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Omega Music

Omega Staff Picks 2021

Here's some of the new music that helped us get through 2021 here at Omega.  Enjoy!

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A musician whose influences span hard rock, psych, garage rock, and energetic pop, Andrew Gabbard has long been a force on the Southwestern Ohio music scene. Working with Thee Shams, The Buffalo Killers, and currently as The Gabbard Brothers with his brother Zach, Andrew is truly a prolific artist covering a wide range. The Buffalo Killers caught the attention of Dan Auerbach who produced their debut LP and Andrew is currently part of the touring band for The Black Keys. Now joining forces with another Ohio establishment, Colemine Records, Andrew hopes to hone his sound and grow his reach. His first LP as Andrew Gabbard is Homemade, a mix of hazy pop infused with alt-country vibes that feels part Neil Young, part Wilco, and part Flaming Lips all at the same time.

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Gil Evans to Miles Davis, Holger Czukay to the ensemble known as Can, Jean Claude Vannier to Serge Gainsbourg on Histoire de Melody Nelson. That's the only way to explain the specificity of Four Tet and Madlib's collaboration, in this special album that showcases a two-decade-long friendship that has resulted in what follows Madlib's classics like Quasimoto's The Unseen, Madvillainy and his Pinata and Bandana albums with Freddie Gibbs.

