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Bubblegum Perfume by Felt


Bubblegum Perfume

Following a run with Cherry Red Records that featured a potential major label jump, guitarist Maurice Deebank quitting and rejoining multiple times, several pop stardom carrots just out of reach, mixing battles with Robin Guthrie, and a shocking entry into the record charts, Lawrence (just “Lawrence”, like “Cher” or “Madonna” thank you very much) knew he would be making a change with his band Felt. He would be seeing out his plan of ten albums and ten singles in ten years alongside a new partner in Creation Records. This compilation beautifully captures those years. Creation was beginning a rapid ascent at the time, with Alan McGee serving as its hyperactive mouthpiece and focal point. McGee was all in on the band. “Lawrence achieved pop perfection, a breathless rush of sensitivity and intelligence. It was too understated to be commercial, too art to go pop, too pop to go art—in other words it was a perfect combination of all the music I loved at the time.” McGee was thrilled to have what he considered a real star on the label, and Lawrence was equally thrilled to have such an enthusiastic cheerleader. He funneled that enthusiasm into some of the most focused songwriting of his career, as well as some of his wildest experiments, all of which are on display here.

LP $27.00

03/03/2023 852545003820 


Gold Mine Trash by Felt


Gold Mine Trash

Lawrence Hayward knew that he wanted to be a pop star as a teen, and he devised a plan to release ten albums and ten singles over ten years to make that dream come true. A particular and determined individual, he would only be known as Lawrence from that day forward. His hopes for stardom would be pinned on his newly formed band, the succinctly named Felt. Soon signed to Cherry Red Records, Lawrence’s achingly cool vocals and the group’s way with walking melodies were evident on their debut for the label, “Something Sends Me To Sleep.” This compilation collects material from Felt’s Cherry Red period of 1981 to 1985, kicking off with that confident start, assembling numerous high points, and closing with their biggest hit, “Primitive Painters.” This phase of the band is defined by the songwriting partnership and unique interplay of Lawrence and guitarist Maurice Deebank, with Deebank’s stylish and confident playing the envy of many of their counterparts. He delivers a constant string of shimmering hooks that wrap themselves around and over top of Lawrence’s more traditional beat combo song structures, as if trying to fit four songs worth of ideas into a pre-set radio friendly cutoff time. It works wonderfully as Lawrence always counters with a solid bedrock. In one of many brushes with the brass ring, in 1984 Felt recorded versions of “Dismantled King Is Off The Throne” and “Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow,” for the newly formed and Warners-backed label Blanco y Negro, in...

LP $27.00

03/03/2023 852545003813 


Cutting their teeth as teens in a West Bromwich bedroom, The Sea Urchins were nothing like the heavy metal that seemed to fill every bar in the UK Black Country. Fringe haircuts, perfect trousers, suede jackets and infectious tambourines gave plenty of hints as to their youthful ambition, but nothing could fully prepare you for just how utterly spellbinding these songs would be. Compiling their fanzine-only flexi material with the full complement of singles for Sarah Records, Stardust runs chronologically from late 1986 to the middle of 1989, beginning with the singles split for Clare Wadd’s Kvatch and Matt Haynes’ Sha La La, before hitting the first of what would be an even hundred releases from the new label Wadd and Haynes would form - Sarah. The song that launched a legendary label and defined a sound, a scene, a place and time; “Pristine Christine” still rings out as immediate and magical today as it did on first listen. What a glorious jangly rush racing around the corners of pop’s history! The band would reach such heights time and again over the course of this three year burst. The melancholy swinging folk of “Everglade” and it’s wonderfully yearning vocal; the organ-fueled british invasion garage rock sing-a-long of “Solace”; the playful psych pop of “A Morning Odyssey”; the acoustic sweep of “Wild Grass Pictures”; the perfectly named “Summershine” leaving you with a ramshackle smile out on the dancefloor. All of it is just so filled with delicate humanity, yet somehow absolutely...

LP $27.00

01/20/2023 852545003905 


Courts Or Wars by Second Layer

Second Layer

Courts Or Wars

Adrian Borland and Graham Bailey might be better known as members of legendary post-punk group The Sound, but the two were childhood friends and had been playing together even earlier in The Outsiders, and continued their deep musical rapport as a duo, creating these intense and engaging songs as Second Layer at the same time as their higher profile band output. Combining their early recordings, including the 1979 Flesh As Property EP and 1980 State Of Emergency EP, Courts Or Wars takes its title from the first song that served as the pair’s introduction to listeners. Right from the beginning you are enveloped in what The Quietus described as, “a monochrome worldview morbidly obsessed with the dehumanizing effect of war, nuclear weapon annihilation, and the fracturing and negation of the self within an increasingly distorted and technologically mediated society.” Where The Sound fit snugly next to Echo And The Bunnymen, Second Layer had far more in common with the pulsing menace of Suicide. Borland’s familiar vocals and sense of melody hold a connection to his other songwriting, but within these songs he takes far more risks in his guitar work to suit the subject matter. What really drives everything is Bailey’s propulsive bedrock, formed by his homemade pre-drum machine rhythm generators, creating an innovative mechanical approach that somehow inserts a jittery neurotic touch that merges perfectly with his electronic layers driven by the wasp synth, various unique effects boxes or tape loops. Adding in Bailey’s own distinctive bass playing, the...

