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Genre > Rock > Alt & Grunge
The Way We Separate (Awaiting Repress)Thomas Mullarney and Jacob Gossett, aka Brooklyn duo Beacon, introduced themselvesto the world with theNo Body and ForNow EPs, both released last year on Ghostly International. The EPs were united by minimalist, R&B-inﬂuenced instrumentation, and also by a lyrical theme, with both serving as meditations on the darkness that underpins the most intense of human emotions: love.
The duo's debut album The Ways We Separate both consolidates and developsthese ideas. The album focuses, asthe title suggests, on the idea of separation — both within the context of relationships and in a more intimate, psychological sense. As Mullarney explains, "The narrative contained inside The Ways We Separate deals with two kinds ofseparation: one where two entities grow apart, and the other where we grow apart from ourselves. Over the course of a relationship, the two sometimes happen together, one being the result of the other." Desires, passions and regrets are central to the songs on The Ways We Separate, which take a variety of perspectives to construct a nuanced reﬂection on the album's central theme. 'Between the Waves' draws a clever analogy between relationships and soundwaves falling out of phase: "I know all the ways we separate/ Where we start to fade at di erent frequencies." 'Overseer' catalogues a parting of the ways with discom ting clarity: "Isn't it ne?/ Taking it slow?/ Watching you watch me walk out your door." And album closer 'Split in Two' explores how th extremes of love and loss can take you far away from being the person you thought you were, making explicit the connection between the two ideas of separation: "What I'd do for you?", sings Thomas Mullarney, "Split myself in half/ Divided into two."
Musically, The Ways We Separate nds Beacon working with a richer sonic palette than ever before —as Gossett says, "The production on this album is much more expansive than anything thing we’ve done thusfar. We spent a lot of time exploring new gear and experimenting with how to pull a wide range of sound out of various instruments. Some ofthe key sonicsthatshaped this LP are analogue synthesis, lots of heavily processed guitar work, and vocal layering/processing." While the abiding mood remains that of late-night introspection, the production draws from elements of hip hop and a wide gamut of electronic music, marrying intricate beats and subtle textures to honeyed pop melodiesthat belie the album's conceptual depth. Rarely has bleakness sounded so pretty — this is a record that's deceptively, compellingly beautiful, an exploration of a place both discom ting and darkly seductive.1. Bring You Back
2. Feeling's Gone
3. Between The Waves
6. Late November
7. Studio Audience
10. Split in Two
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedAWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
The New MondayIt's been four years since Zach Saginaw, aka Shigeto, returned home to Michigan from a stint in Brooklyn, NY, and since then, the multi-faceted musician has become a part of the fabric of Detroit's music scene. While always having a personal approach to his projects, Saginaw's influences for his third album, The New Monday, are more about the community of Detroit than anything else. The record - named after a weekly DJ event called Monday is the New Monday that Saginaw does at the unassuming Motor City Wine with a group of friends - aptly features contributions from many other Detroit-based artists like Danny Brown's Bruiser Brigade affiliate ZelooperZ (who Saginaw also has a side project with called ZGTO). The New Monday represents a communal effort where solidarity is the key. "I think over the past four years, I can confidently say that I found my place here," describes Saginaw. "I'm happy here and I feel that I have the respect from the people I need respect from, that I want respect from. It’s all of the result of embracing it and embracing, not Detroit, but embracing community, embracing family, being closer to my parents, being closer to my oldest friends."LP 1
1. Detroit Part II
2. Barry White (feat. ZelooperZ)
3. Ice Breaker
4. In Case You Forgot
1. There's A Vibe Tonight (feat. Kaleena Zanders)
2. A2D (feat. ZelooperZ & Silas Green)
3. Wit Da Cup
4. Don't Trip (feat. Silas Green)
5. When We Low
$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
