Australian Jazz/Rock Excellence by Rob Thomsett – LP #4 in Now-Again Reserve

Now-Again | Jul. 6, 2016 | News |

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Australian guitarist/visionary Rob Thomsett’s collected works – two LPs – will be combined into one package as the fourth release in Now Again Reserve, shipping this fall. Stream the album below.

Originally privately pressed in tiny numbers in Canberra in the mid-‘70s, Yaraandoo & Hara have become sought after examples of the best in progressive jazz/rock.

“Taking in impressionistic hazy instrumental jazz … muscular fusion moves, solo Mellotron pieces as heavenly as anything Beethoven or Handel ever concocted, extremely loose-limbed ethno-fusion soundscapes of the Don Cherry/Pharoah Sanders variety, film soundtracks … and electronic experimentalism … hair-raising, soul-searching beauty – with an overall dreamy, hazy quality that perhaps could only be written by an Australian fully conversant with the “Dreamtime” cultural feel for the myths and legends of the Outback.” – Julian Cope’s Head Heritage.

This reissue is produced with the direct participation of its creators. See all release details.

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There Was Rock Music In 70s Zimbabwe?

Now-Again | Jul. 5, 2016 | News |

More info/purchase: Wells Fargo’s revolutionary 70s Zimbabwean rock album Watch Out!, a collaborative release with Vinyl Me, Please.
More info/purchase: Power to the People! A survey of Zimbabwe’s revolutionary 70s rock scene.

To answer the questionYES, there was rock music in 70s Zimbabwe. And it sounded like this:

Just as the hippie era came to an end in America, a second sixties was beginning. In what is now Zimbabwe, young people created a rock and roll counterculture that drew inspiration from hippie ideals and the sounds of Hendrix and Deep Purple. The electrifying music they made was nearly lost to history. They called it “heavy,” and a few listens to the above linked track will tell you why.

The heavy rock scene has been almost forgotten, even in Zimbabwe. We at Now-Again are reissuing their work for the first time since its was initially released in small runs of seven inch singles, and for the first time ever outside of Southern Africa. The music was brought to light by the combined efforts of researcher Matthew Shechmeister and Albert Nyathi, a celebrated Zimbabwean poet and musician.

When these songs were recorded, Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia, a former British colony that broke from the Empire to preserve white rule. In the mid-70s, Zimbabwe’s War of Independence began in earnest. Pro-democracy parties grew in strength, and their armed wings battled the Rhodesian military from bases in neighboring Zambia and Mozambique. Guerilla units infiltrated Rhodesian territory, and along with thousands of demonstrators, engaged the security forces with increasing boldness. In urban townships, young people picked up where the Band of Gypsies left off, creating their own brand of politically-charged rock and roll.

Dozens of groups, primarily from black townships, brought together tens of thousands of young progressives of all backgrounds. They created their own Woodstock, an event that made national headlines and stomped on racial taboos, uniting fans from all of Rhodesia’s ethnic and racial communities. Bands in the scene gigged furiously, playing all-night shows in the townships, flouting police curfews. Fans grappled with cops that tried to enforce the rules, and some rock shows turned into all-out battles with the riot squad. Rockers were beaten, tear-gassed, arrested, and mauled by police dogs. But they kept coming back, night after night, packing venues across Rhodesia.

Though primarily driven by live shows, many of the scene’s leading lights did make it onto vinyl. The band Eye Q got the attention of local labels with its smash hit “Please the Nation,” a political song that snuck by the censors and became a hot-selling single. The band Wells Fargo was also at the forefront of the scene, and the title track of their album Watch Out! was the anthem of the counterculture. Though a bank might seem like a strange namesake for a revolutionary rock group, the founder thought he was borrowing the words from a work of fiction. He had seen them in a cowboy comic book, and liked the association with the lawless frontier. The song “Watch Out,” originally titled “Have Gun Will Travel,” urged young progressives to head to the borders, which the liberation forces had turned into lawless frontiers of a different sort.

But when the War of Independence was won in 1980, the frontier was gone, and outlaw rock and roll felt out of date. Though the majority of heavy rock music had not been political, the scene was bound up with a social rebellion against racial and ethnic divisions. After the white minority was out of power, segregation laws were repealed, and that rebel cause also lost its urgency. And even when rock was at its peak, many leading musicians focused on creating a renaissance of African culture, which had been marginalized during a century of white rule. Chimurenga, which became Zimbabwe’s dominant musical style, takes its name from the Shona word for “revolutionary struggle.” The genre is based on the traditional music of Zimbabwe, but is played on electric instruments and a modern drum kit. The arrangement is a lot like a rock group, and the genre’s most famous figure got his start as rock guitarist. Nonetheless, the heavy rock sound is long gone, though its message of optimism and courage remains timeless. And we will continue to give you reasons to investigate the scene further in this and coming years.

