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Genre > Rock > Alt & Grunge
Felt (Pre-Order)There are those in our ranks who are touting this new triumphant collection from Montreal’s art-rock heroes SUUNS as the most outright grooved record they’ve made. But hold it right there. Not so fast. SUUNS have always had that deep groove on fucking lock, albeit oft-slithering within an austere and/or sneering veneer. Consider, if you will, how Kraftwerk had far more funk flowing through their wires and cables than most of we flesh bodies. Same goes for the necromancers of SUUNS.
And their world class drummer Liam O’Neill has heroically accepted the challenge of playing in and around programmed beats like a diabolical, sentient metronome. O’Neill’s kit is a bit more out front than it’s been in a hot minute and he’s as patient and ferocious as ever. Meanwhile, Singer/guitarist Ben Shemie’s sourmilk deliver is as frightening and enchanting as ever, but now coming from some deep area that feels like a human heart.
And as alluded to by its title and neon-warm album art, SUUNS’ Felt is gonna make you feel things. You’re gonna learn something about your body listening to cuts like on DJ Shadow-leaning, head-bobber “Look No Further” or “Make It Real,” which could be a radio signal of a lost Silver Apples cut — that is, before it becomes a doomsday siren breakup song. These four gentlemen could be making beats for 21 Savage or Migos. But for now, lucky for you, they’re ruthlessly set on being one of the planet’s finest, bravest bands.1. Look No Further
3. Watch You, Watch Me
5. After the Fall
7. Make It Real
9. Peace and Love
$19.99Vinyl LP - SealedPRE-ORDER Buy Now
The Black Sabbath CoversWhen Jason Molina took on another artist’s song, he willed his own universe into it, his own personal and artistic mythology. Be it Conway Twitty or Townes Van Zandt, their blues were infused with Molina's own entrancing blues. This pair of newly discovered, home-recorded Black Sabbath covers is no different. Molina, a through-and-through fan of metal (seek out his high school metal band the Spineriders' album if you haven’t yet) peels back the sinister and stoned elements of Sabbath, zeroing in on the loneliness and brooding.
He takes “Solitude,” from 1971’s unfuckwithable Master of Reality — and one of Sabbath’s more mystical, near-proggy songs — and doubles down on the title. Molina extracts Ozzy Osbourne’s gorgeously cooed vocal performance and transforms it into a high and lonesome sound, a desert campfire howler. And on his cover of “Snowblind," from 1972’s Vol. 4, it becomes obvious what a guitar hero Sabbath’s Tony Iommi was for Molina. Molina seemed to pull from Iommi’s odd, simple fingerings and tunings throughout his catalogue: from his first album (known informally as “the black album”) to Magnolia Electric Co.’s Josephine. Molina’s brief acoustic cover dials back the bombast, but you can surely connect “Snowblind”’s chord progressions with Molina’s own on the black album and Axxess & Ace.
Recorded in the midwest in the late ‘90s, during Molina’s multi-season run of batting 1.000, these two intimate songs are a bittersweet artifact of one of the Rust Belt’s titan songwriters.
Note: Do not attempt to play Side B of this 7” release. Side B is a gorgeous etching of a black ram by artist Will Schaff. If you do attempt to play the etching on Side B it will sound absolutely awful.1. Solitude
2. Snowblind$9.997" Vinyl Single - SealedBuy Now
Light Upon The Lake: Demo RecordingsLight Upon the Lake, the debut from Whitney, was born from early-morning songwriting sessions during one of the most brutal winters in Chicago's history. Vocalist/drummer Julien Ehrlich and guitarist Max Kakacek began writing unflinching, honest songs about everything from break-ups to the passing of Ehrlich's grandfather. The pair leaned on one another for both honest critique and a sounding board for working through their newly-discovered truths.
The brief, intense period of creativity for the band yielded Light Upon the Lake's exceptional, unfussy combination of soul, breezy Sixties/Seventies rock, and somber heartbreak woven together by hopeful, golden threads. After critical acclaim and nearly nonstop touring since the album's 2016 release, Ehrlich and Kakacek are going back to their roots – for the first time, the full demos from Light Upon the Lake will be made available. After a whirlwind year following the debut, the demos offer a way for listeners to get a glimpse into the very beginning of Whitney's sound.
"After almost two years of non-stop touring we decided we wanted to close the chapter on Light Upon the Lake by releasing the songs in their earliest incarnations alongside a cover of a band favorite by Alan Toussaint, and an unreleased track called You and Me. We're looking towards LP2 as we finish out the year on the road."
Max and Julien1. No Woman (demo)
2. The Falls (demo)
3. Golden Days (demo)
4. Dave's Song (demo)
5. You And Me (demo)
6. No Matter Where We Go (demo)
7. On My Own (demo)
8. Polly (demo)
9. Follow (demo)
10. Southern Nights (Allen Toussaint Cover)
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
MusikNative Memphian William Eggleston, 77, is widely regarded to be the most important photographer of the late 20th Century, but there is another side to him that took root in his Sumner, Mississippi childhood, where he discovered the piano in the parlor that ignited in him a lifelong passion for music. In the 1980's, Eggleston, who disdained digital cameras and modernity in general, became surprisingly fascinated with a synthesizer, the Korg O1/W FD, which had 88 piano-like keys, and in addition to being able to emulate the sound of any instrument, also contained a four-track sequencer that allowed him to expand the palette of his music, letting him create improvised symphonic pieces, stored on 49 floppy discs, encompassing some 60 hours of music from which this 13 track recording was assembled.
