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Look AroundA Remastered, Double Album Anthology, Handpicked By The Band
Formed in the early '80s in Olympia, Washington by Calvin Johnson, Heather Lewis and Bret Lunsford, Beat Happening combined a primitive pop sound with a D.I.Y. attitude and inspired countless artists along the way. The community that arose around the band and their label, K Records, was in many ways, the sonic antithesis of their Seattle neighbors (and friends) but was no less influential. Look Around is a remastered, double album anthology, handpicked by the band. It's a great starting point for the uninitiated as well a refreshing reminder to those who caught the wave the first time around.1. Our Secret
2. Foggy Eyes
3. Bad Seeds
4. What's Important
5. Look Around
7. In Between
8. Indian Summer
9. Other Side
10. Black Candy
11. Cast A Shadow
12. Nancy Sin
13. Knock On Any Door$20.99Vinyl LP - 2 LP Sealed Buy Now
Deep Fried FanclubImport
Fire Fidelity Records presents a vinyl reissue of the 1995 compilation album Deep Fried Fanclub from Scotland's most infectious power-pop quartet Teenage Fanclub. Deep Fried Fanclub is being re-released as part of the Fire Records Embers reissue series. This album is an amalgamation of Teenage Fanclub's currently out of print B-sides, rarities and it also includes universally loved Everything Flows from their debut album A Catholic Education. Teenage Fanclub's sugary indie sound is delivered with a forthright rock approach you'd expect from Big Star or Dinosaur Jr.
Celebrating a career spanning two decades, this collection highlights lost gems made available once again on a lovingly packaged LP. Featuring Speeder (B-side on Everything Flows and Everybody's Fool) and none other than Don Fleming at the helm for production duties on Weedbreak (B-side from their very first single God Know It's True). Complete with covers of Neil Young and Beat Happening to name a few, this album is perfect for a sunny afternoon with some time to kill. Also includes a free digital download card.1. Everything Flows
2. Primary Education
4. Critical Mass
5. The Ballad of John and Yoko
6. God Knows It's True
8. So Far Gone
9. Ghetto Blaster
10. Don't Cry No Tears
11. Free Again
12. Bad Seed$32.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Teens Of DenialWith Teens of Denial, his first real "studio" album
with an actual band, Will Toledo moves from
bedroom pop to something approaching classicrock
grandeur and huge (if detailed and personal)
narrative ambitions, with nods to the Cars,
Pavement, Jonathan Richmond, Wire, and
Teens of Denial refracts Toledo's particular, personal
story of one difficult year through cultural
touchstones such as the biography of Frank Sinatra,
the evolution of the Me Generation as seen in Mad
Men and elsewhere, plus elements of eastern and
western theology. The whole thing flaunts a kind of
conceptual, lyrical, and musical ambition that has
been missing from far too much 21st-century music.
Horns, keyboards, and elegant instrumental
interludes set off art-garage moments; vivid vocal
harmonies follow punk frenzy. The selfish captain
of the capsized cruise liner in the Mediterranean in
2013 becomes a metaphor for struggles of the
individual in society, as experienced by one
hungover young man on the verge of adulthood.
The album was produced by Steve Fisk (Nirvana,
Beat Happening, Soundgarden) at his studio in
Seattle, July-September 2015. This is the first full
album of new music from Car Seat Headrest
released on Matador.LP 1
1. Fill In The Blank
3. Destroyed By Hippie Powers
4. (Joe Gets Kicked Out Of School For Using) Drugs
With Friends (But Says This Isn't A Problem)
5. Not What I Needed
6. Drunk Drivers/killer Whales
1. 1937 Skate Park
2. Unforgiving Girl (She's Not An)
3. Cosmic Hero
4. The Balad Of The Consta Concordia
5. Connect The Dots (The Saga Of Frank Sinatra)
6. Joe Goes To School$27.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Wowowwowow! That was my reaction the first time I heard
De Lux. It's got a tropical post punk flavor reminiscent of
the Talking Heads."
They have some resemblance to Talking Heads and The Rapture
and my prediction is that they are the next revelation in the Los
L.A.'s De Lux are a post-disco dance-punk DIY duo that sound like they could
have come out of 1979 or 1982 just as easily as 2013. Founders and multi-instrumentalists Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco didn't meet so much as simply appear to
each other, sometime before high school ended and after learning to correctly fall
off skateboards began. Even at age 18, however, it was the kind of connection that
had been years in the making.
Sean had been writing songs since he was 15 and had spent recent years recording
and re-recording his own songs. And Isaac had been on a strict diet of classic and
obscure disco and boogie music since he too was 15, figuring out the original source
of hip-hop's greatest samples thanks to an older brother with a DJ sideline and an
enviable collection. They both were after the same thing in music-the groove, they
say, where the bass and the beat align in a perfect way that makes you want a song to
go on forever. They were even in a band together, but it wasn't De Lux. But you can
hear the exact moment De Lux became a band when you listen to "Better At Making
Time," the song they built from Isaac's out-of-nowhere bassline just before practice
for that other band was supposed to start: "Sean was like, 'You should record that!'"
says Isaac, "and I was like, 'What, really?'"
From lead track "Better At Making Time," De Lux roars through Psychedelic Furs
or Duran Duran-style pop ("Love Is A Phase"), delivers shouts and whispers like
James Murphy at his most frantic ("Make Space"), sinks into Eno-esque moments
of bliss ("On The Day") and rockets through the agit-funk David Byrne-style rave-up finale "Sometimes Your Friends Are Not Your Friends." And this is all from the
first-take-they never re-record, says Sean. If they don't perfectly catch that beat as
it happens, they let it go. That's probably why Voyage sounds as wild and alive as it
does. Just like on that surprise recording "Better Making Time," you're not hearing
a band come together. And just like how they met, you're hearing a band appear.1. Better at Making Time
3. I've Got to Make a Statement (No More Likes Or Ums)
4. Love Is a Phase
5. On the Day
6. Make Space
7. Sometimes Your Friends
8. Brighter End of Dark
9. It All Works All The Time$19.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Possessed EPFull Color Sleeve
Just in time for Summer, Wrongtom emerges with a new vinyl EP on Tru Thoughts to take over the air-
waves and sound systems across the festval season and beyond. Out on 12' vinyl in a full colour sleeve
with an eerie, ouija board-inspired theme, the Possessed EP' continues in the spirit of his series of
'Wrongtom Meets' projects, boasting collaborations with Tippa Irie, JC Lodge, The Ragga Twins, Desta
Zion, The Correctonal Horns and Deemas J as well as a bonus cut from his long-standing live reggae/
dub collectve the Stoneleigh Mountain Rockers.
The Possessed EP' uses the killer rhythm from 'In East London' track Suzy Hangs Out', this inspired
move sprang from a chat about beats with Mark Professor, who happened to pass the rhythm on to
reggae singer JC Lodge 's husband Errol, who passed it on to JC. Oblivious to all this, Wrongtom was
then contacted out of the blue a while later with the beautiful Possession', showcasing the talent
of the revered singer who was signed to Tommy Boy records back in the day and collaborated with
Shabba Ranks and many others. So, with that brilliant track suddenly in my hand, I thought maybe I
should get a few diferent people on this rhythm and do what the classic reggae producers did', says
Wrongtom: release a set of versions'.
Wrongtom signed to Tru Thoughts in 2013, releasing the 'In East London' album under the Wrongtom
Meets Deemas J collaborative name, which brought praise from all corners for its uplifing and cele-
bratory yet down and dirty, vintage dub-infused sound. The tastemakers who lined up to heap praise
on the album ranged from The Quietus, The Wire and FACT to Record Collector, MOJO, Q, Clash and
beyond.1. Wrongtom Meets Tippa Irie - Afraid A' You
2. Wrongtom Meets Jc Lodge - Possession
3. Wrongtom Meets Ragga Twins - Jugglin' (Edit)
3. Wrongtom Meets Desta Zion - Love Endure
4. Wrongtom Meets Deemas J - In South London
5. Wrongtom Meets The Correctional Horns -Repossession$14.99Vinyl EP - Sealed Buy Now
All Of The UnknownColored Vinyl
At first glance, The Drowning Men appear as an exercise in contradictions. With an abundance of tattoos, facial hair, and a sentiment that skews strongly toward the blue-collar dockworkers of their hometown of Oceanside, California, it seems easy to discern exactly what sort of music this band plays. And yet, upon first listen it immediately becomes clear that their appearances have indeed been deceiving as they yield to a gorgeous, roots and folk-flavored indie rock sound bursting with enchanting melodies and deeply poetic lyrics.
