This Just In: Red Red Meat

Woooooooooooo! One of my favorite albums of all-time just got reissued! As part of the Red Red Meat Archival Reissue Series via PledgeMusic and Jealous Butcher, the oft overlooked collection of RRM’s Sub Pop albums has been given a super-duper-deluxe re-imagining. Bunny Gets Paid, considered their opus (read: most consistent effort), is one of those albums that’s aesthetically timeless. It’s blues (sorta), rock (sometimes), ambient (with an edge), avant (lyrically, definitely), and could be a soundtrack to Hal Hartley’s entire body of work. It could have been conceived yesterday or in 1976 – it’s that broad. I sound obsessed, I know, and I am – my band is named after a freakin’ RRM song. Listen to a sample of the magic, read about the reissue and check out our weekly in-stock list below. Did I mention how excited I am? -MLE

Red Red Meat – Bunny Gets Paid 2LP:
Listen/download: “Carpet Of Horses”

“Chicago rock ensemble Red Red Meat hit hard with 1995’s Bunny Gets Paid. Arguably the band’s most complete album, the record pairs Stones-indebted blues-rock roots with beautiful songs, sounding miles removed from the era’s grunge and radio-friendly alternative rock tropes.

Recorded at Idful Studios in Chicago’s Wicker Park by producer Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair, Tortoise), Bunny Gets Paid finds Red Red Meat’s core members, Tim Rutilli, Brian Deck, Ben Massarella, and Tim Hurley, straddling the line between their most accessible set of songs and a desire to explore a kind of “alternate fidelity,” employing layers of distortion, natural reverb, and room ambience.

‘At the time, I felt like we’d made a classic rock record,’ Rutilli says. ‘I was like, ‘This is our Astral Weeks.’’ But listening back 20 years later, Rutilli recognizes the band’s ambition, a desire to break songs down to their barest, most primitive elements to ‘see what survives.’

‘I think it was about testing the melody, how strong a melody was,’ Rutilli says. ‘It was loving pop music and classic rock songs, but also loving noise…the slow burn of actual sound.’

Drummer Brian Deck, who’d go on to work on records by Modest Mouse, The Fruit Bats, Iron and Wine, and others, recalls the band’s 1995 Sub Pop debut, Jimmywine Majestic, making ‘this promise of a rock revivalist band.’ With Bunny Gets Paid, the band ‘went in a different direction from that.’

‘To a certain extent we were just punk asses,’ Deck says. ‘We wanted to do what wasn’t expected of us. We wanted to do something new.’

The record features some of Red Red Meat’s best-loved songs. Opener ‘Carpet of Horses’ pulses with restrained energy under a pastoral shuffle, while ‘Chain Chain Chain’ imagines RRM as a pop act, with crashing drum fills and a surging chorus. ‘Gauze’ sits in the middle of the record, a gorgeous droning ballad with languid guitars that give way to the band’s most anthemic chorus. The record closes with a reading of ‘There’s Always Tomorrow,’ as featured in the Rankin/Bass Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the song fits magically and without irony, a downcast but hopeful sentiment.

‘They were ahead of the time,’ producer Brad Wood says. ‘People say that about bands all the time, but it certainly felt that way to me with this particular band.’

‘As Red Red Meat progressed you see them abandoning traditional song forms, experimenting with the sounds of things — basing songs on sounds and grooves,’ Wood says. ‘More than just about any band I ever worked with, Red Red Meat digested their influences.’ On Bunny Gets Paid, blues and classic rock and roll sounds are transmuted; the record is the sound Red Red Meat finding unique creative footing.” -Jealous Butcher


Mink eyed, marble eyed… new releases, reissues and restocks…

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This Just In: U-Turn

We’ve upped our turntable offerings! In addition to Audio Technica, Numark, ION and Spin Alley vintage turntables, we’re now stocking beautiful decks by U-Turn Audio. Not only are the U-Turn Orbit turntables cleverly pared down with quality parts and sharp design, they’re also hand-assembled in Boston, and a majority of the components come from the US – pretty remarkable considering the price point. We’ll be regularly stocking U-Turn, so if you have a request for a certain color or model, special orders are no extra charge! Read a little more about the U-Turn Orbits and check out this week’s in-stock list below. -MLE

Performance Priced Right
A turntable should be reliable and easy to use, but most importantly it should sound great. High-performance tables can be prohibitively expensive, and budget tables too often sacrifice quality for unnecessary features. So we set out to build a turntable that outperforms its price tag. By redesigning classic audiophile components and leaving out nonessentials, we created a simple, all-analog table that provides warm and detailed sound. Easy to setup and use, the Orbit delivers a pure vinyl experience.

