Indie Rock

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Sloan “Navy Blues”(Murderecords)

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

No more scouring eBay and Discogs, Navy Blues is back in print on vinyl 21 years after it’s initial pressing! With the deluxe box set almost sold out, we’ll now be keeping this classic single LP version in print for the foreseeable future. The LP is housed in a heavy duty tip-on gatefold jacket (with a cool spot gloss) and a lyric inner sleeve that’s in keeping with the original vinyl pressing. The audio mastering will be the same as the pressing inside the box set.

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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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OXZ ‎”Along Ago: 1981-1989″ (Captured Tracks)

2020-03-13T20:33:48+00:00March 5th, 2020|

The mid ’80s were an exciting time for music in Kansai (Osaka-Kyoto), Japan. There were more stages for bands to play on, more releases by independent labels and a variety of bands playing in different styles. The 80s were also a time when women’s rights in Japan, though a topic of conversation, were not widely visible in the real world. There were very few women in the underground music scene at the time, but none of them dressed like punks or dyed their hair, or outwardly showed much interest in declaring independence from the usual rules. So, in 1981, when Hikko, Mika, and Emiko (aka Chasen-maru) first appeared together as OXZ, they were intentionally shocking.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, however. It was already acceptable for young women to form bands in the safety of their high school music clubs. They generally played cover songs at school events. However, actually stepping out into the dirty world of live houses was for the adventurous and compelled. To do so in OXZ’s overtly provocative, dramatic way was unheard of. Contemporaries of Shonen Knife, OXZ were known for the intensity of their live performances. Releasing their first EP in 1984 – an 8″ EP – their catalog belies their reputation for moody, dark post-punk ahead of its time. The bass and drums dominate; the guitars are angular and spiky – punk, but with something extra. Along Ago: 1981-1989 collects the band’s entire catalog – three EPs and a single – alongside unearthed, unreleased demos.

Then, 1989, it ended as the band went their separate ways. And the name? No one seems to remember how it came about, but it should be noted that in Japan, O means acceptable and X means rejected, so maybe OXZ means “going beyond all usual standards.”

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Agnes Obel ‎”Myopia” (Blue Note)

2020-03-13T20:33:48+00:00March 5th, 2020|

For almost a decade, Agnes Obel has been one of the most independent and original artists in contemporary music. Now she has returned with new music, releasing the enchanting single “Broken Sleep”, ahead of the release of her highly anticipated new album Myopia – through Deutsche Grammophon, Universal Music Group’s prestigious Yellow Label, and Blue Note in North America.
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His Name Is Alive “Return to Never Home Recordings” (Disciples)

2020-03-13T20:33:49+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Second volume in a trilogy exploring the teenage tape experimentation of Warren Defever aka His Name Is Alive. Echo-drenched guitar instrumentals, field recordings and gorgeous ambient tones pulsate through the analogue murk, also taking in dalliances with greyscale industrial drone, musique concrète and even a burst of 4-track noise pop reminiscent of the early work of The Jesus And Mary Chain.

Inner sleeve essay and interview once again by Mike McGonigal, the man behind Third Man’s recently launched Maggot Brain magazine and the author of books on My Bloody Valentine and Galaxie 500.

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Dungen “Dungen Live” (Mexican Summer)

2020-03-13T20:33:49+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Those who’ve been fortunate enough to catch Dungen in a live setting, are aware of the transformative experience in store, how they stitch together a fine and fiery tapestry of song. Dungen’s new album Live is the golden, glimmering thread holding it all together.

Live is Dungen in their own land, saving up stunning solos and fiery interplay for their home team, elements of their farthest-out and most inspired moments assembled into one piece of continuous music by producer Matthias Glava. Dungen worked with Glava on their second album Stadsvandringar, aka 2, when the band was just gaining traction in Sweden and a bit beyond. Glava returned to help Dungen capture the beautiful, crisp stillness of their 2015 return Allas Sak, and stayed on through the creation of Haxän, their interpretive soundtrack to the silent film The Adventures of Prince Achmed.

