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Love Is Overtaking Me (Awaiting Repress)Compiled from over eight hours of material, Love Is Overtaking Me reaches back further to Russell's first compositions from the early '70s, the most rare and, at the same time, arguably the most accessible part, comprising 21 demos and home recordings of unreleased pop, folk, and country songs selected by Audika's Steve Knutson, Ernie Brooks, and Russell's companion, Tom Lee. A number of the songs here feature prominently in the film Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell.1. Close My Eyes
2. Goodbye Old Paint
3. Maybe She
4. Oh Fernanda Why
5. Time Away
6. Nobody Wants A Lonely Heart
7. I Couldn't Say It To Your Face
8. This Time Dad You're Wrong
9. What It's Like
11. Hey! How Does Everybody Know
12. I Forget And I Can't Tell
13. Habit Of You
15. Big Moon
16. Your Motion Says
17. The Letter
18. Don't Forget About Me
19. Love Is Overtaking Me
20. Planted A Thought
21. Love Comes Back$32.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
ADAD-SOC-6219xSian Alice Group
The title of their debut comes from its running time. It's an epic record that showcases the talent, range, and ambition of this young group, taking in elements of various genres and making them their own. Sian Alice Group's more classical inclinations show their willingness to tread their own path. Comparisons can be made to Arthur Russell, Angelo Badalamenti, and Steve Reich. The album features contributions from Douglas Hart (Jesus & Mary Chain), John Coxon (Spiritualized, Spring Heel Jack), and Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance). Beautiful, lush, dreamy and ethereal, but there's a dark, rainy spookiness at its core that sets it apart from so many experimental groups out there - Vice.1. As the Morning Light
2. Way Down to Heaven
3. Interlude 7'35'
6. Interlude 19'39''
8. Days of Grace III
10. Interlude 36'52''
13. Interlude 46'52''
15. Larsen B
16. Complete Affection$19.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Awe OweDrawing from a rich variety of influences from the cradle to his crate digging years, Roberto C. Lange as Helado Negro cites influences such as Funkadelic, DJ Premiere, South American 60's pop, Arthur Russell, Ecuadorean ballad singer Julio Jaramillo, and the production style of Adrian Sherwoods in the early ON-U Sound releases. But when asked about his contemporaries, Lange references all the players on the album, adding the names of visual artists David Ellis and Christian Marclay, two artists who use elements of DJ culture in their work. This is apropos when listening to the record.1. Venceremos
2. Espuma Negra
3. Dos Sue?os
5. I Wish
7. Time Aparts
9. Ver a Ver
11. Deja$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur RussellMaster Mix' embodies the genre-defying, experimental spirit that defined Russell's work. Living in the East Village from the '70s until his untimely death in 1992 at age 40 from AIDS-related causes, Russell moved effortlessly between the city's various music scenes, recording disco beats alongside Nicky Siano one night, and the next, crafting slow, haunting tracks in his apartment with his cello and idiosyncratic warbling voice. The New Yorker called his work "stranded between lands real and imagined: the street and the cornfield; the soft bohemian New York and the hard Studio 54 New York; the cheery bold strokes of pop and the liberating possibilities of abstract art." Through his collaborations, he earned the admiration of artists like Allen Ginsberg, David Byrne and Philip Glass, who said of Russell's music: "It does not submit to formula, but subverts the formula." The record features 26 tracks by more than 20 artists, including Hot Chip, Sufjan Stevens, Phosphorescent, Blood Orange, The Autumn Defense and Lonnie Holley, paying homage to Russell's boundless creativity and wide-ranging work, which swerved from electronic dance to folk to classical and resulted in what NPR hails as "catchy and hypnotic records that were far ahead of their time."1. Jose Gonzalez - "This Is How We Walk On The Moon"
2. Lonnie Holley - "Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun (Interlude)"
3. Robyn - "Tell You"
4. Hot Chip - "Go Bang"
5. Sufjan Stevens - "A Little Lost"
6. Lonnie Holley - "In The Light Of The Miracle (Interlude)"
7. Richard Reed Parry, Little Scream, Sam Amidon, Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld - "Keeping Up"
8. Liam Finn, Ernie Brooks & Peter Zummo - "This Love Is Crying"
9. Rubblebucket & Nitemoves - "Eli"
10. The Revival Hour - "Hiding Your Present from You"
11. Sam Amidon - "Lucky Cloud"
12. Devendra Banhart - "Losing My Taste For The Night Life"
13. Phosphorescent - "You Can Make Me Feel Bad"
14. Blood Orange - "Is It All Over My Face & Tower Of Meaning"
15. Scissor Sisters - "That's Us/Wild Combination"
16. VEGA INTL. - "Arm Around You"
17. Oh Mercy - "Planted A Thought"
18. Lonnie Holley - "Hop On Down (Interlude)"
19. Cults - "Being It"
20. Richard Reed Parry - "Just A Blip"