The Quiet Revolution
The Orbit’s low-voltage AC synchronous motor provides excellent speed consistency and minimizes pitch variation (wow & flutter). The motor is decoupled from the plinth using a unique rubber suspension that prevents unwanted vibrations from seeping into the sound, The Orbit’s CNC machined pulley turns an exposed drive belt and plays both 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records. The platter rides on an inverted main bearing – providing superior stability and reduced bearing noise (rumble). In other words, all you hear is the music on your record.

A Perfectly Balance Tonearm
The tonearm is the crucial link between record and speakers. To do its job well, it must achieve harmony between tracking force, mass distribution, and rigidity. The Orbit’s innovative unipivot arm turns effortlessly on an inverted pyramid of precision ball bearings, and works with the arm’s low center of mass to provide accurate tracking. Every Orbit comes pre-fitted with your choice of an Audio-Technica, Ortofon, or Grado Labs moving magnet (MM) cartridge, which is balanced by an adjustable stainless steel counterweight. The Orbit’s silver-plated wiring is housed within an aluminum armtube, ensuring faithful signal transfer from the cartridge.

Take It For A Spin
The Orbit is ready to play out of the box. Cartridges come pre-installed with tracking force properly adjusted, so you will be spinning within minutes. Dust cover, felt mat, and RCA cables are all included. Playing the Orbit is easy – all you have to do is turn it on and lower the stylus. Parts are interchangeable so you can upgrade down the line and tailor your turntable to your needs.

Made With Love In Boston
Every Orbit is assembled by hand in our Woburn, Massachusetts workshop. Prior to shipping, each turntable goes through comprehensive listening, wow & flutter, and rumble tests, as well as a 15-point performance evaluation. Every Orbit comes with a one year warranty. The majority of our parts are sourced within the US. Our acrylic platters are turned in Ohio. Our plinths come from Minnesota, and our dustcovers are from Maine. So when you buy an Orbit, you are supporting American manufacturing.


In orbit – new releases, reissues and restocks…

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Elliott Smith HEAVEN ADORES YOU Documentary Screening Tuesday

This Tuesday night at O Cinema Wynwood (90 NW 29th St.) please join us as we co-present the exclusive Miami screening of Heaven Adores You, “an intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith.” Though he passed in 2003 at the far-too-soon age of 34, Elliott remains one of our best-selling artists …

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This Just In: Hairless Toys

Welcome to “This Just In” on its new day – Tuesday. We’ll have it going this way until mid-July when we switch to Fridays, ya know, just to keep you on your toes (and to keep up with “global release day” or whatever they’re calling it). Since I’m feeling especially whimsical today, let’s talk about a new pop record from one of the most (in my opinion) underrated artists working in that structure, Róisín Murphy. If you grew up when trip hop was a thing, you might remember her as the vocalist of Moloko. However, today marks the release of her third, stellar solo record. A less dancey outing than Ruby Blue (2005) and Overpowered (2007), Hairless Toys is Murphy’s first release in 8 years and is more stylistically diverse, showcasing the strength of her voice, literally and figuratively. This stuff is just way too deep to ever be mainstream/radio pop, at points focusing on the sociocultural origins of dance/pop music, and then questioning its current state. This stuff just isn’t for everyone – and that’s the point. But if you’re open to lighter sounds with much more beyond the surface (yes, this shit will actually make you think), check out Hairless Toys. And if you think I’m just hopped up on pixie stix (maybe I am), there’s a ton of other sounds for you to scope out in this week’s in-stock list. Wooooooo!

Róisín Murphy – Hairless Toys LP+CD
Listen: “Gone Fishing”

“For once the PR cliches of ‘eager anticipation’ and ‘welcome return’ are not misplaced. The unmistakable Róisín Murphy returns with her new album Hairless Toys. Her first album in 8 years, Hairless Toys is a career defining tour de force. Tipping its hat to the dark disco of European house music, Casablanca Records and Grace Jones, while seamlessly taking in the freedom and organic spirit of jazz, country and gospel.

The rich, expansive production – by Róisín’s long time musical collaborator Eddie Stevens – is full of inventive loops and unlikely hooks, a grand magical spell exemplified by album opener Gone Fishing. A song inspired by the film Paris Is Burning, where originality, invention and celebration are escapes from the ugly realities of the world around us, a place where ‘The practice of realness, feels so surreal.’

