ORANGE JUICE, COALS TO NEWCASTLE (DOMINO)
Coals to Newcastle is a seven-disc anthology covering Glasgow's Orange Juice's six-year recording career. This box set offers a look into one of most underrated and under-appreciated groups of all time. Six CDs and one DVD contain the band's entire discography, originally released on their own Postcard label, with several albums-worth of material never released in North America, radio sessions, and live performances. This release is almost like repaying a historic debt, as Orange Juice influenced countless bands like the Smiths, the Wedding Present, Belle & Sebastian, and Franz Ferdinand, whose material was all readily available while only a handful of singles and compilations from Orange Juice could be found. This isn't a good introduction to the band simply because it'll be way too overwhelming--but if you're already interested in Orange Juice, Coals to Newcastle is essential.
RIKKI ILILONGA & MUSI-O-TUNYA, DARK SUNRISE (NOW-AGAIN,
Now-Again presents an anthology of "Zamrock" gems from Rikki Ililonga and his psych-rock band Musi-O-Tunya in the form of a 2-CD hardbound, full color book and bonus 7" and a 3-LP box set called Dark Sunrise. The set includes 7" psych and pop singles, Musi-O-Tunya's debut album Wings of Africa, and Ililonga's solo works Zambia and Sunshine Love. Now-Again's Egon is a reissue master extraordinaire and doing us all a massive favor by making earth-shattering rarities from this Zamrock pioneer available again. If you like the heavy, fuzzy sounds of WITCH--which really needs to be on vinyl for less than $46--and the Ngozi Family, you're going to love Ililonga and Musi-O-Tunya.
GROUP DOUEH, BEATTE HARAB (SUBLIME FREQUENCES)
Beatte Harab is the third release from Western Saraha's best-known musical export, recorded in April in their home town of Dakhla. Group Doueh has been playing Mauritanian folk music with Western rock influences in and around Dakhla for over twenty-seven years and Beatte Harab is their cleanest-sounding record yet, with higher production values than their last two. The same guitar heroics and soaring vocals are present, alongside the traditional Moorish instruments like the tinidit (three string Mauritanian lute), tbal (clay drum), ardin (kora-like harp played traditionally by women), and the kass (tea glasses) and Korg synth. Beattle Harab is a limited edition vinyl release and (like pretty much anything on Sublime Frequencies or Mississippi) will likely sell out fast.
GIRLS, BROKEN DREAMS CLUB EP (TRUE PANTHER SOUNDS)
Girls is Christopher Owens and Chet "J.R." White and Broken Dreams Club is their follow-up to last years' Album (yes, an album titled Album). The six-song EP sounds like the record Girls probably wanted to make with Album but couldn't afford at the time. Broken Dreams Club is unsurprisingly and undeniably sad music that is their sound perfected. These are simple songs that draw you back to late '50s pop rather than the '60s rock 'n' roll stylings of Album. It has a much fuller sound than previous Girls recordings, with similar subject matter, as Owens sings about the insecurities of teenage girls, heartbreaks, and loneliness--and makes it all sound so romantic.