While David Byrne has collaborated on joint releases with Eno, Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim), and most recently St. Vincent over the past decade, American Utopia is Byrne’s first solo album since, 2004’s Grown Backwards, also on Nonesuch. American Utopia morphed during the writing and recording process, beginning with longtime collaborator Eno, and eventually growing to include collaboration with producer Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, King Krule, Sampha, Savages) alongside a diverse cast of creative contributors including Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never), Jam City, Thomas Bartlett (St. Vincent producer, aka Doveman), Jack Peñate, and others. The album was recorded in New York City at David’s home studio, Reservoir Studios, Oscilloscope, XL Studios, and Crowdspacer Studio and in London at Livingston Studio 1.
Speaking about the album, Byrne said:
Is this meant ironically? Is it a joke? Do I mean this seriously? In what way? Am I referring to the past or the future? Is it personal or political?
These songs don’t describe an imaginary or possibly impossible place but rather attempt to depict the world we live in now. Many of us, I suspect, are not satisfied with that world – the world we have made for ourselves. We look around and we ask ourselves – well, does it have to be like this? Is there another way? These songs are about that looking and that asking.
This album is indirectly about those aspirational impulses. Sometimes to describe is to reveal, to see other possibilities. To ask a question is to begin the process of looking for an answer. To be descriptive is also to be prescriptive, in a way. The act of asking is a big step. The songs are sincere – the title is not ironic. The title refers not to a specific utopia, but rather to our longing, frustration, aspirations, fears, and hopes regarding what could be possible, what else is possible. The description, the discontent and the desire – I have a feeling that is what these songs touch on.
I have no prescriptions or surefire answers, but I sense that I am not the only one looking and asking, wondering and still holding onto some tiny bit of hope, unwilling to succumb entirely to despair or cynicism.
It’s not easy, but music helps. Music is a kind of model – it often tells us or points us toward how we can be.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: From what I garner from reading Byrne's comments on his newest release, he is commenting (possibly) sarcastically on the duality of American life... or possibly he wasn't. What is less ambiguous is just listening to the album, taking in the excellently written songs and the latent, wry politicism peppered throughout. It's wonderful, that's all you need to know.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP includes MP3 Download Code.
Rod For Your Love was recorded at the end of a cross-country tour, and features Smith and his band firing on all cylinders, their rough edges sanded down by weeks of nightly shows. Hearing that The Arcs, Auerbach's side-project, had covered one of his own songs during their own tour, Smith reached out to the Black Keys singer. From there studio time was booked, and when Smith wound up finishing his countrywide tour in Nashville, he and his road band tracked the album at Auerbach's studio. The result is a deeply personal album, filled with heart-of-sleeve songwriting, which shines a light on the songs and the band, without many overdubs or assorted clutter.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP Info: Heavyweight 140 gram high-performance vinyl, with download card and insert.
‘Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard trick out warped Fifties-Sixties rock driven by space-age thrift-shop keyboards, shimmy-shake dance grooves and sexy moonlit vocals – Shaw's woozy Amy Winehouse-isms are backlit by Blanchard's shrieky falsetto.’ – Rolling Stone.
‘Shannon Shaw’s star is certain to ascend dramatically in 2018.’ – Mojo.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP Info: Heavyweight 140 gram high-performance vinyl, with download card and insert.
‘(Anderson) doesn’t just tell stories; she draws out every word with a kind of physical pleasure, tasting its flavor as she probes the everyday mysteries of life. Those mysteries – and the nature of language itself – were at the heart of Anderson’s Landfall, a riveting, gorgeous new multimedia work that she premiered this weekend … in collaboration with the equally venerable Kronos Quartet.’ – Washington Post.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Kronos Quartet and Laurie Anderson blend together their venerable talents in this emotive and impeccably realised suite of ambient modern-classical and visceral spoken word. Superb.
