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2015-07-10
Envy: Atheist's Cornea
CD  $12.99    

Despite its relative brevity (at 43 minuntes it is Envy's shortest album since their early 90s thrash days), Atheist's Cornea is easily the band's most progressive work. Beginning with a punishing pummel, holes of light are gradually punched open to reveal an uncanny series of dynamic, emotionally charged epics. Not only does Atheist's Cornea showcase some wholly unexpected new turns for Envy, it also often reaches transcendent heights that could overwhelm a major blockbuster film - all while vocalist Tetsuya Fukagawa sings, screams, and speaks like his life depended on it. Atheist's Cornea is the purest, most distilled example of Envy's brand of brilliance. It is also their bravest album, taking new risks with a much welcomed, broader vocal palette and an instrumental experimentation that navigates blistering shifts from impenetrable noise to poetic, pin-drop introspection with astounding grace. Envy have finally mastered the art of being effective and efficient without sacrificing an ounce of either - a truly inspired evolution from a band whose mastery of both remains unparalleled.

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2015-07-10
EZTV: Calling Out
MP3  $9.99     CD  $12.99     LP  $17.99    

It wouldn't be entirely accurate to say that EZTV met while trying out for J. Spaceman's latest US touring line-up of Spiritualized, but it's not far from the truth. Songwriter Ezra Tenenbaum had been casually working on solo home recordings in the vein of Shoes, Emitt Rhodes and Cleaners For Venus, and, in a desire to round things out, he enlisted bassist Shane O'Connell and drummer Michael Stasiak (formerly of Widowspeak). As it happened, the trio's first chance to play together was an audition for the American touring version of Spiritualized (they didn't get the job). But, the trio kept meeting and working, turning Ezra recording as a solo artist into Ezra, Shane and Michael playing as a band; thus, EZTV was formed.

With Jarvis Taveniere (Woods) onboard to produce, the band headed to Thump Studios in Brooklyn to record their debut LP. The result is Calling Out, a cohesive 12-song statement in the long tradition of fully realized debuts, stripped of artifice, but full of hooks and songwriting chops. With one foot firmly planted in classic American power-pop and college rock while the other utilizes more left-of-the-dial sonic experimentation, the result is a sound that's both familiar and new, but always about the songs.

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2015-07-10
Four Tet: Morning / Evening
CD  $12.99     LP  $17.99    

The new album. Produced by Kieran Hebden between August 2014 & February 2015. This music was created on a laptop computer using the Ableton Live software to control & mix VST synthesizers & manipulations of found audio recordings.

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2015-07-10
Heather Woods Broderick: Glider
MP3  $8.99     CD  $9.99    

Heather Woods Broderick excels at distilling her experiences into a soulful melancholy that's enduring both for it's intimate relatable moments and its persistent sense of mystery. Her uncanny ear for evocative production and gorgeous vocal harmonies serves her well on her new album Glider. Throughout the album, the rich dreamlike atmospheres she creates hint at a darkness looming on the horizon, while the singularity of her ethereal voice always seems to linger long after the music has stopped.

As a talented multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Heather has had the opportunity to record and tour with plenty of incredible artists including Horse Feathers, Efterklang, and Sharon Van Etten, which has kept her moving house and traveling around the world for much of the past decade.

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2015-07-10
Matrixxman: Homesick

Before digging into the steely, handcrafted technoisms of Homesick, you need to know a few things about Charles Duff, the Bay Area artist behind Matrixxman. Perhaps most importantly, he is a dedicated futurist - quick to name Google's director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, as a major personal inspiration, and prone to contemplating artificial intelligence and "a true post-corporeal reality." He's also a voracious information junkie, soaking up government conspiracies and contemporary science-fiction like a proper X-Files fanatic. These cultural reference points are as integral to the background of Homesick as Detroit, Chicago, and Berlin's musical legacies. Matrixxman uses his debut album to evoke visions of a not-too-distant-future with music made both for the dancefloor and the early morning zone-outs that follow.