21. Glen Hansard - "I Couldn't Say It To Your Face"
22. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - "Nobody Wants A Lonely Heart"
23. The Autumn Defense - "Oh Fernanda Why"
24. Alexis Taylor - "Our Last Night Together"
25. Lonnie Holley - "The Deer In The Forest (Interlude)"
26. Redding Hunter - "Close My Eyes"$24.99Vinyl LP - 3 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Second Thoughts (Part 2)Blue Colored Vinyl
Second Thoughts is the second collection of Arthur Russell songs by NYC nudisco band Arthur's Landing mixed by some of today's hottest remixers like Alkalino and Pocketknife. Led by singer/guitarist Steven Hall the band explores Russell's concept of Buddhist Pop from the rare and unreleased gem Lost In Thought which was co-written by Hall and Russell and mixed by legendary producer Bob Blank to the disco classic Tell You Today mixed by Alkalino featuring Peter Gordon on sax!1. Dumbo Dumbo (Standard Planets Mix)
2. Lost In Thought (Drop Out Orchestra Mix)
3. Change My Life (Hugoy Mix)
4. Planted A Thought (Andrew Clarke Mix)
5. It's A Boy (Cooked Audio Mix)
6. List Of Boys (Pocketknife Mix)
7. Tell You today (Pocketknife Mix)
8. Planted A Thought (Alkalino Mix)$19.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Second Thoughts (Part 1)Green Colored Vinyl
Second Thoughts is the second collection of Arthur Russell songs by NYC nudisco band Arthur's Landing mixed by some of today's hottest remixers like Alkalino and Pocketknife. Led by singer/guitarist Steven Hall the band explores Russell's concept of Buddhist Pop from the rare and unreleased gem Lost In Thought which was co-written by Hall and Russell and mixed by legendary producer Bob Blank to the disco classic Tell You Today mixed by Alkalino featuring Peter Gordon on sax!1. Planted A Thought (Moplen Mix)
2. Lost in Thought (Bob Blank Mix)
3. Change My Life (Virgin Magnetic Material Mix)
4. Dumbo Dumbo (Pocketknife Mix)
5. It's A Boy (Alkalino Mix)
6. Tell You Today feat. Peter Gordon (Alkalino Mix)
7. List Of Boys (Alkalino Mix)$19.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Star DestroyerOn their debut full-length, this NY-based quintet have demonstrated their penchant for the electro organic; seamlessly blending the sharp and gentle, like a chain gang draped in organza. Think Can or Faust all mashed up with the personal disco of Arthur Russell. Think of the electric organ of Terry Riley's Shri Camel, slowly morphing and perpetually in motion, but remaining in step with a guitar-less and Moroder-charged Sparks. And think of a more composed Dead C, where Michael Morley sings about Big Thunder Mountain while holding a beach ball in one hand and fending off the digital shards of musique concr?te humming around his ears with the other.1. Komad
6. Vesna$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-SUB-7016xFather John Misty
Fear FunFather John Misty is the nom-de-plume of Josh Tillman, who has been releasing solo albums since 2003 and who recently left Seattle's Fleet Foxes after playing drums from 2008-2011. Fear Fun consists of such disparate elements as Waylon Jennings, Harry Nilsson, Arthur Russell, and Physical Graffiti, often within the same song. Tillman's voice has never been better, while the music maintains a dark, mysterious yet playful quality. Fear Fun is Father John Misty's Sub Pop debut and was produced by Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes).1. Funtimes in Babylon
2. Nancy From Now On
3. Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings
4. I'm Writing a Novel
5. O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me
6. Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2
7. Only Son of the Ladiesman
8. This Is Sally Hatchet
9. Well, You Can Do It Without Me
10. Now I'm Learning to Love the War
11. Tee Pees 1-12
12. Everyman Needs a Companion$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
HinterlandOne of the best records of the year. - BBC Music
LoneLady's (aka Julie Campell) Hinterland (literally ''the country behind'' in German) conjures impressions of decayed Manchester outskirts and reclusive inner landscapes as Campbell continues her fascination with the post-industrial ruinscape. At its core beats an uncomplicated drum machine rhythm and synthetic percussion that recalls fractured memories of minimal wave and even early techno and dance, dynamically spliced through with Campbell's intricate, choppy and propulsive guitar playing. Campbell: "It's channelling Parliament/Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder, Rufus, Prince, Arthur Russell among others. A strange - but nonetheless real - meeting of funk and me from Audenshaw, Manchester." The album is underpinned by an urgent post-punk sensibility, as Campbell describes it - "an inescapably cement-coloured North of England psyche."1. Into The Cave
4. Groove It Out
5. (I Can See) Landscapes
8. Red Scrap
9. Mortar Remembers You$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Gold NightsFemale/male duo White Hex (Tara Green and Jimi Kritzler)
released their debut album Heat in 2012 released on Avant!
