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New Releases for March 30th, 2010

VINYL RELEASES:

Mulatu Astatke – Steps Ahead
Following his acclaimed collaboration on Strut with The Heliocentrics, the Father of Ethio jazz presents his brand new studio album, Mulatu Steps Ahead. The album explores new directions in fusions of Western jazz with Ethiopian modes, moving forward the pioneering sound Mulatu developed during the 60s and 70s, showcased on the recent Strut compilation New York – Addis – London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975. For the new album, tracks were recorded with members of Either/Orchestra in Boston, with contributions by traditional Ethiopian musicians in Addis, members of The Heliocentrics and some of the UK’s leading jazz and African players during the final sessions in London in November 2009.

Beirut – Lon Gisland EP
The sleeper hit of 2006, Beirut’s Gulag Orkestar came out of nowhere to sell tens of thousands of copies in a matter of months and wound up on countless critics’ year-end lists. As a stopgap before recording a new full-length in Fall 2007 – and as a way to capture some current songs being performed at shows – the eight-member band checked into Sea Side Studios in Brooklyn to record Lon Gisland. These are the first studio recordings made by the entire group – a sampling of songs by orkestar leader Zach Condon. Lon Gisland features four exclusive tunes and a full-band reworking of Gulag‘s “Scenic World.” The five-song EP was initially released on CD with the European edition of Gulag Orkestar (4AD). Aside from a limited-edition, mailorder-only 12-inch by Chouette (now deleted), this Ba Da Bing edition marks the first time the EP has been available on vinyl!

Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be

Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – Medicine County
Bluesy garage rock duo Holly Golightly And The Brokeoffs will release a new album, Medicine County, on March 30 via Transdreamer Records. The twosome, which is made up of British Billy Childish/Jack White collaborator Holly Golightly and her long-time American bandmate Lawyer Dave, retreated to an abandoned Georgia church to record the 12-track collection, its third official album. This forthcoming release, which follows the band’s 2008 sophomore effort Dirt Don’t Hurt, promises listeners eight original tracks and covers of beloved songs like “Blood On The Saddle” and “Jack O’Diamonds.”

Wooden Shjips – Vol. 2
Strap in for travels beyond the galaxy to tranced-out cosmic bliss! Sick Thirst presents Vol. 2, the second compilation of hard-to-find Wooden Shjips tracks. Vol. 2 digs deep to collect the band’s Sub Pop and Mexican Summer singles, two self-released European tour singles, and a track from Yeti magazine, for nearly 44 minutes of fuzzed-out psych jams. Not just for completists, Vol. 2 contains the essential live standards “Loose Lips,” “Death’s Not Your Friend (Live),” and “I Hear the Vibrations (E-Z Version),” plus savage covers of Neil Young’s “Vampire Blues” and Serge Gainsbourg’s “Contact.”

Young Widows – Live Radio Performance: April 6, 2009
On heavyweight 180 gram vinyl, limited to 500 copies! During the height of touring on their Old Wounds album, Young Widows were invited to play an on-air show at the WMUC radio station in Maryland. A handful of people were present to witness them deliver the goods, and the kids at the 88.1 FM station recorded the live transmission. Robotic Empire (traveling with the band) promptly swooped in, stole the lone copy of the session, had it professionally mastered, and this is the end result: A killer live LP capturing a powerful trio in their prime element

CD RELEASES:

Mulatu Astatke – Steps Ahead

Erykah Badu – New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return of Ankh
‘Erykah Badu brought a baby daughter into the world February 1, via a midwife-attended home birth in Brooklyn. Badu and boyfriend Jay Electronica took turns tweeting every detail as the birth unfolded. Badu seemingly postponed the release because of the pregnancy and her leading role alongside Mos Def in the indie film, Bobby Zero. Needless to say, Badu’s a busy, busy lady. Naturally, the nu-soul singer is tight-lipped about her self-produced sequel to her socially conscious gold album, New Amerykah Part One (4th World War). What we can deduce is that the “ankh” subtitle delves more into the spiritual themes of Part One. The Egyptian hieroglyphic means “eternal life” after all. Where the 4th World War comes across as a nod towards the war you have with yourself (some have postulated the African-American’s Civil Rights movement), Badu says Return of the Ankh deals with a “spiritual and emotional” battle.’ – Kyle Lemmon / Prefixmag.com