With the release of their second full length, All Of The Unknown, via Flogging Molly's label, Borstal Beat Records, The Drowning Men are poised to bring the entire indie scene up for breath of air.
Formed in 2006 by long-time friends Nathan 'Nato' Bardeen (vocals/keyboards/guitar/mandolin), James Smith (guitar/vocals) and Rory Dolan (drums), the three quickly recruited Todd Eisenkerch (bass/vocals) and Gabriel Messer (keyboards/vocals) to round out the line-up. The right fit for us just happened. There was no math to it, explains Nato. James elaborates, Nato called me up one day in 2005 and said `do you want to play some music?', and we've never stopped. I feel like the music clicked from that first day, it's just evolved.
The band self-released their first EP, Kill The Matador, in 2007. In 2009, the band went into the studio with Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession, Ugly Casanova) to record their first LP, The Beheading of the Songbird, which was self-released that year and then officially re-released by their current label, Borstal Beat Records in 2011 in preparation for the release of this, their second full-length, All Of The Unknown. Gatefold red colored vinyl!1. Lost In A Lullaby
2. The Waltz
3. Bored in a Belly
5. A Fool's Campaign
6. I Am The Beggar Man
7. Life In The Willow Tree
8. A Long, Long Walk
9. Fix Me Love
10. Questioning (A Big Ole Sham)
11. A Better Place$15.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The BeginningWhile the title of The E.N.D. was a play on words (standing for The Energy Never Dies), the Black Eyed Peas new album's title, The Beginning, refers to what is actually happening in the world right now, says will.i.am. The Beginning is symbolic of adopting new technologies, such as augmented reality, 3D, and 360 video. It's also about being experimental and taking songs we've liked from the past and playing around with sick, crazy beats. The first single from The Beginning, The Time (Dirty Bit), is as Fergie puts it, a celebration of this amazing time in our lives.1. The Time (Dirty Bit)
2. Light Up the Night
3. Love You Long Time
7. Fashion Beats
8. Don't Stop the Party
9. Do It Like This
10. The Best One Yet (The Boy)
11. Just Can't Get Enough
12. Play It Loud$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Sea When AbsentAppropriately for new beginnings, Sea When Absent marks a number of firsts for ASDIG-it's the first album recorded in a real studio by someone who isn't Ben or Josh, the first album not written mostly by Ben, the first album with next-to-no reverb, and the first time in ASDIG's history that it has existed as anactual band (not just Ben or Josh playing everything). There was also a conscious effort to get away from aspects of recording that have defined this band in the past-namely heavily reverbed and buried vocals [ed.- they never sound buried to Ben]. Vocalists Jen Goma and Anne Fredrickson have beautiful voices and it was time to explore the possibilities of their abilities/talents. Jen took on a central role in the making of this album, stepping up to write most of the lyrics and melodies. Anne also contributed melodies throughout the album and put her classical cello training to use adding string arrangements. Since 2009 Ben has called Sydney, Australia home and while he was down under, multi-instrumentalist/backup vocalist/engineer/jack-of-all-trades Josh Meakim was Our Man in Philly, overseeing the recording sessions and adding all of the musical and production ideas he usually does. The distance between Ben and the rest of the band also forced novel ways of building songs from across the world. Bassist Ryan Newmyer, in Brooklyn, was tasked with deconstructing and rebuilding several songs in his own way-Oh, I'm a Wrecker (What to Say to Crazy People) bears the fruit of this tact. Holding it all together is drummer Adam Herndon. Adam is Sea When Absent's alchemist-weaving between, and often reconciling, the colossal boom of electronic beats (see Golden Waves or Double Dutch) and the subtle elegance of a drum kit in a room (see The Body, It Bends or The Things They Do to Me).
Between releasing Ashes Grammar in late 2009 and Autumn, Again in late 2010, ASDIG spent the better part of that year on tour. The six members in this band returned to six different Ithacas and the various dramas and adventures they've endured since then inform a lot of Sea When Absent. But 2014 is also just an insanetime to be alive. Dominant narratives have broken down and the stories we tell ourselves have never been more up-for-grabs.It's all happening and A Sunny Day in Glasgow want to be as simultaneously everywhere and nowhere as the rest of us. Sea When Absent is ASDIG's story for the milieu-a fever-dream about the now (or maybe a lucid dream about the fever-now) and a future possible set in pop-major.1. Bye Bye, Big Ocean (The End)
2. In Love With Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing)
4. MTLOV (Minor Keys)
5. The Things They Do to Me
6. Boys Turn Into Girls (Initiation Rites)
7. Never Nothing (It's Alright [It's Ok])
8. Double Dutch
9. The Body, It Bends
10. Oh, I'm a Wrecker (What to Say to Crazy People)
11. Golden Waves$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
A luscious, elegant, electronic work - Los Angeles Times
Hip-hop instrumentals and electronic sketches;
pristine and prim - FACT
Gorgeously haunted - Pitchfork
We seek the new because of the numbness. If you listen to enough
music, you're familiar with the feeling. Sounds get recycled so often
that they can seem like geometric configurations organized via Wav
files. Trends get time-stamped faster than a triplicate trap hi-hat.
The most rare records emerge outside of any clearly delineated orbit.
They're solitary visions that supply their own rhythm and arsenal.
Music that reverberates through heart, brain, and spine. This is Nosaj
Thing's third album, Fated.
"I just tried to escape really, and escape even what's going on in the
music world," says Nosaj Thing, the LA producer born Jason Chung. "It
just felt so suffocating in a way. I just wanted to do my own thing."
It's been six years since Nosaj Thing emerged among the vanguard of
Low End Theory-affiliated producers. His debut Drift created 31st
century tones and chromatic textures so sleek that they inspired
innumerable Soundcloud imitators.
None could match its moody iridescence, faded sadness and funky
swing. Bach collided with Boards of Canada. Spaceships came
equipped with rear view mirrors and a booming system bumping
G-Funk and warped soul. Pitchfork called it "gorgeously haunted."
Resident Advisor said it "exists in its own dimension and feeds off its
own exhaust: full of alien choirs, conquered computers, and refracting
Fated exists in this same alternate dimension, but further out. If
comparisons previously existed with other artists within the LA beat
scene, Nosaj has rendered them baseless. His second album on
Innovative Leisure (after 2013's Home) seeks celestial escape through
"The last record took out so much of me. I just wanted to go back to
simplifying and overthinking so much. It was a battle," Nosaj says.
"The soul of a song, the essence of a song-whatever you want to call
it-should be simple."
By stripping away all but what's really necessary, the sounds harness
an unusual directness. Guest appearances are rare, save for vocals
from Whoarei on "Don't Mind Me," and Chicago rap phenomenon,
Chance the Rapper. The latter gravely spits on "Cold Stares," invoking
terminal fevers, empty beds, devil's whispers, and insomniac fears.
If comparisons crop up, Fated has most in common with records like
Burial's Untrue or Dilla's Donuts. Requiems that canvass the shadowy
hinterlands between life and death, darkness and light, loneliness and
love. Eternal themes re-imagined in ingenious fashion.
"The album name came from all these coincidences that just kept on
happening to me," Nosaj says. "Specific interaction with specific
people in unexpected places. A perpetual feeling of dÉjà vu."