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2015-07-10
Nap Eyes: Whine of the Mystic
MP3  $9.99     CD  $12.99     LP  $19.99    

Nova Scotia's Nap Eyes is the greatest band you've never heard, and Whine of the Mystic is their first full-length album, a brilliant small-batch brew of crooked, literate guitar pop refracted through the gray Halifax rain. Recorded live to tape with no overdubs, it's equal parts shambling and sophisticated, with one eye on the dirt and one trained on the starry firmament, inhabiting a skewed world where odes to NASA and the Earth's magnetic field coexist easily with songs about insomnia and drinking too much.

Nap Eyes' keen sonic signature cruises briskly and beautifully along the dog-eared axes of jangle-jaded Oceanic pop music (The Clean, The Verlaines, The Go-Betweens), and through the backpages of Peter Perrett (The Only Ones, England's Glory), via all things Lou Reed and Modern Lovers, without ever sounding very much like anything else happening today.

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2015-07-10
Negative Scanner: Negative Scanner
MP3  $9.99     CD  $12.99     LP  $16.99    

Debut album from Chicago band formed from the ashes of Tyler Jon Tyler. Furious & snarling post-punk in the vein of Wipers/Siouxsie & the Banshees.

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2015-07-10
Prefuse 73: Every Color of Darkness
MP3  $7.92    

It has been four years since Guillermo S. Herren released anything significant from his most famous and respected moniker, Prefuse 73 (though he did keep busy with live shows, collaborations, and remixes). That's a long time for virtually any artist, but it's an eternity for Herren, whose first three Prefuse 73 albums dropped in the span of four years. As if to make up for lost time, 2015 will see the release of not one, but three major works from Prefuse 73. After several albums that saw Herren progressively drift away from the beatmaking prowess that made him synonymous with emotionally resonant, damaged hip-hop, he's found himself reinvigorated - thanks in large part to an emotionally draining, creatively cashed few years. As Herren puts it, "I've come back to hyper focusing - immersing myself in the sounds, rhythms, and formations that created Prefuse 73 in the first place. Recently, I've found a new life in the whole process of refining what I've created over the years as "Prefuse". Right now I'm at my most confident and comfortable since 05/06." It shows. The conclusion of a triptych of new recordings, Every Color of Darkness basks in the darkest corners of Prefuse 73's world, finding an eerie romanticism in manic beats and damaged jazz. It's a record that showcases his uncanny ability to excavate and exploit a source of light buried in pitch black.

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2015-07-10
Rachel Grimes: The Clearing
LP  $17.99    

Rachel Grimes is a pianist, composer, and arranger based in Kentucky - most renowned for her work in Rachel's, the groundbreaking chamber-rock ensemble that introduced an entire generation of underground rock fans to the unexpected similarities and appeal of neoclassical music. Grimes has toured the world as a solo pianist, and as a collaborator with chamber ensembles such as Portland Cello Project, astrïd, Cicada, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta trio, and Orchestra Kandinskij. Unhurried, at times fleeting, and stretching into the sky, The Clearing is a winding path of transient moments exploring personal memory, relationships, and mystery from a deeply internal place. The music is a wide spectrum of textures in strings, harp, piano, woodwinds, and percussion. Featuring an ensemble that includes Scott Morgan (LOSCIL), Scott Moore, Kyle Crabtree (Shipping News), Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Jacob Duncan (Liberation Prophecy), and Helen Money, The Clearing reveals a broad new chapter for Rachel Grimes.

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2015-07-10
Richard Buckner: The Hill (Reissue)
LP  $19.99    

On the 100th anniversary of Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology, Merge is reissuing the epic it inspired: Richard Buckner's The Hill.

