Free Concert

Sat. Oct 29 7PM
Parkdale Branch, Toronto Public Library


Enter here for the chance to win a pair of tickets to Jagwar Ma at the Hoxton on Mon. Nov 7!

Last Month's Top Sellers

1. WILCO - Schmilco
2. NICK CAVE & BAD SEEDS - Skeleton Tree
3. ANGEL OLSEN - My Woman
5. RADIOHEAD - A Moon Shaped Pool

Click here for full list.




LEMON TWIGS - Do Hollywood

"The teenage brothers and leaders of The Lemon Twigs are a gloriously off-kilter proposition. Watch them live and you’ll see Michael leaping around the stage as if he’s been possessed by the spirit of a young, madcap Keith Moon. See them on TV and you’ll instantly think you’ve been transported back to the 1970s. Queen, Tom Petty, spandex jumpsuits, vintage synthesizers, The Beatles after the break-up and genuinely great hair all play a sizable part in their DNA. Haircuts aside, how many other indie bands in 2016 would willingly admit to liking any of the above? This is where even The Lemon Twigs must be surprised at their recent trajectory. Within six months they’ve gone from complete unknowns to being hailed as the future of rock ’n’ roll. Which is funny when you think about it – because they sure do sound a lot like the past.

On much of ‘Do Hollywood’, their debut album for 4AD, there’s a lineage that recalls the A-list of North America’s recent cult music heroes (The Garden, Tobias Jesso Jr and Foxygen, whose songsmith Jonathan Rado produced this record). But The Lemon Twigs’ sheer musical knowledge, and willingness to incorporate it into their own sound, means they’re in a different stratosphere altogether. Their greatest talent is their ability to pick the pockets of rock’s dinosaurs without making it seem passé or pastiche. So we get clever, intricate, well- planned and deftly executed songs that recall Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd (‘Haroomata’), Wings (‘I Wanna Prove To You’), The Kinks (‘Those Days Is Comin’ Soon’) and classic, harmonious Beach Boys (‘These Words’). Only rarely does it ever sound trite. It’s thrilling for the most part, as if you’re being given a crash course in classic songwriting by two young know-it-alls." - NME


VARIOUS - Black Gold: Samples, Breaks & Rare Grooves From Chess Records

"Incredible sounds from the Chess Records catalog – not the blues that you might know the label for, but a huge range of funk, soul, and jazz tracks from the headiest years of the 60s and 70s – a time when the Chicago scene was really turning out some incredible musical hybrids! As you'd guess from the title, all the cuts here have had a new life in recent years – thanks to samples by hip hop artists or other producers – but the original grooves are even better than the tracks that used them, and come together here to make one of the most mindblowing collections of Chess material we've ever heard! The package is nicely heavy on sounds from the Cadet/Concept years of the label – with more than a few contributions from producers Charles Stepney and Richard Evans – and the package features 42 wonderful tracks." -Dusty Groove


JULIA JACKLIN - Don't Let The Kids Win

"Though only her debut, Julia Jacklin’s Don’t Let the Kids Win works like a musical punch to the gut, a tearjerker that makes even the most public of spaces ready sobbing spots. Each of the album’s 11 songs sounds effortlessly polished, her voice seasoned with the emotion of an entire lifetime. Jacklin takes elements of the whip-smart lyrics of fellow Australian Courtney Barnett, the evocative musicality of Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten’s confessional poetry, and Jessica Pratt’s mesmerizing melodies — the mosaic of strengths made fresh by a unique perspective. 