It's foundation rests on that intangible thing that some call fate or
primordial feeling. Numbness receding, old emotions flooding back,
un-tampered visions. Fated is what you can't explain, so it's best to
just listen.1. Sci
2. Don't Mind Me [ft. Whoarei]
5. Cold Stares [ft. Chance the Rapper]
8. Let You
13. Phase IV
14. Light #5
15. 2K$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-DOM-5518xThese New Puritans
HiddenThese New Puritans are a group on a very precise mission. Hailing from England's Southend-On-Sea, and consisting of Jack Barnett, his twin brother George, Thomas Hein and Sophie Sleigh-Johnson. They first came to prominence with their 2008 debut album, Beat Pyramid. Urgent, pared down, sharp as a stick, it was hailed by the NME as demonstrating a span of ideas and singularity of vision that simply shouldn't happen to 20 year olds. They've created their own imperfect world. And so they did, but this was not a band that was spent after completing their first album but one who were only just beginning to unpack their ideas.
The evidence of that is in the form of their new album, Hidden, a work so extraordinary in its range, ambition and clarity of purpose as to defy overall comparison with anything you have ever heard. These New Puritans have constructed an imaginarium whose contents are of less importance than the way in which it has been assembled, the creative and unprecedented use of contrasting sound sources to create a massive burst of percussion with layers of sample sounding classical and chunks of contemporary polished pop pushed through an analog filter.1. Time Xone
2. We Want War
3. Three - Thousand
5. Attack Music
6. Fire ï¿½ Power
9. Drum Courts-Where Corals Lie
10. White Chords
11. 5$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
HauntsI stay up drinking with your ghost every night.
Haunts is full of memories. People you used to know. Rooms where you lived, streets you walked down. The lover you haven't spoken to in years who still lives in your dreams. Because the past is never dead. It's not even past.
Sometimes music is memory. The emotional memory of a songwriter, distilled into a way of viewing the world. Some songwriters are cartographers, mapping an inner landscape of hope and regrets. Each song is an invisible city, populated by ghosts. That is the land, and these are the people, of Tiny Victories' debut full-length album, Haunts.
Tell your ghost to leave me alone-
I can't sleep no more in my own home.
The surprise is that the tone of much of Haunts is joyous, even celebratory. Synths and electronic squiggles crash against pounding beats in ecstatic, orgiastic rhythms. Lyrically, though, the album is a compendium of love and loss. The contrast creates rooms of light and shadow (in "Scott & Zelda" or "Systems") or the oceanic catharsis of a party at the end of the world ("Austin, TX" and "This Revolution").
Tiny Victories' new album is a statement of purpose-and a point of arrival. The songwriting has evolved in a more focused direction, with a tighter structure, while Greg Walters and Cason Kelly continue to build on the experimental sonic architecture that fascinated them in their early days. Synth lines cut through through the dense underbrush of electronic soundscapes, propelled forward by Cason's relentless drumming. Greg's self-assured voice soars above the commotion. Haunts was produced and mixed by industry veteran Alex Aldi (Passion Pit, Holy Ghost!) and mastered by Chris Gehringer (Yeasayer, Chairlift, Jay-Z).
The song ideas were born in bedrooms crowded with samplers, Kaoss Pads and other electronic gadgets. Then the duo moved into Alex Aldi's Brooklyn studio in mid-2013. Aldi's studio was the de facto storage house for Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos' synth collection. Greg and Cason dove into this gear. Much of the record was performed on Angelakos' hardware.
Tiny Victories was formed in 2010 when Greg Walters met Cason Kelly in a Brooklyn bar. Both had played in a variety of other musical projects for years. Otherwise, they were an unlikely duo. Greg was just back from a six-year stint as a foreign correspondent based in Moscow, Russia. He'd covered the original Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, and crisscrossed Siberia in a helicopter chasing after secretive oil company executives. During the Russian-Georgian war, he rode into the zone in a Russian armed personnel carrier as an embedded journalist.
"Journalism and music are both ways of making sense of the world," Greg says. "Journalism looks outward at what's happening around you. Music explores your inner life." Cason had recently moved to New York from Athens, GA, and was doing social work with inner city kids-a different kind of daily struggle. Both were burned out and looking for something new. They each wanted to take their music farther than it had gone before. They decided to start a band.
Their 7 vinyl debut in 2011 was followed by the critically acclaimed 2012 EP, Those Of Us Still Alive. John Schaefer of NPR's Soundcheck picked Tiny Victories as a local band likely to break big nationally, and invited them to do a live show on the air. Momentum began to snowball, culminating in invitations to play Bonnaroo in 2012 and 2013 and a slot on the Bonnaroo 365 tour with White Denim and Maps & Atlases.1. Drinking With Your Ghost
2. Scott & Zelda
4. Let It Burn
5. This Revolution
6. Austin, Tx
7. Proton Pagoda
8. Life Is Boring
9. Our Lady of Route 80
11. You're Gone$11.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Blood, Sweat, & Tears: 3 (Speakers Corner)1970 was a really good year for Blood, Sweat & Tears. The colourful, distinguished group was awarded a Grammy® in the categories "Album of the Year", "Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance", and "Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)".
The concept of merging jazz, blues and arrangements of classical themes worked well, with music journalist Leonard Feather commenting that »it brought music into rock«.
Everything seemed to be allowed - as long as it sounded good: almost spontaneously, it seems, the musicians develop a somewhat boozy, cheery Hi-De-Ho happening out of synthetically created chivalric fanfares, or conjure up a medieval scenario (The Battle) with the archaic sound of a harpsichord and solo voice. That caustic big-band soul (Lucrezia MacEvil) and seemingly familiar rock songs (Fire And Rain) find their niche here fits in with the free spirit of this third album, which boasts no otherwise specified title. One listens to this disc, wondering what surprise is in store in the next beat, the next phrase, the next number. And there is a wonderfully liberating feeling in knowing that nothing is a 'must' but all is allowed.
- David Clayton Thomas (vocal)
- Fred Lipsius (alto saxophone, piano, vocal)
- Lew Soloff (trumpet, fluegel horn)
- Jerry Hyman (trombone)
- Steve Katz (guitar, harmonica, vocal)
- Dick Halligan (organ, piano, harmonica, trombone, flute, vocal)
- Jim Fielder (bass)
- Bobby Colomby (drums, percussion, vocal)
Recording: 1970 by Roy Halee
Production: Bobby Colomby and Roy Halee
About Speakers Corner
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Speakers Corner all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existant tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasise that Speakers Corner Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We have one digital recording in our catalogue (Alan Parsons / Eye In The Sky"), but even in this particular case we used the analogue tapes for cutting.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects - excluding the exception above - and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Hi-De-Ho
2. The Battle
3. Lucretia MacEvil
4. Lucretia's Reprise
5. Fire and Rain
6. Lonesome Suzie
7. Symphony For the Devil
8. He's a Runner
9. Somethin' Comin' On
10. Forty Thousand Headmen$34.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
DreamlandNatalie Bergman has had her picture taken on countless occasions -- hundreds of studio portraits and live shots and backstage festival snaps. But the simple, gorgeous black & white photo of Bergman on the cover of Wild Belle's Dreamland that she describes as just me and this sort of abyss That one was lensed by the person who best knows how to capture her essence on celluloid: Her older brother and bandmate, Elliot Bergman. Besides being Wild Belle's multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, Elliot has an equally impressive flair for visual arts, from painting and sculpture to bronzemaking and photography. An avid collector of vintage cameras, Elliot brought along a recently acquired Polaroid Land Camera to a show Wild Belle played in Denver this summer: The duo grabbed a quick moment at their hotel to take the portraits of each other that grace the front and back of their new record. The pictures Elliot takes of me are always really beautiful and it's because he knows me better than anyone else on this Earth, says Natalie. Adds Elliot: I like that it's a photo of Natalie just being Natalie. And the stark contrast of her in the foreground with the dark background really fit with these collages she has been doing. Natalie is in the light but the shadows are pretty heavy and you can't really tell where she is or what's back there.
