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Genre > Rock > Alt & Grunge
Bon Voyage (Pre-Order)Release Date: June 15, 2018*
Melody’s Echo Chamber (aka Melody Prochet) has confirmed her second album Bon Voyage will be released via Fat Possum Records. Made up of seven expansive tracks, Bon Voyage marries Melody’s breathless soprano to the wildest sonic excursions, always pinned to an emphatic, clattering groove as she delivers her fables of spiritual search and emotional healing in multiple tongues (French, English and Swedish).
Bon Voyage is a collaborative record between Prochet and Dungen’s Reine Fiske and The Amazing’s Fredrik Swahn with Melody sculpting and producing the sessions as well as encouraging the players around her to experiment, often with instruments that might be less familiar to them. It also features special guests Gustav Esjtes and Johan Holmegaard (both from Dungen) and Nicholas Allbrook (Pond).
A musical journey of discovery, Bon Voyage delves deep into the collective musical psyche of Melody and her Swedish fellow travellers, who she met one serendipitous summer’s afternoon in Angers back in 2015. Prochet describes the members of Stockholm’s premier neo-psychedelic overlords Dungen as “soulmates and extreme beings, uncompromisingly intense and sensitive.” These kindred souls daydreamed about making music together, and then Prochet took matters into her own hands and moved to Sweden in the winter of 2016 to begin their adventure. Working in the woods of Solna, Melody says: “Swedish nature helped me to breathe and soothed me in times of anxiety. I had a majestic forest with a lake three minutes’ walk from my home. Recording sessions were a break in our lives, an escape from our frustrations as young adults, parents, musicians and embittered life jugglers. What transpired was a kind of modern fairytale full of duality: beautiful and disenchanted, happy and painful, internal and external, childish and mature, but also violent and measured. We had no structure and no limits and we stepped out of our comfort zones.”
Bon Voyage arrives more than five years after Melody’s Echo Chamber’s debut, and it is the soundtrack to a trip back from the brink, the sound of spiritual renewal, and a pilgrimage to the sonic outer limits.
*Please note that release dates are subject to change.1. Cross My Heart
2. Breathe In, Breathe Out
3. Desert Horse
4. Var Har Du Vart
5. Quand Les Larmes D’un Ange Font Danser La Neige
6. Visions Of Someone Special, On A Wall Of Reflections
$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - SealedPRE-ORDER Buy Now
The Age of Fracture (Awaiting Repress)The long-awaited new album from CYMBALS is named after a book by Princeton academic, Daniel T. Rodgers, which addresses the fragmentation of ideas towards the end of the last century and how collective meanings have become uncertain. Singer and guitarist Jack Cleverly writes: "It hit me that I often feel paralysed by the feeling that everything is 'too complicated', and that many people I know feel that paralysis. I realised that this way of thinking can be traced through these songs." Produced by Dreamtrak (Swim Deep, Chad Valley, Hot Chip) in his Hackney studio and written collectively over the last 12-months, the group have taken their time to carefully piece the album together, song-by-song, in sequence. The album was completed following a final mix from Daniel Rejmer (Foals, Everything Everything) and the result is testament to the band s attention to detail: a cleaner, brighter sound than their brattier early recordings, edging towards the European sophistication of the end-of-the-century French house Jack grew up around. Singles 'Like An Animal', 'The End' and 'The Natural World' are characterized by an upbeat disco cool and all push the 7-minute mark, whereas Winter 98 , This City , and Call Me are brooding, stark synth-led numbers reminiscent of early-New Order, with some lyrics sung in Jack s native French. The literary inspiration runs further through the album. The track The 5% , more obviously making reference to the themes of the album's namesake, declares Time can be erased, you re stupid if you try and stay in place, over a pulsing bassline and swirling electronics. Like an Animal is inspired by the intellectual and moral confusion of the main character in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. The album has even garnered literary responses of its own by British poet and novelist Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine. I told Joe about the book and the way the album was kind of a reaction to it, and he threw my rationalisation of it back at me through a short story inspired by the album. says Cleverly. It helped reveal the emotional territory of the songs. He showed me how I had been dividing things up artificially - desires and priorities, getting older and not being able to stop writing music... Through the writing of this album, CYMBALS have inevitably matured. We've never been in it just for a laugh," says Cleverly; but things got confused when we said we wanted to keep it fun we just didn't want to end up bitter, having chased a hollow dream. But this album is less about us; it's more outward looking, more aware of the world at large." Despite the weighty literary influences, the band are keen to separate themselves from the over-earnestness that can sometimes accompany such associations. I hate the whole 'serious earnest-singer-songwriter-thing, says Jack. With this album I really wanted to get away from that and make music that makes people want to dance and feel joy. Neil's kick drum is the most important thing we have to say as a band. Is this all "fun"? Yes, of course, but at the same time, not just that." Produced by Dreamtrak & mixed by Daniel Rejmer.1. Winter '98
2. The Natural World
3. You Are
4. Empty Space
5. The 5%
6. The Fracture of Age
7. Like An Animal
9. This City
10. The End
11. Call Me
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedAWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
A Flourish And A SpoilThe Districts deliver raw, rollicking power on 'A Flourish And A Spoil' out February 10 on Fat Possum Records. John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Swans) produced/engineered/mixed the album at Seedy Underbelly Studio (formerly Pachyderm Studio) in Cannon Falls, MN. The resulting 10 tracks capture the boisterous live performances from the quartet, who are all between 19 and 20 years old. The Guardian UK says, "The Districts will be your new favourite band."
