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ATHENS OF THE NORTH

Hampshire & Foat

Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand - Reissue

Multi talented UK Jazz Pianist Greg Foat has teamed up with Mercury Award nominated "The Bees" member and multi instrumentalist Warren Hampshire to collaborate on a new LP drawing on their diverse musical influences. Classic British library music, 60s Italian soundtracks & lost Americana combined with touches of modern classical, minimalism, Jazz and Folk. Featuring many members of Greg and Warren's previous bands and one of the U.Ks finest Jazz drummers, Clark Tracy, the LP also features an Edinburgh orchestra and soloists hand picked and scored by the boys. Recorded all analogue onto 2" multitrack in Edinburgh, mixed down by Mattias Glavå at his studio in Gothenburg, Sweden then mastered and cut in Helsinki, Finland, it's truly a European affair. 


Andrew Wasylyk is the alias of Scottish writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Andrew Mitchell.

In 2018, Andrew was extended a residency invite from arts centre and historic house, Hospitalfield, Arbroath, Scotland to create new music for their restored, 19th century, Erard Grecian harp.
During Wasylyk's five-month sojourn he created melodies and progressions echoing the building's unique relationship with the looming North Sea horizon. Using not only the harp, but the house's original grand piano, Andrew explored the Angus landscape and beyond, gathering field recordings on trips to neighbouring Seaton Cliffs and Bell Rock Lighthouse (the world's oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse).
Winter slipped into spring, and harp-led compositions gave way to an ambitious third, full-length album, exploring a range of themes utilising a broad palette of instrumentation, including flugelhorn, euphonium, oboe, string trio, vintage synthesisers, drones and upright piano.

From the wandering, Bob James-esque, Fender Rhodes and shimmering strings in the study of coastal light, "(Welter) In The Haar", to the plaintive brass and farewell transmission blowing through, "Adrift Below A Constellation", punctuated by the fragility of Wasylyk's sole lead vocal of this collection - "The Paralian" (a dweller by the sea), is a conclusion embued with blue and golden melodies that land in a territory akin to experimentalists such as Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno. Through which, Wasylyk weaves the listener along a Modern-classical, Ambient and Jazz dream of Scotland's east coast.

Athens Of The North team were stunned by the luminous beauty and creativity at play in this work. Falling between genres and time, it stands next to 60s British Jazz, effortlessly blending notes of Library and soundtracks with dashes of British Folk.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Athens Of The North have always been a big hit in the shop, with their jazzy hazy folk offerings proving particularly popular (Hampshire & Foat come instantly to mind), but nothing has quite hit home like the mind-blowing debut from ‘Andrew Wasylyk’ (aka Dundee’s Andrew Mitchell). From the outset, the paddling ambience and perfectly weighted piano of “Through The Field Beyond The Trees Lies The Ocean” sets the scene perfectly for the lysergic journey that is ‘The Paralian’. While “Greendrive #2” slowly ambles from plucked harp (I mean really, it could be anything, the last time I spoke to him he was off picking up a vibraphone because it’s yet another sound to shape into the electro-acoustic narrative he so perfectly forms) into a meandering percussive stroll through the Scottish countryside, it’s follower “Journey To Inchcape” that forms the peak of this narrative microclimate. Slowly swelling horns and reverbed CR-78 work away beneath the melancholic woodwind and shimmering guitar, hinting at sorrow, but working through it with a combination of otherworldly, soothing ambience and momentous stoicism. Later, we explore the same story arcs, but with each stroke rendering a broader and more colourful palette. The slightly tense “Flight Of The Cormorant” for instance giving way to the anxiolytic majesty of “Mariner’s Hymn” by way of the brittle “Westway Nocturne”, dispelling all tension and making every moment of dispirited majesty all the more necessary. ‘The Paralian’ is a masterwork, and an unbeatable way to spend a winter evening.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: Reissue.

Billy Bruner

Billy Bruner

    A selection of rare and unreleased tracks from the prince of Tusla boogie, Billy Bruner. 10 Killer unknown and rare Boogie soul tracks. Billy was in Tulsa,Oklahomabands Darwin's Theory, T-Spoon, J.O.B Band and is still producing music today. Completly unique charming lo-fi outsider boogie.

    Premonition

    Don't Act Like A Fool

      Premonition or Premonitions (they were known as both) is a new york disco / Soul / Funk group you probably have never heard of, we have an LP coming soon but while we wait in our flats and houses here is a reissue of their rarest (it's all rare) Disco 45 flipped with an Excellent mid-tempo floater which is 100% my bag. Let's face it, you are going to like one of these sides so get it done.

