This is the first official reissue of these recordings since their initial release as singles. Available now from Lion Productions.
There were no deluxe studios for the musicians who recorded the devastating tracks contained herein. Nothing so grand. Most of these tracks were recorded live, with traditional instruments finding a place alongside any keyboards or guitars that could be found. And yet, it was the experiments of Khmer rock musicians which transformed the nightlife of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh—and which many years later continue to seduce listeners around the world with their groovy sound. The music is wild and anarchic, rhythmic and undulating, or sweet and lyrical, but always moving and with that deep soulfulness, regardless of actual musical genre or style, that is the hallmark of the best and most important music. The lyrics often tell stories of angst, death, betrayal and sorrow. But there is a very real, deep, inescapable tragedy in these grooves as well.
Alas, in 1975 came an entirely different type of transformation: the rise to power in Cambodia of the fanatical, anti-Western, Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot. Within roughly four years, implementing their “concept of Year Zero,” Pot and his regime were responsible for the deaths of an estimated two million Cambodians (roughly 21% of the nation’s population), many in the notorious “killing fields.” Even the most famous and beloved Khmer musicians could not escape. Sinn Sisamouth, the “King of Khmer music”; Ros Sereysothea, the “Golden Voice of the Royal Capital”; and Pan Ron — all featured on this collection of songs written by the majestic Sinn Sisamouth — met their deaths at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Jon Swain, who was the Sunday Times war correspondent in South Vietnam and Cambodia at the time, said: “Educated people, musicians, people with glasses… a lot were taken to the killing fields… so the great singers disappeared.”
To us, the richness and deep soulfulness of Cambodian music is akin perhaps to what was excavated from Ethiopia and embraced worldwide over the years thanks to the “Ethiopiques” series — this despite the geographical and cultural distance between the two very different nations. It really is one world, not three.
Another World was produced by band member Scott Ligon and The Flat Five. It was recorded/engineered by Flat Five drummer Alex Hall at his popular Chicago studio, Reliable Recorders with some additional sessions done at Wilco’s gearhead paradise, The Loft, engineered by Mark Greenberg.
The charms of this band are manifest. These guys are all about vocal harmony — five hardcore vocal buzz junkies — and they share a vast range of influences from The Free Design to The Three Degrees to Captain Beefheart and a restless desire to explore a song from the inside out: to see just how far out it’ll go. This sophomore album showcases The Flat Five’s trademark keen musicianship and their slightly subversive sense of humor. It’s marked by the playful wide-eyed sweetness that colors all their music, tempered with their appreciation for how freaking good it feels to listen to a beautiful bummer on repeat sometimes. Like Charles Schultz said: “Happiness is a Sad Song.”
Penrose Records is proud to introduce the newest members of the family, the Inland Empireʼs own Vicky Tafoya and the Big Beat. Born in Santa Ana and currently residing in Colton, Vicky started singing a capella doo wop in the late 80s for the So. Cal. Doo Wop Society and went on to co-found the Big Beat in 2001. Their debut single on Penrose is a moody minor chord ballad featuring a reverb laden guitar solo and beautiful girl group harmonies behind Vickyʼs effortless yet haunting vocal about two people longing to be together… Forever.
Available November 20th. Pre-order via the US Daptone Shop (shipping worldwide) Pre-order via the UK-based shop (shipping within Europe, only)
We are very excited to announce the reissue of Black Unity Trio – Al Fatihah on vinyl. PRE-ORDER NOW!
As the next installment in our OHWax vinyl series, we present what was, quite possibly, the first ever independently-released free-jazz record. Originating in Oberlin, Ohio as the Black Unity Quartet, and ultimately becoming the Trio (Abdul Wadud, Yusuf Mumin, and Hasan Al Hut), the group recorded Al-Fatihah on December 24, 1968 at Agency Recording Studio (which was located upstairs in the building housing the legendary Agora Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio).
