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What A Time To Be Alive (Pre-Order)After the shocking, and for many, demoralizing result of the 2016 election, “I didn’t buy the silver lining some were promoting that ‘well, at least art and music will be great now!’,” says Superchunk co-founder and frontman Mac McCaughan. “Obviously, any sane person would gladly trade four to eight years of terrible music for not having our country dismantled to satisfy the whims of a vengeful child and his enablers.”
That said, good music and art still have a lot to say, and the urgency of current events gave Mac, Laura, Jim, and Jon the momentum to make something new sooner than later. “It would be strange to be in a band, at least our band, and make a record that completely ignored the surrounding circumstances that we live in and that our kids are going to grow up in.” Enter What a Time to Be Alive, recorded and mixed by Beau Sorenson. It’s a record, says Mac, “about a pretty dire and depressing situation but hopefully not a record that is dire and depressing to listen to.”
Indeed, like so much of Superchunk’s music in the band’s nearly three decades together, the songs on What a Time to Be Alive meet rage and anxiety head-on with the catharsis and exhilaration of loud punk fire and vulnerable pop energy. Like 2013’s I Hate Music, which focused on death, loss, and the role of music in an aging life, the new record brings spirit to the frontlines of pain—it’s as defiant as it is despairing, as much a call to arms as a throwing up of hands.
The record features more guest backing vocalists than any previous Superchunk album, including Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit), Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Skylar Gudasz, and David Bazan. “Part of that was wanting a feeling of community,” says Mac. “I think that’s important to not be completely bummed out about everything all the time.”
Despite the album’s driving force, it would be a mistake to call the album political, which suggests it has anything to do with parties, policy, or anything that can be broken down into a rational difference of opinion. “We’re not trying to offer policy solutions in the confines of a three-minute song,” says Mac. “It’s about ‘how do you live / not go crazy’ in the current climate when it seems like every day there’s a new outrage being perpetrated.”1. What a Time to Be Alive
2. Lost My Brain
3. Break the Glass
4. Bad Choices
5. Dead Photographers
7. I Got Cut
8. Reagan Youth
9. Cloud of Hate
10. All for You
1. Black Thread
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedPRE-ORDER Buy Now
I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats: All Hail West Texas (Pre-Order)Pressed On Opaque Pink & Opaque Blue Vinyl
Here is a 2LP cover album & companion piece to the podcast debut of I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats, from Night Vale Presents in collaboration with Merge Records and the Mountain Goats.
Premiering September 2017 and running through early April 2018, this unique bi-weekly podcast is a conversation music series focusing on the seminal Mountain Goats album All Hail West Texas, between Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn’t Dead creator Joseph Fink with New York Times best-selling author John Darnielle, who is also the founder, lead singer, and songwriter for the Mountain Goats—and Fink’s own personal artistic hero.
Together, Fink and Darnielle take the listener on a deep dive into the world of creativity and the duality of being an artist and a fan, both by sharing their own creative processes and music-geek obsessions and through immersive chats with other notable musicians and writers including best-selling YA author and music nerd John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) and Merge Records co-founder Mac McCaughan (Superchunk), as well as many special music guests such as Andrew Bird, Craig Finn, Laura Jane Grace, and Amanda Palmer, who offer up their own opinions as well as new renditions of songs from All Hail West Texas.
This limited edition 2LP contains the full All Hail West Texas covers collection, introduced over the course of podcast season one, pressed to opaque pink & opaque blue vinyl.LP 1
1. The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton
2. Fall of the Star High School Running Back
3. Color in Your Cheeks
5. Fault Lines
7. Pink and Blue
8. Riches and Wonders
1. The Mess Inside
2. Jeff Davis County Blues
3. Distant Stations
4. Blues in Dallas
5. Source Decay
6. Absolute Lithops Effect
$29.99Colored Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedPRE-ORDER Buy Now
Vessel Of Love (Pre-Order)Hollie Cook combines her unique vocal talent with charming charisma to craft her own dynamic strand of lovers rock with enduring tropical vibes, weaving a path from her West London roots to an arena of diverse collaborations, critically acclaimed records, and iconic live appearances around the world. Cook’s ability to continually surprise, delight, and progress solidifies her position as one of the most exciting voices in reggae, and this is crystal clear on her third full-length and Merge debut, Vessel of Love.
Cook’s music career commenced early when family friend and punk trailblazer Ari Up asked Cook, age 19 at the time, to join the raucous ’70s feminist UK post-punk outfit The Slits for their reformation in 2006. She thrived on being thrown into the deep end and quickly cut her teeth with four years of back-to-back shows around the globe. Her talents recognized and nurtured, she then released her first solo album Hollie Cook in 2011, with a revered 2012 dub album follow-up, while singles such as “Milk & Honey” and “That Very Night” gained support from influential radio stations across Europe. After performing at The Stone Roses concert at Manchester’s Heaton Park at the personal request of Ian Brown, and her hypnotic performance on the prestigious Later…With Jools Holland, the way was paved for Hollie’s solo career to take off.
For someone who claimed “it’s hard for a band to really stand out and shake up the world,” Cook was certainly making a good go of proving herself wrong. By the end of 2014, Jamie T had requested her support for his Alexandra Palace show and featured her on his track “They Told Me It Rained.” Cook had also unleashed Twice via Mr. Bongo Records, and with Mike “Prince Fatty” Pelanconi once again aiding in the album’s conception, Cook confidently delivered with her follow-up to a well-received debut. In the wake of another successful release, Hollie hit the road with both The Skints and Protoje, and lent her vocal talent to Quantic’s “Shuffle Them Shoes” single, which also featured on his 1000 Watts album.
Acclaimed legendary producer Martin “Youth” Glover is Cook’s most recent collaborator, lending his venerable production expertise to Vessel of Love. His success with Killing Joke is only surpassed by his enduring reputation as one of the most prolific producers in the UK. “I’m very honored to work with Hollie, one of the most exciting emerging singers and writers over the last ten years,” says Glover. Hollie Cook sits in good company on his impressive production list, joining the likes of Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, The Verve, Primal Scream, Pink Floyd, and Depeche Mode. Glover describes Cook’s songs as “sharp lyrical observations and clever word play combined with an exquisite and informed pop sensibility,” and they are only elevated by Glover’s production on Vessel of Love, in particular the singles “Survive” and “Freefalling” as well as deeper cuts like “Ghostly Fading” and “Together.”1. Angel Fire
2. Stay Alive
4. Ghostly Fading
6. Lunar Addiction
7. Turn It Around
8. Vessel of Love
10. Far From Me
$18.99Vinyl LP - SealedPRE-ORDER Buy Now