As Róisín explains – ‘This song was written after I watched the documentary film Paris Is Burning, having read an article which referenced it in a discussion about House music’s origins in black, gay culture. I was deeply moved by this film.’ ‘I had to run this far from home’ – it’s about the outcasts who could never fit into mainstream society and how they created a safe place in the drag ‘Ball’ scene of New York in the ’80s. ‘Will we live on? The children of La Beija’ refers to the ‘house’ of Pepper La Beija, who was one of the most notable figures on the scene, Pepper is also quoted in Malcolm McLaren’s song on the same subject ‘Deep In Vogue.’ The culture was a flamboyant reaction to persecution and disillusionment, the imagination and bravery of these kids is simply awe-inspiring. I envisioned Gone Fishing almost as a song from a Broadway musical version of this story. The making of one’s own world, a safer world and the creation of a new, better family in music or youth culture is a theme I touch upon elsewhere on my album Hairless Toys.'” -Play It Again Sam


Other toys – new releases, reissues and restocks…

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This Just In: Fated

It’s a busy week, so I’m gonna be a slacker with today’s post and just share Innovative Leisure’s text about the new, stunning, glitch-tastic, make-out-inducing Nosaj Thing album with you. Between my new collaborative/local album, Archival Feedback, dropping this week, Neutral Milk Hotel playing tonight at The Olympia Theater, and one of our staff members attending Red Bull Music Academy shows in New York, there’s so much to take care of. But don’t worry – I’ll be back with more music-related anecdotes and album info next week, when “This Just In” moves to Tuesdays! We still have the in-stock list going down below, so there hasn’t been too much slacking, right?

Nosaj Thing – Fated LP
Listen: “Don’t Mind Me”

“We seek the new because of the numbness. If you listen to enough music, you’re familiar with the feeling. Sounds get recycled so often that they can seem like geometric configurations organized via Wav files. Trends get time-stamped faster than a triplicate trap hi-hat.

The most rare records emerge outside of any clearly delineated orbit. They’re solitary visions that supply their own rhythm and arsenal. Music that reverberates through heart, brain, and spine. This is Nosaj Thing’s third album, Fated.

‘I just tried to escape really, and escape even what’s going on in the music world,’ says Nosaj Thing, the LA producer born Jason Chung. ‘It just felt so suffocating in a way. I just wanted to do my own thing.’

It’s been six years since Nosaj Thing emerged among the vanguard of Low End Theory-affiliated producers. His debut Drift created 31st century tones and chromatic textures so sleek that they inspired innumerable Soundcloud imitators.

None could match its moody iridescence, faded sadness and funky swing. Bach collided with Boards of Canada. Spaceships came equipped with rear view mirrors and a booming system bumping G-Funk and warped soul. Pitchfork called it ‘gorgeously haunted.’ Resident Advisor said it ‘exists in its own dimension and feeds off its own exhaust: full of alien choirs, conquered computers, and refracting stained-glass light.’

Fated exists in this same alternate dimension, but further out. If comparisons previously existed with other artists within the LA beat scene, Nosaj has rendered them baseless. His second album on Innovative Leisure (after 2013’s Home) seeks celestial escape through streamlining.

‘The last record took out so much of me. I just wanted to go back to simplifying and overthinking so much. It was a battle,’ Nosaj says. ‘The soul of a song, the essence of a song—whatever you want to call it—should be simple.’

By stripping away all but what’s really necessary, the sounds harness an unusual directness. Guest appearances are rare, save for vocals from Whoarei on ‘Don’t Mind Me,’ and Chicago rap phenomenon, Chance the Rapper. The latter gravely spits on ‘Cold Stares,’ invoking terminal fevers, empty beds, devil’s whispers, and insomniac fears.

If comparisons crop up, Fated has most in common with records like Burial’s Untrue or Dilla’s Donuts. Requiems that canvass the shadowy hinterlands between life and death, darkness and light, loneliness and love. Eternal themes re-imagined in ingenious fashion.

‘The album name came from all these coincidences that just kept on happening to me,’ Nosaj says. ‘Specific interaction with specific people in unexpected places. A perpetual feeling of déjà vu.’

It’s foundation rests on that intangible thing that some call fate or primordial feeling. Numbness receding, old emotions flooding back, un-tampered visions. Fated is what you can’t explain, so it’s best to just listen.


Other fates – new releases, reissues and restocks…

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MusiCares About Your Ears! Free Audiologist Services Through May

We’re huge fans of MusiCares, the branch of the Record Academy that helps out working musicians who are dealing with anything from natural disasters to disease to addiction. They also provide some incredible preventative care services and some are being offered in South Florida right now! Throughout the month of May, music industry professionals who …

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