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2015-03-17
Connie Converse: How Sad, How Lovely
CD  $15.99     LP  $22.99    

Elizabeth Eaton Converse grew up in Laconia, New Hampshire in 1924. Described as a polymath, she attended Mt. Holyoke College, but by 1944 she decided to leave college and, in 1949, she made her way to New York City. Over the course of the next decade, in addition to acquiring her new moniker, "Connie" wrote and recorded songs that captured the hearts of those close to her. Some were recorded by the artist in her Greenwich Village apartment, others by friends enamored of the music. These included animator Gene Deitch and his colleague Bill Bernal, who helped coordinate an appearance on the CBS Morning Show with Walter Cronkite. At first listen, Connie's music seems to keep close company with the female folk artists who were her contemporaries. The knack for plaintive storytelling shares much with Peggy Seeger and Susan Reed, but Connie's music stands out from that of the American folk revival of the 1950's. Her fluid and disarmingly intelligent poetry is often filled with the kind of contradictions that reflects an urban perspective. She is at once a maverick and a romantic, intellectual and spiritual, a staunch independent and a tender, pining lover. How Sad, How Lovely captures the broad spectrum of Connie's music.

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2015-03-17
Inventions: Maze of Woods
MP3  $9.99     CD  $12.99     LP  $17.99    

Inventions are the collaborative sum of longtime friends Matthew Cooper of Eluvium, and Mark T. Smith of Explosions In The Sky. Their 2014 eponymous debut album introduced an ambition to create music that was both challenging and comforting. Their new album, Maze of Woods, opens with a vocal sample declaring, "I wanted to do something that I don't know how to do." Using this as a mission statement, Inventions have crafted a complex and exuberant album from an array of instruments, samples, found sounds, beats, chants, and raw bursts of noise, with a much greater emphasis on strong vocal accompaniment in every song. Two albums released in the span of 10 months speaks to the drive that these two have felt since they started playing together. Much like on the first record, they again mixed the album in a house on the Oregon coastline, with final mixing and production all done by Smith and Cooper. Inventions have stated that much of the inspiration for Maze of Woods comes from the closing paragraph of Denis Johnson's novella Train Dreams. In that paragraph, Johnson describes the nonverbal howl of a feral wolf boy, a pre-language that is yearning and instinctual; a statement of wordless distress and love. Maze of Woods is the product of two masters of their craft getting lost in the wilderness, "doing something that they don't know how to do," and emerging with something wholly unexpected and beguilingly beautiful.

Lilacs & Champagne: Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh
MP3  $9.99     LP  $17.99    

Instrumental psychedelic hip-hop hybrid Lilacs & Champagne spent their first two albums shining a light on the darkest corners of vintage European cinematic oddities. Their eponymous debut album and the follow-up, Danish & Blue, were warped, psychedelic takes on damaged funk and b-movie film scores. With their palette now thoroughly smeared, coconspirators Emil Amos and Alex Hall are flirting with the makings of a masterpiece in Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh. From the mournful opening breaths of "Roses & Kisses" - a new career high point for the band - it's obvious they are charting a dynamic new course that simultaneously pays tribute to and explodes the legendary beatmakers that came before. Midnight Features Vol. 2 skins traditional hip-hop to its bones, then builds it back up with the flesh of Eastern European private press psych records, obscure film soundtracks, indistinguishable radio broadcasts, library tapes, and who knows what else from who knows where else. The most remarkable feat of Midnight Features Vol. 2 is not the impressive array of sound sources, but how Lilacs have managed to orchestrate so many seemingly disparate genres into one cohesive future music. They execute sudden changes in mood and tone with uncanny dexterity and grace - a feat made more impressive by their newly expanded live line-up that includes Jay Clarke (Ash Black Buffalo) and Zac Reno. They've clearly found their groove, and they're just starting to dig in.