The Hill started in 1996 in an old garage that had been converted to The Ranch Olancha Motel, a dusty place near the mouth of Death Valley, between Lone Pine and Dunmovin, California. Buckner, who was en route to Tucson, Arizona, to record what would become Devotion & Doubt, stayed a week in a room with no phone, no television, carrying his guitar, a four-track recorder, and a copy of Masters' Spoon River Anthology. He tinkered with a few of the book's poems, put them on a cassette, and forgot about it until an acquaintance discovered it in his truck four years later. Beset with writer's block and looking for a distraction, Buckner would find in the tape the spur he needed.

Buckner chooses 18 of these confessions, each given a unique rendering. Backed by Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino and surveyed with Buckner's unflagging vocal desperation, Spoon River's residents come back to life. Like so much of his career, Buckner disappeared into Spoon River and returns to us with its story.

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2015-07-10
United Nations: United Nations
LP  $22.99    

Originally released in 2008, United Nations' eponymous debut album was destined for commercial controversy from the moment it was announced. The anticipation surrounding its release was at a fever pitch as rumors circulated that the enigmatic band's all-star lineup included members of Thursday, Glassjaw, and Converge. When the album finally dropped, its lawsuitbaiting artwork - essentially the originally cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road album, with all of the Beatles engulfed in flames - immediately forced at least one major mall retail chain (rhymes with Not Tropic) to destroy all of the several thousands of copies it had ordered. The album's entire pressing was then recalled, destroyed, and repackaged with artwork presumably less offensive to Sir Paul and Co. The vinyl has been out of print ever since, and that original artwork has become more myth than material. United Nations has been remastered for this special deluxe vinyl edition, and includes an infinite bonus track. The original "banned" artwork has been restored to its litigious glory, now expanded to include the previously unreleased panels to complete the original triptych - all printed on a massive 12x36" full-color foldout poster. Not content to merely flirt with fire, we have housed this infamous, inflammatory artwork inside a custom embossed, numbered old-style gatefold jacket that is curiously reminiscent of the original Beatles' White Album jacket. Each album is stamped with a sequential number, in a limited edition of however many it takes for United Nations to get sued. Again.

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2015-07-10
Walter TV: Blessed
LP  $17.99    

Having moved all around Canada and settling nowhere, Walter TV are contemporary nomads. They formed their band in the basements and cottage-like houses of a beach town outside Vancouver.

After Joe McMurray and Pierce McGarry moved to Montreal, they shared an apartment with a constant revolving cast of characters. In a space often overpopulated and reeking of cigarettes, they began recording Blessed. Simon Ankenman would come by periodically, and with him they would finish most of the recordings between there and LA. The band's two members, Joe and Pierce, were also busy touring with Mac DeMarco, acting as his backing band. Mixing and recording turned into a thing to do on the road.

Although the group prefers tape recordings to digital, they have never been militant. Always trying to uphold their DIY sensibilities, Walter TV believes the music should speak for itself. It should come from wherever and whatever is available.

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2015-06-23
Angelo Spencer: Love In The Morning
MP3  $5.94     LP  $18.99    

Angelo Spencer's third album is his most danceable work so far. Written and recorded in Chambéry, France, in the heart of the Alps over the course of a week in February 2014.

With the help of old friends and amazing musicians Luc Detraz (Imperial Tiger Orchestra) and Karol Skonitcki (Super Fedor), Love In The Morning (KLP256) is a short, precise, and undeniably groovy love affair! With repurposed autotune and raw, uncompressed sound recorded by Djan (the man behind the Larsen Records sound), the album is minimal yet so full.

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2015-06-23
Ata Kak: Daa Nyinaa b/w Bome Nnwom

Ata Kak's legendary tape Obaa Sima introduced one of the greatest left-field dance floor jammers of all time, "Daa Nyinaa." Now available on 12" single for the first time, the song Ata Kak recorded in his Toronto apartment in 1993 lives on. The artist was cloaked in mystery until very recently; he created a joyously idiosyncratic balancing act of highlife, R&B, rap and house music that resonated with listeners many miles and several years away. The single is backed with the tape's final song, a minimalist electronic instrumental dripping with lo-fi rhythmic soul called "Bome Nnwom."

