It’s a Myth builds on Sneaks’ playfully stark approach to post-punk, which, as her hometown City Paper described it, causes listeners to go “from curious to provoked to hungry.” Hungry, in part, because the new album clocks in at just 18 minutes of 10 taut, captivating tracks (but still a feast compared to Gymnastics’ 14 minutes). It also adds Jonah Takagi and Ex Hex/Helium frontwoman Mary Timony, who recorded the album at Timony’s D.C. studio. “She’s got art in her brain,” Timony has said of Moolchan. “Her brain is making beautiful stuff.”
Vinyl LP pressing includes digital download. In The Same Room, a beautiful new release from Julia Holter, inaugurates the Domino Documents series. Named after a song from Holter’s 2012 album Ekstasis, this career-spanning collection is the fruit of two days recording by Julia and her tremendous band (Corey Fogel – drums/vocals; Dina Maccabee – viola/vocals and Devin Hoff – stand-up bass) at RAK Studios in the days after their main stage performance at Green Man Festival in Wales. Comprised of new arrangements of songs from three of her previous studio releases (Tragedy, Loud City Song and 2015’s breakthrough Have You In My Wilderness), Holter’s Domino Documents is an essential release for anyone who has witnessed her brilliant, beguiling band on tour around the world in the last five years as well as the perfect introduction to a truly important and innovative young artist.
Phoebé Guillemot’s music can feel like alien terrain. As RAMZi, she twists exotic samples, percussion and vocals into something unfamiliar, making songs that seem to spread outwards and move in confusing patterns. A RAMZi track is like a living collage in which all the fragments are shifting. Phobiza “Noite” Vol. 2—a follow-up to 2016’s Phobiza Dia: Vol.1 on Total Stasis—presents four concise and captivating sketches.
Phobiza “Noite” Vol. 2 may be four tracks long but it flows like one piece. Fans of previous releases like Houti Kush might recognize the birdsong backdrop of “For Vanda,” where buoyant hand percussion pairs with snatches of horns, like a dub instrumental. Like Guillemot’s best music, it’s detailed, swampy and humid. She gets housey on “Fuma” with deflated DJ Sprinkles-style chords that have the dull gleam of fogged glass. Guillemot throws tabla into the mix on EP highlight “Messiah,” where her voice turns from a low garble into childlike squeaks. Guillemot’s vocals are distinctive, rarely intelligible and almost never follow a clear melody—they suit her abstract landscapes. By the time Phobiza “Noite” Vol. 2 ends with “Male heya,” we’re back in the peaceful birdsong it began with. Guillemot can make the strangest of places feel like home.
The Courtneys drift back to the sound of the early ’90s, drawing from strong influences including Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, and The Clean. Courtney Loove’s dreamy guitar riffs add a timeless powerpop element to the punk backbone formed by Sydney Koke’s driving basslines, while drummer/lead singer Jen Twynn Payne delivers heartfelt lyrics with a powerful vocal style. These components come together through a passionate collaborative songwriting process to deliver a special blend of fuzzy “artisanal grunge”.
The first Courtneys album (self titled) came out in 2013 on small independent label, Hockey Dad Records, based in the band’s hometown of Vancouver, BC, Canada. They have since worked with a number of independent labels including Conquest of Noise in Australia and Waterslide Records in Japan, as well as Burger Records and Gnar tapes in the USA. They have released a number of singles and music videos, and toured throughout Canada and the USA, including spots supporting Tegan and Sara and Mac Demarco.
In 2015 The Courtneys made their way to Australia and New Zealand, where they were hosted by Flying Nun Records. Influenced by the legendary label from early on, the group are honored to now be able to call it their home.
Born in the bleak isolation of the secluded prairie city of Edmonton, Canada, Homeshake’s Peter Sagar worked with friends in a number of local bands before picking up and moving to Montreal in 2011 to begin recording under the Homeshake moniker. Following two self-released cassettes (The Homeshake Tapes and Dynamic Meditation) and two acclaimed full lengths (In The Shower and Midnight Snack), Sagar cracks a window open with his third album for Sinderlyn – Fresh Air.
Started immediately following the recording of Midnight Snack, Fresh Air continues Sagar’s exploration of dreamy, downtempo bedroom R&B and draws inspiration from such disparate artists like Sade, The Band, Broadcast, Prince, and Angelo Badalamenti. As the title Fresh Air suggests, Sagar’s songs were created to clear his listeners’ minds of negativity. Full of smokey, laid back love songs and airy productions, Sagar’s decidedly stoned sound is a breath of fresh air.
Beguiling Welsh musician Cate Le Bon released her new album, Crab Day, earlier this year, and she’s following it up with a 4-song EP in January made up of leftover songs from that writing period. “Rock Pool is the killed darlings from the Crab Day sessions brought back to life on a classic 2-2 formation,” she says. “Written under the same banner of the impossibly absurd and emerging to unimaginable bedlam.” Produced by Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick, and featuring musicians H. Hawkline, Stephen Black and Stella Mozgawa, Rock Pool spins and swirls the waters with carnival pop, synth, drone and dance, all beamed along the pan-electric ray of Cates immutable blank stare. Short-and-sweet-play fun of a highly ambiguous nature.