FORMAT INFORMATION2xLtd LP Info: Heavyweight, double 140 gram high-performance vinyl, with download card.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: A beguiling and brilliantly soulful outing from Finley, brimming with elements of blues, funk and soul. Finley's voice remains as enchanting to this day as it ever has, and his songwriting has never faltered. Superb.
Engineered and mixed by Phil Ek and co-produced by Phil and the band, the new Fleet Foxes record is called "Helplessness Blues". Recording for "Helplessness Blues" began in April 2010 at Dreamland Recording in Woodstock, NY and continued off and on through November of that same year back in Seattle at numerous studios, including Bear Creek, Reciprocal Recording and Avast. Like very nearly every worthwhile thing, making this album was not easy; it was a difficult second album to make. Drawing inspiration from folk/rock from about 1965 to 1973, and Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks" in particular, "Helplessness Blues" sees Fleet Foxes heighten and extend themselves, adding instrumentation (clarinet, the music box, pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar, Tibetan singing bowls, vibraphone, etc., along with more traditional band instrumentation), with a focus on clear, direct lyrics, and an emphasis on group vocal harmonies. We have it on good authority that the album is called "Helplessness Blues" for at least a couple of reasons. One, it's kind of a funny title. Secondly, one of the prevailing themes of the album is the struggle between who you are and who you want to be or who you want to end up, and how sometimes you are the only thing getting in the way of that.
Having heard "Helplessness Blues", we mean to get out of its way.
STAFF COMMENTSAndy says: Bolder and brighter than their debut, this should consolidate their position as the poster-boys of the recent-ish folk revival. No massive departure but still very good.
Personnel : Bob Becker, Ben Harms, Russ Hartenberger, Gary Kvistad,
James Preiss, Steve Reich, Gary Schall, Glen Velez, Thad
Wheeler – tuned drums, marimbas, glockenspiels
Pamela Wood Ambush, Jay Clayton – voices
Steve Reich – whistling
Mort Silver - piccolo
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP Info: 180 gram audiophile remastering.
All eleven of the songs on Crack-Up were written by Robin Pecknold. The album was co-produced by Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset, his longtime bandmate, collaborator, and childhood friend. Crack-Up was recorded at various locations across the United States between July 2016 and January 2017: at Electric Lady Studios, Sear Sound, The Void, Rare Book Room, Avast, and The Unknown. Phil Ek mixed the album, at Sear Sound, and it was mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound. Fleet Foxes is Robin Pecknold (vocals, multi-instrumentalist), Skyler Skjelset (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), Casey Wescott (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), Christian Wargo (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), and Morgan Henderson (multi-instrumentalist).
Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut made a profound impact on the international musical landscape, earning them Uncut’s first ever Music Award Prize, and topping numerous ‘Best of’ lists, including Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums of the 2000’s and Pitchfork’s 50 Best Albums of 2008. Fleet Foxes is certified Gold in North America and Platinum in both the UK and Australia. The follow-up album Helplessness Blues was met with the same critical praise as its predecessor (Mojo five stars, Rolling Stone four stars, Pitchfork Best New Music); that album debuted at No.4 on the Billboard Top 200, went Gold in the UK, and earned the band a GRAMMY nomination.
FORMAT INFORMATION2xLtd LP Info: Heavyweight, double 140 gram high-performance vinyl, with download card.
An Ancient Observer’s songs—two of which are based on Armenian melodies—were written over the last four years. Some of the pieces are through-composed and completely written out, while others are composed with ample space for Hamasyan to improvise. Many include vocals layered into the mix. As with most of his compositions, Hamasyan cites a wide range of influences, from Baroque dance to hip-hop, with pedals connected to a synthesizer on a few tracks —while the sounds of his native country also are present, as always.
