Vinyl pressing: Unavailable on vinyl since its initial release on Cadabra Records in 2017, the Bleak December adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is yet another essential recording for fans of classic horror fiction. As with other audio dramas produced by Bleak December’s players, this was adapted by longtime Cadabra collaborator Anthony D.P. Mann, who also plays Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, and features an abridged take on Stoker’s century-old masterwork.
Of course, as this is Dracula, who plays the titular villain? None other than horror icon Tony Todd, whose deep and rumbling tones are perfectly suited for the mesmeric exhortations of the bloodsucking fiend. One does not hear what he’s saying so much as feeling it within your head, much as if Todd’s count is communicating with you as he does with Lucy Seward.
His work here follows in the footsteps of other icons who’ve guested in Bleak December’s work, such as David Warner as Karswell in Casting the Runes or The Wicker Man with Brian Blessed as Lord Summerisle, wherein an instantly-recognizable voice is used to superb effect to raise the already rock-solid work of the cast.
Speaking of the regular cast, one especially worth noting in Dracula is regular Bleak December player Nikolas Yuen, whose portrayal of Renfield manages to rise to the level of mania exhibited by Dwight Frye in the same role over 90 years ago. Frye’s work in Todd Browning’s Universal Pictures adaptation of the Bram Stoker classic is legendary, but the shuddering, maniacal work Yuen brings to his few minutes in the role result in genuinely hair-raising terror evoked within the listener.
Regular composer for these works, Brent Holland, once again brings the deftest of touches to the music here in Dracula. The opening overture is resplendent with deep, bass-laden strings and a wordless choir, giving the production precisely the introduction it needs after the equally sonorous tones of Todd’s vampiric opening. The strings and choir provide the musical through-line which connects this abridged take, and briskly moves the story along.
Vinyl Pressing: Newvelle Records Unveils First Exclusive Series in More Than Two Years — The Renewal Collection is a four-album series affirming the resilience of music through the anguish and loss of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Newvelle’s community of jazz patrons have come together year after year to support some of the most talented artists on the scene and help bring their music to the world. With plans to press only 500 copies of this limited-edition collection – Newvelle’s first new series release in two years – our long time listeners (you!) will once again play a critical role in ensuring that we can continue to record and release music with the care and attention that we’re known for.
A pre-order not only secures copies of these records, lovingly captured on 180-gram vinyl (pressed with GrooveCoated stamper technology), for your own collection. You’ll be supporting musicians who have presented a wide range of musical reflections and celebrations on what it means to be jazz artists in this moment, and guaranteeing that their art gets to be heard.
Things are looking up for The Harlem Gospel Travelers, who return here with a new album, a new lineup, and a new lease on life. Produced by Eli Paperboy Reed, Look Up! marks the group’s first full-length release as a trio, as well as their first collection of totally original material, and it couldn’t have come at a more vital moment. The music still draws deeply on the gospel quartet tradition of the ’50s and ’60s, of course, but there’s a distinctly modern edge to the record, an unmistakable reflection of the tumultuous past few years of pandemic anxiety, political chaos, and social unrest. The songs are bold and resilient, facing down doubt and despair with faith and perseverance, and the performances are explosive and ecstatic, fueled by dazzling vocal arrangements punctuated with gritty bursts of guitar and crunchy rhythm breaks.
Born out of an non-profit music education program led by Reed, The Harlem Gospel Travelers—singers Thomas Gatling, George Marage, and Dennis Bailey—released their debut LP, He’s On Time, to rave reviews in 2019, with Pop Matters hailing the album’s “musical transcendence” and AllMusic praising it as “dreamlike and joyous.” The record charted on Billboard, earned the Travelers high profile fans like Elton John (who invited them to appear on his Rocket Hour radio show on Apple Music), and landed them festival slots everywhere from Pilgrimage to Telluride Jazz.
