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Birds Of Fire'
BirdsSeth Glier's new album Birds is steeped in conflict and contradictions. There's grief and loss, but also strength and resilience; doubt and dismay, but also a sense of optimism as Glier confronts heavy topics and wrestles them into the daylight.
Glier (pronounced Gleer) recorded Birds in an airy loft in western Massachusetts outfitted with a grand piano and floor-to-ceiling windows. Birds roost just outside those windows, on the roof of the converted mill building where he lives, and they became his sympathetic audience while Glier made the album. I felt a tremendous amount of comfort talking to the Birds, he says I'd check in with them regularly to see how they thought things were going so far.
Birds is Glier's fifth album, and the latest entry in a burgeoning career that has included a Grammy nomination and a pair of Independent Music Awards while touring with artists including Ani DiFranco and Ryan Adams.
The songs on Birds range from personal to political, and are bound together by the awareness that our world is a fragile place that is all the more magical for it. Glier makes that point on a large scale with Water on Fire, a terse, grinding tune that opens with a cynical reworking of a Ray Charles lyric as Glier uses fracking to dig into the false equivalence between freedom and capitalism. Hasn't Hit Me Yet has a more visceral, intimate approach: the soulful slow jam, full of warm guitars and multi-tracked vocals, is about the death of Glier's autistic brother.
Together, those songs represent the opposite poles of Birds. I was really trying to explore connections on this record, Glier says. Among those connections is the one between race and the criminal justice system on Justice for All, a raw chain-gang stomp that sounds almost like an old field recording. Like I Do takes a more oblique tack, drawing out feelings of anger through the use of noisy synthesizers and fuzzed-out bass pads.
The songs on Birds reflect a scope of sound and style: the title track is lush and & orchestral, for example, while Too Much Water pairs Glier's voice and piano with subtle accompaniment from horns, for a classic, elegant feel that calls to mind Harry Nilsson in the early '70s. People Like Us is jaunty and up-tempo, while the trebly guitar arpeggios and moaning saxophone on Just Because I Can sound like a sock-hop slow dance, until you zero in on lyrics delivered by a narrator who dynamites his domestic bliss simply for the power trip. Conflict. Contradiction.
Even the cover tune, a reimagined version of Buffalo Springfield's For What It's Worth, evokes urgency. Although it was written 50 years ago, it's still about what's happening right now, Glier says.
Birds began taking shape after Glier lost his brother, Jamie, who died in October 2015, and inspired a TED Talk performance that Glier gave in 2016. My brother passing away was a huge component of where I was and what I was looking for, Glier says. In particular, I was looking for meanings, wanting his life to mean more than just being over.
For a long time afterward, Glier passed the time by writing songs and inspecting each melody with the feathered fellows by his windowsill. Instead of recording the album in a Los Angeles studio, as he did on his 2015 album If I Could Change One Thing, he decided to make Birds at home.
I thought that I should just stay close to the windows here, Glier says. I think this sort of happened by accident, but by the time I started recording the record, it was fall in New England, which is a profoundly beautiful death. The air is full of honesty, the sky is full of geese, and there is bright gorgeousness woven into the dying of things. It all seeped into the textures of this record.1. Sunshine
2. Water On Fire
4. Just Because I Can
5. People Like Us
6. Like I Do
7. For What It's Worth
8. Too Much Water
9. Justice For All
10. Hasn't Hit Me Yet
11. I'm Still Looking$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Birds In The Trap Sing McKnightIn addition to inciting widespread fan fervor, Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight has drawn overwhelming critical and tastemaker support across the board. Pitchfork claimed, "SCOTT's second studio album, Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight, is the Houston rapper's most concise and cohesive project to date," adding, "He has always been a mood-setter and a vocalist, and he is in full command of the vibe, tone, and mood of this entire project more than ever." Houston Press wrote, "SCOTT's playground is chaos; the pure and unbridled variety that some have tried to emulate live but have ultimately settled for second place," while W Magazine fittingly dubbed him, "Your new rap superhero." Billboard described the album as "his own trap opera," and Rolling Stone profiled him extensively.
