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PHOENIX

It’s hard to remember now, on this album’s 10th anniversary, that Phoenix in 2009 were not yet the world conquerors they’d become. They were France’s best-kept secret, a band that bridged the gap between the Strokes and Air on their first three albums. It cannot be overstated: no one saw Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix coming. In the three years off between their third album and this, their fourth, they honed their sound into a sleek, refined machine, resulting in an album that is a pop-indie rock masterpiece, with at least two songs we’ll all hear for the rest of our lives (“1901” and “Lisztomania”), and more that are perfectly crafted and ready for as much appreciation as those two (“Countdown,” “Fences” and “Armistice” especially). Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is essential for charting Phoenix’s rise, and for chronicling 2009, the year of indie rock hit its highest peak, thanks to albums like this.

• Official 10th anniversary vinyl reissue
• Remastered from the original analog tapes by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound
• Exclusive album art, 16pg booklet & 180g pink color vinyl

OUTKAST

Two sons of East Point — André Benjamin and Antwan Patton — would converge at the lunch table to get free like many a Black boy in Atlanta during the mid-’90s. The Dirty South chiseled a different sweat in the scalp, different twang on the tongue, different grease on the plate. When the books couldn’t buy their freedom, these brothers formed OutKast, quietly brewing over revolution from the Dungeon of Rico Wade and Organized Noize. Nevermind both Coasts breathing down their scalps when the South got sum’n to say… damn that.Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is a collection of tales from young men you may have met before: the blades chop, the blunts burn, and the police will slide in the van to come for you. You learn to love where it ain’t none.

Sister Rosetta Thorpe

In African American folklore, trains portend deliverance. They figure the promise of safe passage from here to there, pointing the way from conditions of constraint, perhaps literal bondage, to freedom or at least release. From this vantage, Rosetta Tharpe’s Gospel Train is an aptly named album. It is a collection of old songs — old as in venerable but also old as familiar — that mark her “return” to the fold after several years of fraught experimentation for Decca Records, which had been trying to rebrand her for the R&B era. Tharpe — widely considered to be one of the inventors of rock ‘n’ roll, put forth an album of gospel rock songs and spirituals. Gospel Train thus represented a re-righting of the legendary Tharpe’s professional path via the repertoire of African American spiritual song.

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