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Attack On MemoryIn 2009, Cleveland, OH's Dylan Baldi began writing and recording lo-fi power-pop songs in his parents basement, dubbing the project Cloud Nothings. His music quickly started making the Internet rounds, and fans and critics alike took note of his pithy songcraft, infectiously catchy melodies, and youthful enthusiasm. Baldi soon released a string of 7s, a split cassette, and an EP before putting out Turning On, a compilation spanning about a years worth of work, on Carpark in 2010. January 2011 saw the release of Cloud Nothings self-titled debut LP, which, put next to Turning On, found Baldi cleaning up his lo-fi aesthetic, pairing his tales of affinitive confusion with a more pristine aural clarity. In the interval since the release of Cloud Nothings, Baldi has toured widely and put a great deal of focus on his live show, a detail that heavily shapes the music of this, his follow-up album, Attack on Memory.
After playing the same sets nightly for months on end, Baldi saw the rigidity of his early work, and he wanted to create arrangements that would allow for more improvisation and variability when played on the road. To accomplish this desired malleability, the entire band decamped to Chicago, where the album was recorded with Steve Albini, and all lent a hand in the songwriting process. The product of these sessions is a record boasting features that, even at a glance, mark a sea change in the bands sound: higher fidelity, a track clocking in at almost nine minutes, an instrumental, and an overall more plaintive air. The songs move along fluidly, and Baldi sounds assured as he brings his vocals up in the mix, allowing himself to hold out long notes and put some grain into his voice. Minor key melodies abound, drums emphatically contribute much more than mere timekeeping, and the guitar work is much more adventurous than that of previous releases.
For all of early Cloud Nothings fun and fervor, Baldi admits that it never sounded like most of the music he listens to. With Attack on Memory, he wanted to remedy this anomaly, and in setting out to do so, Baldi and Co. have created an album that shows vast growth in a still very young band.1. No Future/No Past
2. Wasted Days
3. Fall In
4. Stay Useless
6. No Sentiment
7. Our Plans
8. Cut You$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Life Without SoundDylan Baldi maintains simple, admirable standards in quality. "A thing I like to do with all of my records is drive around with them," the 25-year-old Cloud Nothings frontman says. "In high school, I would listen to music for hours like that: just driving through the suburbs of Cleveland. And if it sounds good to me in that context and I can think of high school me listening to it and saying, 'That's okay,' I feel good about the record. This is the one that's felt best."
"This" is Life Without Sound, the radiant, far-far-better-than-okay fourth full-length his rock outfit has recorded since he began writing and releasing songs on his own under the Cloud Nothings alias in 2008. While its highly acclaimed predecessor-2014's Here and Nowhere Else-came together spontaneously, in the little time that touring allowed, Life Without Sound took shape under far less frenetic circumstances.
For more than a year, Baldi was able to write these songs and flesh out them out with his bandmates-drummer Jayson Gerycz and bassist TJ Duke-before they finally joined producer John Goodmanson (Sleater Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie) at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas, for three weeks in March of 2016. The result is Baldi's most polished and considered work to date, an album that speaks to his evolving gift with melody while also betraying the sort of perspective that time provides. You can hear it in the aerodynamic guitar pop of "Modern Act," and feel it in the devastating wisdom of "Internal World," a lullaby-like howler that dwells on "the fact that being yourself can be uncomfortable and even potentially dangerous at times."
"Generally, it seems like my work has been about finding my place in the world," Baldi says. "But there was a point in which I realized that you can be missing something important in your life, a part you didn't realize you were missing until it's there-hence the title. This record is like my version of new age music," he adds. "It's supposed to be inspiring."
It is.1. Up To The Surface
2. Things Are Right With You
3. Internal World
4. Darkened Rings
5. Enter Entirely
6. Modern Act
7. Sight Unseen
8. Strange Year
9. Realize My Fate$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Cloud NothingsDebut full-length from this lo-fi Cleveland power-pop project Cloud Nothings. The self-titled release was produced by Dan Deacon/Future Islands collaborator Chester Gwazda.1. Understand at All
2. Not Important
3. Should Have
4. Forget You All the Time
5. Nothing's Wrong
8. You're Not That Good at Anything
9. Been Through
10. On the Radio
11. All the Time$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Here and Nowhere ElseOn their third full-length, Cleveland-bred outt Cloud Nothings give joy
a hard, sharp edge. I was feeling pretty good about everything so I just
made stuff that made me happy, says founding member and
mild-mannered chief songwriter Dylan Baldi of Here and Nowhere Else.