The music, which he refers to as "Musik", adopting the German spelling of his hero, JS Bach, is highly emotional, whether he's improvising a Bach-like organ fanfare out of whole cloth, using a Korg patch titled "guitar feedback" to create a dirge, or playing Lerner and Lowe's "On The Street Where You Live" as a dramatic overture. Mr. Eggleston often says that he feels that music is his first calling, as much a part of him, at least, as his photography.LP 1
1. Untitled Improvisation DCC 05.19
2. Untitled Improvisation FD 1.10
3. Untitled Improvisation DAT 3.1 2.79
4. Untitled Improvisation DCC 02.9
5. Untitled Improvisation DCC 02.25 3-01
6. Untitled Improvisation DCC 04.31
7. Untitled Improvisation DCC 4.33.3
8. Untitled Improvisation DCC 02.21
9. Untitled Improvisation FD 6.9
1. Untitled Improvisation FD 1.1-9.5
2. Tit Willow - Gilbert/Sullivan
3. Untitled Improvisation FD 1.12
4. On The Street Where You Live - Lerner/Lowe
$26.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
Haxel PrincessPressed On Translucent Red Colored Vinyl
Society would deem a prodigious girl can't be in a progressive rock band while also being in complete control of its creative vision, business plan and social messaging. Society is wrong. Clementine Creevy, a 19-year-old teen Queen, dreamed up Cherry Glazerr in her LA bedroom alone and is perhaps more capable of figuring a music career out than anyone who attempts this treacherous life path.
Back in 2014, much-loved Cali imprint Burger Records released Cherry Glazerr's intoxicating debut Haxel Princess. The New York Times called "Grilled Cheese" one of their Top Songs of 2014 alongside heavy hitters such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Future. The band toured across the country and abroad, between Clementine's acting responsibilities on the award-winning show Transparent, and gained fans everywhere with their wild lives shows. On their upcoming sophomore album, Apocalipstick, the band worked with "rock'n'roll wizard" Joe Chicarelli (White Stripes, The Shins, The Strokes) and Carlos de la Garza (Bleached, M83, Tegan and Sara). With their help and the band's newfound self-discipline and motivation, Cherry Glazerr has evolved into a wildly complex, hugely guitar heavy, and unapologetically loud machine.1. Cry Baby
2. Grilled Cheese
3. Haxel Princess
4. Glenn The Dawgg
5. All My Friends
6. Bloody Bandaid
7. Sweaty Faces
8. Teenage Girl
9. White’s Not My Color This Evening
10. Trick Or Treat Dancefloor
$19.99Colored Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Life Will See You NowJens Lekman describes his new record, Life Will See You Now, playfully, but also honestly, as "a midlife-crisis disco album; it's an existentialist record, about seeing the consequences of your choices". It's a typical Lekman album in several ways: sly humour is key to its heartfelt nature; it inverts pop's writing norm by making songs with sad concerns sound happy and songs with a happy subject sound sad; and it plays with notions of identity and the self. But, as the title suggests, it also represents a significant move forward, as if across a threshold. It's the more expansive, upbeat sound of a revitalized Lekman, who is just one of many characters in his new stories about the magic and messiness of different kinds of relationships.1. To Know Your Mission
2. Evening Prayer
3. Hotwire The Ferris Wheel
4. What's That Perfume That You Wear?
5. Our First Fight
6. Wedding in Finistére
7. How We Met, The Long Version
8. How Can I Tell Him
9. Postcard #17
10. Dandelion Seed
$19.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
ApocalipstickSociety would deem that a prodigious girl can't be in a progressive rock band while also being in complete control of its creative vision, business plan and social messaging. Society is wrong. Clem Creevy, a 19-year-old teen Queen dreamed up Cherry Glazerr in her LA bedroom alone and is perhaps more capable of figuring a music career out than anyone who attempts this treacherous life path.
Back in 2014, much-loved Cali imprint Burger Records released their intoxicating debut Haxel Princess and Suicide Squeeze released the Had Ten Dollaz 7-inch.
On Apocalipstick, the band worked with “rock'n'roll wizard” Joe Chicarelli [White Stripes, The Shins, The Strokes] and Carlos de la Garza [Bleached, M83, Tegan and Sara]. With their help and the band's newfound self-discipline and motivation, Cherry Glazerr has evolved into a wildly complex, hugely guitar heavy, and unapologetically loud machine.1. Told You I’d Be With The Guys
2. Trash People
3. Moon Dust
4. Humble Pro
5. Nuclear Bomb
6. Only Kid On The Block
7. Lucid Dreams
8. Sip O’ Poison
9. Nurse Ratched
$19.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
xDamien Jurado & Richard Swift
Other People's Songs Vol. 1Over the weekend of August 21-22, 2010, not long after Damien Jurado and Richard Swift first collaborated to produce Damien's 2010 record, Saint Bartlett, the pair hunkered down with a 4-track recorder and one Coles 4038 ribbon microphone to record a collection of cover songs that run the gamut from John Denver to Chubby Checker to Kraftwerk.
The timing was perfect. On Other People's Songs Vol 1, we can see the scaffolding of what would become a creative turning point for the pair - later seen with the release of Damien Jurado's Maraqopa, the first record in his Maraqopa trilogy - less than 2 years later. The opening drum hits of "Be Not So Fearful", the falsetto vocals of "Sweetness", and the Spaghetti-Western swing of "Radioactivity" are, by now, hallmarks of the Jurado/Swift sound, but Other People's Songs Vol 1 is a transitional fossil, a marking of the pair's collaborative evolution.1. Be Not So Fearful
2. Hello Sunshine
4. Sincere Replies
5. If The Sun Stops Shinin’
6. Follow Me
7. Outside My Window
9. Crazy Like A Fox
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
xJohn Lennon & Yoko Ono
Unfinished Music, No. 1: Two VirginsRemastered From The Original Tapes By Sean Lennon
Turns out the very sound of falling in love is just as abstract, subjective and loopy as the concept itself. Yoko Ono and John Lennon are two of history's greatest lovers, and Two Virgins is the document of the pair falling in love in real time. The album is a curious and amazing suite recorded over one weekend in Spring 1968 at Lennon's Kenwood home: Distant conversations; comedic role playing and footsteps; laughter, birdcalls and plunking piano lines; silly songs and space; tape delay stretching shrieks, bass rumbles and moans to the moon and back again.
