Indie Rock

Doctor Fluorescent “Doctor Fluorescent” (Crammed)

2020-05-21T20:50:12+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Doctor Fluorescent’s debut album opens a door to a world of seductive, fresh electronic pop music, where things aren’t always what they seem: sophisticated musical clockworks often lie under the dreamy surface.

Although he is primarily a scientist and explorer, Doctor Fluorescent also plays musical instruments and uses electronic gadgets to express his ideas to the world. He is assisted by musicians Scott Gilmore and Eddie Ruscha, who sit back and merely facilitate what the doctor commands. Plug in a patch cable here, turn a dial there… whatever it takes to get the proper result recorded and keep the good doctor happy.

Back when Scott and Eddie began to create this music with Doctor Fluorescent, they utilized all manner of electronic and acoustic devices with no worries or concerns regarding their discoveries. They allowed the explorations to lead themselves where they may. Their experiments began to solidify into songs, and shortly after, stories began to take shape and the Doctor’s voice emerged (to be perfectly honest, the Doctor was born out of Scott and Eddie’s minds, but soon turned into an actual human being in every sense)

The music of Doctor Fluorescent almost reminds one of a private press electronic voyage album discovered in a stack of records next to Supersempft, Roger Powell and Wally Badarou. The album explores a wide range of sound, it’s experimental in many ways, yet each track still retains the semblance of a song. Each song is its own journey, often ending in a completely new place from where it began.
Scott and Eddie have already made many records themselves using old synthesizers and drum machines, making them the perfect helpers to bring Doctor Fluorescent’s musical visions to life.

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Baths “Pop Music/False B-Sides”(Basement’s Basement)

2020-05-21T20:50:00+00:00May 21st, 2020|

After Baths’ genre-bending ‘Cerulean’, the LA producer’s stock went through the roof as he found himself saddled, for better or for worse, with the chillwave moniker and a hell of a lot of interest on top of that. His blend of crushed Brainfeeder beats and the kind of whimsical pop crooning we might otherwise associate with Ben Gibbard was surprisingly affective, and this follow-up release, whilst made up of odds-and-ends, is even more proof that Will Wiesenfeld is a kid to watch very closely in the next few years. The tracks are collected from various CDrs Wiesenfeld made for live shows, and while this might not make it the ‘regular’ B-Sides compilation (as hinted at in the title) it still surprises me how well the album fits together as a whole. For the most part the tracks explore even further the neon-blasted pop experiments of ‘Cerulean’, taking the songwriting to the point where you could almost imagine hearing a few of these tracks on the radio (internet radio, of course…), but Wiesenfeld hasn’t abandoned the drones totally and peppers the record with experiments to keep the sour faced oldies like myself happy. ‘Pop Songs / False B-Sides’ is a confident record, and whilst the songs are scratchy and quickly produced, this only adds to the charm (remember Khonnor? Exactly), and makes me whet with anticipation for what the next ‘proper’ album might bring. Lovely stuff, and perfect for balmy afternoons by the grill. Not that we get any of that in the North of England, but hey…

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Baths “Pop Music/False B-Sides II” (Basement’s Basement)

2020-05-21T20:49:59+00:00May 21st, 2020|

It’s been 30 years since Public Enemy thundered that the “B-Side wins again.” A winking nod to the notion that songs initially considered an afterthought are often superior to those considered “keepers.” It’s a proverb long confirmed by classic odds and sods compilations like Nas’ Lost Tapes, Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled, Unmastered, The Smiths Louder Than Bombs, too much Aphex Twin to count, and yes, The Who’s Odds and Sods.

But what to make of the “False B-Side,” an ascription coined by Baths to anthologize the uncut gems that didn’t fit into his previous albums as Baths or Geotic. Herein pulses Pop Music/False B-Sides II, a dozen renewed ideas and sketches finally colorized. Emotional pop hymns and ambient bliss instrumentals resurrected, refined, and polished until they’re blinding. Jewel boxes with a trap door. Over the last decade, the Los Angeles-raised singer, producer, and songwriter, Will Wiesenfeld has constructed a spellbinding canon of private secrets publicly released, glittering emerald sutras that you can dance to, as lovely as bloodletting gets.

There have been three revered studio albums as Baths (plus the first volume of Pop Music/False B-Sides), an entire catalog as Geotic, and nearly two dozen remixes and guest appearances. By the terms of conventional logic, there should not be this many good songs left. The fact that there are is testament to not just the prolificacy and indefatigable work ethic of Wiesenfeld, but the emotional depths that he’s capable of processing. To use the parlance of our times, a Baths song is a big mood. His work incisively tunnels into the uncomfortable realities that all of us wrestle with: love, regret, heartbreak, sexuality, death, the desire for comfort and the impulse to escape. Credit his subtle-but-sticky melodies, his ability to blend a seraphic falsetto with a calming tenor, and clever turns of phrases that allow for such well-trodden themes to seem brand new.

The songs on this compilation are culled from a much wider timeframe than the first Pop Music / False B-Sides that was recorded around the time of Cerulean, Wiesenfeld’s 2010 debut under the Baths moniker. Some of these tracks were considered for the final tracklists of Obsidian (2013) and Romaplasm (2017). Others started their creative life as collaborative efforts and Geotic tracks, but somehow became Baths songs. Yet if their genesis began as outliers, in their final form they seem created specifically for this collection — which isn’t far from the truth considering that the desire to complete another PM/FBS drove Wiesenfeld to finish more than half of them.

While the skeletons of the music were written over the course of the last decade, the lyrics were constructed only relatively recently. One of the most poignant and personal to Wiesenfeld is the finale, “The Stones.” Shortly before his father passed away earlier this year, his dad had pointed out a bit in the lyrics that made him proud of his son — the line “I still trust that men can be lovely/do what you like/but do it to me.” What’s more, the entire record is suffused with similarly poetic couplets that gently mesh with the imaginative chord progressions, soft cloud-like drums, and endless summer glitch.

The sense of irony is embedded into the title. There is nothing false to be found: the emotions contained are walloping and visceral, full of tenderness and vulnerability. A soundtrack to the Zoetrope flickering inside your weary head. Symphonies to fallen ideas, gilded requiems, and unerring realness that refuses to hide behind a mask — unless that’s the point. Pop Songs/False B-Sides II is the rarest of things, a sequel that defies repetition, a B-Side collection of all A-list material. And if you disagree, you can go argue with Chuck D.

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Jerry Paper “Abracadabra” (Stones Throw)

2020-05-21T20:49:59+00:00May 21st, 2020|

In 2019, back from traveling the world for the I Am Begging You To Come To These Shows tour, Jerry Paper hung up his flowing dress and sandals, glided into the studio, and began giving material form to his new musical manifestation: Abracadabra.

Over thirteen songs, he serves up a blend of jazzy instrumentation with soft-rock stylings and some seriously catchy earworms, forging a style that hints at the avant-pop of Scott Walker, the sweet enchantment of Paul McCartney, and the cryptic, smooth grooves of Steely Dan.

Like all good stories, Abracadabra boasts unforgettable characters: someone with a victim complex (“Cholla”); an alien captive surveilled by a mysterious presence (“Puppeteer”), and a buff man whose life is thrown into shambles when he is caught smoking methamphetamine at his child’s birthday party (“Body Builder on the Shore”). Nathan’s interest in talk therapy led to “Spit It Out”, a song about the health-inducing qualities of improvised speech; “Memorial Highway” is about existence after death in other people’s memories, and “Apologist” and “All I Need” affirm the value — and occasional futility — of recognizing one’s wrongs. Building new realities out of words and sounds is no easy task, and on “Trash Can”, Nathan mourns the frustrations of the creative process.

Abracadabra is many things at once: arch and sincere, bizarre and all too real, funny and melancholic — the work of an artist living in a world when despair so often tips over into ridiculousness, sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.

Nathan worked with longtime visual collaborator Steve Smith and avant-comedian Alan Resnick to create the album art, which depicts an alien outsider spotting someone he recognizes. Who could it be? Don’t worry. Sit back, relax, and let Abracadabra cast its spell.