Hamasyan has returned to Armenia, where his daily life inspired these new pieces: “I gaze out of my window and see the biblical mountain Ararat with perpetual snow on its peak, with electrical towers with wires in the foreground cutting the picture, and satellite dishes melted onto old and modern houses—ancestral smoke coming out of their chimneys—and birds hovering above the trees along with occasional airplane trails in the vast sky. It is a dialogue, this interaction of God-given ancient nature with our modern human achievements,” he says. “For me it is an awakening, and a beautiful feeling, to be able to observe the magnificence of this sleeping volcanic giant, which has existed for millions of years and was observed by the Ararat Valley Koura-Arax culture through to the present day citizens of the Armenian republic. I can see and observe the same birds, animals, rivers, and mountains that the craftsman of 4,000 years ago painted on a clay vessel. He was observing the same thing I observe now, and what remains is his or her beautiful work of art.”
Born in Armenia in 1987 before relocating with his family to Los Angeles in 2003, Tigran Hamasyan currently resides in Erevan, Armenia. He began playing piano at the age of three and started performing in festivals and competitions when he was eleven years old, winning the Montreux Jazz Festival’s piano competition in 2003. Hamasyan released his debut album, World Passion, in 2005 at the age of seventeen. The following year, he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Subsequent albums include New Era (2007); Red Hail (2009); A Fable (2011), for which he was awarded a Victoires de la Musique (the equivalent of a Grammy Award in France); Shadow Theater (2013); Luys i Luso (2015); and Mockroot (2015), for which he won the Echo Jazz Award for International Piano Instrumentalist of the Year. In addition to awards and critical praise, Hamasyan has built a dedicated international following, as well as praise from Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Brad Mehldau.
Pitchfork called it ‘A record like none other in Oberst’s catalog, stunning for how utterly alone he sounds,’ and the Sunday Times called it, ‘The rawest album yet from the forever troubled one-time voice of a generation. Political and very, very personal,’ saying Oberst is ‘One of the best songwriters around.’
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Oberst brings it once again with his latest opus, a companion piece to last year's Ruminations. As ever, superbly well crafted odes to love and life, imbued with his trademark melodic twists and incomparable ear for melody. Aching Rhodes, swooning guitars and beautifully constructed to the end. How does he keep doing this? A triumph.
Merritt began recording on his 50th birthday: February 9, 2015. Unlike his previous work, the lyrics on 50 Song Memoir are nonfiction – in Merritt’s words, “a mix of autobiography (bedbugs, Buddhism, buggery) and documentary (hippies, Hollywood, hyperacusis).” As he says in the album’s liner note interview with Handler, “I am the least autobiographical person you are likely to meet. I will probably not write any more true songs after this than I did before, but it’s been interesting working on it.”
In addition to his vocals on all 50 songs, Merritt plays more than one hundred instruments on 50 Song Memoir, ranging from ukulele to piano to drum machine to abacus. In concert, the music will be played and sung by a newly expanded Magnetic Fields septet in a stage set featuring 50 years of artefacts both musical (vintage computers, reel-to-reel tape decks, newly invented instruments), and decorative (tiki bar, shag carpet, vintage magazines for the perusal of idle musicians). The seven performers each play seven different instruments, either traditional (cello, charango, clavichord) or invented in the last 50 years (Slinky guitar, Swarmatron, synthesizer). The stage extravaganza will be directed by the award-winning Jose Zayas (Love in the Time of Cholera, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter).
To date, Stephin Merritt has written and recorded eleven Magnetic Fields albums, including the popular and critically acclaimed 69 Love Songs. A song from that record, ‘The Book of Love’, has been covered by Peter Gabriel and has appeared in numerous TV shows and films; notably, the Nairobi Chamber Orchestra performed the song at an official state dinner in Kenya, before Presidents Barack Obama and Uhuru Kenyatta delivered their toasts. Merritt has also composed original music and lyrics for several music theatre pieces, including an off-Broadway stage musical of Neil Gaiman's novel Coraline, for which he received an Obie Award. In 2014, Merritt composed songs and background music for the first musical episode of public radio’s This American Life. Stephin Merritt also releases albums under the band names the 6ths, the Gothic Archies, and Future Bible Heroes.
