This Just In: MartyrLoserKing

I got turned on to Saul Williams in 2002 while trading hip-hop mixes with a friend of a friend. I showed him Aesop Rock, he showed me Saul. I’ve always liked hip-hop that’s strictly political, abstract/experimental, positive, or any combination of the aforementioned. Bonus points if there is a total lack of misogyny, which, let’s face it, is hard to come by in a lot of hip-hop and rap. Saul Williams embodies all the things I love about hip-hop and definitely doesn’t even tread near the thing I hate. All of his albums are conceptual, character driven, intelligent, sonically diverse, and always manage to cleverly capture/critique the sign(s) of the time(s). His latest, MartyrLoserKing is no exception. Even if you’ve never heard Williams’ music before, this is a perfect entry point. Work backwards, sideways, inside-out, and you can’t go wrong. More about the album and an in-stock list below! -MLE

Saul Williams – MartyrLoserKing LP
Listen/Watch: “Burundi (feat. Emily Kokal of Warpaint)”
“If there is one phrase that captures the overall mood and attitude of Saul Williams‘ latest album, MartyrLoserKing, it’s ‘F*** you. Understand me.’ The refrain, from the song entitled ‘All Coltrane Solos At Once,’ is both a defiant middle finger raised to humanity’s oppressors and an empathetic hand extended to those who are oppressed (including the unwitting and unwilling agents of oppression).

Saul Williams is a poet, actor, activist, writer and musician who engages each of these forms equally, with both aggression and compassion. He is a man deeply concerned with the people’s well-being and it shows in his work. From the moment Williams made his musical debut with 2001’s Rick Rubin-produced Amethyst Rockstar, his songs — like his poetry — have been infused with social and political commentary. Whether examining the world around him or the emotional universe within himself, he is an artist who seeks truth through transgression. Instead of accepting the status quo he is a music-genre agnostic who ponders and wanders. Williams’ work is an amalgam of hip-hop, punk, dance music and rock, shifting between styles as effortlessly as it weaves webs of interconnected ideas.

Previously, adept and challenge-hungry producers like Rubin and Trent Reznor (2007’s The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust!) have matched his words — sung, shouted, rapped — with complementary soundscapes. This time around, the job is taken up by Justin Warfield, a music industry rover whose own two decades-plus resume includes leftfield hip-hop hits (1991’s ‘Season of the Vic’), big beat electronica collabos (‘Big Powder Dust’ with acid-house originals, Bomb the Bass) and mainstream industrial rock (She Wants Revenge); the veteran producer helps Williams flesh out a sonic world that’s simultaneously futuristic and primitive. Only music that is as tribal as it is digital could be the proper accompaniment for lyrics inspired by a fictional miner-turned-hacker in the African nation of Burundi with the screen name ‘MartyrLoserKing’ — a ‘Mr. Robot’ in the Motherland, if you will.

‘Statues of martyrs. Hackers as artists…’ Williams spits these lines in a stream-of-consciousness barrage over the whirling arpeggio piano loop of ‘Horn of the Clock-Bike.’ His likening of hackers and artists is a recurring theme throughout the album. On ‘The Bear _ Coltan as Cotton’ Williams’ takes the definition of hacking beyond computer systems, applying it to the disruption of social constructs like gender and race and challenging the authority of the powers that be. His middle finger remains aloft on the 4/4 rhythm of ‘Ashes’ where he sings about ‘dancing on the corpse’s ashes’ and observes: ‘The wall between the poor and the rich, building/ Gorgeous for the po-lice/ Worth a billion/ They make a killing/ They make a killing!/ Protect and serve/ Your bullets won’t deliver the Last Word.’ For Wiliams, the last word will be truth spoken to power — not by power.” -NPR

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This Just In: THIS HEAT

This week’s in-stock list (below) is so freakin’ huge, I’m just gonna cut to the chase on the feature. This Heat’s catalog has FINALLY been reissued! These records fall nothing short of legendary (in the underground), and are essentials for any fan of experimental, post-everything. People have been begging for reissues for years and waiting patiently once news dropped a couple years back that they were finally gonna happen. If you’re one of the patient ones, you already know what a big deal this is (and probably pre-ordered from us – thank you!). If not, and you want to get your head infiltrated ASAP, get on This Heat fast! -MLE

This Heat – Deceit LP, Health & Efficiency LP, S/T LP
Listen: Deceit (Full Album)
“Isn’t it so often the case that the most innovative works of art – the ones that break the ground where others follow – are the ones that seem to reach only the ears of those who take those ideas and run with them?