LP $22.00

01/20/2023 852545003912 


Forty years ago, on July 8th and 9th in 1981, a group formed by the splintering of some of Bristol’s essential post punk bands, entered the hallowed studio at Berry Street in London to record their debut single. What would emerge was not only an exuberant post funk classic on the A-side, but also a wildly influential dub workout on the flipside, whose reverberations can still be heard today. Both songs have proven essential in very different ways.  A focal point for the unique punk-funk that was coming together in Bristol as the bridge from the ‘70s to the ‘80s arrived, Maximum Joy was formed by Glaxo Babies multi-instrumentalist Tony Wrafter and 18-year old vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Janine Rainforth. Soon they drafted in additional Glaxo Babies in the form of drummer Charlie Llewellin and bassist Dan Catsis, along with guitarist John Waddington, fresh from The Pop Group. The group set about making a one-of-a-kind mix of funk, punk, pop, jazz, dub, soul, afrobeat and reggae; creating a brilliant charge of danceable tunes wrapped around elastic basslines and complex percussion, punctuated by melodic horns and stabs of guitar, all of it highlighting Rainforth’s naturally enthusiastic vocal style. Bursting at the seams, “Stretch” feels like it can barely be contained within the studio walls. Rainforth delivers a vocal performance that can only be found within the freedom of someone recording their first ever single. The group’s love of funk is evident on “Stretch”, but the heavy influence of dub and reggae...

12" $16.00

09/24/2021 852545003899 


S/t + Future Shock by Gordons, The

Gordons, The

S/t + Future Shock

The Gordons crashed upon the do-it-yourself scene of early 1980s Christchurch with torrential force, self-releasing two foundational planks of the vibrant New Zealand underground. Future Shock, a three-song 7-inch released in 1980, is a wild-eyed rampage, as staggering as any feedback-addled punk then being recorded at Southern Studios. The Gordons LP, which followed in 1981, matches the abandon with motorik churn and livewire dissonance, evoking New Zealand antecedents as divergent as This Kind Of Punishment and the Dead C. Brought together on this release, they’re a noise-rock landmark anticipating fans such as Sonic Youth.  Flying Nun Records, the storied Christchurch label and symbol of the island nation’s rich independent music scene, re-released The Gordons and Future Shock together in 1988 following the formation of Gordons outgrowth Bailter Space, which frontman Alister Parker founded with Clean drummer Hamish Kilgour. Bailter Space, which would also come to include founding Gordons members Brent McLachlan and John Halvorsen, settled on a droning shoegaze sound, drawing comparisons to Dinosaur Jr. and the Pixies. The Gordons and Future Shock, however, represent the trio’s unreformed id, as startling today as upon release.

LP+7" $22.00

05/14/2021 852545003882 


Calling On Youth by Outsiders, The

Outsiders, The

Calling On Youth

Before fronting classic post-punk group The Sound, Adrian Borland was a Wimbledon teenager enamored of Iggy Pop and the Velvet Underground. With friends, he formed The Outsiders. In 1976, they home-recorded Calling On Youth, a searching full-length that straddles nihilo-punk argot (“Terminal Case” and “I’m Screwed Up”) as well as smudged glam balladry (“Start Over” and “Weird”). Its release in 1977, on the group’s own Raw Edge label, with Borland’s cityscape abstraction on the cover, marked the first independent punk full-length in the United Kingdom.  The Outsiders, featuring bassist Bob Lawrence and drummer Adrian “Jan” James, were punk in the moment before punk cut ties with solos and five minute songs. (Close Up, released in 1978, is more streamlined.) Like the Saints or Crime, they still trafficked in rock ’n’ roll. Calling On Youth, though, announces Borland as more than a precious teenage bandleader. The nervous introspection, wiry leads and negative space that he would refine solo and in The Sound, Second Layer and Witch Trials glistens throughout Calling On Youth, beckoning rediscovery.

LP $22.00

05/14/2021 852545003875 


Philophobia by Arab Strap

Arab Strap


Philophobia, Arab Strap’s sophomore slam dunk released in the spring of 1998, begins with one of the most memorable opening lines in all of indie rock: “It was the biggest cock you’d ever seen, but you’ve no idea where that cock has been.” So begins an album that, while picking up thematically where the duo’s debut album The Week Never Starts Round Here left off, promises from its very first seconds a renewed sense of purpose: the narratives are more streamlined, the music more confident and mature. Gone are the sketches and doodles that unquestionably distinguished 1996’s The Week Never Starts Round Here as the work of first timers, replaced with a consistent, almost conceptual, musical framework. On Philophobia, singer and lyricist Aidan Moffat’s realism is more profane, gritty and poignant, while multi-instrumentalist Malcolm Middleton’s honeyed orchestrations increasingly provide clinics in subtlety and restraint. Part of the appeal of Arab Strap’s post-everything music is the way the group’s songs make every listener feel like either a voyeur or a trusted confidante. The ever-present humanity in future sex advice columnist Moffat’s first person tales of debauchery and regret is a through-line running through each of these frank and vivid songs: the same narrator who confesses to sniffing his fingers after a sexual encounter and boasts about the size of his penis also yearns to “hug” a lover to death, finds himself crying on the bus, and wonders idly—but hopefully—whether or not he’s truly in love with the woman he’s just slept...