The four-piece band formed in 2009 while the members were still in high school in Lancaster County, PA. 'A Flourish And A Spoil' features singer/guitarist Rob Grote's vocals front and center, combining equal parts ferocity and yearning as when he reflects on leaving behind suburban childhood on "Suburban Smell." The album credits original members Grote, Connor Jacobus on bass and Braden Lawrence on percussion with Pat Cassidy joining on guitar.
The Districts have toured with bands including Deer Tick, White Denim, Dr. Dog and Temples and won over fans on both sides of the pond with 2014 sets at Lollapalooza, ACL and Reading Festival, among others. Consequence of Sound says, "As performers, they're naturals, having the confidence and stage presence of bands twice as old and twice as popular" and Interview Magazine dares, "just try not to bob your head."1. 4th And Roebling
5. Sing the Song
6. Suburban Smell
8. Heavy Begs
9. Young Blood
10. 6 AM
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
TelephoneRe-Release Of Their 2012 Debut Full Length Album
Telephone was originally released in June 2012 independently by The Districts when they were just sophomores in high school in Lititz, PA. The album had a handful of tracks including “Funeral Beds”, “Lyla” and “Long Distance” that helped the band garner attention outside of their small town following and eventually caught the ear of a few tastemakers in Philadelphia, including WXPN, as well as some prominent indie labels and music industry professionals across the nation. The band soon found a home in Fat Possum Records. After releasing a self-titled EP, featuring songs from Telephone along with a few new tracks, and their first full length LP on the label, A Flourish and A Spoil, they’ve decided to fulfill the many requests from fans across the world to put Telephone back into physical distribution and, for the first time, on vinyl.” – The Key1. Lyla
2. Where We Started
3. Long Distance
4. Funeral Beds
5. Sleepy Song Pt. 2
7. Silver Couplets
9. Wrung Out and Hanging (On West Coast)
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Popular ManipulationsIt's not uncommon for musicians to grow and evolve between releases—but even by those standards, the Districts' Popular Manipulations is stunning. The Pennsylvania-borne band's third full-length represents an exponential leap in sound and cohesion, an impressive and impassioned burn with a wide scope that threatens to swallow everything else surrounding it. Perhaps it's a cliché to say so, but while listening, you might find yourself wondering why people don't make indie rock like this anymore.
The total electric charge of Popular Manipulations is just the latest evolution for the impressively young quartet, whose founding members—vocalist/guitarist Rob Grote, bassist Connor Jacobus, and drummer Braden Lawrence—have known each other since attending grade school together in the Pennsylvania town of Lititz. After deciding to form a band in high school, the Districts gigged hard in the tri-state area, releasing a slew of promising material (including the rootsy 2012 debut Telephone) before catching the eye of venerable indie Fat Possum. 2015's A Flourish and a Spoil found the band refining their embryonic sound with veteran producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Kurt Vile)—and looking back on that release, there are glimmers of Popular Manipulations in chrysalis form to be found on it, hints of the fence-swinging anthemic sound they'd soon make wholly their own.
After touring behind A Flourish and a Spoil, Grote began "playing with different ideas" in his own songwriting by making demos at a prolific pace. "We knew that we wanted to change some things musically, so we were trying to come up with as many songs as possible to narrow the direction we wanted to take the material," he states. In total, they ended up with 50 song ideas, and so they were off to LA in May of 2016 with new guitarist Pat Cassidy in tow to log more recording time with Congleton, with four of Popular Manipulations' songs coming out of the sessions.
"We have a lot of overlapping tastes and preferences for how things are made," Grote gushes about working with the notably reliable studio wizard—but acceding all credit to Congleton (who also handled the record's mixdown) would be shortchanging the Districts themselves, who went on to self-produce the remainder of the record in Philadelphia with engineer Keith Abrams. "Something we took from working with Congleton was ideas on arranging songs," Grote explains, and they certainly learned a lot: Popular Manipulations is a raucous and impressively thick-sounding album, overflowing with toothy melodies that pack a serious punch.
The distinctly intense sound of Popular Manipulations—charging guitars, thunderous drumming, and Grote's searing vocals—was brought on by a few cited influences, from shoegaze's aggressive swirl to the Velvet Underground's impeccable drone-rock sound. There's a distinctly Canadian flavor to this brand of indie rock, too; Spencer Krug's anthemic, lushly inscrutable work in Wolf Parade and his defunct Sunset Rubdown side project comes to mind, as does 2000s Toronto barnburners the Diableros' overlooked 2006 gem You Can't Break the Strings in Our Olympic Hearts.
But don't mistake easy comparisons for a lack of originality: on Popular Manipulations, the District are in a lane entirely their own, exploring lyrical themes of isolation and abandonment in a way that ups the music's already highly charged emotional quotient. "Capable" finds Grote turning his focus to the ruinous aftermath of divorce, and "Before I Wake" is, in his words, "About coming to terms with being isolated or alone—even though we have a whole group of voices singing the whole time." Grote explains that even the title of the record touches on these universal concerns: "It hints at how people use each other, for good or bad, and the personal ways you manipulate yourself and other people in day-to-day interactions."