Don’t Let the Kids Win closes with its title track. Lyrics that at first feel generic become utterly personal. “Don’t let your grandmother die while you wait/ A cheap trip to Thailand’s not gonna make up for never getting to say goodbye,” she mourns. “Gonna keep on getting older/ Gonna keep on feeling strange,” she bristles. It’s as if she’s offering advice to her former self as much as she is the listener. Throughout, the album offers a window into her world, revealing the singer-songwriter’s most intimate corners." - Consequence Of Sound



"Springsteen’s book is the written equivalent of one of his legendarily lengthy stage shows. It’s a massive tome that will never be long enough for the fans (and probably seem a bit indulgent to naysayers), but carefully orchestrated to deliver rising and falling action, quiet moments of reflection and explosive passages of excitement, all laid out with the come-hither exhortations of a born performer. And at more than a few points, it leaves them wishing the words had musical accompaniment, as passages sound engineered to be shouted into a microphone with the passion and energy of a carnival barker, or possibly a tent-revival preacher—which, in his live act, is a fusion the musician often embodies.

Like life itself, the book lingers within the early years, and as time passes, years and events begin to churn by faster and faster, only stopping to explore singular moments or unexpected situations, like the political uproar over “41 Shots.” But some of the most potent moments reside in the final chapters, as Springsteen exposes a late-in-life struggle with depression that is as revealing as anything in the previous 450-plus pages. The artist’s forthrightness in confronting such vulnerabilities speaks to his lifelong commitment to rendering personal stories in vivid and affecting ways, his penchant for populating his music with striking characters now turned on his own life’s pains and pleasures. There are surely stories left to tell, but Springsteen, in his endless quest to craft the perfect setlist, has selected those that best fit his narrative. Even with this excellent effort in revealing the most human and exposed parts of himself, the Boss wants to put on a great show." - AV Club


ELUVIUM - False Readings On

"These songs stretch and curl in a state between nature and construction like oblong Spiral Jetties. Shifts are so gradual, so subtle, that even on close listen it is hard to pinpoint exactly when they begin. Music is defined by time and its passing more than most other art forms, but False Readings On comes close to existing outside of it. “Posturing Through Metaphysical Collapse” is only 17 minutes long if you’re watching the clock. The same fluidity applies to “Drowning Tone” and its single spin of the second hand. Beginnings and endings happen here only because the three-dimensional world demands it.

Vocals, or approximations thereof, come to take an almost surprising presence, but, whether it’s “Regenerative Being”, with its intermittent soprano peaking like an old opera broadcast bounced back to this planet from the next galaxy over, or the spectral choral samples on “Movie Night Revisited”, they are as fleeting as they are focal. All together, False Readings On is not without weight and form, but it does leave an outsized impression for the mass it wields." - Popmatters


VARIOUS - Let It Be: Black America Sings Lennon, McCartney & Harrison

"It was not long after Beatlemania broke out all over the USA that their songs started to find their way into the catalogues of notable black American artists. By the middle of the 1960s soul and jazz performers were rushing to find the pick hits on new Beatles albums in the same way pop and rock acts had in the UK a year or two earlier.

The songs here span the Beatles’ entire discography, from the “Please Please Me” album to “Let It Be”, and features an agreeable blend of tracks that stick fairly close to the group’s own visions and others for which the term radical interpretation might be an understatement. A few artists from “Come Together” are welcomed back, as are a couple of songs, but in totally different treatments.

Highlights include Mary Wells’ beguiling boss nova-styled ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’, Aretha Franklin’s first person singular romp through ‘Eleanor Rigby’, the Temptations giving ‘Hey Jude’ a boogie woogie groove and Bill Withers’ sanctified essay on our title song" - Ace Records



"Icelandic composer and producer Jóhann Jóhannsson wrote Oscar-nominated scores for Sicario and The Theory of Everything. In his new album, Orphée, his simple, haunting sketches of instrumental poetry use the familiar tale — and elements of a particularly famous telling of it — to comment on changes in his own life.

Jean Cocteau's impressionistic 1950 film Orphée transplanted the legend to postwar Paris, and includes the poet of the title listening to mysterious voices on the radio. According to Jóhannsson's liner notes, it's an effect he chose to duplicate in "a period that saw old relationships die and new ones begin, old lives left behind and a new life begun in a new city."

If you're into Philip Glass and Michael Nyman and Arvo Pärt and movie soundtracks in general, this could be for you. You'll probably hear this music on TV and out in the world. Maybe it'll decorate a rainy afternoon, give texture to your night or even remind you of your capacity to follow the promise of someone — a lover, even a fellow musician — to the future, to the past, to Heaven, to Hell." - NPR



It's no small thing being able to write consistently beautiful pop songs...but it sure is something that people take for granted. Scotland's Teenage Fanclub know a thing or two about that. 25 years of genius, ebuliiently harmonized tunes should make them legends. Instead, one of the best kept secrets out there (Norman Blake lives in Kitchener now people! He's one of us!) Here is their 11th album and it's really great. Just like all the others. In fact, after a few weeks with it, it might just be their best LP in some time. If you're already a fan, you'll love it. If you haven't been converted yet, your best chance is here. (See what we did there? Just come and get the record.) 

"On Here, the balance between melody and whipped-up layer is a bit more complicated, and it portrays well the album’s central tension. The way “The First Sight” opens up from dreamy melodies into towering guitar riffs and horn sections. The keys and dusty fills that tangle up the end of “I Have Nothing More to Say”. The quiet chords that yield to the loud propulsion of “I’m in Love”. The brilliantly layered vocal harmonies clashing with distorted notes on “It’s a Sign”. Every turn complicates and muddies up the album’s power-pop center without distracting from sweet hooks and beautiful turns of phrase. In short, to listen to Here is to engage with its thematic complications. Every song keeps you in the moment, keeps you paying attention. But it’ll go with you into the future; it will ring in your ears. And, eventually, you’ll think back fondly on the first time you heard these solid and shifting songs." - Popmatters


WILCO - Schmilco

Harry Nilsson's Nilsson Schmilsson was a career-defining, Grammy-winning, style-straddling bonafide classic pop LP that sounds as masterful today as it did in 1971. Wilco's latest nods towards that record in its title, though its sights are set at more modest level. Introspective and cagey, Tweedy & co. leave most of the hooks in the box, but the interplay between members is fascinating to follow and more subtle than ever (even firecracker guitarist Nels Cline plays it pretty cool). For those who liked the idea of Sky Blue Sky's chill vibe but found that record too saccharine and by-the-numbers, Schmilco is your jam. The title suggests a shrug, but the album's hard-won obsrvations are found everywhere.

"That’s exactly what Jeff Tweedy and his long-running creative juggernaut Wilco have done on their tenth album, Schmilco, a record that they’ve described as “joyously negative.” As Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman pointed out in our cover story on the LP, it’s “a description that should frustrate every music critic out there looking for the perfect signifier.” He’s right. It is frustrating to search for cynicism and discontent in an album that finds the band sounding more at ease than … well, ever. If Tweedy has so much to be crabby about, then why the hell does he sound so relaxed?

Because those two states of mind aren’t mutually exclusive. The latter might even be dependent on the former, and Schmilco recognizes that from the get-go. On opener “Normal American Kids”, Tweedy reflects on how carefree his younger days were, even though he resented the positivity of his peers while growing up. Now that he’s older and has witnessed or experienced events actually worth fretting about — addiction, sick relatives, doomsday politics, the works — he realizes the cruel joke of his own adolescent misanthropy: So many of us spend the easiest times of our lives being consumed with dread when the worst is yet to come. And when the worst does come at an older age, sometimes we’re better equipped to deal with it than in the past — if we’re honest about our own darkness, that is. “Normal American Kids” is not a song about wasted romance or happiness, but wasted worrying. Think of it as a gleefully grotesque reversal to “Heavy Metal Drummer” and all its halcyon sentimentality." - Consequence of Sound



TUNS - Tuns

"If you grew up on the collective songbooks of their Super Friendz, Sloan and the Inbreds, chances are you'll be grinning just as big over this latest release. Certainly, parts of the record could be likened to the former Haligonians' halcyon days. For instance, while driven by a glammy stomp from drummer Chris Murphy, the backing falsetto harmonies of his bandmates on "Look Who's Back in Town Again" echo his closing cries on Sloan ballad "The Other Man." That said, the act broadens its horizons by exploring '80s vintage Athens, Georgia jangle ("Mixed Messages") and twitchy, cane sugar-spiked power pop ("Mind Your Manners"). Slowing things down just slightly for the finale, O'Neill steals hearts with a tender vocal turn on the lightly strummed, but heavily swoon-worthy "I Can't Wait Forever." While it's a group of seasoned pros, there's a wide-eyed and youthful feel to TUNS. In part, this could be attributed to Matt Murphy's quite cherubic vocals, but more than that, it just sounds like the three old pals are having a blast working together. Beyond its heaps of pop-rock hooks, TUNS debut full-length is a testament to the eternal power of friendship." Exclaim

LEE MOSES - Time and Place (2016 reissue)

"Lee Moses was a huge talent and if he’d had the big hit album he richly deserved, Time And Place would’ve been it. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Moses cut his teeth in the clubs of Atlanta, the ‘Motown of the South’, where he frequently performed alongside his contemporary Gladys Knight (who reportedly wanted him for the Pips, but couldn’t pin him down).

It was, however, in New York in the ‘60s that Moses made his greatest bid to find the solo fame he desired. Moses began working there as a session player, even playing frequently with a pre-fame Jimi Hendrix, but his close relationship with producer and Atlanta native Johnny Brantley eventually saw him getting his own break via a series of 45s in 1967 – most notably with covers of Joe Simon’s “My Adorable One”, The Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” and The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”.

It was 1971 before Moses’ dream of being at stage front was realized, when he released his Brantley-produced LP Time And Place for Maple Records. Recorded with a band including members of The Ohio Players and Moses’ own backing group The Deciples, it was, nonetheless, Moses himself whose star quality shone through, via his scratchy guitar riffs, his throat-ripping vocals and the stirring mood that permeates the LP’s heady mix of funk, soul and R&B." - Light In The Attic


COPENDIUM: An Expedition Into The Rock'n'roll Underworld by Julian Cope

Published in the UK in 2013, now available in North America...

"I like to fancy I know a little bit about the more obscure corners of the rock world. Did I not, after all, spend 20 years listening to John Peel? Did I not sneer at and spurn the mainstream? I am now chastened. I know nothing. Or at least, nothing compared to Julian Cope, erstwhile frontman of the Teardrop Explodes, now writer, unofficial warden of the ancient sites of Britain, and, by his own admission, spaced-out freak. (And by my own earnest assertion, under-appreciated national treasure.)

Here is a book of umpteen reviews by Cope of umpteen bands, a book so thick that its spine alone can accommodate not only the book's title and author, Faber's logo and a drawing of the Cerne Abbas giant waving an electric guitar, but three quotes from reviews of the book itself (from Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Roddy Doyle and Q magazine). Of these umpteen bands, I had heard of about 11.

The reason you want to read that is – apart, of course, from the idea you might learn something – because of Cope's prose. As far as I know, both the Oxford Style Guide and Faber's in-house manual do not explicitly rule out spelling "was" "wuz", but they don't rule it in, either. Cope uses that spelling when mentioning the band the Pretty Things, who, as Cope puts it, "wuz Born Never Arsed a full decade too early". (In other words, they were punks avant la lettre, and he's right.) The book is almost all written in an unapologetic, Lester Bangs mid-to-late stoned NME style, and it's no accident that the late-hippy adjective "righteous" not only comes up frequently, but is the first word of the book after its introduction. Sentences are long, quirky but controlled – and hugely informative. It is, in short, a celebration of the music Cope is himself celebrating: loud, irreverent, verging on the apparently mindless, but actually possessed of an underlying tight control and intelligence. In other words, just right." - The Guardian


VA - Celestial Blues: Cosmic, political and spiritual jazz 1970-74

"Something strange happened to jazz last year. An album by a previously under-the-radar session saxophonist broke through to international acclaim. “The Epic” by Kamasi Washington, an aptly named three CD set, paid homage to an era of jazz that had been rather overlooked. Sometimes called spiritual jazz, it dates from the latter part of the 60s and early 1970s. Many of the political and philosophical concepts of the time were used as guiding points for jazz’s increased mysticism. Searching for deeper meaning, the musicians were looking for jazz’s next great leap forward, while building on the post-bop and free jazz templates laid down by John Coltrane and Miles Davis, as well as contemporary sounds such as funk and soul, African and Middle Eastern music with touches of rock and contemporary composition.

This development was set against a background of American jazz at a crisis point. The neighbourhood clubs had begun to close as the jazz audience diminished; black Americans had found new sounds to dance to and enjoy. Jazz took on a new role, as its practitioners began to create challenging new music, providing hooks through funk bass-lines, boogaloo beats and sometimes vocals. This form was unlikely to ever enjoy large sales and could only be found on independent labels such as Prestige, Muse, Black Jazz, Strata East or Tribe." - Ace Records


HOWARD TATE - I Learned It All The Hard Way

"A killer collection of work from the great Howard Tate – a stunning soul singer who recorded mostly during an initial decade in the studio, then briefly returned to fame in the few short years before his death – always with a depth and vibrancy that set him apart right from the start! Tate was born in the south, but raised in Philly – and as such, has this unusual blend of deep soul vocals and more sophisticated modes – heard most famously in his early work with producer Jerry Ragovoy, but carried on strongly in his 70s records too – all of which are sampled here, in a collection that includes material from Howard's sessions for Verve, Atlantic, Epic, HT, and Turntable Records! CD features a massive 29 tracks in all..." - Dusty Groove


HANK BALLARD - Unwind Yourself: King Recordings 1964-67

"Unwind Yourself focuses on the period in Hank Ballard’s long career that has remained relatively under the radar in the CD era. It features every surviving record he made between early 1964 and late 1967, a period during which soul took over from R&B and his King label-mate James Brown spearheaded the funk revolution. Ballard made every effort to remain up-to-date but struggled to get his records heard by a wide audience. Whatever reasons DJs might have had for ignoring them, it surely was not the quality of the records or Ballard’s performances, which are first-rate throughout.

While this collection is aimed primarily at soul and funk fans, there are lots of choice R&B cuts to grab the attention of those who enjoy music of an earlier vintage. The vast majority of the tracks here have never been reissued. All but three are presented in the straight-ahead mono sound of the original King singles and albums. The remaining three are heard in genuine stereo (rather than pesky 2-track, with vocals on one channel and everything else on the other). Featured musicians include Lonnie Mack, Beau Dollar and a host of other Cincinnati notables, not to mention James Brown himself. The CD booklet offers a vast array of original labels, album sleeves and beautiful period photos, some of which have never been seen before." - Ace Records


BETTY DAVIS - Columbia Years 1968-69

"Miles and Betty fans have long debated the truth of a near mythological session recorded in Studios B and E at Columbia’s 52nd Street Studios on May 14th and 20th, 1969. The landmark session was produced by Miles and Teo Macero and featured Betty on vocals, accompanied by Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, guitarist John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock on keys, and Dylan/Miles session bassist Harvey Brooks. Other players included bassist Billy Cox (Band of Gypsys), saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and organist Larry Young. Now, Light In The Attic, with full support from Betty herself, presents these recordings to the public for the very first time. These historic sessions—never heard, never bootlegged—predate Miles’ revolutionary album,Bitches Brew, and are the true birth of Miles’ jazz-rock explorations, along with the roots for Betty’s groundbreaking funk that came years later, starting with her self-titled debut in 1973. While, ultimately, these recordings would go unreleased for nearly half a century, they would greatly shape each of their careers.