I had nothing to be angry about really so the approach was more
positive and less 'fuck everything.' I just sat down and played until I
found something that I like, because I was nally in a position to do
Utilizing every possible opportunity to write while on the road for 18
consecutive months following the release of 2012's Attack on Memory,
Baldi presented an album's worth of new material to his bandmates with
just days before they'd enter the studio with esteemed producer John
Congleton. I'm pretty sure every song was written in a different
country, he says. It's the product of only having a couple of minutes
here and there. But Cloud Nothings would enjoy a full week with
Congleton at Water Music in Hoboken, New Jersey, followed by three
days of mixing at his own studio in Dallas shortly thereafter. The result is
Cloud Nothings, rened: impossibly melodic, white-knuckle noise-rock
that shimmers with sumptuous detail, from Baldi's lone, corkscrewing
guitar to his dramatically improved singing to bassist TJ Duke's
piledriving bass lines and drummer Jayson Gerycz's volcanic lls.
It's more subtle, says Baldi. It's not just an in-your-face rock record.
There's more going on. You can listen to a song 20 times and still hear
different little things in there that you didn't notice before. Every time I
listen I notice something that I didn't even realize we did.
It's yet another staggering show of a progress from a songwriter and
band still coming into their own.1. Now Here In
2. Quieter Today
3. Psychic Trauma
4. Just See Fear
5. Giving Into Seeing
6. No Thoughts
7. Pattern Walks
8. I'm Not Part of Me$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-SAD-2117xThe Good Life
Everybody's Coming DownCall it a soundtrack to Man's 21st century existential angst, Everybody's Coming Down poses cosmic queries, contemplates regrets, questions self-worth, and examines the possibility of living in the moment, when memories are all that we truly take with us. And in some ways, that's the sweet spot front man and lyricist Tim Kasher inhabits: trying to make sense of this world of ours, and how and why we navigate it the way we do.
Everybody's Coming Down moves in a new direction musically and, in contrast to The Good Life's earlier releases, is very much a rock record. It is also the first that truly embodies the band as a whole, more so than any previous album. In blending elements of drummer Roger L. Lewis's love of classic rock, multi-instrumentalist Ryan Fox's chaotic approach to melody, Stefanie Drootin-Senseney's propulsive, tuneful bass parts and colorful vocal arrangements, and Kasher's deft, complementary song writing, the band sparked a vibrant evolution in sound. The gentler, folk-driven pop/rock for which the band is beloved remains (sonic sister album bookends "7 In The Morning" and "Midnight Is Upon Us;" "The Troubadour's Green Room"), but it is now mixed amongst guitars lines that unspool in a blaze across songs that hit harder and more viscerally ("Everybody," "Holy Shit"), as well as moments of distorted psychedelia and moody ambience ("Flotsam Locked Into A Groove," "Diving Bell," "How Small We Are").
Kasher began writing songs for a new album in October 2013, and the quartet - balancing their busy lives and multiple projects - reconvened from July to December 2014 to finish writing what became Everybody's Coming Down. With the help of Ben Brodin in Omaha's ARC Studios, The Good Life started recording in January of this year and finished the album in their respective homes. The band then turned to John Congleton (St. Vincent, Baroness, Angel Olsen, Cloud Nothings) to mix the album at his Elmwood Recording in Dallas, TX, looking to his experienced hand and uninhibited style to maintain and further realize the album's untempered, vital sound.
And vital it is: Everybody's Coming Down might not crack the ever-elusive code to our universal wonderings, but it'll make you think, illuminate a new or alternative perspective, perhaps salve a lonely ache of isolation. Because we are, ultimately, all in this together - forever coming down.1. 7 in the Morning
3. The Troubadour's Green Room
4. Holy Shit
5. Flotsam Locked Into a Groove
6. Forever Coming Down
7. Happy Hour
8. Diving Bell
9. Skeleton Song
10. How Small We Are
11. Ad Nausea
12. Midnight Is Upon Us$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Freaking Out EPFor Toro Y Mois Chaz Bundick, 2011 has seen the release of his acclaimed sophomore album, Underneath the Pine, remix work for Tyler, the Creator, a split 7 with Cloud Nothings, and a steady stream of international tour dates. Just over halfway through whats already been a busy year, the prolific producer has a brand new batch of lavishly funky material to offer.