2XLP $29.00

03/06/2020 852545003868 


Station M.X.J.Y. by Maximum Joy

Maximum Joy

Station M.X.J.Y.

A focal point for the unique punk-funk that was coming together in Bristol as the bridge from the ’70s to the ’80s arrived, Maximum Joy was formed by Glaxo Babies multi-instrumentalist Tony Wrafter and 18 year-old vocalist Janine Rainforth. Soon they drafted in additional Glaxo Babies in the form of drummer Charlie Llewellin and bassist Dan Catsis, along with guitarist John Waddington, fresh from The Pop Group. The group set about making a one-of-a-kind mix of funk, punk, pop, jazz, dub, soul, afrobeat and reggae; creating a brilliant burst of danceable tunes wrapped around elastic basslines and complex percussion, punctuated by melodic horns and stabs of guitar, all of it highlighting Rainforth’s naturally enthusiastic vocal style. They immediately took their place on the rosters of influential labels like Y and 99 with iconic debut single “Stretch”, as the band had clearly captured something special. Entering 1982, Kevin Evans had replaced Catsis as Maximum Joy set out to make what would be their only full length LP. Recording at Berry Street and The Lodge with producers Adrian Sherwood (On-U-Sound legend), Dave Hunt (the Flying Lizards and This Heat) and Pete Wooliscroft (Kate Bush, Talk Talk, Peter Gabriel and OMD,) the band would mix practiced grooves with imaginative improvisation. The results were absolutely jaw-dropping.

LP $22.00

02/14/2020 852545003851 


MP3 $9.90

02/14/2020 852545003851 


FLAC $11.99

02/14/2020 852545003851 


The Glass Bead Game by Breathless


The Glass Bead Game

Appropriately naming themselves after the French New Wave classic from Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless are effortlessly cool, fashionably dark, hopelessly melancholic and frustratingly off-center romantics. Often lumped together with bands like The Sound and Comsat Angels, Breathless have more in common with the mid to late ’80s wandering output of The Cure, The Cocteau Twins and other artists stretching the post punk dream pop template, thanks to the strength of their arrangements and shifting time signatures, along with one of the greatest vocalists to ever step foot in the genre.  Ari Neufeld knew a unique talent when she saw it and quickly drafted Dominic Appleton in to her current band due to his inventive keyboard skills. The two immediately found that they had a strong songwriting bond that far outstripped the rest of the group. Folding in guitarist Gary Mundy, with whom Appleton had been in previous projects, including their marvelous work backing Anne Clark on her debut album, the trio set out on a new path, with Appleton crucially taking command of the vocal duties. Linked to labels like 4AD, but with a strong sense of independence and a reluctance to tour endlessly, Breathless would self release their entire catalogue on their Tenor Vossa label. Certainly, the band had the charisma needed for stardom, along with the songwriting skills, but their output would remain on the margins, beloved by those in the know.

LP $22.00

01/17/2020 852545003837 


The Week Never Starts Round Here by Arab Strap

Arab Strap

The Week Never Starts Round Here

The year 1996 saw the release of Arab Strap’s first single, “The First Big Weekend,” and debut album The Week Never Starts Round Here. Into an underground rock milieu preoccupied at the time with slo-core, math rock, and all things Pet Sounds, the duo of Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat couldn’t have sounded more alien. In many ways, The Week Never Starts Round Here bears all the marks of a debut: it’s raw, unguarded, and crammed with ideas. It also firmly establishes the particular set-up that would define Arab Strap’s sound over the course of eleven years, with Middleton handling the music while Moffat provides the vocals and lyrics. Even this division of labor—more common to rap music than to the shoegazers and increasingly ubiquitous “collectives” of indie rock—seemed to defy expectations.  The sound of Arab Strap is a distinct brand of existential miserablism. Middleton’s cleverly arranged foundation of nocturnal guitars and rudimentary drum machines provides a canvas for Moffat to relay, in a thick Scottish dialect, his many sloshed, candid confessions. Long before artists like Mike Skinner chronicled the picaresque days of lads getting pissed and getting laid, Arab Strap’s vivid tales of lovers, lager and shame were being broadcast on college stations everywhere.  The Week Never Starts Round Here is an album full of drugged-up kisses and dried up egos; it chronicles the conquests and knockbacks of weekends that last forever, and it does so unapologetically, poetically, and profanely. Indie rock would never be the same.

LP $22.00

10/11/2019 852545003844 


Sparks’ eponymous 1971 debut presents the singular compositional, lyrical and singing voices of Ron and Russell Mael fully formed. Originally released under the moniker Halfnelson, Sparks’ prescient debut prefigures Queen, power pop, and especially Southern California’s late ’70s skinny-tie explosion. It’s a landmark of Todd Rungren’s early production career, and clearly the backing band of brothers Earle and Jim Mankey brought Sparks’ pop idiosyncrasies to their later work with The Dickies, The Quick and 20 / 20. Infectious, daring, and delightfully flaunting camp theatricality throughout, Sparks is the first installment in an unparalleled series of some of the decade’s most classic albums. Careening melodies soar through space-detritus electronics on the strikingly original “Roger,” which evokes the early solo work of Brian Eno, but the deranged art-rock closing track “(No More) Mr. Nice Guys” is the unequivocal classic of Sparks’ early career and a staple of the band’s live set ever since. Rundgren’s restrained production wisely sets the Mael brothers at the fore of Sparks. With just subtly treated cymbal flourishes keeping the pace, album opener “Wonder Girl” is pared down and mixed to showcase two things: Ron’s twinkling piano trill and Russell’s fluttering high-register. As Rundgren perceived, and a multi-decade career confirms since, their fraternal chemistry is a consummate force.

