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NauseaAfter a dormant period following the release of the Gallery EP in 2012,
Craft Spells' Justin Vallesteros is back with the gorgeously ambitious Nausea.
It's Craft Spells' second proper full length LP, and first since 2010's critically
acclaimed Idle Labor.
Since last on the radar, Justin moved to San Francisco to find a niche in the
Bay Area music scene. This proved difficult within the regarded garage rock
scene and insular DJ night crowds currently dominating the area's music community. Here, Justin fell into a slump, creatively. With a severe bout of writer's
block he retreated to his parent's house in Lathrop, CA. Away from the city,
he put down his guitar for a full year in favor of properly training himself on
piano, the instrument from which all the tracks for Nausea were written.
The demos came together in early 2014 and Vallesteros flew to Seattle to
produce and record the LP, full of ideas and a new found maturity in both
songwriting and recording sophistication. Within the first few seconds of lead
single "Breaking the Angle Against the Tide" we know we're not listening to
the same Craft Spells anymore. This is a bold, beautiful and lush new sound
emphasizing the songwriting abilities Vallesteros always had. An album highlighted by loads of piano, real strings and acoustic guitar, this change is like
the color coming alive in the Wizard of Oz. The beautiful "Komorebi" with it's
piano chord progression and sorrowful string accompaniment emphasizes this
newfound maturity and confidence as a writer that is the next logical step in
Craft Spells' career.
Nausea could easily have been a record rife with indecision and anxiety.
But like the song for which the album is named, Craft Spells was able to turn
the chaos and disillusionment into a work that provides ammo against that
very thing, with beauty, vision and melody.1. Nausea
3. Changing Faces
7. Laughing for My Life
8. First Snow
9. If I Could
10. Breaking the Angle Against the Tide
11. Still Fields (October 10,1987)$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Lord"This thing is fast, heavy, and sneakily melodic - i.e. it sounds like something you
might've heard out of the Pacific Northwest 20-30 years ago, like Nirvana having a
Sonic Youth fever dream." - Stereogum
Lord is the debut from Seattle-based punks FF, a trio comprised of Claire
Nelson, Harley Thompson, and Michael Abeyta. For the entirety of their
nascent existence they have existed on the fringes of the fertile enclave
that is the Northwest DIY underground, materializing a singular vision of
gloomy, ethereal punk anthems along the way. For sure, the touchstones
are there - My Bloody Valentine, The Wipers, Sonic Youth, the Flying Nun
Records cabal - but the collection of songs that compile Lord breakout
from the suffocating box of 90's revivalism, and offer a profound alternative to an overwhelming culture of nostalgia.
Recorded over the bulk of 2013 with Seattle engineering wiz Dylan Wall
(Weed, Craft Spells), Lord is a collection of songs that capture a band
on the cusp of their potency.1. Dead Head
3. It's Alright
4. Caught In A Dream
5. In A Day
6. Past Year
8. Come To Pass$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Perfect StrangersFeaturing Dead-Quiet Surfaces
This Wax Cathedral LP is Pressed at RTI, America's Best Record Plant!
Long before reunions became big-money pursuits, the key members of Deep Purple put aside differences that caused them to split in 1973 and, bowing to public demand, reformed for their first album in 11 years and a subsequent blockbuster tour. While the record's title cleverly acknowledges the long time the musicians had spent apart, everything about the LP confirms the inimitable blend of creative chemistry, crafty songwriting, and trademark skills shared by these five players.
All the hallmark traits from Deep Purple's golden era (1970-1973) are on display throughout this platinum comeback affair, which has aged much better than most mid-80s efforts in terms of sound, performance, and content. At times mystical,
aggressive, and dramatic, Perfect Strangers leaves a lasting impression courtesy of Ian Gillan's leather-lunged vocal range, Roger Glover's self-assured bass lines, Ian Paice's titanium-tough drumming, and the trade-off soloing between the wizardlike,
vibrato-emboldened guitar playing of Ritchie Blackmore and voodoo-casting organ spells of Jon Lord.
