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Last SplashIn October, The Breeders announced their return to 4AD, along with a new album, All Nerve, released this Spring. We are also happy be reissuing their previous four albums on vinyl. Pod is the bands 1990 debut and is continually ranked as one of the best albums of the 90s. Recorded by Steve Albini in 10 days, it was released to critical acclaim and Kurt Cobain called it one of his favorite albums of all time. In 1993, they released their breakout album Last Splash, which brought the band into the forefront with the runaway hit "Cannonball". The song made it to #2 on the charts, and was followed by a tour supporting Nirvana, a spot on the Lollapalooza tour and in 1994, a platinum certification. Nine years later, after an indefinite hiatus, The Breeders returned with Title TK. The Guardian UK called it a welcome return to punky pop that knows how to flex some melodic muscle." In 2008, The Breeders released their eclectic fourth album in 18 years, Mountain Battles. Spin gave the album 4 stars, and the NME called it a joyfully lived-in and boundary-free album."1. New Year
3. Invisible Man
4. No Aloha
6. Do You Love Me Now?
8. I Just Wanna Get Along
9. Mad Lucas
10. Divine Hammer
14. Drivin' On 9
15. Roi (Reprise)$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Mountain BattlesBy turns goofy, groovy, melancholy, strung-out, catchy, atmospheric, and at times, impossibly lovely, Mountain Battles underlines that Kim Deal is a songwriter and musician of rare intuition. Her songs move from offhand charm to emotional truth with casual grace, balancing scuffed-up noise against fraught silence; timeless structures against strange new shapes. And throughout is Kim's unique voice - languid, urgent, bruised, and beautiful. Mountain Battles captures all the bittersweet electricity of classic Breeders records like Pod and Last Splash, and still manages to break new ground.1. Overglazed
2. Bang On
3. Night Of Joy
4. We're Gonna Rise
5. German Studies
7. Walk It Off
8. Regalame Esta Noche
9. Here No More
10. No Way
11. It's The Love
12. Mountain Battles$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
All NerveThe Breeders announce their return to 4AD with the infectious new album All Nerve, the first music to be released by the classic lineup behind the iconic album, Last Splash.1. Nervous Mary
2. Wait in the Car
3. All Nerve
6. Walking with a Killer
7. Howl at the Summit
8. Archangel's Thunderbird
9. Dawn: Making an Effort
10. Skinhead #2
11. Blues at the Acropolis$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Title TKIn October, The Breeders announced their return to 4AD, along with a new album, All Nerve, released this Spring. We are also happy be reissuing their previous four albums on vinyl. Pod is the bands 1990 debut and is continually ranked as one of the best albums of the 90s. Recorded by Steve Albini in 10 days, it was released to critical acclaim and Kurt Cobain called it one of his favorite albums of all time. In 1993, they released their breakout album Last Splash, which brought the band into the forefront with the runaway hit "Cannonball". The song made it to #2 on the charts, and was followed by a tour supporting Nirvana, a spot on the Lollapalooza tour and in 1994, a platinum certification. Nine years later, after an indefinite hiatus, The Breeders returned with Title TK. The Guardian UK called it a welcome return to punky pop that knows how to flex some melodic muscle." In 2008, The Breeders released their eclectic fourth album in 18 years, Mountain Battles. Spin gave the album 4 stars, and the NME called it a joyfully lived-in and boundary-free album."1. Little Fury
2. London Song
3. Off You
4. The She
5. Too Alive
6. Son of Three
7. Put on A Side
8. Full On Idle
9. Sinister Foxx
10. Forced to Drive
11. T and T
12. Huffer$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
PacerThe one and only full length from Kim Deal's post-Pixes and Breeders group, released in 1995. Though The Amps were originally intended to be a solo project for Deal, they quickly developed into a full fledged band, recording tunes that were slated to be part of the 3rd, never recorded, Breeders' album. Sloppy, raucous, and life-affirming rock and roll that owes more than a little to their fellow Dayton-ites Guided By Voices, Pacer is as good or better as any of the Breeders' releases. Another classic '90s reissue on 180g vinyl from Plain Recordings.1. Pacer
2. Tipp City
3. I Am Decided
4. Mom's Drunk
5. Bragging Party
7. First Revival
8. Full on Idle
9. Breaking the Split Screen Barrier
10. Empty Glasses
11. She's a Girl