Recorded at studios in their native Chicago, Natalie's new home of Los Angeles, Nashville and Toronto, Dreamland -- Wild Belle's bold, evolutionary new album -- derives from an era in the singer's life when she was struggling to get control of what she describes as the anger and deep sorrow that plagued her at the end of her most recent romantic relationship. For a woman whose music has always been inspired by her desire to translate her complicated feelings into immediately relatable songs, there was certainly plenty of grist for the mill. Dreamland tracks such as Losing You and It Was You (Baby Come Back) offer glimpses of the darkness that Natalie battled during the early months writing for the duo's sophomore full-length. But there are also genuine moments of lightness and ecstatic triumph, like Giving Up On You -- an irresistibly kinetic, punk number Wild Belle recorded with TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek producing.
I was very heated when we were making this record. My body, my heart and my soul were filled with a flame, which sounds very dramatic but it's the truth, says Natalie. I had a healing moment when I moved to LA earlier this year, because I was far away from my ex and I felt like I was getting rid of a lot of baggage. That was the redemptive, triumphant time for my lyrics. On 'Giving Up On You,' I sing: 'Now I smile so bright, you can see me from outer space, look at me shine. Baby it's about time, I was so miserable and now I feel so alive.' All the songs I wrote near the end of making the album have that sentiment: 'Now look at where I am, after all the turmoil that was inside of me, I'm here and I'm happy and I'm ready for whatever comes my way.'
The follow-up to 2013's Isles, Dreamland expands the band's ambitions in every way. It's deeper, it's more fun, it's more haunting, it's got more grooves, Elliot says. There's sorrow and pain but there's also hope and joy -- all those things can coexist in the songs because they coexist in life. He continues: Dreamland, that's not some kind of idealized notion of where we live and I hope people hear that as a question: What is the Dreamland What is our dream here The album doesn't get overtly political, but we're dealing with a lot of the things that are dark about what's happening now. 'Throw Down Your Guns' is about a relationship but is also kind of about the messed up situation that we're in right now. The chorus, 'Throw down your guns / In the name of love, I put my hands up,' to me can be heard in a number of ways, including as a prayer for peace or a cry out against violence.
Importantly, the album also shares its name with one of the first songs Natalie remembers Elliot introducing her to: Bunny Wailer's 1970 reggae classic, Dreamland. One year for Christmas, he gave her a compilation of female artists who recorded at Jamaica's legendary Studio One, and it included Della Humphrey's version of the song. Natalie listened to it over and over and over again. I was so in love with it, she says. From there, I started my exploration of rocksteady and ska and lovers rock and anything that had to do with Jamaican music from the Fifties onward.
The duo started writing music together several years ago, after Elliot took a sixteen year-old Natalie on tour to play percussion with his acclaimed Afrobeat ensemble, NOMO. I can present a song to Elliot and he has this foresight -- he can see things further than I see them, and he helps me realize things, she says. I'd been writing very simple melodic love songs since I was fifteen years old. I definitely have a pop sensibility in my style, and that's a great platform for Elliot to work from, because it's fun for him to have a cool little pop song and combine it with more eccentric sounds and make it into a weird, unique percussive jam. Sometimes he'll bring the jam to me and because we've got this routine together, we can write a song together wherever we are.
Work on the album began in early 2014, in Chicago. The song that opens Dreamland -- Mississippi River -- was also the first one to come together in the studio. It was sparked by a moment of musical serendipity: The record starts with this pulsing ARP drone, says Elliot, which is a very expensive esoteric nerdy synthesizer that's complicated to program. Natalie and I had this weird, symbiotic thing where I was playing three chords off the ARP and she started playing different three chords on this out-of-tune autoharp she brought over. They were both completely in the wrong key, and yet perfectly in tune with each other. That was like the new bar for the record. It was like, 'Yeah, we're going to put synthesizers and saxophone and kalimbas on these songs, and we're going to have lavish string arrangements if we want to. We were getting comfortable with all of the materials that we love, and being like, 'I love this, so let's do it.
They tracked several songs at home in Chicago last year, and then at the start of 2015, Natalie packed all of her belongings into the Wild Belle van and drove from Chicago to Venice, California. She rented a house where Elliot joined her a couple weeks later. When I had my place in Venice, Elliot would wake up earlier than I would and start making dope beats, says Natalie. One day he made this ridiculous song, 'The One That Got Away,' and the beat and underlying track were so exciting that it didn't take very long to write. Our friends came over and were jumping on the tabletops, dancing, getting naked because they loved the song so much.
Playing the new songs at Lollapalooza for the first time with an eight-piece band, says Elliot, I had a feeling onstage that I'd never had before with Wild Belle, where you're part of a sound that's much bigger than you could make on your own. It's this charged-up badass feeling. It's about a groove and rhythmic energy and force and momentum and making a big, dark, deep sound -- something that moves people and makes you want to dance and makes you want to shout. It's tapping into a deeper musicality that I've always been looking for.1. Mississippi River
2. Losing You
6. Giving Up On You
7. It Was You
8. Throw Down Your Guns
9. The One That Got Away
10. Our Love Will Survive
11. Rock & Roll Angel$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Binary"My last record was very inward-looking," says Ani DiFranco. "I was pregnant and then raising a screaming infant. But now that kid is about to turn four, so I got out of the weeds of personal space and started looking outward again, being more engaged, more big 'P' Political. As an artist, I like to be out in the world, and what initially compelled me was to try to push society to a better place. So when I'm not in heartbreak or motherhood mode, that's where you'll naturally find me."
With her twentieth studio album, Binary, the iconic singer/songwriter/activist/poet/DIY trendsetter returns to territory that brought her to the world's attention more than twenty-five years ago. One of the first artists to create her own label in 1990, she has been recognized among the feminist pantheon for her entrepreneurship, social activism, and outspoken political lyrics. At a time of global chaos and confusion, DiFranco is kicking ass and taking names, with a set of songs offering a wide range of perspective and musical scope.
She describes a moment during the writing of "Play God," an unblinking pro-choice battle cry, as a particular breakthrough. (A live version of the song was included in the anti-Trump "30 Days, 30 Songs" campaign alongside tracks from Death Cab for Cutie, Aimee Mann, Franz Ferdinand, and more.)
"When I wrote the line 'You don't get to play god, man/I do,' I paused and thought, 'Can I say that?,' " she says. "It's not the first time I've thought that, but it's been a while. And in that moment, I thought, 'I'm back, mothafuckas!'"
"When you make a record about family and relationships, people assume you're mommy now and you've lost your edge, and it's going to be all buttercups from here on. So that line had the feeling of 'Take that! My kid is sleeping right now and I want to talk about some shit!"
On Binary, DiFranco tackles the challenge and necessity of teaching non-violence with "Pacifist's Lament" and the need for empathy in "Terrifying Sight." Remarkably, though, these songs-recorded, in her usual fashion, in a couple of short full-sprint sessions spread across several years-were all written prior to the 2016 elections and attendant political turmoil.
"I'm not surprised," says DiFranco. "Over twenty-five years, I've found that my songwriting is often full of premonition. It shows me, in a deep and spooky way, how we know things on levels below consciousness. I write songs and then they happen, and later I realize what they're about. I'm just happy to have some good tools in my toolbox to address what's happening now-the feminist diatribes are turned up nice and high on this record!"
She notes that Binary's title track is key to her intention on this project. "I always title a record from the song that seems to be at its core," she says. "An underlying theme in the songs, and in the feminism I want to engage society with, is the idea that autonomy is a fallacy-nothing exists except in relationship to something else. We are, in some senses individuals with individual liberties and unique powers, but that's only a surface story."
Though this concept is closely tied up in our present-day obsession with technology ("Sitting alone at home, staring at a screen, you can't really know anything, because knowing is engaging," she says), DiFranco also reveals a growing connection to nature and the physical world.
"Every year on Goddess' Green Earth, I understand my relationship to it more," she says. "My early songs were all human drama. I don't think I noticed the bigger picture at all-I was transfixed by power dynamics between people. Now I see that it's largely the providence of women to really embody nature, so I do think I'm getting back to basics, and it's a shift for me."