So it is with This Heat and their releases – 1979’s This Heat, 1980’s Health and Efficiency, and 1981’s Deceit. Within each of these, the seeds of post-punk, avant rock, noise rock and post-rock can be found.

Formed in Brixton, a multicultural, and – at the time – down-at-heel part of south London, This Heat were born into a music scene in rapid flux, first thanks to the punk explosion and then via new wave and its myriad offshoots into pop, rock and art-rock. But while many sought to apply punk attitude to chart-friendly sounds, This Heat were concocting some of the most experimental ideas ever committed to tape, taking influence from musique concrète, krautrock, the burgeoning industrial scene and even the dub reggae blasting out in their home borough.

Celebrating This Heat’s 40th anniversary in 2016, Modern Classics Recordings will re-issue the band’s catalog with full co-operation of surviving members Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward. Four decades on, the tireless efforts of This Heat’s process can once again be a revelation for new audiences.” -Light In The Attic/Modern Classics

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The heat up – new releases, reissues and restocks…

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This Just In: Comets On Fire

Back in print (and remastered) for the first time since 2001 and 2002, respectively, are Comets On Fire’s S/T and Field Recordings From The Sun albums. These guys were at the forefront of the early aughts psych/garage revival, ya know, before the revival turned into the standard. Space-case blues/face-melting fun, and NO – we won’t change the music! Check out a little more about each album below and this week’s in-stock list below all that. -MLE

Comets On Fire –  S/T LP:
Listen – “The Way Down”

“The first full-length release by psycho-psych freaks Comets Of Fire delivers dark and damaged acid rock served in a crude and blown-out speedball of Blue Cheer, High Rise, James Williamson and a shit-faced-drunk Roxy-era Eno. Methamphetamine and Schnapps-drenched lullabies take it straight into the sonic shitstorm, shifting from 4/4 power rock to imploding free form. Echoplex-treated tales tell of drug-crazed space travelers, graverobbers in love and cosmic cannibals. The album was recorded on 4-track with the levels in the bloody red in a basement and garage in Santa Cruz, California. Tinkering, mixing and sound manipulation with help from Tim Green (Fucking Champs, Nation of Ulysses).”

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Comets On Fire – Field Recordings From The Sun LP:
Listen – “Beneath The Ice Age”

Field Recordings From the Sun is the second album from West Coast skull-peelers and daisy-wilting psychedelic stormtroopers Comets On Fire. Joined by an armada of friends and hangers-on—including Tim Green of the Fucking Champs (who also produced) and Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance (soon to be a permanent member)—the band erects towering tombs of natural ethereal beauty and pure sonic destruction set above a cosmic freight train of unhinged riffs and jagged grooves. And their drummer is more than happy to perform naked, you don’t even have to ask.”

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Melt your face, not your records – new releases, reissues and restocks…

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This Just In: Blackstar

Today is David Bowie’s 69th birthday! It’s also the release date for his 26th studio album, Blackstar (stylized as ☆). You’ve probably already seen the crazy-ass video for the title track, and the video for “Lazarus” just dropped yesterday. What better way to celebrate the birthday of one of the most iconic musicians of all-time than by picking up the sexy, die-cut double LP of Blackstar? The CD version ain’t too shabby either! And if you’re not into Bowie (shame on you), check out  this week’s in-stock list below with all sorts of other sounds (many of them probably influenced by Bowie). -MLE
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Blame it on the Blackstar – new releases, reissues & restocks

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