We have spared no expense in making this reissue – cut all analog and remastered from the original 1968 master tapes! Our friend Grammy-Award recipient Paul Blakemore’s restoration and remastering work cleaned random ticks from the original source, as well as greatly improved the balance to bring out some of the instrument subtleties which were barely, if at all audible, in the original pressing. The deluxe gatefold packaging features extended liner notes written by Ras Moshe Burnett.
On this limited-edition pressing, we also used Gotta Groove’s proprietary GrooveCoated stamper plating technology — This involves an additional electroforming step in the creation of the metal stampers used to press the grooves into the records. GrooveCoated stampers have a lubricious surface which helps high frequencies in particular to be held more intact during the course of manufacturing, verses traditional stampers.
Album #5 in just as many years! But this one is quite unlike the others. Made in the midst of a pandemic with an onslaught of in-your-face racism, police brutality, death, homelessness, poverty, inequality, injustice and life as we know it changing forever all hitting with brute force at the same time, A Funky Bad Time was made under stress in a way the prior four albums weren’t. But just because times are bad, doesn’t mean they can’t be funky. In fact, the badder, the funkier. So funky you gotta spell BADD with two Ds! 12 slices of cold blooded instrumental funk (+ 1 Bandcamp-only digital bonus track) from Jay Mumford (aka J-Zone) and Pablo Martin – with guest musicians Horn Diapersen (fka Ike “Time Wolf” Parker who played alongside Jay in Ben Pirani’s band) on bass and percussionist Bruce Martin (who joins the Du-Rites live and plays alongside Pablo in Tom Tom Club).
Available as part of RSD Drop #3, Saturday 24th October 2020.
Dig on track after track of superior sounds: the fuzz-fueled freak-outs of the Mystery Lights; the swirling, mind-altering melodies of Michael Rault; the troglodytic tune-smithery of the Ar-Kaics; the anglophilic grooves of Benny Trokan, and the Fame-Beats; the Link Wray-inspired madness of the Buzz Brothers; the soul-tinged savagery of the Jay Vons; as well as tracks from newcomers, Steady Sun and Eric McEntee; and beyond! Some of the tracks will be available for the first time on vinyl! This is one helluva compilation, folks. Don’t sleep on it – Wick is watching!
Soul Step Records are so fired up to share that they are welcoming back to Soul Step for a second release is Cincinnati’s own COASTAL CLUB. After a strong demand for the 45 single release of “Shake You / Make its By” they get to share on vinyl the newest release from Coastal Club, “ ~ i get nervous sometimes ~”
~ i get nervous sometimes ~ is the best sunny indie pop that Ohio could produce! This album is for fans of Hippo Campus, COIN, and Bombay Cycle Club. It’s hard to imagine these sun-soaked indie pop jams are from the Midwest! Coastal Club will continue to hit your ears with hook after hook after hook. This is an album of delicious ear-worms that will stay in your head all day long. Put this album on your turntable and watch your life get bright and sunny real quick.
The Queen City quartet of indie surf rockers was formed in 2017 by a group of friends looking to blend indie rock and pop with the surf music of the 60’s and 70’s. While based in landlocked Ohio, there is a longing for the coast found in their romantic, beachy melodies. Coastal Club has tirelessly played and continued to hone in on their unique sound. With the release of “ ~ i get nervous sometimes ~” we are presented with SIX brand new Coastal Club tracks and the vinyl specifically carries the tracks from their previous self-titled EP. Just as a special treat for the vinyl fans out there.
Soul Step Records will be releasing “~ i get nervous sometimes ~” by Coastal Club to Soul Step Record Subscribers on Saturday, September 5th. The general public sale will begin on Monday, September 7th.
There will be a limited to 100 Lipstick Red vinyl variant in addition to the standard black vinyl. Soul Step Records highly encourages fans to sign up to be a Soul Step Subscriber for free, as many of our limited edition vinyl sell out very quickly.