For such weighty thematic material, though, Popular Manipulations is purely life-affirming rock music, bursting with energy that cuts through the darkness of the world that surrounds us. "We're a much better distillation of who we wish to be as a band," Grote reflects on the journey that has led the Districts to this point. "We've figured out how to distill the things we've been trying to accomplish as a band, musically and lyrically. We've always viewed making music as something we're trying to do better the whole time." Mission accomplished.1. If Before I Wake
3. Ordinary Day
5. Why Would I Wanna Be
8. Fat Kiddo
10. Rattling of the Heart
11. Will You Please Be Quiet Please?
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
VolcanoJames Bagshaw (vocals, guitar), Tom Warmsley (bass, backing vocals), Sam Toms (drums) and Adam Smith (keys) — are set to release their new album, Volcano, via Fat Possum.
All the elements people loved with Temples’ debut, Sun Structures, remain intact, but this time, there is a noticeable evolution presented from the outset. It’s clear Volcano is the sound of Temples squaring up to their potential, immediately evident with “Certainty.” Its beefed-up beats reveal an expanded sonic firmament, one in which bright synth hooks and insistent choruses circle around each other over chord sequences that strike just the right balance between nice and queasy. “If there’s a sense of scale,” says frontman James Bagshaw, “It was really just a result of implementing a load of things that we didn’t know about the first time around. We didn’t even have a subwoofer to listen back to things that we did on Sun Structures, so there was nothing below 50Hz on that record. We didn’t even know those frequencies were there!”
Entirely self-produced and written by all four members of the band, Temples’ melodies seem to come effortlessly. There are sun-dazed numbers and lysergic dream-pop songs and those where synth and mellotron interweave to beguiling effect. One thing is certain; it’s harder to spot the influences this time around. Mystical language has been supplanted by something more direct. They’ve been broken down and blended together – fossilized into a single source of creative fuel, resulting in a sound that is undoubtedly Temples. As described by co-founding member Warmsley, “we discovered a lot as we went along, and the excitement at having done so radiates outwards.”1. Certainty
2. All Join In
3. I Wanna Be Your Mirror
4. Oh The Saviour
5. Born Into The Sunset
6. How Would You Like To Go?
7. Open Air
8. In My Pocket
10. Mystery Of Pop
11. Roman Godlike Man
12. Strange Or Be Forgotten
$20.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Goodbye Terrible YouthHow do you improve an already striking set of stripped-down, homemade pop? Gary McClure, the St. Louis-by-way-of Scotland songwriter behind American Wrestlers, a once anonymous project that became one of the year’s best new bands, believes it’s about being true to the basics.
“It’s truly about becoming good enough to write the album you wanted to listen to when you were 15,” he says. “Every time I make a new record, I feel like I’m getting closer.”
Goodbye Terrible Youth (November 4, Fat Possum) shows McClure taking bedroom recordings onto a bigger stage without sacrificing the intimacy that makes them so attractive. If his self-titled album showed his knack for stringing together addictive guitar lines—the shimmer of shoegaze mixed with the emotional fist pump of power pop—Goodbye Terrible Youth amplifies that energy with a road-tested band. Literally breaking out of the home studio—the Tascam mixer McClure had been recording on has fallen apart from overuse—he’s embraced a bigger sound and stage on Goodbye Terrible Youth, his rueful yet propulsive songwriting only becoming sharper.
“I wanted to write songs that bridged the gap better between audience and stage,” he says. “Faster, louder more distortion. Something you can do handstands and backflips and start small fires to.”
Building on the dreamy haze of previous recordings, McClure’s music on GTY often crackles with energy. Lead song “Vote Thatcher” flips a switch between propulsive, jangly guitar lines and bright, boisterous, choruses, a fitting backdrop for lyrics imploring listeners not to let their youth slip through their fingers. “Someone Far Away,” propelled by a massive, fuzzy bassline, makes a perfect soundtrack for a long desert drive, while the angular and angsty, while “Terrible Youth” opens with a muscular take on the midsection riff of Marquee Moon, than fuzzes into grunge over a Stone Roses bass line along with a bit of Big Star swagger.
When McClure’s homemade recordings surfaced in late 2014, they featured the kind of lo-fi charm you’d expect from a lost classic, like a long-lost mixtape rediscovered under the seat of your car. Self-released on Bandcamp, the earnest and effortless album reflects McClure at his best.
“It's this weird kind of thing happens where the music kind of constructs itself,” he says. “My music making process is always happening, always going on in my head. It’s almost like anti-virus software in my computer. It’s always plugging away in the background.”
McClure’s career may be the definition of plugging away, enough so that he has the unique distinction of being “discovered” twice. Before starting American Wrestler, he was one-half of Working For a Nuclear Free City, a shoegaze-inspired band out of Manchester, England. By 2013, McClure and bandmate Phil Kay decided to wind the project down. As McClure weighed next move, he started playing around and posting demos online. The tracks caught the attention of Bridgette Imperial, an American who was studying overseas, and sparked more than just a meeting of musical minds. They began dating, and a year later, McClure had moved to St. Louis to marry her.
The midwest move has been a key influence for the restless musician, a more open music scene than he was accustomed to in Manchester. While working a warehouse job for UPS in Missouri, McClure began experimenting and recording what would become the first American Wrestlers album, and the momentum and reception built since then has allowed him to stretch out and refine a new album of songs with a full band, which includes Imperial, who plays keyboard, as well as Ian Reitz on bass and Josh Van Hoorebeke on drums. McClure’s new set of bouncing, well-crafted songs shows that musical youth is not always wasted on the young.