Records. 2014 sees their return with the follow up full-length,
Gold Nights. The album is the second in a series of three
thematically connected records which is based on a period of
three years. The album's themes include tackling the deaths of
friends over the past few years and somehow staying optimistic
through that loss.
Recorded after shows in Paris, Berlin, New York and Melbourne,
Gold Nights explores Italo disco, minimalist techno and the more
primitive end of 1980's German underground. They embrace their
love of high fashion, 1980's New York vogue techno and the
mutant explorations of Whitehouse, Arthur Russell, Craig Leon
and Gianni Rossi. Gold Nights retains certain elements of their
beloved debut, but moves in a more sophisticated direction as a
result of White Hex's vision and with the help of producer Alex
Akers (Forces-Siberia Records).1. Only A Game
5. In The Night
6. United Colours of KL
7. Burberry Congo
8. Battleground$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ImpersonatorWith rich vocals atop quiet looped waves of
white noise, filtered synths and sparse thuds,
Montreal songwriter Devon Welsh aka Majical
Cloudz, is one of 2013's most unique and
essential new voices.
His 2012 Turns Turns Turns EP, an audacious
distillation of Welsh's ideas that brought his
vocals to the fore. "Musically, I wanted to try
saying 'no' to possibilities, and create negative
space in the songs," he says. "To put the
emphasis on the voice and lyrics."
Impersonator brings Welsh's songs into
even sharper focus; its expressive power and
swagger belie the extremely minimal music.
These are intensely lyrical songs about death,
patience, family, friendship, and desire.
Welsh cites Elliott Smith and Arthur Russell as
the two biggest influences on his songwriting.
While Impersonator sounds like neither, Smith's
lyricism is evident, as is Russell's ability to distill
a number of seemingly contradictory stylistic
ideas into a single focused statement.
Though they stand stylistically apart from
other artists in their Montreal scene - which
includes Grimes, Doldrums, Blue Hawaii, Mac
DeMarco, and others - Majical Cloudz are proud
beneficiaries of its camaraderie.1. Impersonator
2. This Is Magic
3. Childhood's End
4. I Do Sing For You
6. Turns Turns Turns
9. Bugs Don't Buzz
10. Notebook$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Hero BrotherPressed On 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl At Optimal (Germany)
Comes In Heavyweight Jacket With Black Poly-Lined Audiophile Dust Sleeve, Credit Insert, And Pull-Out Art Poster
Sarah Neufeld is a violinist and composer based in MontrÉal, Canada. Best known as a member of Arcade Fire, she is also a founding member of the acclaimed contemporary instrumental ensemble Bell Orchestre and has performed and recorded with many other groups, including The Luyas, Esmerine and Little Scream.
Neufeld began developing pieces for solo violin in a more formal and focused sense in 2011, though she has made improvisation and solo composition part of her process and practice since first picking up the instrument at a young age. Neufeld counts Bela Bartok, Steve Reich, Iva Bittova and Arthur Russell among the formative influences for her solo work, in tandem with an ear for the textures and sensibilities of contemporary electro-acoustic, avant-folk and indie rock music.