      Gold

      What About The Child

        I licensed Gold material from Avelino Pitts an over 10 years ago when I was working at Jazzman, at the time we got a tape with an alternative version of 'What About The Child' so it made sense to reissue that version rather than the original and better mix as it was unheard. We never did get around to putting out the original 45 version, more urgent and pushy than the softer mix on the unreleased tape, so here it is. This 45 was a true deepfunk rarity in the 2000s and just never turns up at all. On the flip we got some amazing Spiritual Soul from the unreleased tapes that sounds very Rotary Connection, really special track. I have done 500 of these only. Grab em quick.

        Various Artists

        For The Love Of You

          After the sell out success of 3 12 inches released at the tail end of 2019, For the Love of You is a 12 track compilation of lovers rock covers curated by Sam Don and overseen by Euan Fryer of AOTN.

          Featuring amazing covers of tracks by artists such as Leon Ware, Mtume, Archie Bell, The Gap Band, Lowrell, Prince, Starvue, Bobby Caldwell & The Isley Brothers, there is not a filler in site, essentials all the way.

          The project has taken almost 2 years with the help of many musicians, singers and producers from the scene. A special shout out goes to Peter 'Honeyvoice' Hunnigale for going the extra mile and doing many introductions.

          LaRombé is one of the most talented songwriters to have graced our eardrums at Piccadilly. Having gone through much of his tape archive it obvious what a powerhouse of song writing and composition this man is. LaRombé music is of the strongest calibre all the way, from his first release in 1979 to present day. All of his Soul, Disco & R&B stands the test of time. It's easy to have one record that with luck ends up great but another thing to write record after record with great hooks you can't leave alone. 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Millie says: LA soul writer LaRombé is on the notoriously good label for all things funk and soul Athens of the North. 'From Philly' is an archive of all his best stuff, with the hit single ‘You’re The Best’ which created a storm of fiery soul and R&B, it’s a favourite at Piccadilly!

          Recording at Malcom Catto's analogue studio has been an ambition of Greg's for a long time, not only for the studio itself but for Malcolm's skill using this vintage equipment, very few people can achieve such an incredibly big sound.

          Earlier this year we grabbed the chance to get the full Greg Foat group joined by Binker Golding (Binker and Moses) on Tenor Saxophone, Malcolm Catto on drums and Hugh Harris (The Kooks) on Guitar on the session.

          Moving to a more rhythmic space, you could call it Jazz funk or Fusion, but labels suck so just listen and appreciate the pure sense of space Malcom achieves with this recording. Instruments float in space, aided by the Vintage EMI desk and a host of valve equipment which has taken Malcolm a lifetime to collect. In amongst the more rhythmic pieces we also have some classic Foat style compositions; 'Lake Kussharo' and 'The Dreaming Jewels' as emotive and personal as ever, a feeling that can only be expressed and articulated in music. These past few years will no doubt be looked back on with great favour in musical history, with prolific and high quality output in all his various projects this LP is his crowning achievement of 2019. A strong year indeed!




          STAFF COMMENTS

          Matt says: Foat without Hampshire? Still a delectable prospect I assure you, as the esteemed UK jazz luminerie moves through fusion and funk with a confident stride. Warmed through some classic vintage equipment this is raw Foat!

          Athens of the North is back on the boogie tip with top Miami rarity MYTH. Recorded and mixed in Fort Lauderdale in 85 both the original 12s are pretty rare and both strong. We decided as it had never been on 45 and suits the format to d a little AOTN magic so here we are. you know what to do.




          Companion 45 to the forthcoming unreleased LP of L.A soul singer, composer and producer LaRombé. We transferred all of larombes tapes in Holywood and pulled sa ton of Amazing track starting with this the original full-length masters of Modern Soul Grail 'You're The Best' (Running an extra one and a half mins) flipped with a previously unreleased track 'Train Of Thought. You know the score, 6k for an OG.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Millie says: Finallllllyyy! The long awaited LaRombé is here at last. Full on funky-goodness, so much energy it could fill a room instantly. Make sure you play this one nice and loud!