The backbone of Binary's sound is DiFranco's long-time rhythm section of bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Terence Higgins, but on much of the album, the trio is augmented with some all-star guests. "I knew I wanted to involve some of my brilliant friends this time out," she says. "We made some calls and got a party going. That was the idea, to reach out and have some other spirits enter."
Virtuoso violinist Jenny Scheinman and keyboard wizard Ivan Neville both join in for more than half of the record; "they are so captivating and they elevate my shit whenever they come near it," says DiFranco. Other contributors include the legendary Maceo Parker, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, and Gail Ann Dorsey, longtime bassist for David Bowie. New Orleans resident DiFranco takes special pride in the Crescent City funk spearheaded by natives Higgins and Neville on a number of the tunes. "Their souls are of this place," she says. "The feel they bring is something they got in utero."
For the better part of 2016, DiFranco beat the drum for voter turnout on her "Vote Dammit!" tour, focusing on registering and inspiring people to vote. In the days following the election, fans turned to her for guidance with renewed earnestness, anxious to hear music and wisdom from the longtime activist. Ani encouraged fans to take political action and did the same herself, participating in the Women's March on Washington and performing at the official Women's March after party benefitting Planned Parenthood with The National and Sleater-Kinney.
Binary, of course, is being released into a world in which music distribution and consumption have transformed rapidly and dramatically. For DiFranco, a true pioneer in the music industry with her Righteous Babe label, it's a time to reconsider the possibilities and ambitions of her business.
"While I was precedent-setting at one time with Righteous Babe and my indie crusade, I feel like, in the time it took me to nurse another baby into being, I've fallen behind," she says. "The universe and technology have continued to evolve, and the idea of harnessing technology and crowd-sourcing everything-money, knowledge, revolution-is a very powerful concept that I'm ready to get more involved with. Righteous Babe is starting to grow now into something that will hopefully become avant-garde once again- more of a collective, more dynamic."
"I'm trying to figure it out daily," says Ani DiFranco. "Just like always."1. Binary
2. Pacifist's Lament
4. Play God
7. Even More
10. Terrifying Sight
11. Deferred Gratification$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Body PillIt's amazing how much can happen in a short time frame. At the
beginning of 2012, Anthony Naples didn't have a song to his name; by
the end of that year, he'd been heralded as one of the city's rising
producer talents. The genesis was "Mad Disrespect" - a single that
dominated Brooklyn's underground electronic music scene from even
before its offical release. The track was a milestone for all involved. Not
only was it Naples' first single, but it also was the first track he'd
recorded, period. On a whim, he sent the track to Eamon Harkin and
Justin Carter, the founders of New York's respected Mister Saturday
Night series. A regular at their parties but an unknown to the duo,
Anthony caught the pair's attention with "Mad Disrespect," and ended
up as the cornerstone of label's inaugural release: the Mad Disrespect
Anthony's music caught the ear of a number of people that summer,
none more important than Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, who
commissioned Anthony to remix his single "128 Harps" - again,
Anthony's first remix at that point. From there on, things sped up. He
followed "Mad Disrespect" with a series of 12" released on a veritable
who's who of influential labels: Scotland's respected Rubadub label,
Four Tet's Text Records, Opal Tapes - all of which culminated in El
Portal, his EP for Will Bankhead's Trilogy Tapes imprint. Along the way,
he was invited to open for Four Tet at London's Fabric and invited to
play Berlin's prestigious Panorama Bar.\
And now, a little over two years later, comes Body Pill, Anthony Naples
debut full-length for Text Records. As Anthony tells it, the title comes
from a mangled English translation that caught his eye in a Japanese
vending machine. "When I ran the title past Kieran, and he said it just
sounded like a lost rave classic, but I thought in the end it makes
sense. The LP is a small dose of synthetic noises and rhythms."
Naples says. Stylistically, the album draws inspiration from the city that
gave Anthony his start: New York. "I wanted to make a streetwise
record that was also solid and simple, like a brick or those weird
fluorescent light tubes in the subway. They give off this weird hum that
you hear only when you're alone in the station between trains late at
night. I wanted to make a record that evoked that experience."
Body Pill is a surprising album for Anthony, his most understated and
mature release to date. Body Pill opens with a wall of ambient noise on
"Ris," only to be overtaken by a modest synth groove. Ambient noise
washes over and eventually overtakes tracks like "Way Stone" and
"Pale" later on in the record. But that's not to say there aren't echoes of
Naples' work for Mister Saturday Night lurking throughout the record.
"Abrazo" feels like the natural companion to Anthony's earlier singles,
with elegant strings mingling with a deconstructed house-inspired beat.
"Used to Be" is arguably Anthony's largest beat to date whose rolling
hi-hats counterbalance the track's stabbing synths. The album's closer
"Miles" abruptly morphs from a lo-fi house anthem into a surprisingly
minimal synth soundscape, a microcosm of the record as a whole.1. Ris
4. Way Stone
7. Used to Be
8. Miles$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Spitballin'The DAVE STEWART-produced SPITBALLIN' would never have happened if not for one Twitter message that turned STEWART's world upside down. STEWART has seen and done it all, but none of it prepared him for what he would hear from THOMAS LINDSEY. "I read it and clicked on the link," STEWART recalls. "And there he was, singing something on a YouTube video. I don't remember what it was but there was no music. He was singing a cappella. And I went, 'Holy crap!'" STEWART got in touch with his young admirer and invited him to send examples of his original material.
"It was really amazing stuff. So I asked if he wanted to come out to Los Angeles and sing three songs unaccompanied before my show at the Troubadour," STEWART says. Following their live debut, STEWART and LINDSEY began writing together by sending audio files back and forth between L.A. and Louisiana. Working long distance seemed to bring them closer as they built a catalog of songs.
Their common ground proved as lush as Delta marshland. A down-and-dirty delta guitar riff. A thumping drum beat. And a stunning vocal intro, urgent, haunted, earthy and spiritual, with blues-drenched filigrees, a vibrato that shocks like an electric current, a range that defies not just convention but gravity itself. Backed by STEWART's distorted voodoo guitar licks, LINDSEY opens "Leave This Town" in free tempo and then a swampy groove kicks in--just guitar and drums, raw and wild. "Two People" unfolds over a stomping beat that leads to a long vamp over which Lindsey improvises with hair-raising intensity and finesse. Churchy echoes permeate "When Dogs Run," with a mournful organ providing the backdrop to STEWART's Pop Staples-style guitar tremolo. "Alcohol" boils down to organ and LINDSEY's voice recounting a riveting elegy for someone who was "lost to alcohol."
Some of the stories behind the lyrics on these songs are sad, but true and some more fanciful. To write "Crocodile," for instance, LINDSEY admits "I tried to write a song that would seem like something from a shoe commercial! I had this image of a woman in bad-ass crocodile boots, walking down the street. That's how that song formed."1. Leave This Town
2. Another Lie
3. Friend Zone
5. When Dogs Run Away
6. Look at Those Flames
7. Two People
8. Run From You
12. Dear God$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Crooked TeethPapa Roach has never taken the easy way out and they aren't going to start now. Over the past two decades the group have established themselves as true trendsetters in heavy music: They've been nominated for two Grammys, toured the globe with everyone from Eminem to Marilyn Manson and crafted the nÜ metal anthem "Last Resort," which is still in heavy rotation on rock radio seventeen years after its release. However, the group's tenth full-length Crooked Teeth sees the band returning to their humble-and hungry-roots. The album was recorded in a cramped West Hollywood studio with up-and-coming producers Nicholas "RAS" Furlong and Colin Brittain, who grew up listening to Papa Roach and inspired them to revisit some of the traits that personally endeared the band to them, most notably frontman Jacoby Shaddix's remarkable rapping technique.