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Everything But The Girl “Temperamental” (Buzzin’ Fly)

2020-05-21T20:49:58+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Everything But The Girl’s ninth and final studio album Temperamental was first released in September 1999, and is reissued on May 8 2020 on double vinyl complete with half-speed mastering by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios.

The album debuted at #16 on the UK Album Chart and peaked at #3 in Australia and #65 on the US Billboard 200, and went on to sell over 500,000 copies worldwide. Often seen as a companion piece to its million-selling predecessor Walking Wounded, it once again skilfully merged worlds contemporary electronic dance music and smart singer-songwriting, but was not without its production difficulties.

Working from the same template as before, the album was largely recorded at home by Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn in the summer of 1998 in familiar surroundings – synths, samplers, simple computer software, a microphone – with two tracks ending up as production collaborations: Blame, made with drum ‘n’ bass DJ-producer Jamie Spratling (J Majik) at his home studio in Hertfordshire; and The Future of the Future, which began life as an instrumental by Washington DC deep house producers, Deep Dish before Ben wrote a melody and lyrics for Tracey to sing.

Yet if the propulsive beats are undercut by a melancholy edge to the lyrics and sounds, it perhaps reflects the circumstances behind the album’s evolution.

“It was on reflection, a difficult album to make,” says Watt. “With the recent birth of our twin girls in 1998, I found myself constructing much of the album in isolation, with Tracey inevitably more pre-occupied with family life. It was much less collaborative than it should have been. I guess we were just moving in different mental spaces a lot of the time.”

In spite of the strained recording process and a lukewarm reaction from a rock press tiring of electronica, the album was acclaimed in many quarters on its release. “Triumphant after-hours club pop” said Spin in an effusive full-page 9/10 lead review. “Entirely natural, wholly wonderful” said the Sunday Times. “The definitive dance album steeped in all things pop. Sublime and essential” commented Billboard, while Time Out offered, “If EBTG discovered nightlife late, it is one of their greatest strengths. Wide-eyed and wondrous.”

Offering a longer view in 2019 – in a lengthy 20th year anniversary retrospective feature in The Quietus – Michael White said, “After 20 years it has aged very well … I’ve explored the length and breadth of dance music as if it were my job, and I can’t point to another album of its kind that so effectively bridges the divide between the deeply communal sound of the dance floor and the deeply private vocabulary of a mind in trouble.”

Temperamental is re-issued on 180gm double vinyl with half-speed mastering on Buzzin’ Fly Records/Chrysalis Recordings on May 8 2020

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Bon Iver “Blood Bank (10th Anniversary)” (Jagjaguwar)

2020-05-21T20:49:58+00:00May 21st, 2020|

A limited edition tenth anniversary reissue of Bon Iver’s seminal EP Blood Bank will be released via Jagjaguwar with brand new live renditions of all of the EP’s tracks. The reissue will also feature new artwork and an in-depth essay written by longtime Bon Iver friend Ryan Matteson.

LP: 33 1/3 RPM 12″ vinyl LP inside a matte finished gatefold jacket with spot gloss inks, wrapped in a clear plastic printed sleeve, and contains a full-color 4 page insert. Contains digital download code, redeemable on or after release day.

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Melt Yourself Down “100% Yes” (Decca)

2020-05-21T20:49:55+00:00May 21st, 2020|

After a few years out to perfect their jaw-dropping new album 100% YES, Melt Yourself Down are back. Thanks to collaborations with production legends Youth and Ben Hillier, the band have reimagined themselves and created a bruising re-up of their signature sound with added synths, lyrics, anthems and epic joyrides. They took their sweet time crafting this new sound and it was worth it – 100% YES is the band at their finest.

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Perfume Genius “Set My Heart On Fire Immediate” (Matador)

2020-05-21T20:49:54+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Set My Heart On Fire Immediately is the fifth studio album from Perfume Genius on Matador Records. It sees artist and musician Mike Hadreas re-teaming with Grammy-nominated producer Blake Mills and features contributions from musicians Jim Keltner, Pino Palladino and Matt Chamberlin. It was recorded in Los Angeles, where Perfume Genius settled in 2017 with longtime partner and musical collaborator Alan Wyffels.

The album explores and subverts concepts of masculinity and traditional roles, and introduces decidedly American musical influences. Throughout Hadreas plays with themes of love, sex, memory and the body, channeling popular music mythologies while irreverently authoring its own – from the delirious, Cyndi Lauper-nodding celebratory pop of On The Floor, specters of Elvis on haunted tremolo waltz One More Try, to the harpsichord- punctuated baroque pop of Jason, and gliding steel guitar and Balearic rhythm of Without You.

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Born Ruffians “Juice” (Yep Roc)

2020-05-21T20:49:54+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Critically acclaimed indie rock mainstays Born Ruffians return with their sixth studio album, JUICE, on Yep Roc Records. JUICE finds the band moving into a more confident and polished direction, bringing to mind 1970s songwriting prowess with layered, and mature production sensibilities. The album was produced by Graham Walsh, known for his work with Alvvays, !!! (Chk Chk Chk), and Holy Fuck.
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Car Seat Headrest “Making A Door Less Open” (Matador)

2020-05-16T19:41:16+00:00May 16th, 2020|

Making A Door Les Open, the new album from Car Seat Headrest and the first set of brand new songs since 2016’s Teens Of Denial. Created over the course of four years, it is the result of a fruitful collaboration  between Car Seat Headrest, led by Will Toledo, and 1 Trait Danger, a CSH electronic side project consisting of drummer Andrew Katz and Toledo’s alternative persona “Trait”.

In this way, Making A Door Less Open sees Toledo embarking on new and imaginative roads to songwriting and recording, placing emphasis on the individual songs, each with its own special energy, rather than attempting to draw a coherent storyteller narrative through the album as he has in the past, resulting in his most dynamic and open-ended work to date.

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Jad Fair & Daniel Johnston “It’s Spooky” (Joyful Noise)

2020-05-14T23:35:50+00:00May 14th, 2020|

I first heard Daniel in 1985. Half Japanese had a show in Austin and Daniel’s manager Jeff Tartakov gave me a tape of “Hi How Are You?”. I loved it and began corresponding with Jeff and Daniel. A few years later I was in NYC to take part in a recording session of Moe Tucker at Kramer’s studio Noise New York. Daniel was at the studio and he and I became friends. Daniel recorded two songs with lyrics I wrote. He recorded “Do It Right” for Moe’s album, and “Some Things Last A Long Time” for his album “1990”. Soon after his time in NYC I invited him to my home and we had a week to record the songs for “It’s Spooky”. I considered Daniel to be a genius. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him. I’m so grateful to have it released again and it’s sounding better than ever thanks to an amazing mastering job by Kramer.

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M Ward “Migration Stories” (Anti-)

2020-05-14T23:35:49+00:00May 14th, 2020|

It was in winter 18/19 – I flew to Montreal to meet with Tim Kingsbury, Richard Reed Parry, Craig Silvey and Teddy Impakt at Le Studio Du Arcade Fire. It was a fine time with a dream team in a city I love. Winter in beautiful Quebec. Les semaines les plus froides de ma vie. I had a bunch of demos that were inspired by migration stories I had heard from friends or read in newspapers while on tour in Europe and North America. I remember being struck by the similarities of the stories I heard from both continents and how really only the names of the powerful and the powerless had changed – thinking, “Is this the future? Is this our future?”Some time went by, the stories wove together and I remember them now closer to characters in a dream of how people could treat each other than any kind of front-page news realism. I think music subconsciously – whether writing or listening – is a filter for me – helping to process all the bad news into something new to build from – some records to me are like self-fulfilling prophecies – visualizing change to wish something into being – those records inspired this one.

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The Les Claypool Frog Brigade “Live Frog Sets 1 & 2” (Prawn Song)

2020-05-14T23:35:47+00:00May 14th, 2020|

From the warped mind of Primus’ frontman comes the release of Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade’s Live at the Great American Music Hall. This two set, 12-track collection was recorded live over two nights in San Francisco. Set 1 includes five Claypool originals bookended by superb King Crimson and Pink Floyd covers, while Set 2 is comprised of an unabridged performance of Pink Floyd’s legendary 1977 concept album, Animals.