SensorimotorFrom his early releases as Lusine onward, Jeff McIlwain's electronic explorations make up one of the more diverse discographies of the past decade and a half. Effortlessly blurring the lines between techno, electro-pop and experimental composition, the Texas-raised/Seattle-based producer's arrangements are meticulously constructed, but also filled with emotion and soul. With an introspective turn that's hinted at in the record title, Lusine's fourth album for Ghostly sees McIlwain diffusing the pop-leanings of 2013's The Waiting Room with opaque, brush-stroked melodies washing over these new buoyant productions. Sensorimotor is a visceral album, with gorgeous opener "Canop"” slowly building into an empyrean cloud of music box chimes and an amorphous thrum. The following "Ticking Hands" is just as beguiling yet also more formed, with the processed melancholy vocals of McIlwain and his wife Sarah filtered into a chilling lament that unfolds over the song’s light skitters and Kraftwerkian pulse. Sensorimotor finds other past Lusine collaborators returning as well: Benoit Pioulard's narcotic croon loops into a swirling arpeggio during "Witness," and Vilja Larjosto's sun-kissed vocal melodies are spliced and splayed across the steady pulsing bass and fluorescent synth pads of "Just a Cloud," and later on "Won’t Forget."LP 1
2. Ticking Hands (ft. Sarah McIlwain)
3. Slow Motion
4. Just a Cloud (ft. Vilja Larjosto)
5. The Level
1. Witness (ft. Benoit Pioulard)
3. Won't Forget
6. The Lift
$21.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
EpochEpoch is the final album in the trilogy beginning with 2011’s Dive, then 2014’s Awake. This period between Dive and Epoch marks a significant maturation for Scott Hansen's continually expanding project, one that has taken him from a solo performer and bedroom artist to fronting a live 4-piece band on large stages across the world.
Epoch hones the sonic aesthetic of Dive while drawing on the kinetic energy of Awake, it explores darker themes and new musical territory. The album was produced and recorded by Hansen predominantly in his home studio in Berkeley, California. The album was arranged alongside long-time collaborator and partner in the project, Zac Brown. Brown contributed bass and guitar parts to the songwriting process. Rory O’Connor performed drums on the album. Hansen sees Epoch as a multi-dimensional artistic vision at the confluence of his graphic design work via ISO50 and music with Tycho. The graphic presentation of album artwork is as important as the music itself. The keystone is the central image of Epoch and the colors scheme red and black. This is a stark contrast to the almost rainbow palette of Awake.1. Glider
$20.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
InsidesLike many others, Ghostly became enamored with Fort Romeau's idea of "slow listening," the concept of enriching relationships with music through careful attention and focus. His understated take on deep, groove-friendly house started pushing this practice three years ago, when the producer's debut LP, Kingdoms, appeared via 100% Silk. The native Londoner, born Mike Greene, has evolved considerably since then, finessing his sound over the course of three breezy 12"s, one EP, and lengthy DJ sets at some of the best clubs in Europe—not the least of which were Berlin's famed Panorama Bar, London hotspot Plastic People, and Robert Johnson in Frankfurt. Those years Greene spent immersed in his craft and new inspirations have generously informed the eight stunning productions which comprise Insides, Fort Romeau's long-awaited sophomore album.
"Playing in those clubs definitely had an affect on how I approach composition and pacing," Greene shares. "I want to allow things to breathe and develop gradually over longer track lengths, rather than cram everything into four or five minutes." His patient methods are a central component to the billowy house music on Insides, though this isn't an indulgent album of gratuitous buildups and tiresome breakdowns. Each production is pointed and purposeful, as the artist crafts every second of analog electronics with rich detail, nuance, and refinement.
Throughout Insides, Fort Romeau guides us down misty corridors lined with supple synth pads, quietly thumping kicks, and elastic low-end sequences reinforced by an emotive confidence. Thick dancefloor cuts like "All I Want" and "Folle" are built on such satisfying elements—sounds so full-bodied, you'd swear they're knocking against your bones. This, too, is by design. "I wanted to make sure all the songs have a tangible quality," says Greene of his LP's physicality, "to make texture and grain become as important a part of the vocabulary as timbre and pitch." This was accomplished with an arsenal of machines, including his Moog Voyager, Yamaha DX7, Roland Juno-6, and Korg 770, a vintage synth he describes as having "so much presence and vitality, it almost feels like it's alive." Equally important to the weighty presence of his music is meticulous post-production. "The record was mixed on an analog desk and mastered to tape," Fort Romeau elaborates. "These processes are as much a part of the sound as the synths and sample sources themselves."