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2015-03-17
Nic Hessler: Soft Connections
MP3  $9.99     CD  $12.99     LP  $17.99    

The making of Soft Connections was a lengthy process that took place during a crucial period of musical growth and self-exploration. It's an optimistic and introspective record about being in-and-out of feeling - on the brink of a personal breakthrough, yet still seeking direction, purpose, truth and permanence. Anchored by the Catwalk favorite "Please Don't Break Me" - a song that, at one point, could very well have launched Nic into "indie celebdom" - this record is now a send-off to Nic's lost time; he's moved forward, sounding better than ever and ready to soundtrack your long road trip or failed crush. This will be the first record in what we all hope to be a lengthy string of great albums.

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2015-03-17
Notations: Still Here: 1967-1973
MP3  $9.99     CD  $13.99     LP  $17.99    

From the dawn of doo-wop to the death of disco, the Notations saw - and sang - it all. Persisting through changing trends and technologies, on major labels and minor ones, produced by both Syl Johnson and Curtis Mayfield, nothing could stop the Notations from representing Chicago's Southside for decades. The first overview of their indie label golden age, Still Here 1967-1973 finds the Notations at a musical crossroads, turning from simmering R&B ballads to socially-conscious soul. Offering up a platter of golden-dipped harmonies, inventive arrangements, and super-powered soul, the Notations survived as unheralded legends in their own time.

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2015-03-17
Rabit: Baptizm

Over the past 2 years Rabit has developed a formidable reputation within the underground via a steady stream of acclaimed 12" releases and mixtapes. With strong ties to similarly buzzed about producers Mumdance and Logos, having worked with both on a number of releases, culminating most notably in a guest spot on the latters debut LP, 'Cold Mission', one of 2013's most acclaimed electronic albums, as well as affiliations with the severely hyped Janus crew (M.E.S.H. designed the artwork for 'Baptizm') and a genuine hit on the British grime scene with his Riko featuring 'Black Dragons', Rabit feels poised to breakthrough in 2015 which is why Tri Angle is very excited to announce his debut on the label. 'Baptizm' is a record of 2 halves, the ornate, gothic waltz of Imp and Hex grinding against the pounding mechanical violence displayed on Bloody Eye and Straps. On an emotional level Baptizm is about having one's life thrown completely out of order and finding solace in an imagined world. Themes of destruction and regeneration dominate throughout as well as an ongoing obsession on the often-ugly clash between sexuality and religion. All in all 'Baptizm' finds Rabit continuing to feel out the parameters of his increasingly alien sonic world in a typically exciting fashion.

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2015-03-17
Stone Jack Jones: Love & Torture
MP3  $9.90     CD  $9.99     LP  $14.99    

Stone Jack Jones is a survivor. On two separate occasions the rare and mysterious blood condition that courses through his steely West Virginian veins almost killed him. Doctors couldn't fully explain or treat his malady, but Jack pulled through, even after receiving last rites on one occasion. While recovering from one of his near death experiences he pondered the necessity of death, the torturous pain that comes with the death of someone you love, and eventually arrived at the simultaneously comforting and alarming conclusion that he was both alive and dead at the same time. In 2014 he released Ancestor, an album which The Quietus called "... breathtakingly insightful and poetic...". Jack's new album Love & Torture was produced and engineered by Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Sleater-Kinney). Rather than recording everything over a few days or weeks in the studio, the two met up sporadically over the course of many months, giving the songs plenty of time to gestate and evolve in stride with Jack's life. Like a collection of swirling and inviting mantras Love & Torture is a sonic dialog that pulses with the all of the grace and bliss that has touched Jack's incredible life.