Entirely instrumental (including a footstompin’ cover of Doug Jerebine’s “Ain’t So Hard to Tell” – check with our buds over at Drag City for the full story on that one), Live showcases what Dungen does best: create a vibe where none existed, build a mood out of circumstance, attack the music with a fan’s soul and a master’s scorching virtuosity. It extends moments out of their catalogue that seemed like they were already explored and breathes new life into them, at times graceful, at others rambunctious, and sometimes a little of both. It stirs memories of when those first import copies of Ta det lungt hit the record store, how we listened in awe and watched the customers turn around, that first shock of awareness, that anxiety over trying to take home what appeared to be the last copy on the shelf before someone else with the same idea beat you to it.

Fans of Reine rippers need look no further. His classic burnt guitar tone and masterful touch is on full display within Live, as is his more recent propensity to build vibes with the Mellotron. Matthias and Johan are locked in as usual, the backbone, wildly swinging in the way they do. Gustav seems to be peaking here, directing currents of energy and melody with the precision of an air traffic controller. This thing gets air; it gives the sense of a band playing purely out of their own time, passionately reviving seldom-remembered histories of recorded sound.

What makes Live really work is the notion that Dungen have this side in them at all times, the idea that all it takes is time and a response to get them into this form. Going through the band’s entire catalogue, growth as musicians is a constant. They’ve afforded themselves the luxuries of being able to go at their own pace, and one of the best things about doing that is that they’re always aware of where you came from, and they build on that to take themselves and the listener out to the rarefied spaces explored within. It’s an intense ride through everything that makes a Dungen show special, back to back to back. All the peaks, all the moments of improvisation and connectivity through sound. It’s pieces of everything you know about them, reinterpreted out of love and respect for the craft. All things that are unmistakably part of what puts Dungen in the top tiers of latter-day psychedelic soul expression. Please hold onto your ticket because it’s about to get punched.

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Espers “Espers” (Drag City)

2020-03-13T20:33:49+00:00March 5th, 2020|

REISSUED!!! ESPERS’ self-titled first release appeared in 2004, heralding an era in which there was a perception of back-to-the-roots in the underground; kids making new music that spoke strongly of folk traditions and psychedelia, in the process setting themselves apart from latter-day sounds and approaches. Espers didn’t shy away from this image, projecting a collective air, almost like a rural outpost, out of time and place in the urban environs of Philadelphia. The staid harmonies of MEG BAIRD and GREG WEEKS, the 6- and 12-string guitars and percussion of BROOKE SIETINSONS, the full-bodied arrangements rife with traditional and classical details and the regular intervention of acid-toned guitar leads formed, along with the mystic and melancholy cast to their songwriting, a galvanizing identity for them among other like-minded music players of the day. The second Espers album, The Weed Tree was released in 2005. It was a nearly inevitable endeavor for the group, made almost entirely of cover material, but the traditional folk songs—“Rosemary Lane” and “Black Is the Color”—were paired with songs by Nico, Michael Hurley, and even Blue Oyster Cult, making for an oblique run through eclectic aspects of the past that succeeded due to Espers’ thorough re-imagining of the material in their own image. The addition of current members HELENA ESPVALL on cello and OTTO HAUSER on drums and percussion upped the alchemy of the band to its most potent, making music that drew from tradition, but making it new at the same time. Espers, existing in between places, were a part of a flow of ideation that has as much to do with revelations from the ’70s or ’60s—with all the decades of the last century, really—as it does with the current expressions in favor of selfhood and safety that are struggled over today. Their music has retained a mysterious, unknowable vitality that, in the name of their original intention, continues to express Espers’ individualism, optimism and deeply empathetic soul.