There is also a deep stylistic eclecticism to Insides, and coming from Greene, this was galvanized by deep cuts he discovered while digging to find music for his extensive DJ sets. Old kosmiche, disco, and early electronic records are among the strongest influences, and Fort Romeau used them as an impetus for creation. "It's those strange and wonderful tracks that you find on the b-side of an old record that sparked my desire to make something new," he shares, "but it's very important for me never to feel like I’m making a pastiche." Indeed, the sleek expanse of "Lately" and the title track's jacking grooves take cues from buoyantly cosmic dance music. And yet it's the personality of a young artist coming into his own that makes Insides such a graceful collection of house music, one that only further enriches the soul over time.1. New Wave
3. All I Want
5. Not A Word
$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
L1 EPFor much of the Brooklyn duo's career, Beacon has worked with a kind of effervescent, forward-looking R&B that evokes out-of-body experiences, but with their new L1 EP, the music is anchored assuredly to your flesh, bone, and physical senses. The brawny synth timbres which open lead track "Fault Lines" and the stomping beats bolstering gauzy falsettos on confident songs like "Minor Structure" set the tone for a new phase in Beacon's evolution, one geared toward the movements and magnetism of human bodies. As producer Jacob Gossett puts it, "Our records have often been described as moments after the night has given way, a 'comedown after the club.' Hopefully, this record inspires people to go back out for one more."
Mixed by Al Carlson—who has worked on Autre Ne Veut's Anxiety and St. Vincent's Marry Me, among many other notable records—L1's five tracks focus on themes provided by a natural phenomenon in gravitational physics known as Lagrangian points. The title itself refers to the point in space where a satellite can fall in synchronous orbit with the earth around the sun, caught between the two gravitational pulls and never falling out of sync. With a breathy voice that sounds as vulnerable as it does touchingly sanguine, singer and producer Thomas Mullarney III translates the idea to nuanced musings on internal conflict, human relationships, and questions about desire, guilt, and pleasure. "I wanted to stage intimacy and desire as natural forces,” explains Mullarney, “spinning with reflex and intuition, caught within different spheres of influence.”1. Fault Lines
3. Minor Structures
4. Better Love
5. Only Us
$14.99Vinyl EP - SealedBuy Now
Ultima II MassageTOBACCO can’t have nice things.
On his third album, the Pennsylvania snake-synth-charmer deepens his approach to aural depravity. Ultima II Massage widens a jagged swath through the dude’s own weird catalog, each disparate track damaged to the point of contributing to some sort of greater, lurching Frankenstein-like state. “I spent a lot of time breaking it in all the right places,” says TOBACCO. “It ends up making the whole thing breathe — sometimes gasp for air. It feels more alive.” Immediately after ﬁnishing 2010’s Maniac Meat, he went to work on the beat-addled series begun with Fucked Up Friends in 2008. There were notable breaks en route to now — a surprising commission to remix White Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ‘65,” a new BMSR record (Cobra Juicy), and producing Demon Queen’s Exorcise Tape with vocalist Zackey Force Funk — but he saved the worst for last, amassing the most misanthropic material for Ultima. To wit, SPIN dubbed early share “Lipstick Destroyer” a “junkyard takedown of Daft Punk’s beloved, pristine electro.” TOBACCO explains his modiﬁed approach: ”I wanted to push each song just enough, so that even when the album’s at its wildest, it’s something you can zone out to. It feels like a deﬁnitive end to a concept I’ve been trying to perfect forever. Maniac Meat was linear. This time I wanted to do a lot of di!erent things and have them come together as one meditative piece. At least for myself.”