Over the course of 14 tracks, TRAVIS threads together an engaging, enthralling, and epic patchwork of anesthetized and apocalyptic production, mind-numbing raps, and glorious hooks punctuated by an A-list cast of collaborators. Kendrick Lamar delivers hard-hitting and hypnotic bars in the middle of "Goosebumps" just before a signature chantable chorus. "The Ends" veers between a haunting hum and a verse-for-verse tandem of our protagonist and Andre 3000 of OutKast. "Way Back" drips into a searing guitar solo as "Sweet Sweet" fires off one of his stickiest hooks to date. By the time The Weeknd and TRAVIS serve up a smooth send-off on "Wonderful," you're in the Trap for life, and you won't want to leave
Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight is finally here, and TRAVIS SCOTT's presence can be felt throughout pop culture louder than ever.LP 1
1. the ends (feat. Andre 3000)
2. way back
3. coordinate (feat. Blac Youngsta)
4. through the late night (feat. Kid Cudi)
5. beibs in the trap (with Nav)
6. sdp interlude
7. sweet sweet
1. outside (feat. 21 Savage)
2. goosebumps (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
3. first take (feat. Bryson Tiller)
4 pick up the phone (with Young Thug feat. Quavo)
6. guidance (feat. K. Forest)
7. wonderful (feat. The Weeknd)$26.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Chicago FireThere's an old saying that a great jazz musician never plays a song the same way once. That could certainly be said of Eric Alexander. One of the busiest players in jazz yet his playing is as imaginative as ever, with the ideas pouring out of his horn. His harmonic inventiveness is exceptional and he'll run the changes at such length at times that you wonder if he'll resolve everything in time and end up back on the beat - but he always does. He has a big, full, sound, and a ferocious technique, with access to the full range of his instrument, all under super-human control. Both the Bird and the Sonny Rollins legacies have been thoroughly internalized but here Eric explores the repertoire of another school of tenor playing - the Chicagoans. With long-time collaborators Harold Mabern, John Webber and Joe Farnsworth Eric gives the nod to some Windy City players who helped shape the sound of jazz for decades Eddie Harris, Von Freeman and others.1. Save Your Love For Me
2. The Bee Hive
3. Eddie Harris
4. Just One of Those Things
5. Blueski for Vonski
6. Mr. Stitt
7. You Talk That Talk
8. Don't Take Your Love From Me$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ContrastsDave Holland always described Sam Rivers' groups as his finishing school. It was Sam who instructed him to play "all the music" - inside, outside, atonal, swing, blues, and all the hues of the jazz and chamber music traditions. By the time of Contrasts, Rivers and Holland had been working together consistently for seven years (with Dave's Conference of the Birds at the start of the story), a powerhouse combination of multi-reeds and double bass. Of the drummers who passed through the line-up, Thurman Barker was one of the most creative, rippling across drum kit and marimba. Young trombone innovator George Lewis had already worked with Holland and Barker in Anthony Braxton groups. For Contrasts everyone was fired up and ready to play.
Sam Rivers (soprano and tenor saxophones, flute)
George Lewis (trombone)
Dave Holland (bass)
Thurman Barker (drums, marimba)
Recorded December 19791. Circles
7. Lines$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Sweeten The Distance (Awaiting Repress)The first line of the title track on Neal Casal's tenth studio effort Sweeten The Distance says much about where the storied singer/songwriter/guitarist finds himself in his career: Nothing's gonna stop you now, everything you want is coming in good time. After 20-plus years of writing songs, recording albums and touring the world, there's a confidence and patience in his latest work that reveals an artist in full creative flight.
Produced by Thom Monahan (Fruit Bats, Devendra Banhart, Vetiver), Sweeten The Distance is indeed a defining moment in Casal's discography. Rich acoustic textures and sophisticated melodies of songs like Bird With No Name, and Need Shelter and Gyrls of Wynter give way to a psyched-out ambience on White Fence Round House, Feathers for Bakersfield and How Quiet It Got.
The depth of production, with its purposefully layered sounds and oceanic atmospherics, makes Sweeten The Distance as much a multi-dimensional headphone experience as a soul-stirring modern songwriter record. And as such, Casal emerges as an essential voice in the new cosmic California movement.
In addition to his critically acclaimed solo work, Neal Casal made a name for himself as the lead guitarist in Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, with whom he recorded four albums: Easy Tiger, Follow the Lights, Cardinology and III/IV. Currently he serves as a central component of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood with whom he contributes lead guitar and vocal harmonies. Over the last year, Casal also added guitar and vocals to Ryan Adams Ashes & Fire, Fruit Bats Tripper, The Jayhawks Mockingbird Time, Vetiver The Errant Charm and a forthcoming recording by Beachwood Sparks.1. Sweeten The Distance
2. Bird With No Name
3. Need Shelter
4. Let It All Begin
5. White Fence Round House
6. So Many Enemies
7. Feathers For Bakersfield
8. Time & Trouble
9. How Quiet It Got
10. The Gyrls of Wynter
11. Angel and Youre Mine$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
OneMoving Panoramas is an all-gal dream gaze trio from Austin, TX. The band is made up of Leslie Sisson (The
Wooden Birds, Matt Pond PA), Rozie Castoe and Karen Skloss (Black Forrest Fire). One is the band's debut album. One was named one of KUTX' Top Tracks Of 2015 So Far.1. One
10. Harmony$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Dark Was The NightThis triple LP contains thirty-one exclusive tracks that will benefit the Red Hot Organization, an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS. This is their 20th anniversary and 20th release. Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National produced the album, and John Carlin, the founder of the Red Hot Organization was the executive producer.