Arab Strap “Philophobia” (1972)

2020-03-13T20:33:49+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Philophobia, Arab Strap’s sophomore slam dunk released in the spring of 1998, begins with one of the most memorable opening lines in all of indie rock: “It was the biggest cock you’d ever seen, but you’ve no idea where that cock has been.” So begins an album that, while picking up thematically where the duo’s debut album The Week Never Starts Round Here left off, promises from its very first seconds a renewed sense of purpose: the narratives are more streamlined, the music more confident and mature. Gone are the sketches and doodles that unquestionably distinguished 1996’s The Week Never Starts Round Here as the work of first timers, replaced with a consistent, almost conceptual, musical framework. On Philophobia, singer and lyricist Aidan Moffat’s realism is more profane, gritty and poignant, while multi-instrumentalist Malcolm Middleton’s honeyed orchestrations increasingly provide clinics in subtlety and restraint.
Part of the appeal of Arab Strap’s post-everything music is the way the group’s songs make every listener feel like either a voyeur or a trusted confidante. The ever-present humanity in future sex advice columnist Moffat’s first person tales of debauchery and regret is a through-line running through each of these frank and vivid songs: the same narrator who confesses to sniffing his fingers after a sexual encounter and boasts about the size of his penis also yearns to “hug” a lover to death, finds himself crying on the bus, and wonders idly—but hopefully—whether or not he’s truly in love with the woman he’s just slept with. It is this duality, complemented by Middleton’s imaginative and deeply sensitive accompaniment, that makes Philophobia one of the most original and most enduring front-to-back albums in the canon of modern indie rock; over two decades later, it still sounds warm to the touch.

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Early Day Miners “Placer Found” (Secretly Canadian)

2020-03-13T20:33:50+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Early Day Miners’ surroundings have always been reflected in their sound. Their early compositions mirror the slowly unfurling, seemingly inescapable expanse of the Midwest. Any sense of movement therein is often a matter of patience, or perhaps just beautifully performed sleight of hand, an aural homeopathy. There are generous hints at intimacy, but it is obscured intimacy.

A change of place and the time between, from the basements of Bloomington to the Bywater of New Orleans, has yielded a subtle but correlative shift in the band. The Crescent City; its name is not only a reminder of its shape carved out by the river cradling it, but also a perfect allegory of a city forever in flux between the most contrasting aspects of the human condition, from light to dark. Within those darker quarters of experience lies the gold that Early Day Miners have labored to unearth with cautious vulnerability over the course of their eight albums.

The internalized rumination that has characterized the band up until now has been exchanged for an open embrace of loss and sorrow and, perhaps even more courageously, joy. Unmistakable in that acceptance of all is a certain, audible lightness. Most notably Dan Burton’s voice, once hushed and at times hesitant, is now full-bodied and sure; his heart, once tenuously carried on his sleeve, is now firmly in his throat. And though this might be the leanest the lineup has been, they are focused and warm, exuding the maximalism of their new home with nuance and a laissez-faire approach. Early Day Miners sound as unhurried as ever, but never aimless.

The 20th Anniversary Edition features two unreleased instrumental tracks.

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Espers “The Weed Tree” (Drag City)

2020-03-13T20:33:50+00:00March 5th, 2020|

REISSUED!!! ESPERS’ self-titled first release appeared in 2004, heralding an era in which there was a perception of back-to-the-roots in the underground; kids making new music that spoke strongly of folk traditions and psychedelia, in the process setting themselves apart from latter-day sounds and approaches. Espers didn’t shy away from this image, projecting a collective air, almost like a rural outpost, out of time and place in the urban environs of Philadelphia. The staid harmonies of MEG BAIRD and GREG WEEKS, the 6- and 12-string guitars and percussion of BROOKE SIETINSONS, the full-bodied arrangements rife with traditional and classical details and the regular intervention of acid-toned guitar leads formed, along with the mystic and melancholy cast to their songwriting, a galvanizing identity for them among other like-minded music players of the day. The second Espers album, The Weed Tree was released in 2005. It was a nearly inevitable endeavor for the group, made almost entirely of cover material, but the traditional folk songs—“Rosemary Lane” and “Black Is the Color”—were paired with songs by Nico, Michael Hurley, and even Blue Oyster Cult, making for an oblique run through eclectic aspects of the past that succeeded due to Espers’ thorough re-imagining of the material in their own image. The addition of current members HELENA ESPVALL on cello and OTTO HAUSER on drums and percussion upped the alchemy of the band to its most potent, making music that drew from tradition, but making it new at the same time. Espers, existing in between places, were a part of a flow of ideation that has as much to do with revelations from the ’70s or ’60s—with all the decades of the last century, really—as it does with the current expressions in favor of selfhood and safety that are struggled over today. Their music has retained a mysterious, unknowable vitality that, in the name of their original intention, continues to express Espers’ individualism, optimism and deeply empathetic soul.