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Car Seat Headrest “Making A Door Less Open” (Matador)

2020-06-01T19:00:34+00:00May 14th, 2020|

Making A Door Less Open, the new album from Car Seat Headrest and the first set of brand-new songs since 2016’s Teens Of Denial, is set for release on May 1. The album will be available on vinyl and CD featuring distinct tracklists and mixes for each product.
Created over the course of four years, Making a Door Less Open is the result of a fruitful “collaboration” between Car Seat Headrest, led by Will Toledo, and 1 Trait Danger, a CSH electronic side project consisting of drummer Andrew Katz and Toledo’s alternative persona, “Trait.”
In this way, Making A Door Less Open sees Toledo embarking on new and imaginative roads to songwriting and recording, placing emphasis on the individual songs, each with its own “special energy,” rather than attempting to draw a coherent storyteller narrative through the album as he has in the past , resulting in his most dynamic and open-ended work to date.
Comprised of Will Toledo, Andrew Katz (drums), Ethan Ives (guitar) and Seth Dalby (bass), Car Seat Headrest has either released 11 or three albums to date, depending on the way you look at it. A prolific songwriter, Toledo took his moniker from making early recordings in the private environment of his family’s car, releasing a dozen self-recorded and produced albums on Bandcamp and building a tight-knit following. Toledo has since gone from an empty five-seater to selling out tours and filling festival main stages. 2015’s Teens of Style was a collection of songs from his early years. The band’s proper Matador debut, Teens of Denial, followed in 2016 and catapulted them to overnight commercial success and widespread critical acclaim, as well as highlighting Toledo as a prodigious lyricist. 2018’s Twin Fantasy, an epic re-imagination of an album originally released in 2011, demonstrated newfound scale, depth and ambition.

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EOB “Earth” (Capitol)

2020-05-14T23:35:43+00:00May 14th, 2020|

‘Earth’ is an album of rediscovery and adventure by Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, being released under the moniker EOB. Written and recorded over five years during any possible break from the making and touring of Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’, the album deftly veers from moments of delicate folk to euphoric house, its songs seamlessly pinned together by unswerving melodic hooks and candid lyricism. A spirit of collaboration runs through ‘Earth’ from the production team of Flood, Catherine Marks, Alan Moulder and Adam ‘Cecil’ Bartlett to the extraordinary musicians O’Brien assembled to bring these tracks to life; bassist Nathan East, drummers Omar Hakim and Glenn Kotche, and The Invisible’s multi-instrumentalist leader David Okumu. Portishead’s Adrian Utley appears on two tracks, whilst Laura Marling duets with O’Brien on stirring closer “Cloak of The Night.” But every group of collaborators needs a leader, and Earth is all O’Brien’s vision. “I wanted to make a record from the heart,” he says. “I wanted to make something direct. I wanted to talk about love, your family in the immediate and the wider sense, where we are on the planet, the bigger picture, life and death. I wanted to make a big hearted, warm and colorful album… something hopeful and full of love.” Featuring the singles “Shangri-La”, which sways between syncopated beats and twisted rock, and “Brasil”, a track that morphs from a tender opening into a heightened-state rhythmic banger, ‘Earth’ marks a new beginning for Ed O’Brien.

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Redd Kross “Show World” (Third Man)

2020-05-14T23:35:42+00:00May 14th, 2020|

Third Man Records reissue of two of Redd Kross’ beloved 1990s albums, Phaseshifter (1993) and Show World (1997).
Phaseshifter line-up intact (Gene Fennelly would soon move on, but plays all the keyboards on the recording), Redd Kross came back at us with amps turned up and smiles on their faces on 1997’s Show World. The album starts off with a spot on cover of The Quick’s L.A. power pop classic, Pretty Please Me, and sets the tone for yet another killer album by the thinking person’s good time band. Like all Redd Kross albums before and since, this one is all killer, no filler, with special highlights Stoned, Vanity Mirror, One Chord Progression and the absolutely sublime Follow The Leader.

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Sleaford Mods “All That Glue” (Rough Trade)

2020-05-14T23:35:41+00:00May 14th, 2020|

Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn stepped out of 2019 with a Top Ten album under their belt, Eton Alive, their biggest sold out tour to date and the swagger of a band that have never been more relevant, topically challenging and downright entertaining. Sleaford Mods continue their onslaught into 2020 with the release of All That Glue, a collection of songs spanning the last seven years of the bands career; an array of crowd pleasers, B sides, unheard tracks and rarities for fans and the curious, released via Rough Trade. Over the past few years Sleaford Mods have become one of the most intractable British pop stories. One of its best. Their music is drawn at a flawless fault-line of anger, tenderness and humour, a triumvirate of raw energy which frequently jostles in the space of a cadence for supremacy.

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Jarv Is “House Music All Night Long” (Rough Trade)

2020-05-14T23:35:41+00:00May 14th, 2020|

The 12” features 4 different covers, customers will get lucky dip on which one they get

We first performed this at the All Points East festival in Victoria Park in May 2019. The crowd reaction was so positive that I was inspired to do my first-ever bit of crowd-surfing (which I enjoyed so much that I have repeated it a couple of times since). We played the song throughout the summer & eventually recorded it after our final performance of the year at the End of the Road festival on September 4th.

It’s a straightforward love song about someone stuck alone in the house whilst the object of their affections is out dancing to House music at a rave.

“Everybody in the Place” is the title of a Jeremy Deller 2019 documentary on Rave Culture.”

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Purity Ring “Womb” (4AD)

2020-05-14T23:35:40+00:00May 14th, 2020|

After more than five years, Purity Ring release their third album. Womb released via 4AD, is entirely produced and recorded by the duo of Megan James and Corin Roddick.

Womb chronicles a quest for comfort, the search for a resting place in a world where so much is beyond our control. The striking vulnerability of “ruby insides” – “If I could, I would let you see through me” – charts a course that’s both intensely personal and deeply connected to those close to us, our kin whether by nature or nurture. As the ground shifts beneath their feet, Womb’s characters help one another face death, despair, and world-altering discovery with resilience and grace. For all the terrain it encompasses, Womb’s quest culminates in “stardew”, a glittering, transcendent invitation to “just be where you are” – to experience the kind of powerful peace that can only be found by truly coming home.

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Hamilton Leithauser “The Loves Of Your Lif” (Glassnote)

2020-05-14T23:35:40+00:00May 14th, 2020|

Hamilton Leithauser has proven himself as a master collaborator and solo artist throughout his nearly 20 year career. Following his time as the frontman of the Walkmen, Leithauser released the critically acclaimed collaboration with Rostam I Had a Dream That You Were Mine in 2016. The album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, #1 New Artist Album, and was named one of the Year’s Best by Pitchfork, Esquire, NPR, and more. His latest work and second solo record The Loves of Your Life was written and produced by Hamilton in his home studio and is a collection of stories about real people he’s met over his years living in New York City.

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Nick Hakim “Will This Make Me Good” (ATO)

2020-05-14T23:35:38+00:00May 14th, 2020|

“Will This Make Me Good?” is a question Nick Hakim has asked himself since he was young and struggling in school. It is a reflection of what’s happening in his head as he sorts through his life and the tumult around the globe. His new album WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD articulates a sense of confusion alongside a desire for hope and clarity. It was produced by his longtime collaborator Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver), who also produced Hakim’s breakthrough debut “Green Twins”.

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Devon Williams “A Tear In The Fabric” (Slumberland)

2020-05-07T20:41:21+00:00May 7th, 2020|

Over three albums under his own name, Devon Williams has honed a trademark blend of shining power pop, folk rock, and jangle pop that explores the shared spaces and nuances of each, anchored by his distinctive melodic gifts. After an uncharacteristic six-year break, he returns with “A Tear In The Fabric”: 12 lushly arranged, deeply felt songs chronicling a journey from confusion to clarity, driven by a lilting dreaminess, rock-solid songcraft, and unerring hooks.