"We've always kind of considered ourselves to be the bastard cousins of everything we've every been involved with so we wanted to be true to that and switch things up this time around," Shaddix says. "The first time we met up with RAS and Colin, they said that [2000's] Infest was on constant rotation when they were growing up and they wanted to bring back some of that fire." The connection between the artists and producers was immediate and the first song Papa Roach-which also features guitarist Jerry Horton, bassist Tobin Esperance, and drummer Tony Palermo-came up with for Crooked Teeth was "My Medication," an instantly catchy banger that sees Shaddix spitting verses in between massive choruses and ambient accents. "I really felt like we had a personal connection and the music was just there waiting to be written and once we nailed that song things really clicked and we knew exactly what we had to do" Furlong explains. "We really followed our instincts and tried something unproven with this record and because of that we ended up with a bold, courageous and more adventurous version of Papa Roach." It was in this studio that "old school" Papa Roach ways, morphed to create this "new school" Papa Roach sound.
From the instantly infectious nature of the title track to the atmospheric sheen of the ballad "Periscope" (which features Skylar Grey) and the hip-hop rock mashup "Sunrise Trailer Park" (which features an impassioned verse from Machine Gun Kelly). Crooked Teeth displays the various sides of Papa Roach and illustrates why they've managed to remain relevant while musical trends ebb and flow. "We didn't go into this album with the intention of trying to write radio singles," Horton explains. "The collection of songs was really about bookending everything that we've done prior to this album and reintroducing Papa Roach to people who didn't realize the depth that we have," says Palermo. "The whole idea was to take the classic elements of Papa Roach that everyone loved and revamp them into a modern version of the sound through the creative process," adds Furlong. "We just wanted to flip everything on its head and see what would happen and it turned out more amazing than any of us could have expected."
"The people who have wanted to hear me rap for years are gonna love some of the viscousness on this record," Shaddix explains adding that while he had his own initial reservations about some of the album's more unorthodox moments - such as the 808 bass drop into a metal breakdown on the album title track, "Crooked Teeth" - ultimately those adventurous decisions are what make the album such a refreshing change of pace in a rock climate that's grown increasingly sterile. "I'd like to personally thank all of the guys in the band for making this happen because all it takes is one person to give you a shot and this was definitely mine," Furlong adds. "I want to be one of the best producers in modern day music so I wanted to work as hard for these guys as they would for themselves because as a producer it was my job to push them to get the kind of quality work everyone has been expecting."
Just as Papa Roach felt like they still had something to prove with this record, so did the production team who attempted to bring in elements of music from different genres and parts of the world while still staying true to Papa Roach's sound. "One of the big elements in my production is finding those pockets of rhythm that people associate more with rap or reggae," Furlong explains, a fact that came in especially handy when Shaddix was fine-tuning his freestyle skills. "I know rap rhythms because I grew up listening to hip-hop, so I was able to make sure that the delivery was on point and the beat was in the pocket so it didn't suffer from a lot of the stylistic pitfalls that can happen when you merge rock and rap."
Crooked Teeth also sees Shaddix pulling no punches lyrically, as evidenced on intensely personal tracks like "Born For Greatness," produced by Jason Evigan (Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Kehlani, Madonna), which sees Shaddix getting sentimental about his three children, or "American Dream" where the lifelong pacifist begs the listener to ask, "have you ever thought war was a sickness?" "My father is a Vietnam veteran and a lot of those soldiers came back to a country where people weren't accepting them back into society or aware of the effects that war has on your psyche," Shaddix says of the song." "Post-traumatic stress disorder and the disintegration of the American family are things I've dealt with personally and I knew other people could relate to. I think that's what makes this record bold. Nothing was off limits when it came to what was on my mind."
Never one to shy away from difficult topics, Papa Roach dug deep with Crooked Teeth and refused to censor themselves when it came to their opinion of the current political landscape and organized religion. For example, on "None Of The Above," every ounce of musical intensity on the album is mirrored by Shaddix's words whether he's screaming, singing or rhyming. "It took me a long time, but eventually I realized that in life we're all human and we all make mistakes whether you're the president or the preacher, you know?" Shaddix explains when asked about the latter song. "It's an example of how I can get lost in a storyline and explore so many different issues in one track and that's what I love about this record. Just the spark of an idea would instantly ignite and the next thing we knew we had another song that we all loved."
In many ways making Crooked Teeth reminded Shaddix of the band's early days, well before they sold millions of albums and became a household name. "When we were in the rehearsal space I wasn't thinking about who I needed to impress, I was thinking about how much I love making music with the guys in this band," Shaddix admits. "It feels honest and it feels pure," adds Esperance. Fittingly, throughout the process, Shaddix gained inspiration from bands like Led Zeppelin and Faith No More, acts who constantly redefined themselves and were never content to rest on the merits of a hit single." This band encompasses some of my greatest victories, but it's also brought out some of my darkest character flaws," Shaddix summarizes, "so I have kind of a love-hate relationship with this music, but I can't stop because I've got too much of my life invested in it at this point. We are a purpose-driven band and I've got a responsibility to myself and our fans to continue to create."1. Break The Fall
2. Crooked Teeth
3. My Medication
4. Born For Greatness
5. American Dreams
8. Sunrise Trailer Park
10. None Of The Above$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
GenerationJoyrides atop a walloping disco beat and furious percussive guitars, headed somewhere between the Rapture, Chic, and Talking Heads, but with a cartoonish giddiness that takes me back to the heyday of Junior Senior and Scissor Sisters. - Stereogum
Rising stars - DJ Mag
On their full-length 2014 debut Voyage, L.A duo De Lux learned how to
take their influences and create a sound all their own-a beyond-their-years
synthesis of post-punk, disco, funk and of course synthesizer wizardry,
drawing inspiration from the same combination of agitation and exhilaration
that helped LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads deliver some of the most
danceable social commentary ever. And now that they've found their sound,
De Lux are creating a story to go with it on their new album Generation: "All
of these things that they put us through," sings co-founder and multi-instrumentalist
Sean Guerin, "I'm writing it down / I'm writing it down."
They first started writing Generation in the kind of uncommitted
instances that happen so rarely once a new band puts out its first album. Once
Voyage was released, De Lux found themselves playing and interviewing and
touring and remixing-"All fun!" says Sean-but they had to fight to find time
to write. A random Instagram of work-in-progress song "It's A Combination"
was the tipping point, when Sean and co-founder Isaac Franco realized they'd
been rough-drafting for a year: "Let's finish it now," they decided, and that's
the exact moment when Generation officially started.
They returned to the L.A. practice space where they wrote and recorded
Voyage, this time with new instruments-like the little-known but sought-after
synthesizer guitar beloved of King Crimson's Adrian Belew-and new inspirations,
chief among them punk peformance artist Karen Finley, whose 1987
debut album Sean discovered at a Seattle record store simply because it
looked promising. Her infamously uncensored lyrics made him realize there
was more he could sing about, too: "You admire the ambition behind her
saying whatever she wants," he says.
So if Generation is a darker album than Voyage-and it's inherited plenty
of the modern urban anxiety of David Byrne-that's because it's a fearlessly
honest and candid album, too. In fact, call it a millennial documentary. In
Generation's eleven songs, De Lux chart the distance between childhood and
adulthood, nostalgia and aspiration and dream and reality, all with unflinching
autobiographical detail. (And with a secret nod to the Pokemon theme, too.)
Says Sean: "When I write lyrics, I try and be as specific as possible. We think
about if someone listens to us in 30 years: 'Oh, that's what was going on at
The result is a sort of Less Than Zero for the post-Social Network era.
Think of it as a nighttime freeway drive that starts with the propulsive "L.A.
Threshold" and rides the borderline between feel-good rhythm and artfully
sophisticated sentiment. "There's dark moments, but it's still fun," explains
Sean. "The first album was just more innocent." There's new space in De Lux's
sense of rhythm and groove, says Isaac, for Sean to say what he needs to say:
"The song gives him the freedom to be himself."
And so Generation is an album about high highs, low lows and the vast
space in between. "Center of L.U.B" is a roller-skate jam that starts with a
Can-style guitar riff before spinning into an examination of one utility company
employee's ennui-you knew this wasn't going to be a love song,
right?-while "It's A Combination" is a brooding Italo disco track and
unexpected piano piece "Conditions" is like Harry Nilsson or John Lennon
suddenly transplanted to Rough Trade Records. Then there's the alternately
hilarious and harrowing "Oh Man The Future"-a satirical reading on the shape
of things to come, propelled by a bass-and-drum rhythm right off one of ESG's
first EPs-to the desolate-yet-funky "When Your Life Feels Like A Loss," where
De Lux dissect just what happens when "you think you're special/no, you're
not special/you're just an average guy."
In other words, Generation isn't a departure. This is De Lux going
deeper, not farther away, and the result is surely the most anthropologically
daring dancefloor album of the year. That might seem difficult to pull off, but
that's why they did it, explains Sean: "At some point we realized creativity is
just limitless," he says. "You can do anything. There might be certain people
who think, 'Oh, you can't do that.' That's when you say, 'Well-I'm doing it!'"1. LA Threshold
3. Living In An Open Place
4. Center of L.U.B.
5. Simba Simba Simba
6. No One Really Cares Who You Are
7. Oh Man The Future
9. When Your Life Feels Like A Loss
10. It's A Combination
11. Someday Now$20.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
El Pintor"Indie rock's elite class" - Billboard
"The masters of emotional turbulence." - Q Magazine
'El Pintor' is Interpol's fifth and most exhilarating studio album. It's a driving, relentless record, taut and epic in equal measure.
The album, recorded as a three-piece with frontman & guitarist Paul Banks picking up the bass, kicks off with "All The Rage Back Home," signaling a return to what Interpol does best, layering pulsing bass, bursts of guitar, and driving drums beneath Banks' instantly recognizable voice.
Meanwhile, "My Desire" features a throbbing beat and insistent guitar riffs that shoot off like flares into the night, while on "Same Town, New Story" Banks crafted up an unexpected melodic context for Daniel Kessler's laser-sharp guitar lines.
In contrast with previous records, Interpol took a step back on 'El Pintor' and let the songs happen. What emerged is something urgent and compelling, something revitalized and
reenergized. The result is as accomplished and thrilling a collection as the band has ever released.1. All The Rage Back Home
2. My Desire
4. Same Town, New Story
5. My Blue Supreme
6. Everything Is Wrong
7. Breaker 1
8. Ancient Ways
9. Tidal Wave
10. Twice As Hard$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Way We SeparateThomas Mullarney and Jacob Gossett, aka Brooklyn duo Beacon,
introduced themselvesto the world with theNo Body and ForNow EPs,
both released last year on Ghostly International. The EPs were united
by minimalist, R&B-inuenced instrumentation, and also by a lyrical
theme, with both serving as meditations on the darkness that
underpins the most intense of human emotions: love.
The duo's debut album The Ways We Separate both consolidates and
developsthese ideas. The album focuses, asthe title suggests, on the
idea of separation - both within the context of relationships and in a
more intimate, psychological sense. As Mullarney explains, The
narrative contained inside The Ways We Separate deals with two kinds
ofseparation: one where two entities grow apart, and the other where
we grow apart from ourselves. Over the course of a relationship, the
two sometimes happen together, one being the result of the other.
Desires, passions and regrets are central to the songs on The Ways We
Separate, which take a variety of perspectives to construct a nuanced
reection on the album's central theme. 'Between the Waves' draws a
clever analogy between relationships and soundwaves falling out of
phase: I know all the ways we separate/ Where we start to fade at
di erent frequencies. 'Overseer' catalogues a parting of the ways with
discom ting clarity: Isn't it ne?/ Taking it slow?/ Watching you watch
me walk out your door. And album closer 'Split in Two' explores how th
extremes of love and loss can take you far away from being the person
you thought you were, making explicit the connection between the two
ideas of separation: What I'd do for you?, sings Thomas Mullarney,
Split myself in half/ Divided into two.
Musically, The Ways We Separate nds Beacon working with a richer
sonic palette than ever before -as Gossett says, The production on
this album is much more expansive than anything thing we've done
thusfar. We spent a lot of time exploring new gear and experimenting
with how to pull a wide range of sound out of various instruments.
Some ofthe key sonicsthatshaped this LP are analogue synthesis, lots
of heavily processed guitar work, and vocal layering/processing. While
the abiding mood remains that of late-night introspection, the
production draws from elements of hip hop and a wide gamut of
electronic music, marrying intricate beats and subtle textures to
honeyed pop melodiesthat belie the album's conceptual depth. Rarely
has bleakness sounded so pretty - this is a record that's deceptively,
compellingly beautiful, an exploration of a place both discom ting and
darkly seductive.1. Bring You Back
2. Feeling's Gone
3. Between The Waves
6. Late November
7. Studio Audience
10. Split in Two$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Give You The GhostPoliça's debut album, Give You The Ghost, is 11 perfectly formed auto-tuned songs that re-shape the intersection of pop and digitised R&B. And for all Poliça's synthetic manipulation, Channy's soft vocals and Ryan's electronic soundscapes reveal a tender heart beneath, pulsating with life and raw emotion. Give You The Ghost opens with the attention grabbing sonic of first track 'Amongster', the two drummers immediately coming into full effect as it builds to a heady mass of beats, bass and Channy's wandering vocals. 'Violent Games' continues the heavy on the drums theme, with duelling beats that intensify to machine gun-like levels, led by Channy's urgent and cyclical vocals "Tremble at the taste of / Tremble at the taste of / Tremble at the taste of in his hands".
Born out of the break-up of a recent relationship, the majority of Give You The Ghost reflects the difficulty of facing up to your mistakes and making peace with them; an exorcism via exciting new musical possibilities. "The recurring theme of this record is 'what in the hell just happened and who in the hell am I anyways'" says Channy. This redemptive mood is key for the track 'Dark Star', released online late last year amidst a viral whirlwind. Backed by smooth brass breakdowns throughout and mid-tempo loping rhythms, it's typical of Poliça's often meditative content fused with the addictive refrain "Ain't a man who can pull me down from my Dark Star".
First sashaying single proper 'Lay Your Cards Out' and the dreamy 'Wandering Star' both feature Mike Noyce of Bon Iver on vocals and are equally as deliciously funk laden as they are hypnotic, with more ratatat drums from Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson, propelling the lush arrangements and slinky bass, provided by Chris Bierden.1. Amongster
2. I See My Mother
3. Violent Games
4. Dark Star
6. The Maker
7. Lay Your Cards Out (feat. Mike Noyce)
8. Fist Teeth Money
9. Happy Be Fine
10. Wandering Star
11. Leading To Death$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Lese MajestyHerein bumps and soars Lese Majesty, the new sonic action of Shabazz
Palaces. Honed and primal, chromed and primo. A unique and glorified
offering into our ever-uniforming musical soundscape. Lese Majesty is
a beatific war cry, born of a spell, acknowledging that sophistication and
the instinctual are not at odds; Indeed an undoing of the lie of their
Lese Majesty is not a launching pad for the group's fan base increasing
propaganda. It is a series of astral suites, recorded happenings, shared.
A dare to dive deep into Shabazz Palaces sounds, vibrations unfettered.
A dope-hex thrown from the compartments that have artificially contained
us all and hindered our sublime collusion.
These reveries were sent to Palaceer Lazaro and Fly Guy 'Dai in the
year of gun beat battles in excess; In a succession of days, whilst walking
in dreams and in varied transcendental states .(every minute of every
day is filled with observation and composition. In action). Songs are
committed and gathered by robots at Protect and Exalt Labs, a Black
Space in Seattle,Washington.
The visual features of Lese Majesty are resultant of the gleanings of
fellow Constellationaire, Nep Sidhu.