          Part two of our nod to the world of library from Athens of the North introduce Greg Foat journeys into the world of synthesis with good friend James Thorpe. This new LP was recorded in the old Bees Studio on the Isle of Wight earlier this year, a special, different piece of work which I was delighted to receive on ¼ inch tape without warning. Greg's output continues to be prolific without ever tiring, he never plays it safe and is always looking forward whilst having an ear for our musical-heritage.





          Gratitude's rare Canadian disco 12" is well know to the heads, there is also a VERY rare 7" with a slightly alternate mix that is almost entirely unknown (not even listed on Discogs).

          'We Are Here To Party' is a driving Deepfunk disco banger in the vein of King Tut. On the flip 'Loving You' is a Chic influenced disco production as strong as the A-side, always good when its a solid flip as well. We have taken the 12" Versions and put it on to 45, the forthcoming David Haffner compilation will have the even rarer 7" Version on it. Back into disco turf, loads more on the way.




          Athens of the North bring us this precious tape extracted from the Sony vault for the first time since the records was released in 1980. A floaty disco masterpiece that has been on the soul scene for time but deserves a broader appreciation. Bursting with soul drenched energy this hand 7” will provide you will all you disco-soul needs and desires. 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Millie says: Fiery and bold, ‘Just You & Me’ is the track to get the party started. The flip side ‘Blame It on Me’ turns the dial down for a smoother calming vibe.

          Feeling like you’re missing a funk shaped hole in your life? Ice’s official rare reissue soul funk jam 'Reality' via Athens of the North Records is here to cure that. Super rare modern soul, this massive boogie tune is needed in every collectors’ record shelf. First played by Ian Wright and a few others on the Deepfunk scene and was then picked up by the Northern soul scene where it flourished and made its way to being an all-time favourite.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Millie says: Look no further for your new favourite funk single. Ice reveals this banging reissue to solve all the searching to be halted, this is the one you need. Smooth funky grooves and impressively swooning vocals, this is a dream.

          Anthens of The North brings us more fire from Aaron Broomfield's archive. We have two sought after sides. 'I'm Gonna Miss Ya' was transferred from tapes by Aaron himself and is a brilliant boogie joint that's highly coveted on many scenes for good reason. On the flip we have got the super rare and relatively unknown 'Does Anybody Really Know' which is a Northern Soul classic dancefloor filler, smooth and cathcy this is easliest the best combination of Aaron Broomfield tracks around, pure bliss!

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Millie says: Possibly the most groovy and sharp seven inch you’ll hear this year, ultimate cool vibes over here.

          A Super rare disco / modern Banger to end Athens Of The North's prolific and exceptional year. Star Quake formed in Columbus, Georgia and as is always the case it seems, released this one, brilliant 7 inch and then got on with their lives as, who knows? Doctors, Lawyers, Burger flippers?
          'Don't you know I love you' is a new kid on the block on the Northern scene with O.G copies easily going for over $1000 and with good reason. It's a disco floater over some brilliant bass, that no home should be without this festive season. It'll certainly be on my soundtrack and will go especially well with an Old Fashioned, I think...





          Nubia

          The Time Is Right

            'Chicano Soul Floaters' has to be one of the smaller sub genres of Disco but Nubia is probably the best example you're likely to hear this side of the Atlantic any time soon.
            It's a perfect summer record that will soundtrack your rainy, gale force wind, barbeque with aplomb.
            AOTN managed to secure the master tapes from original writer George Rivera so it sounds as good, if not better, as the day it was recorded.






            FORMAT INFORMATION

            7" Info: Just found 1 copy of this!

            JOB's musical journey started as students at the famed Booker T Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. United by a shared love of soul music and sweet harmonies, singers James Davis, Ollie Carbin, and singer-songwriter & musician Billy Bruner began to jam together and eventually formed their own band, J.O.B and, upon graduation in 1977. set to work building a reputation by playing local parties, venues and fashion shows. Very quickly the word of mouth on J.O.B became so strong that they were offered a house band gig at North Tulsa's most popular after hours spot, The Point After. During their tenure at the famed late night spot many bigger acts came to see J.O.B when in town. Tulsa's own Gap Band, Chaka Khan, and Bootsy's Rubber band all paying homage to the trio.
            Good quality quarter inch recordings from 1977 are thin on the ground so I can only imagine AOTN delight when this turned up. So, sit back grab a beer and transport yourself back to Saturday evening, 20 August 1977.

            Christopher Spraggins & The Strange Band of Rochester, N.Y released a grand total of one record. Introduced to the world by Cleveland Unlimited Records who still exist to this day, that one record failed to sell, well, anything at all really, so Strange disappeared as quickly as they arrived, until now that is.