Compositions such as the hit single "Knocking at Your Back Door," hook-laden title track, and racing "A Gypsy's Kiss" could be deemed products of a supergroup, but calling them so shortchanges the artistry, as the posturing asides and attention-getting episodes common to such projects aren't here. Perfect Strangers is hard, heavy purity, the last album Deep Purple crafted of its kind-and one that stands right up to the ensemble's classic Fireball and Machine Head.1. Knocking At Your Back Door
2. Under The Gun
3. Nobody's Home
4. Mean Streak
5. Perfect Strangers
6. A Gypsy's Kiss
7. Wasted Sunsets
8. Hungry Daze$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
SamarisSamaris' debut, Samaris, is a combination of their two EPs previously released in Iceland, plus a few remixes. The EPs sold out faster than you can spell 'Reykjavik' - they were so popular, that it's becoming increasingly hard to track down a copy with every passing day. Fortunately we can experience them in the form of their premiere LP.
'Góða Tungl' is phenomenal. With finger-snap snares and lollygagging bass, it's a rhythmic tour de force. Timebomb-tick hi-hats penetrate the top end of the sound and cleansing kick drum permeates the lower end. Ákadóttir's buoyant folk-tinged vocals float through the music, gasping for air and sighing in agony amongst the indecipherable language; clarinet and pitch-shifted vox harmonies provide extra dimensions. It's a viral belter brimming with icy shards of electronica, soft shades of folk and the rickety beats of ambient trip-hop.
'Stofnar Falla' is darker. It's a brooding, sinister sliver of synth-based neo-classical music. Steinþórsson unleashes a mysterious backdrop for woodwind and dulcet tones to converse; as the noises ware on, the cut becomes increasingly anxious, paranoid even. 'Vöggu Dub' follows on swiftly. It's far choppier: keys wax and wane, sampled vocals burst periodically and there are wobs of rumbling bass.
Samaris are pushing boundaries. The trio are experimenting with styles and dabbling in many areas of avante-garde audio to extraordinary effect: they may only be wee whippersnappers, but this burgeoning threesome are crafting music far beyond their years, and more successfully than the majority of UK acts who've received uproarious fanfare this year. The forthcoming record may be a collection of already-heard tracks, but it's still probably the best thing you'll hear until autumn. Why autumn, you ask? Well, that's when their next record comes out.
- Larry Day (Bearded Magazine)1. Hijóma þú
2. Viltu Vitrast
3. Góða Tungl
4. Stofnar Falla
6. Sólhvörf I
7. Sólhvörf II
8. Kælan Mikla
9. Hljóma þú (Muted Remix)
10. Viltu Vitrast (Opinberun Futuregrapher's Remix)
11. Góða Tungl (DJ Arfi Remix)
12. Stofnar Falla (Subminimal Remix)$13.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Riverman's DaughterThe Grahams, the creative union of lifelong romantic partners Alyssa and Doug Graham, combine soulful bluegrass with hints of earthy Americana, adding colors from traditional folk and country blues, into an infectious blend of storytelling that results in songs of love, loss, yearning, and the view from rural American roads less traveled.
While the duo first met in grade school -- a trait shared by previous musical trail-blazers, from Lennon/McCartney to Jagger/Richards - the Grahams' journey together began when they were teenagers in the shadow of New York City. There, Alyssa, the impassioned troubadour, and Doug, the guitarist extraordinaire, shared a mutual love for the music of the Woodstock era and the adventures of the great outdoors. Over the ensuing years many a campfire lit acoustic jam would include the best of roots renegades like Neil Young, The Band, Gram Parsons, Janis and Emmylou along with more than a few Jerry Garcia and Johnny Cash nuggets. Later, spending much of their time in the secluded Adirondack Mountains at the Graham family fold, Alyssa and Doug learned the time-honored craft of songwriting. Here, their ongoing interests in traditional country, mountain bluegrass and folk legends such as The Carter Family and Mississippi John Hurt would blossom. Hoping to share their stories on a wider stage, the couple eventually settled in New York City, where they performed, collaborated and recorded a variety of acclaimed material before adopting The Grahams moniker.
While the duo had written music together before, in the summer of 2012 new writing sessions yielded a different approach. Something magical was happening between Alyssa and Doug. A catalyst was born in the new song Riverman's Daughter, a tale of love, loss, and hardship on the river that showcases Alyssa's bountiful voice. Backed by her own rhythm guitar, along with the strong current of Doug's cascading accompaniment on the six string, and traditional vocal harmonies, the track came in a lightning bolt of inspiration. A vision and calling to write more songs of its kind took hold.