Formed in Atlanta, Georgia TLC originally consisted of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. The best-selling female group in music history, the trio greatly influenced the landscape of popular music during the final act of the 20th century, captivating audiences with their signature blend of pop, R&B, hip-hop, soul, funk, and new jack swing.
TLC shot to superstardom in the ’90s thanks to a series of best-selling albums, including 1992’s quadruple platinum Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, 1994’s Diamond-certified CrazySexyCool (which has sold over 23 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling album by a girl group in the U.S.), and 1999’s FanMail, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart and has been certified 7x-platinum in the US and has sold 14 million copies worldwide.
Regarded as TLC’s masterpiece, CrazySexyCool was nominated for six Grammy Awards winning for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “Creep.” All four of the album’s singles (“Creep,” “Red Light Special,” “Waterfalls,” “Diggin’ on You”) reached the Top 5 on the Billboard charts with both “Creep” and “Waterfalls” hitting #1. Rolling Stone rates the album at #379 on their ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’ list, noting that with CrazySexyCool, TLC “emerged with the most effervescent and soulful girl-group R&B anyone had seen since the Supremes.”
A Seat At The Table the 2016 album written and performed by Solange Knowles. The album features collaborations with Q-Tip, Kelly Rowland, The Dream, BJ The Chicago Kid, Kelela, Tweet, Moses Sumney, Sampha, Sean Nicholas Savage, Nia Andrews, Devonte Hynes of Houston Texas and Lu of Carolina. A Seat at the Table is the third studio album by Solange. Following the release of her second studio album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams (2008), Knowles began work on her third studio album, during which she suffered a “breakdown” due to the amount of time and emotion she was putting into the recording process. Writing for the album began as early as 2008, while the albums recording sessions took part from 2013 to June 2016.
Legendary Swiss punk band from the late ’70s. ‘You can’t dispute Liliput’s status as pioneers of feminist art-punk. Along with fellow travelers like The Slits and The Raincoats, this (mostly) female Swiss group took advantage of punk’s anything-goes attitude and created jittery, spirited pop that was both in step with the times and completely singular. The early material is a riot of exuberant energy, taking stylistic cues from peers like Gang Of Four and Wire — propulsive bass, skittering pop rhythms, slashing guitars — and adding distinctive overlapping vocal patterns, which are sung, shrieked, and hiccuped in three languages and made-up dada slang. More than 20 years on, it still sounds fresh.’ –Lisa Gidley. All material has been previously released as Liliput on Kill Rock Stars as a double CD, and a 4 LP box set on Mississippi Records, 1977-1983.First Songs combines all the pre-1982 material. All three Kleenex singles, the first two Liliput 7″‘s and all the originally unreleased material prior to Liliput’s debut LP.
“Stars come and go,” Maya Arulpragasam sings as her fifth album comes to a close, and it’s another reminder of what a self-aware artist she is. On AIM, which was rumored to be her final album at the time of its release, she sounds revitalized. For someone supposedly ending her career, M.I.A. issued a lot of music in the months prior to the album’s arrival. Several of her best songs didn’t even appear on AIM’s final track list (the excellent “Swords,” which samples clashing blades for its beat, only appears on a deluxe edition of the album). Nevertheless, M.I.A. sounds more relevant on AIM than she has in some time. As a musician who always sought to break boundaries, it’s fitting that she explores the issues facing refugees, immigrants, and others at the mercy of geographical and political borders with renewed passion. Though the trap-tinged “Borders,” which premiered in late 2015 with a powerful music video inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis, loses a little something when stripped of its visuals, she fares better on “Go Off,” where she sings of the “fans back home” over a Skrillex/Blaqstarr production that blends traditional music with contemporary beats — a classic M.I.A. tactic, if there ever were one. As the title suggests, Arulpragasam comes full circle on AIM, revisiting some of her career highlights along the way. She name-drops “Bamboo Banga” on “Visa,” which shares the feeling that M.I.A. represented a new pop paradigm; alludes to “Bad Girls” on “Foreign Friend”; peppers “Finally”‘s dancehall rhythms with gunshots à la “Paper Planes”; and harks back to the storytelling of her earlier albums on “Ali R U OK,” where she tells her overworked refugee lover “I haven’t even seen you since we left Calais.” While some songs recall Matangi’s droning cul de sacs, more often than not Arulpragasam remembers to include melody and fun, particularly on the swaggering “A.M.P (All My People).” “Freedun,” which features former One Direction member Zayn, is a highlight that proves M.I.A. still has the ability to surprise. Even if AIM is more scattered than her finest work, at its best it plays like a scrapbook that pieces together over a decade’s worth of sounds and issues.