The long six years between 2014’s “Gilding the Lily” and “A Tear In The Fabric” were defined by a series of changes: most notably, the birth of Williams’ daughter four years ago and the illness and eventual death of his father in 2019. Williams found himself engaged in an endless dialogue with his thoughts and, in turn, incessantly tweaking and prodding the material. Even mixing became a place to labor over details, turning into a two-year process.

The finished songs are a series of evocative snapshots for Williams: questions asked, answers given, compromises reached, as captured with startling lucidity as on “Domesticated”: “I’m under your skin, is this the price of forever? I don’t mind if you just do what you like / I find it hard to re-adjust this tug of war / Is it part of the role? / Well, if it is, I can play.”

Rarely have songs so personal sounded so luxurious. In a catalog full of pop gems, “A Tear In The Fabric” stands out for its completeness – individual worlds of sound and sentiment, timeless and transcending their origins. Its creation may have been laborious, but the final product feels as natural as breathing.

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The Strokes “The New Abnormal” (RCA)

2020-05-07T20:40:52+00:00May 7th, 2020|

The New Abnormal is the long awaited new album from The Strokes, and the band’s first album in seven years. The album was announced with the first track and video, “At The Door.” The New Abnormal is The Strokes’ sixth studio album and was recorded at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California, with producer Rick Rubin. The album’s cover artwork is a painting called ‘Bird on Money,’ by famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The Strokes are singer Julian Casablancas, guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr, bassist Nikolai Fraiture and drummer Fabrizio Moretti.

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King Dude “Full Virgo Moon” (Ván)

2020-05-07T20:40:47+00:00May 7th, 2020|

For the past few years King Dude has been one of the most misunderstood voices in folk music. He’s been accused of everything under the sun; to some he is a violent Luciferian psychopath, still to others he is nothing more than a charlatan, a drunkard, a fool… And that’s just scratching the surface. While there seems to be no clear consensus about who King Dude really is, the fact remains clear. He is enigmatic.

King Dude’s latest album Full Virgo Moon (coming on March 13th 2020 from Van Records) represents a “shots-fired over the line” at many of his detractors. These songs become pointed dagger-like anthems of the unsung theists and atheists alike. This manner of writing has the power to weaponize music and transform his voice into the most dangerous one of our times. Beware and be aware, King Dude is a force to be reckoned with.

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Tops “I Feel Alive” (Musique TOPS)

2020-04-30T22:45:24+00:00April 30th, 2020|

Montreal dream-pop four-piece TOPS will be releasing a new album called “I Feel Alive” on 4/3. “I Feel Alive” was recorded in a basement studio in Montreal with keyboardist Marta Cikojevic, who joined the band as a live member in 2017. “From the first time we practiced with her it was clear that we were in sync musically, and we found ourselves improvising together at the first rehearsal,” says singer Jane Penney. “Having Marta manning the keys allowed me to reach for my flute, and gave me the chance to integrate my flute playing with the writing process, using it as an expressive instrument rather than more production element which it has been in the past.”

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Chromeo “She’s In Control” (Last Gang)

2020-04-30T22:45:22+00:00April 30th, 2020|

In 2004 everything felt new.

As hip hop producers in the late 90s, we were influenced by Pete Rock and Lord Finesse but by the early 2000s, the sound began to change. People wanted Triton Beats. We weren’t so into that…so we changed too: we traded our S950 (actually we kept it for the drums on Needy Girl) for a talkbox and a handful of synths and we signed to Tiga’s Turbo Recordings without a demo.

We didn’t know the first thing about electronic music, but we figured we’d try our hand at it…although we really just wanted to pay homage to Hall & Oates and Rick James. We had no idea what we were doing: we were writing lyrics for the first time, singing into mics for the first time, dusting off instruments we hadn’t touched since our high school band. We put together songs about sad robots and antiheroic trials of love, with the ingenuity of two childhood bffs who were making music in our mom’s basement. (The album was actually made in Pee’s mom’s basement.) The credits on She’s In Control were simple: written, performed, produced and mixed by Chromeo.

Unbeknownst to us, our misunderstood debut album placed us amongst a new crop of electronic musicians. A project we lovingly crafted with the sole aims of conjuring Huey Lewis and making eachother laugh gave us a career. Needy Girl and You’re So Gangsta laid the blueprint. 15 years later, here we are.

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Chicano Batman “Invisible People” (ATO)

2020-04-30T22:45:12+00:00April 30th, 2020|

Los Angeles psych-soul four-piece Chicano Batman announce Invisible People, out May 1st via ATO Records. The album is both the band’s most sonically-varied and cohesive. It is a statement of hope, a proclamation that we are all invisible people, and that despite race, class, or gender we can overcome our differences and stand together.

For the album, Chicano Batman worked with Shawn Everett, the GRAMMY-award winning mixing engineer known for his work with Alabama Shakes, War on Drugs and Julian Casablancas. With Leon Michels’ producing and Everett’s mixing steering the record’s direction, the band’s lush Tropicalia-tinged sound has transformed into their most polished and densely layered. Invisible People is an illuminating and encapsulating sonic landscape, one that hasn’t lost the essence that put Chicano Batman on the map.

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Austra “Hirudin” (Domino)

2020-04-30T22:45:09+00:00April 30th, 2020|

Being in a toxic relationship can sometimes feel like being lost in a maze. Every attempt to turn a corner lands you back where you started. HiRUDiN is both a bold acknowledgement of such patterns of behaviour and a testament to the power of breaking them.

Named after the peptide released by leeches that is the most potent anticoagulant in the world, HiRUDiN is about the importance of healing the self, letting go of harmful influences, and finding the power to rebuild through exploring your innermost desires.

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Nudge Squidfish “Robot Wars” (Feeding Tube)

2020-04-03T01:02:06+00:00April 3rd, 2020|

“This is the second volume of our series collecting the odds & sods of the immortal Nudge Squidfish. Nudge is one of the singular figures to emerge from the Columbus sub-underground rock scene of the 1970s. He was a member of The True Believers (along with Mike Rep & Tommy Jay). He cut a single for the New Age label in ’82, and couple of odd solo LPs while he was living in Nashville later in the ’80s. He was a member of V-3 (along with Jim Shepard) after that. He also released a bonkers full-length cassette on Old Age that was subsequently vinylized by Columbus Discount. More recently, he has become a highly regarded disseminator of UFO videos (Google it). The first volume of this series, You Can’t Have Aliens Without The Squid (FTR 321LP, 2017), was met with gasps of amazement and other tomfoolery. Robot Wars, featuring material recorded between 1974 and 2017, covers even wider stylistic ground than Aliens, and is certain to provoke as many questions as there are answers. The material here is performed by Nudge solo, Root Cellar (a band with Charles Cicirella on smutty vocals), Jayfish (Nudge + Tommy Jay), and V-3. And while Nudge (left to his own devices) has shown signs of being a pop artist, the music here does not hew to that notion. From fine, straight bar blues readymades to spaced-up electro doo-dads to neo-Nig Heistian raunch polemicism, to guitar bursts worthy of Crazy Horse, Robot Wars presents many the faces of the Squid. And yeah, it includes his pop side, but the breadth and balance are kinda staggering. Roll on, Big N!” –Byron Coley, 2020 Edition of 200.