            Our friends in (athens of) the north have cherry picked the best tracks off that long forgotten album and reissued them on every funk lovers favourite format, the glorious 7 inch.

            So, get down people, to the spaced out, trippy, disco funk of Strange and make a bunch of old dudes in Rochester NY that little bit happier and that little bit wealthier.



            Nobody

            I Saw You / Heaven's Love

            Mind blowing Minneapolis boogie, there is so much to this story but let's start with their original 1982 press release:

            "Hot group, NOBODY, definitely going somewhere!

            During the 1960s the American popular music scene was overtaken and dominated throughout most of the decade by a creative surge emanating from Detroit. "The Sound Of Young America" was Motown. As Motown declined another inspired voice took up the slack. Under the direction of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Philadelphia International, aka "The Sound Of Philadelphia" (TSOP), became the new voice under the early and mid-70s.

            As is becoming quite apparent, the 1980s belong to the Twin Cities. Most people thought it would stop with Prince. It hasn't. A new band called Nobody is making sure that it doesn't. And although the group has been wrapped in mystery ever since they started just four months ago, their recently released demo tape (which will shortly be pressed on vinyl) is a monster that has music insiders buzzing with enthusiasm, "Right now nobody knows who we are. Once we become established, however, we will be casting a highly creative shadow that will be profound, and that other people will have to live up to," says the group.

            The band has seven members: two vocalists-one male and two keyboard players, one guitar, bass and drums. All but one of the members are from the Minneapolis / St. Paul area, providing how fertile our sometimes mild little town can be. They've all had a diverse amount of experience-from jazz to funk - but their music doesn't fit any particular category. Some of Nobody's members even started out in the church, which gave their music a genuinely soulful feeling that can't be denied.

            Nobody was primarily put together by the female lead vocalist; a lady who's sung with manyTwin City jazz and gospel greats. But beyond anything else the band is a team. A team with a mission. A mission to bring quality music to the community. Many of you will soon get to judge the sounds of their debut songs for yourself. KMOJFM is getting ready to add the single "I Saw You" to its playlist, and WLOL's music director said he "loved it." Along with the airplay will be an appearance on Scott Thompson's "Showcase" on KWTN

            Meanwhile the group's manager, Jordanna Gold is keeping busy on both coasts attempting to hook up a deal with one of the major labels for this dynamic, multi-talented group that many people say will be busting out by grammy time."


            Starting out in late 1960s Chicago as The Fantastic Epics, the young, small group serviced dives of the oft-romanticised Chitlin' Circuit - with all its attendant racial tensions and segregations, rubber-cheque promises and 45 calibre resolutions - before being split up by the military draft. Former Rasputin's Stash band member, Paul N. Coleman himself narrowly escaped transportation to Vietnam, however, and spent his term on home soil instead, expanding his musical chops under the tutelage of an army bandsman with an ear for jazz; a little sunshine in a otherwise cloudy epoch.

            After coming out of the service the band reformed straight away. Despite apparent opportunities afforded by hard-earned major management and recording deals, the 1970s seemed to consist of little more than rare peaks of spiritual reward among expanses of misfortune. Whole album recordings were shelved following ownership squabbles between Motown and Atlantic, master tapes vanished seemingly forever and heavy nationwide touring schedules were endured without profit, the group even travelling a thousand miles to one venue they found closed due to race-riots there the day before. While supporting The Impressions in a hometown stadium, Paul was dragged offstage by overzealous front-row fans and had half the beard torn from his face. Hence the group being renamed after the infamous Rasputin. He was, as Paul plainly states: "a man very hard to kill."

            Luck eluded them still. The official new name of the band, now an eight-piece, was actually Rasputin Stash. However, after finally having inked a solid album deal with Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary in 1971, the band's mood was blighted anew as industry members struggled with its pronunciation. A label executive mistakenly added the apostrophe and 's' on its first release and the band got stuck with an irksome misnomer for the remainder of its career. The two evergreen, soulful funk albums the band recorded, an eponymous debut and 1974's 'The Devil Made Me Do It' on Gemigo Records, are rightfully hailed as classics of their day and sold respectably, but without furnishing the band with fiscal dues. An increasingly weathered Coleman would eventually drag the band's contract home to Chicago once more, to Curtis Mayfield's own Curtom imprint, for a couple of single releases around 1977 - but with another renaming of the band, to R-Stash. Before too long the Stash, however it was spelled, was spent. Paul would form another local group, Crystal Winds, for one superb, independently-released 1984 album before slipping unceremoniously out of the broader public eye and into the realms of the obscure.