The journey that lead to this 12" - which also took many miles and many years - shows the extent to which music can inspire and excite, regardless of background or experience. After years of searching, Awesome Tapes From Africa tracked down the artist's family in Canada. His recording was the first to be posted on the ATFA blog back in 2006, and has been an underground obsession for many diehard internet music fans ever since. The singer/producer - whose real name is Yaw Atta-Owusu - became happily aware of the distance his music has traveled since it was quietly released in 1994. Obaa Sima was released worldwide this March after a years-long wait and a brilliant restoration and remastering, by Jessica Thompson at the Magic Shop NYC, of one of the few remaining playable cassette copies in known existence. With this special release, we hone in on the genius elements that make Ata Kak's nearly-forgotten music so remarkable.

Black Mountain: Black Mountain (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Available in limited edition Grey Vinyl. Black Mountain's self-titled debut album is a new classic rock, with reference points arcane and clear, its sound fresh, unfamiliar and irresistible. Savor the compact, spacey brilliance of this cosmic, heavy and subtle album, expanded now with a raft of delicious bonus tracks scavenged from the Black Mountain Army archives.

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2015-06-23
Cayucas: Dancing at the Blue Lagoon
MP3  $9.99     CD  $12.99     LP  $16.99    

As Zach Yudin and his twin brother and bandmate, Ben, went in to create their new album, what it all came back to was something personal. While they now call Los Angeles home, they drew from the nostalgia of their childhood growing up in Davis, CA; the nostalgia in their music that is as much about a place they've never been as any actual experience. And it was that wandering imagination and a punchy California dream that eventually grew to become Dancing at the Blue Lagoon.

While their sun-drenched, jangly, sometimes melancholic sound is quintessentially Californian, the album very much their California. It's the sound of kids from the suburbs who fantasize in Technicolor, whose view of the Golden State is its own form of idealism. Dancing at the Blue Lagoon is all about a band testing its comfort zone and asking us to do the same. Zach and Ben would "create bands that were more like a musical idea," record a few songs, and then move on. Cayucas grew out of this period of experimentation. Cayucas has taken sound we thought we knew and turned in into something personal and complex.

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2015-06-23
Eric Copeland: Remixes
MP3  $3.99     12"  $12.99    

DFA is proud to release a long-gestating 12" single of wild interpretations of Eric Copeland's 2013 album "Joke In The Hole". The Black Dice member received universal acclaim for the record, "Fringe though Copeland may be, this album is a serious coup for DFA - he walks the line between complete nuttiness and outright accessibility, and ends up with one of his best records to date." (XLR8R) Starting us off is Panda Bear, who adds his trademark falsetto vocals and shuffling percussion, sweetening Eric's black coffee beats. DFA's own sonic collagist Larry Gus blends Eric's mumbled vocals with bright percussion and a vocoded male choir, among many other audio dalliances. Meanwhile, Hyperdub's Fhloston Paradigm (AKA King Britt) takes aim with his laser cannons, firing volleys at unrelenting waves of marching alien armies, before being swallowed up in a solar flare. Finally, Anthony Naples (Text Records, Trilogy Tapes) brings it back to the club with snaps, claps, and hi-hats, but it sounds like you left 'em out in the rear window of your car on a sunny day. You know what we mean.

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2015-06-23
Future Death: Cryptids - EP
MP3  $5.99    

After two years of activity, Austin-based progressive space punk band Future Death has certainly been busy. After they released their first single in July of 2013, their debut self-titled EP was released in October of that year. After many regional tours and countless local shows, they released their debut full-length Special Victim in May of 2014 on Bloodmoss Records to much critical acclaim. The album was followed by extensive national tours in 2014 and 2015 with bands like This Will Destroy You and Boyfrndz. The band and their music was also featured in the upcoming indie slasher movie Night of the Babysitter, which will be released in the near future.