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Mudhoney “Pedazo De Pastel” (Folc)

2020-04-03T01:01:47+00:00April 3rd, 2020|

“In 1992 Mudhoney left Sub-Pop and signed with Warner Brothers’ subsidiary Reprise Records. Having already worked on a batch of songs, we set out to demo what we had. My buddy from high school, Rolf Bertieg, and his friend Jim Collier had set up a studio in the basement of Jim’s house in the Wedgwood neighborhood of Seattle, where, armed with a few tunes and several cases of beer we made these recordings. The songs on this record would eventually be re-recorded and released on our album Piece Of Cake, except ‘Knock It On The Head’ which has remained unreleased until now. (Maybe there’s a reason for that, but I’ll leave it up to the listener to make that judgment). The energy and the vibe of these recordings reflect how we wish the final Piece Of Cake would have sounded. Hope you enjoy this archaeological dig through our past.” –Dan Peters, Mudhoney

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Peel Dream Magazine “Agitprop Alterna” (Slumberland)

2020-03-27T02:29:27+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Peel Dream Magazine is the musical vehicle for NYC’s Joe Stevens, who launched the band in 2018 with the critically acclaimed album “Modern Meta Physic,” a mysterious, liminal tribute to the hazy end of ‘90s dream-pop that found its place on numerous “Best of 2018” lists. Now Peel Dream are back with “Agitprop Alterna,” an album that pays homage to sonic and spiritual influences ranging from early Stereolab and Broadcast through stateside groups like Lilys and Yo La Tengo.. “Agitprop Alterna” finds Stevens channeling the collaborative spirit of the band’s live incarnation in the studio, deepening the connection between the existential and the interpretive first explored on “Modern Meta Physic.” It is a rejection of manipulation in all its forms and a buzzsaw against complacency; it’s a rare trick to agitate without being obvious, and perhaps that makes “Agitprop Alterna” the most Peel Dream Magazine-like statement yet.
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Tindersticks “See My Girls” (City Slang)

2020-03-27T02:29:26+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Tindersticks release a new limited four-song EP See My Girls. The four song EP features a radio edit of See My Girls, an instrumental dub version of the track and two new songs – the David Boulter penned instrumental A Street Walker’s Carol and Blood And Bone, with Sidonie on lead vocals. The EP is a companion to Tindersticks’ 2019 release No Treasure but Hope.

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Arbouretum ‎”Let It All In” (Thrill Jockey)

2020-03-27T02:29:25+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Arbouretum’s mystic folk-rock uses English folk, country blues, Americana and 70s psychedelia as touchpoints in their singular and distinctive sound and they’ve perfected the craft of storytelling, using a delicate interplay of melodies and prosaic lyrics. Let It All In is their most accomplished and evocative album yet. Guitarist and vocalist Dave Heumann’s melodies and solos remain a central focus bolstered by the hypnotic rhythms of bassist Corey Allender and drummer Brian Carey, enhanced by Matthew Pierce’s substantial yet understated keyboard figures. Each song a vivid scene or tale; Heumann’s deep sense of spirituality and command of storytelling through myth and metaphor transports the listener to another world and time.

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Sorry “925” (Domino)

2020-03-27T02:29:25+00:00March 27th, 2020|

North London’s Sorry release their hotly-anticipated debut record 925 via Domino. Together with co-producer James Dring (Gorillaz, Jamie T, Nilüfer Yanya), best friends Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen have woven 925 like a dreamscape in which idyllic and hellish scenes intermingle, forcing the question of what is real and what is make believe. Inspired by everything from Hermann Hesse to Aphex Twin and old-school crooner Tony Bennett, their experimental and holistic approach marks them out as a thoroughly 21st century band; from their open-minded approach to genre to their creativity allowing them to self-produce the music and direct accompanying videos. Joined by drummer Lincoln Barrett and Campbell Baum on bass, Sorry emerged from a thriving scene of bands in London, and though 925 is their debut album, it is by no means their first statement. It follows a series of mixtapes, released sporadically and used as a way to experiment with the disparate influences and sounds that give 925 its distinctively modern and apocalyptic sound. Where previous singles and mixtapes earned the band their status as one of the most vital and relentlessly creative new British bands of the moment, 925 is a record which will undoubtedly cement their status as true originals and cross-genre innovators in 2020 and beyond.

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Daniel Romano “Okay Now” (You’ve Changed)

2020-03-27T02:29:25+00:00March 27th, 2020|

In a shocking turn of events, Daniel Romano has decided to give you exactly what you asked for–– He and his unparalleled live band, The Outfit, have decided that you deserved it, that it is in fact already yours––and they want to say “you’re welcome.” The record is called “OKAY WOW”. Which is probably what you’ll say when you listen to it. It’s all your favourite songs except superior in every way to the versions you’ve exhausted. “OKAY WOW” also features several rarities previously heard only on two albums which received brief, momentary release via Bandcamp before being deleted forever. “OKAY WOW” was RECORDED LIVE by Kenneth Roy Meehan the 1st while on tour across Scandinavia.

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Chapterhouse ‎”Whirlpool” (Music On Vinyl)

2020-03-27T02:29:23+00:00March 27th, 2020|

British shoegazing/alternative rock band Chapterhouse released two albums during their existence, ‘Whirlpool’ (1991) and ‘Blood Music’ (1993). Their debut album is a fantastic example of shoegaze at its best. The wall of sound approach is built around dance music structures and they’re creating some heavy grooves. Comes on 180 gram vinyl.

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Bobby Conn “Recovery” (Tapete)

2020-03-20T19:41:48+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Bobby Conn on Recovery: “What’s the point of recovery if we were never really healthy to begin with? I started working on this record about four years ago, thinking of the American obsession with self-help, self-care, and self-empowerment as a cruel and cheap substitute for helping each other. It’s a concept that rewards those that have the money to help themselves, and blames those that don’t for not trying hard enough. Then there were some elections. Now there is a narrative of ‘recovering’ our stronger, bolder, racially pure, cultural and economic glory days. And then some of my friends started getting sick, or dying or committed suicide . . . I was really into 10cc, J Dilla, Liaisons Dangereuses, Jean-Claude Vannier, Anna Meredith, Slade, D’Angelo, etc. when writing this record, but I’m sure you can hear it for yourself. Musically, this is a collaboration with my partner Monica BouBou on violin and vocals and our super-band of drummer Josh Johannpeter, bassist Jim ‘Dallas’ Cooper, keyboardist and string player Billie Howard, guitarist Devin Davis, and longtime sound artist DJ LeDeuce. We recorded it over many months in a basement. There is a cameo by synth genius Felix Kubin on ‘Brother’. Mixed by the brilliant Tobias Levin and Hannes Plattmeier in Hamburg, Germany. Some notes on each tune: ‘Recovery’ — the never-ending journey and an addiction unto itself. ‘Disposable Future’ — amazing new technology gives us unlimited choice delivered through devices we cannot control; is this what we were dreaming of? ‘Good Old Days’ — nostalgia for the lies of old white men will kill us all. ‘No Grownups’ — from the perspective of a teenager trapped in a world where all the adults are self-deluded, irresponsible narcissists in terrible clothes. ‘Brother’ — it’s easy to ignore the suffering that surrounds us everyday. ‘On The Nose’ — grandpa’s racism now rebranded as edgy rebellion for the internet generation. ‘Bijou’ — an ode to a recently closed gay porn theatre in Chicago that was part of the struggle for sexual liberty. ‘Disaster’ — our masters imagine themselves as heroes when the mob storms the gates and burns the palace to the ground. ‘Young Man’s Game’ — you can’t play the same game forever. ‘Always Already’ — a misreading of Derrida, Marx and Foucault turned into a nihilist anthem. With apologies to Lionel Richie.”

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Young Gods “Super Ready/Fragmenté” (Two Gentlemen)

2020-03-20T19:42:23+00:00March 19th, 2020|

The Young Gods’ 2007 album, Super Ready / Fragmenté is finally released on vinyl. The twelve compositions of Super Ready / Fragmenté are of a pure sonic power. From the nasty rock song “I’m The Drug” or “Freeze”, to the abstract “C’est quoi c’est ça”, the playful “El Magnifico”, the psychedelic and moving “Stay With Us”, “Super Ready / Fragmenté” (nine minutes of sound journey and pivotal track on the album), The Young Gods have delivered a great album inhabited by Franz Treichler’s clearer, warmer and more powerful voice. That being said, words are, as always, of paramount importance to the Gods. With the political and poetic “About Time”, the group rises up against fear as a market value. Fear is a very current signature of today’s world, recalls Franz Treichler. How many politicians get elected by selling fear by the kilo? Or describes, in detail, the relationship between the couple and the imaginary “Everythere”. Super Ready / Fragmenté is one of those major albums that, behind a palpable sense of urgency and insecurity, is revealed and discovered through poisonous, disturbing and passionate listening. Artwork by IchetKar.