Bundicks latest is no sloppily assembled bunch of Pine session throwaways. The Freaking Out EP was put to tape in June during a period of touring quiescence. The release finds Bundick reveling in twenty minutes of boogie, roping in the heavy sounds of groups like the Gap Band and Mtume. While the first two tracks are modern takes on the '80s post-disco vibe, Sweet sounds like the product of a Todd Edwards and Teddy Riley collaboration, with smooth synths weaving in and out of meticulously chopped and arranged vocal samples.
The New Jack influence spills over into the cover of Cherrelle and Alexander ONeills Saturday Love, in which a swingbeat carries along fluttering piano lines steeped in delay. The EPs crown jewel, I Can Get Love, sees Bundick assimilating styles of each of his to-date releases, with the synthesized funk of Causers of This, the irresistible hooks of Underneath the Pine, and dance alias Les Sins penchant for filter effects and house beats. Full of energy and crafted with a conciseness that begs repeated listens, Freaking Out is Toro Y Mois most concentrated venture into pure dance floor hedonism.1. All Alone
2. Freaking Out
4. Saturday Love
5. I Can Get Love$10.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
HeydaysTotal Babes was formed in 2010 in Medina, Ohio, by Jayson Gerycz (of Cloud Nothings)and his friend Christopher Brown. Their sophomore album, Heydays, features lush synthesizers from Emeralds/Outer Space member and Spectrum Spools head John Elliott, bass from Nathan Ward of Smooth Brain and Cruelster and saxophone from Cloud Nothings' Dylan Baldi on Circling. Stereogum announced the album via a track premiere of Circling in February. Total Babes will tour nationally following the release of Heydays, including a performance at the highly regarded Pickathon Festival this summer.1. Blurred Time
3. Bone Dry Eyes
5. We'll Come Around
6. Sunny Side
7. Repeat Gold
8. Can I Turn You On$18.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Cotton Candy Pink Vinyl
Hunters are excited to announce their signing to Mom + Pop for their debut LP. Since releasing their 2011 EP Hands On Fire, Hunters have been hard at work touring and playing live shows with METZ, Cloud Nothings, A Place To Bury Strangers and The Kills. They've also had breakout performances at last year's CMJ with shows at Brooklyn Vegan's showcase and the FADER FORT. Hunters have also been featured on the cover of the Village Voice along with acclaim from The New York Times, New Yorker, FADER, SPIN, Filter among many others. With a fury of fuzzed out guitars and bodies being strewn across the stage, Derek Watson and Izzy assault the masses with a wave of barely contained chaos.1. Narcissist
2. Street Trash
3. She's So
5. It's True
8. Thin Twin
10. Wonder$16.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Orphan"Sharp, creative and bringing a commendable freshness to the sometimes drearily derivative world of contemporary rock, Empires are a remarkably good
rock 'n' roll band. In a world full of faceless, regurgitated rhythms and emotion-by-numbers, the band's music is strikingly compact, precise and non-excessive: There is a there there, and there are no wasted notes anywhere Their music is some of this year's very best"
Produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Cloud Nothings, The War on Drugs, Explosions in the Sky), Orphan is a collection of songs immersed in classic
post punk and indie rock 'n' roll circa 1989-1991, exploring the sonic adventurers and emotional heft of artists such as Roxy Music, Wire, and Nick Cave &
The Bad Seeds.