LP $20.25

11/25/2016 852545003295 


Following the Byrds-indebted bliss of Primal Scream’s debut, Sonic Flower Groove, bandleader Bobby Gillespie reassembled a lineup and literally grew his hair long to prepare for the uninhibited riffs and leather-laden swagger of the group’s eponymous sophomore album in 1989. Fans were surprised—just like when Gillespie’s old group The Jesus & Mary Chain swapped noisy gauze for high-production sheen—but time has shown thrilling reinvention to be Gillespie’s greatest asset. The shift is told by the cover art: instead of Sonic Flower Groove’s nod to 1960s collegiate artist chic, Primal Scream’s cover depicts little more than wild manes in motion—the visual analog to both the blues-spew thump of “Ivy Ivy Ivy” and the incredible, Beggars Banquet-era Rolling Stones homage, “I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have” (which made history again as the basis for Primal Scream’s crossover hit, “Loaded”). But Primal Scream also slays with softness: “You’re Just Dead Skin to Me” features emotive keys from Felt’s Martin Duffy, and “You’re Just Too Dark to Care” movingly evokes Alex Chilton’s hushed despair on Big Star’s 3rd. Soon after, Screamadelica christened the band with a new identity, but Primal Scream established a mode to which Gillespie would return on 1994’s excellent Give Out But Don’t Give Up.

LP $20.25

09/09/2016 852545003325 

IF 32 

Sonic Flower Groove by Primal Scream

Primal Scream

Sonic Flower Groove

Bobby Gillespie’s departure from The Jesus & Mary Chain enabled the pioneering Scots bandleader to focus on Primal Scream full-time. The rewards arrived quickly: the early B-side “Velocity Girl” ended up on NME’s legendary C86 compilation (and later inspired the American indie-pop band of the same name), and Primal Scream connected with the crucial English indie label Creation.  For the band’s debut, Primal Scream opted for producer Mayo Thompson—leader of left-field psych outfit Red Krayola and producer for Pere Ubu, Felt, and The Chills, among others—and completed Sonic Flower Groove for release on the newly set up Warner Bros. subsidiary Elevation Records in 1987. It’s the only album featuring Gillespie’s wistful, almost fey vocal style, which makes impeccably balanced pop compositions like “Aftermath” especially infectious. The influence of The Byrds is glaring. Glistening guitar melodies entwine and, yes, jangle, though the way they mingle with and complement Gillespie’s voice distinguishes the tribute. It’s also a prescient album, predicting the refined rock sensibility that would in a few years come to characterize Britpop, but by then Gillespie and Primal Scream would already be blazing new trails.

LP $20.25

09/09/2016 852545003318 

IF 31 

Naked City by Zorn, John

Zorn, John

Naked City

BACK IN STOCK - Regularly hailed as one the most important composers of the late 20th century, John Zorn is comfortable at the helm of an ensemble, as improviser on an array of instruments, and as a bold theorist of collaboration. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New York artist and operator of the esteemed Tzadik label became known for assembling hardcore-inflected jazz ensembles and for devising “game systems,” or intricate musical conditions intended to force players into new territory. Partnering with Nonesuch in mid-1980s, he released The Big Gundown, which radically reimagines Ennio Morricone scores; and Spillane, which fuses improv and Zorn’s “file-card” system. Such titles brought Zorn critical accolades and the reputation of a provocateur, but none of them prepared audiences for the cataclysm of Naked City. Released in 1990 on Nonesuch, Naked City bears a stark cover photograph by Weegee—noted for his unsparing images of New York crime scenes—and features one of the more staggering “rock” lineups ever assembled: Zorn on alto saxophone, guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Fred Frith, drummer Joey Baron, keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, and vocalist Yamatsuka Eye.  Naked City is a maelstrom of styles, veering recklessly between country, noise, New Orleans R&B, polka, and grindcore, with overtures from detective shows and film noir. In other words, it’s a daring maelstrom of American musical vernacular. It also explodes the rock format’s supposed limitation and retains a wildly intersectional listenership: devotees of punk, free jazz, and harsh noise celebrate Naked City. In short, as one...