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Gena Rose Bruce “Can’t Make You Love Me” “(Dot Dash)

2020-03-20T19:43:37+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Can’t Make You Love Me is the debut album from Melbourne based Gena Rose Bruce. Bruce’s vocals drive this album; a stirring force amidst the pulsing rhythms, echoes of Mazzy Star and Lynchian undertones. Add to this the masterful restraint in the arrangements and one has an album that is both instantly timeless and unmistakably contemporary. In December 2017, Bruce pulled herself out of a toxic relationship, shifting focus entirely towards her music. “I quit my job, gave up the room I was renting and left the whole situation. I spent three months alone at a family property in Warrnambool on the south coast of Australia and wrote the album. It was a healing time.” The place was a small weatherboard near the ocean in the middle of nowhere. Secluded and eerily quiet, Bruce credits the album’s darker edges in part to this environment; “It’s not a sunny beach town, it’s very melancholic. Even in the middle of summer there was no-one around.” But it was here that she regained focus and confidence, entering a period of intense creative output.  With fresh perspective, lyrics fell into place, followed by sound. Producer Tim Harvey and Bruce bounced ideas constantly. “There was lots of demoing and experimenting. We didn’t feel I had to fit to any genre—we just wanted it to be ‘me’.” Consequently, Can’t Make You Love Me is a distinct and dynamic debut from a young artist with a clear vision. With its infectious melodies, sultry vocal performances and biting lyricism it’s thrillingly playful and confessional. Bruce presents a refreshing brand of vulnerability through unfettered explorations of her life choices.

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Cate Le Bon “Cate Here It Comes Again” Mexican Summer)

2020-03-20T19:44:33+00:00March 19th, 2020|

After the success of the 2019 Mercury Prize nominated album Reward, CATE LE BON and the ambient duo GROUP LISTENING (SWEET BABOO and PAUL JONES) release Here It Comes Again, a re-imagining of 5 tracks from Reward. Recorded in August 2019 in Wales between US and UK tours, Le Bon says,“These are insular re-workings/deconstructions with the musicians whose albums kept me company during the writing of Reward.” Cate Le Bon, Group Listening and guest vocalist ED DOWIE (“Here It Comes Again” and “Magnificent Gestures”) weave the now-familiar melodies through a warp of clarinet, piano, recorders and synthesizers exploring a study on minimalism, repetition and restraint.

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Moaning “Uneasy Laughter” (Sub Pop)

2020-03-20T19:48:25+00:00March 19th, 2020|

What happens when an abrasive rock trio trades guitars for synths, cranks up the beats and leans into the everyday anxieties of simply being a functioning human in the 21st century? The answer is Uneasy Laughter, the sensational second Sub Pop release from Los Angeles-based Moaning.

Vocalist/guitarist Sean Solomon, bassist/keyboardist Pascal Stevenson and drummer Andrew MacKelvie have been friends and co-conspirators amid the fertile L.A. DIY scene for more than a decade. They are also immersed in other creative pursuits — Solomon is a noted illustrator, art director and animator, while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played or worked behind the boards with acts such as Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse. On Uneasy Laughter, they’ve tackled challenges both personal and universal the only way they know how: by talking about how they’re feeling and channeling those emotions directly into their music.

“We’ve known each other forever and we’re really comfortable trying to express where we’re at. A lot of bands aren’t so close,” says MacKelvie. Adds Solomon, who celebrated a year of sobriety during the Uneasy Laughter sessions, “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.”

Moaning’s 2018’s self-titled Sub Pop debut featured songs mostly written in practice or brought in already complete by individual band members. It garnered acclaim from Pitchfork, Stereogum and Los Angeles Times, who observed, “Moaning craft anxious music for an increasingly nervous local scene.” But Uneasy Laughter is a collaborative breakthrough which significantly brightens Moaning’s once claustrophobic sound, again abetted by producer/engineer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Bloc Party, Melvins). The trio points to first single “Ego,” which features a costume-heavy video directed by Ambar Navarro, as an embodiment of this evolution.

Solomon admits Uneasy Laughter could have gone in quite another direction had he not gotten sober and educated himself on such core subjects as gender and mental health. “I did a lot of reading in the tour van — authors like bell hooks, Mark Fisher, and Alain de Botton, all really inspired me. I don’t want to be the person who influences young people to go get high and become cliche tragic artists,” he says. “What I’d rather convey to people is that they’re not alone in what they think and how they feel. ‘Ego’ specifically and the album overall is about those themes — letting go of your bullshit so you can help other people and be present.”

“We want to be part of a community,” he adds. “I wrote online about being sober for a year, and I had kids from all over writing and asking for advice. One of them said, ‘For the first time I can remember, I didn’t drink last night.’ I thought, for once, maybe we did something besides sell a record. That’s a win. That’s incredibly exciting.”

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Porches “Ricky Music” (Domino)

2020-03-20T19:49:53+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Porches, a.k.a. Aaron Maine, is back with a new album, titled Ricky Music via Domino. Featuring contributions from Mitski, Zsela, and Dev Hynes, and with co-production by Jacob Portrait, Ricky Music expands on the Porches discography (The House, 2018; Pool, 2016; Slow Dance In The Cosmos, 2013) by delivering 11 emotionally open, cracked-glass pop songs.

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Trees Speak “Ohms” (Soul Jazz)

2020-03-20T19:49:20+00:00March 19th, 2020|

When the band Trees Speak, coming out of nowhere, released an exclusive one-off 100-pressing white label 45, described as Can / Neu! meets Liquid Liquid, it sold out so quickly (in less than 30 minutes) that Soul Jazz Records decided to release their album almost immediately. Soul Jazz Records rarely release new music but found the music of Trees Speak’s album Ohms so stunning and to have so many elements of music that they admired that they felt compelled to release it.

The group Trees Speak are from Tucson, Arizona and create new music that sounds like German Krautrock meets no wave/post-punk and psych rock – music for fans of Cluster, Tangerine Dream, Can, Neu!, Silver Apples and early Kraftwerk. The album Ohms sounds at times like a tripped out and moody John Carpenter / Goblin / Morricone soundtrack that seamlessly segues into propulsive, ‘motorik’ Krautrock instrumentals loaded with fuzzy, hypnotic mellotron, synths and analogue effects, as well as elements of Art Ensemble free jazz, and all at times reaching a kind of post-rave psychedelia. More recent comparisons would include Beak> and Ghost Box who draw upon similar themes and styles.

Trees Speak relates to the idea of future technologies storing information and data in trees and plants – using them as hard drives – and the idea that Trees communicate collectively.

The Vinyl format includes an exclusive bonus 45 single (the white label of which sold out so fast) that will only be available with the first order of this amazing and ground-breaking new album.

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Cocteau Twins “Garlands” (4AD)

2020-03-20T19:50:10+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Originally released in June of 1982, the debut album by the Cocteau Twins is considered far darker than some of their later offerings, being influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees, early Cure and the Birthday Party. During this early period, Will Heggie’s bass played a significant role in defining their sound, giving it a darker and heavily rhythmic, earthy texture. This combined with Robin Guthrie’s minimalistic and heavily effected guitar arrangements; a great deal of distortion and feed-back, smoothed out with chorus, reverb and flanger. Beneath is the roland 808 drum machine thumping along, as distinctively Cocteau sounding as the guitar. All while Elizabeth Fraser seemed to veer into glossolalia and mouth music. Garlands marks the beginning of their haunting ethereal sound. A masterpiece.

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Cocteau Twins “Victorialand” (4AD)

2020-03-20T19:49:36+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Victorialand, Cocteau Twins’ fourth album, was released in spring 1986. The largely acoustic, non-percussive album was made with Elizabeth and Robin, while Simon was working on This Mortal Coil’s second album, Filigree&Shadow. Dif Juz label mate Richard Thomas guested on tabla and saxophone. The Guardian said”It’s not quite ambient, but it’s definitely not rock’n’roll even by the Cocteaus’ standards, building on the moments of guitar shimmer from the previous years’ EPs, while also stripping back at points to where it’s nothing but a Guthrie guitar line and Fraser’s voice.