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Fresh off of their 2020 offering Adult Themes, El Michels Affair is back with a new full-length release. Titled Yeti Season, this newest album has everything we've come to expect from EMA's patented cinematic style of instrumental soul music. Where Adult Themes inspired a soundtrack to an imaginary film, Yeti Season brings us to a different place in time-with new inspirations. Taken with Turkish-styled funk and an almost Mumbai-esque take on soul, El Michels Affair offers us a different kind of drama and imagination with Yeti Season. If you've been following along, this shouldn't be viewed as too far a departure for El Michels Affair. The first single off of Yeti Season showed their hand back in 2018. A double-sided banger, that release brought the musical textures to the fore that dominate this record. The first song, titled "Unathi," is fully realized with the beautifully haunting-yet-hopeful vocals of Piya Malik, formally of 79.5-another Big Crown artist. Singing in Hindi, Piya's ethereal voice is telling us to work and strive together toward progress. Even if you don't understand her language, you can still hear the urgency of purpose, creating a lasting vibe that sits on top of it all.Leon Michels explains that Piya had a vital influence on this record: "When Piya started singing in Hindi, she had a different voice, a different tone. I knew we had to do something together." And so Piya appears on three other songs on Yeti Season: "Zaharila," "Murkit Gem," and "Dhuaan." Each providing particular signatures to the album. "Zaharila" is a building and changing love song punctuated by blaring trumpets, driving drums, and Piya's pleading lyrics. While the more upbeat "Murkit Gem" opens with a fuzzed out, Wu-Tang-esque baseline that buoys Piya's stylings. The psychedelic guitar and Piya's changing tones and textures singing about an all-consuming love are what pushed "Dhuaan" on to the second single from Yeti Season. There is also a vocal appearance from Shannon Wise of The Shacks, yet another Big Crown artist. Her song called "Sha Na Na," lies more in the familiar EMA vein: melodic, hypnotic, soulfully visual. But between Shannon's airy singing, the jumpy baseline, moody vibes, the active drum lines, it sounds like a pensive walk home after a strangely dramatic night.So what is Yeti Season? It could be more of a feeling than an actual place or time of year. It's a heavy album-as evidenced by the signature musicianship and dramatic vocal expressions. But it's also a hopeful record, with phrasings, textures, and chord changes that hint at something better-or fuller-coming our way. You hear it in songs like "Ala Vida," with it's stabby, pulsing chords laying a bedrock for EMA's bright, atmospheric horn lines. Or even in "Fazed Out," which leaves you with a feeling of determination, a striving for resolution even though the driving, march-like song structure should accompany some conquering army.This persistence has to come from the fact that Leon Michels and company finished this record during the lockdown. It was a tough and troublesome time. But look at what has come of it: Yeti Season-a record of high and heavy drama, but also one of hope and promise.It may take a year like 2020 behind us to find hope in a winter big footed creature like a Yeti, but that's where we are.- Limited Edition Deluxe Version comes with 50 page children's book inspired by the album. Written by Francine Prose and illustrated by Omar "El Oms" Juarez
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El Michels Affair follows up the massive success of their full length Yeti Season with The Abominable EP. A collection of unreleased tracks, alternate takes, and instrumentals from the Yeti Season recording sessions.EMA's blending their signature cinematic soul sound with influences from Turkish Funk and the grittiest of Bollywood soundtracks yielded an instant classic The Fader calls "a carnival of dusty funk and soul".The EP starts off with the unreleased gem "Messy Grass" whose synth intro, peppered with distant yeti cries, gives way to a tremendous backing track that Tamer Pinarbasi's Qanun dances over. On "Cham Cham" EMA invites Piya Malik to the microphone again to share her styled storytelling vocals over the instrumental track from Yeti Season's "Perfect Harmony". Where some of the tunes on the EP have vocals added, some of them have them removed letting the band take center stage; "Poison Song", "Uncut Gem", "Smoked", and "Progress" are all instrumen- tal here giving them a wholly different energy than the vocal versions.The EP is being released with two different covers, each one has two paintings from different Ghanaian mobile cinema artists commissioned through Chicago's Deadly Prey Gallery and are interpretations of the original album artwork. One version is paintings by Stoger and Heavy J, who also contributed cover paintings to the Return To The 37th Chamber album. The other version of the cover is two paintings by Teshie and Farkira.
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Drummer, producer & beat scientist Makaya McCraven digs through the Blue Note vaults with this new remix project that puts a modern bounce on jazz classics by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, & more. McCraven's mastery of the loop is akin to hip-hop's most celebrated beatmakers like J Dilla & Madlib, both of whom have also remixed Blue Note tracks, but McCraven's unique approach also incorporates new recorded elements including his own drums, Joel Ross' vibraphone, Jeff Parker's guitar, & more.
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Double vinyl LP pressing in gatefold jacket. 2021 release by Canadian instrumental group BadBadNotGood. It is the band's fifth studio album and first in five years. A mostly improvisational work, it was written by the trio with contributions from featured American instrumentalists Laraaji, Karriem Riggins, Terrace Martin, and Brandee Younger, and string arrangements from Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai.
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New Age Doom follows up it's critically acclaimed 2020 drone metal opus Himalayan Dream Techno with a serendipitous LP featuring the dub legend Lee "Scratch" Perry as lead vocalist. With it's central themes of experimentation and dreaming, the album takes listeners on a sonic trip through a genre-defying blend of drone, jazz, stoner rock, noise and (of course) dub. "It felt natural to team up with an artist well known for boldness and experimentation," reflects drummer and co-producer Eric J. Breitenbach on the choice of approaching Perry to appear on the album. "We never expected him to say yes, but at the same time, never doubted that he would. Once he was aboard, everything else just fell into place." Delivering a life-affirming performance equal parts blessing and warning, Perry drops benevolent wisdom bombs and soaring melodies of holy adoration. Possessed of blessed inspiration, the legendary Upsetter "kills us down with love" with his singular brand of freestyle proselytizing.
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Vinyl LP pressing. Brian Jackson JID008 is the first full album released by the great man in 20 years and it's a testament to his multifaceted talents that while there are moments throughout that hint at his game-changing history and track record, for the most part it reveals a musician whose considerable lessons learned from the past only serve to keep his eyes firmly fixed on the future. It's a masterclass in unbridled and open-minded creativity, no different from what Brian did half a century ago. The ease and comfort with which his ideas integrate with those of musicians a generation younger than him bears this out. To listen to this album is to hear a hot up-and-coming musician who also happens to be a major jazz-funk legend.
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Devin the Dude is back with another classic. At 14 tracks, Soulful Distance plays on the current global scenario and oozes the familiar smooth sounds and cruising music that Devin is best known for. Keeping things local, the album features several notable Houston natives, including Scarface, Slim Thug, Big Pokey, & Lil Keke.
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R+R=Now

R+R=NOW Live [2LP]

Vinyl: $29.98 Buy

MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

Robert Glasper settled into NYC's Blue Note Club for an October 2018 residency, featuring new dream team collective R+R=NOW: Glasper/Terrace Martin/Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah/Derrick Hodge/Taylor McFerrin/Justin Tyson.

The music from their recent debut album, Collagically Speaking, took on expansive new dimensions in concert. R+R=NOW Live is a thrilling live recording with standout tracks such as "Respond," "Change of Tone," "Resting Warrior" and a cover of Kendrick Lamar's "How Much a Dollar Cost." Double LP.