The guitars are rich and atmospheric, the rhythms subtle and fluid yet more powerful at the same time. Throughout the album, singer SeanVan Vleet's
raw croon rises to match the band's musicality, conveying anxieties, secrets, and a heartfelt longing for transcendence.1. Silverfire
7. How Good Does It Feel
8. Please Don't Tell My Lover
9. Stay Lonely
11. Journey Kid$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Happy Jawbone Family Band
Limited, Hand Numbered First Edition LP
Recorded With Travis Taverniere (Woods And Meneguar)
Art By Rob Carmichael/Seen Studio (Animal Collective, Cloud Nothings, Etc )
Freewheeling Brattleboro, VT rock/folk wonderments the Happy Jawbone Family Band bring their latest full-length to Mexican Summer. What they've entrusted us to give to you represents their nest and most directly fullling effort to date. The energy and humor of early releases remains; that band you may have loved before has grown even stronger and more potent, its songs now monuments to individualism, to longing, to happier endings resulting from imperfect circumstances. Binding folk, indie rock and pop forms together is easy enough; it's what this band does with them, how it builds its sentiments and bursts preconceptions, that put them in a place where these musicians can rest, comfortably above and apart from almost every band working in this same terrain today. We're hearing the trippiest moments of the Beatles, Lindsey Buckingham at the peaks he reached on Tusk, and both poles of American post-punk songwriting royalty, Camper Van Beethoven at one end and Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 at the other. Try it on.1. Everybody Knows About Daddy
2. I Have to Speak With Rocky Balboa
4. That Green Light
5. Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid"
6. Stay-at-Home Soldier
7. Can't Hear Me Ticking
8. Do You Want Me
9. Mr. Clean
10. I'll Never Go Skin Deep Again
11. I Don't Wanna Dance Tonight$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
MaraqopaDamien Jurados newest collaboration with producer Richard Swift drops us into a brutal and benevolent landscape. The bold strokes and new turns the pair made with 2010s Saint Bartlett are taken even further. He throws open the gate on his oft insular dirges and allows them to do some real wilding out in the canyon. In Maraqopa, the vistas are miles-wide; the action is more dynamic; the close-ups sweaty and snarling.
The strummed desert blues that begins Nothing is the News quickly bursts open into an Eddie Hazel-worthy supernova shred session, all of it swirling in tinny-psych and Echoplexd howls. Weve never heard anything like this from Jurado. Fifteen years into his remarkable career, and he continues to blossom. Jurado and Swift establish themselves not only as inventive, trusting collaborators, but as one anothers spirit animals in American outsider songcraft, lone wolves in black sheeps clothing. Swift is the Ennio Morricone to Jurados Sergio Leone.
At Swifts National Freedom studios, the live-to-tape ethos allowed these songs to expand and retract like a great beasts breath. Every in-the-moment bell and whistle here is hung with a natural, casual care. And from this, each song offers up its own unique gift: the enchanting childrens choir that echoes each line of Jurados lament for innocence lost on Life Away from the Garden; the breezy bossa nova that begins This Time Next Year and rises as effortless as a smoke cloud into high-noon showdown pop; Reel to Reel's wobbly, Spector-symphony and its meta themes; and the wonderful falsetto vocal work Jurado pulls from himself on Museum of Flight.1. Nothing Is The News
2. Life Away From The Garden
4. This Time Next Year
5. Reel To Reel
6. Working Titles
7. Everyone A Star
8. So On, Nevada
9. Museum Of Flight
10. Mountains Still Asleep$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
HypnotizedDream Police is an American musical production by Nick Chiericozzi and Mark
Perro. The project began in 2010 as a reservoir for ideas which had overflowed
from The Men's drainpipe. In that same year, a two-song cassette single was self-released, with a follow-up live document in 2011.
In the summer of 2013, The Men had just come home from five straight months
of touring. For Perro and Chiericozzi, the desire to create was still strong, so they
did what they used to do when they first started the band - they started jamming.
Although the production began using the most conservative rock n' roll devices,
Chiericozzi suggested adding drum machine to the song "Pouring Rain," and everything changed. Over the next six months, the two Men and their collaborator
Kyle Keays-Hagerman spent countless hours reshaping every song, constructing
them from nothing. They obsessed over every tone, every part. They'd spend an
entire day on one snare crack.
The album slowly plumed into a cloud of future primitive psychedelia bursting with glimmering electronics and cinematic, vibrato storytelling. The result
of that process is Hypnotized: something borne from The Men, but free of it. It
was mixed the weekend after Tomorrow's Hits was released, and then Perro and
Chiericozzi were off again.1. Hypnotized
2. My Mama's Dead
4. Pouring Rain
5. All We Are
7. Let It Be
8. Sandy$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Trust No OneGatefold LP Includes Bonus Tracks
Dark clouds over California - and everywhere else: DevilDriver teamed up once again
with producer Mark Lewis and the Audio Hammer Studios for their seventh opus that
is nothing short of sensational! Three years after the lush Winter kills, we bear witness
to the birth of a sleek new version of the band in the shape of TRUST NO ONE. An
unapologetic title that strengthens the fact that Dez Fafara and co have compressed
their energies: the opener 'Testimony Of Truth' isn`t simply a catchy masterpiece
comfortably nestled in between soaring guitars and massive groove, it also catches
up with the band`s classic moments! Insidious hooks refine eerie tunes such as 'My
Night Sky', but there is always room for hauntingly beautiful epic parts in all this
mayhem. These wolves need no sheep's clothing!