12. Dedicated$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
PodIn October, The Breeders announced their return to 4AD, along with a new album, All Nerve, released this Spring. We are also happy be reissuing their previous four albums on vinyl. Pod is the bands 1990 debut and is continually ranked as one of the best albums of the 90s. Recorded by Steve Albini in 10 days, it was released to critical acclaim and Kurt Cobain called it one of his favorite albums of all time. In 1993, they released their breakout album Last Splash, which brought the band into the forefront with the runaway hit "Cannonball". The song made it to #2 on the charts, and was followed by a tour supporting Nirvana, a spot on the Lollapalooza tour and in 1994, a platinum certification. Nine years later, after an indefinite hiatus, The Breeders returned with Title TK. The Guardian UK called it a welcome return to punky pop that knows how to flex some melodic muscle." In 2008, The Breeders released their eclectic fourth album in 18 years, Mountain Battles. Spin gave the album 4 stars, and the NME called it a joyfully lived-in and boundary-free album."1. Glorious
3. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
6. When I Was a Painter
7. Fortunately Gone
10. Only in 3's
11. Lime House
12. Metal Man$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Last Splash (Red Vinyl) (Awaiting Repress)Translucent Red Vinyl
Following the departure of Tanya Donelly, the breakup of The Pixies, and the return of Kelley Deal to the fold, The Breeders' hit the alternative big time with their second record, and its hit singles Cannonball, Divine Hammer, and Saints. The last Breeders album of the 1990s, as Kelley suffered and recovered from drug addiction and Kim found a new outlet in The Amps, Last Splash went platinum and brought Kim Deal's massive song writing talents out from behind the shadow of Black Francis. On translucent red vinyl!1. New Year
3. Invisible Man
4. No Aloha
6. Do You Love Me Now?
8. I Just Wanna Get Along
9. Mad Lucas
10. Divine Hammer
14. Drivin' On 9
15. Roi (Reprise)$23.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Dove (Awaiting Repress)The dream-rock band Belly blazed a bright trail in the '90s, releasing two albums full of taut, yet wondrous music that was memorable for its rumbling bass lines and insistent drumming as it was for its glittering riffs and airy vocals. Their new album Dove, which was recorded with friend of the band Paul Q. Kolderie, places Belly back on that trail, bridging the gaps between reverbed-out bliss and spaghetti-western drone and muscular, hook-forward pop.
Belly came together in 1991, when vocalist-guitarist Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses, The Breeders) began playing with brothers (and fellow Rhode Islanders) Tom (guitar) and Chris (drums) Gorman, as well as bassist Fred Abong. He left before the band's 1993 debut Star came out, and Gail Greenwood, then playing around Providence, joined. Star was a hit with critics and listeners alike, spawning the alt-radio and MTV staple "Feed the Tree." The band toured extensively behind the gold-certified album, touring with the likes of Radiohead, the Cranberries, and Pavement and playing a show at the Hippodrome in Paris where they opened for U2 and the Velvet Underground.
Belly opened 1994 with two Grammy nominations, scoring nods for Best Alternative Music Album and Best New Artist at that year's edition of the awards. That summer, the band began work on King, their harder-edged second album. Belly toured behind that 1995 release extensively, opening for R.E.M. in Europe and bringing along Catherine Wheel and Superchunk for the American tour; their last gig was in November 1995, and the band officially dissolved in 1996.
Since then, Belly's members kept busy, with Donelly releasing a string of hailed solo albums and touring with Throwing Muses, Greenwood performing with brash rockers L7 and revved-up punker Bif Naked, and Tom Gorman performing with fellow New England alt-rockers Buffalo Tom and Donelly's Throwing Muses partner Kristin Hersh before launching a photography business in New York with his brother. They had occasionally broached the topic of getting back together in individual settings; Greenwood and Tom Gorman separately collaborated with Donelly on her Swan Song Series omnibus.
The idea of a Belly reunion, though, gained serious traction a few years ago. "We had just gotten to the point where we were just missing each other, and missing the music," says Donelly. "The music I've been doing in the past several years has been very collaborative, which made me kind of homesick for Belly; I missed that sense of having a band."
