Chameleons Vox Strange Times Live Sister Ray

Newsletter 05/07/19

Pre-orders and new releases available online now!

I’ll dispense with the preamble this week and get straight to the important stuff – this week’s goodies. So without further ado…
Something a bit special heading up the new releases this week. We have a lovely little exclusive for you. ChameleonsVox are releasing a live version of their celebrated album “Strange Times” and we are lucky enough to be the only store selling the super limited chameleon splattered double vinyl edition. Known for their atmospheric, guitar-based sound and passionate lyrics, they are regarded as one of the most underrated Manchester bands of the 80s. They did not attain the commercial success of other groups from the Manchester scene but developed a cult following. The Chameleons, as they were originally called, were formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester in 1981. Their debut album “Script Of The Bridge” was released in 1983 with the second “What Does Anything Mean?” in 1985. “Strange Times”, their third LP, marked their signing to Geffen and came out in 1986. According to Chameleons frontman Mark Burgess: “The album was recorded at Jacob’s Studio in Surrey, south London over a period of five weeks. The material was only loosely sketched and we didn’t really have any idea how the album would turn out. We’d spent a month or so getting the ideas together living in a small house in the Lake District of England and rehearsing the ideas in a school hall, specially hired, just outside the village of Hawkshead”. Two singles were released from the album: “Tears” and “Swamp Thing”. “Strange Times” was praised by critics; Melody Maker called it “a marvellous departure” from their previous work and “a wonderful record”. The New York Times described it as “the band’s most inventive and winning album yet and as a fine a record as any pop-rock guitar band has made this year. […] it should delight just about anyone”. Recently reformed as ChameleonsVox, the live recording was made at Preston Guildhall in 2018. This Sister Ray exclusive features the bonus “Where In The World” EP on side 4 of the splattered, multi-colour double LP.
We have two excellent Dinked indie exclusive releases this week. Starting with one of our favourite albums of late, “HiiDE” on Death Waltz Recordings. The debut album from BABii was produced in conjunction with legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood of On-U Sound, long time collaborator of Lee “Scratch” Perry. This is electro tinged pop/R&B which features skittering beats, thick, layered synths and heavy bass with a slight industrial feel. The vocals sound disarmingly sweet but they hide a darkness that is only apparent when you focus on the lyrical content. We interviewed BABii recently and she gave some fascinating insight into the making of and meaning behind “HiiDE” so we recommend giving that a glance > BABii interview. We have the ‘Dinked’ edition which is limited to 450 copies and comes on 180g clear with white splatter vinyl. It has an exclusive hologram sleeve, with sticker sheet and insert designed by BABii herself.
Also joining the Dinked gang is Jesca Hoop with her new LP “Stonechild“. This is the fifth album from the Californian singer-songwriter and was recorded in Bristol with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding, This Is The Kit). While Hoop’s trademark finger-plucked guitar and ethereal textures remain, the songs and their presentation are ever more direct. Parish “was a gentle collaborator until he killed one of my darlings” Hoop jests. “I’ve never been so brutally edited, and I wasn’t shy about expressing my discomfort at the sight of my work on the cutting room floor. He said, you will forgive me, and in some way, I think I actually enjoyed that treatment…being stripped back to the bare basics…albeit painfully”. We have the limited, numbered Dinked Edition with mirror-board sleeve, signed art print and exclusive flexidisc on black and white marbled 180g vinyl.

Also released this week is the eponymous debut album from The Soft Cavalry. Released on Bella Union, this record was masterminded by Steve Clarke with invaluable contributions from his wife, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, on co-vocals and spiritual/practical guidance, and Steve’s brother Michael, who produced the record. The band’s music is a particularly British brand of intense cinematic drama. Melodic and timeless, the album lands in the atmospheric dimensions between Pink Floyd, Talk Talk and Mansun. This is coming on one blue and one yellow, double vinyl.