Neufeld's debut solo album Hero Brother indeed channels all of the above, flowing through shifting atmospheres and oscillating between restrained, stately ambience, emotive Études, and raw kinetic energy. Small touches of wordless vocalisation, harmonium and piano supplant the violin in a few places. The album was recorded in Berlin by pianist and producer Nils Frahm, with Neufeld's performances captured in a number of locations with site-specific acoustics, including an abandoned geodesic dome, an underground parking garage, and the legendary Studio P4 orchestral recording hall at the broadcast complex of the former GDR.1. Tower
2. Hero Brother
4. You Are The Field
5. Breathing Black Ground
6. They Live On
7. Wrong Thought
8. Right Thought
9. Sprinter Fire
11. Below$25.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
IVBADBADBADNOTGOOD is the talented young quartet of Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, Alex Sowinski on drums & Leland Whitty on saxophone. They formed and became inseparable friends at Humber College's Music Performance program in 2011 and have been on a critically acclaimed, rule bending musical journey ever since.
BBNG took the music world by storm with their 2014 LP, III, a brash yet refined record of angular jazz improvisations, lush ballads, kraut rock, & futuristic hip-hop tinged rhythms which led to a couple years of touring the world & collaborating with some of the best and brightest artists around the globe.
The boys are back with the new album IV, their most impressive and highly anticipated project yet. IV continues their forward thinking progression, sounding something like a jam session in space between Can, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, Weather Report, Arthur Russell & MF DOOM. With tracks like Time Moves Slow featuring haunting vocals from Sam Herring of Future Islands, the syncopated groove of Lavender, a collaboration with Montreal based producer Kaytranada, the rumbling fusion build of Confessions Pt. II featuring Colin Stetson on the bass sax, Love which is highlighted with smokey left field raps from Mick Jenkins & the epic chords of Speaking Gently, IV is an exploration in post-genre virtuosity.1. And That, Too
2. Speaking Gently
3. Time Moves Slow (feat. Sam Herring)
4. Confessions Pt. II (feat. Colin Stetson)
5. Lavender (feat. KAYTRANADA)
6. Chompy's Paradise
8. Hyssop of Love (feat. Mick Jenkins)
9. Structure No. 3
10. In Your Eyes (feat. Charlotte Day Wilson)
11. Cashmere$20.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
A Walk in the DarkSo, enter the label's latest LP from Mind Fair's housier alias The Central Executives, whose project could've formed weeks ago, or perhaps be unearthed recordings from a loft party that went a few weeks longer than planned back in '87. But regardless of when it was actually recorded, there's a live-recorded exuberance that's part Arthur Russell, part ACT UP protest, part disco-punk ensemble ironing out the kinks in their act in some Queens basement with black mould spreading all around the ceiling.Golf Channel has called this record "the back street escapism these troubled times demand"- and maybe escapism is the word that encapsulates the timeless anonymity of my favourite Golf Channel offerings. In any case, A Walk in the Dark is an absolute burner of an LP - there's not a single moment on it that doesn't reveal something new with every listen, and for all its retro influences, it's still packed with surprises. It's the gruff bodega owner who starts smiling at you after figuring out that you're queer, but only when no one else is around. It's smoking inside, it's someone's radio blaring out the window, it's Broadway before Disney bought out all the bars - it's New York.1. High Roads
2. Dance Dance Dance
3. Loveray '79
4. Waveform Reform
5. Power Point
7. A Walk In The Dark
8. Shut Ya Face
9. I Wanna
10. Take You Home$26.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Bermuda Waterfall (Awaiting Repress)
"The utter rawness and sincerity of his
performance is absolutely captivating."
"Montreal's best kept secret (...) sparkles like
Elliott Smith hopped up on Arthur Russell's
bermuda waterfall= invisible action, unconscious fertilization,
the subconscious master plan continuum
Much of the words to Bermuda (which i feel are the center piece) were written
whilest travelling between one place i loved and another place/people i loved, and
trying to describe my most potent dreams related to my most potent life experiences.
there was a feeling of disappointment in communication with the people that i'm
calling out to connect with through my performances and travels in the last year, a
feeling of loneliness.
I had to have faith with the meanings of the poetry because more then ever it was
lifted from my life often without being understood, only knowing that they were
events, truths i admired, truthfully complex as anything so haunting can be
interpreted in so many ways, like any dream funny or sexual, or horrifying. not so
much knowing the reasons, but just the experiences as mysterious as they are to me.
i promise that i was as straight forward with the words as possible in describing
Full of yin and yang, and just sitting back and taking a look at my life, something i'm
happy with, and came naturally in the words of which i intended for the first time
nothing. i'll have to wait a few years before i understand exactly whats going on in
the record, in this time in my life, and i'm alright with that, cos i'm into mystery.