1. Testimony Of Truth
2. Bad Deeds
3. My Night Sky
4. This Deception
5. Above It All
7. Trust No One
8. Feeling Ungodly
10. For What It's Worth
11. House Divided*
12. Evil On Swift Wings*
*bonus track$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
SMM: OpiateLimited To 800 Copies
SMM: Opiate is the second release in Ghostly's SMM series, which is an ongoing exploration of the evocative possibilities of sound, with a focus
classical minimalism, electronic and drone composition, lm soundtracks, and fragile imaginary landscapes. Opiate is the follow-up to 2011's SMM: Context, and as with that record, it's a carefully chosen selection of music, compiled over some two years from around the world.
The record opens with Simon Scott's Water Shadow, a luxuriant piece of beatless ambience that's like a wash of warm water or the rst touch of the summer sun on your face after a long, cold winter. It's a warmth that doesn't last, though - Ti Prego Memory Man, by A Winged Victory for the Sullen, is no less beautiful. It's a stately, alpine beauty, its chilly sounds a harbinger of things to come. Celer's Nothing So Mystical is more minimal still, while Black Swan's Passing Heartbreak brings whispers of humanity, its sound coalescing out of a atmospheric
whirl of vocal textures.
The wryly titled This Is Radio Sweden, by Jim Haynes, is all brooding background noise that's shot through with what sounds like an old fashioned telephone engaged tone, a track that seems shot through with connotations of absence and loss. EN's White is both somber and somehow transportive, setting plucked chords from what sounds like a banjo over a glistening synth gure, while Pjusk's Dorsk slows to a sort of stasis, with only the faintest of basslines to indicate any sign of life. Fieldhead's 37th is like a slow, mindful from such a reverie, and Noveller's Bright Cloud Blooms brings the cycle to a close with another brief ush of precious warmth.
As a whole, the compilation seems to follow a narrative arc, descending through a series of stages into near-complete stillness, and then slowly ascending back to where it began. As a whole, the experience is certainly evocative of the opiated sensation evoked by the record's title - but really, it's a compilation that invites you to nd your own meaning in it, or simply to appreciate the beauty of its music and escape the world for a while.1. Simon Scott - Water Shadow
2. A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Ti Prego Memory Man
3. Celer - Nothing So Mystical
4. Black Swan - Passings, Heartbreak
5. Jim Hayes - This is Radio Sweden
6. EN - White
7. Pjusk - Dorsk
8. Fieldhead - 37th
9. Noveller - Bright Clouds Bloom$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Island IntervalsThat Joel Thibodeau's slender, winsome voice is at once so comforting
and so unsettling might be the greatest of his many strengths. Reed-thin
but sturdy, youthful but somehow ageless, its deep benevolence is also
slightly eerie, and the way he gently walks the line between intense
feeling and contemplative remove lets him sing from a timeless place
where he evokes the beauty of vanished people and places, sweetness
too profound for words, loss too great for tears.
Like Nico's, Jimmy Scott's, or Phil Elverum's, Joel's is a voice that
demands its own sonic and lyrical world, and with Island Intervals, his
third record as Death Vessel (and second for Sub Pop), we're treated to
the sound of him finding a rich and strange new home among new friends
in Iceland who probably saw him as a long-lost relative. Joel's an inveterate
and intuitive wanderer; when I met him years ago, he'd just spent a few
months traveling the United States on Greyhound buses, sometimes
sleeping rough, and making a record from found moments.
Island Intervals springs from a more recent journey. For his first album
since 2008's acclaimed Nothing Is Precious Enough for Us, Joel traveled
to Reykjavík on an invitation from Sigur Rós singer Jónsi and producer
Alex Somers, where they spent three months together conjuring an album
that's both a song cycle and a window into a mysterious and singular
landscape. Island Intervals wraps Joel's voice and furtive guitar in sounds
that evoke not so much a band playing as elemental forces of earth and
water; Pete Donnelly (The Figgs, NRBQ), Samuli Kosminen (Múm) and
Thorvaldur Doddi Thorvaldsson assist Somers in creating a rich and
multi-layered world that sounds, at times, like a well-tuned forest sighing
and bending in a gale, or the deep cracks and booms of a glacier calving
its way to the sea. Jónsi also joins Joel on vocals for the track "Ilsa
Island Intervals lives in the spaces between running away and letting
go, and finds its author embracing a life whose most solid, real moments
loom and vanish, like a range of mountains that emerges from a bank
of low clouds, and just as suddenly slips away.
