10 Essential Albums From Blue Note Records

Posted by Billy Gil, September 29, 2014 06:35pm | Post a Comment

10 Essential Blue Note AlbumsSome of our staff have picked out essential albums from Blue Note Records that should satisfy both the purist and the newcomer to go along with Sonos Studio’s brilliant exhibition celebrating the label's 75th anniversary.

A bit about Blue Note’s history: The label was in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis, getting its name from the “blue notes” of blues and jazz, or notes sung a bit lower than the major scale for expressive purposes. Moving from traditional jazz to some bebop (including artists like Thelonious Monk) in the 1940s and hard bop (artists such as Horace Silver) in the 1950s, Blue Note distinguished itself by paying musicians for rehearsals as well as recordings, in order to ensure a better final product. With iconic album artwork by Esquire designer Reid Miles (using photographs of the musician in session, taken by Blue Note’s Francis Wolff), Blue Note made its name as one of the most influential labels in jazz music, later issuing records by free jazz musicians like Ornette Coleman and popular musicians like Herbie Hancock, having records sampled in hip-hop records by the likes of Madlib and, now, seeing massive success with mainstream artists like Norah Jones.

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Led Zeppelin Release Alternate Mix of "Rain Song" Ahead of 'IV,' 'Houses of the Holy' Reissues

Posted by Billy Gil, September 29, 2014 08:10am | Post a Comment

led zeppelinLed Zeppelin on Oct. 27 will release reissues of their biggest album—their fourth, self-titled album from 1971, regularly dubbed IV, as well as its follow-up, Houses of the Holy. Ahead of those releases, the band has made available an alternate version of Houses' "The Rain Song," which you can hear via Pitchfork.

As with their reissues of I, II and III, the deluxe versions of these reissues will come with a bonus disc of previously unreleased tracks. The albums have been remastered by Led Zep guitarist Jimmy Page, who had this to say in a press release:

"The Rain Song" is the sort of piece of music that Led Zeppelin could approach and do so successfully and so masterfully. This whole genre of the sensitivity, where it can sort of caress you, it’s something that I’ve always been very proud of. The companion disc version is really a good blend of everything that’s actually being played.

The reissues will each come in CD, deluxe edition CD, vinyl, deluxe edition vinyl, digital download and vinyl versions, as well as a box set that includes both the CD and LP deluxe versions as well as a coffee table book with the cover art and other Led Zep goodies. Preorder below:

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Essential Records: The Smashing Pumpkins' 'Adore'

Posted by Billy Gil, September 26, 2014 11:33am | Post a Comment

Essential Records Smashing Pumpkins Adore


We’re starting a new series where we talk about records that personally made a difference in our lives. Today we’ll talk about Smashing Pumpkins' cult favorite fourth album, Adore, which was just re-released on a seven-disc Deluxe Edition CD set and will be re-released on vinyl Oct. 7 (pre-order here).


Smashing PumpkinsWhen Smashing Pumpkins released their fourth album, Adore, I was about to turn 16. It was the summer of 1998 and I was all set to start band camp, complete with bleach-blonde hair and an injured toe. 

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Weekly Roundup: RL Grime, Wand, Ariel Pink

Posted by Billy Gil, September 25, 2014 11:55am | Post a Comment

RL Grime – “Reminder” (featuring How to Dress Well)

rl grimeThis track from L.A. producer RL Grime sounds like how you remember the best of late ’90s R&B in your head. With Grime’s bass-heavy, lingering production, “Reminder” does have a dreamy, lovelorn feel, but How to Dress Well’s Tom Krell, who’s pretty much the king of dreamy and lovelorn, is actually as lively and engaging as you’ve ever heard him before here. You’ll get a kick out of hearing him sing rapid-fire lines like Justin Timberlake. The track will be on RL Grime’s new album VOID, due Nov. 18 on WEDIDIT.


Wand – “Flying Golem” video

wandWand’s video for their stomping psych-rocker “Flying Golem” (off the recently released Ganglion Reef) is an explosion of ’90s- style animation, from the pixilation of old video games to early CG-animation to the sleazy cartoons of MTV’s “Liquid Television” (kids, look it up if you don’t know it). Man, MTV was cool in the ’90s. What the fuck happened. This would’ve been right at home on “120 Minutes.”

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His Name Is Alive Channel Afropop and Study Thin Lizzy For New Album

Posted by Billy Gil, September 25, 2014 11:10am | Post a Comment

his name is aliveHis Name Is Alive, the experimental music project by Warren Defever that had a remarkable run of records during the glory days of 4AD, have a new one coming out Oct. 28 called Tecuciztecatl, due from Light in the Attic.

As Pitchfork points out, the press release calls it a “psychedelic rock opera.” However, the lovely “African Violet Casts a Spell” suggests an Afropop vibe, so we’ll see:


While making the album, Defever and guitarist Dusty Jones made a study guide of sorts of every Thin Lizzy guitar solo recorded between 1971 and 1983. So we’re hoping for harmonic guitar glissandos aplenty on this one. Hear the whole hour-plus mind-melting Lizzathon below:


More details about the rock opera element are here:

The rock opera is imagined vaguely in the shape of a 1969 Hammer horror film: bloody, British, gothic, and brimming with beguiling and attractive vampires. The songs are written from the perspective of five characters: the mother, the doctor, the twins and the librarian whose side hustle is demon hunting. The story begins with a young woman getting an ultrasound who discovers she's pregnant with twins. Realizing something is going terribly wrong, "I think I'm missing something on the inside," she visits a local library for research. The librarian instructs the woman on how to kill the demon baby without harming the other twin, and together they carry out the various rituals necessary. Eventually one baby is born.

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