We have plenty of reissues this week spanning across the decades. Everything But The Girl‘s classic “Amplified Heart” celebrates it’s 25th anniversary edition. The 1994 album from the British duo of Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, yielded a U.K. and U.S. hit with “Missing” via a Todd Terry house remix. Primarily an acoustic-driven album, it is now newly remastered and sounding great.

The Melvins‘ 5th, 7th and 8th albums receive the limited reissue treatment. “Houdini“, “Stoner Witch” and “Stag” were originally released in 1993, 1994 and 1996 respectively and are the only 3 albums released during this period on Atlantic before they were dropped from the major label in 1997. All three are pressed on super limited silver vinyl.

Jackson Browne‘s “Running On Empty” also sees a reissue. His 5th and most successful album reached #3 in the U.S. and earned two grammy nominations. It was originally released in 1977 and was entirely recorded on tour, either live on stage, or in locations associated with touring, such as backstage, on tour buses, or in hotel rooms.

We also have The Cramps sixth studio album “Flamejob“. Originally released in 1994 on Creation Records this marked a return to form after the patchy previous album “Look Mom, No Head!”. This is the limited 25th anniversary edition of 2000 individually numbered copies on flaming (orange & yellow swirled) vinyl.

We have some delayed releases finally seeing the light of day this week: The Rolling Stones “Rock And Roll Circus“, long considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of rock films and featuring The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, The Dirty Mac Band (John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell & Keith Richards) and Yoko Ono is released for the first time on vinyl, as well as a 2CD set… “Ágætis ByrjunSigur Rós‘ classic second album gets the 20th anniversary deluxe treatment with demo and archive versions of songs from the album, plus never-before-heard newly unearthed material from the time, rare b-sides and the full 95 minute concert played in Reykjavík on the day the record was released… Often regarded as Japan’s first female singer-songwriter, Sachiko Kanenobu created an enduring legacy with “Misora” reissued this week. A timeless classic of intricate finger-picking, gently soaring melodies, and rustic Laurel Canyon vibes. Originally released in 1972 on URC (Underground Record Club), one of Japan’s first independent record labels, the Haruomi Hosono-produced album remains one of the most beloved works to come out of Japan’s folk and rock scenes centered around the Tokyo and Kansai areas in the early 1970s.
On the Guruguru Brain label, Minami Deutsch, the legendary Japanese krautrock band sees their first 2 albums reissued this week – “Minami Deutsch” & “With Dim Light“. This is 70s rare groove meets psychrock. Essential listening for krautrock fans. Also on Guruguru Brain we have a repress of the debut album from Thailand’s Khana Bierbood, produced by Go Kurosawa (Kikagaku Moyo) in Tsubame studio in Tokyo. “Strangers From The Far East” features a unique sound influenced by 60’s surf music, 70’s garage rock with Thai traditional music.

Pre-orders this week from: The Velvet Underground – “The Complete Matrix Tapes“. This 8xLP box collects recordings of the band’s two-night stint on November 26 and 27, 1969, at San Francisco club The Matrix, owned and operated by Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin…

Suicide‘s classic debut album “Suicide” will also be reissued this month. The album was recorded in four days at Ultima Sound Studios in New York and featured Martin Rev’s minimalist electronics and harsh, repetitive rhythms paired with Alan Vega’s rock and roll-inspired vocals and depictions of urban life. A game-changer that is still inspiring today….an essential purchase. Reissued on red vinyl…

Also on pre-order is the debut album “Para Mi” from the endearing 21 year-old Omar Banos AKA Cuco. His brand of dream pop takes cues from jazz and hip-hop, combining homemade drum packs and loops with self-taught keyboard, trumpet, guitar and his sing-talking cadence to create twinkly lullabies. Like Of Montreal doing trap, this is a new favourite for us here, well worth a look…

Danish producer Trentemøller has announced his 5th studio album “Obverse“, due in September on double coloured vinyl…

Moon Duo have added their forthcoming album “Stars Are The Light” to the Dinked roster. This will be a limited edition of 500 copies on yellow vinyl with ‘Dinked’ obi strip and hand-numbered print.

All of these plus plenty more…

That’s your lot this week. As always, thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Sister Ray

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