes? Jerry already did.

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2016-06-17
John Carpenter: Halloween b/w Escape from New York

Much of the power of the best films by the cult director John Carpenter can be attributed to their use of music - music that, more often than not, was composed and performed by Carpenter himself. What began as a necessity for the low-budget productions by Carpenter became a major part of his aesthetic, and established him as a pioneering figure in genre-film score work as well as electronic music in general. Now, flanked by his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies, and with two albums (Lost Themes and Lost Themes II) of non-soundtrack material under his belt, Carpenter has decided to revisit some of his most beloved themes.

This 12" release includes the themes to Halloween and Escape from New York, newly rerecorded by Carpenter and his Lost Themes bandmates. May it serve as a bridge between the Horror Master's legendary, still relevant past and his remarkable present.