Early rehearsals showed that Belly was still very much a unit, the years falling away as the quartet went to work on older material. "We immediately fell back into our original relationship and musical dynamics," says Donelly. "Just a lot of laughing-it felt like a real reunion in the best and truest sense from the first practice on. We had a bit of trepidation: 'Is this going to work?' But the first practice really set all our anxiety to rest."
Eventually, though, the band's members, who had collaborated sporadically in the interim, got the itch to bring new songs into their set as a curveball for listeners-and for themselves, too. "You almost want to put yourself in the deep end," says Chris Gorman. "That just seems to be the inclination for creative people-you never just want to feel comfortable. You're always going, 'Well, what's the part of the night that's really going to make me really, really nervous and freaked out?' And that usually is, 'Let's try a new song.' When it works, that's the most the rewarding moment in the night."
Belly previewed some of their new songs, including the prowling "Army of Clay" and the folk-tinged "Human Child," at their early reunion dates to effusive audiences. "The crowds have been amazing," says Donelly. "We've never really operated on a level before where live shows feel genuinely communal. We got such great feedback on the new stuff-people were just as enthusiastic about it," Donelly recalls. That handful of tracks blossomed into Dove, a dozen songs that nod to past glories while also showcasing the four members' growth as songwriters and musicians, adding dramatic flourishes like strings and vibed-out guitars to the group's already widescreen sound.
Belly recorded most of the rhythm tracks for Dove at Stable Sound Studios in Portsmouth, RI, vocals at Greenwood's home studio, and guitars and overdubs in Tom's and Tanya's home studios. The songs spun out of a new songwriting system that was necessitated by the four members' far-flung hometowns. "It required a lot of trust," says Donelly, "because we were sending raw snippets to each other-anything from 30-second pieces to full songs. Tom and Gail and I would send demos back and forth, and then Chris would add drums to whatever snippets he'd heard, and Tom would sew everything together. It would sometimes be a very circuitous route to a song, but it was really fun."
"All three of the songwriters were locked in and working in a way that complemented the others' strengths," says Chris Gorman. "Gail's writing was in top form. Tanya is able to make anybody's song her own-she's got that gift. And Tom has really honed his arrangement and production style."
The shimmering, expansive "Shiny One," which pairs dreamy vocal harmonies with urgent riffing and dramatic string flourishes, is one of the best examples of Belly's new process. "I have a lot of affection for that one," says Donelly. "It was the first completely collaborative song we've ever done-Gail wrote the riff and the chorus, Tom and I wrote the verse and bridge, Chris's parts shaped the direction and vibe. When I hear it, I hear all four of us equally."
While Dove's flight was aided by previews of some new tracks during the band's reunion tour, the band is excited to release the album in full, and to show it off to audiences around the world. "We're all looking forward to presenting these songs in a live setting, and having the opportunity to play together again," says Chris Gorman. "We should be in for a really exciting year."1. Stars Align
2. Shiny One
5. Suffer the Fools
7. Human Child
8. Army of Clay
10. Heartstrings$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Hollywood Holidays: The Classic 1991 Radio Broadcast1000 Only Limited Edition
This remarkable release captures The Pixies at their finest, immediately before Christmas 1991, playing a show - broadcast by public radio network KCRW FM - at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles.
From the outset, this legendary New England four piece are at the very top of their game - opening with the savage rip-snorting blast of Rock Music, before powering into the gloriously riff-driven surf instrumental Cecilia Ann.
Even when pausing for breath, the slower numbers like Gouge Away and Subbacultcha are tough-as-nails and seethe with a barely contained fury. In addition to the usual Francis-Santiago-Deal-Lovering quartet, this performance benefits from the added keyboard wizardry of the mighty Ubus Eric Drew Feldman, who beefs up The Pixies live sound still further.
Eventually, Kim Deals dissatisfaction with Black Francis autocratic leadership style and almost complete domination of the songwriting credits, led to the band splitting apart in early 1993. They took an eleven year career-break - while Francis forged a solo career and Deal went on to achieve further success with The Breeders - and then reconvened in 2004 with the same line-up, albeit - save for a brace of digital singles and a contribution to the Warren Zevon tribute album - only in a live capacity. That much anticipated fifth studio album has yet to materialise.