Banoffee “Look At Us Now Dad” (Cascine)

2020-03-13T20:34:08+00:00February 28th, 2020|

Look At Us Now Dad, Banoffee’s debut album, is an uplifting, optimistic journey that celebrates survival in the face of abuse and adversity. Featuring collaborations with SOPHIE, Empress Of, CupcakKe and umru, and co-produced by Banoffee and Yves Rothman, the music is a kinetic hybrid of experimental club sounds and earworm pop. “Each song uses human experience to talk about more complex concepts like addiction, obsession, heartbreak and resurrection,” says Banoffee. “Not to dwell in sadness, but to join hands.”

The album was written in the two years after the artist moved to LA from Melbourne seeking a fresh start after a mental breakdown. Meticulously studying what caused her collapse, Banoffee examined her life in order to reclaim her narrative and grow from victim to survivor. Look At Us Now Dad tells a story of triumph—over abuse, sadness, and loss—and is a testament to the possibilities of rebirth. As Banoffee puts it: “Each track is about a struggle and achievement that anyone could experience, the ones that sometime seem trivial. We’re all survivors for one reason or another.”

Title track “Look At Us Now Dad” is a bittersweet ballad addressed to her father that examines how trauma is passed between generations. In “Permission,” she directly confronts her abusers while singing in an auto-tuned glissando amidst haunting chasms of empty space. “Count On You,” a full-throttle anthem fueled by blasts of jagged synths and written at the peak of the #MeToo movement, is a relentless declaration of solidarity with survivors. “Ripe,” co-produced with SOPHIE, is a pop banger where Banoffee’s shimmering, angelic vocals plunge into a demented underbelly of flouro-synths and twisted club sounds.

Across the album, the production’s textural emphasis on crunchy sounds and smooth transitions serves as a darker, more experimental foil to Banoffee’s narrative-driven lyrics and hook-laden melodies. “It’s an exciting time for pop music,” says Banoffee, who relishes her position at the border between avant-garde art and above-ground sounds. The broadening of the popscape to include more radical and queer artists such as herself is heartening—and playing in Charli XCX’s band on the Taylor Swift tour taught her a lot about how commercial music brings people together. “Pop isn’t lyrically political like in the 60s,” she says, “but now, the existence of these avant artists is advocating for nonconformists.”

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The Donnas “Gold Medal” (Real Gone)

2020-03-13T20:34:08+00:00February 28th, 2020|

Famously formed in 8th grade for a school talent show, The Donnas began as a self-styled co-ed answer to The Ramones, each taking the first name of Donna (as opposed to the last name of Ramone), and playing gleefully unapologetic, pop-punk paeans to adolescent alienation and hedonism from a decidedly female perspective. But by the time of 2004’s Gold Medal, their sixth album and second for the major label Atlantic, the group has clearly—dare we say it?–matured. With the notable exception of the single (and career highlight) “Fall Behind Me,” Gold Medal marks a move away from the Donnas’ harder/faster ethos towards a more polished (acoustic guitars…whaaat?) pop sound veering towards ‘70s psychedelia under the helm of Avril Lavigne producer Butch Walker. And you can tell it from the album’s graphics, which flash vintage, Peter Max-esque squiggles on the front cover and feature a faux black light poster inside (which we have reproduced for this reissue along with the original printed inner sleeve). The result was an album that lead vocalist Brett Anderson a.k.a Donna A. deems her favorite, and one that stands as probably the band’s crowning artistic achievement. Our reissue comes in black and gold splatter vinyl, and is limited to 750 copies…an overlooked early-oughties gem!

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Youth Lagoon “The Year Of Hibernation” (Fat Possum)

2020-03-13T20:34:08+00:00February 28th, 2020|

Youth Lagoon released its debut album The Year of Hibernation in September of 2011. Youth Lagoon is the brain child of twenty-two year old Trevor Powers. The reference to hibernation in the album title is attributed to Trevor’s feeling of awaking after the worst year of his life. The album was met with glowing reviews. All Music gave the record a four out of five stars and Pitchfork gave it a 8.4/10.

