Thursday, April 21, 2005

Can fans can rejoice (once again), because the second set of reissues is finally set for release on June 28, 2005. As reported at, Mute/Spoon Records will release the remastered reissues of Future Days, Soon Over Babaluma, Landed and Unlimited Edition.
posted by Jonathan

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Blue Note's album covers from 1940 - 1970 have the most consistently beautiful artwork any record label. Many of these albums are still difficult to track down, but the label's reissue program for this period, the Rudy Van Gelder Edition series, seems to be fixing this problem. I've been buying up a few of these reissues over the past couple of years, and thanks to a sale at the local record shop, I've recently bought a few more. So here's a display of the ones I've bought so far:

Anyone interested in seeing more of these beautiful covers should either start buying up the Rudy Van Gelder editions (and gorgeous covers or not, the music on these albums is fascinating jazz, ranging from hard bop to post bop to soul jazz, and often the leader on the album isn't the only standout player (see Elvin Jones on Sonny Rollins' A Night at the Village Vangaurd for proof)) or you can get this coffee table book filled with 400 Blue Note covers. For now, I'll stick with the albums, but I'm sure someday I'll have the book as well.
posted by Jonathan

Monday, April 04, 2005

Over the past few weeks, I've been stuck in the 70s. It goes back further than that, actually, thanks to this poll. However, I never thought my interest in 70s music would influence my buying habits as much as it has, but it seems that my ratio of 70s to anything else is about 4:1. Not that I'm complaining, but this whole getting older and out of touch certainly isn't helped when everything you buy is 25-35 years old.
Thanks to, I've been able to pick up Sugar Minott's - Ghetto-ology + Dub (a 2-fer only available on the Easy Star reissue), The Rance Allen Group - A Soulful Experience, Charles Earland - Black Talk, and the Crusaders - Chain Reaction. Aside from this, I also recently bought the Slits - Cut, Suicide's first album (with the bonus live disc), the Faces greatest hits, King Tubby's In Fine Style (a collection of 46 songs he engineered from 72-77 with various producers) and Townes Van Zandt's Live At the Old Quarter double CD.
However, I haven't been totally out of it, thanks largely to some friends who help keep me up to date on things. I finally got the Run The Road compilation, which will not be sold domestically in Canada, so I'm told (even though the label had a release party in Toronto, which is pretty fucking stupid, but maybe they knew that copies would at least be imported to the big city). For those people who are not living in Toronto, I recommend, which has the album less than $16, or, if you'd prefer the black cover/gold lettered version. Personally, I prefer the UK version's look, but opted for the US release.
Also, the recently leaked Jamie Lidell album, Multiply, will have motown soul fans salivating. It's a brilliant soul/funk creation by a warp artist who, as far as I understand, put out a more challenging IDM music on his debut album. However, clearly he's turned to his old soul and funk records (or even pulled out the Amp Fiddler album from last year, which was equally retro though still very forward thinking).
Despite my 70s hangup, I've still made quite a bit of time for various 2005 albums, and a number of them are essential (Bloc Party, Decemberists, MIA, Mars Volta, Sharon Jones, Al Green, LCD Soundsystem and Black Mountain to name a few).
However, my favourite review of the year (of an album I haven't heard at all) was published today on Stylus magazine. Michael Barthel's excitement is so infectious that one feels they need to hear the album, if only for Barthel's sake. If the album makes me half as happy as it clearly made him, then it'll be one of my albums of the year. More love for the album can be found on ILM.
posted by Jonathan

In 1960 John Hammond supervised and recorded the Abyssinian Baptist Gospel Choir under the direction of Alex Bradford. The recording would become Shakin' The Rafters, an album Tony Bennett has called "the greatest rock 'n' roll record ever recorded," and one Tom Waits claims "puts you in the choir with them. Astonishing, awesome."

I finally got the album (after a couple of months of searching for it, then finally ordering it from and it is a an exceptional recording. The album sounds like it was recorded back to back over a 65 minute period, and maybe it was. As the songs seem to have mutterings and movement between tracks, to maintain that live in the studio feel, it's hard to say if they just added that on the album to give it the live off the floor feel. However, on the song "Said I wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody" it's clear that the choir and lead vocalists Calvin White and Margaret Simpson are so caught up in the excitement and energy of the group (and a 120 person choir generates extreme voltage) that when teh song ends, there is a spontaneous reprise that continues on for a couple of minutes. The excitement and astonishment is felt at the end of the tape, and the following song, "He Stays in My Room" maintains the exuberance built in the previous song, and when the choir is asked to raise their hands, the listener knows that 240 hands stretched upwards, praising the powers created by the voices, the words and God.
The album is brilliant, and the sheer excitement created by these voices is enough to rival the greatest rock records ever made. This is an album you experience.
posted by Jonathan

Sasha Frere-Jones on Slint. God he's a great writer.
posted by Jonathan

Friday, April 01, 2005

For those who love owning the original recording more than they love having money.

For those who love music, but like to save money.
posted by Jonathan