The now-iconic cover (featuring Ono and Lennon standing nude together) notwithstanding, nothing about Two Virgins is safe. It would be a risky move today for artists in the larger, pop-culture conversation just as it was a risky move in 1969. But this is an uncomfortably private, two-person dialogue about - and celebration of - experimentation, inspiration and play. And these two souls bravely let us look through the keyhole.1. Side One
2. Side Two
$23.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
xJohn Lennon & Yoko Ono
Unfinished Music, No. 2: Life With The LionsRemastered From The Original Tapes By Sean Lennon
Life with the Lions is the sound of Ono and Lennon validating their love as something impenetrable and timeless. It's when we, the listener, begin to fully understand that the scope of their recording efforts was much more than a recording collaboration, and something closer to a performative documentary, a declaration of "Our life and our love is our art - every nitty, gritty part of it.”1. Cambridge 1969
2. Side Two
3. No Bed For Beatle John
4. Baby's Heartbeat
5. Two Minutes Silence
6. Radio Play
$23.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Plastic Ono BandRemastered From The Original Tapes By Sean Lennon
This long-overdue vinyl reissue of Yoko Ono's seminal, but massively under-appreciated Plastic Ono Band has all the makings of a classic rock nostalgia trip: Ono, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman and free-jazz legend Ornette Coleman. All the pieces are here to stir up a dangerous amount of nostalgia. But once the needle drops, the record achieves something exactly perpendicular to nostalgia.
Released in 1971, the album not only influenced the approach of other musicians for decades, it also sounds absolutely modern 44 years out, eternally fresh despite the forward march of time. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band not only predicted the intersection of the avant-garde and rock that would take place in the second half of that decade, the album would sound right at home at where that intersection is happening today.1. Why
2. Why Not
3. Greenfield Morning I Pushed An Empty Baby Carriage All Over The City
5. Touch Me
6. Paper Shoes
$23.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Jumping The SharkMy name is Alex Cameron and I won't waste your time. When you're talking about me and my business partner, Roy Molloy, you're talking about the online cowboys in the wild-west days of the World Wide Web. And if you want to know what we're really about just look at all the things you wish you'd done differently. All the things you stopped yourself from doing on account of the fear of failure, or rejection. Weigh that up against your ambitions. Think about your work ethic. We're reclaiming failure as an act of progress. An act of learning. Something to celebrate.
A word's meaning can change depending on who utters the thing; and so we present characters - shapes are morphed and stories are delivered. This is a collection of 4-minute tales written to provide you with insight into the inner workings of failed ambitions and self-destruction. Unedited, uncensored, and without inhibition. I've learned to reveal what I want to unlearn. I cast a light on the darkness and in doing so understand love and compassion. Fear is to be confronted, and to learn requires failure - over and over. Celebrate failure with Jumping The Shark.1. Happy Ending
2. Gone South
3. Real Bad Lookin'
4. The Comeback
5. She's Mine
6. The Internet
8. Take Care of Business
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Visions Of Us On The Land“Damien Jurado is every character in every Damien Jurado song. He is the gun, the purple anteater, the paper wings, the avalanche, the air show disaster, Ohio, the ghost of his best friend’s wife.”
- Father John Misty
Providing the ideal entry point for neophytes and an intoxicating aural high for the faithful, Damien Jurado’s new opus extends the hot streak ignited by 2012’s Maraqopa and its 2014 follow-up Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. Cut once again with label-mate and super producer Richard Swift at the latter’s National Freedom recording facility in rural Oregon, Visions of Us On The Land completes the tale of an individual who has had to disappear from society in order to discover some universal truths.1. Amateur Night
4. Texas To Ohio
6. I Can't Get Over You
7. Intoxicated Hands
10. Bad Dreams
11. Abilene (demo)
12. I Can't Get Over You (demo)
13. The Killer (demo)
14. Amateur Night (demo)
15. Omaha (demo)
16. Smith 1972 (Just In Time For Something EP)
17. Motion Sickness (Just In Time For Something EP)
18. Night Out For The Downer (Just In Time For Something EP)
19. Prices (Just In Time For Something EP)
20. Engine Fire (Just In Time For Something EP)
$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
xGardens & Villa
Music For DogsThere's a quote tucked into the recent documentary film about the iconic design duo Charles and Ray Eames, commenting on the symbiotic nature of Charles and Ray's marriage, their work life in Venice Beach, their home life not too far away, and their creative life: "Work is art is life is work is art..." It's a concept so simple a small child could dream it, yet it's one we tend to lose in the strange, abstract grind of modern life and modern ambition. For Gardens & Villa songwriters Chris Lynch and Adam Rasmussen, a return to this very harmonious relationship of art/work/life and a rediscovery of the DIY ethos that once defined the pair's formative creative years mark the defining thread of their head-turning new album, Music For Dogs. The revelation that we hear play out so inspiringly across Music For Dogs is one that came at a make-or-break moment for the band last year. Pushed to fall in line as an indie-pop act while their artistic interests lie as much in the avant-garde. Pushed deeper into debt just to keep their band alive. Pushed from within to leave the comfort zone of their longtime home base in Santa Barbara and set up a new HQ in Los Angeles. Lynch and Rasmussen responded by bucking the idea of "art as a career" and making art their very way of life. With a top-to-bottom renovation of a warehouse space in LA's Frogtown neighborhood lovingly dubbed The Space Program and shared with visual artists, designers, and creatives, the pair began to live and write music on their own terms, just as they'd done before their music was placed "on the marketplace." Music For Dogs is a deeply personal album that pokes, prods, and even strangely celebrates the zeitgeist of music commerce, pleasure culture, technological advances and the new home they've found in Los Angeles. The New Age and Eastern Religion sentiments that rippled across their first two albums (2011's Gardens & Villa and 2014's Dunes) have been swapped out with a new sort of zen pop-Nihilsm. What's Nihilism anyway but Buddhism with a fuck-it attitude? They've found a way to live on the firing line, a way to actually harvest creative energy from our sad Internet tendencies, the uncertain future. "My whole life fixation/See if we can make it underneath the radar," goes Lynch and Rasmussen's respective call-and-response on "Fixations," a song about the beauty in bottoming out and then finding the false bottom. Lynch could mean living as a creative in the underground or living outside peripheral view of the NSA. Under the stewardship of visionary producer Jacob Portrait and with irreplaceable rhythm section Dusty Ineman (drums) and Shane McKillop (bass), "Fixations" — and a great deal of Music For Dogs — is really just Gardens & Villa doing what it has always done best. G&V creates Byzantine melodies and richly interwoven arrangements for synths, guitars and vocals that work incredibly well on a cerebral level, but wouldn't upset a 3 a.m. pool party either. The jaunty, jarring piano and bass that begin "Everybody" perfectly frame the song's anxiety-riddled themes of 21st Century voyeurism, surveillance and the turnstile of avatars intended to represent our true selves. "Everybody wants the new you/No one cares who you are," Lynch sings in a repeating chorus before the band collapses into a lovely out of time mall piano breakdown, which itself drops effortlessly back into the jaunty verse section. And the speedball ripper "Maximize Results" that begins the record is perhaps G&V's most ecstatic, vulnerable moment laid to record to date. It alone is worth the price of admission.1. Intro
2. Maximize Results
6. Alone in the City
7. General Research
9. Happy Times
11. I Already Do
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
xSuuns and Jerusalem In My Heart
Suuns and Jerusalem In My HeartBeginning in November 2012, Suuns (Ben Shemie, Liam O’Neil, Max Henry and Joseph Yarmush) and long time friend, Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, rented a studio in Montreal for seven days. The idea was to collaborate on rough sketches of song ideas and to complete as much recording as possible without discrimination. The session was successful, yielding many vibe-laden songs featuring heavy analog synths, Arabic influences and electronic sensibilities.
After the session, the recordings layed dormant. Both bands were releasing individual albums; touring was to ensue shortly. Some editing time was squeezed in between tour dates but a full year passed before the songs were heard by an audience. The collaborative band did a live show at Pop Montreal 2013 and then another the following March. At that point, the project was kickstarted into gear. The band over dubbed and re-worked the songs in the summer of 2014 and finally, whilst on tour in October, finished the vocal overdubs and mixing. Radwan Ghazi Moumneh of Jerusalem In My Heart did the tracking and most of the mixing while Max Henry of Suuns handled some mixing as well.
The live show is very much a performance with less emphasis on replaying the recordings note for note, but more about recreating the excitement of the initial recording sessions.1. 2amoutu I7tirakan
4. In Touch
5. Gazelles In Flight
7. 3attam Babey
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
JosephineJason Molina's sixteenth full-length with Secretly Canadian, and Magnolia Electric Co.'s fifth full-length. "Josephine" is a concept album that pays tribute to the life and spirit of fallen bassist Evan Farrell. It contains some of the strongest songs Molina has written. He's approached the universal loneliness before, but never in such a focused, directed manner.1. O! Grace
2. The Rock Of Ages
6. Song For Willie
7. Hope Dies Last
8. The Handing Down
9. Map Of The Falling Sky
10. Little Sad Eyes
11. Heartbreak At Ten Paces
12. Knoxville Girl
14. An Arrow In The Gale$16.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
VThe emergence of Swedish duo JJ in March 2009 was both meaningful and mysterious. A debut single, 'jj no.1', enchanted the music press, simultaneously existing across indie-pop and hip-hop spectrums, excitingly new and yet frustratingly vague in its presentation. This was a taste, a scent, something intangible, an impression made without force. The music was here, but little else — its makers remained anonymous. Pitchfork's Best New Music review for the band's debut album, summer 2009's 'jj no.2', spoke first of their enigmatic qualities, rather than precisely what this music was: another sumptuous menagerie of styles, blended by an expert hand, intoxicating and otherworldly. Both Elin Kastlander and Joakim Benon appeared in the Marcus Söderlund-directed video to 'Let Go'. Cover, broken.
"We didn't mean to be anonymous, to begin with," says Kastlander. "We just knew we needed to put our music out."
"I'd say we've been working on this album our whole lives," says Benon of 'V', the band's third long-player. "It's the thing I've always wanted to do. I feel that we've been working on this album ever since we began to record music. We have never really had any other plan than to make this V shit happen and at the same time we never knew what it was - the story presented itself to us — and it's a story that's always been clear. It's only grown in its own way. And now we're finished, we look at it and back at it, and can begin to realize what it really is, what we have done, because it's something you don't necessarily decide for yourself, even though you've made it. And the songs... we don't write them, we just do our best to catch them forever, for real." JJ have, with new album 'V', realised the definitive expression of their experiences to date, and are finally comfortable with being a press-welcoming, tour-ready outfit.
As Benon explains, everything the pair has produced in the past has been part of this journey, to a zenith that they always sought to reach. But just as 'My Boyz' exists exclusively in and of itself, so too does the new album's material, always envisioned as a whole, separate from other projects despite carrying over select DNA from its pop progenitors.
Tracks like the gorgeously understated 'Be Here Now' and subtle strings of 'When I Need You' float into clarity, coming together from vaporous beginnings. The latter number is one of several on 'V' that showcase how Kastlander has grown as a vocalist. Hers is no indiscernible mumble, no vulnerable presence set to music that fizzes like a beachside cocktail on 'Fågelsången' and soars on digital wings on 'All White Everything'; rather, it's a mix-spearing confirmation that, whatever the bruised heart or open sexuality behind the lyrics, she's intent on connecting without compromise. Words are crisp, intonation perfect. There's still a hard thud on occasion, too: 'Hold Me' opens with lean-flavoured raps, before twisting into a stained-glass confessional of absolute gravity, and 'All Ways, Always' packs substantial swagger beside its rock riffs.
"We do it now," sings Kastlander on 'I'. And now really is the time for JJ, as acknowledged by Benon. "At last I have music that I really want to listen to, that I want to hear from a stage. In a way, we've made this music quite selfishly, to appeal primarily to ourselves and I really haven't felt this way about our material before. This is the moment. It's for real now."
And why do anything to restrict the sharing of that joy? Evidently at the top of their game in 2014, JJ are ready to, in Benon's words, "communicate with the world", quite unlike they've ever done so before. They're embracing, not retreating. Besides, mysteries are more frustrating than fascinating without resolution.1. V
3. Dean & Me
4. All White Everything
5. When I Need You
8. Inner Light
9. Hold Me
11. Be Here Now
12. All Ways, Always
$19.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
xMusic Go Music
ImpressionsThe Los Angeles trio Music Go Music began humbly, recording songs in their spare time and playing them for friends. A few songs posted online caught the ears of a surprising number of strangers, who implored the band to make a go of it. They eventually, and reluctantly, agreed to this, and before long the show had been officially taken on the road; MGM was being "buzzed" about, flying back and forth across the the Atlantic, touring around with Glasgow rockers Franz Ferdinand, and performing for the most discerning of music lovers in Moscow, London, LA, and points in between. Their debut album "Expressions" was a warmly received dance-pop-prog excursion that drew apt comparisons to Abba, Kate Bush, Bonnie Tyler, and Giorgio Moroder. After things settled down and they got back to their workaday lives, they began chipping away at a new record. In the course of several years, one or two songs at a time, 'Impressions' took shape. By now, the world has swayed in ways that seemed unlikely back at the band's dawning. When their first EPs began coming out in 2007, MGM was an anomaly; a real band capable of crafting a steady stream of hook-dense A-sides, who played honest-to-goodness live dance music. This time around, of course, they're sending a record out into a world that has turned just enough to embrace the kind of analog disco that MGM has been making for years. While remaining unambiguously pop, "Impressions" sees the group's aural sheen and careworn elegance joined to deeper grooves and oblique sonic turns. Never before, though, has an unhinged recounting of love won and lost been so blatantly entertaining. It's an assured, kinetic journey through light and dark, calm and chaos, with nothing less than pop transcendence waiting on the other side.1. Love Is All I Can Hear
3. People All Over The World
4. Tell Me How It Feels
5. Part Of Me
6. Nite After Nite
7. Tuff Turf
8. Never Get Over You
9. Shine Down Forever
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
xAnand Wilder & Maxwell Kardon
Break Line: The MusicalLimited To 2000
On a front porch in Philadelphia in early 2004, Anand Wilder and Maxwell Kardon sat with a guitar and a banjo and busily finger picked to keep their hands from freezing.After a few false starts they settled on a dirge in d-minor and began improvising lyrics about a labor conflict in a Western Pennsylvania coal town that their fathers had learned about from an old folk song taught in Quaker schools in the '50s.
The facts, as communicated,were a half-remembered pastiche of de facto segregation, frayed family ties, and double-dealing.The principal heroes and villains of the story were lost to history and buried in mine shafts and unmarked graves, and the particulars of the outcome were primarily recorded on newspapers lost in warehouse fires and floods. Nevertheless,the tragedy struck both as an ideal thread to weave through a series of stories they had been telling each other about a town full of unlucky,love lorn people. Inspired by the classic rock operas of the 1970’s and the golden age of musical theater,they began work on their own
Wilder and Kardon spent the next several years traveling, each writing and tinkering with songs about their town and sending each other hastily recorded demos and fragments of lyrics. The story of Greenbelt grew and the cast of characters, from robber barons to union men, migrant farmers to crooked ministers, became fleshed out. They enlisted friends from myriad bands: Austin Fisher (Suckers), Haley Dekle (the Dirty Projectors), Ira Wolf Tuton and Christopher Keating (Yeasayer), Ryan Kattner (Man Man), Britt Myers (Chairlift), and Aku Orraca-Tetteh (Dragons of Zynth) to sing the parts of the town's luckless citizens.
In 2008, they put together a core band featuring Ira on bass and Christopher Powell of Man Man on drums and began arranging the songs of Break Line for a full ensemble. With the help of recording wunderkind Britt Myers (Chairlift, Yeasayer, Passing Strange) they finally began putting the music down onto tape,staying up late experimenting with sounds and arrangements.
In the years that followed,the two found moments whenever they could to complete the project. Neither can believe that what started with just the two of them huddled on a cold porch would grow to involve a once-in-a-lifetime cast of collaborators. A decade after its conception, they are proud to present to the public their vision of a classic story of betrayal, pride and lost love.
Welcome to Greenbelt.
Singers: Aku Orraca-Tetteh, Christopher Keating (Yeasayer). Haley Dekly (Dirty Projectors), Quinn Walker, Austin Fisher(Suckers), Ryan Kattner (Man Man),Tanya Houndsley, Cameron Hull, Anand Wilder
Musicians: IraWolf Tuton (Yeasayer) ,James Richardson,Christopher Sean Powell,Jason Trammell (Sinkane), K Ishibashi, Austin Fisher, Steve Marion (Delicate Steve), Lyndon Cordero Lopez, Daniel Schleifer, Charles Christopher Erway, Tanya Houndsley1. Coal Into Diamonds
2. Wedding Day
4. Hold You Tight
5. They're Stealing Our Coal
6. 4th Of July
7. Better To Die
8. It Doesn't Seem Right
9. Fathers and Brothers
10. I'm To Blame
11. Hang Your Head High
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
ConversationsWoman's Hour are not your average band. The first clue comes in the name of the London-based swoon-pop four-piece, taken from a beloved female-focussed news and culture show on BBC Radio 4. The second is in their graphic, striking monochrome visuals, meticulously curated in collaboration with TATE and MOMA certified fine artists Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg. These play with shape and texture, much like their powerful, iridescent music. On their excellent debut album 'Conversations', this has the intricate construction and intimacy of The xx and the iridescent shimmer of summer-defining indie pop. Pay attention now, or regret it later.
"In a sense, we feel like the odd ones out", explains frontwoman Fiona Burgess of their nose-to-tail approach to their visuals, performance and songcraft. "It's quite empowering that we're doing it as four people but we're not part of a bigger collective." Indeed, their 360º approach is closer to the art/music crossover of acts such as Throbbing Gristle, Yoko Ono or Factory Floor than most of this year's indie hopes. Their music — as poignantly personal as pop gets — has a rare singularity and purpose.
Take single "Her Ghost", which layers a breezy guitar hook with Fiona's beautiful, sighing lyric of inner turmoil. "I'm interested in the idea of memory and how powerful memories can be, and how powerful some things can be to let go of," she says. "A lot of my writing is me trying to understand an emotion or situation." The track's melody and a message lingers in the recesses of the mind like a box of treasured letters.
Woman's Hour started to come together one summer, when Fiona started collaborating with her brother, guitarist William Burgess. "I had been to a couple of rehearsals with other bands and it wasn't very much fun," says William. "I mentioned to Fiona that I'd like her to sing and we decided to have a go. I went round to her place one day and it turned our that she had a pretty nice voice!" The two recruited bassist Nicolas Graves, who was William's friend from back home (the pair had played in a couple of "local guitar bands" back in Kendal) and the three began creating their music. Nicolas explains: "We just messed around in each other's houses for a bit and tried to get a few songs together."
"We played our first gig in 2011," Nicolas continues. "It was at Fiona's house in Camden. It was a hat-themed party. I remember wearing a beret. Fiona was wearing a trilby, and Will had a sombrero on." It was incredibly nerve-racking for the trio despite the jolly occasion ("I almost froze with fear at one point" laughs Nicolas), but the gig was a runaway success, and it was there that they all met keyboardist Josh Hunnisett, who was already a friend of Fiona's and happened to be doing the sound at the event. Even in the shambolic situation, the band were meticulous perfectionists.
The quartet had their first rehearsal in an old vicarage in Dalston. "It just felt really honest," says Josh. "There was no 'you can't do this, you can't do that, don't try that — the style of music felt pure and everyone was expressing themselves in the way they wanted. We've tried to think about this as a collaboration between four different creative people." Each band member brings a wholly distinct set of influences to the band — from German cold wave to pop rarities and uncompromising singer/songwriters. Their website even has a section dedicated to recommended reading.
But it was their favourite radio show that was to be have most prominent effect on the band. "When we were first doing demos we named them all after BBC Radio 4 programmes," explains Nick. "The World at One, Afternoon Play, that kind of thing. I think Woman's Hour might have been one of them, and when it came to play our first gig (at The Queen's Head in London) one of our friends suggested using it and it stuck." Indeed, their jangle-pop first single Jenni, which is quite different to their current material, was named after Radio 4 stalwart Jenni Murray. The band's first 7", "Jenni/ Human", was released through London label Dirty Bingo after the label head tracked them down on online and interviewed them for beloved London zine Loud And Quiet.
Although the single made a splash, things were moving too fast for the band. "Suddenly we thought, 'should we have had something to back this up?", says William. "'We didn't have any more songs, so we took a year and a half off to write and develop the sound. That's also when we met Tom Morris, our producer." The band hibernated, starting from the bottom up. "Let's get everything fucking slick, how we want it, let's do everything exactly how we want it ourselves - don't compromise."
It was worth the wait. When the band put their gorgeously lilting comeback single "Our Love Has No Rhythm" online in 2013, the blogs exploded, in part due to the glossy monochrome video depicting Fiona's face in close-up, and also the stunning single artwork — an uneasy found image of a suited gentleman falling over. "We've been using images that are taken from manuals," explains Fiona. "Lots of different 'How To' manuals from How to Train a Chihuahua to How to Fall Over Without Hurting Yourself. We like the idea of how to look after yourself physically paired with the music, which is a lot less direct."
Perhaps Woman's Hour's music does not hammer its message home, but there's a nuance and craft that's scarcely found in today's industry. They followed "Our Love Has No Rhythm", with the cooing, Beach House-esque "Darkest Place" in which Fiona implores "I don't understand why you're not around" over swooning keyboards, with a cooing ooooh-ooooh hook. For the track's striking video, she'd is depicted in close crop with her eyes closed as an unknown figure attempts to prise them open. "I was finishing a degree in performance studies at the time, and I came across this particular piece by Vito Acconci", she says of the inspiration for the video. "The original piece is about 20 minutes long, and it's absolutely gruelling, there's no soundtrack to it and it's a piece where you can hear the sound in the room of two people in a physical struggle. You can hear the heavy breathing, the feet, the occasional sounds of resistance." She endured a restaging of the piece, which she found "very intense and intimate."