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2015-03-17
Sur Une Plage: Legerdemain
MP3  $7.92     LP  $15.99    

Legerdemain - a trick, a slight of hand, a skill to make an audience believe that something is other than what it appears to be. Such is the case with Sur Une Plage's first studio album, a collection of pop songs, stripped of their organic beginnings to reveal a colder, more cynical outlook towards an uncertain future. Past experiences - mistakes, successes - should offer clues for successful navigation of future occurrences, yet with such a dismal track record, is there any assurance that these missteps will not be repeated?   Recorded over a half year, "Legerdemain" is the culmination of an idea formed by Joshua Wells and Colin McKill during an unrelated tour ages ago. The idea was a musical project typifying simplicity; sparse instrumentation with vocals, harkening back to an age simultaneously of singer/songwriters and the first forays into synthesized music. Warmth, and hope, fighting through cuspidated obstacles - perhaps humanity's most enduring trick; its salvation in the face of overwhelmingly bleak odds.

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2015-03-03
Ata Kak: Obaa Sima
MP3  $6.93     CD  $12.99     LP  $17.99    

Ata Kak's cassette Obaa Sima fell on deaf ears when it was self-released in Ghana and Canada in 1994. The music on the recording - an amalgam of highlife, Twi-language rap, funk and disco - is presented with the passion of a Prince record and the DIY-bedroom-recording lo-fi charm of early Chicago house music. The astute self-taught song craft and visionary blend of sounds and rhythms has made the album a left-field cult favorite among adventurous listeners worldwide. Awesome Tapes From Africa founder Brian Shimkovitz found the tape in 2002 in Cape Coast, Ghana - one of only a few ever pressed - and later made it the inaugural post on the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog. Hundreds of thousands of downloads, YouTube views, music video tributes and remixes, as well as years of mystery regarding Ata Kak's whereabouts, culminate in this remastered release featuring rare photos and the full back story of one of the internet age's most enigmatic musicians.

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2015-03-03
Moon Duo: Shadow of the Sun

Shadow of the Sun is the result of a few months of Moon Duo wrangling with a new and unsettling way of being. Working both in a dark basement in Portland, and above ground in sunny San Francisco, these new sounds and songs veered dramatically from groove to groove, revealing sonic textures the duo had not previously explored. The song "Night Beat", with it's woozy dance rhythm, is an attempt at finding joy and acceptance on this new, shifting ground, while "Wilding" plays off the familiar Moon Duo sound, taking refuge in a repetitive, grounding riff-scape. Elsewhere the band gives itself entirely up to the trip, cruising along on the fuzzed rhythms of "Slow Down Low" and "Free the Skull", crashing into the clenched-teeth herky-jerk of Zero, and floating down, down, down, on the narcotic mist of "In a Cloud". 

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2015-03-03
Palmbomen II: Palmbomen II

Kai Hugo works in two guises. Palmbomen is a group-oriented collaboration suited for live dynamics and instrumentation, while Palmbomen II is geared toward solitary production with an austere toolset: classic sequencers, time-tested drum machines and their contemporary counterparts. Hugo's foray as Palmbomen II makes its debut on Beats In Space Records with the eponymous full-length Palmbomen II.

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2015-03-03
Various Artists: Ultra High Frequencies: The Chicago Party

For 23 straight Saturday nights of 1982, The Chicago Party dance show assaulted Chicagoland UHF eyeballs with Spandex, Southside fly guys, tender tenderonies, magicians, contortionists, prismatic video gimmickry, and lip-synched singles by a rising regime of local post-disco casualties. Unfettered nightlife and outlandish humor poured out of oddball outpost The CopHerBox II and onto TV screens, presented here as a 100 minute video mixtape on DVD. Its companion compilation features five previously unreleased tracks, joined by music culled from a trove of self-released 45s and small-time 12"s. Die-cut cathode-ray jacket and six in-package stills put the Party at your fingertips. Available on CD or 2xLP, each edition of Ultra-High Frequencies: The Chicago Party will arrive in one of six cover configurations, all of which are interchangeable via printed inner sleeves and enclosed booklet. Both editions include our entertaining DVD mix tape, isolating the most absurd and outrageous moments from the original broadcasts. Play functions enable viewers to enjoy 23 unique musical performances, as well as a mini-documentary about the creation and realization of The Chicago Party. For fans of electronic soul with a public access aesthetic, Ultra-High Frequencies: The Chicago Party is the place to be.