FORMAT INFORMATIONFREE SHIPPING This item has FREE UK shipping!
In the winter of 2016, Conor Oberst found himself hibernating in his hometown of Omaha after living in New York City for more than a decade. He emerged with the unexpectedly raw, unadorned solo album Ruminations. “I wasn't expecting to write a record. I honestly wasn't expecting to do much of anything. Winter in Omaha can have a paralyzing effect on a person but in this case it worked in my favor. I was just staying up late every night playing piano and watching the snow pile up outside the window. Next thing I knew I had burned through all the firewood in the garage and had more than enough songs for a record. I recorded them quick to get them down but then it just felt right to leave them alone,” says Oberst.
Oberst began publicly releasing music in 1994 at the age of 14. Those early recordings, made in Omaha on four-track cassette by Oberst and his friends, were an introduction to the work of a prodigious songwriter whose creative outpouring would soon be widely lauded. Writing and recording prolifically over the next two decades, first with his band Bright Eyes and later under his own name – and at special moments as a member of Desaparecidos and Monsters of Folk – Oberst became known, the Los Angeles Times said, as an artist who ‘sees the world with fresh and fearless eyes’. The Times continued, ‘He weaves his findings into intimate songs whose melodies are as timeless as a hymnal and whose images are hauntingly poetic... He can command your attention with long narratives that have more words than a pocket dictionary, or stop you cold with a single line.’
In Nebraska last winter, songs that hark back to that earlier era unexpectedly began to take shape. Oberst went to ARC, the studio he built with his Bright Eyes bandmate and longtime friend Mike Mogis, to record that music. With the help of engineer Ben Brodin, he recorded all the songs in the span of 48 hours. The results are almost sketch-like in their sparseness, and they ultimately became the songs that comprise Ruminations. These tracks do not have the multi-layered instrumentation of the most recent Bright Eyes and solo albums: This is Oberst alone with his guitar, piano, and harmonica; the songs connect with some of the rough magic and anxious poetry that first brought him to the attention of the world, while their lyrical complexity and concerns make it obvious they could only have been written in the present.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP Info: Heavyweight 140 gram high-performance vinyl, with download card and poster.
Banhart first attracted international notice with his 2002 debut album, Oh Me Oh My… The Way the Day Goes By the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit – a collection of recordings he had made for himself. Subsequent albums include Rejoicing in the Hands (2004), Niño Rojo (2004), Cripple Crow (2005), and Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (2007), and What Will We Be (2009). Mala, his Nonesuch debut, was described by Q as a ‘career-best’ and by the Wall Street Journal as his ‘most concise, hushed and winsome effort to date’. Banhart has collaborated with fellow musicians including Anohni (formerly known as Antony) and the Johnsons, Beck, Vashti Bunyan, Os Mutantes, and Vetiver. He also has performed with both Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, and was part of a David Byrne–curated concert at Carnegie Hall.
An accomplished visual artist, Banhart’s distinctive, minutely inked, often enigmatic drawings have appeared in galleries all over the world, including the Art Basel Contemporary Art Fair in Miami; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels; and Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2015 Prestel published I Left My Noodle on Ramen Street, a collection of his of drawings, paintings, and mixed media pieces. He has created the cover art for most of his records, and in 2010 his artwork and packaging for What Will We Be was nominated for a Grammy.
Ape in Pink Marble, Devendra Banhart’s ninth album, was written, produced, arranged, and recorded in Los Angeles by the singer/songwriter/guitarist with his longtime collaborators Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick, both of whom also worked on Banhart’s most recent album, Mala (2013).
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP Info: Heavyweight 140 gram high-performance vinyl, with download card and poster.
Emmylou Harris's groundbreaking, Grammy Award–winning album Wrecking Ball receives its first worldwide vinyl release this Record Store Day, complete with additional bonus material. The new edition, pressed on three 180-gram discs at Record Industry, includes the original Daniel Lanois–produced album, remastered, along with several bonus tracks first released on the 2014 three-disc Nonesuch reissue of the album, which Uncut magazine called "a masterpiece."
Originally released in 1995 to widespread critical praise, Wrecking Ball won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Mojo called the album ‘a deeply addictive record that sounds like a window on Harris’s soul’, while Rolling Stone said, ‘…the album features unvarnished, otherworldly renditions of songs written by Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Earle, and other lesser-known artists,’ and the Los Angeles Times said, ‘The pace is deliberate, unhurried, meditative, the atmosphere rich, dark and ghostly.’
A 13-time Grammy winner and Billboard Century Award recipient, Emmylou Harris’ contribution as a singer and songwriter spans 40 years. She has recorded more than 25 albums and has lent her talents to countless fellow artists’ recordings. In recognition of her remarkable career, Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. Her most recent solo album, 2011’s Hard Bargain, debuted in the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart and received tremendous critical acclaim.
Tigerlily was described by the New York Times in 1995 as ‘an anomaly in a music scene in which reckless female performers reign supreme’. The album sold more than five million copies worldwide and featured the popular hit singles ‘Carnival’, ‘Wonder’, and ‘Jealousy’. Paradise Is There presents the songs as they have evolved over the past two decades of live performance. Joining Merchant on the album, which she produced herself, are her long-time band members Gabriel Gordon (guitar), Jesse Murphy (bass), Uri Sharlin (piano & accordion), and Allison Miller (drums), as well as a string quartet – Scot Moore (violin), Shawn Moore (violin), Marandi Hostetter (viola), and Stanley Moore (cello) – plus Sharel Cassity (saxophone), and guest vocals by Simi Stone, Gail Ann Dorsey, and Elizabeth Mitchell.
“Tigerlily is the most significant album I’ve made because it defined me as an independent songwriter after 12 years in 10,000 Maniacs,” Merchant explains, “It also created a bond between me and an audience that has supported and sustained me for 20 years. I decided to make the Paradise Is There album and film for them, to honor the journey that we, and these songs, have all taken. Songs have new life breathed into them every time they are sung. Time has changed them as much as it has changed me.’” She continues, “I wanted to record these songs again because it seemed unfair to confine them to the way that they were performed in the studio in 1995. They are so versatile, whether I strip them bare or enhance them with strings, and they lend themselves so well to re-arrangement. There are several songs from Tigerlily – ‘Carnival’, ‘Wonder’, ‘Beloved Wife’, ‘River’, and ‘Cowboy Romance’ – that remain at the core of my live shows. They still have relevance to me and, by the response they receive, I can tell that they still resonate with my audience,” Merchant says. “I’ve spent a full year preparing this album and film, and the process gave me a chance to take the measure of everything that’s happened because of Tigerlily. The distance this music traveled once it left my hands is humbling, and I am moved by how many lives it has touched along the way.”
Merchant’s career began in 1981 when, as a college student, she joined the seminal alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs, which signed to Elektra Records in 1984. As lead vocalist, lyricist, and sometimes pianist, Merchant released six critically acclaimed studio albums with the band, including the platinum-certified In My Tribe (1987), Blind Man’s Zoo (1989), Our Time in Eden (1992), and MTV Unplugged (1993). She left the group in 1993, and in 1995 released her multi-platinum solo debut, Tigerlily, followed by the platinum Ophelia (1998) and Motherland (2001). In 2003 she independently released an album of traditional and contemporary folk music, The House Carpenter’s Daughter, which also coincided with the birth of her child. For the next seven years she lived quietly in New York’s Hudson Valley devoting herself to family and community, while taking opportunities to collaborate with other musicians and strengthen her commitment to activism and philanthropy.