            The previously unheard mid-1970s recordings here, lifted from two disparate sessions, are ostensibly a third and perfectly-realised Rasputin Stash album, if only one of several we might have otherwise heard. Well-earthed, but with a honed commercial polish, it stands as testament to the drive and talent of someone whose travails might have felled a lesser man.

            Paul, whose spirits have been renewed by a flurry of recent rediscovery and interest, is still indefatigably working for anyone who wants his music and now fully understands the achievements of which he can be justifiably proud: "One: being able and lucky enough to record your ideas and emotions on wax for the world to experience. Two: a legacy, very important. Three: to have gained the knowledge and experience to call myself, and to be, a good musician. I still keep the dream going by writing and programming my tail off in hopes to get great music to other artists. Causing or creating interest in the music industry and signing contracts is an achievement that many never, ever experience. These types of achievements, I guess, are the things that keep musicians going in a world of uncertainty."


            T'Spoon

            School Dance / Sweetness

              Athens Of The North continue to serve up the goods, hot out the Fryer (DJ Fryer of course) and straight to the platter for your disco delectation. Here, the flawlessly curated label dish out some French boogie collector's catnip in the form of the uber-rare Billy Bruner penned T'Spoon from his obscure Oil Capital Records. The originals are impossible to find even for hardened collectors, and when they do turn up they're always totally battered. Billy released two 45s on Oil Capital, and this AOTN 7" a track from each and gives them the usual fat pressing. On the A-side, "School Dance" is a P-funk burner packed with fat synth bass, smooth vocals and squelching synths, even incorporating the smurf style vocal much loved by everyone's favourite mother funkers. On the flip, "Sweetness" is a whole other kettle of fish; sunkissed, smooth and laid back soul for the lovers out there. Groovesome, hypnotic and loopy, given a different EQ, this could be a Garth Be classic.


              Born at Scotland's postpunk crossroads in 1979, Boots For Dancing kicked down the boundary walls of a played-out scene and introduced the UK to a more funky way of doing Punk. Hugely popular as a live act, often wiping the floor with the bands they were supporting, Boots was something genuinely ahead of the epoch's curve and played an important part in the vanguard of the burgeoning Post Punk and Punk-Funk movements. Sadly, Boots For Dancing's light shone brightly but briefly, though the band had connections with, and cross-pollinations between, better-known acts such as The Rezillos, The Human League and Josef K. Their boundless energy and undeniable talent never proved quite enough for great success. Great songs, even bolstered with good looks, are no guarantee of success in the fickle music business. Ultimately, business got in their way and the group disbanded in 1982 with just a few single releases in its canon, though a wealth of potential hits had been put to tape. Athens of the North is proud to present the band's 1982 album-that-never-was - an album that surely would have made them. It still sounds as fresh as it was when recorded.

              - The holy grail lost scottlish post punk LP - Extensive Sleeve Notes by Music and Theature writer Neil Cooper'

              - Additional Sleeve notes by Jo Callis (Human League /Rezillos) and Mark Hagen (BBC Radio)

              Lew Kirton

              Something Special / Love, I Don't Want Your Love

                Athens Of The North reach release number 8 in fine form, continuing to deliver nothing but dancefloor brilliance for all the rare groove, jazz-funk, soul, disco and boogie heads out there in vinyl land. This latest 7" features two essential cuts from early 80s love machine Lew Kirton previously only available on unwieldy and thinly pressed LP. Remastered for the occasion, Lew is bigger and bolder than ever, prepare for some serious seduction. On the A-side, "Something Special" gifts us a private screening of Lew Kirton's 'the amorous adventures of an early 80s club soul lothario', as the soul man hurls his big vocals over a smooth and buoyant post disco groove. There's a touch of Love Unlimited Orchestra in there, but Lew's emotion adds a raw touch which veers away from the polish of the Barry White vehicle. On the flip is Lew's straight up jack of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", a pure shameless anthemic dancefloor disco smasher that's certain to demolish dancefloors all over the globe with that catchy guitar line and Lew's massive vocals. 



                Latest Pre-Sales

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                Thank you for the virtual instore Polly. Sounded great. You can find the album here > https://t.co/g6mxEuOXDp) https://t.co/ed4jEO7eji
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