“I’m always surprised by how each record brings me closer to writing simpler, heavier, catchier songs like those bands who gave me my musical epiphany: Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, Hole and that first Foo Fighters record,” he says. “I first learned how to write by copying them and got lost for a decade in intricacy and experimentation. Now, it feels like I’m heading back.”1. Vote Thatcher
2. Give Up
3. So Long
4. Hello, Dear
5. Amazing Grace
6. Terrible Youth
7. Blind Kids
8. Someone Far Away
9. Real People
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Human CeremonyIncluded in top 45 most anticipated albums of 2016 from Rolling Stone
Sunflower Bean find magic within friction. The New York trio’s full-length debut album, Human Ceremony [Fat Possum Records], emerges at the intersection of dreamy modern psychedelica and urgent fuzzed-out bliss. That push-and-pull colors the aural tapestry of these three musicians—Jacob Faber [drums], Julia Cumming [vocals/bass], and Nick Kivlen [vocals/guitars].
“Everything comes from a conflicting interest,” affirms Nick. “We love dream pop, but we also really love rock ‘n’ roll. It’s those two spectrums.”
“You’re allowed to obsess over Black Sabbath as well as The Cure,” adds Julia. “It’d be boring if everything was just one way or the other.”
That diversity defined the group’s approach since Nick and Jacob started jamming back in high school. They would hole up in Jacob’s Long Island basement for hours on end, channeling this vast cadre of influences. Julia’s addition would only expand that creative palette further in 2013.
Through constant gigging around New York, Sunflower Bean sprouted into a sonic enigma, boasting a fiery musical call-and-response that serves as a centerpiece, giving the music what Jacob refers to as a “lyrical aspect” between the guitars, drums, and bass.
They transferred this multi-headed energy into their 2015 Independent EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets. At the same time, this distinct alchemy enchanted ever-growing audiences live. By the time, they entered the studio for Human Ceremony, Sunflower Bean had a lively aural cauldron from which to draw.
They took the summer of 2015 off and retreated to Jacob’s basement to write together. Taking the ideas out of the basement, they hit a Brooklyn studio with producer Matt Molnar [Friends] and tracked eleven tunes in just seven days. Whereas the EP was recorded after Sunflower Bean played 100 shows in one year, Human Ceremony showed the band’s studio side with richer soundscapes, overdubs, and music that had yet to be debuted live.
On the lead track “Easier Said,” Julia’s delicate vocals glide over a lilting clean guitar that spirals off into a vibrant hum.
Sunflower Bean’s spell is cast on Human Ceremony.
“When you’re in a band, you always dream about the first record,” Julia concludes. “It’s that moment where you explore everything that’s been inspiring you.”1. Human Ceremony
2. Come On
4. Easier Said
5. This Kind of Feeling
6. I Was Home
7. Creation Myth
8. Wall Watcher
9. I Want You To Give Me Enough Time
10. Oh, I Just Don’t Know
11. Space Exploration Disaster
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
The MiraculousA couple of years ago, the Swedish singer and organist Anna Von Hausswolff impressed the hell out of us with her gothic pop album Ceremony. Hausswolff has now announced a new album called The Miraculous, and it threatens to go even deeper. Von Hausswolff recorded the album on a massive pipe organ in Pitea, and first single “Come Wander With Me/Deliverance” sounds like a dark monument. The track lasts 11 minutes, moving from expansive gothed-out soundscapes to proggy doom metal.
--Tom Breihan, stereogum1. Discovery
2. The Hope Only Of Empty Men
4. Come Wander With Me / Deliverance
5. En Ensam Vandrare
6. An Oath
8. The Miraculous
$22.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
American WrestlersScotland-via-Missouri’s American Wrestlers is announcing his self-titled debut full-length, set for release in the U.S. via Fat Possum. The latest single from the new album "Kelly." The song’s jittery opening and shimmering charm are the perfect taster of American Wrestlers’ stripped back and timeless approach to songwriting. Armed with little more than a TASCAM 8-track and the cheapest instruments to hand, the upcoming self-titled debut took shape in remote and rural America, and that comforting step away from the hustle and bustle is felt throughout “Kelly.”
Now based in Missouri, the Scotsman’s journey is something of wonderment. Born and raised in Glasgow, he then found his way to Manchester, UK, where he recorded some demos under a different name and posted the songs online. It was then, and as a result of his songs, that his now-wife first got in touch. After becoming enraptured with one another, he moved across the Atlantic to get married. The move to Missouri saw American Wrestlers take form, recording in a tiny, remote house, on a Tascam 8-track and the cheapest pawnshop instruments he could afford. The music of American Wrestlers is familiar. It recalls first love, twilight as the day turns to night, and the feeling of discovery that was, at one point, so precious to us; that moment when we are first shockd and beguiled by a melody that strikes us so acutely that our stomachs jump for joy into our chests.1. There's No One Crying Over Me
3. Wild Yonder
4. I Can Do No Wrong
5. The Rest Of You
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Blue HealerUnkempt visionary, Squirrel Nut Zippers founder, former sideman for Jim Dickinson and Buddy Guy, self-proclaimed "Arkansas Son-in-Law"— Jimbo Mathus has lived many lifetimes, more than most of us could stomach. Now, Mathus is back with a new album, "Blue Healer," recorded in Water Valley, Mississippi with Fat Possum & Big Legal Mess producer Bruce Watson.
