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Bikini Kill - The First Two Records


Price:  $11.99


Bikini Kill Records is excited to announce it's first release on compact disc! The First Two Records is a compilation of their self-titled and Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah vinyl reissues that were released by the label in 2012 and 2014 respectively. The self-titled EP, originally released in the fall of 1992 and reissued on BK Records in 2012 is comprised of four songs recorded by IAN MACKAYE on July 3, 1991, at Inner Ear Studios; one song from the band's 1991 demo cassette, recorded by PAT MALEY (Yo-Yo Studios); and one song recorded during Bikini Kill's live performance April 4th, 1992, at Washington, D.C.'s Sanctuary Theater. Side A of Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah was originally released in 1993 as the BK side of their split record with the UK s Huggy Bear, to kick off their legendary co-headlining tour of the UK in March of that year. Those tracks were recorded in their Washington DC basement practice space on a 4 track reel to reel in 1992 by TIM GREEN (Nation of Ulysses, The Champs) Side B featured seven previously unreleased songs that were either recorded live at shows during that era or at Bikini Kill practices. Those seven tracks are being released here on CD for the first time.

   


Bilal - In Another Life

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Price: $15.99


Bilal wasn't idle during the period that separated A Love Surreal and In Another Life. Those 28 months, the shortest between-albums span of his career, involved a stack of secondary discography entries -- illuminating spots on releases by Robert Glasper, Kimbra, Otis Brown III, and Kendrick Lamar, among other artists. At some point, he was placed in the path of Adrian Younge, supreme architect and creator of vintage-modern psychedelic soul and dirty hip-hop. A scholarly producer and composer who performs most of the instrumentation heard here, Younge arrived in 2009 with the Black Dynamite score. He then recorded fine-to-exceptional full-lengths with his band Venice Dawn, Ghostface Killah, the Delfonics' William Hart, and Souls of Mischief. Casual listeners might know him through Jay-Z's "Picasso Baby," which sampled "Sirens" off Something About April. The original, an instrumental, is referenced again on In Another Life's first song, and has its star-crossed terror quality intensified through eerie touches of Fender Rhodes and Mellotron from Ali Shaheed Muhammad. It sets the tone for an album that can be viewed as both the closing installment in an Adrian Younge soul trilogy, following Something About April and Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics, and as Bilal's most stimulating work. Aside from "Pleasure Toy," a bumping production featuring Big K.R.I.T. that evokes "Sexual Healing" revamped by post-disco R&B boss Nick Martinelli, Younge sticks to his late-'60s/early-'70s reference frame, once again crafting his backdrops with golden ears for detail and a crate-digger's mentality. Compared to the Venice Dawn and Delfonics efforts, this is a little less shadowy and more muscular. Its suspenseful and feverish qualities drop only for "Open Up the Door," a breather that conveys perseverance and contentment, and "Bury Me Next to You," which is still rather wrenching. Bilal continues to be one of the most dynamic and progressive vocalists in contemporary music. Actually, there's him, and then there's everyone else. He's a livewire, capable of instant swings from carnal elation to psychological misery, yet none of it seems manufactured. In "Lunatic," where a sinister rhythm pushes and prods, it sounds as if Prince and Bad Brains' H.R. are being exorcized from the vocalist's howling body. Within the careening stop-start "Money Over Love," which incorporates an urgent verse from Lamar, Bilal's narrative falsetto briefly recalls that of Curtis Mayfield, but Mayfield's pipes never pushed out anything like the snarling "I rock that box on credit." Fleeting likenesses notwithstanding, Bilal is a one-off, and his hip-hop soul summit with Younge, tucked inside the art of Angelbert Metoyer, is one for the ages. (AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman)

   


Emerson Lake & Palmer - Trilogy (Deluxe Edition)


Price:  $19.99


Originally released in 1972, Trilogy, is cited by Greg Lake as his favorite Emerson, Lake & Palmer album. The album, which peaked at #5 on the Billboard Top 200, and #2 on the UK album chart, featured the band's only Top 40 single in the U.S., From the Beginning, as well as a live favorite, a cover of Aaron Copeland's Hoedown, Trilogy increased the worldwide popularity of the band.
This Limited Edition, Deluxe Edition contains three discs, the original album (remastered), an alternative mixes disc, and a surround sound DVD Audio disc produced by Jakko Jakszyk.

   