LP – First vinyl pressing since the 80s cut at 33⅓ RPM.

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Lapsley “Through Water” (XL Recordings)

2020-03-20T19:50:44+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Lapsley releases her highly-anticipated second album. Titled Through Water, it’s the follow up to her 2016 album Long Way Home, one of that year’s most acclaimed debuts. Released while she was still a teenager, Long Way Home featured Låpsley’s breakthrough moments Station and Falling Short and spawned one of the biggest club tracks in recent years (DJ Koze’s edit of Operator) as well as inspiring a new generation of electronically minded songwriters including Billie Eilish, who name checked it as a key influence on her sound.

Through Water is without doubt Lapsley’s most accomplished work to date, written and recorded during her transition into young womanhood. With Lapsley as the major producer and songwriter, the ten songs (whittled down from over one hundred) reflect her newfound confidence, clarity and self-awareness as an artist, documenting a wealth of personal experiences and coming-of-age stories set against a thematic backdrop of water, climate, weather and the elements.

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Sufjan Stevens “Aporia” (Asthamatic Kitty)

2020-03-20T19:54:18+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Aporia is a New Age album from Sufjan Stevens and his step-father and record label co-owner, Lowell Brams. In the spirit of the New Age composers who sanded off the edges of their synths’ sawtooth waves, Aporia approximates a rich soundtrack from an imagined sci-fi epic brimming with moody, hooky, gauzy synthesizer soundscapes. The album may suggest the progeny of a John Carpenter, Wendy Carlos, and Mike Oldfield marriage, but it stands apart from these touchstones and generates a meditative universe all its own. This is no mere curio in the Sufjan Stevens catalog – but a fully realized collaborative musical piece.

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Waxahatchee “Saint Cloud” (Merge)

2020-03-20T19:56:15+00:00March 19th, 2020|

What do we hold on to from our past? What must we let go of to truly move forward? Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield spent much of 2018 reckoning with these questions and revisiting her roots for answers. The result is Saint Cloud, an intimate journey through the places she’s been, filled with the people she’s loved.

Written immediately in the period following her decision to get sober, the album is an unflinching self-examination. This raw, exposed narrative terrain is aided by a shift in sonic arrangements as well. While her last two records featured the kind of big guitars, well-honed noise, and battering sounds that characterized her Philadelphia scene and strongly influenced a burgeoning new class of singer-songwriters, Saint Cloud strips back those layers to create space for Crutchfield’s voice and lyrics. The result is a classic Americana sound with modern touches befitting an artist who has emerged as one of the signature storytellers of her time. Many of the narratives on Saint Cloud concern addiction and the havoc it wreaks on ourselves and our loved ones, as Crutchfield comes to a deeper understanding of love not only for those around her but for herself. This coalesces most clearly on Fire, which she says was literally written in transit, during a drive over the Mississippi River into West Memphis, and serves as a love song to herself, a paean to moving past shame into a place of unconditional self-acceptance.

Over the course of Saint Cloud, which was recorded the summer of 2019 and produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver), Crutchfield peels back the distortion of electric guitars to create a wider sonic palette than on any previous Waxahatchee album. It is a record filled with nods to classic country, folk-inspired tones, and distinctly modern touches. To bolster her vision, Crutchfield enlisted Bobby Colombo and Bill Lennox, both of the Detroit band Bonny Doon, to serve as backing band on the record, along with Josh Kaufman (Hiss Golden Messenger, Bon Iver) on guitar and keyboards and Nick Kinsey (Kevin Morby) on drums and percussion. Saint Cloud marks the beginning of a journey for Crutchfield, one that sees her leaving behind past vices and the comfortable environs of her Philadelphia scene to head south in search of something new. If on her previous work Crutchfield was out in the storm, she’s now firmly in the eye of it, taking stock of her past with a clear perspective and gathering the strength to carry onward.

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Molchat Doma “S Krysh Nashikh Domov” (Sacred Bones)

2020-03-20T19:57:31+00:00March 19th, 2020|

When С крыш наших домов (S Krysh Nashikh Domov), the debut album by Molchat Doma, was released in 2017, it announced a bold new voice in underground music. The album found a passionate audience on Bandcamp and other streaming services and was released on CD and cassette. Sacred Bones Records is proud to present the album on vinyl for the first time.

Molchat Doma (translated as “Houses Are Silent”), founded in 2017 in Minsk, Belarus, stands at the intersection of post-punk, new-wave and synth-pop. Dark yet danceable, and with a heavy dose of goth ethos, their music is reminiscent of the masters that predate them, but make no mistake: Molchat Doma creates a sound and meaning that is immediately recognizable as all their own.

The band is comprised of Egor Shkutko, who sings the Russian lyrics in his deep monotone, Roman Komogortsev on guitar, synths, and drum machine, and Pavel Kozlov on bass and synths.

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FACS “Void Moments” (Trouble In Mind)

2020-03-20T19:56:51+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Chicago trio FACS have evolved very quickly in the span of their three years in existence. “Void Moments” is their third & latest offering; a dark & claustrophobic album with rivulets of seismic beauty peeking through the din.

Formed in the wake of the dissolution of Disappears, guitarist Brian Case & drummer Noah Leger’s project is the logical continuation of the trails blazed in their former outfit. Since their 2017 debut “Negative Houses”, the band have reworked, retooled & reshaped their sound, and with the addition of bassist Alianna Kalaba on 2018’s “Lifelike”, their evolution has coalesced into something distinct. Gone is the bone-rattling minimalism of “Negative Houses”; “Void Moments” offers an abstraction of the melodic elements that crept into “Lifelike” and contorts them toward a new horizon.

Where “Lifelike” rang with a metallic, near-industrial racket, “Void Moments” cloaks the music behind a black velvet curtain of sonance, obsfuscating the band’s most direct set of songs to date. “Boy” kicks off with a lurch of vocals and Case’s sinewy guitar-line guiding a stoic march. By the time Kalaba drops in with the bass, the track morphs into a milky swirl, leading into the chime of “Teenage Hive”s buzzing churn. “Casual Indifference” expertly fuses the band’s rhythmic pulse with a somber dissolve of guitars, vocals and backwards-masked drums. “Version” closes out side one with lush surges of Case’s shoegaze’d guitar & voice weaving around the rhythm section. Side two’s “Void Walker” careens in with Leger’s cavernous drums, Kalaba and Case riding alongside. The album’s final two tracks “Lifelike” and “Dub Over” cascade into one another, becoming one & act as a perfect analogy to “Void Moments” mutability, both musically & lyrically. Despite its foggy presence, “Void Moments” still careens toward the light. By embracing fluidity, FACS continue to evolve & refuse to be ensnared by genre. “Void Moments” ruminates on humanity’s increasing refusal of identity, not only via our reliance on technology, but also within our society’s challenging of societal & gender norms. “Void Moments” feels one step closer to oblivion, but its sounds are a welcome salve.

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Morrissey “I Am Not A Dog On A Chain” (Etienne)

2020-03-20T19:58:20+00:00March 12th, 2020|

First new studio album since 2017, I Am Not A Dog On A Chain was recorded at La Fabrique in France in 2018. The eleven track album, was produced by Joe Chiccarelli. Chicarelli has now produced the last four Morrissey albums, beating the three album run of Steve Lillywhite in the 1990s when he worked on Vauxhall and I, Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted. It’s Mozza’s boldest and most adventurous album yet. He has pushed the boundaries yet again – both musically and lyrically.

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Random Desire

2020-03-19T20:35:17+00:00March 12th, 2020|

For the last 30 years, Greg Dulli, frontman of The Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers, has been the poet laureate of the bizarre whims and cruel tangents of desire. A foremost authority on the sell-your-soul rewards of carnal lust, the high voltage epiphanies of chemical enhancement, and the serotonin lows left in their wake.Therein lies Random Desire, the first solo album under Dulli’s own name, via Royal Cream / BMG.

