This week’s blog will feature a load of Hip Hop, Electronics, The Cure, Laibach, Townes Van Zandt, Kraftwerk plus a load more. Let’s get this shit started with Kendrick Lamar
Kenrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly, from 2015 on Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope/Aftermath. This album boasts not only one of the best sleeves of 2015 but a huge range of collaborators taking up writing and producing duties as well as guest appearances including Flying Lotus, George Clinton, Snoop, Pharrell Williams and Dr. Dre (not a real doctor). It also won many awards and garnered a huge amount of critical acclaim due to it’s musical scop and social relevance. By March of this year it had sold 850,000 copies in the United States and 1 million copies worldwide $$$
Lord Finesse, The Awakening, 2xLP limited edition with bonus instrumentals from 1995 on Penalty Recordings. This is the third and final installment from Lord Finesse and boasts a bunch of guest spots including KRS-One, MC Lyte, Diamond D, Large Professor and Grand Puba.
House Shoes, Let It Go Instrumentals, limited edition double LP from 2012 on Tres Records. Detroit’s Hip Hop Ambassador To The World was a resident DJ at the hip-hop staple St. Andrews Hall, Detroit MI, from 1994-2004 has had personal influence over a full generation of well respected emcees, producers, and then-future DJs. Four-time winner of the “Best Hip Hop DJ” in Detroit, he has used his platform to expose some of the best and brightest talent his city has had to offer. This release is vocal-free versions of each song showcase the claps, snares, kicks, and soul-filled samples that House Shoes plates for the project.
Mos Def, The New Danger, double LP from 2004 on Geffen Records. Yasiin Bey’s second album back when he was still Mos Def and had but a few acting credentials under his belt. This album wasn’t exactly his most popular work and, as a follow-up to 1999’s Black On Both Sides, didn’t seem to hit the same spot as his previous efforts. Kanye West, Easy Moe Bee, Shuggie Otis and 88 Keys all appear on this album.
Rico, Man From Wareika, classic Reggae banger from 1976. The first album released by Rico Rodriguez led by his own artistic imagination, and his first recording created for album release. It is notable for being the only Roots Reggae album to be released on Blue Note Records. The nine self-composed tracks on the album offer Jamaican rhythms with horn lines between a melodic use and jazz; the latter helped to define something like a new genre, Jamaican Jazz, transforming the experience from early ska days into 1970s Roots Reggae.
Wucan, Sow The Wind, from 2015 on MIG. Limited to 1000 copies in gatefold sleeve including download code. 700 copies on black vinyl and 300 copies on orange vinyl. This is the black vinyl version. From Dresden, Germany this is proggy stoney heavy rock at it’s flutey best… or something. Great fucking sleeve though, amirite?
Vikki Jackman, Andrew Chalk and Jean-Noel Rebilly, A Paper Doll’s Whisper Of Spring, Faraway Press 2013 limited edition. Reissue from tiny CDr edition. Limited edition of 50 copies in a special handmade portfolio, each copy is completely unique and features original hand marbled paper on the outer sleeve. Made from card, with papers tipped on in book style manner. Inside, the LP is housed in a fold-out embossed black card folder. Each copy is signed by Vikki Jackman on the inner leaf. Titles to front, spine and back are in Japanese texts. Purrrrdy.
Philip Corner and Malcolm Goldstein, 100 Years of Soundings, limited edition white vinyl double LP in a gatefold sleeve from 1998 on Alga Marghen.
Kraftwerk, Neon Lights, UK 12″ pressing from 1978 on Capitol Records, pressed on luminous wax. released in 1978 on their The Man-Machine album (released in German as Die Mensch-Maschine). The song was initially a B-side to their single, “The Model” (“Das Model”), but later the sides were swapped.