“It’s the story of a man in a southern landscape who is swept insanely apart by internal and external winds,” Mathus says of the new record. “He digs deeper and deeper into the very fabric of his reality, experiencing love and lust, despair, hope and sheer animal exhilaration on levels few ever do. He is tested in every way imaginable and achieves a sort of enlightenment — gains power and understanding of life’s mysteries. Yet questions remain. He wonders if the struggle was worth it, or even real. Is he madman or sage? Con man or honest counsel? Is this autobiographical or fictional? Only the Blue Healer knows the answer to the great cosmic heebie-jeebie.”
- Rock Candy (Arkansas Times)1. Shoot Out The Lights
2. Mama Please
3. Blue Healer
4. Sometimes I Get Worried
5. Ready to Run
6. Thank You
8. Bootheel Witch
9. Old Earl
10. Waiting On the Other Shoe to Fall
11. Save it for the Highway
12. Love and Affection
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
SlurrupHayes has been making critically acclaimed pop records since 1994, when he released the single “Three-Quarters Blind Eyes” b/w “Found a Little Baby”. Considered by many to be a pop classic, it helped to establish him as a songwriter. In 1998, he released More You Becomes You, a spare, stripped-down collection of his intimate tunes. In 2002, he released Fed, a lush, orchestral album. 2009's Bright Penny, an ode to pop music, was released under the name Liam Hayes and Plush.
Although he emerged from the Chicago indie-rock scene, Hayes is often compared with artists such as Jimmy Webb, Brian Wilson, Laura Nyro, Burt Bacharach and Harry Nilsson. Like some of the best folk-pop or soft soul from the 1960's of 1970's there is a timeless quality to his music.
Hayes is not the kind of artist who spends all day interacting on social media. He doesn’t reveal a lot in interviews. He’s not trying to be cagey or eccentric or elusive, he would just rather keep the focus on his songs. And let’s face it, mystique is underrated in this era of over-sharing. Described by Uncut as 'one of the most charismatic and eccentric cult pop craftsmen of the past 20 years’, Hayes has a newly completed album right around the corner, to be released worldwide on Fat Possum. While comparably retro, Hayes’ newly completed “Slurrup” is leaner and meaner than anything he’s done all millennium.1. Slurrup
2. One Way Out
3. Nothing Wrong
4. Get It Right
5. Theme From Mindball
8. Keys To Heaven
9. Long Day
10. Channel 44
12. August Fourteen
13. Fight Magic With Magic
$19.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Pop CrimesRowland S. Howard started playing in teenage bands in late 70s Melbourne. Whilst still a callow youth he wrote “Shivers,” an undisputed classic, (quietly ignoring the fact that Rowland perhaps doesn’t see it that way and approaches the song as if it was written by someone else). The song was recorded by his band The Boys Next Door who mutated into the Birthday Party and then relocated to Europe to wage a guerrilla campaign against the trivialities of the 80s, until they turned their fire upon themselves and disintegrated mid-decade.
Whilst his former associates have moved on to weekend colour supplement acceptability, Rowland has commonly been perceived as the banished wastrel prince... exiled to a squalid garret on the colder edges of the kingdom, accompanied only by his dreams and inclinations. His demeanour (pale, gaunt, stick thin, sickly, dark humoured, fatalistic) has perhaps inadvertently added far too much credence to this interpretation of events. The shadow of this myth has seemingly obscured the sheer volume of his creativity and the singularity of his musical vision.
Always respected by his peers, a scan through Rowland’s catalogue of work sees him allied with the likes of Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore, Wim Wenders, Barry Adamson, The Gun Club, Nikki Sudden, the Beasts Of Bourbon, the Hungry Ghosts and HTRK. Rowland’s own ensemble These Immortal Souls gun their engines in the ill-lit background and the legacy of his work with The Birthday Party scores the skin of successive generations of musicians and fans.
But it’s a history Rowland would gleefully put a match to. With or without it Rowland S. Howard would make tense, beautiful music, would deliver us his personal vision of the world, would create Pop Crimes.
Long-time faithful friends Mick Harvey (who played with Rowland for over 30 years), JP Shilo (Hungry Ghosts) and producer Lindsay Gravina make for a formidable backline. Out front the guitar playing couldn’t be any one else but Rowland S Howard and his weary, almost journalistic vocal delivery dispassionately sits amidst the sweaty panic of the music, adding to the ill ease.
The band lurch in to Pop Crimes as if dragging a rain soaked body across a muddy field. The ghosts of Lee Hazlewood, Snatch, Sergio Leone, The Shangri-Las and nameless guys from a never known chain gang watch on. Within the first few breaths Rowland references Stalin, Calvary and genocide, whilst razoring guitar lines the current crop of post-punk revisionists could only fantasize about.
