In the early seventies, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards were playing in rock and soul bands across New York City and the east coast, meeting up with Tony Thompson along the way and forming the rudiments of what would become one of the most powerful and successful pop/R&B outfits ever known. By 1977, Chic sailed into the top rungs of the charts with their smash debut single "Dance, Dance, Dance" along with the killer funk of their self-titled debut album. A year later, their chart fortunes multiplied with the release of C’est Chic. The #1 LP was chock full of hit singles, funk madness and probably some of the finest rock/funk/soul beats ever put to wax. Featuring the huge chart toppers "Le Freak" and "I Want Your Love," Chic truly were at the top of their game across the world. Also featuring vocalists Alfa Anderson, Norma Jean Wright and future superstar Luther Vandross, Chic became the group of choice for party people, dance clubs and radio stations alike. Further cuts like the power track "Happy Man" and the stellar instrumental "Savoir Faire," helped C’est Chic sell over six million units during its first run at retail. Chic’s importance is still felt today with top groups like Daft Punk citing the group as an influence and collaborating with the funk and dance groove master himself, Mr. Nile Rodgers in 2013. Friday Music is pleased to usher in the their Chic 180 Gram Vinyl Series with the release of the goup's #1 groundbreaking masterwork C’est Chic, mastered by Joe Reagoso at Friday Music Studios and featuring faithfully restored artwork elements.
Released at a time when Reggae was gaining worldwide attention, Exodus perfectly illustrated the political and cultural nature of an art form that was becoming the mouthpiece for both the Rastafarian religion and the struggles of the Jamaican people and it made Bob Marley the undisputed sovereign of the genre. Originally released on Island Records in 1977, Exodus became one of Marley's first albums to receive international recognition thanks to the huge hits "Jammin," "Waiting in Vain" and "One Love/People Get Ready."
The classic Bob Marley Best Of album, Legend collects the reggae pioneer's greatest genre-defining songs, running the gamut from "I Shot the Sheriff" to the meditative "Redemption Song" and the irrepressible "Three Little Birds." The beauty and simplicity of Bob Marley's music was as important as his message and Legend is the ideal all-encompassing look at his excellence, warmth and humanity.
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Grammy Award winning recording artist Miguel first hit the mainstream in 2010 with the infectious first single "All I Want Is You," from his major label debut album of the same name, a song which blended a stark hip-hop beat with the singer's creamy vocals to form a sound that was absent from the radio and established Miguel as one of the most unique and soulful voices in modern R&B. The album also featured "Sure Thing," which hit #1 on Billboard's Hip-Hop/R&B chart and second US #1 "Quickie." Miguel’s follow up was his critically-acclaimed, four-time Grammy Award nominated, sophomore album Kaleidoscope Dream, which featured his third US #1 hit single "Adorn," the intoxicating "How Many Drinks?," "Do You..." and "The Thrill." In 2013 Miguel was nominated for a total of 5 Grammy Awards. Lead single "Adorn," written and produced by Miguel, garnered his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and resided at #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hip Airplay chart for more than 23 weeks becoming the longest running #1 in the chart's history. Miguel makes his welcome return in 2015 with his highly anticipated third studio effort, Wildheart, due out on ByStorm Entertainment/RCA Records and preceded by the lead single "Coffee." The album also boasts guest appearances by Kurupt and Lenny Kravitz. This 180g 2LP Deluxe Edition includes a handful of bonus tracks including "Gfg," "Damned" and new mix of the song "Simple Things."
Upon being introduced to Free The Robots’ music while on tour for Souls of Mischief, Opio gravitated towards FTR’s bass-heavy vibe and added his catalogue to his daily music rotation. While reading up on FTR, Opio learned that he not only is he a beatmaker but a food maker as well and when the tour roared through his hometown of Santa Ana, Opio made a point of having dinner at FTR’s restaurant, The Crosby. While at dinner with his tour-mates, producer and composer Adrian Younge and Souls of Mischief-mate, Phesto, Opio and Free The Robots got a chance to know one another. As is turns out, a lot of Free The Robots’ hip hop background had been greatly influenced by Opio, and Opio, wanting to take his solo work in a more futuristic progressive direction, found inspiration in FTR. They immediately clicked. By the end of dinner, they had plans to make a record. Recorded predominately in a small town in the middle of a redwood grove called Cazadero,Sempervirens is a product of the duo’s time spent along the verdant Northern California coastline. “This time spent away from the chaotic concrete jungles we both live in recharged our batteries and set the stage to create art off of the renewed energy from our inspiring journey,” explains Opio. “I feel like we are both going through a re-birth,” adds Free the Robots, “and with that, we both have been able to create with no expectations; just open minds” Splitting their time between Cazadero and the Sonoma and Mendocino County coasts while deep in the recording process proved to be a fertile creative landscape to shape the album. The title, Sempervirens, comes from the ‘Sequoia Sempervirens,’ which is the scientific name for the giant redwood tree. The term ‘sempervirens’ also means “always living.”