The album opener. Pantomima, sets the tone from the sardonic taunts of the album’s first bars: desolation, come and get it. Random Desire started in the aftermath of the last Whigs record, 2017’s In Spades, which Pitchfork named one of the best rock records of the year, hailing it as a “heavy, menacing work of indie rock majesty…thrilling and unsettling.” Drummer Patrick Keeler was about to take a short sabbatical to record and tour with his other band, The Raconteurs. Dulli’s longtime collaborator, bassist John Curley went back to school, and there was the tragic death of the band’s guitarist, Dave Rosser. In response, Dulli returned to his teenage bedroom roots, finding musical inspiration via the model of one-man-band visionaries Prince and Todd Rundgren.

The Los Angeles-by-way-of-Hamilton Ohio native wrote nearly every part of the record from piano lines to drums to bass riffs. As always, the music came first and the lyrics were completed later. Recording and writing way stations included his home in Silver Lake, the village of Crestline high up in the mountains above San Bernardino, and New Orleans. But the bulk was finished amidst the arid beauty and stark isolation of Joshua Tree (at the studio of engineer Christopher Thorne). Dulli handled most instrumentation, but an all-star cast of characters appear across the track-listing including The Whigs’ guitarist Jon Skibic and multi-instrumentalist Rick G. Nelson, Mathias Schneeberger (Twilight Singers), pedal steel wizard, upright bassist, and physician Dr. Stephen Patt, and drummer Jon Theodore (Queens of the Stone Age, The Mars Volta).

Clocking in at a lean 37 minutes, Random Desire is a clinic put on by a veteran master operating at the height of his powers, offering evidence of the hard-fought and weary wisdom learned from setbacks and victories alike. A lucid, confident and self-assured document of the songs of experience, the perils of existence, and the possibilities that offer themselves anew with each breath. Another death and rebirth from an outlaw who has seen it all and somehow lived to tell.

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Brain Cycles

2020-03-19T20:35:39+00:00March 12th, 2020|

In Stock March 17, 2020

Brain Cycles is Radio Moscow’s second album, a new psychedelic trip into the musical territory originally charted by artists such as Randy Holden, Groundhogs, Peter Green and Flower Travellin’ Band, just to name a few. Hailing from Ames, Iowa, an unlikely rock n’roll town if there was one, and formed in 2006 by guitar prodigy Parker Griggs, Radio Moscow released their self-titled debut in 2007, with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys handling the production.

Stoner Rock called the album “an astonishingly good debut,” Pop Matters hailed it as an “awesome record-…fun and slutty and cool,” and Modern Fix described their sound as “dirty-ass psych-powered blues rock “.

After a full year on the road, Parker Griggs has headed back into the studio to cut the long awaited follow-up. On “Brain Cycles,” he once again plays all the instruments (guitar, drums, and percussion) and assumes vocal duties as well as production credits, while the bass guitar is in the hands of young Zach Anderson.

Conceived as an homage to the thrilling days of yesteryear, when vinyl was king and analog stereo ruled the world, “Brain Cycles” is a guilty pleasure best experienced at maximum volume while wearing headphones, if you want your brain to catch the waves!

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Herculean House Of Cards

2020-03-19T20:36:10+00:00March 12th, 2020|

A tortured songwriter and struggling addict who jolted the tired Chicago DIY scene with his own brand of primal despair, Trey Gruber and his band Parent were on track to join the ranks of Twin Peaks, Mild High Club, and Whitney. His death in 2017 at the age of 26 brought it all to a halt. In his final years, Trey wrote and recorded hundreds of previously unheard demos, dandelions in the cracked concrete of 21st-century disconnect, an alphabet’s worth of which have been compiled by his family and friends for his only album: Herculean House Of Cards.

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Caroline Rose “Superstar” (New West)

2020-03-13T20:33:43+00:00March 12th, 2020|

In Stock March 17, 2020

Here comes Superstar – the bigger, badder, glitter-driven record by Caroline Rose. Written as a sequel to 2018’s Loner, the album “plays out like an epic movie about the pursuit of fame and fortune,” Rose states. “I’ve always been fascinated by this pursuit, but what’s even more fascinating is what happens when it fails.” Indeed, gone are the successful Hollywood hunks and starlets of old. Superstar chronicles a quirky anti-hero, who after receiving a wrong call from the elite hotel Chateau Marmont, decides to leave their old life behind in order to become a big Hollywood star.

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U.S. Girls “Heavy Light” (4AD)

2020-03-13T20:33:44+00:00March 12th, 2020|

The highly anticipated seventh album by U.S. Girls, the protean musical enterprise of multi-disciplinary artist Meg Remy, will be released on 6th March entitled Heavy Light.

While Remy has been widely acclaimed for a panoply of closely observed character studies, on Heavy Light she turns inward, recounting personal narratives to create a deeply introspective about-face.  The songs are an inquest into the melancholy flavour of hindsight, both personal and cultural.  Remy makes this notion formally explicit with the inclusion of three re-worked, previously released songs: ‘Statehouse (It’s A Man’s World)’, ‘Red Ford Radio’, and ‘Overtime’, the latter of which is released as Heavy Light’s lead single.

Heavy Light is produced by Remy and was recorded live with 20 session musicians – including E Street Band saxophonist Jake Clemons – in Montreal’s acclaimed Hotel 2 Tango studio.  Remy worked with co-writers Basia Bulat and Rich Morel to develop the core of Heavy Light, a set of songs conceived as a balance between orchestral percussion (as richly arranged by percussionist Ed Squires) and the human voice (conducted by Kritty Uranowski).  The resulting album finds Remy casting herself as lead voice among a harmonious multitude, the singers of which lend not only their voices, but also share reflections on childhood experiences that are collaged into moving spoken word interludes throughout the album.  The album is mixed by long-time collaborators Maximilian ‘Twig’ Turnbull, Steve Chahley and Tony Price.

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Stephen Malkmus “Traditional Techniques” (Matador)

2020-03-13T20:33:47+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Traditional Techniques, Malkmus’ third solo LP without the Jicks (or Pavement), is new phase folk music for new phase folks, with Malkmus as attuned as ever to the rhythms of the ever-evolving lingual slipstream. It’s packed with handmade arrangements, modern folklore, and 10 songs written and performed in his singular voice. An adventurous new album in an instantly familiar mode, Traditional Techniques creates a serendipitous trilogy with the loose fuzz of the Jicks’ Sparkle Hard (2018) and the solo bedroom experiments of Groove Denied (2019).

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Lightning Bolt “Ride The Skies” (Thrill Jockey)

2020-03-13T20:33:47+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Ride the Skies is the second album by Lightning Bolt, and this re-release makes it available to fans for the first time since it’s original release. Compared to their first album it’s cleaner, tighter, recorded in studio rather than live. Which is not to say this is boring or sanitized in any way, Lightning Bolt never fail to make magic, filling a space with loud, raw sound. Sounds of synth or guitar turn out to be bass, and riffs become patterns, become a beat in the background, become a wall of noise, become a clear sound above it all. Lightning Bolt are known for the sound that truly comes into it’s own in this album. Ride the Skies is rereleased with deluxe packaging featuring jacket art that was designed by Brian Chippendale for the original release but has never been realized until now.

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Caribou “Suddenly” (Merge)

2020-03-13T20:33:47+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Suddenly is the most surprising and unpredictable Caribou to date. Though it retains the trademark Caribou warmth and technicolor, this album is littered with swerves and left turns. Songs drop out and morph into something else entirely just as they’re hitting their stride, samples chopped up beyond all recognition burst out of nowhere. Suddenly refers to the moments of dramatic and unexpected change that occur at points in any life and within any family—universal themes that catch you off guard and change your life in a heartbeat.

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Real Estate “The Main Thing” (Domino)

2020-03-13T20:33:47+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Over the last decade, Real Estate have crafted warm yet meticulous pop-minded music, specialising in soaring melodies that are sentimentally evocative and unmistakably their own. The Main Thing dives even further into the musical dichotomies they’re known for—lilting, bright guitar lines set against emotionally nuanced lyrics, complex arrangements conveyed breezily— and what emerges is a superlative collection of interrogative songs as full of depth, strangeness and contradictions as they are lifting hooks.

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