LP $20.25

08/26/2016 852545003349 


Friday’s Child by Hazlewood, Lee

Hazlewood, Lee

Friday’s Child

Riding the crest of successive hit-making for Duane Eddy, Sanford Clark, Dean Martin and Nancy Sinatra, the ever-industrious Lee Hazlewood still found time to release his excellent third solo album in 1965. His second solo recording for the Reprise label, Friday’s Child indulges his signature country-pop flare and pioneering use of vocal reverb. With electric guitar leads, harp and female backup vocals, the album finds Hazlewood embellishing his arrangements, though some of its strongest moments draw their impact only from his rich timbre. Some artists develop their voice for years; Hazlewood’s third album proves it was an innate and irrevocable gift. Weepy guitar leads kick off the title track and Hazlewood takes up the story of twinkling sorrow and bad luck. He often speckles pain with humor, but “Friday’s Child” is one of his most purely somber ballads. Elsewhere, with finger snaps, sparse backup vocals and Hazlewood’s emotive intonation, the intro of “Houston” alone could carry on entirely a cappella and still endure as a classic. The composition made a hit for Dean Martin, but the Friday’s Child version shows Hazlewood’s inimitable skill as a vocal stylist. Mostly lacking the dada-esque humor of his first two albums, Friday’s Child places Hazlewood in league with the era’s greatest traditional songwriters, though one for whom pop conventions were to be bucked and cast aside.

LP $20.25

08/05/2014 852545003745 

IF 74 

The N.s.v.i.p.’s (not So Very Important People) by Hazlewood, Lee

Hazlewood, Lee

The N.s.v.i.p.’s (not So Very Important People)

Lee Hazlewood’s partnership with Reprise Records in the 1960s resulted in timeless hits for Dean Martin and Nancy Sinatra. Throughout the decade, though, the label also released three of the artist’s most highly regarded solo works: The N.S.V.I.P.’s, Friday’s Child and Love and Other Crimes.  Hazlewood’s 1964 sophomore album The N.S.V.I.P.’s (Not So Very Important People) is the perfect companion to his classic debut, Trouble Is a Lonesome Town, released the year prior. Setting his signature spoken intros to a new cast of small town eccentrics (perhaps modeled on his childhood locale in Mannford, Oklahoma), this early career high-point presents Hazlewood with all of his singular assets already intact: playful lyrics veering toward the bizarre, wry delivery and wonderfully understated pop-country song craft. “First Street Blues” opens The N.S.V.I.P.’s with the saga of Leroy, the once-irascible dragon who converts to a cheerful wino. The small-town drunkard’s likely story merges with fantastic whimsy in Hazlewood’s strange world. Elsewhere, he waxes absurd on “I Had a Friend” about Tarzan’s deficiencies as a citizen and marital prospect for Jane. He even imparts some simple wisdom about the presidential election on “Save Your Vote for Clarence Mudd.” As always, Hazlewood’s tongue is firmly rooted in cheek. Still, it’s easy to just forget that and live inside the poignant songs he creates for each and every one of the not so very important, but absolutely riveting, people—and dragons, too.

LP $20.25

08/05/2014 852545003738 

IF 73 

Burning World by Swans


Burning World

The Burning World is an excellent curio in Swans’ already eclectic discography. 1987’s Children of God confirmed that Swans could indulge delicacy alongside immersive swathes of sound. In 1989, band leader Michael Gira co-produced The Burning World alongside multi-instrumentalist Bill Laswell and continued to refine his songwriting without compromising power. Jarboe’s inimitable vocal presence enhances the overall tunefulness while Gira’s own weary-but-resilient declamations ascend to towering intensity at precisely the right moments. All throughout, Gira rages against God for the sake of love, lifting the veil off darkness to reveal exaltation. “(She’s a) Universal Emptiness” finds Gira’s signature croon perfectly belied by Jarboe’s harmony, but the sauntering balladry is spiked with assaultive snare drum and a rogue chord on the verge of feeling saccharine. “Jane Mary, Cry One Tear” sends Gira’s voice to seemingly impossible depths. The slight quiver and momentary roll of the tongue that marks his style is on full display, as if the merest detail of his evocative delivery is toiled over in advance. It begins with the minimal guide of an acoustic guitar and builds to ardent fury, all the while honoring the intricate minutiae in his voice. The Burning World resolves Swans mournful rock sensibility with some of the most pure hooks Gira ever sang over, but his indelible assets as a singular songwriter are wholly intact and unmistakable.

LP $20.25

04/29/2014 852545003264 

IF 26 

David Ackles’s eponymous 1968 debut is a rich emotional experience rife with poignant balladry and evocative lyricism. The era’s market was unprepared for such a singular songwriter, but the cult of Ackles is a potent force and this reissue obliges its demands. Elton John, Bernie Taupin and Elvis Costello are Ackles acolytes—the latter even championed him as “perhaps the greatest unheralded songwriter of the late ’60s.” As a staff songwriter for Elektra and avid composer for theatre and film, Ackles developed a maverick style. Indeed, David Ackles materialized when Elektra couldn’t imagine a singer more suitable for the material than its composer. David Ackles boasts wonderfully restrained arrangements that only enhance its power. The widely covered opening track “The Road to Cairo” features Ackles at the pinnacle of his emotive ability. With marvelous dramatic grace, he evokes the weary traveler’s wisdom and turmoil as it devolves to a devastating breaking point. It’s a gut-wrenching moment, though one quickly tempered by the melancholy “When Love Is Gone” and beatific “What a Happy Day.” Perhaps akin to Randy Newman, Scott Walker or the darkest Van Dyke Parks (at least for their inimitability), Ackles’s debut sounds peerless today. As critic and archivist Richie Unterberger writes in the liner notes, “About 45 years later, the record is more durable than many a high-charting singer-songwriter statement of the time, precisely for the idiosyncratic qualities that kept it shrouded in obscurity at the time of its release.” This record is an extraordinary achievement—it belongs to a...