Which, oddly enough, makes sense. This is easily TOBACCO’s most diverse set to date — his own Stereopathetic Soulmanure, but about that 1-900 hotline life: massage parlors, plasticized sleaze, fake tans, old dial-ups to the fan clubs of dead B-actors. Fittingly, the album’s only contributor is Beck music director Brian LeBarton who shrieks as Notrabel on the grimy freak-out “Streaker.” At 17 tracks, Ultima is stacked with beautifully perverse hits — from the sickly sticky “Eruption,” to the wobbly demon swaggerer “Face Breakout,” to the distorted punk spazz of “Dipsmack,” to the apocalyptic sepia ambience of “Spitlord.” You may hear disembodied bits of Boards of Canada, early Def Jam records, and Gary Numan, or maybe just public-access TV and bad VHS dubs of ‘80s horror ﬂicks. Or the sun exploding and everything you’ve ever loved melting. Again, TOBACCO was just trying to make meditation music.
But to ﬁnd that rotted sweet spot, as always, he had to subvert his pop urges. TOBACCO went back to the cassette decks he started o! with — analog weapons of distortion to compliment his hissing vocoder and blown rhythms. Any moment that felt “just right” was brutally assaulted until ugly again. All to accomplish one end: “This might be my most purposely difﬁcult album yet, but I promise if you let it in, it can fuck you up.”
Ultima II Massage. No happy ending.1. Streaker (ft. Notrabel)
2. Good Complexion
3. Video Warning Attempts
5. Lipstick Destroyer
6. Self Tanner
7. Face Breakout
8. Blow Your Heart
9. Beast Sting
11. Creaming for Beginners
12. Omen Classic
13. Pool City, McKnight Road
15. Father Sister Berzerker
16. The Touch from Within
$22.99Colored Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Psychic 9-5 ClubPsychic 9-5 Club marks the beginning of a new chapter for HTRK. It's an album that looks back on a time of sadness and struggle, and within that struggle they ﬁnd hope and humour and love. It's Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang's ﬁrst album recorded entirely as a duo— former band member Sean Stewart died halfway through the recording of their last LP, 2011's Work (Work, Work).
Though the record is instantly recognisable as HTRK—Standish's vocal delivery remains central to the band's sound, while the productions are typically lean and dubby—they've found ample room for exploration within this framework. Gone are the reverb-soaked guitar explorations of 2009's Marry Me Tonight and the fuzzy growls that ran through Work (Work Work). They've been replaced with something tender, velvety and polished. This is HTRK, but the ﬂesh has been stripped from their sound, throwing the focus on naked arrangements and minimalist sound design.
The album was recorded at Blazer Sound Studios in New Mexico with Excepter's Nathan Corbin, who had previously directed the video clip for Work (Work Work) cut "Bendin." Inviting a third party into their world was no easy decision, but in Corbin they found a kindred spirit. The LP was then reﬁned and reworked in Australia at the turn of 2013, before the ﬁnishing touches were applied in New York during the summer.
Of all the themes that run through Psychic 9-5 Club, love is the most central. The word is laced throughout the album in lyrics and titles— love as a distraction, loving yourself, loving others. Standish's lyrics explore the complexities of sexuality and the body's reaction to personal loss, though there's room for wry humour—a constant through much of the best experimental Australian music of the past few decades.
Standish explores her vocal range fully—her husky spoken-word drawl remains, but we also hear her laugh and sing. Equally, Yang's exploratory production techniques—particularly his well-documented love of dub—are given room to shine. They dip headlong into some of the things that make humans tick—love, loss and desire—with the kind of integrity that has marked the band out from day one. Psychic 9-5 Club is truly an album for the body and for the soul.1. Give it Up
2. Blue Sunshine
3. Feels like Love
4. Soul Sleep
5. Wet Dream
6. Love is Distraction
7. Chinatown Style
8. The Body You Deserve
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Half Of Where You LiveHalf Of Where You Live is the second album by Berlin based electronic musician Gold Panda. The follow up to his award winning Lucky Shiner released in 2010, his new album is a distillation of that which that made his previous work both loved and acclaimed, and also displays an evolution of his sounds, stylings and methods.