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Eric’s Trip “Warm Girl” (Blue Fog)

2020-03-13T20:34:08+00:00February 28th, 2020|

Never before released on vinyl. The December 1991 indie cassette album that started all the hype over Eric’s Trip. Remixed and remastered from the original 4-track master tapes and sounding better than ever. Also includes two bonus live tracks and a download code. Pressed on leafy green coloured vinyl with newly scanned and updated original artwork on jacket.

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Soccer Mommy “Color Theory” (Loma Vista)

2020-03-13T20:34:09+00:00February 28th, 2020|

Confronting the ongoing mental health and familial trials that have plagued Allison since pre-pubescence, color theory explores three central themes: blue, representing sadness and depression; yellow, symbolizing physical and emotional illness; and, finally, gray, representing darkness, emptiness and loss. Written mostly while on tour and recorded in Allison’s hometown of Nashville at Alex The Great, color theory was produced by Gabe Wax (who also produced Clean), mixed by Lars Stalfors (Mars Volta, HEALTH, St. Vincent), and features the live Soccer Mommy band on studio recording for the first time, with a live take at the foundation of almost every track. The resulting album is a masterpiece that paints an uncompromisingly honest self-portrait of an artist who, according to 100+ publications, already released one of the Best Albums of 2018 and the 2010s, and is about to release an early favorite of 2020.
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Smoke Fairies “Darkness Brings The Wonders Home” (Year Seven)

2020-03-13T20:34:10+00:00February 28th, 2020|

In the making of their new album Darkness Brings The Wonders Home, Smoke Fairies drew inspiration from mysteries both real and imagined: sea monsters, flocks of crows taking flight in extravagant formation, strange creatures dwelling in the mud near their new South London abode. With their mesmeric vocal presence and starkly poetic lyrics, singer / multi-instrumentalists Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies embed all that odd magic into songs that speak to the realities of modern times – isolation, insomnia, an overall unease with the state of the world – and ultimately uncover an unlikely sense of hope.

Produced by Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Black Angels, The Shins), Darkness Brings The Wonders Home merges Smoke Fairies’ musings and meditations with a decidedly guitar-driven sound, the duo’s unearthly harmonies endlessly floating atop lead-heavy riffs. Over the course of a rigorous month-long session in Seattle, Smoke Fairies adopted a purposely intimate approach to achieving that singular sonic tone.

While Smoke Fairies initially intended to return to the earthy folk of early work like 2011’s Through Low Light and Trees, the duo soon found themselves assuming a new boldness in their guitar style and, in turn, pushing into much wilder terrain. In doing so, Blamire and Davies spent much of their time perusing the guitar shop near Ek’s chosen studio, experimenting with countless guitars and amps to augment the album’s sonic palette.

An album deeply informed by aberrations of nature, Darkness Brings The Wonders Home delves into a different kind of fascination on Out of the Woods—a song sparked from Smoke Fairies’ study of the overgrown pond behind their house. Another song attuned to the fear of the unknown, the hypnotically ominous Chew Your Bones mines inspiration from the titular beast of Sarah Perry’s novel The Essex Serpent and from a local urban myth involving a character called The Croydon Cat Killer.

Despite its many wanderings into otherworldly territory, Darkness Brings The Wonders Home remains rooted in real-life anxieties, particularly on tracks like the fluttering and urgent Don’t You Want to Spiral Out of Control. Throughout Darkness Brings The Wonders Home, Smoke Fairies adorn their observations with so many exquisite flourishes: the swinging melodies and elegant shredding of Elevator, the girl-group harmonies and spiky riffs of Disconnect, the delicate tension between taut guitar lines and swooning vocals on Chocolate Rabbit.