Future Death’s upcoming EP titled Cryptids on Bloodmoss sees the band utilizing the studio more with a heavier and wider element of vocal work and synthesizers from vocalist Angie Kang, as well as a more fluid and cohesive transition from track to track. This element ties in a more linear quality to the record that was less present on Special Victim, but also lent the band to more exploratory approaches to production with engineer Chico Jones (OHM Recording Facility).

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2015-06-23
Juan Wauters: Who Me?
LP  $19.99    

Who Me? is the next chapter in the ongoing story of Juan Wauters. Whereas his debut solo record was recorded casually over the course of one year, his new album was crafted in under two weeks at Future Apple Tree in Rock Island, Illinois. Inspired by both the arrangements of Uruguayan songwriter Jaime Roos and the production of American master Dr. Dre, this collection of songs presents his continued approach to existential questioning through pop music. Tracks like "She Might Get Shot" and "I Was Well," which may seem like wisdom addressed to the listener, are in fact part of Juan's reciprocal process of self-actualization through songwriting and performing. Bringing new sounds to his repertoire, "This Is I" and "Through That Red" add a spiritual tone with ethereal string arrangements. Juan's voice - which has risen to the forefront of his music since his first recordings with The Beets - intensifies with added nuance. This year Juan Wauters will continue to tour the world in support of his second solo record.

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2015-06-23
Martin Newell: Teatime Assortment

Since before he was even able to play an instrument, Martin Newell was messing around with home-recordings. Having grown up in the Far East, Newell returned to his home of England at age 13 with just a little 3-inch spool tape-recorder and his first guitar. At age 14 he wrote his first song, not even knowing any chords. His song writing continued through is teens and into his 20s, when he purchased a Sony reel-to-reel recorder and 12 string guitar. It is this early songwriting that led him working with a wide variety of musicians, recording in beautiful studios and forming his many projects such as Cleaners from Venus and Brotherhood of Lizards. But it was this early songwriting and recording that led him to find that he was happiest when recording by himself, with minimal equipment. As Newell often says, "Actually, I preferred the demos".

Having upgraded himself from reel-to-reel to a Tascam Pocketstudio and digitizing some of his archaic recording knowledge, Newell set out to begin home recording again. The tracks on this collection run from 2010 to mid 2014. Some are recordings loosely based on movie themes and soundtracks for imaginary films. Some are instrumentals from a collection called The Late District, while others are from a recent album Return to Bohemia, which saw a small release in England. This recent resurgence in creative strength, along with the success and newfound popularity of Cleaners from Venus, have all led up to Teatime Assortment. Think of it as a "Best of New Newell". A true wordsmith, Newell himself has put simply why one might be compelled to take a listen here: "If you're the sort of person who likes this kind of thin, then this is the sort of thing you'll probably like."

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2015-06-23
Matchess: Somnaphoria (Mixed Color Vinyl)
MP3  $9.99    

Chicago musician Whitney Johnson (Verma)'s second album as Matchess finds cohesive vision both thematically & sonically, with the album fusing elements of contemporary classical music & modern experimental electronic music with a neo-new age mysticism.

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2015-06-23
Matchess: Somnaphoria (Mixed Color Vinyl)
LP  $16.99    

Chicago musician Whitney Johnson (Verma)'s second album as Matchess finds cohesive vision both thematically & sonically, with the album fusing elements of contemporary classical music & modern experimental electronic music with a neo-new age mysticism.

Psychic Baos: Society's Lien on Peace of Mind/Can't Keep Us Down
MP3  $3.96     7"  $6.99    

Wake up, garbage people, the rooster is crowing! First off, your morning dose: Psychic Baos. Close your eyes and step into the fry-daddy's dream: You're on a muddy BMX track in eastern Tennessee and there's a band playing what sounds like the Chocolate Watch Band melting in hellfire. A man named Will Fist is screaming a fully-blown scream, and zoom goes some wily pfink on a soiled banana bike. That's your daily medicine! The hypnotic rhythms waxed in this stereo resin have a great effect upon the listener. Don't worry about the false prophets of car commercial garage rock. This isn't that, this is Psychic Baos.