The Groundhogs – “Thank Christ For The Bomb” (Fire)
A much needed reissue from a hugely overlooked 60’s English blues-rock-turned-weirdo band. “Thank Christ For The Bomb” is the Groundhogs’ third record; a sort of loose concept album about World War II that lyrically manages to both understand the necessity of war while simultaneously condemning the need for it. Musically, it hits all the expected late 60’s British blues hot spots, but more often than not straddles a newly constructed line between Jefferson Airplane and the Magic Band; skittering melodies and progressive rhythmic structures met with the occasional blisteringly lysergic guitar solo. This is available in two editions: “Private Press,” which comes in a green slipcase and contains only the album proper, and the “Major Edition,” which comes in a red slipcase and contains a bonus LP of period-era live performances. Absolutely essential for fans of 60’s hard psych.
Various Artists – “Disco Not Disco” (Strut)
Record Store Day is known amongst collectors for its bevy of exceptional compilations, and this is yet another wonderful introduction into a barely-explored music world: the post-disco burnout. Dance music for people that don’t like dance music, and experimental music for people that are tired of fussing over their Echoplex and just want to move. While this has been previously released on compact disc, it remains a somewhat legendary compilation, and it has finally gotten a proper treatment on 3 disco-style loud cut LPs. Absolutely essential for any fan of post-punk danceable ennui.
Various Artists – “Sugar Hill Records 40th Anniversary Box Set” (Rhino/Sugar Hill)
Even if you’re barely a casual hip-hop fan, you’re already familiar with this material…but this particular box set is not merely a collection of 6 classic Sugar Hill Records 12” singles. It is, quite literally, a cue and scratch lesson plan for the self-taught. If you’ve been curious about finally cutting your teeth on that dual Tech 1200 DJ array you bought ages ago, this is exactly what you’ve been waiting for, and it’s nothing but beats that you are comfortable and familiar with.
Side note: This gets my vote for “best packaging” apart from the South Park film soundtrack, which is obviously the most lavishly packaged RSD release this year.
There are over 500 titles being released on Saturday, and the vast majority of them will go criminally overlooked.
Rasputin’s Stash – “Stash” (Family Groove)
This unreleased and newly recovered album from 1976 is straight up coke-blown funk incarnate by a group of unsung pioneers. A perfect distillation of syncopation, sparse melody, paranoid and flippant romantic musings, and harmonic arrangements that even George Clinton would envy. If you’re wondering if you’re happy, this record will let you know in either direction. Also, it comes in an absolutely visually stunning holographic/reflective sleeve that, in tandem with the cover image, makes for a virtual “buy on sight” presentation. Fans of dirty-ass funk shouldn’t even think twice about this one.
Various Artists – “Brazil Classics, vols. 1, 2 & 3” (Luaka Bop)
This one is an obvious choice, and a legacy title…David Byrne’s original personally curated series of Brazilian classics, all pre-Tropicalia, just straight up rhythm and melody. This is a no-brainer pick for me, simply because it’s one of the few budget titles ($30 for 3 LPs, and if anyone charges more, they’re gouging you) that is packing way more bang than its buck. Those of you that are already familiar with the Tropicalia movement will find a lot to love here, with early tracks from Jorge Ben, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Gal Costa. You will also find a plethora of new avenues that, within this context, will not only lend depth into the development of what ended up being the future of Brazilian popular music, but will give you a crash course in the traditional music that led to it. This set is absolutely essential for crate diggers, historians, pop music aficionados, and melody junkies alike.