This December 1991 set is naturally heavily weighted towards the bands then current record, Trompe Le Monde, which had been released just three months earlier in September. All but two of its fifteen songs are represented here - Space (I Believe In) and the title track being the only omissions.
Head On, originally by the Jesus and Mary Chain, is a rare cover version amongst the Black Francis compositions. The only other non-original here is Cecilia Ann, a number cut in the early 1960s by The Surftones. The latter was included on The Pixies 1990 album, Bossanova which also contributes Rock Music and Velouria.
Delving a little further back in time, Gouge Away, Crackity Jones, Wave of Mutilation and Monkey Gone to Heaven are all drawn from Doolittle (1989). Thematically linked - and played back-to-back here - are Manta Ray and Dancing the Mantra Ray, both originally only released as single b-sides. Finally, there is Ed Is Dead, the lone representative from The Pixies debut EP, Come on Pilgrim, released in October 1987.LP 1
1. Rock Music
2. Cecilia Ann
3. Gouge Away
4. Motorway To Roswell
5. Alec Eiffel
7. Crackity Jones
8. Distance Equals Rate Times Time
9. Manta Ray
10. Dancing The Manta Ray
11. Lovely Day
1. Letter To Memphis
2. Palace Of The Brine
3. Ed Is Dead
4. Wave Of Mutilation
5. Monkey Gone To Heaven
6. Bird Dream Of The Olympus Mons
7. The Sad Punk
8. The Navajo Know
9. Planet Of Sound
10. Head On
11. U-Mass$37.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The MountainThe Heartless Bastards' story starts in Dayton, Ohio, where Erika Wennerstrom found the name on a multiple choice video trivia game at a bar. As a songwriting teenager during a time when GBV and Brainiac were packing local bars and three of the Breeders were still in town, Wennerstrom used to sneak into clubs to check out the scene. I would just see those people, my music heroes, hanging out at the bar like everyone else, she remembers. I could see myself in them. It gave me inspiration to do my own thing. After doing the usual business of playing local shows, the trio set out the following year on a regional tour. One of the first gigs of the trip took them to a bar in Akron, where Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney just happened to be one of only a handful of people in the audience. This chance encounter led Wennerstrom and the Heartless Bastards to Fat Possum Records, with whom they released their debut, Stairs and Elevators, in early 2005.
The band moved on with critical praise in their back pocket, including a four-and-a-half star review from Rolling Stone, which took note that, when Wennerstrom opens her throat on Stairs and Elevators she sounds like shes wailing on the shoulders of giants; her sad and angry vocals channeling all the swagger and spit of a young Robert Plant. All This Time, was released during the summer of 2006, it received even more widespread critical acclaim than Stairs and Elevators. The Bastards played hundreds of shows to support the record. They played huge festivals and toured with Wilco and Lucinda Williams. Wennerstroms songs appeared often on TV shows and in films, this would be measured by most as a huge success. Though in Wennerstroms mind her sound and band were still evolving, and she knew it was time for a change.