LP $17.50

02/18/2014 852545003707 

IF 70 

CD $16.00

12/10/2013 852545003585 

IF 58 

Embrace The Herd by Gist


Embrace The Herd

Though lesser-known than Young Marble Giants’ output, the sole LP from Stuart Moxham’s The Gist is an essential entry in the great canon of English post-punk. As the principle composer in Young Marble Giants, Moxham honed minimal songwriting to maximal effect with the help of early electronic experimentation. He formed The Gist shortly before Young Marble Giants’ dissolution to realize experiments in sound outside his primary group’s mold and feature friends from such bands as Essential Logic and Swell Maps. The Gist yielded several singles and Embrace the Herd, originally released in 1982 on Rough Trade and featuring fellow Giants Alison Statton and Phillip Moxham along with Epic Soundtracks. Recorded at home by Moxham, Embrace the Herd is a venerable instance of post-punk liberation to indulge every stylistic whim. With a four-track reel-to-reel, tape echo machine and menagerie of instruments, he veers from the beautifully understated and evocative “Love at First Sight” (with a timeless, quasi-R&B chorus) and the gleaming pop progression on “This Is Love” to instrumentals like “Far Concern” and “Fretting Away,” the latter evoking Young Marble Giants’ sparse but evocative work on Colossal Youth. Moxham sometimes dons a prominently mixed baritone, coos soulfully elsewhere and defers to Statton’s inimitable voice on “Clean Bridges.”  The fragmented and disparate ideas of Embrace the Herd expose the anatomy of bedroom DIY song-craft for listeners to revel in. Moxham’s liner notes express humble amazement at fans’ continued interest in this body of work, but even a casual listen explains why...

LP $16.00

11/26/2013 852545003233 

IF 23 

Inner Thought Zone by Deebank, Maurice

Deebank, Maurice

Inner Thought Zone

Maurice Deebank recorded his instrumental solo debut for the seminal Cherry Red imprint in 1984 while still the guitarist in Felt, the pastoral English pop group led by the notorious eccentric Lawrence Hayward (best known simply as Lawrence). Felt’s early albums Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty, The Splendour of Fear and Ignite the Seven Cannons and Set Sail for the Sun were marked by melancholy guitar interplay and a lofty pop sensibility, but Inner Thought Zone illustrates how significant Deebank’s role was in crafting Felt’s signature sound. Seven-minute album centerpiece “Silver Fountain of Paradise Square” and “Study No. 1” make beautiful use of supple arpeggios whimsically bent into cyclical structures in and around which Deebank weaves solos. His performance is nuanced and dynamic, undermining his own technical skill for the sake of expression, and it’s easy to hear Inner Thought Zone as an exposition of the increasing introspection that led to his departure from Felt.  Glistening chords, synthesizer flourishes and breezy plateaus of exaltation collide with the sense of loss and isolation generally explored by Deebank’s peers in the post-punk era, but rarely with as much impeccable grace and finesse.

LP $16.00

08/06/2013 852545003172 

IF 17 LP 

CD $13.00

06/11/2013 852545003578 

IF 57 CD 

Radios Appear by Radio Birdman

Radio Birdman

Radios Appear

Deniz Tek moved from Ann Arbor, MI, to Australia and founded Radio Birdman in 1974 with Rob Younger and the rest of The Rats’ rhythm section. By the time Radios Appear was recorded in 1977, the group was already legendary with a cult-like following and an ascetic devotion to the fierce 1960s rock ’n’ roll Tek assimilated as a Michigan resident. Homage to these influences is one aspect of Radios Appear. It boasts a fiery cover of 13th Floor Elevators’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” the lyrics to “Do the Pop” wax nostalgic for The Stooges and MC5, and “Radio Birdman” was, of course, taken from a misheard lyric in The Stooges’ “1970.” However, Radio Birdman’s maverick performances and songwriting on this debut elevate them far beyond pure pastiche. Opener “What Gives?” kicks the record off at an alarmingly fast pace inspired by punk’s new up-tempo glee, but the trotting bass lines and savage guitar solos that follow reveal a staunch rejection of punk’s then-hip ineptitude. Hyperactive riffs underpin vocalist Younger’s assertive, clear delivery, and Pip Hoyle takes a brilliant keyboard solo. Each instrument is separate in the mix—the production highlights Birdman’s technical proficiency honed for years in Sydney’s few rock clubs with open doors to the uniformed sect of elitist rockers. Record labels were eager to place Radio Birdman in the new context of late-’70s punk—somewhat inaccurately considering the band’s long hair and technical skill—so WEA picked up Radios Appear for distribution after its initial mail-order release on the Trafalgar...