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Nathaniel Rateliff “And It’s Still Alright” (Stax)

2020-03-13T20:34:35+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Nathaniel Rateliff has written and recorded his first solo record since the explosive debut of his work together with The Night Sweats. And It’s Still Alright is an intensely personal 10-song album of vibrant country-blues, badland ballads, ornate Americana and jazz-inflected R&B. Rateliff’s warm baritone, ranging from gently hushed to a guttural howl, imbues these superbly drawn character studies with raw, naked emotion. And It’s Still Alright was produced by Rateliff, Night Sweats’ drummer Patrick Meese and James Barone of the indie band, Beach House and primarily recorded at National Freedom in Cottage Grove, Oregon, the studio formerly owned by the late Richard Swift (who produced both Night Sweats recordings). While Rateliff, Meese and Barone handled much of the album’s instrumentation, several friends make contributions including Night Sweats’ guitarist Luke Mossman; bassist Elijah Thomson (of the indie band Everest); keyboardist Daniel Creamer (of The Texas Gentlemen); steel guitarist Eric Swanson (touring musician for Israel Nash) and renowned string arranger Tom Hagerman (of the instrumental vocal ensemble DeVotchKa), whose delicate orchestrations beautifully complement the album’s deep emotional terrain.

And It’s Still Alright’s many highlights include album opener “What A Drag,” which sketches a vivid portrait of a disconnected relationship, “Tonight #2,” a haunting, end-of-the-world waltz, “Time Stands,” detailing an epic, desperate struggle for love and the elegiac “Rush On,” a heart-breaking requiem for Swift.

Unguarded and unflinchingly real, Nathaniel Rateliff’s And It’s Still Alright expands on the sounds and styles he’s used to great affect across both his band and solo careers. It’s a commanding next step in Nathaniel’s evolution into one of America’s most vital and essential songwriters.

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Wasted Shirt ‎”Fungus II” (Famous Class)

2020-03-13T20:34:36+00:00February 20th, 2020|

“Rarely when formulating combinations of musicians you would like to hear play together do you get to actually hear it. If Brian Chippendale and Ty Segall made a record, would you want to hear it? If the answer is yes, read on. If the answer is no, it’s too bad you ended up canned, suspended in syrup with nothing but other peaches to keep you company.  “Ty’s 2019 album First Taste and the new Lighting Bolt album Sonic Citadel are easily some of the best material either entity has ever released so if these two happened to find themselves in the same recording studio, a fan just might entertain elevated expectation levels. In fact, some might actually show signs of enthusiasm, even excitement at the fact that from July 5th -13th 2018, in the air-conditioning free environs of Ty’s home studio, the duo, eventually calling themselves Wasted Shirt, wrecked the joint as thoroughly as you hoped they would. “Prepare To Be Stoked Dept.: The album is exploding euphoria from start to finish. A morphing day-glo rainbow that will bring a smile to your face like if you were on your way to Washington DC for the Million Puppy March. Upon first spin, all boxes are checked and any previously held doubts are completely obliterated. The more you play it, the better it kabongs you upside your head. Hectic doesn’t even begin to describe it. Brian and Ty, two mere particles in the grand scheme, collide at high speed, the technicians dive for cover, the reaction is recorded. Mutation is achieved. This is Freedom Rock. Turn up the volume. Hasten your emancipation. Sonic joy awaits.”

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King Krule “Man Alive” (True Panther)

2020-03-13T20:34:36+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Like any great artist on the rise, Archy Marshall’s life is moving fast. There’s a lot to catch up on, after 2017’s sprawling masterpiece, The OOZ, broke through amid Mercury Prize nominations and mind-blowing media plaudits. Unlike that record, Man Alive! doesn’t aim to present any kind of narrative thread, or Brexit-era state-of-the-nation address, just a collection of snapshots and stories, artfully sequenced into a dazzlingly coherent whole.

