NEW RELEASES, 11/24: BJORK, NOEL GALLAGHER, a Christmas album from ELVIS, and some great reissues from THE RAMONES and EAGLES are on-deck for our BLACK FRIDAY listening pleasure!

We’re taking a break from the ongoing Black Friday madness to tell you about a few special things we got in-stock today from Bjork and Noel Gallagher, not to mention some fantastic reissues from The Ramones and the Eagles. Read on…

BJORK, Utopia (CD/LP)
The last material we heard from Björk was a bit of downer, wasn’t it? 2015’s ‘Vulnicura’ was a sweeping, majestic break-up album that saw her creating a raw, emotive narrative within her otherworldly soundscapes. It was incredible, but damn it was gloomy. Happily, the febrile ‘Utopia’ sees her on more upbeat – but no less creative – form, coming on like new age titan Enya if she signed to Hyperdub, home of pioneering dubstepper Burial. Earlier this year Björk smirkingly described her ninth record as her “Tinder album”, dealing with the process of falling in love again after experiencing monumental heartbreak. This is most evident on the twinkling harp-swathed ‘Blissing Me’, where she dreamily sings of “two music nerds, obsessing” and “sending each other MP3s, falling in love to a song”. In keeping with the ‘Utopia’ of its title, Björk has created a paradise-like world here, with birdsong dotted throughout the album, transporting the listener to a magical sonic rainforest, with tracks like ‘Saint’ having more in common with a David Attenborough nature documentary soundtrack than a pop song. Most evocative of all though, is the sound produced by a 12-piece Icelandic female flute orchestra, the lushness of which lifts every track with a lightness that is at once hopeful but haunting. ‘Utopia’ is where art, real life and deep experimentation intersects, and it’s utterly compelling.

NOEL GALLAGHER, Who Built The Moon (CD/LP)
The third record from Noel Gallagher’s solo outfit is, according to the ex-Oasis man, merely him in “more colourful clothes”. Brightness is certainly the first thing that strikes you about Who Built the Moon, an album that cloaks Gallagher’s hardy guitar-pop in glowing Smithsian riffs, tin whistle samples from novelty 60s tunes and a heady fug of riotous glam rock. Particular highlights include the gloriously Slade-esque Holy Mountain and the singalong-friendly Black and White Sunshine, which resembles Oasis basking on a sun lounger. Even the fact that the album regularly recalls some of the duller post-Britpop bands – It’s a Beautiful World is basically an Elbow track backed by a breakbeat – can’t dampen the joy that rings out from every corner. Producer David Holmes may be responsible for Noel’s change of pace, but the vibrancy and strains of psychedelia never feel like intruders: instead, they act as the perfect foil for the record’s blissed-out lyrics about life-changing love.

ELVIS PRESLEY, Christmas With Elvis & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (CD)
Christmas with Elvis and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra brings together Elvis Presley’s best-loved yuletide performances from “Elvis’ Christmas Album” (1957) and “Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas” (1971) re-imagined with sublime and exquisite new arrangements performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

KILLER REISSUES:

THE RAMONES, Rocket To Russia (CD)
The Ramones released its second album of the calendar year (and third overall) on November 4, 1977, capping off one of the biggest years in the history of punk with Rocket To Russia. Among the band’s best-loved albums, it features classics like “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” and “Rockaway Beach” along with their signature covers of “Do You Wanna Dance?” and “Surfin’ Bird.” It’s also the last album ever recorded by all four founding members, as drummer Tommy Ramone left soon after to focus on writing and producing. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of what some consider the bruddahs greatest moment, Rhino Records has released a remastered 40th anniversary edition with original mixer/engineer Ed Stasium back behind the boards!

EAGLES, Hotel California (40th Anniversary Expanded Edition) (2xCD)
The milestone album will add to its legendary lore with a new 2-CD/1-Blu-ray Audio that includes newly remastered sound, ten previously unreleased live recordings, as well as hi-res stereo and 5.1 mixes. Presented in an 11 x 11 hardbound book, the set also features rare and unseen photos from the era, a replica tour book, and an 11 x 22 poster.

 

COMING SOON:

CHRIS STAPLETON, From A Room, Vol. 2 (12/1)

JULIAN COPE, Rite At Ya (12/1)

LANG LANG, Romance (12/1)

MINUS 5, Dear December (12/1)

 

And don’t forget these STILL-NEW platters that matter!