Black Francis – Nonstoperotik
Recorded in LA, London, and Brooklyn, Nonstoperotik was produced by Eric Drew Feldman and Black Francis, and features 10 original songs plus a cover of the Flying Burrito Brothers track “Wheels.”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds CD/DVD re-issues
Good Son, Henry’s Dream and Tender Prey – all remastered – and each deluxe double disc collectors edition contains the stereo album, the new surround mix, a short film plus the b-sides from the singles and exclusive sleeve notes

Deru – Say Goodbye To Useless
Say Goodbye to Useless is Deru’s third full-length release, and his first for Mush Records. While you will find similar aesthetics to his previous releases – moody, atmospheric sounds, haunting melodies and organic textures – they are augmented by his most mature song-writing and cutting-edge beats to date. The album pays homage to classic genres and structures while cultivating a 22th century smart-party ethic that will snatch the ear of the snobbiest beat head. Deru’s listeners will continue to appreciate his drive for challenging them as much as he challenges himself.

Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be
I Will Be is the debut full-length by the Dum Dum Girls. Recorded at home by Dee Dee and mixed with the help of Richard Gottehrer (Strangeloves, Voidoids, Blondie, The Go-Gos and, more recently, The Raveonettes), I Will Be is a decidedly medium-fi record. Just under thirty minutes with eleven songs, it’s a short tribute to love, fun and the classic pop form of the ’60s girl groups and early punk rockers.

Galxie 500 – On Fire/Peel Sessions (2-CD)
This reissue of the classic On Fire also includes the album Peel Sessions as a second disc! Having already made a fine account of themselves on Today, the three members of Galaxie 500 got even better with On Fire, recording another lovely classic of late ’80s rock. As with all the band’s work, Kramer once again handles the production, the perfect person to bring out Galaxie 500’s particular approach. The combination of his continued use of reverb and the sudden, dramatic shifts in the music – never exploding, just delivering enough of a change – makes for fine results.

Galaxie 500 – This Is Our Music/Copenhagen (2-CD)
This reissue of the classic This Is Our Music also includes the album Copenhagen as a second disc! In late ’89 and early ’90, Galaxie played frequently in Europe, especially in the UK, garnering rave reviews across the board. In the spring of ’90, Dean decided to move back to New York while his bandmates stayed in Boston. They recorded their third album, This Is Our Music, in the summer of ’90 (again with Kramer). The album’s title was nicked from Ornette Coleman’s classic for Atlantic. Although This Is Our Music would eventually become Galaxie 500’s swan song, it sounds like another subtle step forward in the band’s brilliant trajectory.

Galaxie 500 – Today/Uncollected (2-CD)
This reissue of the classic Today also includes the album Uncollected as a second disc! Hailed in Boston as a masterpiece, Tugboat set the stage for Galaxie 500’s first album, Today, which they recorded with producer Kramer for a mere $750 in 1988. Melody Maker called the LP “an astonishing debut by anybody’s standards,” and indeed it is. The incredible, supple beauty that Galaxie spun like straw was so sweetly melancholic that it all but smothered you. Damon’s drums drift with the simmering presence of jazz classicism, Naomi’s bass is rich with dreamy emotional content, Dean’s guitar completes the aural landscapes begun by 1969-era Sterling Morrison, while the vocals emerge from the Ouija board of eternity. One highlight of Today is the incredible primal drone hunch treatment the band gives to Jonathan Richman’s “Don’t Let Our Youth Go to Waste.”