“Shut Me Down” is Rowland at his most romantic, though inevitably it’s shot through with loss and longing. If only Dusty Springfield were alive to revel in its drama. Talk Talk’s ‘Life’s What You Make It’ is re-imagined as if it had risen from the grind of a Detroit auto plant’s assembly line. ‘(I Know) A Girl Called Johnny’ sees Jonnine D from HTRK sidle up to the microphone for a duet that will melt even the coldest of hearts. It’s a glorious missing link between the New York girl group sound and the street smarts of Suicide. Townes Van Zandt’s “Nothin” is given a chilling tenement building transformation. “Wayward Man” has the band wailing like alarm sirens before Rowland emerges at his most contemplative with the gorgeous, fragile build of “Ave Maria.” Final track “The Golden Age Of Bloodshed” takes the album out on a swaggering, swashbuckling epic, with salvation slipping through the narrator’s fingers.1. (I Know) A Girl Called Jonny
2. Shut Me Down
3. Life’s What You Make It
4. Pop Crimes
5. Nothin ’
6. Wayward Man
7. Ave Maria
8. The Golden Age Of Bloodshed
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Sea When AbsentAppropriately for new beginnings, Sea When Absent marks a number of firsts for ASDIG-it's the first album recorded in a "real" studio by someone who isn't Ben or Josh, the first album not written mostly by Ben, the first album with next-to-no reverb, and the first time in ASDIG's history that it has existed as anactual band (not just Ben or Josh playing everything). There was also a conscious effort to get away from aspects of recording that have defined this band in the past-namely heavily reverbed and buried vocals [ed.- they never sound buried to Ben]. Vocalists Jen Goma and Anne Fredrickson have beautiful voices and it was time to explore the possibilities of their abilities/talents. Jen took on a central role in the making of this album, stepping up to write most of the lyrics and melodies. Anne also contributed melodies throughout the album and put her classical cello training to use adding string arrangements. Since 2009 Ben has called Sydney, Australia home and while he was down under, multi-instrumentalist/backup vocalist/engineer/jack-of-all-trades Josh Meakim was "Our Man in Philly", overseeing the recording sessions and adding all of the musical and production ideas he usually does. The distance between Ben and the rest of the band also forced novel ways of building songs from across the world. Bassist Ryan Newmyer, in Brooklyn, was tasked with deconstructing and rebuilding several songs in his own way-"Oh, I'm a Wrecker (What to Say to Crazy People)" bears the fruit of this tact. Holding it all together is drummer Adam Herndon. Adam is Sea When Absent's alchemist-weaving between, and often reconciling, the colossal boom of electronic beats (see "Golden Waves" or "Double Dutch") and the subtle elegance of a drum kit in a room (see "The Body, It Bends" or "The Things They Do to Me").
Between releasing Ashes Grammar in late 2009 and Autumn, Again in late 2010, ASDIG spent the better part of that year on tour. The six members in this band returned to six different Ithacas and the various dramas and adventures they've endured since then inform a lot of Sea When Absent. But 2014 is also just an insanetime to be alive. Dominant narratives have broken down and the stories we tell ourselves have never been more up-for-grabs.It's all happening and A Sunny Day in Glasgow want to be as simultaneously everywhere and nowhere as the rest of us. Sea When Absent is ASDIG's story for the milieu-a fever-dream about the now (or maybe a lucid dream about the fever-now) and a future possible set in pop-major.1. Bye Bye, Big Ocean (The End)
2. In Love With Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing)
4. MTLOV (Minor Keys)
5. The Things They Do to Me
6. Boys Turn Into Girls (Initiation Rites)
7. Never Nothing (It's Alright [It's Ok])
8. Double Dutch
9. The Body, It Bends
10. Oh, I'm a Wrecker (What to Say to Crazy People)
11. Golden Waves
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AngelOn their third LP Angel it is clear that Pure X have, and always have had, an uncompromising musical vision. Over the course of each full-length the band has tirelessly reinvented themselves, opting to stay true to their own sensibilities rather than placate expectations or regurgitate a "successful" sound. After wooing both critics and audiences alike with their seductive, submerged-in-reverberation debut Pleasure the band pulled an about-face on their sophomore album Crawling Up the Stairs, crafting a follow up that emphasized textural clarity and raw emotionality over its predecessor's intoxicating soundscapes. Now on their third LP, and first as a quartet, the internal upheaval of C.U.T.S. has fully dissipated and given way to a new found serenity, a calm which finds the band in its most potent, refined, and elemental form yet.1. Starlight
2. Valley Of Tears
3. Livin’ The Dream
4. Every Tomorrow
5. Fly Away With Me Woman
7. White Roses
8. Make You Want Me
11. Wishin’ On The Same Star
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The DistrictsLancaster County, PA foursome The Districts signed to Mississippi based label Fat Possum and are excited to announce the release of their self-titled EP. The young band has a busy 2014 planned out already, with a tour with White Denim planned for February and March, as well as their first SXSW in Austin.
The self-titled EP will feature three newly remastered tracks off their 2012 self-released album Telephone, as well as two brand new tracks.1. Rocking Chair
3. Funeral Beds
4. Long Distance
5. Stay Open
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Dark Night Of The SoulThis musical DNA has been in Jimbo Mathus since birth. His father and relatives were all skilled musicians who filled the house with old folk, country and blues tunes. By the age of eight, Mathus was joining them on mandolin and by his teenage years had learned guitar and piano. High school led to playing in punk and new wave bands, the most notable being Johnny Vomit and the Dry Heaves and The End, with future Oblivian Jack Yarber. Post high school, Mathus studied Philosophy at Mississippi State University before leaving to travel around America. In doing so he worked various jobs, including an influential stint as a barge tankerman on the mighty Mississippi River. Settling in Chapel Hill, N.C., he drummed in the cult rock band Metal Flake Mother prior to starting the Squirrel Nut Zippers. This ahead-of-its-time retro roots band scored a hit with “Hot” and performed at President Clinton’s second Inauguration and the 1996 Summer Olympics. Following the Zippers’ split, Mathus worked with such noted artists such as Buddy Guy and Elvis Costello, and collaborated with North Mississippi Allstars guitarist Luther Dickinson and Alvin Youngblood Hart in the South Memphis String Band. He also recorded his own albums (including one dedicated to his childhood nanny Rosetta Patton, the daughter of Delta blues icon Charley Patton).
