The Raconteurs Help Us Stranger Sister Ray

Newsletter 21/06/19

New Releases and Pre-orders – 21st June 2019

The sun seems to have finally arrived here in the south of England but that means nothing to us working away in the windowless Sister Ray basement… our only goal is to provide you with the best soundtrack to your summer… we are heroes, very pale heroes. So, while I down my vitamin D pills, I’ll let you peruse this weeks new releases and pre-orders…
Jack White and Brendan Benson et al are back after an 11 year hiatus. The Raconteurs “Help Us Stranger” continues the band’s legacy of melodic rock ‘n’ roll with more than a nod to the old guard (Led Zep / Deep Purple fans take note). This LP further proves that this is the Jack White project to follow for White Stripes fans looking for a fix. Recorded at Third Man Studios in Nashville, the album features 11 original tracks plus an excellent cover of Donovan’s “Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)”. Stand outs include the violin embellished “Thoughts & Prayers” and the head nod riffing of “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)”. Amusing fact: in Australia, the band are known as The Saboteurs. This is due to a Queensland band having already used the name Raconteurs. The Aussie band refused to give up their name for the amount of money they were offered, and instead asked for a higher price from The Raconteurs’ record company, who refused to pay the greater amount. A member of the Queensland band said that they had not been informed of who was trying to buy their name and asked for the larger sum of money to see what would happen… haha. “Help Us Stranger” is a solid slice of rock ‘n’ roll, that’ll undoubtedly sate the appetites of the band’s numerous fans, especially considering the wait they’ve had to endure. We have a few of the limited indies-only edition on white vinyl with alternate cover and hand-screen printed sleeve.
One of our favourite labels, Fire Records, stoke the embers yet again with the glowing psych of Jane Weaver‘s “Loops In The Secret Society“. This is a re-imagined journey through parts of both of Jane’s previous 2 albums, 2014’s “The Silver Globe” and 2017’s “Modern Kosmology” but with new ambient pieces primed and polished. No need to know the originals here though, this album is very much it’s own thing. This record has been beamed back from a nostalgic 80s vision of the future that we have thoroughly enjoyed exploring here at Sister Ray… great stuff. Black double LP in silver-foiled gatefold sleeve.
Your favourite ‘Uptown Funkster’ Mark Ronson returns with “Late Night Feelings“. The 5th solo album from the hip hop-turned-pop producer includes collaborations with Miley Cyrus, Camila Cabello, Alicia Keys, YEBBA, Angel Olson, King Princess, The Last Artful, Dodgr, Diana Gordon, and Ilsey. Ronson has described the album as a collection of “sad bangers,” with the title track laying down a warm mid-tempo dance groove under collaborator Lykke Li’s melancholy vocals. We have the limited double grey vinyl version.

Schlagenheim” is the debut album from hotly-tipped math rock quartet black midi who met at The BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology in Croydon, the same place that Adele, Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash, Katie Melua, Leona Lewis and Jessie J all studied… not that black midi bear any musical relation to the latter, they really don’t. Recorded with Speedy Wunderground producer-of-the-moment Dan Carey, who the band praise for his quick, unfussy approach, black midi apparently laid down eight of the record’s nine tracks in just five days. They report that the process was one of refining and rebuilding tracks around the initial structures and that five hour jams would sometimes yield a riff that then became just a few bars of a song. The German word ‘schlagenheim’ translates to ‘hit home’, and that’s exactly what the critics are saying the band have done with this excellent debut. 

On limited clear vinyl we have the debut LP “Keepsake” from Hatchie on Heavenly Records. Working once again with producer John Castle (who collaborated on 2018’s debut Sugar and Spice EP) the Brisbane-bred musician delivers lush, swoony melodies and hypnotic layers of sound drawing from a kaleidoscopic sonic palette – synthpop synthetics, pulsating beats, cascading guitars and enthralling vocals… well worth a look.

On a reissue tip this week we have 3 classic Chic albums – “C’est Chic“, “Risque” and “Chic” – some of Nile Rodgers best work, all remastered and looking damn fine. Cher‘s “3614 Jackson Highway” is also reissued this week on limited edition coloured vinyl with bonus LP that includes her 1970 unreleased Atco album.
Also released this week: With mixed feelings we announce the release of “Dreems“, the fifth album from Parisian duo Cassius, 20 years since their debut “1999” in err…..1999. Philippe ‘Zdar’ Cerboneschi and Hubert ‘Boom Bass’ Blanc-Francard return to their original house sound with heavy use of their new Korg synthesizer (Phillippe very sadly passed away this week, RIP)… Philippe Zdar also appears as producer for the 7th Hot Chip album “A Bath Full Of Ecstasy” released this week, coincidentally the first time the band have chosen to use outside producers from the offset. On limited edition double crystal clear vinyl… The Oh Sees “Graveblockers EP” from 2006 is reissued this week. Originally released on 6″ vinyl and later in 2010 on double pack 7″ and now a 12″ for the first time. On olive green vinyl – limited to 400 copies… These plus many more.


On pre-order this week: The Gorillaz LP “The Fall” will finally see a physical release having only been available digitally in 2010 and solely for paying members of the band’s premium access Sub-Division Club. Ed Sheeran has announced his “No. 6 Collaborations Project” LP with collabs from Chance The Rapper, Eminem, Skrillex and many more. The soundtrack to the forthcoming “Stranger Things – Season 3” will be coming soon on limited clear coke bottle coloured double vinyl LP + 7″. The cunningly titled 3rd album “III” from Banks is imminent too. Paul Woolford has announced another Special Request longplayer. “Bedroom Tapes” is comprised solely of lost material from a recently discovered box of cassettes that emerged in a house move – due for release on Houndstooth at the end of June.Sleater-Kinney‘s 10th album “The Center Won’t Hold” will soon be with us on limited LP plus bonus 7” of “Hurry On Home” & sticker sheet! These plus many many more! 

***Stop Press***
Last minute announcement from XL Recordings – a new Thom Yorke LP! “Anima” will be available on ‘indies only limited double 
orange vinyl’ and ‘limited deluxe double orange vinyl with book’ versions as well as the usual black vinyl and CD. These have started to fly already so please don’t sleep on them.

Well that’s your lot for this week – until next time, have a great week!

Sister Ray

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