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Six Organs Of Admittance ‎”Companion Rises” (Drag City)

2020-03-13T20:34:37+00:00February 20th, 2020|

SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE is back after 3 years with a new record, new techniques in sound generation, and a new attitude. Companion Rises has a driving force only hinted at with previous releases. Manipulating the rhythmic DNA from songs such as the bass-dominated “Taken by Ascent” (on his last record, Burning the Threshold), BEN CHASNY has grown a new sound creature in his lab that is as welcoming as it is terrifying and as fun to listen to as it provocative and intriguing. Methodologically, Companion Rises sometimes recalls the early-mid low-fi work of Six Organs, with modern techniques swapping digital processes in for the analog ways of the early days, and algorithmic programs creating the rhythms rather than Ben’s overdubbed hand percussion. Also like those early records, Companion Rises has Ben creating all the sounds, doing all the recording and mixing the entire record himself. But do not mistake this as some sort of return to an older sound. One listen and it is obvious that this Six Organs of Admittance release is all in the present. Sonically, Ben’s songs are bursting with ideas, harmonically rich, gorgeously arranged; often presenting two versions at once, overlaying electric and acoustic treatments that interlock like two shards that form a single key. Thematically, many songs on Companion Rises seem to navigate a similar Stellar-Gnosticism that 2012’s Ascent explored, but with a completely different set of stories. Whereas Ascent was locked into a narrative concerning a sentient Jupiter, Companion Rises presents a handful of folk-tales whose topics span in scope from panspermia to specific constellations, all written in a way that eschews new age presentation tropes and embraces the now. With Companion Rises, Ben has created a Sci-Folk record that feels totally in the right place welcoming in the new decade.

Dadamah ‎”This Is Not A Dream” (Grapefruit)

2020-03-13T20:34:36+00:00February 20th, 2020|

This Is Not a Dream is a double album collection of every song released by the legendary Dunedin, New Zealand quartet Dadamah, including the This Is Not A Dream LP, and their three 7-inch singles and one unique compilation track. Grapefruit’s release is a thirteen song collection with the full album on one LP and all the 7-inch and compilation tracks on the other. Inspired by the Kranky label’s CD compilation of Dadamah’s existing catalog in 1994, this vinyl version includes two additional songs from a posthumously released 7-inch and it’s been sequenced and designed by the band. Before Dadamah, Peter Stapleton played in The Terminals, Vacuum and The Victor Dimisich Band as well as The Pin Group with guitarist Roy Montgomery. Singer Kim Pieters and organ / synth player Janine Stagg had never been in a band before Dadamah. Dadamah only played live three times, devoting their efforts to four-track recording. Nevertheless, word managed to get out about the band and they were asked to contribute to the 1991 Drag City single “I Hear the Devil Calling Me” which featured twelve songs hovering around one minute each by a who’s who of the then current New Zealand underground music scene. They released their only album in 1992. Jay Hinman (currently of Dynamite Hemorrhage) noted Dadamah’s solitary place in the NZ underground in his Superdope fanzine: “Dead C. might blare and scrape, the Terminals might twist and wind, but Dadamah positively shimmer with beautifully earthy lo-fi Velvets / Ubu sound.” Limited edition singles on the Seattle-based Majora label followed the LP, earning Dadamah praise as “one of the most overwhelmingly great exponents of layer-shifting drone-on master-rock” in the Forced Exposure catalog. Roy Montgomery’s soaring droning guitars were offset by Janine Stagg’s stabbing organ and gurgling moog synths, and Kim Pieter’s vocals ebbed and flowed, somehow evoking Patti Smith, Ian Curtis, and David Thomas simultaneously. After Dadamah, Roy Montgomery went on to form Dissolve and Hash Jar Tempo as well as maintaining his eclectic solo career which continues to feature intense collaborations like those found in Dadamah (find other Roy Montgomery titles on Grapefruit). Peter Stapleton and Kim Pieters formed Flies Inside The Sun and Stapleton continued his work with The Terminals and his independent label Metonymic which released tons of experimental and underground New Zealand music through 2009.

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Lavender Flu “Barbarian Dust” (In The Red)

2020-03-13T20:34:37+00:00February 20th, 2020|

“In contrast to their prior mobile-unit hole-ups and home-taped fryers, Barbarian Dust, the third album from Lavender Flu, marks the band’s first raid of a proper studio. Extending the formalities further, the conceptual impetus for the sessions stems from a collective meditation on cosmic biker rock. Smokey, sure—and that peculiar, chunky ether seeps into the resulting collection—but it all ultimately serves to a liquid frame, a set of parameters imposed purely to burst through. Compositionally and thematically, Barbarian Dust alternates between hope and anger, each idealized, a sway thoughtfully achieved through an often-soaring, occasionally busted version of rock heaviness (without ever approaching ‘Heavy Rock’, thank heaven / hell). In every sense of the word, it’s their most aggressive work to date.
“Barbarian Dust collects songs that move in and out of wobble and explosion, each pushing forever forward, just as the composers themselves do. Galaxies past cool-but-copyist trips, Lavender Flu—brothers Chris and Lucas Gunn, Scott Simmons and Ben Spencer—slaughter the trivial in favor of a newer, deeper, more meaningful sound, indifferent to any path other than their own. Time to transform, yet again.”