On most of ‘Dark Night’s’ tracks, Mathus’ acoustic guitar is surrounded by the electric guitar played by his longtime sideman Matt Pierce and pal Eric “Roscoe” Ambel. (Ambel produced ‘White Buffalo’ but on ‘Dark Night’ he focuses exclusively on his righteous guitar playing.) The album’s raw, rock sound arose from the fact that most of the tracks were recorded live in the studio with Mathus’ band, the Tri-State Coalition, which he found “very liberating way of doing it.” Mathus feels very in synch with his bandmates (keyboardist Eric Carlton, drummer Ryan Rogers, guitarist Pierce and guest bassist and Drive By Trucker Matt Patton) since they have played together now for several years. “The intensity you’re hearing on this album,” he proclaims, “is the spirit of a band that is put ting it's shit on the line .”1. Dark Night Of The Soul
2. White Angel
3. Rock & Roll Trash
4. Shine Like A Diamond
5. Writing Spider
7. Burn The Ships
8. Fire In The Canebrake
9. Hawkeye Jordan
10. Casey Caught The Cannonball
12. Butcher Bird
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Being ElasticIn 2014 Each Other will release their first LP, Being Elastic, on Lefse Records. Recorded to tape in their home-built studio in Montreal between tours across Canada, Europe and the U.S., Being Elastic is a document of a band always trying to move further out in terms of songwriting and production. Initial recordings were shelved in favor of starting over, as new songs piled up and intra-band shreddery intensified. The restless energy that defines their work habits shows up everywhere in their music.
The songs have a solid foundation in avant-rock-pop traditions but are thwarted from sounding like any kind of reverent tribute to what’s come before by being adventurous and exploratory. Surprise breaks, abrupt left-turns, tangled riffage, sidelong-glancing lyrics and Space Echo murk all punctuate the full-throated harmonies, artful melody and bright, ringing tone that makes up the core of these songs. At every turn, this is a record that sounds forward-looking but not futuristic, meticulously constructed but not formulaic or predictable. It’s the sound of three people working hard on their own terms, without a promo budget or obnoxious social media hustling, to make a record that speaks for itself.1. About The Crowd
2. Send Me Your Signals
3. Scared Witless, Really
4. You Or Any Other Thing
5. The Trick You Gave Up
6. Fine Time
7. High Noon In The Living Room
8. Your Ceiling Is My Floor
9. Seeing Doubles, Dreaming Troubles
10. Or Else
11. Swell Patterns
12. Relative Supervision
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Blame ConfusionMontreal band Solids went to school with bands from the 90s, like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and Superchunk. Formed by Xavier Germain-Poitras (guitar) and Louis Guillemette (drums), the duo has understood that melody never shines as much as when it is forced to fight its way through many layers of distortion and feedback effects. A first EP released in 2010, Generic Dogs, already united fans of chaotic choruses under the banner of their intense rock. A 7" (Fog Friends b / w Blown Out) and a split 7" created with Toronto band Animal Faces have confirmed Solid's reputation: a rare duo able to reconcile punks, rockers and metalheads. Blame Confusion, recorded by Adrian Popovich at Mountain City Studio (We Are Wolves, Sam Roberts, The Dears, etc.), is the band's first full-length album.1. Over The Sirens
2. Off White
4. Haze Away
5. Blame Confusion
6. Laisser Faire
7. Cold Hands
8. Through The Walls
9. Not Complaining
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Water LiarsJoined by GR Robinson on bass, and fresh off the success of sophomore album Wyoming and the reissue of debut LP Phantom Limb – both released earlier this year – Justin Kinkel-Schuster (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Bryant (drums, vocals) strut into this effort with their feathers out, driven by a need to create. Forget taking years to release a new album; Water Liars don't know how to stop working. These are songs about leaving and staying, about lost fathers and new loves, about distance and memory.1. Cannibal
2. War Paint
3. I Want Blood
5. Let It Breathe
6. Tolling Bells (For Molina)
7. Ray Charles Dream
10. Last Escape
11. Turn Me On
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Subliminal Plastic MotivesSelf's debut album is an impressive home-brewed amalgamation of crunchy post-grunge guitars, unusual samples, and cotton candy pop vocals. Imagine Nirvana's chord progressions overlaid with Jellyfish-type vocal harmonies, all processed through Beck's idiosyncratic, sample-based production aesthetic, and you've got an idea of what you're in for. The core of Self is Matt Mahaffey, a self-contained singer/songwriter/instrumentalist/producer who obviously has a voracious appetite for many styles of music including power pop, hip-hop, even jazz. The results are surprisingly coherent and thoroughly enjoyable on Subliminal Plastic Motives, an overlooked album.
