This Just In: The Mysterious Production Of Eggs

Andrew Bird’s The Mysterious Production Of Eggs is finally available on vinyl again since it’s initial release in 2005! Eggs was his third proper full-length and second release on Ani Difranco’s Righteous Babe label. Bird’s unique approach to pop/rock, incorporating violin and “professional” whistling with varied accompanying instrumentation and incredible wordplay make for an album of unlikely earworms, despite none of the compositions being conventionally “catchy.” The phrase “challenging pop” definitely applies here, and throughout Bird’s subsequent career. Take a listen to a track below and definitely scope out this week’s broad in-stock list for more great listening, challenging and otherwise! -MLE

Andrew Bird – And The Mysterious Production Of Eggs LP
Listen: “Fake Palindromes”
“Andrew Bird is a previously unimaginable combination of songwriter, violinist, guitarist, vocalist and professional whistler. His unfailingly unique and striking music has been dumbfounding us for years. Bird’s first studio album in nearly two years, The Mysterious Production of Eggs, is his second on Righteous Babe Records. The album follows Weather Systems, his critically-acclaimed mini-LP, released in spring 2003.

The recording sessions for Mysterious Production saw Bird scrap the album three times and travel between studios in Chicago, Los Angeles and his own home studio on a farm in Northern Illinois. The album took final shape with the production help of David Boucher, whose credits include Paul Westerberg, Lisa Loeb, and Randy Newman. Bird plays most of the instruments on Mysterious Production, and is joined by a handful of special guests complimenting his already lush sonic palette. The results are magnificent, a powerhouse of a record dealing with nothing less than the mysteries of childhood, creativity and modern science – epic in scope and minute in detail.” -Righteous Babe

The mysterious production of wax – new releases, reissues & restocks…

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This Just In: Life Will See You Now

There’s a new Jens Lekman album out today! Yessssssss! The description below is pretty lengthy, so I won’t go into too many details, but if you liked Night Falls Over Kortedala and An Argument With Myself, you’ll LOVE Life Will See You Now. Lekman says his last full-length was deliberately slow and sad, and it alienated some listeners who fell in love with his strange stories set against upbeat rhythms and samples. Life Will See You Now brings the energetic weirdness right back to where An Argument… left off. My only complaint is that there isn’t a SCRATCH n SNIFF single for “What’s That Perfume You Wear?” – that would have been extra magical. Check out a video for that track below and aaaaaaaaaaaaaad the other in-stock sounds this week below that! -MLE

Jens Lekman – Life Will See You Now LP
Watch: “What’s That Perfume You Wear?”
“Jens Lekman describes his new record playfully, but also honestly, as ‘a thirties-crisis disco album; it’s an existentialist record, about seeing the consequences of your choices.’ Across three studio albums, the Swedish singer/songwriter and musician has proven not only his flair for telling very personal stories with a sharp self-awareness, but also his skill for balancing depth of emotional expression with droll and often self-deprecating detail. It’s a winning pop combination.

His fourth, Life Will See You Now is a typical Lekman album in several ways: sly humour is key to its heartfelt nature; it inverts pop’s writing norm by making songs with sad concerns sound happy and songs with a happy subject sound sad; and it plays with notions of identity and the self. Life Will See You Now is expansive, the upbeat sound of a revitalised Lekman, who is just one of many characters in his new stories about the magic and messiness of different kinds of relationships. It’s also the result of deliberate steps he took to create this fresh sound.

Although Lekman is present in all of the songs on Life Will See You Now, it’s sometimes as a listener or spectator, rather than solely as the central active figure. Male characters get more of the spotlight than before. Lekman’s previous records have been female-centric, ‘I wanted to see what would happen if I wrote about men. It was inspiring at first, but writing about masculinity went down a very dark path. And there was a sadness that was very real; I had trouble finding stories that weren’t horribly depressing’ he admits. ‘How Can I Tell Him’ is one of a few songs saved from that shelved plan, a touching ode to male friendship that addresses the behavioural boundaries drawn around expressions of intimacy for generations of men.

Another big choice was a decision to experiment with different kinds of rhythms – disco, calypso, samba and bossa nova all get a bespoke twirl in the spotlight – and so he called on producer Ewan Pearson (M83, The Chemical Brothers, Goldfrapp) to help realise his new songs. ‘I was looking for something more rhythmical. That was just what was intriguing me at the time – how you structure rhythms and build changes and time signatures. For me, not being trained in music, to learn a few of the tricks was very fascinating.”

The alluringly offbeat lilt of ‘Our First Fight’ is a perfect example of this subtle shift. More obviously upbeat are ‘What’s That Perfume That You Wear?,’ which features a steel pans sample from Ralph MacDonald’s ‘The Path’ of 1978 – ‘one of my favourite records ever,’ enthuses Lekman – ‘To Know Your Mission’, whose jaunty, sing-along chorus belies its serious subject (self-doubt and indecision versus self-belief and faith) and the irresistibly buoyant ‘How We Met, The Long Version,’ a disco-pop cracker with strings and piano that samples Jackie Stoudemire’s 1983 track, ‘Don’t Stop Dancin.’

The writing of Life Will See You Now was somewhat of an attempt to overcome periods of self-doubt, a process helped by Lekman’s two interim projects – Postcards, in which he committed himself to writing and releasing one song every single week in 2015 and Ghostwriting, where he asked other people for their stories and wrote songs around them, rather than his own experiences. ‘There was a part of me that was really sick of this Jens Lekman character,’ he confesses, ‘and I wanted to write myself out of my songs.’ Jens laughs: ‘After I did the Ghostwriting project I was able to let that go, and also realized how important it is to be in your own songs to be able to communicate an emotion.’

It may be very much inspired by stories told to him by friends and random acquaintances, but for Lekman, Life Will See You Now is still ‘a very personal record.’ In ‘To Know Your Mission,’ the perky Euro-pop number set in August of 1997 that pictures him – or at least, a character called Jens – as a teenager contemplating his future, one line that’s particularly pertinent to his ideas about this singer/songwriter business stands out. ‘In a world of mouths, I want to be an ear,’ croons Lekman, sweetly. ‘If there’s a purpose to this, then that’s why God put me here.’ It’s not a statement of religious belief, just a simple recognition of what he was in some way called to do. Life Will See You Now proves how right he was to listen.”

Hotwire the ferris wheel – new releases, reissues & restocks…

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This Just In: Celestial Vibration

It’s International Noise Conference week, which means I’m tired, so I’ll keep this brief. Hell yeah – a Soul Jazz reissue of Laraaji’s debut album, Celestial Vibration! Two hypnotically transcendent, long-form prepared zither meditations to open the mind and relax the body. Turn on, tune it, bliss out. -MLE

Laraaji – Celestial Vibration LP
Listen: “All Pervading”
“This is the stunning debut album from Laraaji. Celestial Vibration was originally released in 1978 under the name Edward Larry Gordon, and then first issued by Soul Jazz Records/Universal Sound in 2010. Soul Jazz Records are now issuing this hypnotic piece newly re-mastered album once again in a very limited vinyl edition of 1000 and new CD as a full Laraaji release.

Celestial Vibration is a cosmic ambient journey sounding unlike anything else when it was first released in 1978 – and sounding utterly unique today. Laraaji’s album was first issued in New York as a private-pressing record with only very minimal distribution. His distinctive use of the harp-like open-stringed zither and kalimba creates a hypnotic trance like musical landscape.

Laraaji first came to fame in the 1980s as a worldwide ambient artist working with Brian Eno on EG Records. At this time Laraaji worked with a wide range of experimental musicians – Jon Hassell, Harold Budd, Michael Brook, Bill Nelson, Roger Eno, Nana Vasconcelos and Bill Laswell.

Since Soul Jazz Records/Universal Sound first released Celestial Vibration seven years ago (now long deleted), Laraaji’s career has had a renaissance, releasing a string of new albums including a fascinating collaboration with Blues Control for the FRKYWS label, as well as reissues of earlier albums including a three-album cassette only release last year.

Today Gordon continues his unique musical and spiritual path – performing his music mainly for meditation at yoga global retreats. He runs his own ‘Therapeutic Laughter Workshop’ where he coaches people in the mindful use of laughing for its health benefits..” -Soul Jazz

Vibrations, celestial and otherwise – new releases, reissues & restocks…

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This Just In: Bomp

If you’ve scoped the bins lately, you’ve probably noticed a ton of incredible reissues from PMG. They’ve been on point with making highly sought-after, near-impossible-to-find African albums finally available. In their most recent batch is a disco/boogie/funk gem from Igna Igwebuike, aptly titled Bomp. Since the album is from Nigeria, a country where 70’s & 80’s-era electronic/dance music of any type is quickly scooped up by collectors, it’s brilliant that Bomp is now finally available to the masses (well, the nerdy masses). Take a listen to a the album below, come grab the record and DANCE! –MLE

Igna Igwebuike – Bomp LP
Listen: Full album
PMG present a reissue of Igna Igwebuike’s Bomp, originally released in 1980. ‘It takes a lot of swag to wear a hat as big as the hat that I.G. wears on the cover of Bomp. But I.G., a.k.a. Bobby I.G., a.k.a. I.G. New Yorker, had swag by the bucket load. That hat tells you everything you need to know about I.G. and, indeed, about Bomp – it’s a big funky slice of Nigerian cowboy disco magic. I.G. was a player in the thriving Enugu boogie scene, a scene, in the east of the country that also produced Goddy Oku and William Onyeabor. With Mr Mighty Flames, Willie N’For on bass, Austin Onwurah on drums and all the bells and whistles of the Godiac Studios close at hand, a Nigerian disco classic was inevitable. ‘Disco Bomp’ and ‘Disco Power’ are straight-ahead floor-fillers. ‘Funk Ina Ghatto’ has a slower, dirtier groove. ‘World Of Misery’ takes a slight calypso reggae detour, before ‘Take Me Home’ brings it on home, with an unabashed plea for ‘loving’ and some delightfully wonky synth lines from another Mighty Flame, Frankie Song. Bomp was I.G.’s only album. It’s a startling one-off disco boogie classic that was clear in its ambition and perfect in its execution. A bit like the hat, really.” Peter Moore

Who put the BOMP in the new releases, reissues and restocks?

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