- Sean Nicholas Savage1. Boogie Nights
3. The Rat
6. Hangin On
7. Bermuda Waterfall
9. Hands Dance
10. Please Set Me Free
12. Some Things Never Die$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
InjiInji is the debut solo album by Sam Dust, AKA LA Priest. Across its ten audaciously
imaginative tracks Inji reasserts Dust as a truly idiosyncratic voice in British music, applying
the same frantically eclectic, mischievous and wilfully absurd spirit of his previous band,
the beloved Late of the Pier, to ever more nuanced and affecting songwriting and
From the obscene space-age stadium rock guitar solo of 'Oino', the maddeningly catchy
digi-dub single that Dust leaked sample-by-sample on a suitably enigmatic website at the
turn of the year, to 'Learning To Love', the record's gargantuan, eight minute long proghouse
centrepiece and 'Occasion', a melting martian Prince come-on, Inji confounds and
delights in equal measure and at every turn.
'Lady's In Trouble With The Law' boasts a lithe, sensual soul chorus about getting arrested
that feels at once haunted and horny whilst the insectoid instrumental ambience of 'Lorry
Park', twists and turns and burrows into the brain as creepily as the most classic Aphex
Twin material. Elsewhere, 'Fabby', another instrumental, juxtaposes a gorgeous, cascading
piano figure that'd make Benjamin Britten proud with percussion that sounds like the
clashing of two swords and album closer, the bubbling, aquamarine ballad 'Mountain' finds
Dust contorting his voice into an impossibly high, androgynous falsetto.
Throughout all the songs there's a reliance on feeling and intimation as opposed to any one
lyrical theme, and although the notion of love, its joys and trials, heaviness and absurdity,
can often be glimpsed, it's in a non-linear way that recalls the disruptive, deliberately
misleading pop of artists such as David Sylvian, Arthur Russell and David Byrne.
Just like its genesis story, Inji is a record that poses as many questions as answers. It has
its own logic, in its own time zone, and for the duration of its forty four minutes the listener
shares in this too. If it doesn't conform it's because it's not supposed to.1. Occasion
2. Lady's In Trouble With The Law
3. Gene Washes With New Arm
5. Party Zute / Learning To Love
6. Lorry Park
7. Night Train
9. A Good Sign
10. Mountain$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
People ChangesDouble bassist/singer-songwriter Nat Baldwins forthcoming album People Changes is much like the stark Maine setting which it was created. Of course, his fourth full-length shows welcome markings of his experimental bent from years as the Dirty Projectors bassist and former disciple of free jazz legend Anthony Braxton, but the serene isolation of 17 million acres of New England forestland make this cabin-born set intimate and sincere.
Baldwin first penned the songs in 2007, allowing the arrangements to evolve before the final recording in the spring of 2010. A lean ensemble of talented, time-proven friends were enlisted for the studio, some dating back to his New Hampshire childhood, chosen specifically to create the albums earnest live sound.
Their apt decision to record voice and bass live on most tracks is quickly felt on opener A Little Lost, letting Baldwins softly warbled falsetto hug a heartfelt cover of Arthur Russells sacred love song. Woodwinds flit and pull against contrabass pulses on Weights, then recede to let Baldwins bare performance stir on Real Fakes.
The full cast of Nats touring ensemble handsomely matches the bold arrangements of Lifted, followed by jagged improvisation on What Is There and a tender rendition of Kurt Weismans Let My Spirit Rise to finish. Charged throughout by lyrics crisp and strong, People Changes is a slice through the void of late nights spent among tall pines.
People Changes was recorded by Matt Walsh at Florida Keys Studio in New York City in May/June of 2010, mixed by Scott Solter, and mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering. Guests include Matt Bauder (clarinets), Caley Monahon-Ward (violin), Brett Deschenes (trumpet), Will Glass (drums), Al Mead (guitar) and Jeremy Leclair (alto saxophone). The album follows a split EP with Extra Life (2008, Shatter Your Leaves) on which earlier versions of Weights and Lifted appear, Most Valuable Player (2008), Enter the Winter (2006) and Lights Out EP (2005) on Broken Sparrow Records, and his experimental free jazz debut Solo Contrabass (2003, Peacock Recordings).1. A Little Lost
3. Real Fakes
4. The Same Thing
6. What Is There
7. Let My Spirit Rise$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Way We Are (Discontinued)Following their abstract masterpiece, The World I See, The Present returns with an album that delves ever deeper into the human psyche. Like an audio equivalent of Apocalypse Now, The Way We Are is by turns terrifying, enchanting, hallucinatory, and sharply focused. A psychedelic power-trio from a mythical dimension, The Present creates a strangely familiar music, as if they had already seen your dreams and your nightmares.