Woman's Hour have an uncompromising commitment to the unconventional. For them, music does not exist as merely a hummable soundtrack but as a wider and more artistic proposition. As Fiona continues: "A lot of music videos are not very challenging, and I like the idea of them being quite confronting. Our album artwork is inspired by a picture of a woman surrounded by pyramids that was part of a magazine article called The Start of an Era. It was a 1970s performance piece that was performed at the Whitney Museum in New York, and we've also designed nine of these pyramids with Oliver Chanarin that we'll incorporate into our live show when possible." The Start of an Era? We couldn't have said it better ourselves.1. Unbroken Sequence
3. To The End
4. Darkest Place
5. In Stillness We Remain
6. Our Love Has No Rhythm
7. Her Ghost
8. Two Sides of You
11. The Day That Needs Defending
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Love MeTomas Barfod released his debut solo album back in 2012, a sophisticated mesh of electronics called Salton Sea. Lauded by the likes of Pitchfork, Dazed & Confused and Gorilla vs Bear, the acclaim took Barfod slightly by surprise but its success has paved the way for the follow-up, Love Me, an album that takes Barfod’s spirit of adventurousness and raises the stakes. Utilising a supporting cast that includes a string and brass section, and musicians like Here We Go Magic's Luke Temple and long-term collaborator Nina K. on vocal duties, it's a multi-layered album that effortlessly pushes and pulls dance and electronic music into a myriad different shapes.
Barfod was first exposed to the indefinable lure of the electronic music scene not by clubbing (that came later), or by specific acts, but by a long-forgotten film featuring a section set in a club. “I think it was after I watched a bad movie about raves in the 1980s” he laughs. Early musical influences ranged from the likes of Goldie, Massive Attack and Portishead, to Goa trance and techno, before drifting into house and disco. These influences subsequently manifested themselves in the acid disco-inspired club-bangers Tomas released as Tomboy via Gomma records and the ambient techno he unleashed on Kompakt.
He had about ten years of musical experience before he started making his own music, part of which came in the shape of his band, WhoMadeWho, who he formed in 2004 alongside two fellow Danes, guitarist Jeppe Kjellberg and singer and bassist Tomas Høffding (Barfod plays drums and produces).
These new songs are precise, more defined and ultimately crafted into more fully-formed songs. While still keeping his debut's intimate delicacy and beautiful sense of fragility, this follow-up is also more audacious, as showcased on the sweeping strings of the lovely “Aftermath”. This coalescing of the real and the analog is also highlighted by the guest vocalists, who range from long-term collaborator Nina Kinert on the lovely electro-squelch of “Pulsing” and the bouncing electro-pop of “Busy Baby”, and American singer-songwriter Luke Temple on the poignant “Bell House”. From the start Barfod was acutely aware that in order for these songs to come to life they needed to have vocals, even if piecing it all together was like finishing a puzzle. Love Me is many-textured, endlessly rewarding, an organic-sounding electronic album utilizing real heart and soul.1. Bell House (feat. Luke Temple)
2. Pulsing (feat. Nina K.)
3. Destiny's Child
4. Busy Baby (feat. Nina K.)
5. Honey (feat. Sleep Party People)
6. Aftermath (feat. Nina K.)
7. Blue Matter (feat. Jeppe Kjellberg)
8. Waiting For Us (feat. Nina K.)
10. Sell You (feat. Night Beds)
11. Lost (feat. Pell)
$19.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
Lost In The DreamLost In The Dream is the third album by Philadelphia band The War on Drugs,but in many ways,it feels like the first. Around the release of the 2011 breakthrough Slave Ambient,Adam Granduciel spent the bulk of two years on the road, touring through progressively larger rock clubs, festival stages and late night television slots. As these dozen songs shifted and grew beyond what they’d been in the studio, The War on Drugs became a bona fide rock ’n’roll band.
That essence drives Lost In The Dream, a 10-song set produced by Granduciel and longtime engineer Jeff Zeigler. In the past, Granduciel built the core of songs largely by himself. But these tunes were played and recorded by the group that had solidified so much on the road: Dave Hartley, (his favorite bassist in the world), who had played a bit on The War on Drugs’ 2008 debut Wagonwheel Blues, and pianist Robbie Bennett, a multi-instrumentalist who contributed to Slave Ambient. This unit spent eight months bouncing between a half-dozen different studios that stretched from the mountains of North Carolina to the boroughs of New York City. Only then did Granduciel—the proudly self-professed gearhead, and unrepentant perfectionist—add and subtract, invite guests and retrofit pieces. He sculpted these songs into a musical rescue mission, through and then beyond personal despair and anxiety. Lost In The Dream represents the trials of the trip and the triumphs of its destination.
“I wanted there to be a singular voice, but I wanted it to be a project of great friends. Everyone in the band cares about it so much,”he says.“That is the crux of it—growing up,dealing with life,having close friends, helping each other get by. That is what the record’s all about."
As such, these tunes reveal a careful and thrilling reinvention of the sound that’s become The War on Drugs’ trademark. The signature meld of long tones and scatter shot layers still stands, with phantom drum machines and organ lines dotting the musical middle distance all across Lost In The Dream.Note the way the keys whisper against the guitar’s growl as the tempestuous“An Ocean in Between the Waves” approaches pentecostal heat. Hear how,when a sharp and hard riff cuts into the inescapable chorus of “Red Eyes,” synthetic strings and baritone saxophone shape a soft, infinite bed beneath it. But there’s a new found directness to these tunes, too. Granduciel’s voice steps out from behind its typical web of effects—louder now, with more experiences to share and more steel from having survived them. He sounds less like a prismatic reflection of a rock bandleader, more like the emboldened actualization of that idea. With its crisp, unencumbered delivery, “Eyes to the Wind” becomes the album’s centerpiece and the group’s new anthem.This is Granduciel’s to-date triumph and the exact moment where Lost In The Dream moves from a tale of confusion to one of resolve. Throughout most of the record, grips loosen and senses fail, memories are mourned and expectations are abandoned. But after the Rolling Thunder lift of “Eyes to the Wind,” Granduciel finds new contentment and direction. Anguish sublimates into deliverance. Backed by his bros, Granduciel becomes a preacher in a new pulpit.1. Under The Pressure
2. Red Eyes
4. An Ocean In Between The Waves
6. Eyes To The Wind
7. The Haunting Idle
9. Lost In The Dream
10. In Reverse
$21.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
xGardens & Villa
DunesOver the past three years,the Santa Barbarian comrades that make up Gardens &Villa –Chris Lynch,Adam Rasmussen, Levi Hayden, Shane McKillop, and Dusty Ineman – went from playing local bills to being veterans of the road.After releasing their self-titled debut on Secretly Canadian in 2011, they pushed their van’s odometer into the six-digit range, zigzagging North America and Europe with over 350 shows in just 2 years. Gardens & Villa emerged a wiser, crystallized version of themselves.