The Black Constellation squads up, protects and exalts the messages
within, and colludes accordingly. We thank you.1. Dawn in Luxor
2. Forerunner Foray
3. They Come in Gold
4. Solemn Swears
5. Harem Aria
6. Noetic Noiromantics
7. The Ballad of Lt. Maj. Winnings
10. ...down 155th in the MCM Snorkel
11. Divine of Form
13. Colluding Oligarchs
14. Suspicion of a Shape
15. MindGlitch Keytar TM Theme
16. Motion Sickness
17. New Black Wave
18. Sonic MythMap for the Trip Back$25.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Four Foot ShackHow "deconstructed" can a group get? How about just one vocal, one bass, one guitar, and a basic beat supplied by stomping on a mini-tambourine-doohickey? That's exactly what everyone's favorite storyteller/narrator, Les Claypool, is incorporating in his new band, Duo de Twang. While Les is still pulling double duty with the Primus lads, he has also found the time to unite with his old buddy, Bryan Kehoe, who fans will recognize from several past Claypool projects, and also as one of the main actors from Les' hilarious jam band mockumentary, 'Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo.' But unlike Primus, DDT focuses more on the Americana/rootsy side of things - as heard throughout the band's debut recording Four Foot Shack, to be released via ATO Records.
And as evidenced by DDT's live shows and debut, Les and Bryan mostly mix traditional tunes, popular covers, and readings of Primus classics (all of which are usually barely recognizable when compared to the original versions). Case in point, the inclusion of "Battle of New Orleans," "Stayin' Alive," "Man in the Box," "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver," and "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" on DDT's debut disc. "A lot of it is just stumbling across it," explains Les about how a tune is selected to be twang-ified. "You're twanging away, and then all of a sudden, something just comes out. And then you laugh about it or you don't. And then you move on. There are tons of songs that we've stumbled across, and these ones just happened to be the ones that stuck."
Upon hearing Four Foot Shack you'll quickly discover that Les and Bryan made it a point to keep things as live-sounding as humanly possible. "It was very live," admits Les. "In fact, it was a little difficult, with all the bleed of the stomping and the bass and the vocals. Every now and again you can hear the studio refrigerator come on or the dog barking at something outside in the background. Once it was there, you had to kind of leave it."
Les added, "The Twang project is me exploring a lot of stuff that I personally listen to; Johnny Horton, Vernon Dalhart, Jerry Reed, Bob Wills, Eddy Cochran stuff like that - it's another door for me to open. I'm doing this sort of Luther Perkins, Johnny Cash guitar-ish type part on my bass, by doing the old ding-dinka-ding, dinka-ding-dinka-ding on a lot of the stuff. It took me a little bit to get that. Now that I've gotten it, I can pull songs out of the air and it's surprising how many songs easily succumb to the twang, and can be complimented by the twang. When all is said and done, it's just a hell of a fun project for me right now. I'll do it 'til it's not fun anymore."1. Four Foot Shack" (Les Claypool's Duo de Twang)
2. Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" (Primus)
3. Amos Moses" (Jerry Reed)
4. Red State Girl" (Les Claypool)
5. The Bridge Came Tumblin' Down" (Stompin' Tom Connors)
6. Boonville Stomp" (Les Claypool)
7. Stayin' Alive" (Bee Gees)
8. Rumble of the Diesel" (Les Claypool)
9. Pipe Line" (The Chantays)
10. Buzzards of Green Hill" (Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade)
11. Hendershot" (Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade)
12. Man in the Box" (Alice in Chains)
13. D's Diner" (Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade)
14. Battle of New Orleans" (Johnny Horton)
15. Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" (Primus)$21.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
CeremonyIt begins with the sound of a church organ, an arpeggio played on the lower notes, a melody teased out in the higher register, before a snare drum beats out an ominous, stuttering tattoo. Three minutes in, guitars begin to rumble like clouds gathering on the horizon, the melody slowly swelling, threatening to tear the sky apart. This is Anna Von Hausswolff's "Epitaph Of Theodor", and as dramatic, instrumental openings to albums go, it's close to overwhelming. But it's followed by something even more intense: "Deathbed", which growls and resonates sinisterly before shards of metallic thunder shatter the drones and a funereal beat forces the song to lurch forward. Only after some four and a half minutes of this ferocious clamour do we hear a human voice, and it's unleashed with a fierce power, rising and swooping, a vast bird pursuing its prey until the song reaches its final, unexpectedly triumphant climax.
You want to talk about compromises? No. Nor does Anna Von Hausswolff.
These two songs alone represent a quarter of 'Ceremony's sixty minutes, but there are eleven more on an album that confounds and dumbfounds from its start to its end. To those who used Anna Von Hausswolff's debut album, Singing From The Grave, to compare her lazily to Kate Bush, it will come as a brutal shock. The fragile atmospheres of that impressive debut, one that earned her huge acclaim in her native Sweden, have been blasted away, and what's emerged from the wasteland left behind is a dizzying masterpiece that, she proudly states, calls upon, amongst others, Elizabeth Fraser, Jefferson Airplane, PJ Harvey, Earth, Barn Owl, Nick Cave and Diamanda Galás.
Though she now lives in Copenhagen, she grew up in the once vibrant, bohemian neighbourhood of Haga in Gothenburg, Sweden, to a family who counted amongst their ancestors Bernhard Reynold von Hausswolff, an 18th Century governor of Falun, Sweden, who helped bring an end to the burning of witches. Her father, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, is a composer and visual artist who's also co-monarch of the kingdoms of Elgaland-Vagaland, so it's perhaps not surprising that she's chosen to pursue a radical direction with her music.
"I didn't just want 'Ceremony' to be a collection of songs," she says. "I wanted it to be like a film, with every single part connected to the other, with shifting moods and settings, but a thread holding all the tracks together. I listen to a lot of film scores, and in many the music is able to move freely without the typical structures that we find in commercial music."
Arguably 'Ceremony's most significant ingredient is the church organ of Gothenburg's vast Annedalkyrkan, whose pipes are featured on the album's striking cover. Employed on nine of the album's thirteen tracks, it also provided von Hausswolff with the excuse to record for five days in the century old building, its cavernous space adding to the record's formidable magnitude. (Work was completed at weekends over several months in producer Filip Leyman's studios.) She found in the organ's sound a link between her own writing and a developing obsession with "drone metal", allowing her to add layers of thick textures to the songs. But - thanks to its inevitable associations with existence and mortality - the organ also suited the themes that lay at the heart of the record, which she defines as "nature and death, or the division of humanity and nature. From the moment we exit the womb, we start our paths towards materialism and destructive behaviour, and these days I feel that the gap between nature and human is growing bigger. I wanted to grasp my inner nature and be unified with nature again. 'Ceremony' is a celebration of life and everything that it contains, especially death, because in death we will be truly one with nature again."
That's not to say that 'Ceremony' is a bleak record, something highlighted by the extraordinary "Harmonica", which sounds like Dead Can Dance channelling a Vashti Bunyan song with arrangements by Ennio Morricone. "It's a song I wrote just after my grandfather passed away," she recalls. "It's about how culture and traditions can travel from generation down to generation, and in this case from him to me by music. Just before he died, he gave me a harmonica and he told me to practise hard and only write about things that are relevant to me. His deathbed inspired me to make 'Ceremony'."
He'd surely be proud of the bold, single-minded consequences of his legacy. Whether it be the placid but grandiose "Ocean", the hymnal "Mountains Crave", the grim, experimentalist "No Body" or the oddly exhilarating "Funeral For My Future Children", 'Ceremony' is a genuinely thrilling, timeless, inventive and even sometimes - in the purest sense of the word - gothic accomplishment.
"This record isn't really about Anna von Hausswolff as a vocalist or as a person," she concludes. "It's about the music and all that it contains. Singing from the Grave was a raw and emotional record that happened fast. I think of it as an impulse. 'Ceremony' is more of a vision: something unfinished and unresolved, a glimpse of the future."1. Epitaph of Theodor
3. Mountains Grave
5. Red Sun
6. Epitaph of Daniel
7. No Body
8. Liturgy of Light
12. Funeral for my Future Children
13. Sun Rise$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now