Meth, Ghost & Rae – Wu-Massacre
For the first time, three of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s most dynamic emcees step out together to create a supergroup with a distinctly shaolin sound. Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon have banded together on their new album of street bangers, Wu Massacre. Joined by fellow Wu-Tang alums Inspectah Deck and Cappadona on several tracks, and featuring production by RZA and Mathematics, Meth, Ghost and Rae’s Wu Massacre is guaranteed to satisfy the legions of fans in the “Wu Army”. From the soulful street single ‘Our Dreams’, to the thunderous lead-off track ‘Criminology 2.5’, Wu Massacre finds the three hip-hop legends in razor-sharp form

Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – Medicine County

Jedi Mind Tricks – Army Of The Pharaohs: The Unholy Terror
The Army of the Pharaohs crew is the archetype for the hardcore indie MC collective. Spawned from the Philly scene that saw the genesis of indie hip hop’s most fabled act, Jedi Mind Tricks, Army of the Pharaohs is the fledgling brainchild that’s taken on a life of its own. The album features Vinnie Paz (Jedi Mind Tricks), Outerspace, Doap Nixon, King Syze, Des Devious, Reef the Lost Cauze, and more

King Britt – The Intricate Beauty
King Britt explodes into 2010 with his new house music album, The Intricate Beauty. Channeling years of musical experience, King Britt serves up a healthy does of rough beats riveted onto a variety of songs. From deep grooves to tough tunes that ignite dancefloors as well as the imagination. King Britt meticulously recorded a lush house album that is as exciting on a big soundsystem as it is rewarding on a set of headphones

Turin Brakes – Outbursts
‘It’s been more than a decade since London’s Turin Brakes – aka founders Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian – helped redefine 21st century British acoustic music with their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album The Optimist LP. Eager to eschew any formal or restrictive categorization, Knights and Paridjanian have made a career out of doing the unexpected, whether turning their creative spark toward a darker, more electric bent or adding some unique rhythmic, soulful aspects to their craft. New album Outbursts – their first studio project since the 2007 Ethan Johns-produced Dark On Fire and first for the Cooking Vinyl label – marks a sharply focused return to the shapeshifting neo-folk form that we’ve come to expect – and appreciate – from the Brakes. “We thought ‘Let’s go back and do this whole thing like we used to’,” Paridjanian says. “Do it as a duo. That’s where the magic is.” And, true to their word, the self-produced Outbursts recaptures much of what made Turin Brakes an influential and dynamic force to begin with. Raw and immediate, with both hauntingly personal touches and intense, driving thrust, songs such as lead single “Apocolips” seem to be lit from within by an urgency to create something new and special, a quality that’s rare from a veteran band. “We loved the idea that these songs were outbursts that were going to happen whether we liked it or not,” Knights’ reflects. “It’s an album that has been made with no outside briefing or preconceived plans. It is absolutely true to ourselves.”‘ – Direct Current

Wooden Shjips – Vol. 2

DVD RELEASES:

Small Faces – All Or Nothing
There are 27 performances from the original mod quartet, which you can watch either as part of a documentary or individually. There are also new interviews with Ian Mclagan and Kenny Jones, and archive ones from Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane including the last filmed interview with the latter. The documentary includes fascinating archive footage including clips of the bands discerning fanbase, as well as the boutiques frequented at the time. Particularly look out for the bands debut performance at the Marquee as well as definitive versions of All Or Nothing on the Morcambe and Wise show plus Tin Soldier on Popside Sweden. In fact, a sizeable proportion of the shows are from European tv, including the classic street version of All Or Nothing, filmed on location in Scandinavia in the depths of Winter

Dusty Springfield – Once Upon A Time
Dusty Springfield Seventeen standout television appearances by the Sixties songstress are collected on this outstanding compilation that also features candid interviews with such contemporaries as Petula Clark and B.J. Thomas