Half Of Where You Live is the culmination of three years of touring and intermittent experimentation in his selfbuilt studio, the time between records was well-spent; each track is informed by the experiences of his trips through Asia and beyond. Shows and weeks away forming personal experiences that ultimately became the thematic basis for each track on the album.
Available as a double LP and CD, the record’s aesthetic is as ﬁnally crafted a piece of art as the music within – created with Ghostly International artistic collaborators Andy Gilmore and Michael Cina.
2013 sees a full worldwide touring itinerary that has already begun with shows in Australia and New Zealand, running through Japan, and then Europe and the US before worldwide festivals this summer.1. Gold Panda: "An Iceberg Hurtled Northward Through Clouds"
2. Melchior & Pronsato: "Puerto Rican Girls"
3. Bok Bok: "Charisma Theme"
4. Drexciya: "Andreaen Sand Dunes"
5. Muslimgauze: "Uzi Mahmood 8"
6. Pawel: "Coke"
7. Ramadanman: "Revenue (Untold Remix)"
8. SND: "Palo Alto"
9. Zomby: "Godzilla"
10. Closer Musik: "Maria"
11. Gold Panda: "Back Home"
12. Christopher Rau: "Do Little"
13. Jan Jelinek: "If's, And's and But's"
14. Nao Tokui: "Monolith"
15. Sigha: "Shake"
16. Opiate: "Amstel"
17. 2562: "Dinosaur"
18. Matthewdavid: "Like You Mean It"
19. Brainiac: "The Turnover"
20. LV & Untold: "Beacon"
21. Austictici: "Headed Heated Dust on a Sunlit Window"
22. Giuseppe Ielasi: "2"
$21.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
SMM: OpiateLimited To 800 Copies
SMM: Opiate is the second release in Ghostly's SMM series, which is an ongoing exploration of the evocative possibilities of sound, with a focus classical minimalism, electronic and drone composition, ﬁlm soundtracks, and fragile imaginary landscapes. Opiate is the follow-up to 2011's SMM: Context, and as with that record, it's a carefully chosen selection of music, compiled over some two years from around the world.
The record opens with Simon Scott's "Water Shadow," a luxuriant piece of beatless ambience that's like a wash of warm water or the ﬁrst touch of the summer sun on your face after a long, cold winter. It's a warmth that doesn't last, though — "Ti Prego Memory Man," by A Winged Victory for the Sullen, is no less beautiful. It's a stately, alpine beauty, its chilly sounds a harbinger of things to come. Celer's "Nothing So Mystical" is more minimal still, while Black Swan's "Passing Heartbreak" brings whispers of humanity, its sound coalescing out of a atmospheric whirl of vocal textures.
The wryly titled "This Is Radio Sweden," by Jim Haynes, is all brooding background noise that's shot through with what sounds like an old fashioned telephone engaged tone, a track that seems shot through with connotations of absence and loss. EN's "White" is both somber and somehow transportive, setting plucked chords from what sounds like a banjo over a glistening synth ﬁgure, while Pjusk's "Dorsk" slows to a sort of stasis, with only the faintest of basslines to indicate any sign of life. Fieldhead's "37th" is like a slow, mindful from such a reverie, and Noveller's "Bright Cloud Blooms" brings the cycle to a close with another brief ﬂush of precious warmth.
As a whole, the compilation seems to follow a narrative arc, descending through a series of stages into near-complete stillness, and then slowly ascending back to where it began. As a whole, the experience is certainly evocative of the opiated sensation evoked by the record's title — but really, it's a compilation that invites you to ﬁnd your own meaning in it, or simply to appreciate the beauty of its music and escape the world for a while.1. Simon Scott - Water Shadow
2. A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Ti Prego Memory Man
3. Celer - Nothing So Mystical
4. Black Swan - Passings, Heartbreak
5. Jim Hayes - This is Radio Sweden
6. EN - White
7. Pjusk - Dorsk
8. Fieldhead - 37th
9. Noveller - Bright Clouds Bloom
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Past Is PrologueTycho’s Past Is Prologue has a storied history. The tracks began as Sunrise Projector, Tycho’s 2004 full-length debut on Gammaphone records; the record was then expanded and reissued in 2006 as Past Is Prologue on Merck records; and now, Ghostly International is reissuing Tycho’s original masterwork, re-introducing graphic designer / producer Scott Hansen’s musical universe: a lush, expansive imaginary landscape of sepia-toned keyboards, warm downtempo beats, and mile after mile of sun-dappled beauty.