King Midas Sound is comprised of Kevin Martin (also known for his work under The Bug moniker), singer/poet Roger Robinson, and vocalist Kiki Hitomi. Their landmark 2009 debut Waiting For You on Hyperdub quickly established them as falling sonically somewhere between sub-electronic lovers' rock, dub and the bleakest, slowest mutation of narco hip-hop, while on the live front they were nestled somewhere between the apocalypse and FX-drenched, shoegaze laments. In both arenas they are known as a brooding sonic force. With a move over to Ninja Tune plus the release of 2013's lauded Aroo single and in particular its b-side "Funny Love” an even deeper sense of spaciousness began to set in. That track’s dramatic tonal shift acted as a catalyst for the idea of a conceptual collaborative project to be born. Hence this first edition (in a series of four), appropriately titled Edition 1. Looking even further back it does seems fitting that the person (Kevin Martin) who once curated a compilation called Isolationism is one of the key contributors behind this truly mesmeric examination of melancholy and desolation, Edition 1 features collaborator number one, Austrian guitarist / electronic musician Fennesz. His 2001 album Endless Summer was a swirling mix of electric tonal guitars and sweeping emotional shifts which inspired and sparked an admiration within Kevin and Roger to bring him onboard. Utilizing improvised guitar tracks, samples, and unreleased material from Fennesz's archive, Edition 1 took shape within the KMS framework. In the wake of Kevin's last Bug album Angels & Devils, he wanted to create a record focused on kaleidoscopic sonic beauty, bathed in the bluest emotional lyricism. This record reflects the group’s past, present, and a truly extraordinary future. Edition 1 is a tide coming in. A fog reaching out into nothing, and encapsulating everything. An ultimate parting note drifting into absolute loneliness, swept up in a sumptuously blurred, dronal haze. Hallucinatory tone poems of heartbreak, despair, disappearance, and displacement. Seductively spatial sketches of long goodbyes. Music to cling to or to be used to move past. Sounds set adrift on their own tonal plain and reigned back in by Roger & Kiki's complimentary, yet extremely different deliveries. Cosmic blues meets a siren’s song. A zonal re-examination of "It's Raining Today" or an audio representation of a Sugimoto "Seascapes" photo... A high water mark forever etched to memory. Additionally, watch for these two sonic heavyweights and their no-holds-barred performance reputations to bring this collaboration to the live stage starting with European dates in the autumn. Edition 2 through 4 to follow, with collaborators kept under wraps, each one to be a genre-stretching and boundary-pushing surprise, packaged with a conceptual continuity.
Criminology is rap at its finest. The second single released from "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" features Raekwon and Ghostface Killah trading bars over one of RZA's hardest beats. Add some Scarface samples and – well, what else do you need? The combination of Raekwon and Ghost is undeniable but don't forget to flip the record over for "Glaciers Of Ice" which combines frantic beats and "Meyer Lansky raps", add a Masta Killa verse and this might be this singles crowning jewel. Now available for the first time ever in a 7 inch pressing from Get On Down.
East Coast hip-hop duo the Underachievers formed in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2011, comprised of rappers AK and Issa Gold. AK had originally been using the stage name "The Underachiever" and applied the moniker to the duo when they began, representing their fondness for smoking weed, experimenting with psychedelic drugs, and other interests which could be seen as symptoms of underachieving by mainstream society. Their curiosity for psychedelics bled through into a somewhat trippy sound that combined frantic rhyme styles with heavy, experimental production. A video for one of the duo's early tracks caught the attention of critically acclaimed producer Flying Lotus, who signed the group to his label Brainfeeder Records in 2012 and released two of their mixtapes the next year. Proper debut full-length Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium saw release in August of 2014.