-Jonathan Meiburg (Shearwater), Nov. 20131. Ejecta
2. Velvet Antlers
3. Triangulated Heart
4. Mercury Dime
5. Ilsa Drown
6. Island Vapors
7. We Agreed
8. Loom$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real (Awaiting Repress)Since their formation as teenagers 10 years ago, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have quietly developed into one of America's most dazzling new live acts, playing hundreds of shows and major festivals all over the world, attracting a deeply devoted underground following.
Still, with a bounty of invaluable experience under their belts, nothing foretold the artistic leap of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real their new, self-titled album, a mesmerizing, emotionally genuine, endlessly rewarding work of cosmic country soul set for release via Fantasy Records.
Recorded at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real was produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) and features the band's new six-piece line-up: Lukas Nelson (guitar, vocals), Tato Melgar (percussion), Anthony LoGerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass, vocals) along with new members Jesse Siebenberg (steel guitars, Farfisa organ, vocals) and Alberto Bof (piano, Wurlitzer, B3). Jess Wolfe and Holly Lessig of the indie-pop group Lucius contribute background vocals on five tracks evoking Exile on Main St.'s ecstatic, gospel-rooted harmonies, and Lady Gaga added stirring background vocals to Carolina and Find Yourself. Elsewhere, the lilting, Glen Campbell inspired gem, Just Outside of Austin features a guitar solo from Lukas' dad, country music icon Willie Nelson, and piano from his 86-year-old Aunt Bobbi.
The new album includes 12 Lukas Nelson originals that draw on his country and rock lineage including literate Texas songsmiths like his father and 'uncles' Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings, along with the enduring influence of J.J. Cale, The Band, Clapton-era Delaney & Bonnie and of course, his mentor Neil Young.
Young, an essential member of the POTR family, met the band after he caught them at Farm Aid several years back. Neil got in touch after that, and we started talking by email, Lukas recounts. Eventually, he asked us to record with him. We fell in love with each other musically, one thing led to another and we became Neil's band.
I knew I had a lot of good songs that transcended the cultural boundaries between rock & roll and country, Lukas says of his vision for the album. We owe a lot to Neil; we made this record after coming off the road with him for two years. Neil's been mentoring us, and we've been absorbing that energy, and I think it shows. We got acclimated to a different level of artistic expression. I wanted to get the songs as pure as they could be. We've grown.
Set Me Down on a Cloud, the soulful, country-rock epic that opens the album features Lucious' angelic background vocals and Lukas' lovely, lyrical guitar solo as the band stretches out behind him. Forget About Georgia unfolds to a Layla-like outpouring of yearning, as it vividly retraces the turbulent, bittersweet final stages of a doomed love affair. Lukas delivers a full-throttle vocal on the closing track, If I Started Over, a Roy Orbison-inspired rumination of tender devotion. The R&B grind of Find Yourself is a particular triumph as Lukas and Lady Gaga weave an impassioned, romantic ultimatum.1. Set Me Down On A Cloud
2. Die Alone
3. Fool Me Once
4. Just Outside Of Austin
6. Runnin' Shine
7. Find Yourself
8. Four Letter Word
9. High Times
10. Breath Of My Baby
11. Forget About Georgia
12. If I Started Over$34.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Hug Of Thunder"I don't want to go out there being presumptuous," Kevin Drew says, "because, I've worn those presumptuous shoes before, and you don't want it to feel like, 'Oh, what a let-down.'" That's the fear when you bring back one of music's most beloved names seven years after their last album. But with Hug of Thunder, the fifth Broken Social Scene album, Drew and his bandmates have a right to feel presumptuous.
They have that right because they have created one of 2017's most sparkling, multi-faceted albums. On Hug of Thunder the 15 members of Broken Social Scene - well, the 15 who play on the record, including returnees Leslie Feist and Emily Haines - refract their varying emotions, methods, and techniques into something that doesn't just equal their other albums, but surpasses them. It is righteous but warm, angry but loving, melodic but uncompromising. The title track on its own might just be the best thing you will hear all year - a song that will become as beloved as "Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" from their breakthrough album, You Forgot It In People.