Scott Hansen’s alter-ego is as graphic designer ISO50, and his visual work and musical creations share a similar aesthetic: saturated, faintly nostalgic tones, artfully arranged compositions, with a complex internal rhythm and color-outside-the-lines joy that’s both easy on the eyes/ears and tremendously addictive. Past Is Prologue is an ideal point of entry into Tycho’s world: “Dictaphone’s Lament” is an anthemic rush of melody and rhythm with cross-panned, dueling basslines and a gauzy, late-afternoon feel; “Send and Receive” sounds like a music box designed by Brian Eno, a ﬁne mesh of melodic plips and plops and brisk, skittering hi-hats. The title track is a low-level stunner, splitting the diﬀerence between Rhodes-heavy ambient and drum ‘n bass—both laid-back and frantic. Past Is Prologue also includes remixes from Chachi Jones, and Nautilis, as well as two extra tracks not on the original release of the album.
As its title implies, Past Is Prologue is only the beginning. In the years since its initial release, Scott Hansen has been reﬁning his approach, woodshedding new material and bufﬁng it until it shines like polished brass. For Tycho, the past is prologue to a limitless future.1. Home
2. Sunrise Projector
3. Dictaphone's Lament
5. Send And Receive
7. A Circular Reeducation
8. Past Is Prologue
9. Cloud Generator
10. The Disconnect
13. Send And Receive (Chachi Jones Remix)
14. Sunrise Projector (Nautilis Remix)
$27.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
Awake (Out Of Stock)For nearly a decade, Tycho has been known as the musical alias of Scott Hansen, but with the release of Awake – his second LP for Ghostly International – the solo project has evolved into a three-piece band. Relating closer to post-rock than ambient soundscapes, the record is situated in the present, sounding more like Hansen than drawing from his inﬂuences. “This is, in many ways, the ﬁrst true Tycho record.”
Following 2011’s Dive LP, the San Francisco-based designer toured extensively, and with a full band on stage, his sound coalesced into a percussive, organic whole. Zac Brown (guitars, bass) rejoined Scott on the road for this tour, but it was the particular addition of Rory O’Connor’s live drumming that ultimately sent Hansen back to the studio with a more precise vision. “After the tour, I decided that I wanted to capture the more energetic, driven sound of the live show on the next album,” Hansen recalls. Bringing musicians into Tycho’s creative process was a step towards expanding his own songwriting and advancing the project beyond its current sound.
In a cabin near Tahoe last winter, Zac and Scott began ﬂeshing out the structure of the new record, but it wasn’t until they set up shop in the hills of Santa Cruz with Rory that it all fell into place. “It crystallized the vision of how the drums would come to the forefront on this record,” says Hansen. The sound was much more stripped-down and concise with more organic instruments in the fold. Songs like “Montana” and “Awake” are a departure from Tycho’s previous material – unique to the group effort poured into the songs on the new record – while “See” and “Dye” echo ideas from previous works, bridging a middle ground between the old and new. Working with Count Eldridge, who also engineered Dive, the team could ﬁxate on the pulses that Tycho might previously layer under synthesizers and exhume them with distinct bass and guitar patterns.
Also known for his design work as ISO50, Hansen’s visual and sonic efforts have dovetailed throughout the course of his career. “This is the ﬁrst time in my life I've dropped everything to focus on one artistic pursuit,” notes Hansen. Previous Tycho releases came to fruition when an amalgam of songs were nearing completion, but Awake is where music becomes the focus and true expression becomes the result.1. Awake
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedTemporarily out of stock
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.