SHARON JONES & THE DAP KINGS, Soul Of A Woman (CD/LP)
When Sharon Jones died of pancreatic cancer last year, the world lost its greatest exponent of vintage soul; that she’d first hit her stride in the ’00s with the revivalist, detail-obsessed Daptone label, made the accomplishment all the more striking. Recorded over her last two years with longtime sidemen, genre-masters all, Jones meets darkness with hope on this denouement. “A Matter of Time” envisions world peace; “Come and Be a Winner” is a funky pep talk. It’s easy to read themes of mortality into the lyrics, but this is a stirringly indefatigable farewell. Her Brooklyn church choir joins in for “Call On God,” and the LP ends heartbreakingly with Jones chuckling or crying – it’s hard to tell. Maybe both.

MAVIS STAPLES, If All I Was Was Black (CD/LP)
Unlike many protest songs birthed by the political situation in the US, the title track of Mavis Staples’s 16th solo album is bereft of rage. Instead – as with all of the songs on If All I Was Was Black – it replaces mockery and fury with a warm, calm clarity that is soothing and stirring. Staples explains how it feels to be judged by the colour of your skin (and, on other tracks, the effects of police brutality and internalised oppression) with a patience and simplicity that is heartrending. That the songs on the record, which largely deals with race and oppression, were written by a white man could have undercut the emotional heft. (That man being Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, a longtime collaborator of Staples, who soundtracks his words with a weighty marriage of gospel and blues rock.) But Staples has had decades of practice delivering truths as part of the Staple Singers – who were celebrated for their gospel “message songs” – and her performance here is so utterly convincing it feels like a moot point.

MORRISSEY, Low In High School (CD/LP)
Morrissey’s endless, withering disdain for cultural hypocrisy might get wearisome if not for A) his equally-relentless tenderness, B) his Wildean wit, C) the truth of his observations. Yes, it’s D) all of the above. “Society’s hell,” he reminds us near the start of his latest offering, “you need me just like I need you.” We do, and timing couldn’t be better. “Stop watching the news!” he says. “Teach your kids to recognize and despise all the propaganda/Filtered down by the dead echelon’s mainstream media.” Punchlines fly: Lines like “I’ve dined with every bogus music mogul” (“Home Is a Question Mark”) and “I’m not my type, but I love my bed” (“Spent the Day in Bed”) are dusted with existential malaise. “I Bury the Living,” a ruthless conjuring of a soldier in first person, is an unfair stereotype, true, but also empathetic, class-conscious and even funny, albeit painfully. He draws a scene set against Arab Spring that echoes all of humanity’s sad history: “They tried to wipe us clean off the map/And I just want my face in your lap.” The backup ain’t the Smiths, but its solid and campy, adding its own wit. As philosophical alt-rock standup goes, the man is still peerless.

JOHN COLTRANE, Chasing Trane (Original Soundtrack) (CD)
This soundtrack features 11 tracks from the film, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary. Set against the social, political & cultural landscape of the time, it brings saxophone great John Coltrane to life, as a man & an artist. The CD booklet includes images from the film & an essay by John Coltrane author & film participant, Ashley Kahn.

RONNIE EARL & THE BROADCASTERS, Luckiest Man (CD)
The Luckiest Man confirms Ronnie Earl’s status as one of the most soulful blues/soul/jazz guitarists working today. A three-time Blues Award winner as Guitarist Of The Year, Earl has worked with his band The Broadcasters for almost 30 years. This is his 25th release. This album is dedicated to the memory of long-time Broadcaster bass player Jim Mouradian. As Jim would say when he first met someone, “I’m the luckiest man you know — and I don’t even know who you know.” Playing with spellbinding intensity and soul, Earl has a legion of fans that await each new release.

 

 