Its title, Drew says, captured what he wanted people to feel about the group's comeback, and how they sound playing together again: "It's just such a wonderful sentiment about us, coming in like a hug of thunder."
Broken Social Scene had reconvened, in varying forms, several times over the past four years - the odd festival show here and there, preferably ones that involved the least possible traveling. But the idea that they might turn their hand to something more than greatest-hits sets had been stirring since November 2014, when producer Joe Chiccarelli told Drew the group needed to make a new album.
"He started showing up at our label, asking if we were going to make an album," Drew recalls. "He just didn't give up; he just kept saying, 'You've got to strike, you've got to do this, the time is now,' and so finally we agreed."
As might be expected to be the case with a many-headed hydra of a group, getting all the principals to agree wasn't easy. Drew's co-founder Brendan Canning was keen, but Drew and fellow BSS lifer Charles Spearin took more persuading. A turning point for Drew came with the Paris terror attacks of November 2015, which made him feel the world needed an injection of positivity: "It just sort of made us want to go out there and play. Because I think we've always been a band that's been a celebration."
Canning picks up the story: "By autumn of 2015 we had started getting together and trying some ideas out, just getting back in that jam space, in Charles' garage. Then we set up shop in my living room and we were starting to come together in a very familiar kind of way, jamming in the living room, eating meals in the kitchen together, because that's what the band is about: 'Hey, let's all get on the same page and get the energies flowing in the same direction.'"
Recording finally began in April 2016 at The Bathouse studio on the shores of Lake Ontario, with later sessions in Toronto and Montreal, before the group went right back to basics. "It was very beautiful the way that it ended in Charlie's little rehearsal garage space," Drew says, "after going to all these studios. We just worked there, doing backup vocals and handclaps and all the shit we used to do when we were younger." And then it was to Los Angeles, where the album was mixed.
The result is a panoramic, expansive album, 53 minutes that manages to be both epic and intimate. In troubled times it offers a serotonin rush of positivity: "Stay Happy" lives up to its title, with huge surges of brass that sound like sunshine bursting through clouds. "Gonna Get Better" makes a promise that the album is determined to deliver. That's not to say it's an escapist record: Broken Social Scene is completely engaged, wholly focussed, and not ignoring the darkness that lurks outside. But there is no hectoring, no lecturing, but a recognition of the confusion and ambiguity of the world. As the title track closes with Leslie Feist murmuring "There was a military base across the street," the listener is caught in the division between the national security provided by national defense, and the menace of the same thing.
The gestation of Hug of Thunder was no idyll. When You Forgot It in People made their name, Broken Social Scene were young men and women. Fifteen years on, they were adults in or on the cusp of middle age, and - as Drew puts it - "all the adult problems in the world were happening around us individually, whether it was divorce or cancer". Three members of the band lost their fathers while the album was being recorded, "and it seemed like the days of going in the studio, getting stoned, drinking five beers and saying, 'Who gives a fuck?' were over".
Then there's the fact of the size of the ensemble, and the number of competing voices. "You don't always get the final say with Broken Social Scene," Canning says, with a certain degree of understatement. He compares the process of getting everyone to agree on a song to party politics: "It's like you're trying to get a bill passed through the House - you have to be really committed to wanting to win."
But, still, if they were to return, it had to be with everybody, no matter if that meant things might get unwieldy. "I'd like to believe that Broken Social Scene can be whatever it can be," Canning says, "but I think the fact we'd gone away for so long meant we really, we really couldn't have done the same thing without everyone involved, you know?" The story of Broken Social Scene, he insists, was built on the involvement of everyone, and so if the story was to be continued, those same people had to return.
"The thing that has changed is that the relationships between us are established," Drew suggests. "And in a family, you ebb and flow and you come and you go and you're in love and then you're annoyed - but it's established now, the relationships aren't going anywhere, you know? And I think through time, because we've been through so much together, personally and professionally, when we're all on stage, everybody knows what they're doing, everybody has a melody to back up someone else, you feel supported, you're a crew, there's nothing but protection all around you."
Canning picks up the theme: "Before we were making this record, I said to everyone: 'We all basically want the same thing, we might just have slightly different roadmaps on how to get there. So how do we stray off on certain country roads but get back onto the main thoroughfare?'"