In 2010, Merchant returned with a thematic double album, Leave Your Sleep, her debut for Nonesuch Records. For this meditation on childhood and mothering Merchant set 19th- and 20th century American and British children’s poetry to music. She also collaborated with award-winning children’s book illustrator Barbara McClintock for a picture book based on the album. In 2014, Nonesuch released Natalie Merchant, her sixth solo album and first of entirely original songs in 13 years, which the New York Times called a ‘set of dark, brave, thoughtful and serenely startling songs’ and the Daily Telegraph praised for the ‘intelligence of her writing, and piercing character studies that thicken with each musical brushstroke’. Merchant remains dedicated to a wide array of social justice and environmental causes. Recently, she spearheaded the making of the protest concert film Dear Governor Cuomo (2013) with New Yorkers Against Fracking, actors Mark Ruffalo and Melissa Leo, and filmmakers Jon Bowermaster and Alex Gibney, and she directed and produced SHELTER: A Concert Film to Benefit Victims of Domestic Violence (2014).
STAFF COMMENTSAndy says: Her finest hour, even better than 10,000 Maniacs. Possibly! Either way: superb songs, gorgeous voice. Brilliant.
FORMAT INFORMATION2xLtd LP Info: Heavyweight 140 gram high-performance double disc vinyl, with download card.
2xCD/DVD Info: The CD is accompanied by a documentary DVD. The memoir-style film contains live performances, archival footage, and interviews with musicians, friends, and fans about the influence the songs of Tigerlily have had over the past 20 years.
The Arcs collaboratively wrote and recorded 13 tracks for Yours, Dreamily, with the musicians playing a large array of roles both vocally and instrumentally. Co-produced by Auerbach and Michels, the album was recorded in roughly two weeks through spontaneous, informal sessions across the country at the Sound Factory in Los Angeles, the Diamond Mine in Queens, Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound in Nashville, and in a lounge room at Electric Lady in Manhattan. Tchad Blake mixed the album on his horse farm in Wales.
Outta My Mind / My Mind
The Arcs collaboratively wrote and recorded 13 tracks for the forthcoming album Yours, Dreamily, with the musicians playing a large array of roles both vocally and instrumentally. Co-produced by Auerbach and Michels, the album was recorded in roughly two weeks through spontaneous, informal sessions across the country at the Sound Factory in Los Angeles, the Diamond Mine in Queens, Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound in Nashville, and in a lounge room at Electric Lady in Manhattan. Tchad Blake mixed the album on his horse farm in Wales.
Noah - Music From The Motion Picture
Russell Crowe stars as Noah in the film inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice, and hope. The cast stars Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Anthony Hopkins.
The Noah score is performed by Kronos Quartet, joined by Patti Smith for her song “Mercy Is” (co-written by Lenny Kaye). An orchestra and choir are led by Matt Dunkley, who was also the principal orchestrator and arranger. Other musicians on the soundtrack include solo cellist Vanessa Freebairn-Smith, guitarists Mike Fonte and Mark Stewart, guitar violist Nigel Wiesehan, and the composer on prepared piano, Mellotron, bass guitar, and Moog. The album was produced by Clint Mansell and Geoff Foster.
Mansell, a musician, composer, and founding member of the band Pop Will Eat Itself, first worked with Aronofsky on the score for his 1998 film π. In 2000 Mansell worked with Kronos Quartet to record his acclaimed and best-selling score for Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (Nonesuch), and in 2006 he scored the filmmaker’s The Fountain (Nonesuch), which included performances by Mogwai and Kronos.
FORMAT INFORMATION2xCD/DVD Info: Deluxe with 104 page cloth-bound book with 2 CDs & bonus DVD.
Reich Remixed 2006
FORMAT INFORMATION2xCD Info: Deluxe packaging includes two booklets plus enhanced CD content.
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192 NEW ITEMS
Various ArtistsA Disco Fantasy - Inc. Sylvester, Louie Vega, Amp Fiddler, Sweet Tooth T & Greg Wilson
Various ArtistsSpider-Jazz - KPM Cues Used In The Amazing Animated Series - That We Are Not Allowed To Mention For Legal Reasons
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