  • Sansui SPEAKERS SP 2000
    These Sansui SP-2000 speakers from the 70s are some awesome vintage rockers! These big boys have a four way/six driver configuration plus a bass port. They have been tested and sound great.
  • Fisher REC 727 AV Receiver
    This Fisher A/V receiver has phono input, remote and 200 watts! Fire it up bro!
  • Marantz TT1060 semi-automatic turntable
    Here’s a nice entry level table that will severely outperform any newer table even close to it’s price point. The Marantz TT1060 is a semi-automatic table which means the tonearm will return to rest at the end of play.
  • Technics TT SL 1800 turntable
    Technics SL-1800 full manual direct drive turntable, circa 1977. This table is a heavy beast with a very strong motor. A new stylus has been installed on the Stanton cartridge and sounds fantastic. All tonearm features have been set correctly and the stylus tracks at a recommended 3 grams
  • Realistic Lab 430 Direct Drive Turntable
    Very nice inexpensive table with the benefit of direct drive (no belts to change) and auto return. The table has been thoroughly gone through and all features work as they should. A new elliptical stylus has been mounted on the Shure cartridge and balanced correctly.
  • Sonamp 260 from SONANCE
    Soooo nice! This super nice, modestly priced 100 watt per channel power amp has been all checked out and works great. It’s cost effective way to run lots of power!
  • Technics SL-210 full manual turntable
    The table has been thoroughly inspected and gone through with all features working correctly. This is a full manual table, simply turn the table on and move the stylus to the record surface, no auto features to adjust or be concerned with. The new stylus sounds great, is readily available and super affordable. A nice survivor from 1978!
  • BOSE 901 SERIES V SPEAKERS WITH BOSE 901 SERIES V ACTIVE EQUALIZER
    The essentially crossoverless design gives the 901 an unmistakable coherence, the model’s greatest strength. Its incredibly wide dispersion comes in a close second. The Bose 901s sound great anywhere in the room, After extensive listening, the Bose 901s strike me as being damn good. They have some limitations, but don’t all $1,400 speakers? For that matter, what $10,000 speakers are perfect? They are so smooth and musical.
  • SANSUI FR-D35 SEMI-AUTOMATIC DIRECT TURNTABLE
    A new stylus has been installed on the vintage AT cartridge and all features of the table work perfectly!
  • SANSUI SR-525 DIRECT DRIVE TURNTABLE
    Excellent working and sounding Sansui SR-525 full manual direct drive turntable. A new stylus has been installed, and the cartridge has been properly aligned in the headshell according to Sansui specifications. This is a very heavy table with great Sansui build quality.
  • BOZAK CS4000 mod speakers, omg!! these big-boys ROCK!
    8 tweeters, 1 midrange and 2 woofers per. all original, very clean. extremely rare and VERY AMAZING sound!
  • EPI A110 SPEAKERS: 2-way, classic bookshelf charmers! Sound great, woofers rebuilt like new!
    2-way, classic bookshelf charmers! Sound great, woofers rebuilt like new. Circa 1980’s Epicure Productions vintage feature 8”woofers. Critically acclaimed in their day and still sound good, audiophile delivery without the high dollar price. Full-on ready, great sound, woofers rebuilt like new!
  • TASCAM 102 CASSETTE DECK!
    So fresh and so clean! This deck is in great shape and sounds like a champ. Bust out those old bootlegs and mixed tapes.
  • VINTAGE RARE SAE MARK XXXI SOLID STATE STEREO POWER AMPLIFIER WORKS GREAT! SOUNDS GREAT!
    Unit is in really nice physical condition. Recently gone through, tested and checked, all functions have been tested and work great! ready to rock with a pre-amp!
  • ADVENT LAUREATE Mini Tower Speakers
    amazing sound, brilliant natural refined listening experience. woofers on both speakers just completely rebuilt better than new! The Advents, both large and small, sounded pretty good and gave excellent value for the money. The company was one of a long string of companies that descended from the original Acoustic Research (AR). Advents eventually lost their enormous popularity and nearly faded away. International Jensen, a company based in the Chicago suburbs, rescued Advent and resurrected it. The Advent model we tested deserves a Ph.D. Advent appropriately names it the Laureate. The Laureate overwhelmed my skepticism that a modestly priced floor-standing loudspeaker could deliver good sound
  • YAMAHA NATURAL SOUND A-700 INTEGRATED STEREO AMPLIFIER
    A classic “hoss” circa 1983/84. 100 watts per channel! Has phono input.
  • Marantz REC SR 225
    This super vintage budget receiver is the perfect starter unit for someone wanting to explore the world of hi fidelity sounds. It’s been all checked out and has a clean bill of health; and with phono input so it’s good to go with any classic turntable.
  • Polk Audio T15 Bookshelf Speakers, 2 way plus bass port
    You can enlarge your sound while shrinking the speakers with a reliable bookshelf system. The Polk Audio T15 speakers can blend into the background while delivering impressive tone quality. It can be a superior system that offers balanced drivers and tweeters for a wide response with low distortion.