The Cure, Pictures Of You, UK 12″ pressed on purple marbled wax, limited numbered edition from 1990 on Fiction Records. Comes in thin cardsleeve with two round stickers on front sleeve : “FIXPB34 Includes Strange Remix By Bryan ‘Chuck’ New” – “FIXPB34 Limited Edition Purple Vinyl 0602” Track A is titled “Extended Remix” on the sleeve & “Extended Re-mix” on the label : the correct title is “Strange Remix” as on the sticker. This mix later appeared on the Mixed Up album as “Extended Dub Mix.”
Temple Of The Dog, Hunger Strike, 1992 limited edition UK pressing on A&M Records. Features the tracks Hunger Strike, Your Saviour and All Night Long. Comes with poster and states on the front sleeve “features members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.” Hunger Strike, written by vocalist Chris Cornell, features a duet between Cornell and vocalist Eddie Vedder. Cornell was having trouble with the vocals at practice, when Vedder stepped in. Cornell later said “he sang half of that song not even knowing that I’d wanted the part to be there and he sang it exactly the way I was thinking about doing it, just instinctively.” This track was the band’s most popular song peaking at number 4 in the Billboard charts. Uber-Grunge.
Laibach, NATO, original UK pressing on Mute from 1994. Named after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It is a selection of cover versions with the theme of war. Covers include Edwin Starr’s “War” 1970 and Europe’s “The Final Countdown“.
Townes Van Zandt, Flyin’ Shoes, 1978 US original pressing on Tomato Records. Many of the songs that appeared on Flyin’ Shoes were originally recorded in 1973 for an album with the working title 7 Come 11. The album was not released, however, due to a dispute between producer Jack Clement and Poppy Records founder Kevin Eggers. Flyin’ Shoes was recorded at American Studios in Nashville and produced by Chips Moman, he brought several top session musicians in for the recording, including Gary and Randy Scruggs, Muscle Shoals pianist Spooner Oldham and Irish guitarist Phillip Donnelly, who had worked with the Everly Brothers. Van Zandt arrived at the sessions nursing a broken hand from a car crash. There is a perceptible change in Van Zandt’s vocal delivery, which sounds less animated than on his earlier albums.
Hermann Keller, Schwebungen Brechungen, German LP (only issued on vinyl) from 1987 on Edition RZ/Parallel Records. Improvisations on prepared piano recorded by Rundfunk der DDR (German Democratic Republic Broadcasting Corporation), the liner notes are in German.
Aphex Twin, Come To Daddy, UK 12″ on Warp Records from 1997. This release features 4 tracks on two sides, doesn’t come with the additional 12 with other material from the Come To Daddy EP. The artwork is by Chris Cunningham and still has sticker affixed to the front. Along with the release of the title track from this 12 was the now infamous video also made by director Chris Cunningham. It sticks with the theme of shoving Richard D. James’ face on just about anything to make it deeply freekier than it already was. Richard D. James says of this release: “Come to Daddy came about while I was just hanging around my house, getting pissed and doing this crappy death metal jingle. Then it got marketed and a video was made, and this little idea that I had, which was a joke, turned into something huge. It wasn’t right at all.” The video was filmed in the same council estate where Stanley Kubrick shot many A Clockwork Orange scenes and in the Tavy Bridge Shopping Center in Thamesmead. The building has since been demolished so no more freaky pilgrimages to Thamesmead sporting a Richey D mask and school uniforms ya freaky motherfuckers.
The Prodigy, Music For The Jilted Generation, from 1994 on XL Recordings. This is The Prodigy’s second album and is largely a response to the corruption of the rave scene in Britain by its mainstream status as well as Great Britain’s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which criminalised raves and parts of rave culture. This is exemplified in the song Their Law with the spoken word intro and the predominant lyric, the “Fuck ’em and their law” sample. Many years later, after the controversy died down, Liam Howlett derided the title of the album, which he referred to as “stupid”, and maintained that the album was never meant to be political in the first place. However you look at it this album is fucking legendary.
As always, a playlist version of all the tracks featured on this week’s blog can be found here.