Alyssa and Doug had an idea: What if they put their city lives on hold and, armed with just guitars and backpacks, traveled the 2,500 miles of highways and byways of the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana. Light out for the territory, so to speak, like Huck and Jim. There, the duo could follow the Great River Road (GRR) that parallels the waterway, meet the people, and hear first-hand where European folk music, brought to these shores generations ago, took root alongside rhythms and chants from Africa, and how these polarizing sounds formed the backbone of our 20th Century American musical heritage. And so The Grahams did just that, and in the process created their debut album, Riverman's Daughter. Along the way The Grahams played gigs at the various gin and juke joints that dotted the GRR, and met a colorful cast of characters and genuine music makers with whom the duo shared and exchanged stories through the common bond of song.
Eventually Alyssa and Doug ended up intentionally isolated on an old houseboat in rural Louisiana where the Mississippi spills into the Atchafalaya swamp. There, The Grahams prolifically stockpiled songs, enjoyed the simplicity of living off the grid, and for a spell, invited onboard friends and musicians including their longtime collaborator Bryan McCann, a wordsmith who aids with lyrical inspiration. Yet perhaps the biggest inspiration on Riverman's Daughter was Doug's own mother, Gigi, the matriarch of the Graham family clan, and a true fan of the duo who had been diagnosed with cancer earlier that year. As her condition worsened, the Grahams packed up their guitars and newly minted collection of songs to become Gigi's angel band, and played by her side until she passed away.
As recording of the new album began, The Grahams found a true kindred spirit in Grammy-winning producer Malcolm Burn, who brought a magical touch and inspired ideas into the studio. It was Burn's idea to record both Alyssa and Doug's parts live to tape without the assistance of headphones or isolation -- in the way they were written. This process gives the album a natural aura that harkens back to an era when this practice was commonplace. Along the same lines, The Grahams chose to record the album in Nashville, the longtime epicenter of country music. While the album's foundation is simple and acoustic, The Grahams are backed on a few tracks by stellar accompaniment including the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi Allstars. Along with the title song the album is highlighted by the 70's country rock flavored Carrying The Torch, the spirited traditional vibe of The Piney River, and the riveting upbeat barn dance playfulness of Revival Time.
Ultimately, the album is a winning culmination of The Grahams' long journey into the heart of America, the inspiration they derived from immersion into classic American music, and the natural and honest talent they have for bringing forth a modern musical idiom steeped in tradition.1. Revival Time
2. Riverman's Daughter
3. Carrying the Torch
4. You Made Me Love You
5. Cathedral Pines
6. If You're in New York
7. The Piney River
8. A Good Man
9. Marnie Hawkins
10. Heaven Forbid
11. Lonesome Child
13. Goodbye Babe (B.C.)
14. Lay Down Delilah$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Inter-BeInter-Be is the debut album by Peter Wolf Crier, the Minneapolis-based duo of Peter Pisano and Brian Moen. The album was born on a single summer night when Pisano felt a torrent of creativity after what had felt, to him, like an interminably long dry spell. He shared the songs with Moen, and over the months that followed, at Moen's home, these rough-hewed tunes became what they are now: a confident collection of songs, but deceptive in that their very guts still reflect the thoughts of a man in transition.
Pisano's is not a new songwriting voice. He is best known for being part of the Wars of 1812, an ascendant Wisconsin-bred quartet. Their first album together, Status Quo Ante Bellum, was more than just an album. It was relocation and aspiration and Pisano's lyrical Eden. As the Wars went on hiatus, Pisano continued to hone his craft, keeping his days full as a teacher at a small private school while fine-tuning, at night, the songs that would soon become Inter-Be. Feeling confident in the songs, Pisano approached Moen, a seasoned drummer and engineer best known for his involvement in Laarks and Amateur Love. After being asked to add some percussive elements, Moen added his thundering drumrolls and perfectly timed fills, but he also added something much more: a melodic soundscape that would complete the evolution of the songs. So was born the partnership that is called Peter Wolf Crier.1. Crutch & Cane
2. Hard As Nails
3. Down Down Down
4. Untitled 101
5. For Now
6. You're So High
7. Demo 01
10. Saturday Night
11. In Response$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now