Shipping to Subscribers Now – Spiritual Jazz Masterpieces by World’s Experience Orchestra, LP #2 In Now-Again Reserve

Now-Again | Jul. 1, 2016 | News |

We’ve reissued the 1975 and 1980 albums by World’s Experience Orchestra this summer as one specially packaged 2/LP set – and it’s shipping to subscribers now. This is the second release in Now-Again Reserve, our deluxe vinyl subscription. The first was Paternoster. The next is Marvin Whoremonger.

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The essence of Underground, Spiritual Jazz, figuratively and literally: their first album was recorded in a Boston church’s basement. Both World’s Experience Orchestra albums were committed to vinyl by a visionary, bassist/composer/arranger John Jamyll Jones. He’s a magical type, who communicates with his instrument, his ensembles, and jazz’s ancient lineage in a manner so profound that his late-‘70s album are out of time with jazz’s trajectory, but timeless when presented today.

Read the full subscription details.

25% Off Sale During Egon’s Pop Up Record Shop At Rappcats – July 16th

Now-Again | Jun. 26, 2016 | News |

Egon pop up record shop at Rappcats
Saturday, July 16, 2015
Noon — 5PM
5636 York Blvd,
Los Angeles CA 90042

On July 16th, Egon’s hosting a record store at Rappcats, selling records from his collection, one-day only. This is the second pop up of 2016, and will be done every quarter, with unique records being made available at each event. For this event, he’s selling rare records from Iran – from 60s garage rock 45s to 70s funk LP’s to Iranian jazz and folk. Of course, records from African funk to space jazz to psychedelic rock will also line the walls of the new 1500 square foot Rappcats space in Highland Park.

Now-Again recently issued Iranian rock legend Kourosh’s latest album, Malek Jamshid, which was banned from release in his home country. Egon’s first Kourosh anthology, Back From The Brink, is still available in 3LP, 7″ box set and CD formats. An entire set of Kourosh’s original Iranian pressed 45s in NM condition will be on offer at the pop up.

Also available will be the entire Now-Again catalog — for a one day discount of 25% less than our normal retail. If you can’t make it to Highland Park, all online Now-Again orders from the Rappcats store placed on July 16th will receive a 25% discount as well.

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Announcing: Kourosh Yaghamei’s Latest Album, Banned In Iran, Now Released In The West

Now-Again | Jun. 15, 2016 | News |

ON SALE AT OUR WEBSTORE AT RAPPCATS: KOUROSH YAGHMAEI – MALEK JAMSHID

Iranian rock Godfather Kourosh’s latest album, recorded 2003-2006. Banned in his home country, released to the world at last…

Words from Kourosh Yaghmaei:

Questions about the difficulties in and delay of releasing this album emphasize systematic censorship, cultural deletion and even cultural self-destruction, at a state level. They highlight the thoughts in the background of the media and a society hit by crisis, in which no voice of clear protest is heard in the world, not from human right organizations, let alone from the media inside Iran. No mention of this censorship, and torture on an artistic soul, along all social, technological and cultural transitions, in this current century, in a land where the world’s greatest [ancient] empire [in] Takhte Jamshid – The Gate of All Nations – or, as the Greeks called it, Persepolis was established 2500 ago.

It is impossible, in a few sentences, to explain the irreparable damages and the rubble of adversity that crumbled on me, my family and especially on my homeland in the past 37 years, with the occurrences of such cruelty – terrifying hell-like obstacles – that walking through them is not believable to others. This dark age of culture cannot be described in a few lines; there should be books written about it. Musicians were harassed and beaten in streets and their instruments were broken by boots. I, who was a leading popular artist in Iranian society, in just a few hours, was shown to be anti-culture, a perverted person. This was going on when my ability to earn any income for living expenses from my music was cut off. No light at the end of the tunnel. Iranian society was in awe watching all these horrific changes, in just a few hours.

People in Iran know me as the master, the pioneer and the king of modern and rock music, but to protest against this cultural deletion, this censorship, and the physical and mental tortures the government brings upon me, I am forced to decide not to release my works in my own homeland, for an unknown amount of time to come. This doesn’t mean I will stop working, and I will have a new album every a few years ready to present to my country.

In the end I must point that I only write these words to let the world know about this catastrophe, not to attract sympathy of others, which I hate. I believe in an unjust battle, to stand tall is better than to surrender.

In 2011, we released the anthology, Back From The Brink – Pre-Revolution Psychedelic Rock From Iran: 1973-1979. Here’s “Gole Yakh (Winter Sweet)” from that collection.