- Andy Hinds (All Music Guide)1. Borateen
2. Sophomore Jinx
4. So Low
5. Marathon Shirt
6. Lucid Anne
8. Missed The Friction
10. Mother Nature's Fault
11. Big Important Nothing
12. Lost My Senses
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Love's Crushing DiamondMutual Benefit's newest offering is an emotional one, ripe with tender evocations of a love that just won't take. It would be hard to believe anyone who said this record is not in response to a great loss. We've all been there. Teetering on the border between letting go and great hope, Jordan Lee sculpted Love's Crushing Diamond to perfectly capture the dark pit of the unfortunately frequent and very real human state of vulnerability.
Each song accomplishes a very distinct purpose. Jordan will bring the listener back to very happy times, times when we wish we had behaved differently, times we wish we could erase... This violent back and forth gives off the impression that Jordan is toying with our emotions. In all honesty, it's remarkably exhausting, and at the end, we feel at peace. Jordan restores a much needed balance during a time of uncertainty.
We are warning you now, do not be afraid to let the emotions wash over you. Do not be afraid to cry. Do not be afraid to laugh. Do not be afraid to worry. Do not be afraid to experience a whole new echelon of fear. Jordan wants you to give into all these emotions while you navigate his 32-minute present. Watch yourself as you listen. Do you get angry or feel like you're too good for the record's message? They're wonderful coping mechanisms, anger and avoidance, but they'll only leave you worse off, grasping at straws when you realize it might be too late. So do yourself a favor, forgive and dive in.
I challenge you to imagine a scenario as you listen. You're in the orient, floating down a winding river. The only thing keeping you company is your thoughts. As the river twists and turns, you ask yourself where it will take you. You pass around a bend, and the countryside explodes into color. The sun beams down on your face. The vast expanse overwhelms you. Past doubts and worries dissolve. Fear is eliminated. We were made to be afraid, but you are perfectly serene. Prepare for a journey, close your eyes, and press play. We were made to be this way. We were made to be afraid.
- Jonathan Abramson (Live For The Funk)1. Strong River
2. Golden Wake
3. Advanced Falconry
4. That Light That's Blinding
5. "Let's Play" / Statue of a Man
6. C. L. Rosarian
7. Strong Swimmer
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The Year of HibernationTwenty-two year old Trevor Powers, whose musical venture is called Youth Lagoon, has had a long year. Not because hes been endlessly touring or pursuing some wild dream, but because of life, the life of a kid going to college, being in love, dealing with heartache, and just living. Youth Lagoon isnt me. says Powers. Its merely a part of me. I was in and out of different bands in high school and always tried to define myself by what music I played. I tried to find a sense of meaning by being in a band. But it wasnt until this last year when I realized I was more than just music, that I was able to create music that means something to me. And that is Youth Lagoon.
Throughout the course of 2010, Powers began to write an album about things he had a hard time talking about. He claims that when he tries to talk about it to people, he doesnt make sense. So he wrote an album about it entitled The Year of Hibernation. For my whole life Ive dealt with extreme anxiety. says Powers. Not anxiety about passing a test or somewhat normal things, but weird, bizarre things. Things that only I know. I sometimes feel like Im literally being eaten up inside. So I started writing these songs. Not just songs about my anxiety, but about my past and my present. Songs about memories, and all those feelings that those bring. I know that if I can be honest about what is inside my mind, there will be others that will be able to relate to it.
Although his music seems somewhat dreamy with the first listen, the lyrics show a different side to the matter. Hidden beneath the melodies is a voice that is eerie yet nostalgic. Powers claims his music is like letting people read his journal. I dont think I could ever write a completely happy album. Its not that Im not a happy person, claims Powers, but I just have too many things in my mind that haunt me.1. Posters
8. The Hunt
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How To Live With A PhantomHow to Live with a Phantom is a bold stylistic departure, even for an artist whose career has been defined by them. It is a single-minded exploration of the sounds of 1970s radio pop from around the globe, combining American folk-rock and the evocative Japanese pop music that was influenced by it, but simultaneously referencing everything from French pop to Afro-funk, tropicalia, Krautrock and the lighter side of psychedelia. Most of the songs are built around Sakamoto’s hypnotic electric-bass grooves (he learned to play for these recordings), a crisp drum set and bubbling percussion, layered with dreamy guitars and vintage synthesizers, and topped by meticulously arranged female vocal harmonies, horns, and Sakamoto’s own languid yet deeply expressive lead vocals. It’s a set that’s both sun-drenched and full of melancholy, and while the musical references and inspirations may be clear, How to Live with a Phantom is a wholly original album that will connect to a broad spectrum of listeners - from folk and pop aficionados to world music fans, psych-heads and many more.
We could not be more excited about How to Live with a Phantom as Other Music Recording Co.’s debut full-length, and we know you will be as moved by this record as we are!1. In A Phantom Mood
2. You Just Decided
3. My Memories Fade
4. Mask On Mask
5. A Stick And Slacks
6. A Gleam Of Hope
7. Dancing With Pain
8. Something's Different
9. How To Live With A Phantom
10. Small But Enough
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Alternative rock first emerged in Britain in the late 70s and early 80s, but it didn’t really hit its stride until the 90s with the arrival of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and
Alternative rock first emerged in Britain in the late 70s and early 80s, but it didn’t really hit its stride until the 90s with the arrival of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction. That was also right around the time that Nirvana and Pearl Jam fueled the grunge rock explosion.
And when you want the full and real alt rock experience, you’ve gotta try it out on vinyl, and SoundStage Direct is your one-stop shop for all the best alternative rock vinyls.