In true ascetic discipline, she moved to Austin, Texas in 2007 for a change of inspirational scenery and a new recording project. With the help of producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail of Dead), she assembled a group of musicians with whom she gave the songs life and uncovered yet another layer of herself and the Heartless Bastards. The two new Bastards arent Texas ringers, but fellow Dayton brethren Dave Colvin on drums, and Jesse Ebaugh on bass, who actually played on the original demo that hooked Fat Possum. The album, entitled The Mountain, delivers the powerful howl that fans expect from the Heartless Bastards, but also weaves in adventure with mandolins, banjos, strings and Erikas transcendent voice.1. The Mountain
2. Be So Happy
3. Early in the Morning
4. Hold Your Head High
5. Out At Sea
6. Nothing Seems the Same
7. Wide Awake
8. So Quiet
9. Had To Go
10. Witchy Poo
11. Sway$16.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP + 7 - Sealed Buy Now
StarStar is the 1993 debut album by Belly who were Led by singer/guitarist Tanya Donelly, a former member of Throwing Muses and The Breeders, the album showcases her sharp song writing and vocals as she finally got the chance to shine on her own project. The album features the modern rock hits Feed The Tree and Gepetto which propelled the record past gold in the U.S. and helped make Star one of the highlights of the early 90s alternative scene. Star still sounds as fresh and vital as it did when first released over 20 years ago. Reissued on 180 gram vinyl with a 2-sided B&W insert. Long out of print as a UK import, this is the first domestic release on vinyl.1. Someone To Die For
4. Every Word
7. Slow Dog
8. Low Red Moon
9. Feed The Tree
10. Full Moon, Empty Heart
11. White Belly
14. Sad Dress
15. Stay$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
AcrobatsNew album. New sound. On Acrobats London's Peggy Sue has put down the acoustic guitars, this time opting instead for buzzing guitars and crackling amps. Recorded with producer of the moment John Parish --known for his extensive work with PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse and EELS -- Acrobats keeps the propulsive energy of their former work, but this time the sonics back up the mood. Songwriters Rosa and Katy, and drummer Olly called upon early influences like Sonic Youth and The Breeders when conceiving Acrobats which, coupled with recently acquired electric guitars and a new practice space, released the ferocity that had always been swimming just beneath the surface of the band's music. Parish successfully harnesses this newly minted electricity, resulting in the fulfillment of several albums and EP's worth of musical innuendo. Acrobats is certainly still Peggy Sue, but this time we see that behind the wry smile lies a mouthful of sharp, dirty teeth.1. Cut My Teeth
2. Song & Dance
3. Funeral Beat
4. Changed & Waiting
5. Parking Meter Blues
6. All We'll Keep
11.There Always Was$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Stairs And ElevatorsThe Heartless Bastards' story starts in Dayton, Ohio, where Erika Wennerstrom found the name on a multiple choice video trivia game at a bar. As a songwriting teenager during a time when GBV and Brainiac were packing local bars and three of the Breeders were still in town, Wennerstrom used to sneak into clubs to check out the scene. I would just see those people, my music heroes, hanging out at the bar like everyone else, she remembers. I could see myself in them. It gave me inspiration to do my own thing.
After doing the usual business of playing local shows, the trio set out the following year on a regional tour. One of the first gigs of the trip took them to a bar in Akron, where Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney just happened to be one of only a handful of people in the audience. This chance encounter led Wennerstrom and the Heartless Bastards to Fat Possum Records, with whom they released this, their debut, Stairs and Elevators, in early 2005.1. Gray
3. New Resolution
4. My Maker
7. Pass and Fail
8. The Will Song
9. Swamp Song
10. Done Got Old
11. Piano Song
12. Laz$16.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Nerve UpLoneLady, AKA Julie Campbell is a self-styled writer, vocalist and tight guitarist. With little more than thorny determination and a shoestring budget, she built a secluded ramshackle studio in the belly of one of Manchester's crumbling mills and created her debut full length album, Nerve Up in the span of four weeks. The aesthetics of this ex-mill were a pure joy for LoneLady, and invoked the ghosts of bands she loves ... (Joy Division, ESG, Wire, Grace Jones, The Fall, Suicide, PiL). Co-produced by Julie and Guy Fixsen (My Bloody Valentine, The Breeders, Stereolab), LoneLady has delivered far more than just an assembly of songs in album form, but the outcome of a process of making something out of nothing.1. If Not Now
3. Nerve Up
4. Early The Haste Comes
8. Have No Past
10. Fear No More$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Hold Still LifeHold Still Life, which was co-produced by band members Andrew Futral and Rachel Browne, marks Field Mouse's first full-length that's been written and released as a full band. The album was recorded at Seaside Lounge, Brooklyn & Let 'em In, Brooklyn and mixed by Kyle Gilbride (Swearin', Waxahatchee, Upset).
Upon returning from a tour with Laura Stevenson and the Cans in 2013, the band wasted no time arranging the album. Inspired by burgeoning adulthood, social overload and isolation, life in New York, and the realization that life is going by with a terrifying swiftness (plus a handful of breakup songs to boot), Field Mouse wrote and recorded the new album in late 2013.