CD $13.00

06/11/2013 852545003554 

IF 55 

After debut album The Return of the Durutti Column was released, Vini Reilly decided to record its follow-up himself on a four-track cassette deck at home. Teaming up with drummer and fellow Manchester native Bruce Mitchell, the second Durutti Column album LC (named after Lotta Continua, a far-left radical Italian group) was another inspired musical collaboration. Though self-produced, the album retained traces of Reilly’s earlier work with Martin Hannett. This second set of evocative electric guitar compositions features a melding of Reilly’s urbane, contemplative style with Mitchell’s crisp, deliberate drumming. LC opens with “Sketch for Dawn (1)”, incorporating Reilly’s unadorned spoken / sung vocals. The duo syncs up perfectly on album highlights such as the up-tempo “Jacqueline,” the intimate “Messidor,” and “The Missing Boy,” a tribute to Reilly’s friend Ian Curtis of Joy Division. As equally powerful and in some ways better than the Durutti Column’s debut, LC expands on the emotional promise of that album by continuing to transcend genre while offering a more song-oriented and accessible take on an increasingly unique approach to composition. It’s an understated and inspiring masterpiece from the pre-shoegaze guitar maestro.

CD $13.00

02/19/2013 852545003516 

IF 51 CD 

Return Of The Durutti Column by Durutti Column

Durutti Column

Return Of The Durutti Column

The Durutti Column was formed in 1978 at the behest of Factory Records owner Tony Wilson; through a quick series of personnel departures, the group soon became the sole province of guitarist Vini Reilly. The Durutti Column would be a vehicle for Reilly’s compositions and vision throughout the 1980s, and The Return of the Durutti Column marked the beginning of a history of crucial collaborations. While still a live fixture at Factory’s Hacienda club, Reilly entered the studio with legendary producer Martin Hannett to work on a spontaneous, organic recording that would become the Durutti Column’s classic debut LP. The album was comprised of gentle guitar instrumentals incorporating jazz, folk and classical touches, and sounded unlike anything produced by other post-punk bands of the time. Hannett provided the album’s primitive synth background and the guitar sound for which Reilly was searching, and gave the compositions a warm, mysterious sheen. The free-flowing yet melodic album contains standouts such as the interwoven “Conduct,” the rhythmic “Requiem for a Father” and the haunting “Sketch for Winter.” The Return of the Durutti Column has proved as influential as anything released on Factory in the early ’80s. Its sonic innovations have been echoed through experimental electronic to chillwave, and Reilly’s inventive guitar playing (a mixture of Bert Jansch, Fred Frith and Bill Frisell) continues to influence the solo guitar scene. Though its music defies categorization, The Return of the Durutti Column has a lasting allure. Reilly explains the reason himself: “In the end, I don’t...

CD $13.00

02/19/2013 852545003509 

IF 50 CD 

Barbed Wire Kisses (B-sides And More) by Jesus And Mary Chain

Jesus And Mary Chain

Barbed Wire Kisses (B-sides And More)

The Jesus and Mary Chain released Barbed Wire Kisses (B-Sides and More) in 1988, just five years into their existence. The album is an incredible collection of singles, outtakes and rare tracks that proved to fans outside of collectors’ circles that the group ranked among the UK’s great singles bands. Barbed Wire Kisses showcases a more varied presentation of the band. Their debut Creation single “Upside Down,” the speed-surf sonics of “Kill Surf City” and the dark “Hit” all gleam with the screeching hipster cool of Psychocandy’s best moments, while lighter fare like the tracks “Psycho Candy” and the acoustic version of “Taste of Cindy” echo the gentler tone of Darklands. The Jesus and Mary Chain’s knack for jaw-dropping cover versions is also exhibited with their thrashy take on The Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA” and Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love.” The concurrent single “Sidewalking” ranks among the band’s best, with its T-Rex swagger filtered through band’s trademark feedback squall. Debut album Psychocandy defined The Jesus and Mary Chain as nihilist rebels, while its follow-up Darklands revealed their softer (albeit still gloomy) side. Barbed Wire Kisses shows all the varied influences (Motown rhythms, Spector-ish walls of sound, surf licks, industrial noise) that informed the band on the next phase of their career as they continued to re-invent pop music. The album is a great snapshot of the band’s first half-decade and many of the band’s biggest fans consider it the equal to any of their best work.

LP $17.50

02/19/2013 852545003196 

IF 19 LP 

The Sound of Speed is the second compilation of singles, B-sides and rare tracks from The Jesus and Mary Chain, one of the greatest UK singles bands, and just as essential as its predecessor Barbed Wire Kisses (B-Sides and More) for its quality of songs and degree of variety. It’s arguably just as influential and meaningful to fans, having been released just as a newly amassed alternative nation was sprouting up. Covering the period of 1989 to 1993, The Sound of Speed collects B-sides off classic singles from Automatic and Honey’s Dead. “Snakedriver” oozes classic Jesus and Mary Chain bluesy sleaze, while “Write Record Release Blues” is a knowing knock at the record industry. The album serves up another batch of great covers, including the dirgey take on Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song,” the sweet pass at the Temptations’ “My Girl,” the distorted walk through Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster,” the 13th Floor Elevators’ “Reverberation” and the left-field version of Jerry Reed’s “Guitarman.” Assembling what is arguably some of the band’s best and most varied work, The Sound of Speed is a must-have collection for any Jesus And Mary Chain fan.