Double LP of R+R+Now in concert in New York City

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The seeds of the collaboration were planted in 2017 when Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars toured together on the European leg of his 24K Magic World Tour. One late-night jam session on the road unlocked immediate chemistry. Just before the world slipped into quarantine, Bruno called Anderson: “Remember that idea we had back in 2017? Let’s do it.” One studio session grew into to a months-long collaboration, culminating the “setlist of doom.” Legendary Bootsy Collins christened Silk Sonic and came in as the “special guest host” for An Evening With Silk Sonic, their debut album.Silk Sonic was finally set free on March 5th, 2021. Within less than a month, their debut single “Leave The Door Open” cracked over 230 million streams, and currently sits at 1.2 billion streams with over 346 million official video views. It reeled in rave reviews, including Variety who noted it “could be a Best R&B Song GRAMMY® winner from 1974.” After petitioning the GRAMMY® Awards to #LetSilkSonicThrive, they made their debut performance with “Leave The Door Open” and served up a powerful tribute to Little Richard.
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Stimulator Jones

La Mano

Vinyl: $31.98 Buy

MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

Vinyl LP pressing. At the cross section between Jazz, Soul, Rock, Blues, Hip Hop, R&B and Funk stands Stimulator Jones. Coaxing strings that tremble with a cosmic frequency, keys beat in soulful repose while percussion relays some ancient, deep-rooted pulse. This is Stimulator Jones on La Mano. Stimulator Jones' sophomore LP finds it's way on the Oslo-based record label Mutual Intentions as the artist explores the musical possibilities contained in his hands. La Mano is a striking collage of sonic hues, developed through 13 musical vignettes across the LP. Prodigious and far-reaching influences are re-defined in succinct musical clusters as La Mano travels from Kingston's bustling yards to serene Parisienne walkways. Cruising grooves and mellow melodies convey a gauzy touch, breaking down the intellectual barriers of genre for the corporeal intimacy of the soul. La Mano finds the artist diligently pursuing an exploration in a fusion of musical languages, which he channels into novel territory on his debut for the Mutual Intentions collective.
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"Call Me If You Get Lost" is the sixth studio album from Grammy Award winning artist Tyler, The Creator and debuted #2 ARIA Album Chart / #1 Billboard 200 Chart on original release in June 2021. The album received terrific critical and fan acclaim, with many referencing Tyler returning to the rapping of his early career both as a solo artist and with the Odd Future collective. Key features on the album include Lil Wayne, Pharrell Williams and Lil Uzi Vert, as well as a track produced by Jamie XX.
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Steely Dan

Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live! [2LP]

Vinyl: $37.99 UNAVAILABLE

MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

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The first live Steely Dan album in over 25 years, Featuring Hey Nineteen, Aja, Reelin' in the Years & more on 2LP 180g black vinyl.

Steely Dan - Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live! [2LP]
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On May 21, Matador Records will release Afrique Victime, the long-awaited new album by Mdou Moctar. On Afrique Victime the prodigious Tuareg guitarist and songwriter rips a new hole in the sky ­' boldly reforging contemporary Saharan music and 'rock music' by melding guitar pyrotechnics, full-blast noise, and field recordings with poetic meditations on love, religion, women's rights inequality, and Western Africa's exploitation at the hands of colonial powers.

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When Aesop Rock debuted in the late 90s with Music For Earthworms and Appleseed, Blockhead was also a part of the process, not only as a producer, but also helping coordinate sales of the CDRs to hungry Hip Hop fans. Blockhead and Aesop continued to collaborate, creating an impressive list of songs along the way, including two of Aesop’s most popular songs to date; “Daylight” and “None Shall Pass”. In recent years, Blockhead has contributed production, as well as remixes, to many of Aesop’s solo releases and group projects, and Aesop has made a handful of guest features on Blockhead’s solo projects, but in all that time, Aesop and Block have never done a full album together, until now!
 
Garbology came together over the course of the pandemic, as well as in the midst of Aesop processing the loss of a close friend in January of 2020, resulting in a period of time of feeling uncreative. Looking back on that time that feels both like yesterday and forever-ago, Aesop recalls, “The world got real weird during those months. I knew at some point I had to get back to making something. Make a beat. Draw a picture. Write. Just go. But the idea of making a beat felt like math homework, and drawing is just so hard. Writing is hard too, but at some point I had to pick one.” With writing as the chosen path, Aesop hit up Blockhead to send over some beats. At the beginning there wasn’t a plan for an album, or any particular plan beyond creating some songs. However, it wasn’t long before one song became a few, and then a handful, until finally an album was born.
 