“I'm kinda young / But my tongue speaks maturity” Thus stated Special Ed, on his 1989 smash hit, “I Got It Made.” And he backed up that brag throughout his trademark anthem, which featured laid-back brags that MCs a half-decade his senior couldn’t mess with. The Brooklyn MC was only 16 when it was released, making him one of the youngest rappers – especially at the time, before the 90s brought us Kris Kross and Lil Bow Wow – to ever have a hip-hop hit. The song itself, which floated over a perfectly hooked up slice of Ripple’s “I Don’t Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky,” was produced by Hitman Howie Tee, who also made waves in the late ‘80s with his cousin, Chubb Rock. When Ed and Howie combined, it was a match made in heaven, and the song exploded in New York before taking over worldwide. Eventually becoming sample fodder on dozens of later songs – from Fat Joe to Kendrick Lamar – the track still invokes heavy head-nods today from crowds of all ages. Also included on this special 7-inch is the “Businesslike Version” of the song (also produced by Howie), which also appeared on the original 12-inch. Featuring a minimal, synth-driven backdrop and a quicker pace, it offers an excellent new way to experience Ed’s forward-thinking lyricism. This unique, deluxe “big hole” 7-inch comes housed in a custom Profile 45 jacket.
Ambient Krautrock in line with Cluster, Popul Vuh, Tangerine Dream by JJ Whitefield (Poets of Rhythm/Whitefield Brothers/Karl Hector & The Malcouns). Download card included. Now-Again Records has enjoyed a long and creative partnership with Munich-based multi-instrumentalist JJ Whitefield, creative force behind the Poets of Rhythm, Whitefield Brothers and Karl Hector & The Malcouns. Rodinia, his latest project, is quite different than anything that’s come from his oeuvre to date, but follows in the line of the Poets of Rhythm’s great Discern/Define, as it reaches back to Krautrock’s experimental heyday but pushes its boundaries with a post-hip-hop approach. That’s to say that everything you read in the header above is true, but the ambient sound Whitefield and his Rodinia collaborator - saxophonist and keyboardist Johannes Schleiermacher – reached for found itself morphing over the course of a year. What was originally recorded in a two-day studio lock-in, which found Whitefield and Schleiermacher hooking up “all our vintage synths (Korg MS-20, Moog Prodigy, Roland Juno 60, Jen SX 1000, Korg Polysix), triggering everything with a vintage Korg rhythm box, absorbing some mind altering substances and jamming out,” was later turned into two, side-long suites, with over-dubbed reeds, drums and guitar, and self-made Moroccan field recordings introducing the project on its Drumside. The result is as winsome and exploratory as those from their forebears, but respectfully distanced from the past’s trappings. With original artwork by Jason Jagel (DOOM’s Mm Food, Operation DOOMsday).
Have You In My Wilderness is Julia Holter’s most intimate album yet, a collection of radiant ballads. Her follow-up to 2013’s widely celebrated Loud City Song explores love, trust, and power in human relationships. While love songs are familiar fodder in pop music, Holter manages to stay fascinatingly oblique and enigmatic on her new album. Have You in My Wilderness is also Holter’s most sonically intimate album. Here, she and producer Cole Marsden Greif-Neill lift her voice out of the layers of smeared, hazy effects, putting her vocals front and center in the mix. The result is striking—it sounds as if Holter is singing right in your ear. It sounds clear and vivid, but also disarmingly personal. The focused warm sound and instrumentation — dense strings, subtle synth pads — adds to the effect. Like Holter’s previous albums, Have You in My Wilderness is multi-layered and texturally rich, featuring an array of electronic and acoustic instruments played by an ensemble of gifted Los Angeles musicians. Have You In My Wilderness deals with dark themes, but it also features some of the most sublime and transcendent music Holter has ever written. The ten songs on the album are shimmering and dreamlike, wandering the liminal space between the conscious and the subconscious.
In recent years, Apollo Brown has become an institution of Detroit hip-hop. Through skillful collaborations and refining his own recognizable style, Brown has moved to the forefront of the underground scene. For his newest album, "Grandeur," Apollo Brown has assembled an all-star cast of MCs like Freddie Gibbs, MOP, Evidence and more to join the stage with him as he displays his signature brand of hard-hitting production.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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