If you're a fan of artists like The Breeders, Sonic Youth, Velocity Girl, My Bloody Valentine, Beach House or Juliana Hatfield, you're gonna enjoy Field Mouse. Plus, they have a really great cover of the Twin Peaks song so there's that.1. A Place You Return to in a Dream
2. Tomorrow Is Yesterday
3. Two Ships
4. Everyone but You
8. Horizon City
9. Bright Lights
12. Water in the Valley
13. A Place You Return To In A Dream (Acoustic)
14. Everyone But You (Acoustic)
15. Asteroid (Acoustic)
16. Water In The Valley (Acoustic)$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Following last year's release of the critically acclaimed Domino debut, RELATIVES IN DESCENT, PROTOMARTYR are happy to announce CONSOLATION E.P., an EP of brand new material recorded in collaboration with KELLEY DEAL (THE BREEDERS) and MIKE MONTGOMERY (R. RING, AMPLINE). Recorded in MONTGOMERY'S own studio, Candyland, the EP's four songs capture the breadth of mood and stylistic variety of a full-length PROTOMARTYR album - from the short sharp shock of the opener "Wait", through the mutant pop of "Same Face In A Different Mirror", the epic "Wheel of Fortune", to the beautiful closer "You Always Win". Add to this MONTGOMERY'S recording skill, KELLEY DEAL'S unparalleled vocals, and their arrangements that see the inclusion of Jocelyn Hatch (viola), Evan Ziporyn (bass clarinet), and Lori Goldston (cello), and CONSOLATION E.P. becomes a truly unique prospect in PROTOMARTYR'S discography.1. Wait
2. Same Face in a Different Mirror
3. Wheel of Fortune (feat. Kelley Deal)
4. You Always Win (feat. Kelley Deal)$15.9912 Vinyl EP - Sealed Buy Now
PolicyWill Butler has been a member of the band Arcade Fire for over 10 years.
This is his first release under his own name.
Policy is American music-in the tradition of the Violent Femmes, The
Breeders, The Modern Lovers, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, The Magnetic
Fields, Ghostface Killah. And John Lennon (I know, but it counts).
Music where the holy fool runs afoul of the casual world.
Policy was recorded in one week in Jimi Hendrix's old living room
(upstairs at Electric Lady Studios). Jeremy Gara played drums; other
musicians contributed woodwinds and backing vocals. Most everything else
was played by Will.
The song structures are traditional; the arrangements are clean. The music is
experimental only in that it attacks consistency as a requirement for sincerity.
The songs are angry, loving, joking, tired, honest, idiotic. They clash against
each other but also fit and work together-as if a blind watchmaker made a
Frankenstein watch that came alive and told extremely accurate time while
having conflicting feelings about its creator. No, about creation itself. But
then the watch makes friends with a talking rat, and they go on hilarious
adventures until it turns out that the rat was dead the whole time. With a
really good credits song-I mean, the whole soundtrack is excellent. You
should check it out.
Blues Musician1. Take My Side
3. Finish What I Started
4. Son of God
5. Something's Coming
6. What I Want
7. Sing to Me
8. Witness$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Foil DeerSpeedy Ortiz said they would get the flowers themselves. What a lark! What a plunge!
When considering Massachusetts' Speedy Ortiz, that line from Virginia Woolf comes to mind. Not only for the obvious echoes to DIY, a form and function that's characterized the band's nascency, but in the proto-feminist undertones driving much of their sophomore album, Foil Deer. "I'm not bossy, I'm the boss," Sadie Dupuis sings on "Raising the Skate," invoking in spirit one half of the Carter-Knowles clan and echoing the other's wordplay. And wordplay makes sense, considering Dupuis-the band's songwriter, guitarist, and frontwoman-spent the band's first few years teaching writing at UMass Amherst. She's drawn to the dense complexity of Pynchon, the dreamlike geometry of Bolaño, the confounded yearning of Plath-all attributes you could easily apply to the band's 2013 debut Major Arcana, which fans and press alike have invested with a sense of purpose and merit uncommon in contemporary guitar rock.
The group, including Mike Falcone on drums, Darl Ferm on bass, and new addition Devin McKnight of Grass is Green on guitar, have spent the last year on an almost endless cross-continental touring jag, tagging along with the likes of The Breeders, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, and Thurston Moore. That shift into full-time musicianship brought with it an attendant reordering of priorities when it came to songwriting, and the band members' lives in general. They would get the damn flowers themselves.