Garbology encapsulates the soundtrack of current times, capturing a snapshot of Aes and Block expressing a means of entertaining themselves in the midst of less social interactions than usual, “anchored on a goulash of cabin fever, fear, anger and boredom”, as Aesop describes it.
 
As for the album title, Aesop explains, “Garbology is defined as the study of the material discarded by a society to learn what it reveals about social or cultural patterns. I find a lot of parallels between that and the idea of picking up the pieces after a loss or period of intense unrest, and seeing what’s really there. It’s information that speaks to who I am, who we are, and how we move forward. Furthermore - the idea of digging through old, often neglected music from another time with an ear tuned for taking in that data in a different way than your average listener would is exactly what Tony does. Go through the information and see what you find.”

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Double vinyl LP pressing. Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge are best known for their collaborations with vocalists and MCs, but these two multi-instrumentalists and producers excel in their ability to conjure musical moods with or without vocal accompaniment. Similarly, the musical legends that these two handpicked to collaborate with across this series are all jazz legends equally at home crafting unadorned compositions as they are collaborating with vocalists. This double-LP collection presents exclusive instrumental versions of songs originally released on the Jazz Is Dead albums; Roy Ayers JID002, Marcos Valle JID003, Gary Bartz JID006, and Joao Donato JID007. Instrumentals JID009 captures the musical alchemy produced at the Linear Labs Studio by Adrian and Ali and their featured guests: Roy Ayers, Marcos Valle, Gary Bartz & Joao Donato. These 19 instrumental recordings encapsulate the spirit of the Jazz Is Dead concert and recording series, celebrating the African-American art form known as jazz through improvisation, musical collaboration and authentic cross-generational and cross-cultural communication.
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Dave McMurray made his Blue Note debut in 2018 with Music Is Life, an album that focused largely on his own assertive original tunes. Now, the saxophonist returns with Grateful Deadication, a cover album that turns one of the most celebrated catalogs in rock songwriting into a vehicle for his own jazz expression. McMurray transforms Grateful Dead favorites like "Dark Star" and "Franklin's Tower." He is joined by vocalist Bettye LaVette & Bob Weir & Wolf Bros. on a sublime version of "Loser."

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Neil Young

Carnegie Hall 1970 [2LP]

Vinyl: $34.98 Buy

MP3 Album: $12.99 Download

On December 4th 1970, Neil Young played two legendary solo acoustic shows at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The 23 songs in this set (2 LP & 2 CD) have been mixed from the original Ľ inch tapes by Young and Niko Bolas. This is the early show which has never been bootlegged or circulated, and is the first release in Neil’s new “Official Bootleg Series”.
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Guided By Voices

Earth Man Blues [LP]

Vinyl: $19.99 UNAVAILABLE

Is it really a musical?! The 33rd Guided By Voices album, Earth Man Blues, is a magical cinematic rock album, full of dramatic and surreal twists and turns. Lyrics and liner notes trace the growth of young Harold Admore Harold through a coming of age and a reckoning with darkness. Vivid scenes appear: snapshots of youth, fantastical nightmares, unknown worlds. The music hasn’t softened a bit. One will hear the impossibly perfect melodies and word play that you expect from Robert Pollard, with the band playing at peak-heavy. “Trust Them Now” rocks like an instant classic, “The Batman Sees The Ball” is lean, mean rock muscle. Opener “Made Man” tears and slashes at the ears and heart. Sweeping, colossal tracks like “Lights Out (In Memphis, Egypt)” and “Dirty Kid School” stretch far beyond the ordinary vocabulary of rock. Doug Gillard’s brilliant guitar playing explodes out of the speakers. The rhythm section of Kevin March and Mark Shue, always strong and reliable, has grown into a breathing composite organism. Along with Bobby Bare, Jr on rhythm guitar, they drive the songs and make one’s head shake. Producer Travis Harrison ties the talents of the band together, once again recorded remotely and individually, pandemic-style. This group brings to life the sounds in Pollard’s technicolor imagination.