Those experiences planted the seeds for the band’s new batch of cohesive, personal, and beautifully layered pop songs — homegrown in the confines of the band’s beach side practice space. When it came time to record, they searched out acclaimed producer Tim Goldsworthy (Cut Copy, DFA Records, LCD Soundsystem, Hercules & Love Affair) and these five surf-town natives found themselves traveling to the unlikely locale of Benton Harbor, MI (pop. 10,040) in January. There they landed at the Key Club, located deep in the recesses of a converted locksmith's building where they would record what would become their second full-length, Dunes.
Gardens &Villa burrowed into the Key Club’s retro-themed studio and living space, only leaving the facility five times over the next month. The disconnect between Santa Barbara’s familiar sunny beaches and Michigan’s snow-covered lake shore led to the group’s creative unraveling in the studio. The band lost track of the hours, days, and weeks as blinking analog machines captured the intense journey. In the process, Dunes was poured through Sly Stone’s original custom-built Flickinger recording console.
With just a week left before deadline, Gardens & Villa sought a brief refuge from the studio where their progress had stalled. They went on a trip,traversing winding roads past frozen tundra and barren trees and into the wilderness of the nearby state park’s tall dunes. The group climbed to the top and collapsed into a combination of sand and snow.Simultaneously reminded of home as well as their distance from it,their jaws dropped as they turned to see Lake Michigan’s majestic and surreal expanse stretching toward the horizon.
Supported by Goldsworthy’s guidance, the band went back to the studio and ultimately emerged with a record beaming with dystopian energy, subconscious lyrics, and uncompromising sincerity. Lynch has seamlessly integrated his bansuri flutes and Rasmussen has fleshed out his looming synths alongside shades of ‘80s cult films soundscapes that lurk just underneath the songs in an unnoticeable-yet-omnipresent fashion.Like the awe-inspiring clarity of sitting atop Michigan’s dunes,the band's forthcoming record shares a clear and evocative vision of where Gardens & Villa’s members have traveled, what they’ve learned, and what lies ahead.1. Domino
2. Colony Glen
3. Bullet Train
6. Purple Mesas
9. Thunder Glove
10. Love Theme
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Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal SonDamien is out of his goddamn mind.
This isn’t a recent development, but it’s an important aspect of his work that often goes ignored. In place of this key element is the idea that his music is a sober and in-depth excavation of the American landscape and rural psyche. Well, folks,I’m sorry, but it’s not.
Damien Jurado is every character in every Damien Jurado song. He is the gun,the purple anteater,the paper wings, the avalanche, the airshow disaster, Ohio, the ghost of his best friend’s wife. It is a universe unto its own,with it’s own symbolism, creation myth, and liturgy. You might go as far as to call it a religion, and your religion is a character in his religion.
Level with me. You're reading this because of Damien Jurado’s new album,Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (produced by Richard Swift). You are a progressive minded, left-leaning person who in parlor-style conversation regarding the globo-political ramifications of Sky Person relationships laughs knowingly so as not to be judgmental and very reasonably concedes “Well, I don’t believe He’s some old man with a beard sitting up in the clouds” at which point everyone agrees on [insert benign middle-ground] and moves on.
Consider this:What if the only way to understand a religion is to create your own?
Who is this Silver community? Where the hell are they in the Bible? Is this heresy? Agnostic reference? Isn’t this sun business a little, I don’t know, animistic? Pagan? Go ahead and answer that question for yourself. I’ll give you a second.
Do you understand the music any better?
You know that adage we all use so we have something to say while we shrug our shoulders? “People change”? That one. Is that applicable to Jesus Christ? Maybe he’s been on a personal journey of discovery since he ascended. He went through the 60’s, 70’s,he turned on,tuned out, got disillusioned. Why can’t we talk about that Jesus? Does it have to be the old-timey one all the time? American folk Jesus,ugh. The one who’s always winning Best Soundtrack Oscars for people. Rarely do stories of faith make us identify with Jesus. It’s Abraham, Satan, Silver Timothy, Salome, Dr.J, Saul of Tarsus; divinely imperfect brothers and sisters who give Gawd something to do.
Damien Jurado made up his own Jesus because a Damien Jurado album needs a beautiful Jesus. Some freaky space Jesus that I don’t recognize. The name is the same, a lot of the imagery is the same, but he’s reborn. Born again,I mean. Yeah, as if Jesus got born again. That’s what this album sounds like.
Jesus is out of his goddamn mind and I want to live in Damien’s America.
Sign me up.
--- Father John Misty; 09-20-20131. Magic Number
2. Silver Timothy
3. Return To Maraqopa
4. Metallic Cloud
5. Jericho Road
6. Silver Donna
7. Silver Malcolm
8. Silver Katherine
9. Silver Joy
10. Suns In Our Mind
$16.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
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.