Dupuis wrote much of Foil Deer at her mother's home in the Connecticut woods, where the songwriter imposed a self-regulated exile and physical cleansing of sorts, finding that many of the songs came to her while running or swimming alone. "I gave up wasting mental energy on people who didn't have my back," she says. "Listening to our old records, I get the sense I was putting myself in horrible situations just to write sad songs. This music isn't coming from a dark place, and without slipping into self-empowerment jargon, it feels stronger." Many of the songs deal with a similar sense of starting over, editing out the unnecessary drama. "Boys be sensitive and girls be, be aggressive," she sings on "Mister Difficult."
And while their debut album was recorded on the fly, Speedy Ortiz spent almost a month in the studio on Foil Deer. Falcone's drums are taut, mechanistic; Ferm's bass ranges from the aggressive rattle of an AmRep classic to smoother, hip-hop inspired lines. McKnight, meanwhile, lends spacier, textural riffs to complement Dupuis' wiry, melody-driven guitar style. "The demos for our songs have always had tons of small details and production experimentation, but we never had any money to pay for more than a couple days in the studio, so the songs came out very live-sounding and guitar heavy," Dupuis says. It was recorded and mixed at Brooklyn's Rare Book Room with Nicolas Vernhes (Silver Jews, Enon, Deerhunter), with the record mastered by Emily Lazar (Sia, Haim, Beauty Pill), lending a more polished sound and a pop sensibility that will stand out to existing fans and new converts alike. For all the lyrical complexity and guitar-based excursions Speedy Ortiz have built their reputation on to this point, Foil Deer has a sense of light-footed fun. What's the point of doing things yourself if you're not going to enjoy the trip?1. Good Neck
2. Raising the Skate
3. The Graduates
4. Dot X
7. Swell Content
9. My Dead Girl
11. Mister Difficult
12. Dvrk Wvrld$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Smart FleshIncludes CD
With its dreamy, rustic take on the idea of Americana, the Low Anthem's Smart Flesh builds on the promise of the group's universally praised 2008 Nonesuch Records debut, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. As the Washington Post has put it, The Low Anthem isn't the first bunch of indie rockers to experiment with older string-band instruments and echoes of the songs of pre-1940 rural America. But no one has done it better than this Rhode Island trio... That's because very few bands have paid so much attention to detail, or to beauty.
To record Charlie Darwin, the three original band members-Jocie Adams, Ben Knox Miller, and Jeff Prystowskytook over a Block Island cabin in the dead of winter. To record Smart Flesh, the group now expanded to a quartet with the addition of drummer Mat Davidson-found a former pasta factory in Central Falls, Rhode Island, a cavernous loft space that became crucial to the shape of the album. Says vocalist Miller, We knew right away when we stepped into the factory that the space was really the main instrument for the whole record. The resonance was chilling. We were able to experiment with new recording techniques to capture the sound at different distances. Mics 100-200 feet away caught the sound barreling across the room. Additional tracks were recorded in a garage that had previously been home to a reptile breeder, another unconventional studio space that the quartet dubbed the gator pit.
The group self-produced Smart Flesh, bringing in Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk, M. Ward) to mix the Pasta Sauce sessions and Jesse Lauter (Elvis Perkins, April Smith) to engineer. Instrumentation included jaw harp, musical saw, stylophone, oversized drum kits, and three antique pump organs that the band had found and restored. The exquisitely crafted, achingly spare arrangements at times recall the early recordings of Leonard Cohen, and Miller's voice, on a track like Burn, displays a similarly gruff yet plaintive timbre. The deeply melancholic mood the group favors, starting with a spellbindingly slow-motion rendering of George Carter's 1920's era Ghost Woman Blues, will appeal to fans of the backwoods musings of Bon Iver or the lovelorn southern balladry of the Avett Brothers, with whom The Low Anthem has toured.1. Ghost Woman Blues
2. Apothecary Love
3. Boeing 737
4. Love And Altar
5. Matter Of Time
8. Hey, All You Hippies!
9. I'll Take Out Your Ashes
10. Golden Cattle
11. Smart Flesh$20.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now