Failure - The Heart Is A Monster


Price:  $12.99


'Thematically we've moved from the outer space of Fantastic Planet to inner space', said guitar/bass player Greg Edwards of Failure's new album, the band's first full-length since 1996, The Heart Is A Monster. 'From the dislocation of one's identity to the complete erasing of it by sleep and dreams. I think we've used instrumentation in the service of mood and emotion to an even greater degree than on our previous records'.
The band returned from a 17-year hiatus in early 2014 with a single Los Angeles date planned. The show sold out in seconds, which led to a North American tour, including a run of dates with Tool and appearances at Riot Fest, Fun Fun Fun and Cinquanta, and eventually back to the studio. In a recent interview with Noisey, singer/guitar/bass player Ken Andrews admits by the time the band announced their first live outing, he, Edwards and drummer Kellii Scott were already working on new music, saying 'One thing that Greg and I agreed on very early on, is that we did not want to reform for just one or two nostalgia tours. We wanted to come back as a full functioning musical force and creatively pick up where we left off with Fantastic Planet. That meant we needed to start experimenting in the studio first, which we did in late 2013. After a few months, we came to the conclusion that we were having a good time and that we liked the results, and that we thought the results were definitely Failure. We've been chipping away at a new album this whole time.' In that same article, Andrews and Edwards said that their approach to writing and recording Fantastic Planet and The Heart Is A Monster have been similar, saying 'The songs on Fantastic Planet appear more or less in the order that we wrote them... when, we do a song now, we write it and record it soup-to-nuts without moving to another song... It takes longer, but it makes more sense for us artistically to explore a song completely before you move on'. 'Trying to follow up Fantastic Planet was a bit daunting', said Andrews, who mixed The Heart Is A Monster with the band acting as producers. 'We've pushed the bar upward again, but at the same time, we've kept the signature sound of the band intact'.

   


Joy Williams - VENUS

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Price: $11.99


Many know Joy Williams as one half of the four-time Grammy-winning folk-rock duo The Civil Wars. Until their 2012 hiatus (and eventual break up in August 2014) the singer-songstress with her long sea witch hair and Mona Lisa half-smile rarely revealed herself, except through the duo's bruising and stark lyrics of romantic conflations and doomed intimacies. On VENUS she changes all that. No longer content to just conjure the antique grace of some mythic, bygone world, Williams was intent to actually pierce the veil of metaphor and an imagined history and tell a more honest, human story of one woman's journey out of darkness. Over 11 unstintingly honest songs, she unabashedly re-counts what occurred in her life over the past two and a half years. She doesn't try to defend or explain, but in-stead tells a simple straightforward story of events, sparing no one, especially herself. Over the arc of the album, the listener can feel Williams coming home to herself, after fearlessly excavating all the pain and confusion. In the end she can see her life from a great altitude, able to view her choices as an overarching geography that finally makes sense to her, freeing her to become the woman she needed to be. To find the parts of herself that were broken, becoming stronger and content to just be. You might call it a coming-of-age album, but it is so much more than that. It shows how one woman has come to live her truth the good, the bad, the petulant, the honorable and in the end, shows all of us how to live our own.

   


Ky-Mani Marley - Maestro


Price:  $9.99


Ky-Mani Marley, son of Jamaican royalty Bob Marley, releases new album Maestro on June 30th. The Ky-Mani Marley sound is one that transcends cultural lines and prohibits him from being categorized as only a reggae artist. Single All The Way is a lilting reggae love song with a Pop leaning vibe it captures the feeling of summer and is an impressive lead-in for his 6th studio album. Maestro includes features from Damian Marley, Matisyahu, Gentleman & Kreesha Turner.

   


Matt Pond PA - State Of Gold

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Price: $9.99


You can take Matt Pond out of Pennsylvania, but apparently you can't take the PA out of Matt Pond. After 2013's The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand, the prolific New York-based singer/songwriter's first proper solo album, Pond reconvened with the loose-knit ensemble of collaborators who have long made up his band and recorded The State of Gold, the tenth album under the matt pond PA banner. The world-weary yet hopeful everyman style he has perfected over time remains partially in effect, but the decidedly slick production provides a surprisingly effective frame for an album Pond considers to be about "defeating my greatest enemy -- myself." Lush synths, subtle electronics, and pulsing polyrhythms fuel these songs of discovery, transforming them from mere introspection into outright inspiration. Highlights like the sunny glimmer of "The Starting Line" and its slightly moodier cousin "Don't Look Down" crackle with a newfound energy, sounding more like something from Gotye than the earthy chamber pop Pond and his crew are usually known for. Artists with the kind of well-established indie cred Pond has aren't usually lauded for taking a big-budget turn, but the added studio luster really suits this new material and feels less like a departure than an evolution of his sound. Perhaps the album's most revealing moments come in the form of its dueling title cuts that form a dark/light diptych, with the humbly downcast "The State of Gold, Pt. 1" followed five songs later by its brighter half, the stirring "Pt. 2." Within these two songs rages that war against himself, with the genially melancholic Pond of 2010's The Dark Leaves pitted against a more hopeful, or at least contented, man looking for a state of gold. (AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger)

   