The complete list of artists that recorded tracks for this release: Andrew Bird, Antony + Bryce Dessner, Arcade Fire, Beach House, Beirut, Blonde Redhead + Devastations, Bon Iver, Bon Iver & Aaron Dessner, The Books featuring Jose Gonzalez, Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti), Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues, The Decemberists, Dirty Projectors + David Byrne, Kevin Drew, Feist + Ben Gibbard, Grizzly Bear, Grizzly Bear + Feist, Iron & Wine, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Kronos Quartet, Stuart Murdoch, My Brightest Diamond, My Morning Jacket, The National, The New Pornographers, Conor Oberst & Gillian Welch, Riceboy Sleeps, Dave Sitek, Spoon, Sufjan Stevens, Yeasayer and Yo La Tengo.1. Knotty Pine
2. Cello Song
3. Train Song
4. Brackett, WI
5. Deep Blue Sea
6. So Far Around The Bend
8. Feeling Good
9. Dark Was The Night
10. I Was Young When I Left Home
11. Big Red Machine
14. Service Bell
19. El Caporal
20. Ispiration Information
21. With A Girl Like You
22. Blood Pt. 2
23. Hey, Snow White
24. Gentle Hour
25. Another Saturday
27. Amazing Grace
28. The Giant Of Illinois
30. When The Road Runs Out
31. Love Vs. Porn$29.99Vinyl LP - 3 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Bon IverBon Iver is Justin Vernon returning to former haunts with a new spirit. The reprises are there, solitude, quietude, hope and desperation compressed, but always a rhythm arises, a pulse vivified by gratitude and grace notes. The winter, the legend, has faded to just that, and this is the new momentary present.
Bon Iver is often equated with just me, says Vernon, but you are who surrounds you, and for Bon Iver I wanted to invite those voices as musical catalysts. Thus on the track Beth/Rest and throughout the album, we hear the pedal steel of Greg Leisz (Lucinda Williams, Bill Frisell), the uniquely layered low end of Colin Stetsons (Tom Waits, Arcade Fire) saxophones, the riffing of Mike Lewis (Happy Apple, Andrew Bird) altos and tenors, and the lush horns of C.J. Camerieri (Rufus Wainwright, Sufjan Stevens). Bon Iver regulars Sean Carey, Mike Noyce and Matt McCaughan contributed vocals, drums and production, Rob Moose (Antony and the Johnsons, The National) helped with arranging and added strings, and fellow members of Volcano Choir, Jim Schoenecker and Tom Wincek provided processing.
Bon Iver was recorded and mixed over the course of three years at April Base Studios, a remodeled veterinarians clinic located in rural Fall Creek, Wisconsin.1. Perth
2. Minnesota, WI
6. Hinnom, TX
9. Lisbon, OH
10. Beth/Rest$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
St. Vincent (Awaiting Repress)Annie Clark, better known by her stage name, St. Vincent, is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She began her music career as a
member of The Polyphonic Spress and was also part of Sufjan Stevens' touring band before forming her own band in 2006. Annie currently resides in
Her debut album was Marry Me, and was followed by Actor (2009). Her third album Strange Mercy was released on September 13, 2011.
Clark has opened shows for such acts as Television, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, Jolie Holland, John Vanderslice, Death Cab for Cutie and Grizzly Bear.
Teased late last year in a series of cryptic status updates, the forthcoming self-titled album from St. Vincent is one of the most anticipated of 2014.
The album was produced by John Congleton and features Dap-Kings drummer Homer Steinweiss and Midlake's McKenzie Smith on percussion. I knew the groove needed to be paramount, Annie Clark said in a press release. I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.1. Rattlesnake
2. Birth in Reverse
3. Prince Johnny
4. Huey Newton
5. Digital Witness
6. I Prefer Your Love
8. Bring Me Your Loves
10. Every Tear Disappears
11. Severed Crossed Fingers$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now