LP $16.00

02/19/2013 852545003202 

IF 20 LP 

All Fall Down by Sound, The

Sound, The

All Fall Down

At the time their third album was released, The Sound was one of the UK’s most acclaimed bands and were on the precipice of a commercial breakthrough. Having been upgraded from the Korova label (also home to Echo & the Bunnymen) to Warner Bros., the group was met with label demands to deliver a more commercial release. In what many consider to be a willfully defiant move, The Sound delivered the challenging and more experimental All Fall Down, a record many of their most ardent fans still consider their most accomplished. It remains one of the great post-punk albums of the early ’80s. The logical progression from the band’s previous work, the seminal From the Lions Mouth, All Fall Down unfolds slowly and rewards patience. Each song’s power is augmented by the ones around it. Highlights include the upbeat “Calling the New Tune” and “Party of the Mind,” the melancholy “We Could Go Far” and the dissonance and bleakness of “Glass and Smoke.” The aura of Adrian Borland’s well-documented mental illness gives many of the songs a sinister edge. All Fall Down has proved itself over time to be an essential album—it is a timeless, modern record that still sounds fresh, and its high points match anything else in the group’s canon.

LP $16.00

02/19/2013 852545003189 

IF 18 LP 

CD $13.00

02/19/2013 852545003547 

IF 54 CD 

From The Lions Mouth by Sound, The

Sound, The

From The Lions Mouth

***BACK IN STOCK!!!  For The Sound’s sophomore LP, the group decided to work with producer Hugh Jones (Echo & the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, Bauhaus). The resulting album is more richly layered than their debut, fusing the band’s atmospheric, affecting sound with a set of accessible yet invigorating songs. At the time, From the Lion’s Mouth gained great marks from the British music press, but did not break the band beyond its devoted cult of fans. Now it is considered a post-punk classic. A relatively restrained but vital follow-up to the charged and ragged Jeopardy, From The Lions Mouth proves that The Sound’s critical stature among the post-punk elite was no fluke. A more robust recording budget allows them to explore a fuller, more cohesive sound, while Adrian Borland’s lyrics are even more introspective (a jarring turn after the often political bent of Jeopardy). However despondent the singer’s words became, the tone, as pointed out in the original NME review of the album, never descend into “pessimistic wallowing.” Tracks like “Sense of Purpose” and “Contact the Fact” still feature a sweeping urgency and highlight the tension between Borland’s grim worldview and his knack for a hook. The bleak nature of the lyrics would be the first true displays of Borland’s mercurial nature. While he waged a tragically losing battle with depression for the rest of his life, it’s hard not to view this album as an enduring and fascinating document of the beginnings of madness.

LP $22.00

07/17/2012 852545003035 


CD $13.00

01/31/2012 852545003530 

IF 53 

***BACK IN STOCK!!!  Formed in 1979 and fronted by the mercurial and troubled Adrian Borland (he would commit suicide in 1999 after years of battling depression), The Sound are one of the most unjustly neglected band of the ’80s. They may not be as well-known as their contemporaries Echo & the Bunnymen or Joy Division, but their contributions to the first wave of English post-punk are equally unique and influential. Fed up with its simplistic structure and rote posturing, Borland cut ties to the punk movement after fronting ’77-era group The Outsiders. Not unlike Magazine’s Howard Devoto, whose similar inclinations led to his leaving The Buzzcocks, Borland wanted to create a sound that relied more on atmospheres, tensions and instrumental interplay while harnessing the urgency of punk’s spirit. With the release of Jeopardy, The Sound turns this inspiration into a nearly perfect debut. Featuring rough-edged production fitting its £800 recording budget, Jeopardy is a caustic rush, full of songs with hooks and emotional impact that never resort to histrionics. The album’s opener starts off minimally, until the nervy guitars of the chorus rip through the song. This auspicious beginning only hints at what’s to come. Every song that follows builds on the momentum of a complex pop masterpiece. Borland’s lyrics also prove him to be one of the few post-punk songwriters whose words are worth poring over and analyzing. The album received extremely positive reviews, with NME, Sounds and Melody Maker all bestowing their highest ratings,...

LP $22.00

07/17/2012 852545003028 

IF 02 

CD $13.00

01/31/2012 852545003523 

IF 52 

Porcupine is Echo & The Bunnymen’s most profound and personal album from their early period. Weathering band turmoil, rejections from their record company and spans of songwriting drought, the group emerged with a passionate and compelling set of songs described by vocalist Ian McCulloch as “coming to terms with the opposites in me.” Following their fourth Peel session in early 1982, the band chose Ian Broudie, leader of The Lightning Seeds and co-producer of Echo’s 1980 album Crocodiles, to produce Porcupine. While the album includes both “The Back of Love” and “The Cutter” (two of their most upbeat and successful singles), most of the material was fairly introverted and autobiographical. Unfortunately suffering negative reviews upon release (including a misguided hate-piece in the NME), Porcupine has since become a gold standard for both the band and British underground rock from the ’80s. It’s also simultaneously their most retro album and their most forward-looking. The production is full of guitar effects that must have set the mind of Kevin Shields onto the path to My Bloody Valentine’s own masterpiece, Loveless. In addition to the “The Cutter” and “The Back of Love”, Porcupine includes songs such as “My White Devil,” “Heads Will Roll,” and “Porcupine” that transcend and enlighten to this day. It’s an essential album from one of the most influential bands of the post-punk movement.

LP $22.00

09/27/2011 852545003042 

IF 04