Guided By Voices - Earth Man Blues [LP]
ON SALE
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The American Negro is an unapologetic critique, detailing the systemic and malevolent psychology that afflicts people of color. This project dissects the chemistry behind blind racism, using music as the medium to restore dignity and self-worth to my people. It should be evident that any examination of black music is an examination of the relationship between black and white America. This relationship has shaped the cultural evolution of the world and its negative roots run deep into our psyche. Featuring various special guests performing over a deeply soulful, elaborate orchestration, The American Negro reinvents the black native tongue through this album and it's attendant short film (TAN) and 4-part podcast (invisible Blackness). The American Negro - both as a collective experience and as individual expressions - is insightful, provocative and inspiring and should land at the center of our ongoing reckoning with race, racism and the writing of the next chapter of American history.

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OSEES return for another blistering LEVITATION Session, this time from the depths of a cavernous Los Angeles factory. The performance features a fresh batch of tracks spanning over a decade of the band's expansive discography with a handful of never-before-played-live tunes & some new surprises and is presented in its entirety here, pressed on a glorious Double 12" vinyl LP!

“OSEES pine for our fans and friends out there in the world, so we have come together for another stream with the mighty Levitation. I personally got stoned and stuck my face into the muck of our past catalog to bob for some dusty tumescent gems. There will be some oldies, and some moldies and some surprises along the way. I’m quite happy with how this one turned out. Shot in an insane old factory warehouse in Los Angeles (it looks like a fight scene set from Point Blank or the John Wick trilogy :) If you had told me a year ago we'd be doing these streams now i would have thought you were crazy, but, egg on my face, and here we are. I’m so glad to have this little thing to share a moment with y’all until we can meet face to face on the field of battle again. Mastered by the Guru JJ Golden, it will hopefully turn some frowns inside out and upside down....grossssss” - John Dwyer

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Limited green colored vinyl LP pressing. 2021 album from the hip hop duo.
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Dean Blunt's new album Black Metal 2 will be released by Rough Trade Records on Friday 22nd October. Available on heavyweight LP and CD.
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That William Parker is a bassist, composer and bandleader of extraordinary spirit and imaginative drive is common knowledge among any with an interest in the progressive jazz scene of the past 25 years or more. What's become increasingly apparent, though, is Parker's stature as a visionary of sound and song - an artist of melody and poetry who works beyond category, to use the Ellingtonian phrase. The latest multi-disc boxed set from Centering Records/AUM Fidelity devoted to Parker's expansive creativity underscores his virtually peerless achievement in recent years. Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (Volumes 1-10) is a 10-album collection of vocal and instrumental suites all recorded expressly for this set between late 2018 and early 2020, with women's voices at it's core. This is music as empathetic as it is intrepid, as philosophical as it is visceral, as resolutely modernist as it is attuned to tradition. Parker's art not only draws from the deepest well of African-American culture; it breathes in inspiration from across the globe, with sounds drawn from Africa, Asia and Indonesia as well as Europe and the Americas; there is free improvisation and re-imagined sonic collage; there are album-length explorations of solo piano and solo voice, along with string ensembles and ancient wind instruments. There are dedications to jazz heroes, Native Americans and Mexican migrants, plus tributes to the great African-American culture of Harlem and the mix of passion and compassion Parker found in vintage Italian cinema. Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World conjures a vast world of music and feeling, and it's creation is a feat that ranks with that of the most ambitious talents in any genre.
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Sons of Kemet returns in 2021 with their new album Black To The Future, the follow up to 2018’s Mercury Prize nominated breakout release Your Queen Is A ReptileThis release finds the UK-based quartet at their most dynamic – showcasing harmonically elegant arrangements and compositions, coupled with fierce, driving material that will be familiar to initiated fans. This is their 4th record, and 2nd on impulse! This album features prominent UK vocalists and a strong emphasis on lush compositions and arrangements. Guest artists include Kojey Radical, Moor Mother, Angel Bat Dawid, Joshua Idehen, D Double E and is part of the impulse! records “impulse 60!” 2021 campaign

Sons Of Kemet - Black To The Future [LP]
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To celebrate the success of "Palais d'argile", their third album, the Parisian quintet Feu! Chatterton offers a reissue with 4 live tracks. Recorded during several of their concerts, such as at the Francofolies 2021, these tracks honor the connection established for several years with an audience that is ever more receptive to the magnetism of the group and their mix of literate rock and catchy electro. A new CD which will accompany their tour of more than fifty dates throughout France, and of which 100 special copies will allow fans to win a very special gift
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