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Guided By Voices ‎”Surrender Your Poppy Field” (GBV Inc)

2020-03-13T20:34:38+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Starting off the year with a 100-song marathon in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve, Robert Pollard is setting a mighty high bar for Guided By Voices in 2020. Following three acclaimed and stylistically distinct full-length albums in 2019, Surrender Your Poppy Field, is a head-spinning tour de force: a bit of everything… plus more! And hands down the most adventurous GBV album ever.   There are lo-fi four-track tape recordings, there are songs recorded with a single microphone in a basement, there are big studio fully-produced hook-laden pop songs, and there is a lot in between.  Seemingly, the guiding concept of Surrender Your Poppy Field was to make the songs sound as different from one another as possible: sudden shifts in mood, tempo and rhythm, unexpected chord progressions, false endings and codas, string orchestrations, mysterious voices… It’s an exhilarating and dizzying trip to an inventive world of strange characters: Andre the Hawk, Queen Parking Lot, the Cul-de-Sac Kids, the Hard Hitter, the Steely Dodger, the Stone Cold Moron, A Man Called Physician, A Man Called Blunder… Not content with their usual mastery of the 4 P’s (punk, pop, prog, psych) Professor Pollard pushes the envelope on Poppy Field, and continues to redefine GBV from a myriad of angles. Anyone who thinks that he’s gotten complacent after 104 albums hasn’t been paying attention! Don’t miss out.

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Cold Beat “Mother” (DFA)

2020-03-13T20:34:38+00:00February 20th, 2020|

San Francisco band Cold Beat make their DFA debut with Mother, a collection of ten pop transmissions from Earth, 2020.

Wound tight with an energy that ricochets from one song into the next, Mother was made while frontperson Hannah Lew (formerly of indie trio Grass Widow) was pregnant and considering the chaotic conditions of the world she was bringing a new human into. If we consider Mother an artistic style guide through space and time, the framework Cold Beat provide is overcast by design but focused in execution; locked-in drums and synths with choir-like melodies high above it all.

“I found myself trying to describe our earth to a new human who had never been here,” says Lew. “It was a bleak year to be pregnant, but I was simultaneously filled with so much love and hope at the same time. I remember feeling a sense of wanting to show my whole range of self to this new person I was about to meet. In past albums, I sometimes held my artistic self in an ethereal place, but I found myself wanting to be very much on this earth and grounded during the creation of this record.”

The A-side of Mother presents the facts as we perceive them, while the B-side accelerates into the uncertain. Each of the first five track titles is one evocative word: the synths on “Prism” slide against the motorik guitar riffs and the plaintive saxophone on “Paper” casts the Leonard Cohen-esque melody in a melancholy shadow; “Gloves” is a real mood, all drive. Everything begins to unfurl from there. “Will it be over if there’s no sound?” Lew wonders on album standout “Double Sided Mirror,” and then ruminates, “it won’t be long until you find me in the beyond” on the more upbeat “Crimes.” The early architects of these sonic settings—Eurythmics, The Human League, Depeche Mode—act as touchstones and inspiration.

One of the most prescient things Mother teaches is that existence will not be, and has not ever been, a solitary experience. “It’s really the first album where the project felt more like a band,” Lew says. “In a lot of ways, it feels like our first album.” And though four LPs (released on Dark Entries and Lew’s own label Crime On The Moon) precede this one, Mother is Cold Beat at their most concentrated and crystalline. It’s an honest, forgiving, and ultimately optimistic team effort from a band busy being born, re-born and giving life.

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