In order to define the music, it might help to list some of the things it is not: it is not a pop album, neither is it a classical or jazz album. It's not an ambient album or a rock album either, but there are elements of all of these within its dense musical structure. Touchstones include the music of La Monte Young, Dmitri Shostakovich, Wolfgang Voigt, Cluster, Black Dice, Claude Debussy, Aphex Twin, Can, Arthur Russell, Boredoms, and Brian Eno-- and yet it sounds like none of these.
What it is: a kaleidoscopic trip influenced by New York City, the ocean, mountains, the sun and the trees, Andy Warhol, Yukio Mishima, David Lynch, Friedrich Nietzsche, Buddhist mantra, mass transit, cats, birds and life. Life in all its myriad complexity and confusions, in all its transcendent beauty and its horrendous brutality.
Their live show has been described as more of a sensory experience than a mere matter of listening and it's the title track-- a 35-minute epic the likes of which has not been heard since the glory days of Popul Vuh-- that best captures the band's extraordinary intensity.
Once again this work is a collaboration with the artist Andrew Kuo, whose unique vision formed the cover of The World I See and whose work provides the visual counterpoint to The Present's sonic creation. Together, they make a totality that reflects so intensely and so clearly The Way We Are.Medman
The Way We Are$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
All My Favorite Singers Are Willie NelsonAstral Swan's All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson is a collection of stark psychedelic folk from the unfiltered neuroses of Calgary's Matthew Swann. Songs steeped in universal anguish, marveling at the world's knack for enterprise and cannibalism, come across instead as subtle, reassuring lullabies. These are quiet, relatable anthems for the outsider set, balancing gentle melodies on Swann's self-obsession with moral fallibility. On first single "Beginning Of The End", Swann delves into the album's various drug states in his sweetly apprehensive tone, a lowly guitar dancing loosely with intoxicated children, asking: "Who told the kids in the yard that they're mostly dust? Now they just stay drunk. Keep getting more fucked up".
Equally inspired by serene 60's folk, 80's no-wave alienation, and the insouciance of 90's grunge, Astral Swans' music is spacious yet constrained, hauntingly personal and oddly sincere. The skeletal "Let Their Faces All Blur Out" races softly with the punk rock abandon of early Sonic Youth and Eric's Trip; "What Calms You Down, Freaks Me Out" bears the ominous pleasance of Syd Barrett, Arthur Russell, Nick Drake, and fellow Calgarian Chad VanGaalen. More structured than Swann's Extra Happy Ghost!!! project (produced by VanGaalen), this album's experimental spirit denies the haphazard "singer-songwriter" label that some might attach to Astral Swans.
Set for release on Dan Mangan's Madic Records, these twelve songs lavish in Swann's startlingly sardonic reflections, in his own words, "confronting our strange ways of experiencing personhood, in the moral gorge between ideals and inadequacies". Tracked live in Swann's living room, and later embellished in an old Calgary warehouse with local experimental/improv mainstay Brad Hawkins (Ghostkeeper), All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson is flawed if not for its air of accidental perfection, normalizing existential struggle with rhythm and harmony, a natural marriage of the sweet to the acrid.1. There Are Ways To Get What You Want
2. Beginning Of The End
3. Let Their Faces All Blur Out
4. Please Don't Leave Me Strange
5. What Calms You Down, Freaks Me Out
6. You Carry A Sickness
7. Park Street
10. My Conscience Don't Work In The New World
12. Grass Girl$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Black BubblegumBlack Bubblegum is the newest LP from Eric Copeland,
and we are not kidding when we emphasize it sounds like
nothing he has done in the past. The title of the record
says it all: chewy, sticky pop that doesn't taste quite like
any chewy, sticky pop you've had before.
Recorded at Copeland's old practice space in South
Williamsburg, Black Bubblegum contains songs with
more conventional sounds and songwriting than any of
his previous releases. While there are similarities with
Copeland's earlier work in the drum patterns, major
scales and vocals, Black Bubblegum moves away from
his trademark psychedelic dub towards strange and
fantastical pop; imagine Arthur Russell going into the
studio with the Ramones. Wanting to take a more "handson"
approach to these recordings, Copeland exchanged
sample-driven tech and hardware for keyboards, guitars
and effect pedals, creating a new sound that is oddly
easy to digest despite its rejection of melody in favour of
discord and dissonance.