Miguel - Wildheart


Price:  $12.99


A complete anthology of Miguel's featured appearances released -- or disseminated, as the freaky wordplay lover might call it -- between Kaleidoscope Dream and this would be assorted, to say the least. It would include appearances on a crop of major R&B and rap songs, a cover of Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets," and a highlight turn on Hudson Mohawke's Lantern. A few of the extracurricular moves pointed toward his next solo step, but the clues remained clearest in the darker corners of Kaleidoscope Dream. Rather than attempt to rewrite "Adorn," a number one R&B hit awarded a Grammy for Best R&B Song, Miguel evidently saw more of a creative future in the seamier, hazier, reverb-laden Kaleidoscope Dream album cuts like "Use Me" and "The Thrill." Grinding guitars and mechanical beats, played and programmed at sludgy tempos that fuse new wave-era rock and contemporary R&B, dominate a program that curtails Miguel's melodicism in favor of grunts, moans, and a couplet that ends in (groan) "masturbate" and "master, babe." He was inspired by his Los Angeles environment to such an extent that it can be felt in this album almost as much as it can in the Miracles' conceptual City of Angels. Like that 1975 album, this revels in L.A.'s allure, the fantasies it fuels, the dreams it breaks. If there is a "Love Machine" here, it's the porn industry-referencing third track, though it's a dragging slow jam, half-whispered and half-wailed, that is much more graphic. "Pour your sins on me baby, let us pray" is one of that song's relatively clean lines, one of the album's many instances where spirituality and sexuality are mixed. When Miguel sings of salvation and damnation, of being a pastor and pimp, he could be singing for the city as much as a thrill-seeking protagonist. When he pleads devotion to a "you" in the album's standard-edition finale -- which appropriately includes some flame-throwing guitar from L.A. child Lenny Kravitz -- he could be addressing the city rather than a lover. While the reduction in lucid hooks and the uptick in wince-inducing lyrics diminish the album's appeal, the charms are hard to repel. (AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman)

   


Neil Young + Promise of the Real - The Monsanto Years(CD/DVD)

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Price: $18.99


Old folkie that he is, Neil Young harbors a soft spot for songs as protest, and The Monsanto Years is full of them. Where he often railed against war, here the purported target is the agricultural company Monsanto, a firm that, among other things, specializes in genetically modified crops, but Young uses that as a pivot to rage against all manner of modern outrages. Apathy among the populace, avarice among corporations, and cultural homogenization provide the through line on The Monsanto Years, and while the weathered hippie takes some time to lay down his electric guitar and breathe, this isn't a mournful album like Living with War, his W-era missive. This is a raging record and to that end, Young hired the Promise of the Real, a ragtag outfit led by Willie Nelson's guitarist son Lukas, to approximate Crazy Horse's lop-legged lumber. Usually it works: the group roars not with righteousness but with their own glee at making noise. Plus, the Promise of the Real is adept at the softer side, too, so they ably follow Young, laying down the electric and harmonizing in a fashion reminiscent of an unwashed CSN. Young is blessed with a younger, wilier version of his old compadres and that suits his tunes, which feel comfortable yet have a bite. Young uses his sturdy footing to lash out at what he perceives as destructive forces -- to our dinner tables and social fabric -- and if the individual message may wind up fading like yesterday's newspapers, the music will keep The Monsanto Years burning bright. (AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

   


Pete Townshend - Truancy: The Very Best Of Pete Townshend


Price:  $12.99


Truancy was remastered at Abbey Road Studios, features new liner notes, an introduction to the two new songs by Townshend and highlights from nine key Townshend albums including the singles - 'Rough Boys,' 'Let My Love Open The Door,' 'Face Dances (Pt. 2),' 'English Boy' and 'Face The Face.'

   


Refused - Freedom


Price:  $15.99


Refused came to an end in front of 50 kids at a basement show in a Virginia college town in 1998, just as their release of the same year, The Shape of Punk to Come, was taking its first steps toward becoming an acknowledged classic and a massive influence on a generation of bands. Refused Are F**king Dead! became the slogan, as kids discovered Shape and its breakout track New Noise only to find their new heroes disbanded.
Refused are f***ing alive! After a 2012 invitation to reform for the Coachella festival, Refused followed its first shows in 15 years with a triumphant tour, as every kid who had discovered them after death came out to see them reborn. Freedom is the first album in almost 20 years, on Epitaph/Burning Heart, the label that released The Shape of Punk to Come all those years ago. Freedom explodes out of the speakers with opening track Elektra, as frontman Dennis Lyxzen's throat-shredding declaration that nothing has changed catapults Refused into the 21st century. If Shape blasted apart the constraints of the punk and hardcore worlds with which Refused had long been associated, Freedom goes a step further by incorporating the wide-ranging influences that have shaped each band members personal tastes. Produced by Nick Launay (Gang Of Four, Public Image Ltd., Nick Cave, Arcade Fire) with additional work by fellow Swede and longtime Refused fan Shellback, Freedom is not just a follow-up to Shape, but a living breathing snapshot of a band, alive, now. It's not a reunion anymore, Lyxzen insists. This is one of the most radical things we've ever done, both musically and lyrically.

   


Slightly Stoopid - Meanwhile Back at the Lab

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Price: $11.99


While it s a rare commodity for a band to tour as consistently as Slightly Stoopid, the group's diligent commitment to live music provides some insight into their loyal fan base and unique creative metamorphosis throughout their existence. As apparent by their latest studio album Meanwhile...Back at the Lab the Ocean Beach, California-based group led by co-founders and multi-instrumentalists Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty has also found the same passionate dedication to their studio craft, holing up between tours in their own San Diego recording studio and record label complex. The balance of a prolific touring regimen between albums has helped to refine the tasty fusion and massive groove that permeates Stoopid's trademark sound and eight studio album catalogue, as well as their live shows.