The vibe is intrinsically unique, fresh, and futuristic—jazz heavyweights playing psychedelia, rock, and jazz-fusion long before the term became commonplace. The songs include Betty originals and covers of classics by Creedence and Cream. The concepts explored on these previously unheard sessions fueled concepts that wouldn’t be fully realized until years later with Miles’ seminal On The Corner." - Light In The Attic


VA - Soul On The West Coast Vol.2

"In the early 1960s, African American music styles were still hugely diverse, and several regions had their own distinctive style. The West Coast was generally quite pop-oriented, yet the magnificent Bobby Taylor and Alexander Patton prove that there were plenty of deep, soulful singers located in California. Here's another full-tilt collection of the very best that the busiest LA studios had to offer in the early-mid sixties. Quality music from 50 years ago that still moves the feet and the heart. Timeless!" - History Of Soul


VA - Modernism

"Since the dawn of club culture modernists have looked for the very best black American music. Here are 24 tracks that would have filled dancefloors at any time in mod’s history. Some, of course, were looking for more, wanting to go deeper. They were given the chance by a group soul collectors who wanted to revive the musical fun of the original mod clubs. These included my colleagues DJ Tony Rounce and co-compiler Ady Croasdell, who with Randy Cozens ran the influential 6Ts Rhythm ‘N’ Soul club nights with a music policy that comprised a mixture of soul, R&B and whatever else worked.

Randy in particular was evangelical about the new mods getting into the sounds the original mods had danced to. He wrote to the music papers and eventually Sounds asked him to compile a list of the Top 100 original mod records. The list was of 99 records – all original UK issues – plus one made-up title, set as a trap for anyone who claimed to have all 100.

“Modernism” is our take on the records mods would have, could have and sometimes actually did dance to. With our cover picture of a group of mods from the mid-80s, it may seem we have taken a bias towards that period, but in fact we are trying to depict the timeless nature of the whole world of mod. These 24 slices of rhythm and soul would sound perfect in any mod club." - Ace Records


VARIOUS ARTISTS - First Class Rocksteady

"Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of Rocksteady, 17 North Parade presents First Class Rocksteady; a comprehensive 40-track collection of the pivotal selections from that genre that preceded reggae in Jamaica. The sound was a mid-step between ska, which was the leading island sound, and reggae; a sound that slows the tempo but keeps the guitar accent on the upbeat. The collection captures the early work from some of the genre’s defining artists including Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Techniques (featuring Slim Smith), Desmond Dekker, Johnny Nash and many others." - VP Records


NOVOS BAIANOS - Acabou Chorare

"Acabou Chorare (No More Crying in English) is the second album by the Brazilian musical group Novos Baianos. The album was released in 1972 by Som Livre, following the group’s somewhat successful debut É Ferro na Boneca (1970). The group adopted the expressive guitar of Jimi Hendrix and the “brasilidade”[this quote needs a citation] of Assis Valente, and was heavily influenced by João Gilberto, who served as the group’s mentor during the album’s recording.

Its opening track, “Brasil Pandeiro”, was suggested by Gilberto and is one of two sambas (along with “Recenseamento”), which Valente composed for the arrival of Carmen Miranda to the United States. The album title and its title track were inspired by Gilberto’s Bossa nova style, and by a story told he told the group about his daughter. The song lays out the main idea of the album: to criticize the sadness and melancholy that were on display in contemporary Brazilian music, and to replace them with joyfulness and pleasure. Some of the album’s most successful songs include “Preta Pretinha”, “Besta É Tu” and “Tinindo Trincando”.

40 years after its release, the album continues to be one of the most popular and influential of the Brazilian music in general. Later generations of Brazilian singers, especially women like Vanessa da Mata, Marisa Monte, CéU, Roberta Sá and Mariana Aydar, cite the album as one of the strongest inspirations. In 2007, in the “The 100 Greatest Albums of Brazilian Music” by Rolling Stone, Acabou Chorare came at the first position, being considered a masterpiece by the specialists, producers and journalists who were asked for their opinions." - Light In The Attic