For a long time, Copeland considered this collection of
songs to be recordings which would never be heard. This
invariably influenced certain decisions made during the
creation of Black Bubblegum, blessing Copeland with
the unique freedom that comes from making music never
intended to be heard, let alone released.
When asked to please jot down what influenced this new
album and sound, Eric replied "glam holes, glitter dreams,
money troubles, apocalypse paranoia, one hit wonders,
manifest destiny, my family's westward migration, body
troubles (was passing kidney stones almost the entire
time), LGBT disco parties, Jonathan Richman, Missing
Foundation, Neil Diamond, New Orleans, poverty, getting
pushed out of another Brooklyn neighbourhood... No
Beach Boys, no Beatles, no Buddha... More Bad News
Eric Copeland has been sound clashing at full volume for
over twenty years, first carving out a named for himself as
one third of the legendary NY-via-Providence band Black
Dice. A wildly prolific solo artist, Copeland has played
shit houses, party palaces and seemingly everything in
between all over the world.
A long time Brooklyn, resident, Eric recently relocated
to where the L Train does not run - Palma de Mallorca,
Spain. While maintaining a relatively humble and low key
presence in a highly competitive musical world, he has
releases a prolific amount of music every year through
indie labels such as L.I.E.S., Escho (Iceage), PPM (No Age), Paw Tracks (Animal Collective) and DFA.1. Kids In A Coma
2. Rip It
3. Fuck It Up
4. Honorable Mentions
5. Blue Honey
7. Cannibal World
8. Don't Beat Your Baby
9. Radio Weapons
10. Get My Own$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
White Colored Vinyl
Intoxicating and memorably tuneful - Pitchfork
Gorgeously Weary - The Guardian
An idiosyncratic, deeply individual voice - Clash Magazine
The new album from Tropics, aka 27 year old Chris Ward, looks
outwards, armed with a newfound confidence that foregrounds his
vocal performance and songwriting.
It's a musical progression that mirrors a personal one: the early Tropics
output was all made in the idyllic, if isolated setting of Ward's
grandmother's empty house in the seaside town of Southsea, which
he moved into after graduating from university to focus on writing
and recording. He was alone there - "like, really alone. For days, I had
literally no distractions." Having moved to London in 2013, Ward now
splits his time between the city and the road, having played in
America, Mexico and across Europe throughout the past year with his
live band Keith Vaz and Morgan Hislop.
Tropics' new full-length Rapture is the culmination of this journey. A multi-instrumentalist
from an early age, Ward has always drawn on his musical upbringing
when composing, but this time around he's pushed himself to develop
a fuller sound than ever with the help of Vaz, Hislop and specialist jazz
drummer Gillan McLaughlin. Taking influence from Beach Boys, Max
Roach and Arthur Russell, Ward has crafted an album that fuses his
love of avant-garde percussion, 70s and 80s singer-songwriters such
as Peter Gabriel known for pop-leaning hooks, and deep production
that takes cues from ambient music.
The very first iterance of the record is the crystal clear vocal that kicks
off 'Blame'. Ward explains that performing live so much caused him to
step outside of his comfort zone: "I used to be a bit dubious about
using my vocal too much, and felt like my strength was in sampling
and playing keys. It's kind of switched now in that I feel a lot more
comfortable just holding a microphone and losing myself." Inspired by
the vocal performances of the likes of Little Dragon and Innovative
Leisure labelmates Rhye, Ward also found a new lease of life in
experimenting with more androgynous vocals.
But even as his sound has greater scope than ever before, Rapture is
still a deeply personal endeavour. The majority of the songs started
life in Ward's home, in front of a piano, before being built on in the
studio. The first half of the record is a chronicle of a whirlwind
relationship: the piano-led title track "Rapture" addresses this theme,
striving for the throes of ecstatic happiness but never quite making it
there. "It's got this feeling of hope and joy, even though it is coming
from a sad place," says Ward. "It's about the struggles in your life to
get to where you want to be." Elsewhere, lyrics such as, "You ran away
just like my luck did" hint at Ward's love for literature and his poetic
touch, something he further explores on the album's second side.