That Broken Social Scene was a family again, driving along the same main road, became apparent to UK fans in September 2016, when the group - with Ariel Engle the latest woman to assume the role of co-lead vocalist - came over for less than a handful of festival shows, to test the waters. Their Sunday teatime appearance at End Of The Road - an ecstatic hour of maximalist music, physically and emotionally overwhelming - ended up being one of the biggest hits of the festival. It achieved what Drew has always felt music needed to do: it created transcendence, a pocket of time where everyone present was living only in the moment.
"My 11-year-old nephew asked me, 'Uncle Kev, why do adults get drunk?' and I looked at him and thought, 'OK, brilliant question, I'm going to give a brilliant answer,'" Drew recalls. "And I looked at him for about 10 seconds and I said, 'Because they want to feel like you. Because they want to feel like a kid again, they want to forget everything, they want to be innocent.' We are built in a way now where you can't do that because you're walking around with the anti-transcendence box in your pocket, and in your hand, and in your home, and on your bedside table: it's the anti-transcendence. It's called your phone! And we're getting killed, we're getting killed!"
So what do Broken Social Scene want listeners to take from Hug of Thunder? Canning wants it to make them "pause for the cause and maybe just leave things in your life alone for 53 minutes". For Drew, it's about what it's always been about: making the connection. "I just hope they understand that there's others out there, that they're not alone," he says. "I know that's silly! But you'd be surprised how many times I've had to tell people, 'Hey, you're not alone on this, you're not alone thinking these things.' I mean, with the title Hug of Thunder, I want to hold people. I want to fucking hold them. And when we do shows, I'm not: 'Look at me, I'm elevated up on the stage,' It's: 'We're here with you, this is us together.' Broken Social Scene is about the people, and it's always been about the people."1. Sol Luna
2. Halfway Home
3. Protest Song
5. Stay Happy
6. Vanity Pail Kids
7. Hug of Thunder
8. Towers and Masons
9. Victim Lover
10. Please Take Me With You
11. Gonna Get Better
12. Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
We Are Above You (Out Of Stock)Bonus 12
Despite an ever increasing number of musical endeavors, the Cave In camp continues to churn out nothing but quality releases, with Adam McGrath's Clouds joining the impressive ranks of Old Man Gloom, Zozobra, Pet Genius and Octave Museum. The relentless delivery of everything from explosive, fast-moving rock to psychedelic amplifier worship on 2008's We Are Above You makes a strong case for Clouds taking the top spot in the battle of exemplary post-Cave In acts. Each LP version comes with an additional 12 featuring 4 bonus songs not available on the CD release.1. Empires In Basements
2. Feed The Horse
3. The Bad Seat
4. Heisenberg Says
5. Motion Of The Ocean
6. Slow Day
8. Year Zero
9. Glass House Rocks
10. Playing Dark
11. Garbage In, Garbage Out
Track Listing for Bonus 12
1. Motor Away
2. Scalding Creek
3. Burnin' For Q
4. Mindless Child Of Motherhood$19.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Temporarily out of stock
Emergency Ward (Speakers Corner) (Out Of Stock)
We can thank our lucky stars that Nina Simone was well aware of her musical environment and enjoyed experimenting with it, despite her notorious eccentric personality. This was the only reason that so much basic repertoire, traditional blues numbers, black work songs and favourite white show melodies - all filled with a deep soul feeling - reached her fans. Emergency Ward! is no exception. First there is the explosive medley, recorded live, of George Harrison's My Sweet Lord and David Nelson's Today Is A Killer. Accompanied by a small combo and a gospel choir, Nina Simone ignites an 18-minute blazing bonfire which loses none of its spiritual fire for even a second.
In contrast to the gentle Poppies, extravagantly produced with strings, woodwinds and chorus, is the questioning Isn't It A Pity, arranged for piano. Here, simple, throbbing harmonies are occasionally allowed to swell into clouds of chords, giving Nina Simone the opportunity to show off her highly diversified vocal timbre which, as so often, fades away into nothing like an unanswered question. This is an exceptional album filled with a wealth of feeling and one which will leave no one untouched.
- Nina Simone (piano, vocal)
- Sam Waymon (vocal)
Recording: November 1971 at Fort Dix and February 1972 at RCA Victor's Studio A,
New York City, by Ed Begley
Production: Nina Simone, Andrew Stroud and Weldon J. Irvine Jr.
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. My Sweet Lord
2. Today is a Killer
4. Isn't It a Pity$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock