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Staff Picks

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Limited five cassette box set. MF Doom is the man in the iron mask. The most mysterious figure in hip-hop has also become one of the most popular, supplying beats and rhymes for Gorillaz, de la Soul, Madlib, Danger Mouse, and Wu-Tang Clan, and drawing praise from heavyweights like Just Blaze, Nas, and Mos Def. Since 2002, MF Doom has released numerous volumes of Special Herbs, one of the longest-running instrumental series in hip- hop history. With obscure loops and dusty samples galore, Special Herbs is a must-have for any MF Doom fan or hip-hop head. MF Doom's Special Herbs series now available on cassette for the first time in a limited edition!
 - Special Herbs: (5xcassette Box Set) [Limited Edition]
$84.99
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In 1992, Biohazard signed with Roadrunner Records and releasedUrban Discipline,which gave the band national and worldwide attention in both the heavy metal and hardcore communities. In 2005,Urban Disciplinewas ranked number 277 inRock Hardmagazine's book ofThe 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time. The video for the song "Punishment" became the most played video in the history ofMTV'sHeadbangers Ball, and the album sold over one million copies. The band also began opening for larger acts such asHouse of Pain,Sick Of It All,Fishbone, and Kyuss. This 30th anniversary edition sees the album's first release on vinyl in North America, and expands it to 2LPs; which includes bonus tracks making their debut on the format.
Biohazard - Urban Discipline: 30th Anniversary [Limited Edition Deluxe 2LP]
$39.99
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Sonic Youth

In/Out/In [LP]

Vinyl: $25.99 Buy

MP3 Album: $4.99 Download

Album formatted collection of underheard Sonic rarities from the legendary band's 2000-2010 era, most for the first time on any physical format. Essential for the band's hardcore fans and for enthusiasts of instrumental rock.

Sonic Youth - In/Out/In [LP]
$25.99
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Fighting Demons, the fourth studio album and second posthumous album from Juice WRLD, is now available on vinyl, CD, and cassette with features from Justin Bieber, Polo G, Trippie Redd, and more!

Juice WRLD - Fighting Demons [2LP]
$42.99
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Originally coming to fruition as an Agnostic Front side-project, Madball quickly established a reputation as being one of the hardest-working and most visceral hardcore bands in the scene, which still holds true to this day. Produced by renowned heavy-music specialist Zeuss (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, Throwdown), 2005's Legacy served as the group's first release in half a decade, and was a continuation of all of the standards that any fan could expect from the group: bruising rhythms and riffs, commanding vocals and an overall confidence that most hardcore troupes couldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. While Legacy is reminiscent of the best of Madball's previous material, it also finds the group expanding it's horizons. First time on vinyl as a colored 180g LP.
Madball - Legacy (Blue) [Colored Vinyl] [Limited Edition] [180 Gram]
$27.99
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Limited transparent blue colored vinyl. The bands fifth effort titled 'Swagger & Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole' is by far their most ambitious undertaking and which pays tribute to all four previous releases, but also add some new colours to their already broad pallet of sounds. DSO once again teamed up with producer Roberto Laghi (In Flames, Hardcore Superstars) who has become somewhat of the ninth member of the orchestra.
Diablo Swing Orchestra - Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole (Blue) [Limited Edition]
$46.99
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Limited colored vinyl LP pressing. "You're born into the world as a blank canvas. As you meet people and experience things, you're getting stained and torn up. " That's the concept behind the new record from Vein. Fm, This World Is Going To Ruin You. Recorded with Grammy winning producer Will Putney of Graphic Nature Audio in April 2020, just weeks into a global shutdown, and featuring guest appearances from Geoff Rickly, Jeff Smith and Bones, as well as the original artwork of Autumn Morgan, This World Is Going To Ruin You is a fully realized version of the band's darker and more disgusting inception of metallic hardcore.
Vein.Fm - This World Is Going To Ruin You [LP]
$29.99
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After 2018’s LEATHER TEETH, Carpenter Brut returns with LEATHER TERROR, the second of his imagined "Leather" trilogy. It continues the story of Bret Halford, who seeks revenge on the men who caused his trauma, the men who once stood between him and his high school cheerleader Kendra. Influenced by martial, industrial, and metal sounds – while leaving room for more pop and atmospheric parts – Carpenter Brut is the instigator of violence, the soundtrack to Bret's relentless revenge. Indie Exclusive White LP. Gatefold Jacket.

Carpenter Brut - Leather Terror [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition White 2 LP]
$42.99
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Pressed on standard black vinyl. Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003) is a two-part compilation album by American rock band Pearl Jam, originally released on November 16, 2004 through Epic Records. The album's two discs are both devoted to different sides of the band's catalogue: Volume 1, the "Up" side, contains the band's heavier rock songs while the Volume 2, the "Down" side consists of slower songs and ballads. Both discs are in chronological order, with the exception of the last song on Volume 2 which is regular show closer "Yellow Ledbetter". Sony. 2022.
Pearl Jam - Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003): Volume 2 [2LP]
$59.99
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Vinyl LP pressing. After the Heartbreakers split, Thunders recorded his first solo album, So Alone, in 1978. Featuring musicians such as Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders), Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), Steve Jones and Paul Cook (Sex Pistols) and Peter Perrett (The Only Ones), So Alone is a true Rock classic, an electric mix of Rock, Punk and Soul that showcases Johnny Thunders at his very best
Johnny Thunders - So Alone
$27.99
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Fear of the Dawn is the fourth studio album from Jack White, founding member of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather. True to his DIY roots, this record was recorded at White's Third Man Studio throughout 2021, mastered by Third Man Mastering, pressed to vinyl at Third Man Pressing, and released by Third Man Records. Pressed on limited astronomical blue vinyl, only available at independent record stores

Jack White - Fear Of The Dawn [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Astronomical Blue LP]
$27.99 Video
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MASTERED FROM THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES AND LIMITED TO 10,000 NUMBERED COPIESMuddy Waters' Folk Singer remains rightly revered as the greatest-sounding blues album ever released-and, to date, one of the only bonafide audiophile records in the genre. Originally issued in 1964 by Chess Records, the all-acoustic work has made the rounds as a demonstration disc and benefitted from myriad reissues, all of which sought to improve upon Willie Dixon and Ralph Bass' legendary, subtlety-abundant production while bringing the musicians into your room. More than five decades after Waters, Buddy Guy, and company initially gathered in a Chicago studio in September 1963, those feats (and more) are finally accomplished in definitive, unsurpassed fashion courtesy of Mobile Fidelity.Limited to 10,000 numbered copies, pressed on dead-quiet MoFi SuperVinyl at RTI, and mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity's ultra-hi-fi UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2LP collector's edition pays tribute to the album's merit and enhances the intimate program for generations to come. Playing with reference-setting sonics that more than justify it's existence in a field filled with prior audiophile reissues of Folk Singer, this spectacular collector's version provides a clear, transparent, ultra-dynamic, and up-close view of a set that inspired Rolling Stone to deem it the 282nd Greatest Album of All Time and proclaim it 'a pioneering 'unplugged' set beloved by blues and folk fans alike.'The premium packaging and beautiful presentation of the UD1S Folk Singer pressing befit it's extremely select status. Housed in a deluxe box, it features special foil-stamped jackets and faithful-to-the-original graphics that illuminate the splendor of the recording. No expense has been spared. Aurally and visually, this UD1S reissue exists as a curatorial artifact meant to be preserved, touched, and examined. It is made for discerning listeners that prize sound quality and production, and who desire to fully immerse themselves in the art-and everything involved with the album, from the iconic photos to the gorgeous finishes.Such potency reveals itself explicitly on a vinyl set afforded uncanny reproduction of Waters' tobacco-stained singing, booming reach, robust acoustic guitar, and instrumental accompanists-a Hall of Fame group that comprises a very young Guy, stand-up bassist Dixon, and drummer Francis Clay. Accurately portraying the scale of a human voice remains one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish on a recording. And yet the timbre, richness, and realism of Waters' singing here convey the authority of it's inner cavity and considerable depth, allowing notes to individually register all the while pairing with succeeding rhythmic passages in seamless fashion. The presence, feel, and contributions of Waters' esteemed colleagues register, too, with the lifelike nature rivaled only by sitting in a small venue. Indeed, few albums of any style resonate with the reference levels of spaciousness, openness, and 'room as an instrument' qualities to the extent of Folk Singer.
Muddy Waters - Folk Singer [Indie Exclusive] [Limited Edition] [180 Gram] [Indie Exclusive]
$169.98
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A Bold Celebration of Romantics, Escapists, and Dreamers: Electric Light Orchestra's Eldorado Marries Rock and Symphonic Elements, Includes the Aptly Titled Hit 'Can't Get It Out of My Head'. Mastered from the Original Analog Master Tapes for Audiophile Quality: Mobile Fidelity 180g Vinyl LP and Hybrid SACD Reissues Play with Previously Unheard Dynamics, Rich Tones, and Bountiful Colors. Melodic, Beatles-Inspired Tour de Force Features Full Orchestra and Choral Section: Arrangements and Lyrics Transport the Listener to Faraway Horizons. Electric Light Orchestra leader Jeff Lynne did more than figuratively reach for the sky on Eldorado. Daring to be bold, and creating imaginative worlds that invite the listener to escape the mundane, the visionary composer-musician achieved a multidisciplinary fantasia and, in the process, a prog-rock landmark. Beautiful yet fun, ambitious yet consistent, the concept album celebrates romantics and escapists. A Technicolor escapade marked by lush melodies, fluid crescendos, and an intoxicating blend of energetic rock and orchestral elements, the album weds rich imagery and sweeping sounds in manners that make the two inseparable. Nearly 50 years later, the work's brilliance can be experienced like never before in cinematic fashion. Mastered from the original analog master tapes and pressed on MoFi SuperVinyl at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's 180g LP and complementary hybrid SACD allow the longtime audiophile staple to resonate with incredible dynamics, tones, and colors. Conjuring the feeling of journeying to different horizons, the record's songs teem with layer upon layer of details, which can now be heard as the producers intended. Distinguished with in-the-moment presence, grand-scale soundstaging, and instrumental balance, MoFi's Eldorado reissues also benefit from superb separation and immersive atmospherics. Like the man says, you won't be able to get it out of your head.
Electric Light Orchestra - Eldorado: A Symphony By The Electric Light Orchest
$77.98
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The Same Old Blood Rush with a New Touch is the debut studio album by American rock band Cute Is What We Aim For. Following the band's formation in early 2005, they posted demos on Myspace and PureVolume. These demos soon garnered attention from record labels. After a period of time, the group received a call from major label Fueled by Ramen founder John Janick, who signed the band. Vinyl description: Silver colored vinyl
Cute Is What We Aim For - Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch (Fbr 25 Aniv)
$27.99
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2020's A Hero's Death saw Fontaines D.C. land a #2 album in the UK, receive nominations at the GRAMMYs, BRITs and Ivor Novello Awards, and sell out London's iconic Alexandra Palace. Now the band return with their third record in as many years: Skinty Fia. Used colloquially as an expletive, the title roughly translates from the Irish language into English as 'the damnation of the deer'; the spelling crassly anglicized, and its meaning diluted through generations. Part bittersweet romance, part darkly political triumph - the songs ultimately form a long-distance love letter, one that laments an increasingly privatized culture in danger of going the way of the extinct Irish giant deer.

Fontaines D.C. - Skinty Fia [Limited Edition Deluxe 2LP]
$44.98 Video
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The greatest bassist leader jazz has ever known, Charles Mingus, with his spirited playing and spontaneity, always kept his ears and fingers on the pulse. “Mingus was something else, man,” Miles Davis wrote in his own book. “A pure genius, I loved him.”-This year marks the birth centenary of Charles Mingus, whose musical legacy is still ongoing. From artists like Kamasi Washington bringing him to a new generation, Chrissie Hynde, whose latest album includes a Mingus cover, Candace Springs, Elvis Costello, to Gang Starr sampling him, and Joni Mitchell writing lyrics to his music. -Originally released in 1957 on the Jubilee label, Mingus Three is one of only two albums led by Mingus in a trio setting, featuring pianist Hampton Hawes and drummer Dannie Richmond. This remastered release includes a whole extra disc of previously unreleased outtakes, discovered by chance, from these sessions, as well as liner notes by Charles Mingus’ friend and colleague Sy Johnson.
Charles Mingus with Danny Richmond & Hampton Hawes - Mingus Three (Feat Hampton Hawes & Danny Richmond) [Deluxe Edition 2LP]
$31.98
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"Sharon Van Etten has always been the kind of artist who helps people make sense of the world around them, and her sixth album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, concerns itself with how we feel, mourn, and reclaim our agency when we think the world - or at least, our world - might be falling apart. How do we protect the things most precious to us from destructive forces beyond our control? How do we salvage something worthwhile when it seems all is lost? And if we can’t, or we don’t, have we loved as well as we could in the meantime? Did we try hard enough? In considering these questions and her own vulnerability in the face of them, Van Etten creates a stunning meditation on how life’s changes can be both terrifying and transformative. We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong articulates the beauty and power that can be rescued from our wreckages. We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is as much a reflection on how we manage the ending of metaphorical worlds as we do the ending of actual ones: the twin flames of terror and unrelenting love that light up with motherhood; navigating the demands of partnership when your responsibilities have changed; the loss of center and safety that can come with leaving home; how the ghosts of our past can appear without warning in our present; feeling helpless with the violence and racism in the world; and yes, what it means when a global viral outbreak forces us to relinquish control of the things that have always made us feel so human, and seek new forms of connection to replace them. We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is intensely personal, exploring themes like motherhood, love, fear, what we can and can’t control, and what it means to be human in a world that is wracked by so much trauma. The track “Home To Me,” written about Van Etten’s son, uses the trademark “dark drums” of her previous work to invoke the sonic impression of a heartbeat. Synths grow in intensity, evoking the passing of time and the terror of what it means to have your child move inevitably toward independence, wanting to hold on to them tightly enough to protect them forever. In contrast, “Come Back” reflects on the desire to reconnect with a partner. Recalling all the optimism of love felt in its infancy, Van Etten begins with the plain beauty of just her voice and a guitar, building the arrangement alongside the call to “come back” to anyone who has lost their way, be it from another person or from themselves. Hovering between darkness and light, “Born” is an exploration of the self that exists when all other labels - mother, partner, friend - are stripped back. Unlike Van Etten’s previous albums, there will be no songs off the album released prior to the record coming out. The ten tracks on We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong are designed to be listened to in order, all at once, so that a much larger story of hope, loss, longing and resilience can be told. This is, in itself, a subtle act of control, but in sharing these songs it remains an optimistic and generous one. There is darkness here but there is light too, and all of it is held together by Van Etten’s uncanny ability to both pierce the hearts of her listeners and make them whole again. Things are not dark, she reminds us, only darkish."

Sharon Van Etten - We've Been Going About This All Wrong [Marbled Smoke LP]
$24.98
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Limited edition vinyl LP pressing. Alongside Vagrant Records, who are celebrating their 25th birthday, we're happy to be pressing From Autumn to Ashes's album Abandon Your Friends to vinyl for the first time.
From Autumn To Ashes - Abandon Your Friends
$23.98
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Vinyl LP pressing. Sowing Records present a reissue of Red Garland Quintet's Soul Junction, originally released in 1960. Recorded in November 1957 and released in 1960 on Prestige Records, Soul Junction is the highly celebrated Red Garland release featuring the young John Coltrane on tenor sax and Donald Byrd on trumpet. Garland's ultra-relaxed piano fits perfectly with the steady groove provided by George Joyner on bass and Art Taylor on drums, while Coltrane and Byrd often steal the show with outstanding solos. This is a marvelous quintet digging deep into the blues idiom and the soulful side of jazz.
Red Garland Quintet - Soul Junction
$32.99
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Few bands have had as much cultural impact upon generations of gamers as Weezer has, making this release all the more resonant. iam8bit has ecstatically partnered with the band, Crush Games, and developer Funktronic Labs to debut the excellent new single, "Tell Me What You Want," on a beautifully screen-printed "melted popsicle" colored wax. It's a banger of a track, exclusive to the '80s-drenched, "skateboarding" phenomenon, Wave Break, punctuated by the super fun, in-game, "Weezy Mode" (giant W trick ramp... hash pipe... see where we're going with this?). Lifelong Weezer diehard and designer extraordinaire, Cory Schmitz, tops it all off with a fitting retro jacket design, complete with shimmering embellishments so glittery that you'll be forced to don shades.
Weezer - Weezer X Wave Break (Tell Me What You Want) - Single
$16.99
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In May of 1957, Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers went into the studio with Thelonious Monk to record a one-off album for Atlantic. The Jazz Messengers were a loose collective of young Jazz musicians, with a constantly rotating lineup to keep the music fresh and help launch new careers. In this iteration we find Art Blakey on drums, Thelonious Monk on piano, Johnny Griffin on tenor saxophone, Bill Hardman on trumpet and Spanky DeBrest on bass. -Blakey had recorded with Monk on various occasions, but this was the first time Monk sat in with the Jazz Messengers. This also marks Thelonious Monk’s only appearance on Atlantic Records. The result is a true meeting of the minds, a beautiful union of Monk’s melodies with Blakey’s unshakable sense of swing. This 65thAnniversary deluxe edition includes an extra disc ofunreleased outtakes, celebrating the most sensational jazz collaboration of the 1950s.
Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk - Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk [Deluxe Edition 2LP]
$34.98
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The legendary CAVE IN makes a highly anticipated return with their Relapse Records debut, Heavy Pendulum, their first full studio record in over a decade. The band (Stephen Brodsky - Guitar/Vocals, Adam McGrath - Guitar/Vocals, John-Robert Conners - Drums) sees a revival following the addition of Nate Newton (Converge, Doomriders, Old Man Gloom) on bass and vocals. Produced by Kurt Ballou at God City, Heavy Pendulum showcases everything that has long established CAVE IN as one of the best contemporary rock, hardcore, and metal bands since their monumental 1998 debut Until Your Heart Stops. From the driving tracks such as crushing opener "New Reality" to the metallic edge of "Blood Spiller", Heavy Pendulum sees CAVE IN look back at their discography and capture their most memorable, visceral, and forward-thinking moments to create a record that is all at once familiar and in true CAVE IN fashion, ahead of the mainstream.

Cave In - Heavy Pendulum [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Translucent Gold LP]
$34.99
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Comfort To Me is the second album from Amyl and The Sniffers, somehow both heavier and more awesome than their debut. MOJO Magazine raved: "Skin-shedding, lethal, self-sufficient, cool: no wonder Amy Taylor digs snakes. With Comfort To Me, she proves she can be whoever she wants, while the Sniffers confound preconceptions of how great a rude and righteous rock’n’roll band can still be." This expanded edition features a bonus LP recorded live on a dock in Melbourne. Pressed on clear smoke vinyl.

Amyl and The Sniffers - Comfort To Me: Expanded Edition [Clear Smoke 2LP]
$35.98
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Originally released in May 1982, ‘Combat Rock’ is the final album from The Clash of Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon. Featuring two of the band’s most well-known songs, ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ and ‘Rock The Casbah’. Now re-released as a 180g 3LP special edition, with an additional 12-tracks compiled by The Clash.

Having returned to London following their pivotal 17-show residency at New York’s Bond’s Casino in 1981, the band rehearsed and recorded at The People’s Hall in the squatted Republic of Frestonia near Latimer Road in London and from there they embarked on a tour of the East and South East Asia, during which the album sleeve image was captured by Pennie Smith in Thailand.

The tracks on ‘The People’s Hall’ chart the period from what was their last single Radio Clash right up to the release of Combat Rock, including unheard, rare and early versions of tracks.

Also includes rare Pennie Smith images + history of Frestonia  essay by Tom Vague.

The Clash - Combat Rock: People's Hall Special Edition [3LP]
$62.99
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Organist "Brother" Jack McDuff came to Blue Note and made one of the most ambitious albums of his career with Moon Rappin'. Released in 1970, it features five funky, spaced-out originals including "Oblighetto," which would later be sampled by A Tribe Called Quest as the foundation of their classic tracks "Scenario," and "Check the Rhime." Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series is all-analog, mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at Optimal.
Jack Mcduff - Moon Rappin': Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series [LP]
$29.99
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Coleman shook the jazz world when he arrived at the Five Spot Café in New York City in 1959 and began his run of seminal albums on Atlantic that laid the foundation for the free jazz movement to come. After a period of disillusionment during which he withdrew from public music making, Coleman re-emerged on Blue Note in 1966 and began writing an intriguing new chapter of his legendary career.

"I have been an Ornette Coleman fanatic going back to the late-60s, in fact going back to the time the records in this set were originally recorded for Blue Note," says Harley. "Turns out Don Was is as big an Ornette fan as me, so it was only a matter of time before we put our heads together to plan this boxset. I love those early records Ornette did for Atlantic. who doesn't? But I feel that Ornette's later recordings for Blue Note are every bit as vital and important to gain a more complete understanding

"It is true that the most shattering of his wails could wake the proverbial dead," writes Conrad in his essay. "But something happened to Coleman's tone while he was woodshedding those two years. In the Golden Circle it is still penetrating but more pure. His cries are even more vocal, more human. His control of microtones provides new resources of expression. He can now make the same note sound ecstatic or despairing or anywhere in between, through microtonal nuance."

At The `Golden Circle' Stockholm, Vol. 1 (1965)

At The `Golden Circle' Stockholm, Vol. 2 (1965)

In late 1965, Coleman embarked on his first tour of Europe with a new trio featuring David Izenzon on bass and Charles Moffett on drums. Two nights of the trio's two-week engagement at the Golden Circle (Gyllene Cirkeln) in Stockholm, Sweden were recorded and released across two volumes the following year. The freewheeling live sets were electrifying and found the saxophonist jumping off into sound explorations on the violin and trumpet as well.

The Empty Foxhole (1966)

Coleman's first studio recording for Blue Note was his first studio album in four years and he once again confounded expectations by selecting his 10-year-old son Denardo Coleman to play drums on the date alongside bassist Charlie Haden. The music is raw and exploratory with solemn ruminations and bursts of unbridled joy. The striking album cover features a painting by Ornette himself.

New And Old Gospel (1967)

Coleman's next appearance on a Blue Note album came in a rare sideman role on this explosive session led by alto saxophonist Jackie McLean. McLean had already waded into the avant-garde on prior Blue Note dates like One Step Beyond and Destination. Out!, but he went even deeper here with Coleman featured entirely on trumpet along with LaMont Johnson on piano, Scott Holt on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. Following an extended suite by McLean on Side 1, the second half of the program featured two Coleman c

New York Is Now! (1968)

Love Call (1968)

On April 29 and May 7, 1968, Coleman brought a dynamic quartet with tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones into the studio to record what would yield his final two albums for Blue Note. The alchemy of this group, which combined Coleman's first-time two-saxophone pairing with a rhythm team deeply associated with John Coltrane, produced thrilling results.

BLUE NOTE RECORDS - ROUND TRIP - THE COMPLETE ORNETTE COLEMAN

Ornette Coleman - Round Trip - The Complete Ornette Coleman (Box)
$229.98
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"Fresh grief, like fresh love, has a way of sharpening our vision and bringing on painful clarifications. No matter how temporary we know these states to be, the vulnerability and transformation they demand can overpower the strongest among us.

Then there are the rare, fertile moments when both occur, when mourning and limerence heighten, complicate and explain each other; the songs that comprise Angel Olsen’s Big Time were forged in such a whiplash.

“I can’t say that I’m sorry / when I don’t feel so wrong anymore,” the record begins, her voice softer and more open than ever, as if she’s singing through a hard won smile. “All the Good Times”, a twangy banger with nods to JJ Cale, starts the album on a triumphant and bright note. The title song, “Big Time”, follows and continues the warm optimism. “Guess I had to be losin’ to get here on time,” she sings, a fearless love song co-written with her partner.

Big Time is an album about the expansive power of new love, but this brightness and optimism is tempered by a profound and layered sense of loss. During Olsen’s process of coming to terms with her queerness and confronting the traumas that had been keeping her from fully accepting herself, she felt it was time to come out to her parents, a hurdle she’d been avoiding for some time.

“Some experiences just make you feel as though you’re five years old, no matter how wise or adult you think you are,” she writes of that time. After that tearful but relieving conversation, she celebrated with her partner, their friends, oysters, and wine. “Finally, at the ripe age of 34, I was free to be me.”

Three days later, her father died; his funeral became the occasion for Olsen to introduce her partner to her family. Though she was fearful their presence as a newly out queer couple would be “an additional symbol of loss,” those days went peacefully, yet only two weeks later Olsen got the call that her mother was in the ER. Hospice came soon after, and a second funeral came quickly on the heels of the first. Another trip back to St. Louis, another grief to face, another deepening and intensification of this still-new love.

The shards of this grief—the shortening of her chance to finally be seen more fully by her parents—are scattered throughout the album. “It’s a hard time again,” she sings on “This is How It Works”, pushing against the irrevocability of death, “Tell me a story that will make me forget.” “Go Home”, which begins with an almost numbed calm, slowly builds up to a wailing that comes up straight from the ground: “I want to go home, go back to small things. I don’t belong here. Nobody knows me.”

“You can’t plan grief, you can’t organize it or schedule it or know how you’ll feel when it comes. It just happens, and when it does sometimes it’s not what you thought it would be.” Three weeks after her mother’s funeral she was in the studio, recording this incredibly wise and tender new album.

Loss has long been a subject of Olsen’s elegiac songs, but few can write elegies with quite the reckless energy as she. If that bursting-at-the-seams, running downhill energy has come to seem intractable to her work, this album proves Olsen is now writing from a more rooted place of clarity. She’s working with an elastic, expansive mastery of her voice—both sonically and artistically. These are songs not just about transformational mourning, but of finding freedom and joy in the privations as they come.

Playful bits of Tammy Wynette and Kitty Wells are here, too, but so are the complex orchestrations of her genre-bending 2019 record, All Mirrors. While that record was full of dramatic shifts and twists, here the surprises come in their simplicity—a slow swell of strings, instrumentation that cycles like a storm, or sparkling horns in a light-flooded break-up ballad.

While the spritely nature of her last EP, Aisles, may have signaled Olsen’s turn deeper into the electronic direction of her last All Mirrors, there’s hardly a synth in sight here. Jonathan Wilson, served as co-producer and also mixed the tracks, while Drew Erickson played piano, organ, and scored the string arrangements. Emily Elhaj, Olsen’s longtime bandmate, was a consistent collaborator as well, on the bass throughout.

“And I can’t fit into the past that you’re used to, I refuse to,” she sings as a wraithlike piano scaffolds her hopeful voice on “Ghost On”. “Forget the old dreams,” she rejoices on “Go Home”, “I got a new thing.” Darkness inherently suggests depth, but it takes a much wiser writer to find meaning and complexity in the luminous place that Big Time occupies. “Chasing the Sun” ends the record in a smiling, romantic place, a verdant crescendo rising as she pines: “Write a postcard to you / when you’re in the other room/ I’m just writing to say that I can’t find my clothes / If you’re lookin for something to do.”

The burning of her earliest work is still here, of course, but this time she’s “freed from the longing / for one moment to last” and she’s ready to “walk through the fires / of all earthly desires.”

—Catherine Lacey
Oaxaca, February 2022"

Angel Olsen - Big Time [Opaque Pink 2LP]
$31.98
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Vinyl LP pressing. 2021 release, the third album from the Australian metal band. Vengeance is the band's follow-up to the 2016 album Outlier.
Twelve Foot Ninja - Vengeance
$34.98
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A series of Clutch catalog releases reimagined and individually curated by one of the band members and reissued as part of the Clutch Collector's Series. The artwork is in the vein of the original yet strikingly different. The vinyl releases are remastered and manufactured on 180-gram colored vinyl which in turn is stored in extra heavy sleeves. The gatefold jackets are printed on metalized polyester paper and each album includes a numbered insert autographed by all band members.

Clutch - Robot Hive/Exodus: Clutch Collector's Series [2LP]
$56.98
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Gerald Wilson's 1962 album, Moment of Truth, features his dynamic big band on an action-packed 9-song set (7 of which were composed by Wilson) with highlights including the swaggering blues of the title track, the irrepressible Latin groove of "Viva Tirado," and a fleet-footed version of Miles Davis's "Milestones." Blue Note Tone Poet Series features all-analog, remastered 180-gram vinyl in deluxe gatefold packaging.

Gerald Wilson - Moment Of Truth (Blue Note Tone Poet Series) [LP]
$38.98

        
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