Later, the album grows more ambient and the literary references more
apparent. "Gloria" takes its name from the character of a frustrated
wife in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned. Likewise,
"Torrents of Spring" - also named for a work of 20th century American
fiction - builds to a sax-led climax over two painstaking minutes, and
the penultimate "House of Leaves" is "a really slow-burning ambient
instrumental; it's kind of a nod to the first stuff I made".
Whether filling dance floors or simply filling up your headspace,
Rapture is an intricate and intimate record that presents the many
faces of Tropics in a more revealing light than ever before.1. Blame
6. Perfume Kinship
7. Torrents of Spring
8. Home & Consonance
10. House of Leaves
11. Not Enough$18.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ChromaticsWhen songwriter and producer Sam Genders last donned his Diagrams hat, captive listeners found themselves truly stunned by the Streatham Hill artist's imaginative and inventive arrangements that made up 2012s debut album Black Light. Having now upped sticks from his London lodgings and settled in Sheffield with a new lease of life and wife, fresh pastures and friendships are what form the heart of Diagrams' brand new album Chromatics.
"Relationships are a constant thread. In all their frustrating, exciting, mundane, beautiful, wonderful, sexy, scary glory," reveals Genders of the album's themes. "And there's lots of hope in the songs. They shouldn't be taken too literally mind you in my head Chromatics is life in Technicolor; with all its ups and downs."
Equally drawing inspiration from the writing on relationships by David Schnarch, Ester Perel and the book Division Street by Sheffield poet Helen Mort, whilst spending time in his own home studio for the first time, it's without doubt that the Steel city provided the ideal backdrop for Genders to write whenever the inspiration came and, essentially, whittle down the fifty or so tracks he had recorded as part of the album's creation. "There are woods over the road and a little garden out the back with a greenhouse, shed, and flower beds. Being in a new place has brought something special to the process. Sheffield is a very open and direct place and I'd say the songs are more that way too."
Whilst Black Light fizzed with electronic effects, synth-bass, programmed beats and low-key funk grooves that brought about comparisons to the leftfield pop of Arthur Russell, Metronomy, Steve Mason and Hot Chip, it's without doubt that Genders' next offering falls closer to home comforts and marks the next step in Genders' renaissance. Take lead track 'Phantom Power'; it's the track which truly sums up what it's like to find yourself forever reassessing. "It's about feeling like you're losing a grip on your sanity at one moment, then feeling inspired and up for anything the next. Or frustration with yourself yet believing that it's possible to sort yourself out," explains Genders. Elsewhere 'You Can Talk To Me's delicate rolling melody and 'Serpent' once again showcase the playful, eclectic slant to Genders' songwriting prowess alongside an innate sense of crisp production and programming techniques.
Never one to shirk away from those around him, Genders would be the first to call Diagrams, and particularly Chromatics, a collaborative process. Once again featuring a rolling cast of inspirational musicians the album includes vocals from, amongst friends and family members, The Smoke Fairies whilst the skilled brass and string arrangements come courtesy of Danyal Dhondy and Sam Ewens. 'London's greatest' drummers Karl Penney, and Cacophony drummer Fletcher Adams provide the beats whilst live band members Emma Black and Ben Malitskie lend their expertise of Baritone Saxophone and Viola. 'Brain' meanwhile, was co-written with long-time friend and collaborator Matt McKenzie and features an in utero recording of his son James' heartbeat.
Yet it's the partnership with producer Leo Abrahams (Wild Beasts, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, Ed Harcourt, Marianne Faithful et al) that has truly brought Diagrams to life. After a long search, Abrahams was picked to piece all parts together and as a result Genders found himself writing songs that worked across a variety of production styles. "Leo's incredibly good at what he does and virtually all the impressive production and soundscaping is down to him. He's also an amazing guitarist and played some of my favourite guitar moments on the album."
Who knows exactly what kind of relationships will inspire Genders next? Currently finding himself midst China's south central city of Changsha in Hunan as a Musician in Residence on behalf of the British Council and PRS foundation, life for Genders right now is all about new experiences, meeting new faces and learning from new friendships. "It feels like anything could happen from one day to the next. I'd like to record a Chinese version of 'Phantom Power' so that once I'm back in the UK I can reconnect with the music lovers I've met. I've heard lots of very poppy pop songs that incorporate both Chinese and English lyrics so I'd like to try my own twist on that."1. Phantom Power
2. Gentle Morning Song
5. You Can Talk To Me
7. Dirty Broken Bliss
9. The Light & The Noise
11. Just A Hair's Breadth$18.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now