New Vinyl Pressing: A deep dive into the 21-year journey of New Zealand DIY pop pioneers Tall Dwarfs, aka Alec Bathgate and Chris Knox (both previously of Toy Love and The Enemy fame). Designed and painstakingly curated by Bathgate himself, this 55-track collection comprises songs from across the band’s discography which spans a slew of full-length albums, EPs, singles, and compilation cuts released between 1981 and 2002. Unravelled is an abbreviated primer into the ramshackle brilliance of Tall Dwarfs, whose influence has lived on through artists as varied as Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Beck, Waxahatchee, Bill Callahan, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the Mountain Goats, and Neutral Milk Hotel, just to name a few.
New Vinyl Pressing! Jonathan Richman – Want To Visit My Inner House?
Featuring Tommy Larkins on drums, Jerry Harrison on keyboards and Nicole Montalbano on tambura. Recorded at the Mountain Studio in Marin. Produced by Jonathan Richmond, Jerry Harrison, and Nicole Montalbano. Shameless, Shameless was recorded at The Cottage by Jake Sprecher Special thanks to our engineer and collaborator Karl Derfler.
New vinyl pressing from Chris Lugan – The Real Thing.
“Iʼve been going at this music thing for a long time”, says Lujan. “But, it wasnʼt until a few years ago that I started getting some real traction going.” – Chris
Chris Lujan, Bay Area born and raised, has been churning out the jams playing bass behind various projects since the early-90ʼs. Itʼs been a long time coming. But, itʼs finally time for him to step out front. And, in a big way.
With this new album, The Real Thing, from Chris Lujan & Electric Butter, Lujan has proved himself a masterful producer/engineer/musician. “Iʼve gotta do all this shit myself. I ainʼt got the money to pay anyone else to do it. So, I have no choice other than to step up to the plate myself and show my ass.”
With the addition of vocalist Andre Cruz, this album truly shines as one of the best from this new soul scene! Andre, performing on nine of the ten tunes, really brought this project to life. “Before Andreʼs collaboration, this album was kind of just a mish-mash, “best of” (what Iʼd done before) kind of affair. Once I started working with Andre, the true album started to take shape.”
At times moving, fiery, and jubilant, this album is, as Jose Valle (Raza Del Soul) puts it, “Soul with a heavy heart.”
New vinyl pressing! Auburn Lull’s classic debut now available on vinyl for the first time. Originally released on Burnt Hair Records in March, 1999, this reissue marks the 20th anniversary of Darla’s CD reissue in February, 2002.
Auburn Lull was formed in the mid-90s by four rural mid-Michigan teens with their ears tuned to the overseas sounds of Slowdive, Seefeel, The Verve, Eno, and Flying Saucer Attack, to name just a few. The band quickly became associated with other like-minded Michigan bands, particularly Mahogany, with whom they split their recorded debut The Dual Group EP on the now legendary Burnt Hair Records in 1997. Released in 1999 to critical acclaim, Alone I Admire was the band’s first full-length and remains the band’s touchstone. Though their recorded output comes at a snail’s pace, Auburn Lull continue to evolve, surprise, and push their sound into uncharted territory.
New vinyl pressing: Utterly wailing “solos” over a base of thick distorted guitars, Loren Connors’ music conjures up scenes of lonely streets, dark nights, but also hopeful and joyful mornings. 9th Avenue is the first vinyl reissue of a CD Loren released on his Black Label in 1995, a view into his mid-90’s heavier electric guitar era, back when he was going by his Loren Mazzacane Connors moniker.
9th Avenue fits right alongside releases from that same time period, such as Long Nights (Table of the Elements) and Crucible (Black Label, with his partner Suzanne Langille), as well as his collaborations with Alan Licht, Keiji Haino, and MMMR (group featuring Jean-Marc Montera, Thurston Moore, and Lee Ranaldo).
The LP consists of 11 pieces, ranging from heavy bottom-end distortion with overlaid single-note airiness, to multi-layered dirge, to washed/phased out vignettes, to single note story-telling delicateness, all with a particular sound that makes you feel like you’re in the next room. With more than 100 releases, Loren is a singular and unique force in the cannon of American experimental guitar players.